Linux Foundation Looks to 2009


As we begin to close the books on 2008 and look into the proverbial crystal ball for open source in the new year, I thought the Linux Foundation was a logical place to start. So I asked LF Marketing and Developer Programs VP Amanda McPherson what her top five open source predictions would be.


First on McPherson's list are netbooks and other mobile Internet devices, or MIDs. The stripped-down PCs are increasingly popular among users for whom anytime, anywhere connectivity is more important than processor speed or graphics capability. She says simply:

1. Linux will continue to expand in netbooks and mobile Internet devices. Look to Intel's Moblin project to push the envelope in these areas. I would expect that in a few years, Moblin and Intel's Atom chip will play the role of a standard platform for netbooks, MIDs, and more.
Her second prediction doesn't appear to have much to do with open source, unless you consider Microsoft's previous position as the arch enemy to all things open source:
2. Microsoft fights back and tries to make everyone forget the word "Vista" has anything to do with "Windows." While Windows 7 will be improved Vista, it will struggle to make the transition to netbooks or MIDs.
Next, McPherson resurrects an "old standard" when it comes to open source New Year's prognostication. And considering what we've seen recently from IBM and Ubuntu, she is probably right.
3. Corporate use of Linux on the desktop will make strides in '09. Look to IBM's Collaboration Client (virtualized Linux on the desktop bundled with open source productivity apps) to win some large-scale deals. Vista has made corporate America think twice. The new world of online apps is also contributing to this trend.
Finally, McPherson addresses fast boot and embedded Linux. The last two items on her list:
4. Fast boot will become a household name. Linux is powering 30-second fast-boot access to basic functions like e-mail and the Web browsers on machines from HP, Dell, Lenovo, Asus and other PC makers. Watch for DeviceVM to provide this instant-on technology and become the linchpin for a consumer market that wants everything at their fingertips.
5. The embedded and mobile worlds will continue to consolidate on Linux while proprietary embedded OSes struggle to remain relevant. Consumer devices like LCD TVs, GPS units, DVRs and more will expand their use of Linux, and Android phones will start popping up everywhere.
As always, only time will tell what will actually happen, but in the meantime, it will be interesting to watch these. Stay tuned for more open source predictions in the days to come.