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What Does 2004 Hold in Store for Linux?

Take part in LinuxWorld Magazine's exercise in crystal ballgazing

Here is the set of questions we sent out to a number of the many Linux luminaries that we know and admire. Following the questions are the responses we received from Eric Raymond and John Terpstra (of the Samba team).

The questions:

  • Which Linux application area do you believe will grow the fastest in 2004?
  • Will 2004 *finally* be the year when Linux makes significant in-roads on the desktop?
  • Which distributions will show the greatest growth in 2004?
  • What major Linux IPO or Linux acquisition will occur in 2004?
  • What will be the coolest new Linux application in 2004?
  • Will the SCO debacle slow Linux adoption over the next year?
  • Will Tux finally get a girlfriend?
  • Which Hollywood starlet might Tux run off with and secretly get married to?
  • Or, make your own question(s) up...

 

Eric Raymond's responses:
  • Which Linux application area do you believe will grow the fastest in 2004?

Office software, starting from a small base but growing hugely as government adoption programs kick in worldwide.

 

  • Will 2004 *finally* be the year when Linux makes significant in-roads on the desktop?

Yes. Government adoptions happening in Massachusetts, Brazil, South Africa, and all over the Pacific Rim are driving this trend. There's a lot happening in the private sector, too, but the adopters there won't talk about that because thety want to hold on to their advantage over competitors paying the Microsioft tax.

 

  • Which distributions will show the greatest growth in 2004?

I think 2004 is going to be a big year for Fedora and Suse, and a challenge for Debian (because Fedora now offers apt for RPM).

 

  • Will the SCO debacle slow Linux adoption over the next year?

Not so we'll notice. I won't be surprised if the judge has thrown SCO out of court by the time you read this.

 

  • Which Hollywood starlet might Tux run off with and secretly get married to?

Liv Tyler. Hey, we know Arwen Undomiel is into the whole trans-species thing...

 

John Terpstra's responses:

  • Which Linux application area do you believe will grow the fastest in 2004?

During 2004 there will be significant growth in use of Linux for file and print serving, directory management and serving, and in groupware solutions. These backend (server based) facilities will liberate the desktop and will open the way to greater desktop deployment.

 

  • Will 2004 *finally* be the year when Linux makes significant in-roads on the desktop?

I predict that during 2004 at least one significant USA government body will adopt Linux on the desktop. This adoption will make head-lines and will radically change the face of the Linux battle. We will see a number of government bodies adopt Linux, and by September 2004 there will be a rush of announcements of software applications finally being ported to Linux. At least two major accounting packages will announce support for Linux. PS: I could name one, but that would spoil the fun!

 

  • Which distributions will show the greatest growth in 2004?

SuSE (or is that Novell?) will be the global leader in desktop and server deployments as the VAR channel finally finds confidence in a supported Linux product that will not take away their lunch.

 

  • What major Linux IPO or Linux acquisition will occur in 2004?

A NAS vendor will go all out for Linux, will aquire a major Linux OS vendor (guess who!), and will announce a new venture that will focus on delivering multi-terabyte storage arrays that come preconfigured to deliver file and print services, SQL serving, proxy services, and audio/video caching.

 

  • What will be the coolest new Linux application in 2004?

OpenOffice will announce the coolest enhancements that will permit it to be used in DocBook based automated publishing technology. The new version of OpenOffice will provide a collaboration facility that will set a new standard for corporate office users.

 

  • Will the SCO debacle slow Linux adoption over the next year?

Sorry, there are too many assumptions and sensitivities in this debate. Next ... let's move on.

 

  • Will Tux finally get a girlfriend?

Tux has had several girlfriends over the past 4 years. Seems most left in the same hurry they arrived in. Seems Tux remains focussed on being around for a long time. Chances are Tux will remain a bachelor.

 

  • Which Hollywood starlet might Tux run off with and secretly get married to?

Hmmm. Let me see - Minnie Mouse!

 

  • Or, make your own question(s) up...

Question: What will be the most significant factor driving public adoptions of Linux in 2004?

Answer: Without doubt, the single most important factor that will drive Linux adoption in 2004 will be the ratification of open public standards compliance for Linux and Linux baseed applications. By October 2004, Microsoft will start an intensive campaign to promote their Longhorn technology as Linux standards compliant.

 

Now your turn!

Pick one or more of these questions and answer it yourself. Or, make your own question up. Or both. Or whatever - but just get involved!  You never know, you might find your words in the pages of January's issue of LinuxWorld Magazine!

More Stories By Kevin Bedell

Kevin Bedell, one of the founding editors of Linux.SYS-CON.com, writes and speaks frequently on Linux and open source. He is the director of consulting and training for Black Duck Software.

