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The death of Linux and other predictions
by Walter V. Koenning for the Reallylinux.com OPINION/EDITORIAL section.

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I like reading Linux news sites. The news websites tend to encourage me, showing the growth of Linux and the benefits of Open Source in businesses, schools and government.

Unfortunately, I then stumble on the ever so frequent prophetic Linux article.

One declares, "This is the year of Linux on the desktop."

Another declares, "The desktop is dead."

And another declares, "This is the year of the death of Linux on the desktop."

These stories scroll along on the same news websites on the same day. To top it off, squeezed in between these headlines are even more predictions about things I thought were really dead… SCO for instance.

Someone with imagination and perhaps excess time on their hands starts to think into the "future" (often it's about 3 weeks) and decides on a reality that is so far from plausible it wouldn't even pass as a Hollywood movie script.

Then they finagle an editor to allow the posting of their insidious article declaring something so cliché that hundreds of others have already noted it for the past six months.

Now I'd like to put an end to all of this -- and give you a few more plausible prophecies:

Firstly, this is NOT the year of Linux on the desktop, because frankly it has been on the desktop many years already. Read my recent article: Why Linux on the Desktop is Wrong! So can we lay to rest the phrase "the year of the desktop" and all variations? May it rest in peace!

Secondly, the desktop is NOT dying because someone came up with another clever idea. People sliding their greasy fingers all over their iPad touch screen while drinking coffee isn't going to somehow end people sitting at a desk and typing on a keyboard.

I predict (if I may be so bold) that many of these people will spill their coffee, while trying to clean the grease from their touch screens and quickly return to their desk with a keyboard to do actual work, usually after their boss yells.

Third, Microsoft is NOT growing in its server use faster than Linux. For some reason because a survey declares something does not make it true, or even half true, or in some cases with recent ones, even semi-half true. Linux server use is growing in all sectors including government and military, because IT leaders are waking up to the concept that reduced software licensing is a major part of reduced capital expenditures.

Fourthly, large name corporations using Linux do NOT dilute the quality or value of Linux, although it is certainly creating an incredible time wasting frenzy among some Linux purists. When a large name corporation decides to use Linux, or in some cases misuse Linux, it doesn't suddenly negate the hard work of the entire community. The Linux community is larger, more diverse and long standing than almost any other technological or for that matter social community on earth. In other words, it is going to survive and flourish no matter how many money games (or monkey games as it were) are played out by corporations. The community and Linux success was never about money and therefore that facet has little control over the community.

Fifthly, (yes I know there is no such thing as fifthly, but neither is there such a thing as a high performance IIS server and that didn't stop someone writing it) there is NOT going to be some mass movement from Windows to Linux. Sorry! No matter how much personal money some of the Linux elite throw at it or how much hype is stirred up, this reality is not going to change for the time being. I know this is a shock to some. However, I ask you this: do you really want millions of Windows users to start using Ubuntu and complaining and whining about desktop idiosyncrasies that are irrelevant?

Sixth, (I actually asked the editor if I could stop at 5 but he insisted if I write this I need to get a sixth point out) it DOES matter when someone announces that Linux is running a cell phone, game console, or future refrigerator. Each gadget and every appliance that runs open source Linux affords another opportunity for the community at large to influence its future development and enhance its functionality. Thus, I predict not only that such successes will flourish over the next 6 months; you will definitely be reading more about them. Yes, that was a plug to be able to write a few myself.

Seventh, I had to add this one, because Cloud computing will NOT match the hype around it. And no this is NOT "the year of the cloud", unless you are referring to the screwed up weather patterns. The use of Cloud computing will start to bump heads against the growing concern over data security. At the same time, the word "Cloud" will become so widely used and so vague that no one will actually know what it means. Although few will see any major practical benefits, it will keep being touted by IT leaders who like to use catch phrases that are short enough to recall (or write on a napkin) like "cloud" and "agile" etc.

Those are my predictions of the predictions, and hopefully some of them will come true so I can keep writing these articles month after month… or maybe not.

Walter V. Koenning is a technology writer and provides insights regarding industry trends. He contributes regularly to the OPINION/EDITORIAL segments on Reallylinux.com and other technology online magazines.

This brief opinion piece should not be construed as factual information, and only contains the opinions and personal experiences of the author at the time of publication. Reallylinux.com could not find information in this article that at the time of publication was inaccurate. However, the opinions and personal experiences that have been posted do not express the opinions of Reallylinux.com and are not endorsed in any way. Linux is a registered trademark of Linus Torvalds. Microsoft and Microsoft Windows are trademarks or registered trademarks of Microsoft Corporation both in the United States and Internationally. All other trademarks or registered trademarks in this opinion piece belong to their respective owners.