Top ten stories of the year

Gamers in danger, the great .Net vote rigging scandal, the future of Linux, and the Playstation 3 chip. What were the hottest stories in 2002?

You might have loved them or you might have hated them, but you read them. Here are the top ten stories of 2002 as voted for by our readers:

  • 10: Microsoft doomed by cheap PCs
    Admired and vilified in almost equal measure by the open source community, The Cathedral and the Bazaar author Eric Raymond always draws a crowd, and his pontification on the pending downfall of Microsoft lived up to expectations. When the price of a PC falls below about £250, said Raymond in this interview, Microsoft will no longer be viable. Is he a visionary or a raving optimist? Read it and make up your own mind.
  • 9: Sun seeds StarOffice user base
    If you thought Microsoft Office was the only office suite worth installing, then think again. Sun's StarOffice 6.0 generated huge interest when it launched last year -- though not as much as when Sun announced that it would begin offering educational and non-profit institutions almost unlimited rights to use its suite for a nominal fee. Although this story was angled toward antipodeans, Sun is eyeing up 5 million such users worldwide.
  • 8: Alan Cox: The battle for the desktop
    Eventually something will come along and replace Linux, said Alan Cox, heavyweight developer of the Linux kernel, said in this interview. Want to know what it will be? Or why Linux is more popular than Microsoft Windows in Iceland? Cox has the answers.
  • 7: 3D graphics world shaken by patent claims
    Barely a week passed in 2002 without some large tech firm suing some other large tech firm. While such lawyer-employment programmes provide great entertainment from the sidelines, they do have their serious side, and none more so than when Microsoft claimed a stake in the OpenGL graphics standard.
  • 6: Playstation 3 chip nears completion
    It will have multiple personalities. It will perform the heavy computational tasks required for out-of-this world-graphics. And will contain circuitry to handle high-bandwidth communications. "Cell" is coming; the mysterous chip designed by IBM, Sony and Toshiba has nearly taped out, and soon these designs will be handed over to engineers in manufacturing, who will craft samples. Then it's only a matter of time until it appears in the Playstation 3.
  • 5: Alan Cox: What the future holds for Linux
    If part II of this interview made it into the top ten stories of the year, you'd expect part I to be here, and we hate to disappoint. Here, Cox gets down the nuts and bolts of Linux; Find out everything you ever wanted to know about Linux support for USB and ACPI but were afraid to ask.
  • 4: Gamers face jail in Greece
    You can tell the characteristics of a nation by the stuff that they ban. The Dutch ban as little as possible. Us English ban handguns, erections in movies and beer after 11 pm. The Ayatollah Khomeni banned chess. The Taliban banned music. And then the Greek government banned video games. And then all Hellenistic madness broke lose.
  • 3: Soundbug turns flat surfaces into speakers
    The Soundbug was the surprise hit of the show at CeBIT 2002. It had everything -- weird defence technology spin-off, hip music device and a nice curvy silver case. The stuff of movie science fiction. But Hollywood magic isn't enough: in the real world, things have to work. It sounded great in theory, but in practice, as ZDNet Reviews discovered, it was little more than a good conversation piece.
  • 2: File swappers face prosecution
    The customer is always right, right? Not when you're a record label, in which case the customer is probably a criminal trying to steal your hard-won and entirely fairly priced property, and who probably deserves to be locked up. Certainly, they have to be watched. And just for good measure, why not start prosecuting them?
  • 1: .Net vote rigging
    And finally, the most-clicked story of 2002 related to what some (but not us, of course) might regard as the dullest of subjects: .Net and Web services. But this was not just any story: A poll run by ZDNet UK asking people whether they planned to deliver Web services using Java or Microsoft's .Net technology showed a dramatic swing as voting continued. A quick trawl through our logs indicated that a very high percentage of votes came from within the domain. Nothing wrong with that, surely? Well perhaps not, until you consider that one person made 228 attempts to vote (our script blocked most attempts at multiple voting) and several of the voters evidently followed a link contained in an email, the subject line of which ran: "PLEASE STOP AND VOTE FOR .NET!" The scandal caused uproar in the online community. And all over a straw poll.