More Stories By John Terpstra

John Terpstra is a cofounder of the Samba-Team. He is heavily involved in creating the strategy behind Samba and plays a central role in answering user questions and writing the resulting documentation. He is also a full-time consultant providing business process and mentoring services.

More Stories By Eric S. Raymond

Eric Raymond, usually known in the Open Source community simply by his initials, ESR, is President, Open Source Initiative.

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Most Recent Comments
Zoue 12/19/04 10:45:51 AM EST

Great!
Best Wishes!

Brian Masinick 12/10/03 04:21:40 PM EST

I agree with some of the points made by Tobias Weisserth, who commented on 22 November 2003:

* # Which Linux application area do you believe will grow the fastest in 2004?

Office Applications and Gaming Software. Linux is ripe for the desktop. I believe that office applications have been maturing for some time. While there is still plenty of room for further improvements, I personally have found that using Web browser applications, word processor and office suite applications, plain text editors, and desktop file managers, provide nearly all of the basic functionality that I need. Many people like to play games. While I'm not big on games myself, I have seen the number of games that work on Linux systems increase dramatically. There needs to be a lot more improvement in this area, but I think that we're almost ready to move forward rapidly because a critical mass has been, for the most part, established.

# Will 2004 *finally* be the year when Linux makes significant in-roads on the desktop?

Tobias said: "What's 'significant' supposed to mean? Haven't there been significant announcements already concerning Linux and desktop use in places like Asia or Munich, Germany?"

I would suggest that there is plenty of viable Linux desktop software, so that's not the issue, either. The issue is whether or not there will be widespread deployments or not. There have already been some significant deployments, not just of Linux server software or specialized point of sale applications, but actual every day desktop deployments. The challenge will be to publicize these well, document just how effective they are and how much money they save in licensing costs, down time caused by intrusions and other annoyances, and how the initial investment costs can be effectively recovered. Once those things are clear, the path is smooth to establishing growth.

There's a chance that there could be an explosion in desktop usage, but I think that it may take more than a year for that to happen. I predict this will be a year of good, strong growth. If that actually happens, I'll consider that to be "signficant", regardless of how much market share is actually generated.

# Which distributions will show the greatest growth in 2004?

Tobias said, "In absolut numbers? SuSE. They will Novell as a base from which to dive into the North American market.

"In relative terms? Fedora. An apt capable RPM based Red Hat, compiled for modern architectures and using up to date software is a killer distribution for power users. Debian has to brace itself."

I agree with most of that. I think that the Debian project will continue to move forward. Debian has goals that are distinct from other projects, and I don't think that Debian will suffer from the success of other projects. I've actually seen quite a bit of growth in commercial Debian efforts over the past two years: Libranet, LindowsOS, Xandros, Knoppix, and Mepis, just to name a few of them. I think that Red Hat will do well by focusing separately on consumer and enterprise markets. SuSE will do well with the backing of Novell. Hewlett Packard, IBM, and Sun are bound to either align themselves closely with at least two Linux efforts or possibly even acquire a few of them, depending on how things work out.

# What major Linux IPO or Linux acquisition will occur in 2004?

Tobias said, "I would not be surprised if Hewlett Packard is going to buy Mandrake. Mandrake did have some financial problems but they have a good knowlegde base and a great desktop product." I'm less sure about that. HP and IBM are the least likely to acquire a Linux vendor; they'll probably only do so if all of the other players do it (or if Novell ends up making great amounts of money - then the others will suddenly get interested). At the moment, Sun seems to be packaging their own stuff, but it's based on Novell/SuSE stuff. IBM is working with Novell and Red Hat. Oracle works mostly with Red Hat. HP works with Mandrake, Red Hat, and Debian. Something COULD happen here, but it's unclear at this time what that may be.

# What will be the coolest new Linux application in 2004?

Games, Internet applications, and office applications are the most likely things, based on what can be seen right now, but some really good commercial financial applications would provide a solid addition to what's already available.

# Will the SCO debacle slow Linux adoption over the next year?

I think that the SCO stuff, in the long run, will actually increase awareness of Linux software. Once the air clears a bit, it may actually help increas the rate of adoption. There's little evidence that the current stuff going on has stopped anyone who's really interested in Linux, it may be slowing those who are less sure, but I think the impact has been minor and hard to even measure.

# Will Tux finally get a girlfriend?

Maybe the real truth will come out! Isn't he already married with a wife and three children?

J 11/25/03 11:53:24 AM EST

It could be M$ that Tux makes his 'b*tch'. . . ;)

Sayamindu Dasgupta 11/25/03 03:12:57 AM EST

* Which Linux application area do you believe will grow the fastest in 2004?

