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What Will Linux Be Capable Of, 3 Years Down the Road?

timothy posted about 6 years ago | from the synthesizing-new-species-on-other-planets dept.

GUI 679

An anonymous reader writes "In a prediction of the open-source future, InfoWeek speculates on What Linux Will Look Like In 2012. The most outlandish scenario foresees Linux forsaking its free usage model to embrace more paid distros where you get free Linux along with (much-needed) licenses to use patent-restricted codecs. Also predicted is an advance for the desktop based on — surprise — good acceptance for KDE 4. Finally, Linux is seen as making its biggest imprint not on the PC, but on mobile devices, eventually powering 40 million smartphones and netbooks. Do you agree? And what do you see for Linux in 4 years?"

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Think Antarctica (5, Funny)

Facetious (710885) | about 6 years ago | (#24606691)

I'll go out on a limb here and guess that Linux will still look like a penguin.

Re:Think Antarctica (5, Funny)

jgarra23 (1109651) | about 6 years ago | (#24607259)

Four years from now will be the year of Linux on the desktop!!

Linux on the desktop (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#24606699)

1998 Nope

2000 Nope

2002 Nope

2004 Nope

2006 Nope

2008 Nope

2011 YESSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSS!

Re:Linux on the desktop (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#24607385)

Indeed. This is the most duped story on Slashdot. All you have to do is change the year, list the most current desktop environment, and click submit. Here is the declaration:

int swndupe(wchar_t* str, size_t size, UINT year, wchar_t* desktop);

You can use dupe() for stdout.

dupe(1998,"GNUStep"); [slashdot.org]

GNUStep becomes Screenshot-worthy, 09 August 1998

Check out this first screenshot of a GNUStep desktop! The GNUStep project seems to be moving ahead steadily, and it may become a major contender in the desktop wars.

Feel free to find you own!

Oh, I know! (0, Troll)

RockMFR (1022315) | about 6 years ago | (#24606703)

Something like this: 1010111010000010 1010111101011010 0101101010110100 1101111001010101 0001101111010101 1010110101001001

KDE4 (5, Insightful)

Random BedHead Ed (602081) | about 6 years ago | (#24606733)

based on â" surprise â" good acceptance for KDE 4.

Definitely agree there. KDE4 is going to dramatically improve very quickly. They've made a huge development investment in the underlying libraries, and that will come to fruition this year (and already has somewhat with KDE 4.1). My impression is that it's going to get better. Couple that with a maturing X.org, and you have the makings of a beautiful desktop.

Re:KDE4 (5, Insightful)

V!NCENT (1105021) | about 6 years ago | (#24606923)

Instead of thinking about a beautiful desktop, let's think about a more usable desktop. The underlying base makes it possible and very easy to do everything you want to do with it in virtually no time at all. I have seen eye candy enough... it's time for some serious evolution.

Speaking of evolution: X.org touchscreen support? There already YouTube videos of people gaming on Linux with touchscreens!

Re:KDE4 (1)

Jugalator (259273) | about 6 years ago | (#24606947)

I thought KDE 4 evolved over KDE 3 in usability quite a bit? I mean, it's not just about a new chrome.

Re:KDE4 (1)

V!NCENT (1105021) | about 6 years ago | (#24607049)

Yes it did, and I am using KDE4 myself, but from _now_ on, looking three years ahead, I'd rather like to see more evolution in KDE4 than eye candy.

Re:KDE4 (4, Interesting)

Eli Gottlieb (917758) | about 6 years ago | (#24607381)

I think we're going to see that Plasma/Plasmoids are the genius invention that will propel innovation. They will do for the desktop what Compiz/Beryl/Compiz-Fusion plugins have done for the window manager: let loads of programmers make up innovative or simply good-looking things they can do.

This, of course, will lead to a boom that will result in a few really good Plasmoids that will draw in additional effort and lots of crappy ones. But I think by 2012 everyone will look back and wonder how they once got along back when XYZ had to be a whole custom application written in C instead of a Plasmoid or Plasmoid containment written in C/C++, Python, Ruby, or any other language with KDE4 bindings.

GNOME will have at least started moving in such a direction, but will have more restrictions to make sure the system stays easy to use.

Re:KDE4 (4, Informative)

Iwanowitch (993961) | about 6 years ago | (#24607431)

Definitely. I have attended part of a talk on Akademy about Human-Computer Interaction, and there are massive improvements made in usability. IIRC, for 2 years now, we've had summer of usability students looking at KDE to see where it can be improved. A series of usability guidelines was developed, along with the codebase to make it easier for developers to keep to them.
These are the things that don't get much attention, but really, KDE4 is constantly evaluated in terms of usability.

