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Goodbye, Dennis Ritchie

  • October 18, 2011
  • By Sean Kerner

This past week was a momentous one on the Linux Planet. A giant of the computing era passed away, to whom we all owe debt of gratitude. A new Ubuntu release officially debuted and an upcoming Fedora release has already been declared a 'miracle'.

1. Dennis Ritchie

Linux was built on the shoulders of giants. One of those giants was Dennis Ritchie, who passed away earlier this month. Ritchie is revered in the Linux community and throughout the programming world as the father of C. The impact that C has had on the modern world of IT is inestimable and simply put, it is at the root of most modern computing.

Ritchie's contribution to the founding of Unix is also a monumental achievement.

"Unix and C's direct and spiritual descendants cannot be counted but include Linux, Android, Mac OS, iOS, JavaScript, C++, the genius of the internet, and a planet of developers," Tim Burke, vice president Linux engineering at Red Hat, wrote in a blogpost. "The major impact of UNIX is not so much in the elegant code itself but rather in the culture of sharing work across industry and academia that became UNIX's hallmark."

2. KDE Turns 15

For the last 15 years, many on the Linux Planet have asked when the year of the Linux Desktop will finally be here. Whenever the year of the Linux Desktop finally does come, it will owe some thanks to KDE.

KDE celebrated its 15th birthday this past week. In his original announcement back in 1996, KDE founder Matthias Ettrich, delivered a stunning vision for the Linux desktop that we enjoy today.

"The idea is NOT to create a GUI for the complete UNIX-system or the System-Administrator," Ettrich wrote. "For that purpose the UNIX-CLI with thousands of tools and scripting languages is much better. The idea is to create a GUI for an ENDUSER. Somebody who wants to browse the web with Linux, write some letters and play some nice games."

Back in 1996, Ettrich also realized that his ideas were a little far-fetched, although history has proven him to be correct.

"I admit the whole thing sounds a bit like fantasy," Ettrich wrote in his original email. "But it is very serious from my side. Everybody I'm talking to in the net would LOVE a somewhat cleaner desktop."

3. Apache Defends OpenOffice

This past week, the Apache Software Foundation formally defended its position as the guardian of the OpenOffice.org code base.

The Apache OpenOffice.org project is doing just fine according to Apache, despite some hype and rumors that have been swirling to the contrary.

"More than 70 project Committers are actively collaborating to ensure that the future of the OpenOffice.org code base and community are in alignment with The Apache Way," Apache wrote in a statement.

Apache also extended an olive branch to its forked offspring, LibreOffice, which recently celebrated its one-year anniversary.

"We congratulate the LibreOffice community on their success over their inaugural year and wish them luck in their future endeavors," Apache stated. "We look forward to opening up the dialogue between Open Document Format-oriented communities to deepen understanding and cease the unwarranted spread of misinformation."

4. Subversion 1.7

The Linux kernel is developed in the Git version control system, but there are still many Linux distribution efforts that rely on the Subversion control system.

This past week, Subversion hit its 1.7 releaseadding new features that are supposed to help improve developer efficiency.

The release is also a stepping stone toward the future include of some Git style fork and merge capabilities.

5. Fedora 17 Will Be a Beefy Miracle

Red Hat is a serious Linux vendor and has never really taken much, if any liberty with the codenames for any releases, even when they come in the Fedora community.

The Fedora community, however, is its own community, membership and ideas. One of those ideas was to name the first Fedora release of 2012 after a hot dog.

That's right Fedora 17 will be a Beefy Miracle.

It's a bit absurd, sure, but make no mistake about it, there was a very concerted effort to get this name. Beefy Miracle failed to win the support it needed from the Fedora community for Fedora 16, which is the first time the name was put forward. Fedora 16 which is due out in November is codenamed, Verne.

The puns around the Beefy Miracle are just starting to get going, with the promise of a Fedora release that Linux users will relish.

Sean Michael Kerner is a senior editor at InternetNews.com, the news service of Internet.com, the network for technology professionals.

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