Localized apps. Both GTK (using Pango) and QT and OpenOffice.org have quite decent support for complex and far eastern languages, and the translation projects are also speeding up, so I would not be surprised many governments, especially in Asian countries switching over to GNU/Linux based systems in 2004. Localized apps are of great importance in these areas.

* Will 2004 *finally* be the year when Linux makes significant in-roads on the desktop?

Corporate desktop - yes - ordinary home user - no.

* Which distributions will show the greatest growth in 2004?

Fedora/Debian.

* What major Linux IPO or Linux acquisition will occur in 2004?

No comments

* What will be the coolest new Linux application in 2004?

The Freedesktop.org Xserver with all its fancy extensions

* Will the SCO debacle slow Linux adoption over the next year?

To some extent - yes.

* Will Tux finally get a girlfriend?

Maybe - but it certainly won't be M$ ;-)

Justin Clift 11/25/03 01:50:45 AM EST

And part of driving OpenOffice adoption is the newly available low-cost-but-really-high-quality online end user training:

http://www.digitaldistribution.com

(shameless plug!)

:)

Jascha W. 11/24/03 08:17:56 PM EST

# Which Linux application area do you believe will grow the fastest in 2004?
Security

# Will 2004 *finally* be the year when Linux makes significant in-roads on the desktop?
Yes, with OpenOffice.org looking so nice it is inevitable. Refer to next question for more.

# Which distributions will show the greatest growth in 2004?
Have to be SuSE with Novell's money behind it. With both Ximaim and SuSE they can make a run at the Linux from desktop to server approach. With the help ($) of IBM.

# What major Linux IPO or Linux acquisition will occur in 2004?
IBM will just go ahead and buy Novell the rest of the way. Or Sun will have to do something to stay afloat. Being that many Sun shops are moving over to i386/Linux for cost savings. For the half a million it costs for a 4800 Sun you can buy a truckload of Dell, IBM, or HP servers.

# What will be the coolest new Linux application in 2004?
Not one in particular. But ones that help bridge the gap between heterogenious enviorments. In terms of proprietary applications and open source. Being that companies are far from ready to be 100% Open Source.

# Will the SCO debacle slow Linux adoption over the next year?
NO, and neither will Microsoft. Being that Microsoft will still be busy patching and making service packs. While people have a hard time even taking SCO serious anymore. SCO made a big bet on the whole thing to begin with. It was a last dying breath attempt at stopping something that has already started. Just as it was ironic Bill Gates did a spoof on the Matrix for Comdex. Being that one of the themes of the movie was 'unplugging' from the 'machine' and 'freeing your mind'. In which Microsoft as it seems would be the thing that lead to the machine world in the first place. How can you 'free you mind' when you are busy saving up $400 to get a copy of Office 2K???

# Will Tux finally get a girlfriend?
NOOOO! He is too much of a 'player' for that! After all many a geek lives vicariously through his exploits (no pun intended).

# Will BSD die due to the popularity of Linux?
No it won't 'die', it will just be 'the same but different' being that it has many years of advanced work ahead of Linux. And as I also don't see BSD and Linux people playing nicely anytime soon. With Gentoo and Linux ports system or apt-get for that matter Linux is closing the weak points where it was previously lacking. Now all we need is to finish a very fine security audit alla OpenBSD for Linux and life will be good.

# Will Linux get goverment security certifications over the next year?
Yes, with the financial help of IBM/Novell it will be done. Being that the government will not be able to pass up the cost of ownership and ROI that Linux/Open Source has to offer. Plus with the addition of Manadatory Access Controls and other required components of something such as TCSEC, TNI, and the rest of the 'Rainbow Series' etc. Along with the help of NSA Linux and other similar endeavours. . .

Marcel Leal 11/24/03 07:29:30 PM EST

* Which Linux application area do you believe will grow the fastest in 2004?

Open Office will make Bill Gates cry a lot in 2004. It will take at least half of MSOffice's share...

* Will 2004 *finally* be the year when Linux makes significant in-roads on the desktop?

Yes, but not for the average user. The revolution will start inside Govs computers, like in Brazil, Germany and Asia. As soon as government staff sees waht Linux can do, they'll move to it.

* Which distributions will show the greatest growth in 2004?

SuSe, thanks to Novell's user network, or Mandrake because it is so easy for begginers and Windows users (actually, they're the same thing...)

* What will be the coolest new Linux application in 2004?

Firebird, the nicest browser I ever used. And it will get even better when it reaches 2.0!

* Will the SCO debacle slow Linux adoption over the next year?

Who? SCO? They've already lost that battle.

* Will Tux finally get a girlfriend?

Yeap. He will be seem many times with Lara Croft, but at the end, he'll announce his wedding with topo model Gosele Bundchen.