Re:KDE4 (0, Flamebait)

Usquebaugh (230216) | about 6 years ago | (#24607205)

About 5 years to late.

My guess is that the ZUI is going to take over. If you look at the display tech just waiting to be used and the processing power available then there is no reason that for a distinction to be made between disk and memory e.g. running or stored.

So all my documents will be open and ready to be read/edited.

Jeff Raskin left a good demo of a ZUI.
Alan Kay showed what a 3d environment could be like with Croquet.
Johnny Lee showed what could be done with accurate head tracking.

Combine those with a machine that understands a single address space and you'll have a machine that will blow away any ideas that a gui is the final answer.

Alternatively we can spend our time building a UI that was super ceded 10+ years ago and implement it using resource sapping design. Then declare it a success and pat ourselves on the back.

If you must have a gui look what the XFCE team have done with maybe two orders of magnitude less resource available to them.

Gnome/KDE are failing as surely as the USSR did.

Compiz FTW (5, Insightful)

ObsessiveMathsFreak (773371) | about 6 years ago | (#24607219)

Base window manager is irrelevant. Users don't care whether it's KDE or Gnome. Behold the Cube! Behold the wobbly windows. Behold the 3D tiling! Behold I say! [compiz.org]

Show potential Linux users a demo of that floating cube, and you will ship millions of Linux boxes. I have observed this effect, first hand [slashdot.org] . If you've got a business selling Linux boxes and you don't have such a demo set up in shop, you are wasting your time. You think OSX got where it is because of its Kernel features?

2012? (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#24606735)

So... that's The Year Of Linux On The Desktop?

Re:2012? (1)

santiago (42242) | about 6 years ago | (#24607017)

This time for sure, Rocky!

Re:2012? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#24607039)

Yeah, as soon as they get it to just work(tm)! WaHAHAHAHAHA!

I know! (-1, Troll)

m1ndpixel (1344949) | about 6 years ago | (#24606745)

Installing software

Hopefully it'll be huge (0)

sean22190 (1076889) | about 6 years ago | (#24606747)

I should be graduating in 2012 with a degree in Computer Science and Engineering, so hopefully I'd be able to get a job working with Linux.

Re:Hopefully it'll be huge (4, Informative)

Eli Gottlieb (917758) | about 6 years ago | (#24607139)

It doesn't have to be huge. Take it from a guy a year older than you: learn Linux programming, learn it well. Get an internship with it in college. This makes your resume better than that of the college-educated code monkeys CS departments turn out nowadays who've never used anything but Java on Windows.

No Microsoft (4, Insightful)

V!NCENT (1105021) | about 6 years ago | (#24606761)

No it's not predictable. I am not (well at least not trying to be) flamebaiting and/or trolling but given this is Linux we are talking about FLOSS and innovation, so we can't possible know.

Innovation wouldn't be innovation if we allready knew what is going to happen in three years, now would it?

Re:No Microsoft (3, Insightful)

bigstrat2003 (1058574) | about 6 years ago | (#24606895)

we are talking about FLOSS and innovation

Technically, no we aren't. We're talking about where Linux will be in 3 years, and "in the same spot it is now" is a valid, though unlikely, possibility. Besides, a rather likely scenario is that there won't be any major innovations, but things will continue to evolve bit by bit, just like they are now. Innovation is rare.

Re:No Microsoft (1)

V!NCENT (1105021) | about 6 years ago | (#24606955)

Didn't people say that three years before the emulation 'hype'?

Re:No Microsoft (1)

V!NCENT (1105021) | about 6 years ago | (#24606987)

Shamefully replaying back to myself: I meant virtualisation.

maybe it'll be like ms word? (4, Funny)

Skadet (528657) | about 6 years ago | (#24606765)

Will it be capable of, correcting grammar?

Re:maybe it'll be like ms word? (1)

99BottlesOfBeerInMyF (813746) | about 6 years ago | (#24607003)

maybe it'll be like ms word? Will it be capable of, correcting grammar?

Sadly, it looks like KParts is the closest Linux has come to adding functionality to multiple apps. With OS X, Apple implemented system services, so adding grammar checking in 10.5 for all apps was just adding one service and it works nearly everywhere (including this text box I'm typing in). With KParts, the best they can do is add a standard grammar checking library and hope developers building apps for KDE will incorporate it in the next version of that app. I'm uncertain if user training of grammar checking from within one application will be able to easily make a difference in other applications as well (the way it does in OS X).

Re:maybe it'll be like ms word? (4, Insightful)

Eli Gottlieb (917758) | about 6 years ago | (#24607123)

D-BUS: have you heard of it?

