Will 2003 be the year Linux becomes mainstream? The question has two answers. The first applies to the developed markets. There, Linux will have an ever-increasing presence on the server, especially with the push coming from IBM and Oracle. On the desktop or in handhelds, Linux will not make much of a headway. But in emerging markets, Linux will perhaps see the best opportunities and biggest gains, including on the desktop. As efforts to curtail software piracy in these nations increase, so will be the popularity of Linux. These countries now need to start moving from consumers of open-source to producers also.
Robin Miller of NewsForge says that some of the biggest advances [in Linux and open source] we’re going to see in the next year will come from Asia, not Europe or North America. He adds:
A growing number of “next generation” Linux development is taking place in Asian countries, ranging from South Korea at one end of the continent to India diagonally across the continent’s map, with China rising hugely — in the Linux sense — right in the middle of it all.
Africa and the Middle East are discovering Linux in a big way, but don’t have nearly as much computer/IT infrastructure or as much computer-oriented education available as (some parts of) China or India — or South Korea or Vietnam or Malaysia. Or Japan, where it looks like Linux will soon be adopted as a preload operating system by computer manufacturers on all kinds of gear, not just on the server and workstation levels as we see 99% of the time in the U.S. and Europe.
I see an increasing amount of Linux development and related Open Source activity coming out of Asia, almost all of it in Chinese, Japanese, Korean, and other Asian languages.
I also see an increasing amount of Linux activity coming out of India, most of which is in English rather than in one of the many local Indian languages.
Instant Messaging will also make an increasing presence in the enterprises.
Writes CIO: Already, almost half of all U.S. and Canadian companies are using some form of IM, according to a survey by Osterman Research, a technology research company in Black Diamond, Wash. IM’s faster than e-mail, delivering messages that pop up on your screen no matter what you’re working on. Employees can use it to see if someone is in and to avoid time-wasting e-mail and phone tag. The software can also be used for customer support and to deliver messages to hundreds of users simultaneously. It seems a perfect fit for the busy enterprise. But IM will need secure systems and common standards in order to succeed in business.
One movement which caught a lot of media attention in 2002 was that of weblogs. This is going to continue. I expect more of us to start tuning in to bloggers every morning. The activity will probably happen on the following fronts: more and more prominent people will start weblogs, enterprises will start paying attention to weblogs for collaboration and knowledge sharing, community weblogs will start being created as an upscale version of Yahoo eGroups. In addition, there will be efforts to organise the world of bloggers through search engines and directories. There will be also be efforts to use blogs for commercial activities like the two recent efforts to create blogs around New York (CityBlogs and Gawker) and one around gadgets (Gizmodo).
Tomorrow: Telecom, Cellphones and Gadgets
Tech Talk 2003 Expectations