Jim 11/24/03 01:06:18 PM EST

Rather than ask where Linux is going in the next year, why not ask where is open source going in the next year? Applications under the GPL that can operate on any platform, ie Mac, Windows and Linux, should prove invaluable. When it is just as easy to use an application on a Linux box as on a Widows box, then the resistance to Linux evaporates.

Fred Grott 11/24/03 11:21:19 AM EST

friend , esr never made any comments coicnering the role of education in IQ levels.. he made the comments on the role of lower IQ level in crime which again is not a racial slur..

lets take it another context the saem comment smade by esr in as Syuadia arabia woudl generate clasim of anisemtiiism and anit-islamicism.. the exact saem comment sbut different 'rose colored' glasses viewing the comments..

again angry blakc man did not point out where the racisist comment was in esr's psot becasue there was none..

esr was addressing IQ level not education and systems that effect increases iin social-ecomonical levels.. bgi differnece when disucssing what is racism!

ESR never denied that there was not racism in the underlying systems that produce IQ levels..

Do this for a nice eye opener walk up to any non USA American black, for example Mayalsian, South African, and etc and ask them what they think of the USA Black American attitudes and beliefs.. you will get a very eye opneing experience..

You are assuming several things based on skin color and culutral assumptions that simply are not true on the basis of the orginal arguement..

the org statement implied by Angry Black Man was that any statment about IQ is racist..which is very incorrect on its face value!

white rasism 11/24/03 11:09:39 AM EST

I am not black but totally agree with Angry Black Man comments. Unfortunately a lot of white people still do not see forest behind the trees: they see numbers (IQ, g, p, etc), differences between social groups but they forget to mention about role of education in producing those numbers. Will be IQ (sorry I have to use this meaningless term) of a child grown in a family who does not own single book lower than to of a child who reads a book every week? Why then all this mentioning of the genetics?

Fred Grott 11/24/03 06:37:38 AM EST

In defense of ESR:

where is the racial slur in the following:

For anyone who believe that racial equality is an important goal, this is absolutely horrible news. Which is why a lot of well-intentioned people refuse to look at these facts, and will attempt to shout down anyone who speaks them in public. There have been several occasions on which leading psychometricians have had their books canceled or withdrawn by publishers who found the actual scientific evidence about IQ so appalling that they refused to print it.

Unfortunately, denial of the facts doesn't make them go away. Far from being meaningless, IQ may be the single most important statistic about human beings, in the precise sense that differences in g probably drive individual and social outcomes more than any other single measurable attribute of human beings.

Mean IQ differences do not justify making assumptions about any individual. There are African black geniuses and Ashkenazic Jewish morons; humanity and ethics demand that we meet each individual human being as an individual, without prejudice. At the same time, group differences have a significance too great to ignore. In the U.S., blacks are 12% of the population but commit 50% of violent crimes; can anyone honestly think this is unconnected to the fact that they average 15 points of IQ lower than the general population? That stupid people are more violent is a fact independent of skin color.

And that is actually a valuable hint about how to get beyond racism. A black man with an IQ of 85 and a white man with an IQ of 85 are about equally likely to have the character traits of poor impulse control and violent behavior associated with criminality — and both are far more likely to have them than a white or black man with an IQ of 110. If we could stop being afraid of IQ and face up to it, that would give us an objective standard that would banish racism per se. IQ matters so much more than skin color that if we started paying serious attention to the former, we might be able to stop paying attention to the latter.

..there is none..however we have several one word readers posting here claiming that there are racial slurs..

debating violent crime increases as pertaining IQ differences is nto raciaism as the trends that decrease IQ are not racist in orgin..the powers controlling he trends however tend to be somewhat racist in in direct or indirect orgins however..a very important distinction!

Another Black Man and other center on one word explanations for their non understanding for what Esr posts they read instead of asking questions..

zettberlin 11/24/03 02:25:16 AM EST

If Eric Raymond refers to these Bell-curve-Rassenhygiene-Nazi-Pseudo-Sience, he is indeed not someone, who should get any support (better: is is in great need for support by a History-Teacher/Psychatrist...).
BUT: "ESR" is NOT the OSS or the FSF!
These Movements are not hierarchic empirers or the domain of charismatic leaders but selforganizing groups of people from all over the world, that seek freedom from Leadership by big Companies or anyone.
Please take this in Account. The whole OSS-Scene can be taken over by People from Africa, Thailand, Russia and the Netherlands and "ESR" could do *nothing* to prevent this...
i will of course support free software regardless if some of those, who are involved herein also are bonkers or not...

Another Black man 11/23/03 10:36:13 PM EST

I just read the comments mentioned by Angry Black Man. Yes, ESR definitely is a racist. He goes on his silly bell curve nonsense,which is something like 8 years after the original hoopla. I'm just glad I'm a hell of a lot smarter than him. Neither he nor his organization will be getting my support.