OK, I'll stop the sarcasm and just state the facts. D-Bus is now used by both GNOME and KDE. It can also be installed for any customized DE a user creates. The future for Linux looks like the past, but more so: some distros will go for ease-of-use without customization and others will go for customization over ease-of-use, while the whole system gets more and more modular and scripted.

Re:maybe it'll be like ms word? (1)

FishWithAHammer (957772) | about 6 years ago | (#24607411)

The problem with DBus is that it kind of sucks at present. It's extremely difficult to learn and use and it's limited by the biggest fault in pretty much all IPC: not everything groks the same language, so you have translation shims and weird serialization and other ad-hockery (I'm referring to passing objects over it, of course, not just standard messages--but if you think standard messages are enough, you're fucking cracked).

There's no documentation worth mentioning (no, the halfassed tutorial made by the original dev and splattered all over the web isn't worth the electricity it takes to display it) and the response you get from most people is "the code is the documentation." The code is not the documentation and is never the documentation. Shit like that is why potentially good stuff like DBus doesn't get a lot of coverage.

It also isn't anything like OS X's system services, unless you wanted to build some monster on top of it.

Re:maybe it'll be like ms word? (1)

99BottlesOfBeerInMyF (813746) | about 6 years ago | (#24607427)

D-BUS: have you heard of it?

Nope.

D-Bus is now used by both GNOME and KDE. It can also be installed for any customized DE a user creates.

How informative. You don't mention what it is or what programs make use of it or what it's capabilities are. Luckily, I'm a fast reader so I just read two articles on it.

As near as I can tell it is theoretically possible for someone to write a grammar checking service and connect it to other applications via D-Bus. In order for it to work, the authors of those programs will have to explicitly add D-Bus support. Further, it seems the authors of those programs will have to explicitly create UI elements that will allow the user of the program to pull up the grammar checking application from within their program or write their own UI for using the functionality within their program.

Does all of that gibe with your understanding of the technology?

From my cursory look it seems that users will not be able to simply add a grammar checker start Kate and have grammar checking immediately be usable from within Kate the way a user can simply drop a grammar checker within a /Services directory and start TextEdit and have it immediately usable.

some distros will go for ease-of-use without customization and others will go for customization over ease-of-use, while the whole system gets more and more modular and scripted.

I believe that is a false dichotomy. Adding customizability can increase ease of use when done correctly. Adding the ability to add system services in OS X makes applications more customizable, but does not make them any harder to use.

OpenOffice extension (1)

DrYak (748999) | about 6 years ago | (#24607201)

Language Tool [languagetool.org] is an OpenOffice extension which is already able to do (on demand) grammar corrections.

Sadly, for now, it's only a Java module which only works for OpenOffice.

With luck, maybe it will evolve into something with a more standard interface like the various *-spell libraries used all-over Linux application.
Or maybe it'll end up in the core components of some of the environment (Kpart, Gnome plugins, etc.)

So that such service can easily be made available to any software which requires corrections, and can easily be implemented in "on the fly" mode too.

mostly dead (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#24606767)

most of the developers will have died since, you know, the fags get aids and don't live long.

Re:mostly dead (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#24607287)

Save it for the Apple articles, buddy. Virgins don't have to worry about AIDS.

All I ask... (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#24606769)

...is that it keeps the Jews in line. WINE, CEDEGA, JEWBUNTU, whatever. Just keep those hook-nosed kikes off my lawn and everything will be fine.

And if you can keep the coons in line, that would be awesome as well.

Drivers (2, Insightful)

Mooga (789849) | about 6 years ago | (#24606773)

I hope there is better driver suport. Getting *nix to work with graphics cards and NICs is too much of a pain for average users (and even skilled users).

Re:Drivers (0)

Cocoa Radix (983980) | about 6 years ago | (#24606897)

Agreed. A non-savvy computer user will, ultimately, be happier dropping $300 on Windows than going through the crippling agony of getting *nix set up exactly how he'd like it to be.

Re:Drivers (3, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#24606971)

Network adaptors are one of the best supported classes of hardware in Linux. Most hardware vendors have their own drivers in the tree. What, exactly, is the problem with support for network cards?

I've also never seen much of a problem with video drivers. Intel help maintain the X.org driver, nVidia produce their own driver and AMD are doing syncronised Windows/Linux driver releases. What video do you have that isn't supported?

Re:Drivers (2, Interesting)

Mooga (789849) | about 6 years ago | (#24607045)

I was using an ATI X1600 Pro. I spent hours trying to get the darn thing working before I called it a day and had to switch back to Windows.

Re:Drivers (2, Informative)

Endo13 (1000782) | about 6 years ago | (#24607423)

Same story here with an X1550. New version of Ubuntu came out, with some sort of 'official' or 'improved' ATI drivers. Tried it, exact same results as a year prior: try to install 'special' drivers for my graphics, reboot to gibberish instead of desktop.

