I am often asked about the history of Linux Journal and Linux Gazette and how I think Linux has changed over the year. Here's the scoop.
Back in 1993, Phil Hughes saw the enormous potential for the Linux operating system and its creator Linus Torvalds. Being a firm believer in open software, he decided to start a magazine dedicated to Linux to encourage the growth of this fledgling operating system. That magazine is Linux Journal. Phil founded the magazine and acted as Editor for the first two issues.
The first issue was published in March 1994 and had 48 pages. It contained an interview with Linus and articles by many now familiar names: Michael Johnson, Mark Komarinski, Ian Murdock, Arnold Robbins, Matt Welsh and Robert Young. The first issue was primarily given away at trade shows and sent to mailing lists; the second had over 900 subscribers. The subscriber base and newsstand presence of the magazine has steadily increased to over 60,000 since that time, and we are currently at 100 pages.
The first two issues of Linux Journal were published by Robert Young. After the second issue, Robert decided to start up Red Hat Software, and Specialized Systems Consultants took over as publisher. Also with the third issue, Michael Johnson took on the role of Editor and continued in that role through the September 1996 issue. I became Editor on February 1, 1997 and began work on the May issue.
I had begun work for SSC in April 1996 and the project I had the most fun with was Linux Gazette. John Fisk had decided he just didn't have the time to devote to the Gazette--what he had started as a learning experience had blossomed into a very popular webzine. He posted issues whenever he had time and in between got mail from people requesting he put it out on a more regular basis. At any rate, he approached Phil requesting that Linux Journal take over the Gazette. Phil said yes and gave the project to me in August. This turned out to be a shrewd move on his part as taking care of the Gazette gave me the necessary confidence to say yes when he asked me to be Editor of Linux Journal the following February. Although I tried for a while to outsource LG, it didn't work out and it is still in my hands. Good thing I love it, since I do most of the work on it on my own time--outside working hours.
Linux Gazette is the most popular page on our web site, helping to generate over 150,000 hits a day. All the authors are volunteer, and I am constantly amazed at how much great content people are willing to spend their time generating and then give it away. We have mirror sites worldwide and three translation sites in Italy, France and Russia.
When I first began work at Linux Journal and people asked me where I worked, the usual response was "What's Linux?" Today, not only do people know what Linux is, they approach me to tell me how much they love it and the magazine--this mainly happens when I am wearing a Linux T-shirt.
This year has been a banner year for Linux in terms of market expansion with two block-buster announcements. The first was Netscape's decision to make Mozilla open source. Linux Journal had a great interview with Marc Andreessen and Tom Paquin of Netscape in our August issue and the second part of the interview is exclusively in this issue of LG. With Netscape Navigator going Open Source, can Sun's Java be far behind? Second, Corel and Corel Computer announced they would be porting all their software to Linux and that the new NetWinder would be sold with Linux installed. This announcement came in May after our April issue which contained an interview with Corel Computer's Eid Eid. I'm sure there was a direct correlation between our interview and their decision. (smile)
Actually, it seems like we get a press release each week from someone announcing their product will be supporting Linux. About two months ago, one of these was from Interbase telling us about the recent port of its popular database to Linux. Now, on July 22, Informix has announced that they now support Linux, and that it is available with both S.u.S.E. and Caldera. An announcement from Oracle that they will be porting to Linux was made July 21. In my opinion, sooner or later, Sybase will be following suit. Cobalt's Qube microserver is yet another coup for Linux.
With companies like these supporting Linux, Linux will continue to expand across the globe and, perhaps, even reach Linus' stated goal of world domination.
While I was not able to attend the recent Linux Expo put on by Red Hat in North Carolina, I have heard glowing reports. The vi editor won again over Emacs in the "editor war". This year the war was a held as a paintball tournament with vi winning three out of four games.
Linus' talk was well attended as usual. In it, he announced a code freeze will be coming for the 2.2 kernel in the next month, with the release due in late July or early August. This is good news indeed. The addition of symmetrical multi-processing (SMP) has been a feature eagerly awaited by many.