Jason Kircher 11/23/03 05:44:52 PM EST

# Which Linux application area do you believe will grow the fastest in 2004?
Difficult to say. However, with M$ thrusting their trusted computing nonsense - and looking to gouge the business server market further - I'd say that this is where people would be looking for cheaper alternatives, and that much more dev work would go here.

# Will 2004 *finally* be the year when Linux makes significant in-roads on the desktop?
I agree with several other commenters here - define "significant." If we're talking about usage of Linux in the home, I'd say no. Linux within business is already happening, but the lack of adoption by employees to use Linux at home would make them reluctant to adopt it in the office.

# Which distributions will show the greatest growth in 2004?
LFS! (waves LFS fanboy flag here!) I can't seriously comment here.

# What major Linux IPO or Linux acquisition will occur in 2004?
Linus Torvalds signs 5-year deal with Microsoft... (yeah RIGHT!)

# What will be the coolest new Linux application in 2004?
I really can't think of what will happen, but I can say what needs to happen if Linux is to see wider adopton. (And yes, these would be absolutely cool.)
1.) Games. There has to be MUCH more adoption by the game developers. Most of what drives Moore's Law is games for the desktop. Yes, yes, I know about WINE, but that's a stopgap, a patch. More native compiles of games for Linux is needed. The biggest breakthrough (IMHO) would be a Linux MMORPG that took advantage of an existing media outlet. Star Wars is already online with Windows, so I'd say the logical alternative would be a Star Trek MMORPG with a native Linux client. Trekkies and Linux Geeks, Unite! I'm sure there's other media outlets available, I just tossed out one possible idea. (Another would be a Matrix MMORPG...)
2.) Media downloading services akin to iTunes. To be more specific, legal downloading services.
3.) A true IDE environment, a replacement for Visual Studio. This is probably the biggest hurdle to seeing more applications being ported to Linux/X.

# Will the SCO debacle slow Linux adoption over the next year?
Despite our wishful thinking, yes. Companies and corporations are easily intimidated by the FUD SCO is putting out, despite the fact that their claims are baseless. However, tell a lie often enough, and it becomes accepted to be the truth.

# Will Tux finally get a girlfriend?
We really hope so - 12 years without would drive ANY guy crazy! (Vulcans would be dead by now.)

# Which Hollywood starlet might Tux run off with and secretly get married to?
Liv Tyler/Arwen Undomiel? I... don't see it, sorry.
Definitely NOT Minnie Mouse - she's owned by Disney, and in chains. Waitaminute, unless he were to run in and undo her shackles? (By reversing all these copyright extensions?) Aah, she's smitten by Mickey anyway.
We gotta find that stud a GPL girlfriend. Darioush Jalali: ROFLMAO!

That should about do it. :)

Angry Black Man [response] 11/23/03 03:59:43 PM EST

Angry Black Man,

I do not agree with ESR's comments on blacks. However, you do NOTHING to endear me to your plight. Here's a much better response.

Eric Raymond has been very positive in the Linux community and done a lot of good for freedom of software. It is disappointing that his attitude to fellow man in general is not equally applied. I feel his racist slurs against black people will only serve to undermine Linux and humanity in general.

Your response and how you approach things will make a significant difference to the outcome. Try it and see how you go.

Sincerely,
Not the Angry Black Man (nor black for that matter)

Angry Black Man 11/23/03 12:23:05 PM EST

Funny, I'd think Eric Raymond would mention his views on black folks - namely, they're stoopid criminals, too stoopid to use something like Linux! Check his blog if you think I'm kidding.

I'm surprised he doesn't advocate shooting them! He's a stupid, violent racist.

Aaron Traas 11/23/03 10:37:25 AM EST

* Which Linux application area do you believe will grow the fastest in 2004?
* Will 2004 *finally* be the year when Linux makes significant in-roads on the desktop?

I can address both with one answer: LTSP. There are many corporations, school computer labs, and government organizations where fat-clients are overkill. They're expensive, difficult to manage, and you have to worry about liscencing on every workstation. A couple of larger corporations will adopt this for secretarial/accounting staff, and I predict at least one state-wide public school deployment.

David Bell 11/23/03 10:09:52 AM EST

You guys are stupid. Redhat before its fedora distro had apt-get. You had to download it seperate.

Kenneth Jakobsen 11/23/03 07:41:06 AM EST

[Will the SCO debacle slow Linux adoption over the next year?]

Not more than all the other FUD, we have to deal with.
Lets remember that they haven't sold any licenses, and it would supprise me if they will.
No one has backed up theire claims.
On the contrary Gartner, recommends not to buy anything from them.

