Analysis: 10 Linux predictions for 2002
By Joe Barr
(IDG) -- The end of the year. Traditionally, this is a time to pause and reflect on the happenings of the old year as well as the possibilities for the new one. Last year at this time I wrote my first "crystal ball" piece and made ten predictions for the year 2000. Looking back on them now (the URL is given in Resources), I'll say that while I did no better than a coin toss, it could have been much worse.
I'll give myself the Golden "Hammer on Nail" award for predicting that " the Microsoft appeal of Judge Thomas Penfield Jackson's rulings will result in his findings of law being overturned, but his findings of fact will stand. The breakup of Microsoft will be abandoned on appeal, and the lower court will be ordered to come up with new, less drastic remedies. Under the Bush administration, the DOJ will lose its zeal for pursuing the case to a just conclusion, and no substantial or effective remedies will ever be implemented."
I think I also deserve a Silver "Close But No Cigar" medallion for speculating on a merger between VA and Red Hat. The Cardinal Fedora did pick up some VA assets in the form of the migration of management and workers from the VA Professional Services division to Red Hat, but it wasn't an acquisition or merger.
Finally, I earned the Bronze "Low Light Bulb" award for a pair of big clunkers: suggesting that Linus Torvalds would step away from active participation in kernel development on the one hand and that 2001 would be the year that the Linux desktop became a standard fixture.
In spite my 2001 batting average, I'm back this year to once again gaze into my crystal ball and offer my thoughts on what's coming for Linux in the year 2002.
1. Linux business sector will emerge from slump
Red Hat will continue to increase market share, sales and profits, leading the ragtag band of open source survivors out of the wilderness of the recession to the land of black bottom lines.
2. Linux desktop will appear in public places
The Linux desktop will achieve a measurable market share on consumer machines and an even larger share of desktops for business and government. The growth will be fueled by both continuing refinement and improvement of the desktop, the growing dissatisfaction with Windows performance, security, and pricing, and the easing of Microsoft licensing restrictions.
3. Linux preloads will follow suit
Both pure Linux and dual-boot Linux/Windows machines from top-tier OEMs will start to appear in the marketplace as Microsoft ever so slightly begins to loosen its death-grip on the preload marketplace.
4. Landmark antitrust case will drag on
The Microsoft/DOJ "settlement" will be tossed out by the judge as being completely one-sided and the court will compromise between the demands of the holdout states and the DOJ. Microsoft will appeal the new finding to the Supreme Court since it would -- unlike the terms of the current "settlement" -- actually prevent them from continuing many of their illegal business practices.
5. U.S. spy-secrets will be revealed
A major three-letter intelligence agency will suffer a public and catastrophic breach of classified data because of exploits in Windows XP and ban its use completely. Previous security incidents involving the loss of classified data will also be revealed. Eyes (and heads) will roll.
6. Microsoft will be expelled, Linux will be installed
At least one global megacorp will announce a complete migration away from all Microsoft Windows platforms to an interoperable mix of Unix, Mac and Linux platforms.
7. Linux in prime time slot
TechTV will add a pure Linux show to its lineup. Hey, it couldn't hurt. They laid off 135 employees in November, some say as the result of losing touch with their geek side. Leo Laporte has been Linux friendly for years, to the point of having Linus Torvalds as a guest. In 2002, Linux earns its own spot in the lineup.
8. You have (secure) mail
AOL will stun the world by releasing a beta AOL client for Linux. (AOL Time Warner is the parent company of CNN.com.) This event will be marked by both howls of protest and celebration. Command-line interface (CLI) diehards will proclaim it to be the death of Linux. Most will simply acknowledge its growing popularity.
9. Darker Image PR firm to debut
Theo de Raadt of OpenBSD fame, Arpad Gereoffy of the MPlayer project, and Brett Glass will team up to form a new PR firm called Darker Image. The concept is simple, like reverse psychology. For a fee, the team will act as advocates for your competition. Rumors have it that the dynamic trio is already in discussions with Redmond about championing the Free Software Foundation.
10. The revolution will continue as scheduled
Just like last year, my final prediction drives home a simple point. Whether any of the previous predictions come true or not, it's going to be another banner year for GNU/Linux. It's popularity in the server, desktop, and embedded spaces will continue to grow.
OK, there you have it. I've gone out on a limb for the second year in a row with my ten shots in the dark. Do any of them ring true with you? Write and let me know. Better yet, dare to do the same and let me know what you see for Linux in the year ahead.
Have a great, safe, happy, and prosperous New Year!
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