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This Day in Computer History: December 17

written by: Pipedreamergrey•edited by: Michele McDonough•updated: 12/17/2008

Today marks the anniversary of the release of version 2.6.0 of the Linux kernel. Read more in "This Day in Computer History", a chronology of notable events in the computer, ecommerce, and software industries on this day in history.

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    This Day in Computer History


    Intel's “Option Red" supercomputer is officially activated at the Sandia National Laboratory in Albuquerque, New Mexico. The system featured 9,624 Intel Pentium Pro processors, 2 TB of disc storage, and 600 GB of memory. It was capable of executing a trillion floating-point operations per second, setting a record for the fastest computer in the world. Built at a cost of fifty-five million dollars, the system would be used to simulate atmospheric phenomena (including weather) and nuclear weapon performance.


    The Justice Department requested that Judge Thomas Penfield Jackson impose a million dollar a day fine for contempt on software developer Microsoft for failing to obey the court's earlier preliminary injunction ordering the company to "unbundle" its Internet Explorer web browser from its Windows operating system.


    In China, the Beijing Number One Intermediate Court rejected a lawsuit filed by Microsoft against the Chinese Yadu Group, in which Microsoft accused the company of using pirated Microsoft Office and Windows software on its computers. The case rocked the U.S. industry, which, under the precedent set by the court, suddenly found itself unable to enforce copyright law against a booming multi-billion dollar pirate market in China.

    Eighteen year-old Michael Ian Campbell of Cape Coral, Florida was arrested for threatening to “finish" what Eric Harris and Dylan Klebold had started in an e-mail to a student at Columbine High School using the handle “Soup81″.


    Fantaisie Software released version 2.00 of its PureBasic programming language, the first non-beta version to be publicly released.


    Advanced Micro Devices released its Mobile Duron 1000 processor, featuring a 64 KB Level-2 Cache and a 200 MHz Front-Side Bus.

    Yahoo! opened its LAUNCH online radio service to the public.


    Version 2.6.0 of the Linux kernel was released. The new version featured many improvements adopted from μClinux or the "MicroController Linux," which had been designed for embedded microcontrollers. It also featured support for Non-Uniform Memory Access (NUMA), which was designed for multi-processor systems such as mainframes, a new scheduler, and end-to-end scalability improvements that would insure Linux's ability to run on every size system, from minor embedded chips to massive mainframes. This version of the Linux kernel contained 5,929,913 lines of code.


    Cerulean Studios released version 3.0 of its multi-protocol instant messenger Trillian.

    QiLinux Live! 1.1 operating system was released. QiLinux was a Linux distribution built from the ground up for desktop and server functions.