At the beginning of a bright, shiny new year, a lot of things seem possible — or at least worth imagining. Jack Wallen shares a few fantasy headlines.
I don't want to begin by spouting off that 2010 is going to be the year of Linux or the year of open source. We (the open source community) have been saying that for far too long for anyone to even bother taking the statement seriously. Instead, I thought I would create some interesting open source headlines I would love to see in the coming year.
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1: Linus Torvalds hired by Microsoft
Yes, that's right. I'd love to see the creator of Linux hired by Microsoft to lead a serious Linux initiative at the Redmond headquarters. Instead, what we see is an ad on the Microsoft job board for Linux and Open Office Competition leader. This means Microsoft is trying to find someone who will help rally the troops against Linux. Wrong direction, Microsoft! This is a new decade; let's all play together. Suck it up, hire Linus, and move on.
2: Open source helps newspapers salvage their future
Let's face it. Newspapers (and magazines) are in serious jeopardy of going the way of the Dodo. Most newspapers can't handle economic downturns and continue to grow. So this headline would be sure to please. How? Newspapers shift their Web sites to LAMP servers and their desktops to a Linux-based operating system. After that would come a deluge of print servers and more. It would be a win-win situation. Not only would open source gain a boost, but newspapers would live to write another headline.
3: Linux Standards Base settles on a standard everyone agrees upon
This has been an issue since June 2001, and it's still on-going. The LSB was formed to create a single standard that Linux distributions could follow. So far, it hasn't made much headway. But how can you, when Linux distributions are so different? Maybe if such a headline were to appear, the Linux operating system could finally overcome a huge hurdle for mass acceptance: standardization.
4: Users clamor to get GNOME 3 on their desktops
Could GNOME 3 do what KDE 4.0 failed to do and reinvent the desktop in such a way that everyone would actually desire it? I'm thinking of something similar to what Steve Jobs and Apple did with OS X. From what I've seen, the worst-case scenario is that GNOME 3 doesn't suck as much as KDE 4.0 did. But I think GNOME 3 will be far more successful than that. GNOME 3 looks to reinvent the desktop metaphor, making the desktop even easier for the end user. Let's hope those are not simply best laid plans.
5: Forking saves MySQL from possible death
I recently wrote about the Oracle purchase of Sun and how it will affect MySQL. Although I want to be positive about this upcoming relationship, I worry that the open source community, as a whole, will not follow in my footsteps. And that is fine. If a preemptive fork is the only thing that quells the fires, then so be it. And if it forks, and Oracle kills MySQL (like it nearly tried to do with BDB), even more power to the open source community for its foresight.
6: Android usurps iPhone as mobile OS of choice
I do hope Android can accomplish this seemingly impossible feat. Whacking the ever-smug grin off Apple's face would not only do a world of good for the open source community (what a win!), it would also do a great deal for competition. As you can imagine, if Android managed the impossible, Apple could come back out onto the mat swinging for blood. Who knows what innovation Steve Jobs would wring out of his underlings?
7: Linux proven most secure operating system
Another smug grin whacked from another corporate face would be mother's milk to an open source community waiting for the grand "I told ya so!" The only problem so far has been who to believe. Can you trust studies done by companies that profit from said study leaning one way or another? No. As well, no one has ever really come up with the perfect means for testing such a concept. But somehow, someone will do this and the end results will either wind up a serious Jobs Paralax (see #6) or send the open source community back to one major drawing board. Fortunately, it would only take the right development team an all-nighter (and a few cases of Mountain Dew) to hack out a brand new security layer.
8: Steve Balmer caught using Linux on his home computer
Imagine. Just sit back and imagine the sweaty pits of Balmer as his arms are raised in a surrender to beat all surrenders (in the computing world, that is). How would Microsoft spin this beauty? The follow-up headline might be something like "Steve Balmer, ninja coder, discovers the secret to Linux' security and reliability; plans to implement it in Windows 8."
9: Red Hat purchases SuSE from Novell, becomes largest distributor of Linux
There really is only one reason why the open source community would want this — to ensure that Novell could never put Linux and Microsoft into the same bed. Although the flames of this war have pretty much died, there will always be a bit of ire toward Novell for even thinking the unthinkable. But this marriage would do more than that. Since SuSE and Red Hat use similar package managers (and hence the marriage could possibly work), imagine the powerhouse that would be created by such a merger! The enterprise (from the Linux point of view) would never be the same.
10: Big box stores flooded with Linux desktops and laptops
Every time I go to a big box store, I look for a Linux machine. Over the last couple of years, at least, I could get by with seeing a netbook or two. But there is no one thing that would bolster the success of Linux on the desktop as much as being sold in big box stores. Nothing. Period. If but one company had the foresight to take on this challenge, the open source community would put its complete support behind it. Imagine geeks across the land standing in line to be one of the first to purchase a desktop or laptop running Linux from one of "those" stores. The company that makes such a move will have a friend for life.
There ya go — 10 headlines I think many of us in the open source community would love to see. What do you think? Could any of these happen? Should any of these happen? What open source headlines would you like to see in 2010?
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