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?

Linspire? Probably.
Slackware? No.
Ubuntu? Never.
Debian? Likely.
Gentoo? Likely.
Mandriva? Definitely.
CentOS, Knoppix, PCLinuxOS? All possibilities.

There are numerous Open Source companies that use Linux as their development platform that you should also watch.

Talend, Altic, PostgreSQL, SugarCRM, OpenBravo, and SourceForge, Inc. are all good prospects for absorption into a consolidated fold.

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.

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Are you serious?

Linspire is a corporation, so it *could* be taken over, but it's got negligible market share and no interesting technology. No reason for anyone to consider buying it. Ditto Mandriva. Ubuntu is also a company but other than a rabid, loud-mouthed fan-boy base (with apparently no understanding of what actually makes Open Source Software really successful), they also have nothing interesting to offer from a technology perspective.

Slackware, Debian, Slackware, CentOS and the others you list as ripe for takeovers are not corporate entities. They are communities of hackers. How exactly would you think that someone would "take them over?"

Seriously, if you're going to write this crap, you should at least have part of a clue. You obviously know almost nothing about how Linux distributions work, and apparently no idea which ones are commercial and which are community.

Actually, it is you who is incorrect. Please read the About pages for the distros mentioned. For example, CentOS is owned by CentOS, Ltd., Debian is owned by Software in the Public Interest, Inc., and Slackware is owned by Patrick Volkerding and is also a registered trademark of Slackware Linux, Inc.

I think you fail to understand the French. I don't think Mandriva will sell.

On the other hand most of the Distributions you've mentioned are community based and not even corporate entities, so there is no chance of your prediction coming true as far as they are concerned. So I think, in reality, you fail to understand Linux.

I guess you didn't read my response to the other comment. Yes, in fact, they can be sold. You don't understand money. It doesn't matter if it is community supported, developed or not; the fact remains that some limited number of people have created a corporation to support it and they can sell all or part of an entity.

Bwahahahahaaa! Don't understand money??? OK, that's it, you've officially lost all credibility.

Your assertion: Debian, Gentoo, CentOS, Knoppix, PCLinuxOS are all at least "possibilities" for some sort of corporate takeover.

Reality: These are all community driven distros. Sure, there might be some sort of legal entity behind them, but you obviously have *zero* clue about how those communities work, and apparently you have no idea how corporations work.

You claim Debian is ripe for a corporate takeover. From a community perspective, the members of the Debian team would never allow some corporation to take over the project. From a corporate perspective, there is nothing to buy. If the Debian project even has employees, they are almost certainly in the minority of folks who contribute to the project. Ditto the CentOS project. No reason whatsoever to try to buy these community based distros.

So please, when you tell someone they don't understand money after making an assertion like yours is just ridiculous.


i hereby takeover debian