Call me back when real 3D drivers install as easily as they do in Windows. That's when we might finally be getting close to "the year of Linux." Until then it's certainly not worth my time messing with it.

Re:Drivers: HUH? (2, Interesting)

corsec67 (627446) | about 6 years ago | (#24607085)

I find that Linux, and especially Ubuntu has much better support, and behaves better than Windows XP.

Mass Storage devices: just plug in, and they are ready to go very quickly. No need to install drivers if you plug it into a different port.

GPS: same, it emulates a serial device so that GPSBabel can handle it easily.

My odd mouse [thinkgeek.com] had drivers built into the kernel by Ubuntu, there was no "insert CD to use this mouse" stage.

And that is on an AMD64 Ubuntu computer. How is the driver support in Vista 64-bit?

Ubuntu on my HP/Intel laptop found everything just fine, and the Wifi even worked in the LiveCD installer.

Pick me! Pick me! (-1)

thermian (1267986) | about 6 years ago | (#24606781)

Write properly to ntfs?

Re:Pick me! Pick me! (5, Informative)

techno-vampire (666512) | about 6 years ago | (#24606865)

Linux already has full support for the ntfs file system. All you need to do is install ntfs-3g, and specify that as the partition's file system.

Re:Pick me! Pick me! (-1, Flamebait)

thermian (1267986) | about 6 years ago | (#24607149)

No, all I need to do is manage to get through a gentoo install without forgetting some small but vital step and ruining days of work.

My endlessly repeating 'learn while you sleep' tape that whispers "compiling your own kernel is fun and good for you" into my ears every night is helping, honest...

Re:Pick me! Pick me! (4, Funny)

Shadyman (939863) | about 6 years ago | (#24606869)

Sounds like somebody needs an upgrade.

Finally powering Ruby on Rails properly? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#24606799)

Seriously, whats with this?

Windows XP (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#24606801)

Which might spur Microsoft to finally come out with a truly useful and revolutionary OS to replace it- but I wouldn't bet my salary on it.

About like it does now. (4, Interesting)

argent (18001) | about 6 years ago | (#24606803)

Linux hasn't had any major changes in the past three years, why would you think it'll have any in the next three?

Re:About like it does now. (2, Interesting)

99BottlesOfBeerInMyF (813746) | about 6 years ago | (#24607129)

Linux hasn't had any major changes in the past three years, why would you think it'll have any in the next three?

Sure it has, just not for the desktop. The reason some believe it might improve more over the next few years is that companies are starting to use it as the pre-installed OS on low-end and low-power systems. Those companies have a direct, financial incentive to spend money on making it a better desktop OS.

Re:About like it does now. (2, Insightful)

nebulus4 (799015) | about 6 years ago | (#24607327)

Linux hasn't had any major changes in the past three years, why would you think it'll have any in the next three?

Because it hasn't had any major changes in the past three years?

Outlandish? (5, Funny)

PCM2 (4486) | about 6 years ago | (#24606815)

Wait ... are you saying that the Linux kernel will remain free in the future, but that people will pay for extras on top of that, including commercial software in some cases? That is just ... insane! What barking madman would even conceive of such a concept?

Incidentally, how do you go from what that article actually says:

Expect to see a three-way split among different versions of Linux. Not different distributions per se, but three basic usage models: ... For-pay ... Free to use ... Free/libre

...to "Linux forsaking its free usage model"? What are you, running for Congress?

I'm really starting to dislike a lumping of all... (5, Insightful)

CaptainPatent (1087643) | about 6 years ago | (#24606833)

Linux distros into one category.

In four years Distros made to be user-friendly like Ubuntu will probably be heavier on system requirements but nearing the ease of use of Windows (IE easier driver and plugin installs as some are still a bit touch-and-go)

Distros like Puppy will still be lightweight and have little change to fit on those old Pentium 2s you just can't bear to part with.

Distros like Gentoo will still be hardcore users only with every option available only after heavy config and compiles.

I think usability for the average user will improve on the "fluffy" side of linux, but a lot of the distros do exactly what they're made to.

Re:I'm really starting to dislike a lumping of all (1)

TheModelEskimo (968202) | about 6 years ago | (#24607229)

I'm really starting to dislike the lumping of all software packages into these convenient things called "distros". Knowing how a distro will change doesn't tell us anything about the desktop or server software landscape.

We have many open source apps finally getting to the point where mass adoption isn't far away (like Scribus, big changes recently). We have KDE apps about to be usable in Windows. We have traditional Gecko browsers like Epiphany moving to Webkit/KHTML. Google Summer of Code projects also bring important new features to many applications. So I think many new workflows will open up for the Linux desktop and Linux server, regardless of how distros change or the kernel changes.