[What will be the coolest new Linux application in 2004?]

A free (As in freedom) groupware solution.
Desktop and server.
And generally any free component, that replaces the need for proprietary counterparts.
Not that we shouldn't pay for good software, but that shouldn't mean giving up our GPL rights.

Will 2004 be the year when GPL end the free software philosofy dies?

For heavens sake no!.
The free software community will only become stronger from all this.
Peoples need for freedom, is a powerfull resource.
And IF the current GPL should become invalid, this will automatically make it unlicensed for SCO to use any of the code currently under GPL.
Goodbye samba.
The current GPL would be rewritten, hopefully with claim that can punnish SCO-like companies in the future.

Chris Higham 11/23/03 07:11:00 AM EST

RMS has had a girlfriend???

Fred Grott 11/23/03 06:43:18 AM EST

After playing with Debian in the mid 1990s and being forced to work with Ms Windhoze for awhile I am back lurking in opensource and starting a small startUP..

Linux has offers alot of advantages to startups both within the USA and outside the USa especially in developing countries.

What are the slight problem areas that need to be addresses to spur more Linux adoption within new businesses?

Hmm..

Tux should have a girlfriend because as we have noticed RMS seems happier when with girlfriend :)

Chris Travers 11/23/03 06:11:46 AM EST

#Which Linux application area do you believe will grow the fastest in 2004?

One of the glorious things about open source is that it grows very quickly in many directions. I think there will be two areas of strong growth, however-- enterprise application frameworks (for groupware, crm, erp, etc.) and desktop applications. But embedded device growth is largely underrepresented in these surveys.

#Will 2004 *finally* be the year when Linux makes significant in-roads on the desktop?

Define significant. In many ways, I think it already has. We now see Linux-based PC's in Wallmart, and the city of Munich switched to Linux for their desktops. These are significant because they are mainstream.

I do think that 2004 will see greater inroads made, along with a flurry of ISV interest, etc. But I think that the tide has already begun to turn.

# Which distributions will show the greatest growth in 2004?

With Novell's aquisition of both SuSE and Ximian, I expect SuSE to do well. RedHat will continue to make significant roads into the enterprise, but their business model will discourage hobbiests and make the RHCE more elusive. Mandrake and Debian will largely continue on as they are today.

# What will be the coolest new Linux application in 2004?
With so many to choose from? PostgreSQL 7.5 ;-) Honestly, they have been doing great work, and I can only imagine how much further they will take things next year :)

# Will the SCO debacle slow Linux adoption over the next year?

Not if I can help it ;) Seriously, it hasn't slowed things down much yet, and I doubt that will change.

Darioush Jalali 11/23/03 05:57:27 AM EST

I think the most important issue is Tux's girlfriend. He should remain single as his marrage may influence the entire community severly in demopolitical issues. The main problem will be that the ecology of the Linux community will go under question, having such a dramatic matter being commited by the Linux macot, Tux. Also we do not know the correct manners of penguin weddings, and other such and such problems. There may also be philosiphical problems, as her licence my conflict with that of Tux, therefiore running with a tainted kernel (??). There may also be religious conflicts with this, as Linux developers have many multiple relegions, and each may require Tux to have a special wedding. Also, the scientific problems with this matter are numeral. The questioneers need to be completely literal, at least having a phd degree in computer defenestration. My main concern is that Tux may be in love with a Microsoft girl, and this may be possible that BIll Gates, as the stupidest person on earth, intend to fool Tux.. NO Tux.

Tomas Marek 11/23/03 05:06:57 AM EST

There're several areas where Tux's growing is expected. Embeded as smartphones become more useful, home electronics (such as Hi-Fi, TV, DVD players and so on) as asian opens source consortium finishes their development and finaly the desktop mantra as soon as governments across the world adopt it. And hey, it's getting political too. Especially in Europe, where anti-M$ mood is strong enough so you can expect the european distros (SUSE, Mandrake) to grow in desktop. On the other hand, overall significant desktop adoption will not occure any time soon, if ever, for heaps of reasons. The fastest growing distro will definitely be JDS by Sun since it doesn't exist yet and has signet a deal with China to sell a half a million of copies. That's really a rocket acceleration. The most growing app varies according to a user segment. For example, it's no doubt that OOo goes with each desktop. All of them though will really need a good antispam filter. SCO doesn't matter. I don't think tux feels like mariage but I dare to guess, if he search for a friend he'll couple up with duke.

John Morris 11/23/03 04:38:52 AM EST

* Which Linux application area do you believe will grow the fastest in 2004?

If Novell/SUSE get it together fast enough, file/print servers. If NetWare installations become Linux, that is a boatload of machines.

