Linux

Linux and open source prognostications for 2011

Jack Wallen dons his magical hat of the future and makes his predictions for what the year 2011 will bring to Linux and Open Source. Does he once again make the claim that it's the "year of the Linux desktop" or is there something bigger and better in store?

Happy new year to everyone! It's that time again, when every media-type with a keyboard and a sense they "know" what's coming 'round the bend starts making their predictions for the upcoming year. So naturally I thought a good follow up to my Golden Tux Awards for 2010, would be a predictions article.

So...what exactly is in store for Linux and open source in the upcoming year? Will it FINALLY be the "year of the Linux desktop"? We've been saying that for, what, three thousand years now? Let me don my Nostradamus cap and reach into the future and find out what is in store.

OpenOffice dies.  Let's all stand up and give Oracle a bitter, ironic round of applause for finally bringing down a piece of software that has stood the test of time over and over. The year 2011 will find LibreOffice taking the helm as the default office suite for Linux and open source operating systems (as well as the default alternative to MS Office on Windows systems). Once Oracle sees that no distribution is opting to stick with the suite, they will either get rid of the OpenOffice developers or shift them to other projects that will eventually be killed by the Bringer of Plague. openSUSE will die. Or at least as we know it. Attachmate is still beholden to Microsoft for helping them come up with cash to purchase Novell. MS did not do this so that Attachmate could continue developing openSUSE. So what I see is openSUSE being put to rest by Attachmate and a spin off will be created by freelance open source developers. Ubuntu Linux will make big gains. The prediction for Ubuntu is simple: Once Unity and Wayland are in place all of the PC makers (Such as Dell) will jump on board and start selling systems pre-installed. Shuttleworth has coordinated this perfectly. He knew the open source community would balk at the idea of migrating away from GNOME 3 and X Windows as the defaults, but he did it anyway. Why? This whole shift was a planned orchestration aimed specifically at PC manufacturers who have complained in the past that Linux was too hard to support because of the variations in desktop and underlying technologies necessary to make various hardware work. Now they have a very unified system that will work on all of their hardware (from netbooks, to tablets, to notebooks, to desktops, to servers). This, combined with a massive acceptance from the community at large (once they see how well the combination of Unity and Wayland work), will see a fairly significant upswing in Ubuntu installations. Red Hat will see large gains. With its only competition out of commission (thanks again to "The Plague") Red Hat Enterprise Linux will be the only kid on the enterprise playground and will see some fairly significant gains. But you can't just give complete credit to the lack of competition. Red Hat only recently released version 6 of their enterprise Linux operating system and this release will begin to gain huge traction in the coming year. Why? It's an outstanding enterprise-grade platform. And few other operating systems are as virtualization-friendly as is Red Hat. Android tablets will come strong and hit hard. That's right...they are coming. Tablets powered by Android will be everywhere in 2011. They will be the only tablets to give the iPad a run for its money. And naturally the open source community will embrace this and develop some seriously cool software for these gems. Ubuntu-based tablet will hit the shelves. This one might seem like a stretch, but it's exactly the kind of big deal Mark Shuttleworth has been focusing on for a while. And this year will finally see that Linux tablet hit the market. And by "hitting the market" I mean just that. This time the Linux machine won't require you to purchase a piece of hardware and then blow away the pre-installed OS. Someone (maybe Dell) will release a Ubuntu-powered tablet PC that will be a big hit. At first it will be only the Linux community purchasing this machine. But after a while other users will follow suit. You see, the tablet is not a device that people assume should be running Windows. This mind-set was helped along by the mobile industry. The masses assume the smaller, portable form factors are powered by operating systems that are not "standard". In fact, the masses don't really care what OS their phones or tablets run so long as they are cool, work well, and can connect to every social networking service known to man. The tablet industry will boost success for Linux. As I said above, the general public are slowly being weened from the teat of Microsoft. Thanks to mobiles and tablets, the age-old, time-tested desktop metaphor is no longer a "requirement" for a computer to succeed. Now it's an "anything goes" world which is the perfect breeding ground for Linux to sow the seeds of success. This will happen in 2011. I'm not saying it's going to be the year of the Linux Desktop. I'm saying that Linux will enjoy more success and acceptance this year than it ever has. More users, more devices, more form factors...just more and more.

