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8 Defining Moments in the Open Source and Linux World: 2023 Edition

A recap of the rollercoaster ride in 2023.

With Linux and open-source, every year brings some good surprises, and shockers.

There could be a Linux distribution that changes its base, an independent project taken over by a big tech giant, and various other things. And, throughout 2023, we tried our best to get you a dose of the rollercoaster ride.

Now that the year has come to an end. It is time to look back at some of the biggest stories that happened in 2023.

1. Ubuntu Debuts the "Flutter" Store ⭐

a screenshot of ubuntu's new flutter-based software center

Ubuntu's software center is always the talk of the hour for its changes, and improvements.

This year around, Ubuntu stepped up their game by introducing a new "Ubuntu Store" with Ubuntu 23.10 based on Flutter, providing a modern and sleek user experience.

It will eventually replace the software center Ubuntu's had for years now, which is a good thing in my opinion.

2. Indian Defense Services Switch to Linux

indian govt linux

The Defense Ministry of India has decided to replace Windows with an in-house developed Linux distro dubbed "Maya".

Of course, this is not the first time a government body has decided to use Linux to improve security and privacy.

However, in a country like India, a simple choice to use Linux in one part of the government body could have a massive influence over other systems. And, that would be a really nice thing for Linux in general.

3. Red Hat's Source Code Locking 🔒

Red Hat, the biggest open-source company, decided to lock the source code for Red Hat Enterprise Linux behind a paywall.

While they still allowed individual developers to access the source code with a free subscription, but it is no longer publicly accessible to all, as it was earlier.

This change sent waves to all the RHEL-based distributions, and forks:

Red Hat’s Source Code Lockout Spells Disaster for CentOS Alternatives: Rocky Linux and AlmaLinux in Trouble?
Red Hat’s new move means that RHEL-source code is only accessible to users with subscriptions. What do you think about this?

From competitors like SUSE, Oracle, and others teaming up to work on an RHEL-fork, to various other changes to projects like Rocky Linux, and AlmaLinux.

For me, it was the biggest story of 2023, which will continue to have after-effects in 2024.

In a Blow to IBM, SUSE is Forking Red Hat Enterprise Linux
Is SUSE initiating more competition against RHEL? Find out what’s cooking.

4. A Change to Linux Kernel LTS Support Cycle

linux kernel

To reduce the burden of Linux maintainers, the support cycle for an LTS kernel was dropped down to two years instead of six.

It was evaluated that not many people use the older Linux Kernel versions, and with many LTS versions of the kernel being maintained for years, it becomes a difficult and tiresome task for the maintainers.

As a user, you should not have to worry about it, unless you rely on specific hardware support that no longer exists on newer Linux kernels.

5. Ubuntu Drops Flatpak Support for all its Flavours 🔨

It is no surprise that Canonical's Ubuntu favors Snap packages over anything else.

However, Ubuntu flavours did have the freedom to offer Flatpak support, like Ubuntu MATE.

Unfortunately, Ubuntu axed the default Flatpak support for the flavors, citing a consistent user experience as the reason.

Snapped! Ubuntu Cracks Down on Default Flatpak Support for its Flavors
Ubuntu flavors will no longer include Flatpak support out-of-the-box. Why is that? Let’s find out.

Of course, you can add Flatpak support manually, but it's not an out-of-the-box convenience anymore.

Would this change affect you? Well, if you know your pick between Flatpak vs Snap, you already know the answer.

6. A Rolling-Release Ubuntu Distro Appears 🎲

Among all the other interesting disto releases, Rhino Linux hit the stable release. It aims to offer a rolling-release experience on top of Ubuntu.

You can explore more about the release in our coverage:

Rolling-Release Ubuntu-based Rhino Linux Has Landed
Rhino Linux is an interesting option to have!

7. Vim Creator Passed Away🥺

a photo of bram moolenar holding a beer

This year, we lost a notable creator in the Linux space, Bram Moolenaar, the legend behind Vim text editor.

He aimed to improve upon the existing vi text editor, initially created for Unix.

Bram then built upon the source code of vi and its clones, improving them by adding new features, and finally releasing the first version as “Vi IMitation”, where it got the “Vim” acronym.

8. Linux Rising Above macOS Gaming Stats

As Linux users, we take our statistics seriously and celebrate when there's a milestone. Like, monitoring the Linux desktop market share every month.

This year, Linux usage stats stood higher than macOS in Steam's stat report. You can get the details here:

Linux Rising: Steam Usage Surpasses macOS for Gaming
Steam users on Linux take the lead over macOS! Sounds great!

Wrapping Up

Plenty of things happened in 2023 😲

For instance, there were various exciting applications that we uncovered:

8 Exciting Open Source Apps Linux Users Loved Exploring in 2023
The best underrated apps that we discovered in 2023.

Not to forget, some new names in the distro space made it to the spotlight:

7 Unknown Linux Distros that Emerged Winner in 2023
Distributions that caught your attention in 2023!

💬 For you, what was the biggest shocker (happy/sad) in 2023? Let us know in the comments below.

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