# Will 2004 *finally* be the year when Linux makes significant in-roads on the desktop?

Linux probably won't pass Apple in '04, but I'd give even odds for '05. Given that Apple is Microsoft's official 'token opposition' this will have to be declared a 'significant' in-road to the desktop. However, unlike Apple, Linux will only see action on large install desktop enviromnents for another year or two since it still really needs a professional admin in the background. This won't change until a) we get more hardware vendor support and/or b) preloads from major vendors.

# Which distributions will show the greatest growth in 2004?

Technically Fedora, since it is rising from zero to a non-trivial installed base. But if you lump Fedora and RedHat together they will experience a net loss. Sarge will be enough for the Debian Faithful but won't generate much net gain. SUSE/Novell will be the net gainer for '04.

# What major Linux IPO or Linux acquisition will occur in 2004?

I'd give 50-50 odds Mandrakesoft gets bought. No new pure play Linux IPOs in '04.

# What will be the coolest new Linux application in 2004?

No inside info here, just a long ponder session and a wish..... Doom 3 for AMD64 Linux. ID will be releasing a Linux port and with no 64bit Windows any AMD port would have to be on Linux. I could see AMD 'encouraging' Carmack & Co to do it as a showcase for AMD64 tech. Assuming it realised a significant speedup EVERY hardcore gamer kiddie would just HAVE to have it, especially if a custom Knoppix CD were rolled with the game plus support for both Nvidia and ATI's current video boards. Meaning a major influx of new users.

# Will the SCO debacle slow Linux adoption over the next year?

Only a little. I expect the case to drag out for years.

# Will Tux finally get a girlfriend?

Tux is a logo. So he will only get a girlfriend if Linus and/or OSDL hire a PR firm and they decide it will sell.

Steven Stevens Stevenson 11/23/03 03:18:02 AM EST

* Which Linux application area do you believe will grow the fastest in 2004?

OpenOffice is doing great already, so I'll go with non-office software that is the open source equivalent of M$ software, because if people are gonna switch they need to know there's an alternative that is really good, or at least more like M$'s version.

* Will 2004 *finally* be the year when Linux makes significant in-roads on the desktop?

I sure hope so. I think there's enough geeks out there that haven't tried linux yet that will switch to give linux another few percent of global desktop OS usage. At least 2 distros this year will be user-friendly enough for even the AOLusers but will still be more secure than windoze (i.e. if file permissions are more convenient but less secure because of it).

* Which distributions will show the greatest growth in 2004?

The user-friendly ones, because if Linux is going to get big it's going to be user-friendly, like Mandrake and SuSE. I'm not a fan of Fedora but I like the APT compatibility. More and more geeks will do things like switch from Mandrake to Slack like I recently did as they get used to Linux, but more people will go from windoze to linux than will go from MDK to Slack. In other words, the supposed "hardcore" distros (Slackware Gentoo Debian) will remain in the top 8 but won't grow as much as MDK and SuSE will.

* What will be the coolest new Linux application in 2004?

Not a browser because they're pretty sweet right now, not office software because OOo is really good. I'd like to see WINE kick even more ass than it does right now. I think it'd be awesome if all distros simply had ridiculously good hardware detection, as in better than Knoppix's which could be really hard to do.

* Will the SCO debacle slow Linux adoption over the next year?

No

* Will Tux finally get a girlfriend?

Who needs a girlfriend when you could be using linux?

* Or, make your own question(s) up...
What is the best unique feature any distro has?
Although I'm lovin' slack I think apt for debian is the most powerful tool. I'm also happy that I can play almost any media file I've come across with either kaboodle or mplayer on MDK 9.1.

matt garber 11/23/03 03:10:52 AM EST

* Which Linux application area do you believe will grow the fastest in 2004?

Linux in the embedded security and multimedia sectors; i.e.: Linksys-like routers and media players like the Prismiq.

* Will 2004 *finally* be the year when Linux makes significant in-roads on the desktop?

I think that while it will gain some momentum, a true desktop "victory" will not occur for several years.

* Which distributions will show the greatest growth in 2004?

SuSE will show tremendous growth, due to
1. It now has Novell's North America respect, and is no longer just a "Linux company from Germany."
2. Linux has been blessed as Novell's real answer to the future of Netware. The Netware installation base is still so large, that it makes a huge amount of sense for Novell to upgrade their enterprise customers to SuSE/Novell Linux-based offerings.

Meanwhile, for the "hard-core" Linux users that shun RedHat, SuSE and the other full-featured distributions, Gentoo will (and currently is) taking aim at being number one. Having many good things going for it, if the IRC channel and discussion boards are of any indication, it may find itself a winner.

* What will be the coolest new Linux application in 2004?