Final and first thoughts

2010 was a good year for Linux, but it will pale in comparison to what 2011 will bring. This is my first open source blog for 2011 and I have to say I am already excited to see what is going to come. What do you think? Will any of my predictions come true for Linux and open source? Do you have your own predictions? Share them with your fellow readers.

About

Jack Wallen is an award-winning writer for TechRepublic and Linux.com. He’s an avid promoter of open source and the voice of The Android Expert. For more news about Jack Wallen, visit his website getjackd.net.

34 comments
Softedge
Softedge

I have just installed Ubuntu 10.10 on my wife's computer. I am absolutely new to Linux; a first time attempt at anything to do with Linux. I have one drive set up for her data and have been able to get read-write access to it from my Windows XP x64 machine. I have also been able to get access to the shared drive on her machine with my son's Macbook Pro. I have been able to set up the printer that is connected to her machine to print from the XP machine. The biggest problem I did have is with graphics drivers and setup. This is an older machine; an Acerpower SV, 3.0GHz 486 single core processor and intel 845GV onboard video. It took me two full days to get Linux to recognize the display adapter; I finally accomplished it through xorg.conf. There are many users like myself that will first attempt to try a new operating system on an old machine that is not used for mainstream work, or is not deemed as critical. Their experience with the operating system on a non-critical machine will determine their acceptance of trying the operating system on a mainstream machine. It appears, based on my experience, that Linux has it mostly right. If Wayland can improve the graphics area of Linux, the operating system will do better. I like Linux with the exposure I have had with it to date. I have my XP machine tuned for speed and ease of access (faster and cleaner than Windows 7), and find the experience on her machine similar to the XP machine. I have no IT training or education but have played around with the Windows operating system and hardware a fair amount. Regards, Softedge

laurent556
laurent556

Thanks for your predictions Jack. We are totally on the same page. However this article focuses on an economic point of view. I feel like 2011 is going to be the year for Open Source policies in public administration around the globe. As everybody knows once a governement makes a shift to Open Source, the local businesses tend to do the same. I am pretty sure this is going to happen here in Quebec in 2011. Best, Laurent

greybob
greybob

I am in the process of learning to run and upgrade Linux, so many things appear different from the various Windows Operating Systems. When I installed an antivirus I do not know where it went and I originally installed Fedora and want to convert to Ubuntu. I am using Open Office and find it very comprehensive. I know I am going to like Linux once I understand it better.

junquemail
junquemail

Prognostications for 2014: After 2011, when Linux burst out, and 2012, when MS went into offensive defense, and 2013, when they finally realized that nobody believed their offensive (in part because linux device mfrs advertised linux), MS (following the Willie "why do I rob banks? cuz that's where the money is" Sutton marketing strategy) started to manufacture Xboxes that work on linux. Additionally, MS will announce that its "cloud-based" Windows Enterprise(WE) and Windows Office Enterprise (WOE) will no longer be sold as biennial upgrades, but leased with regular updates and upgrades for as long as the lessee leases the apps. Valerie: Think it'll work? Miracle Max: It'll take a miracle.

aroc
aroc

Apple - it is having a huge impact, and is setting a new standard ala Microsoft that is a new barrier to open source acceptance. Witness the constant comparisons of iOS to Android, and the integrated hardware to ... everything else. I have been through a couple of Android phones and tablets (each type),and find them half-baked, and annoying in copying the iOS fingertip interface - hate it wherever it occurs, but it seems to be a "standard". Despite my almost exclusive desktop personal use (vs Windoze job use) of Linux, I find myself preferring Windows Mobile 6.x (not 7 - too much fingertip/social stuff) for a smartphone because I actually feel more in control of it. I do not trust Google with so much access to what I do, and Apple's walled garden is no more appealing.

don
don

A bit premature to completely dismiss SUSE Linux Enterprise and openSUSE. Contrary to your assertions, SUSE Linux is very strong, and not controlled by anti-community elements at all. And as for "virtualization-friendly", SUSE Linux is an excellent guest for any hypervisor. Which enterprise distribution shipped KVM first?

dcolbert
dcolbert

Android tablets will come strong and hit hard. That?s right?they are coming. Tablets powered by Android will be everywhere in 2011. They will be the only tablets to give the iPad a run for its money. And naturally the open source community will embrace this and develop some seriously cool software for these gems. Do you own an Android based tablet yet, Jack? I do. When I opened it up, I didn't expect much. I'll be writing about my experience, and expanding the observations to Linux in broad, sweeping generalizations, soon. :)

danindenver
danindenver

Who is The Plague? Sorry, I've only been using Ubuntu since July and I don't know all of the inside jokes. Reminds me of the 8-bit Atari days when we KNEW that our computer was the best, but Jack Tramiel seemed intent on killing it - and then he did.