Re:I'm really starting to dislike a lumping of all (1)

pembo13 (770295) | about 6 years ago | (#24607311)

driver, and plug-in installation are already easier. You may be confusing driver availability in the kernel -- which is different. At the very least I know that installing drivers in various versions of Windows (I am not familiar with Vista) can be very frustrating.

Finally, I understand... (5, Funny)

Cocoa Radix (983980) | about 6 years ago | (#24606837)

So THIS is what the Mayans have been predicting. Linux calls forth Armageddon in 2012. Wonderful.

Re:Finally, I understand... (1)

reverseengineer (580922) | about 6 years ago | (#24606995)

That's strange... I thought Unix wasn't supposed to bring about the Eschaton until 2038....

Re:Finally, I understand... (1)

Dreadneck (982170) | about 6 years ago | (#24607299)

Have you heard the tale of William "Tux" Miller and the Second Advent of the Linux Desktop?~

KDE (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#24606847)

Linux is a kernel. Whereas KDE is a ... well, I don't know precisely what it is, but it isn't part of the kernel. Anyway, it's cross-platform. Advances in KDE could help OS X or Windows as much as they help Linux.

Re:KDE (2, Funny)

pjt33 (739471) | about 6 years ago | (#24607101)

KDE is a desktop environment. It's in the name, for crying out loud!

Funny thing (0)

Etrias (1121031) | about 6 years ago | (#24606849)

Funny thing in three years in the future, according to TFA, Linux looks a lot like it does today.

What do I see for linux? (0)

deepgrey (1246108) | about 6 years ago | (#24606851)

Hold on, I have to get out my tarot cards...

This is history, not the future (5, Informative)

EmbeddedJanitor (597831) | about 6 years ago | (#24606867)

Most Linux systems are already embedded systems (phones and the like). These far outstrip Linux usage in desktops and servers. The trend will only grow as more and more phones switch to Linux and desktop usage stays about the same.

What Will Linux Be Capable Of In 3 Years? (0, Troll)

Snufu (1049644) | about 6 years ago | (#24606875)

Three more claims of "This is, for certainest, posiluteley, once and for all, the year of desktop linux."

Drivers? Codecs? (4, Insightful)

serviscope_minor (664417) | about 6 years ago | (#24606887)

I hope it doesn't become a mess of binary drivers. Binary drivers are one of the worst things happening to Linux. They ruin the stability and the usefulness of hardware. As fas as I am concerned, they are not the pragmatic choice. I consider an idealist to be a pragmatist who thinks about the future. I have found that the "pragmatic' choice always comes back to bite me, at which time it stops being pragmatic.

Anyway, enough of that rant. On to CODECS. That depends on the patent systems in various countries. Currently FFMPEG has had a history of producing extremely find implementations of CODECS. They sometimes lag behind on the very newest ones, but their more mature ones suprass all others in terms of quality and speed. And they generally get better with time. Anyway, software patents don't exist everywhere and they are unlikely to do so within 3 years. So, it looks like codecs will remain free and FREE for a while yet.

Re:Drivers? Codecs? (4, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#24607093)

The patent situation will be a non-issue in 2012. All the major codec patents expire within the next 3 years, including MP3.

Binary drivers are also becoming less of an issue. Nvidia and Broadcom are the last two holdouts. Nvidia is doing a good job of driving themselves into bankruptcy, and since every other major wireless chipset manufacturer now has open-source drivers, you can just not buy Broadcom.

What it will look like to me in 3 years.. (5, Funny)

mule007 (767116) | about 6 years ago | (#24606891)

root@localhost:~#

Re:What it will look like to me in 3 years.. (-1)

Godji (957148) | about 6 years ago | (#24607267)

Ouch. You shouldn't be working as root all the time. In fact, you should never be working as root. Use sudo. Otherwise, you've just defeated one of Linux's security mechanisms right there.

2011 will be the year of the linux desktop (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#24606903)

Actually, in 2011, Linux desktops will still be the province of system administrators and angry basement dwellers. mplayer will have a new skin that doesn't work, openoffice will be slightly better, but will not support Office 2011 files, streaming plugins for firefox will still be clunky, and Fedora will go from freezing up 50% of the time to 75%.

i believe that: (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#24606909)

It will have greater hardware support, incl. legacy support.
It will be THE OS FOR MOBILE PHONES & PDAs - PWNING MS MOBILE OS.
Linux OEMs will be common.
It will be Forked!
It will be used on a virtualised layer in the next MS OS.
It will still have Tux as logo.
Linux is here for a long time, and open source will blossom around it (vice-versa.)
Oh, and Linux will play a vital part as host to online services and hopefully, it will have its own Apache Terminal-like services.