I think that it will not so much be one app, as it will be a desktop environment; the GNOME 2.4 release in particular is making great strides in creating GPL'd applications such as GnomeMeeting, Totem Media Player and others, and helping to make the desktop feel more unified.

* Will the SCO debacle slow Linux adoption over the next year?

I think that the debate was really over before it started; when the whole thing is finished, SCO will be a nonexistent, and Linux will continue its flow into the enterprise.

* Will Tux finally get a girlfriend?

If she lives on the desktop, refer to previous question...
Or, if the *BSD daemon is a girl-in-disguise, maybe the two
can hook up and share some code... ;-)

-matt

Everybody loves ES Raymond 11/23/03 02:27:13 AM EST

I do heartily stand by my predictions, and they will most certainly come true, just like MS lost their monopoly mid-2001, and they became obsolete when PCs dropped below $350. No, you cannot borrow my crystal ball.

http://lwn.net/2000/features/ESR/
http://insight.zdnet.co.uk/software/linuxunix/0,39020472,2105202,00.htm

Peter Satera 11/22/03 11:15:57 PM EST

* Which Linux application area do you believe will grow the fastest in 2004?

Embedded Linux, on phone sets, PDAs, and other cool gadgets. Several classic RTOS vendors will openly join the Linux wagon.

* Will 2004 *finally* be the year when Linux makes significant in-roads on the desktop?

Nope. "Significant" means to me at least 10% of the world's desktop. We need at least three more years of sustained improvement, both technical and commercial, to make this happen.

Additionally, the big players like IBM and Dell, who could help shake the corporate desktop really hard, still move to much money on MS software bundles with their hardware. You don't take that away in a year. No way, it will take much longer.

* Which distributions will show the greatest growth in 2004?

Suse and Debian derivates like Libranet, Xandros, and UserLinux(?). Debian will play a key role as the magic cauldron for great desktop distributions, but it won't make it itself in the top list due to its slow release cycle.

* What will be the coolest new Linux application in 2004?

AbiShow (or whatever the name ends up being). Not because of its widespread adoption, but just because it'll be really cool, It'll be a great companion for AbiWord and Gnumeric (OO, you better what out!).

* Will the SCO debacle slow Linux adoption over the next year?

I will certainly not speed it up. And since there are always weak souls in the corporate world who will sucumb to even the prospect of a law suit, I must say yes, even if it is really minimum (which I believe will be).

* Will Tux finally get a girlfriend?

Hmm, I though Tux was a girl! But, anyway, now that gay marriages are becoming so popular, who knows, the answer might be a yes!

* Or, make your own question(s) up...
What will be the biggest disappointment for the Linux croud in 2004?

Microsoft will deliver their new Office suite and the IT world will heartly embrace it convinced it is the best tool for "secure" communication and archiving of documents. Microsoft will convince the IT world that Open Office 2.0 is *still* a diminished version of Office97.

PS.

Tobias Weisserth 11/22/03 02:52:57 PM EST

# Which Linux application area do you believe will grow the fastest in 2004?

Office Applications and Gaming Software. Linux is ripe for the desktop.

# Will 2004 *finally* be the year when Linux makes significant in-roads on the desktop?

What's "significant" supposed to mean? Haven't there been significant announcements already concerning Linux and desktop use in places like Asia or Munich, Germany?

Linux on desktops is a process and no happening. Remember, Tux has to fight decades of MS OEM tyranny.

# Which distributions will show the greatest growth in 2004?

In absolut numbers? SuSE. They will Novell as a base from which to dive into the North American market.

In relative terms? Fedora. An apt capable RPM based Red Hat, compiled for modern architectures and using up to date software is a killer distribution for power users. Debian has to brace itself.

# What major Linux IPO or Linux acquisition will occur in 2004?

I would not be surprised if Hewlett Packard is going to buy Mandrake. Mandrake did have some financial problems but they have a good knowlegde base and a great desktop product.

One of my private thoughts is that MS is probably waiting for the GPL to be ruled void by US courts so can pillage GPL software and enter the market without having to care about Open Source principles. This is not an "acquisition" but could still be one of the major happenings during the next year if US legal hell breakes loose.

# What will be the coolest new Linux application in 2004?

This is hard to answer. There are so many cool Linux applications in production. Well, how about a game for a change: Doom 3. Everybody is talking about Linux as a platform for serious work and no messing around but I think Tux has some great gaming capacities!

# Will the SCO debacle slow Linux adoption over the next year?

I don't think so. It hasn't until now, so it shouldn't in the future. Those SCO claims are as phony as the Iraqi WMD announcements by the US government.

# Will Tux finally get a girlfriend?

I think he already has and we just don't know.

cheers,
Tobias W.

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