Tolga BALCI
Tolga BALCI

Jack, Thank you for not inserting "2011 will be the year of Linux." Tolga

bbarnes
bbarnes

I'm using Ubuntu 10.10 at home with VLC as a media player and Chrome as my browser. The O/S boots in just a few seconds from a solid-state drive. I don't have to maintain antivirus, check and defrag my computer and do software updates. Ubuntu takes care of all my needs for a home computer. I am ready to recommend it to someone who barely knows how to use a computer because it's so simple and quick.

cbader
cbader

I voted moderate success strictly because of Android. Linux and open source as a whole wont change much otherwise.

jkameleon
jkameleon

I've been using Windows for a living since the 1990s. Currently, I'm making the 1st steps towards Ubuntu & Linux in my spare time. I'm finding the lack of developer tools, which could compete with C# & VS a bit frustrating at the moment. IMHO C# is an excellent language. It's standardized by ECMA, which means less potential legal problems than with Java- unless I'm missing something, which is quite possible, of course. As such, it should be more widely adopted in Linux world, I think. Other stuff, like Phyton, Ruby, and so on... I don't know. I guess I'll just use the ol' C++. Anjuta or maybe Code::Blocks, haven't tested the latter yet.

CodeCurmudgeon
CodeCurmudgeon

I expect a lot of budget cutting Governors to mandate the use of Open Source where ever possible. I work for a rather small state (4 congressional districts) and we have cut our budget by about a billion dollars a year since 2008. Now, we are facing another half-billion dollar deficit, and there isn't much left to cut short of doing away with entire programs, so I expect licensing fees to Microsoft and Oracle will come into their cross-hairs.

CharlieSpencer
CharlieSpencer

is the assumption that MS clients will accept cloud-based operating systems and apps for the average desktop user. At the enterprise level, MS operating systems and apps pretty much are already leased, or at least renegotiated annually.

apotheon
apotheon

There's only one small problem with your predictions: They assume that the "leadership" will suddenly abandon three decades of anticompetitive, sociopathic market hostility to do something reasonable, intelligent, and forward-looking for a change. I'm not buying it, at least not so quickly. Three years isn't very long.

Justin James
Justin James

If I were a Linux advocate, the last thing I'd be doing is pointing to Android and saying, "hey, that's Linux!" Android is the ONLY mainstream OS available where consumer-level users need to inspect their running processes on a regular basis and nuke them from orbit. Android is the ONLY mainstream OS available where applications seem to interfere with base OS functionality on an extremely frequent basis. And Android is the ONLY mainstream OS where less than 6 months of use cause enough "bit rot" to demand a full repave of the OS. J.Ja

apotheon
apotheon

> I'll be writing about my experience, and expanding the observations to Linux in broad, sweeping generalizations, soon. Why not try a responsible approach to writing about something, where you do not treat your personal experience with a single use-case of a single example under the influence of whatever you're using as though it were Universal Natural Law? Are you just so hung up on the excitement of controversy that actually meaningful analysis and discussion do not interest you?

aroc
aroc

If you consider the paragraph as a whole, it should be obvious it is ALL about Oracle: ... give Oracle a bitter, ironic round of applause for finally bringing down a piece of software ... . Once Oracle sees that no distribution is opting to stick with the suite, they will either get rid of the OpenOffice developers or shift them to other projects that will eventually be killed by the Bringer of Plague.

jlwallen
jlwallen

Oracle. For all they have done to destroy everything open source.

CharlieSpencer
CharlieSpencer

I don't get the reference either. If Jack has used it before, I've missed it.