It will be supplanted by HURD... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#24606915)

...by the end of next year. Or the year after that, at the outmost.

It'll look like FreeBSD did 3 years ago (1)

nsayer (86181) | about 6 years ago | (#24606921)

Pretty much.

Re:It'll look like FreeBSD did 3 years ago (4, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#24606997)

They'll remove SMP support?
Why would they?

Working WiFi? (1)

glrotate (300695) | about 6 years ago | (#24607009)

I think I've been waiting at least 3 already.

The Mothership will have satellites (1)

G3ckoG33k (647276) | about 6 years ago | (#24607019)

The Mothership, www.debian.com, will continue to pop off satellites like Ubuntu.

market share (-1)

Lilo-x (93462) | about 6 years ago | (#24607055)

desktop market share still at 4%

server market share decreasing

it'll be in things like toasters. (4, Interesting)

kabocox (199019) | about 6 years ago | (#24607057)

I can see linux being on a 2-4 GB flash card and the "computer" being the same size and the entire device running inside your tv, LCD picture frames, microwave oven, toaster, refrigator, dishwasher, washing machine, dryer, or your air conditioner. The price for the computer and storage will be like $2-5 on the bulk side so that cost has to be able to be hidden in the products. Linux'll be running all sorts of things that you never really figured even needed a computer per se or even 2-4 GB of storage. What the heck does my dishwasher or toaster need 2 Gb of storage for? Well, we'd find out when it's "cheap enough" to through in everything. Licensing and cost is what'll get Linux in the door and keep MS out. MS just can't afford to give away MS embedded edition.

Of course Linux will run on things like cell phones and DVRs as well, but you'll shortly find it running things like McDonalds' toys as well. What could a McDonalds' Toy use Linux for? I haven't a clue, but, once the hardware is cheap enough, we'll find out.

Beware (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#24607067)

A nigger bit off my penis.

It will revolutionize cell phones! (0, Troll)

mrjimorg (557309) | about 6 years ago | (#24607083)

All I'll need to do is modify my /etc/caller/bootcall.m file and add "mom" to the 'obpctfnum' section, then make sure the "mom" file exists in the /etc/caller/list directory and that I have the proper sytax for her number, then reboot the phone. Oh no, the file "mom" wasn't chmod'd to 666 so now my phone is won't work!
Of course, some linux guy will walk up behind and ask why I didn't just run "perl *4*6 (oo( !## -c -q/tvg bootcall ^_^ -@last _wonderbutt_" to make it magically work.

Punctuation (1)

AngryLlama (611814) | about 6 years ago | (#24607087)

Linux will be capable of removing superfluous commas from article titles in three years.

Realisticly? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#24607095)

in 3 years, Linux will be capable of grabbing another .5% market share of desktop operating systems. Woo hoo!

more importantly, is there linux w/o linus? (3, Interesting)

buddyglass (925859) | about 6 years ago | (#24607113)

This probably won't be an issue by 2012, but it will be interesting to see how linux fares when Linux and/or people like Andrew Morton are eventually forced to remove themselves from the day-to-day maintenance of the kernel. We saw what happened to ReiserFS when it lost its namesake. In that situation, it was easy to chuck ReiserFS in the trash because there were several other mature alternatives. If/when Linus dies/retires, does Linux adoption falter?

Two steps forward, a hundred steps back (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#24607125)

We're going the wrong way.

If Tuomo Valkonen [modeemi.fi] is accurate in his predictions, it will take less than three years for Linux to suck more than Microsoft Windows.

YEAR OF LINUX ON THE DESKTOP! (0, Redundant)

spandex_panda (1168381) | about 6 years ago | (#24607131)

finally after 20 odd years of development in four years time it will definitively be the year of Linux on the desktop.

Uptime (3, Insightful)

PPH (736903) | about 6 years ago | (#24607147)

Another 1000 days, more or less.

Based on some of the inane comments here.... (1, Insightful)

pandrijeczko (588093) | about 6 years ago | (#24607153)

...I think there needs to be a *LOT* of education of the Windows & Apple crowd to make them understand that Linux refers just to the core kernel whilst all the other applications around it are Open Source.

So hopefully, by 2012, they will begin to understand that by viewing Linux purely as an attack on their own OSes of choice, they actually do themselves a great injustice by completely choosing to ignore the basic fact that, by design, just about any piece of Open Source software does run or can be made to run on their OSes of choice.

And rather than parting with any of their hard earned money to pay for what is frequently overpriced & buggy commercial software, by holding on to their money & just giving a small amount of their time to trying out some of these applications without having to worry about changing their OS, they can play a positive role in ensuring that everyone gets a choice of using commercial or free software, whatever fits their needs.

