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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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