CodeCurmudgeon
CodeCurmudgeon

I've been using Ubuntu since 6.06 Dapper Drake, and while back then there were odds and ends that would keep me from recommending it to naive users, since 10.04 I've been recommending it to friends as an alternative to rebuilding their Windows systems, and 10.10 is even slicker.

emaname
emaname

With all the big migrations to Linux happening in the world, I find it hard to imagine that there aren't a bunch of companies preparing for or considering a migration to Linux as well. Add to that the NYSE and the LSE have moved and are moving to Linux with the LSE turning in record transaction times. Additionally, there are more and more reports of cost savings re TCO. And since the world is going to be in a financial funk for at least another 2 yrs and if I were a CEO/CIO/COO/CFO, I'd be doing some research. There must be something to this GNU/Linux/OSS thing. Oh yeah, and RedHat is continuing to turn in great earnings despite the lousy financial environment. BTW Jack, I have to agree with you re OpenOffice, but I think openSUSE will break free (no pun intended). It might take on a different name, but it'll continue. (Isn't the name protected by the GPL, too?) I see FLOSS as the Roadrunner and Wiley E. Coyote (or MS, Attachmate, Oracle) is always plotting against him. But the Roadrunner is too fast and too clever. My guess is that the openSUSE folks have been planning their long-term strategy well before the Attachmate action happened. BTW, I have to give some props to Dr. Roy Schestowitz. As much as some people disagree with his style, he stood against Novell all the way.

apotheon
apotheon

On my own Android device, I have seen none of the problems you identify -- none of them. That's not to say I'm really happy with it. I'm endlessly annoyed that this is the closest thing to an "open" platform on smartphones that I could reasonably use on any kind of budget. The Nokia N900 looks pretty good, but it's difficult to justify buying one when I already have a smartphone and got a two year contract as part of the deal, especially since the N900 is rapidly becoming obsolete. Yes, this pisses me off to no end, because in practice it's not particularly more open for the typical end user than the iPhone or WinMobile devices. It starts getting a little better, in terms of "openness", for developers -- but unless you actually start putting stuff in the Android Marketplace, even that isn't much of an advantage. The major benefit for developers who aren't trying to target deployment to the Android platform as a business model is that it doesn't cost a crapton of money for people (themselves included) to write and install arbitrary software on their devices. On a scale of 1-10, the Apple and Microsoft offerings have openness ratings in the neighborhood of about 1.9 or 2.0, but in practice Android only edges up to about 2.2, and I have to ask: Who gives a crap? You're right. Android should not be regarded as the poster boy for open source software on smartphones. This is not only because it's kind of disappointing as a user experience (as are almost all other smartphones on the market), but also because it's not nearly as open a platform as it should be. . . . but I really have not encountered the problems you identify. Weird.

dcolbert
dcolbert

I think that Android is the delivery of meaningful use for the average consumer built upon the Linux platform. And I think it is our future. It *is* the Year of Linux. And, it is also meet the new boss, same as the old boss. Which means everything you FOSSites promised us... was a lie. You'll deny it, you'll say it was perverted, but when you get right down to it... Meaningful consumer saturation of Linux based platforms is not significantly different for the end user experience than what came before it. Corporations still control our experience and limit our choices. Open Source or Closed Source - for the average user, the end user experience is still the same dictated course. So... your ideals fail. And fail bigger for promising more yet delivering virtually the same. Linux, that is, Android - works for me, because I'm technical enough to hack the guts of it and use it beyond what the manufacturers and distributors will willingly open to me. At the same time, they're not going out of their way to stop me from doing this. That is the most liberty I can hope or ask for. It is the same liberty Microsoft granted me through the 80s or 90s - a liberty I built a successful career in IT upon. It is at odds with the real enemy - which is the Apple model, which has, since 1984, tried to limit my liberty and tried to require specialization in order to be truly technically competent in the products they offer. Linux and Windows are more alike than they are different.

Sepius
Sepius

Yeah, seemed a bit obvious to me as well. Also being a regular Jack reader, I have noticed his discomfort to Oracle. This is not so much an inside Linux reference, but I would call it a Jack reference, especially if you read some of his past articles on Oracle. And Jack is right, Oracle just don't get open source and manage to mess it up without even an apology.

jlwallen
jlwallen

it was a new one. i'm in the middle of writing a sequel to my zombie novel, so plague was on my mind. ;-)

apotheon
apotheon

> Isn't the name protected by the GPL, too? No. Names are "protected" by trademark, not copyright -- and the GPL is a copyright license.

apotheon
apotheon

If the example of the general class of people with whom you are conversing directly contradicts your generalization in almost every detail, it's a pretty good bet your generalization is very, very broken. . . . but I generalize. > My fault for using the rhetorical "you" when I meant, "the people who are most LIKE you". The people who are most like me look essentially nothing like the caricature you have painted.

dcolbert
dcolbert

I'm generalizing. I hardly ever talk to you directly. The YOU I am talking to is the average opinion and philosophical position of the "*nix/FOSS community". That clarification makes the entire point-by-point response above off the mark. You responded personally to something I intended to be directed at a larger community. My fault for using the rhetorical "you" when I meant, "the people who are most LIKE you".

