Welcome to the 10th installment of the Crystal Ball Sunday series. This is an exciting time to be involved with Linux because the temperature is right for some Linux vendor consolidation. In my August 22nd post, Microsoft and Novell: Buying In or Selling Out, I subtly predicted that Microsoft would end up buying Novell due to its overwhelming and somewhat odd major investment in Novell.
My prediction hasn't come true quite yet but on the horizon for 2009 you'll see Linux company consolidation. I think several of the more popular distributions will be absorbed (assimilated) into the larger distributions.
Why, you ask?
Simply put: Market share.
Red Hat is looking for converts. Novell is looking for converts. The only place to get converts is to persuade current Windows or Mac OS X users to come to their team or to purchase another company's loyal fan base. I seriously doubt that Apple will sell Mac OS X or allow it to exist in any large way on clone computers. That just isn't the way they operate. I foresee Red Hat and Novell battling it out for market share over the next 18 months by purchasing fan bases.
Now, the big question: Which Linux distributions are ripe for the picking?
CentOS, Knoppix, PCLinuxOS? All possibilities.
There are numerous Open Source companies that use Linux as their development platform that you should also watch.
Yes, fellow Crystall Ball fans, 2009 will bring us a year full of one Open Source buyout after another. At this point, it's anyone's guess as to who will be absorbed by whom and for how much.
Take heart Open Source lovers because one thing's for sure--for every buyout, 20 more independent Open Source companies will spring up to thumb their noses at the buyouts and consolidations.