It depends (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#24607161)

If more hardware companies open their drivers(I want my usb broadcom wireless notebook working..), and perhaps *cough* Adobe ports some software to linux *cough* (wishfull thinking) things might look up, if not.. well I doubt it will have more than apple has right now.
And I didn't even got to Android and OpenMoko.. hell, you can't predict the future with so many constants..

Easy questions in the summary. (2, Interesting)

Godji (957148) | about 6 years ago | (#24607169)

Linux forsaking its free usage model to embrace more paid distros

The two are not mutually exclusive.

where you get free Linux along with (much-needed) licenses to use patent-restricted codecs

As if. Just because the US has a broken patent system. Or was that the whole world? Ih wait, the US is the whole world.

Also predicted is an advance for the desktop based on â" surprise â" good acceptance for KDE 4.

Whether you like it or not, GNOME will be the big one, because nobody controls it. With Nokia owning Trolltech, no other company (whose primary business is not Linux itself) will touch KDE. I know that's not justified, but don't expect large corporations to care.

Finally, Linux is seen as making its biggest imprint not on the PC, but on mobile devices, eventually powering 40 million smartphones and netbooks.

That's clearly the future. The question is - besides having Linux as the kernel, will the phone of the future be any different? Will free userspace triumph on phones, or are we going to see locked-down Linux? That's the interesting and harder question.

And what do you see for Linux in 4 years?

Let's see... a kernel that supports the latest hardware and runs the latest software?

The article is nonsense, but the discussion should be good.

Linux in flash BIOS (3, Interesting)

moteyalpha (1228680) | about 6 years ago | (#24607181)

It seems that if Linux were available as a free alternative in every PC shipped, it could provide a longer life to products that could be shared ( like hand me down clothes ) to younger siblings or new users to make the best use of the effort of creating machines and the least toxic landfill. I would think that it would be in everybody's interest to contribute to open source, like any system that exists to fill a need which is not commercial ( like Red Cross ) but serves a need of humanity.

They Have It Backwards! (1)

b4upoo (166390) | about 6 years ago | (#24607187)

Microsoft will be going out of the PC OS market and they will develop OSs for phones and other gimmicks other than PCs.
          PCs will play an ever more important role in personal lives as well as business and Linux or perhaps some totally new and unexpected OS will emerge for PC operation.

equilibrium (3, Insightful)

bcrowell (177657) | about 6 years ago | (#24607207)

I think Linux has gotten to a level of equilibrium where it's probably not going to improve vastly in any ways that will be obvious to users. There are some things that are just design decisions, and aren't going to change. E.g., for audio applications, it can sometimes be a problem that linux doesn't have a lot of real-time support; there are real-time patches, but they don't look like they'll ever make it into the mainstream kernel, and in any case linux was never intended as a hard real-time system like qnx. There are some things that aren't going to change because of economics. Currently, we have decent hardware support for many devices, but it's still often a hassle, the quality is often lousy, and the drivers are often binary blobs; even if linux increases its share of the desktop significantly in the next four years, it will still be a tiny niche compared to Windows, so we'll still probably have a lot of the same hassles. Similar situation for availability of more preinstalled systems through more retail channels -- there just aren't enough people interested, for example, to allow linux boxes to be sold at places like Circuit City, and I don't think that will change in 4 years.

Ease of installation is already pretty good, and I think the low-hanging fruit has already been picked. The vast majority of users will never be able to handle installing an OS on their own, and that's not going to change. I'm still experiencing problems like x.org not being able to handle odd-sized flatscreen monitors, and I kind of doubt that's going to improve vastly, because it's like whack-a-mole with the low-end hardware manufacturers in Asia who basically want to sell as many widgets as possible to Windows users in its 1-year product lifetime.

As far as codecs ... well, you can already pay for codecs, so if you can pay for codecs in 2012, how does that qualify as a change? For mp3, decoding is already royalty-free, and as far as encoding it kind of depends on which patents you really think are valid and which are just trolls, but I've seen statements that encoding will be patent-free by 2010.

Apps? Firefox is already a browser, and in 2012 it will still be a browser. I think OOo has already long since reached a state of equilibrium in which the codebase is such a mess, and the developer community so closed, that there is basically no more improvement going on. E.g., users (myself included) have been begging for years now for better curve fitting, and better integration of curve fitting into the GUI; the result is that over all those years there has been marginal improvement in this area, but it's still way behind what my students are used to in Excel.

It will have drivers for Minority Report GUIs (1)

dapyx (665882) | about 6 years ago | (#24607211)

It will have drivers for Minority Report-style GUIs and it will also be the OS which will be used in your flying car.

Really, I suppose it will be the same as it is now, just slightly more mainstream.