Justin James
Justin James

"Android doesn't work so well for me. It works better than its three biggest competitors, but that's not saying much. I guess I have more demanding technical requirements than you." My mother has a tough technical requirement... she expects that when a call comes in and she gives the "answer call" gesture, that the phone pick up... but her Droid 1 is so slow, it doesn't do that. I have a technical requirement that when I lock my phone, it actually stays locked... but my Droid 1 likes to break out of lock mode, because the clock app *insists* on coming up at inappropriate times. I've figured out what's wrong with Android: it's the multitasking, plain and simple. Not that multitasking, as a concept, is horrible. But the multitasking on Android is a disaster. Because applications are free to interfere with and override basic phone functionality, and because they stay in memory for an eternity (sucking up limited resources in the process), it is entirely possible for an app that you've run once since the phone was started to interfere with the day-to-day functionality of the phone. Nearly every problem I've seen on the Android phones that have issues can be traced back to one critical issue: a poor sandbox model that gives apps WAY too much influence over the OS. Funny enough, Linux itself wouldn't allow this, at least not as I understand Linux... it's like every Android app is running as root. Combine this critical flaw with the "never exit" of Android apps, and you have a recipe for disaster. It used to be called Windows 3.1, because for all intents and purposes, Android is running at that level of app/OS separation and security. J.Ja

apotheon
apotheon

> Which means everything you FOSSites promised us... was a lie. You'll deny it, you'll say it was perverted, but when you get right down to it... 1. It's not free and open source software, really. 2. It's still more open than the iPhone and Win Mobile platforms. 3. I never promised you a rose garden. This is not the "you" you're looking for. These are not the droids . . . > Corporations still control our experience and limit our choices. Well, duh. Public corporations are a gigantic all-consuming viral blemish (i.e. wart) on the arse of our socioeconomic environment. They corrupt everything they touch. On the other hand, I kinda look forward to the creeping of open source software into corporate American offering some small mitigation of those effects over time, in particular areas of our lives. I also look forward to the potential for increased corporate reliance on open source software to eventually offer greater protection from spurious legal BS for open source software in general, thus allowing the non-corporate open source software world to flourish more freely. Hope springs eternal, even when the very term "hope" is corrupted by Chicago politicians. > So... your ideals fail. My ideals do not fail. FreeBSD is everything I ever claimed it would be, and my ideals are well served by it. The fact you're assigning some ideals to me that are not in fact mine doesn't change that fact. My ideal is not "open source software will crush corporatism next week and make the world a wonderful place free of war, poverty, and unwanted pregnancy", no matter how much you pretend that is my ideal. > Linux, that is, Android - works for me, because I'm technical enough to hack the guts of it and use it beyond what the manufacturers and distributors will willingly open to me. Android doesn't work so well for me. It works better than its three biggest competitors, but that's not saying much. I guess I have more demanding technical requirements than you. On the other hand, this has nothing to do with whether my ideals have "failed", and I don't know why you insist on pretending it does have anything to do with that. > Linux and Windows are more alike than they are different. Not really. Android may be built on Linux techno- . . . Oh, wait. Let me rephrase. Yeah, I guess they are, in some ways. Copyfree alternatives, however, are substantially different from the Stallman model's poster child.

apotheon
apotheon

Oracle has a sociopathic hostility to anything that might possibly succeed within a thousand mile radius of anything that interests the company, including open source software. That hostility drives it to destroy. There's no reason to apologize when your goals are annihilation.

apotheon
apotheon

The article said . . . > Red Hat will see large gains. With its only competition out of commission (thanks again to "The Plague") Red Hat Enterprise Linux will be the only kid on the enterprise playground and will see some fairly significant gains. That usage of "The Plague" was a bit more confusing and less clear. This may be what throws some people off, and makes them question whether "The Plague" is really Oracle.

emaname
emaname

I should have realized that. I wasn't thinking when I asked the question. I appreciate the clarification. Thx apotheon.