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2001, 2002, 2003... A Collection of Year Behind/Year Ahead Opinion

Jan 04, 2002, 03:33 (4 Talkback[s])

Predictions, retrospectives, and, still with us in 2002, desktop opinionating. A collection of links:

The Desktop:

  • LinuxWorld.com:'Is Linux ready for Joe Sixpack?' asks wrong question by Joe Barr
    "I have a problem with the question "Is Linux ready for the desktop?" It's become the basis for many fierce debates, both within and without the open source/free software communities. Often accepted as an article of faith amongst the debaters is the requirement that the mythical "Joe Sixpack" be comfortable using Linux in order to warrant an affirmative. I say hogwash to both. The question is bogus. The article of faith is lame. Forget Joe Sixpack. The only question you need to ponder is the one over which you have some control: Are you ready for Linux on your desktop(s)?

    Think about it. Who is this Joe Sixpack, and what gives him such magical powers? Why is it that when -- or if -- GNU/Linux is suitable for his desktop it will be for everyone's desktop? Are you personally linked at the hip to Mr. Sixpack in such a way that you follow his choice in desktops without question? Sort of silly, isn't it.

    The real war is over Linux on your desktop. It is a war of attrition, not a cataclysmic Armageddon. Every day more users are finding a Linux desktop -- whether Red Hat, Debian, or whatever -- to their liking. Not because Joe Sixpack likes it, but because it offers more performance, stability, and security for the money. It does the job. It works. True, the Linux successes in the real war come by the ones or twos. They have been overshadowed by the phenomenal rise of popularity of Linux in the server space. But they are happening."

  • Is it time for Linux on the desktop? by Matthew Broersma
    "Another year has gone by--an eternity in software-development terms--and it's time once again for PC users to ask themselves: Is Linux ready for the desktop?

    A few recent factors may set off this line of thinking, including the hostile reaction to restrictive new software licence terms from Microsoft and new developments in the Linux world. But experts say there are a number of factors aside from the quality of the software itself that can affect the practicality of making the switch.

    For the past few years, Linux has been riding a wave of hype that originated in the middle of the dot-com boom, and had to do with the surprisingly quick penetration of the open-source operating system into the Web server market. The hype has disappeared, and taken many open-source start-ups along with it, but Linux evangelists say the case for the operating system is stronger than ever. "Everybody has been saying that Linux is over because the dot-com boom is over. But Linux predates the dot-com hype," said Jacques le Marois, president of French Linux distributor MandrakeSoft."

Predictions:

  • Linux Looks Ahead to 2002 by Todd R. Weiss
    "It was a big year for Linux in 2001, from IBM's $1 billion commitment to the introduction of the latest feature-laden kernel updates.

    At vendor Red Hat, 2001 saw the introduction of new Linux applications including an e-commerce suite, a database, and operating system versions for the IBM S/390 mainframe and Intel Itanium processors.

    For SuSE Linux, it was a year for further refinement of its operating system offering and the release of its own new versions for the S/390 and Itanium.

    So what's in store from Red Hat and SuSE, the two major Linux distribution vendors, in 2002?"

  • LinuxWorld.com: 10 Linux predictions for 2002 by Joe Barr
    "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."

  • NewsForge: Linux in 2003 by Robin Miller
    "No, that's not a typo. I know 2002 is the year that's going to start right after midnight, December 31. But 2003 is the year Microsoft is going to stop full support for Windows 98 and NT, and generally slow down patch and bugfix activity for all pre-XP Windows versions. In 2003 an awful lot of Windows users are going to be faced with the choice of either buying new hardware that will run XP or moving away from Windows. And at least some of these people (and companies) are going to look at Linux as an alternative.

    To begin with, they're almost certainly going to see easier installations and more hardware drivers. Commercial Linux distribution publishers are racing to see who can come up with the simplest and most complete GUI-based install utilities. So far, the winner is ... users.

    Advances in Linux installation ease over the past two or three years have been nothing short of fantastic. Those who complain about too much diversity in Linux, and wish there was only one "main" Linux distribution and one Linux desktop GUI choice -- a la Windows -- overlook the benefits of competition. This competition has driven, and is still driving, the rapid pace of Linux usability improvement."

Retrospective:

  • OpenForBusiness: Looking back at Open Source in 2001 by 'Tim'.
    "Looking back over the past year, I think most people would have to agree it has been a ground breaking time for open source. While it is true that open source companies suffered just like the rest of the tech sector from poor economic conditions, those same conditions have also made open source appear even more attractive.

    Before I delve more into the economic aspects that have affected the open source industry, lets take a look at some other major events that happened in the past year. It all started with a bang when the long awaited Linux 2.4 was released January 4, bringing in many notable improvements, not the least of which was built-in USB support.

    Within just about a month, we also saw the release of KDE 2.1, which finally brought the open source desktop up-to-par with its non-open counterparts. KDE 2.1 was what KDE 2.0 should have been, adding a good helping of polish and better flexiblity, not to mention great looking anti-aliased fonts. The rest of the year was also kind to KDE, which gained even more great features in KDE 2.2.x, and now is hurdling toward KDE 3.0."