Old 100

Article from Issue 147/2013

As these pages go to print, I notice that we have reached issue 147. The number 147 might not seem particularly noteworthy to the rest of the world, but I noticed it. You see, the first issue with my picture on page 3 was issue 48, and if you count by ones from the beginning of the issue 48 cycle to the end of the issue 147 cycle, you get to 100 issues. This number 100 is always good for a milestone moment in our base 10 universe. Celebrating a numeral is not so important on its own, but having these reasons to look back can provide some context for looking ahead into the future – or looking around at the present.

So many things were different back in the first year I wrote this column. The last version of the old Red Hat Linux (Red Hat 9) was just ending, giving way to a new Red Hat-inspired community distro known as “Fedora Core.” A few for-profit desktop systems were trying to nail down the role of Linux for nongeeks, including Xandros and Lindows (later renamed Linspire), and they actually carried a price tag of around US$ 35 dollars before getting washed away by the all-free Ubuntu. SUSE Linux came in a light green shrink-wrapped box. Debian was a really big deal – we even had a column on Debian, and we provided close coverage of the Debian elections. (Actually, Debian is still a big deal; people just don’t talk about it as much as they used to.) Solaris was going open source; the kernel developers lost access to the BitKeeper distributed version control system and started building their own open source tool, which they called Git.

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