Patent restrictions=localised restrictions (1)

Teun (17872) | about 6 years ago | (#24607223)

where you get free Linux along with (much-needed) licenses to use patent-restricted codecs

As software licenses are in most places (outside of the USofA) at best good for trolling I see a problem.

Maybe Linux distro's would in this scenario get a DVD-like Region Code.

Conclusion: unlikely.

I suppose (1)

QX-Mat (460729) | about 6 years ago | (#24607237)

D-Trace.... or the Solaris-Debian distro most certainly will!

mod9 down (-1, Redundant)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#24607297)

THE CATHEDRAL incompatibilities OF AMERICA) is the Whatever path is megs of ram runs 7000 users of has steadily it. Its miision is play area Try not reasons why anyone the project to ME! It's official support GNAA, failure, its corpse So that you don't 40,000 workstations Trouble. It on baby...don't which allows users', BigAzz, copy a 17 Meg file

By 2012, Linux will.... (3, Funny)

Slugster (635830) | about 6 years ago | (#24607303)

By 2012, Linux will pass the critical "100 different unpronounceable text editors" criterion, where adoption will begin to accelerate at a geometric pace as the common person forgets about all the useful Windows-based software and hardware at the store and entertains themselves solely by writing new window managers.
~

Re:By 2012, Linux will.... (1)

pandrijeczko (588093) | about 6 years ago | (#24607383)

I bow to your obviously greater intelligence.

I can only think of two ways of pronouncing "vi".

Font Rendering (1)

dbcooper_nz (782764) | about 6 years ago | (#24607323)

Cleartype grade font rendering, better hardware driver support (it's close now), and colour space aware apps/gui's. Font rendering is the main barrier to making it my full-time OS now.

when kde 4.1.0.2 is out? (1)

Sfing_ter (99478) | about 6 years ago | (#24607339)

You mean when when kde 4.1.0.2 is out?

Not in 3 years. (1)

bruno.fatia (989391) | about 6 years ago | (#24607395)

You should be asking where do we see it in 2050. I see penguins [nationalgeographic.com] . Lots of them. And they are hot. But not in a good way [epa.gov] .

DESKTOP: The Final Frontier (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#24607401)

2012 will finally be the year of the Linux desktop.

The obvious answer... (1)

lantastik (877247) | about 6 years ago | (#24607403)

Controlling my fembot, of course.

It will look a lot like Linux in 2002. (1, Insightful)

Animats (122034) | about 6 years ago | (#24607409)

Linux in 2012 will look a lot like Linux in 2002.

  • X-Windows forever.
  • Configuration still handled with text files, with front-end tools that try to conceal them but never quite do it all.
  • Ugly icons.
  • Inconsistency between GUIs of applications.
  • Too much need for the command line.
  • Inadequate locking and interprocess communication.
  • Even more kernel bloat.

Alternative UIs are Linux's big break (1)

aaronbeekay (1080685) | about 6 years ago | (#24607439)

I've been watching this over the past few years, as I act as tech support for friends and family-- as well as professionally at times-- and use OS X, Ubuntu, XP, and FreeBSD.

Linux on the desktop is a fantastic goal, but Windows is entrenched and that's not going to REALLY change in under a generation. People who learn to use computers running Windows-- especially older users and the less technical who might lean more towards memorization than understanding-- will stick with Windows because that's what they know, and there's very little Windows can do to fight that. People put up extraordinary resistance to change on their desktop "mouse, keyboard, monitor, chair" setups, and I haven't found a way around this.

Where I think Linux (and I say "Linux" meaning the kernel, not necessarily a distro) can really shine, and is shining, is embedded devices and new user interaction paradigms. Here's where people are really used to change. Look at your average American cell-phone owner. They upgrade faithfully every two years, and while Verizon has done some to standardize its phones' UIs, they still re-learn menus, key sequences, address book formats, EVERYTHING every time they get a new phone. The same with PDAs, smartphones, etc. When people aren't under the impression that they will stick with a UI for the rest of their life, when they KNOW they have to change and they're used to it, they can accept whatever that change is. Linux, being free, easily slimmed down, and extensible, can be that change. It already is. Look at the new generations of smartphones coming out-- more and more, phones are more computer than appliance. As these devices demand more and more power, the space will open up for Linux to move in.

Ubuntu? It's usable, it's great, but even after using it for a year-- even after customizing it much more than I could ever have customized my Mac-- I missed OS X. The same with my grandmother and XP, the same with my friends and pick-your-OS. But I transitioned from a Treo 650 to a 700wx to an iPhone in a month apiece, and didn't feel lost on any of them. My friends can do the same easily. That's where the weak point is in MS entrenchment, or any vendor's entrenchment, which means that Linux can really compete on level ground.
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