Everyone has posted their predictions for 2010 but here's the real scoop on what's going to happen in 2010 with Linux and Linux-oriented hardware and software products. Get ready to see the biggest increase in Linux adoption in history. You can say you saw it here first. These are in no particular ranking or order.
1. Cloud Computing - You're going to hear a lot about cloud computing in 2010. You'll hear a lot more about it beyond 2010 too. In fact, I've likened the term cloud computing to the term "trans fat" as the next most overused term that has no meaning for the people using it. Almost no one knows what's really meant by trans fat and, likewise, cloud computing has a good sound to it but media dorks won't know what it is.
Linux-based cloud computing is going to soar in the next couple of years, starting in 2010. Watch for it. Invest in it. It's here to stay.
2. Virtualization - Linux-based hypervisors and non-hypervisor Linux-based virtualization will take the day. Virtualization on a large scale is cloud computing but on a more 'local' scale it is a money-saving technology that has much to offer those who adopt it. Hardware is more fully utilized by requiring fewer physical machines on which to run workloads. Utilization increases for the few pieces of hardware that take up valuable rack space.
Linux-based virtualization has the most to gain from the down economy because of its no cost licensing and lower hardware requirements. Lower entry costs means more companies can leverage it for their business infrastructure.
3. Virtual Desktop Infrastructure (VDI) - Ah, VDI, the most controversial topic du jour. There are those who sing its praises and paste their lame hopes on it but there are those of us who take a more realistic view of VDI: Another transitional technology that will never pay off or pay for itself. Sorry, I am not a fan.
Those who spend money on this high-priced technology will find that they've wasted time and a lot of money on it with little to show but frustrated users and unhappy technical folk who must support it.
4. Gadgets - Linux-based gadgets will make an incredible surge this year. More manufacturers will turn to Linux for eeking out more profit and less hassle for their customer service and call centers. I just hope that they're careful when they do. The Software Freedom Law Center brought suit against 14 companies that didn't supply their source code with their BusyBox-based gadgets.
5. Smart Phones - With the newest Android and Chrome operating systems, phones now have a chance for some real innovation. The worldwide open source communities will have a chance to develop at will. In a year, you'll see thousands of new phone applications for everything from banking to remote system support to babysitting. Put 1,000 developers in a room with 1,000 phones and you get smart phone loaded with Linux-based operating systems and zillions of applications to make life more fun and a little more geeky.
6. Desktops - I know I said that there is no "Year of the Linux Desktop" but the economy dictates what people will buy and they won't buy a $200-$300 operating system when there's a free one waiting for them. 2010 might not be a landslide victory for the Linux desktop but will certainly find a home on a lot of desktop computers from standard desktops to laptops to netbooks to those pesky virtual desktops about which I complain so fervently.
7. Appliances - No, not refrigerators, stoves and toasters--although that could happen--I'm talking about Linux-based network appliances. From routers and switches to firewalls and load balancers to searchable index appliances. Linux makes creating a network appliance simple and inexpensive. From home networks to data centers to city-wide WiFi, it's all Linux-based goodness.
8. Storage - LAN-connected storage will replace traditional file servers due to lower maintenance and lower overhead. Traditional file servers are so last century. You only need a minimal operating system for such services and a web-based management interface for setup and user/group maintenance. Linux delivers the lowest cost and the highest performance for such services.
9. Automobiles - It might sound crazy but I think you'll see that next year will bring new automotive innovations and Linux will deliver those innovations to a brave new world of drivers. From GPS technology to central computing units (car brains) to automobile design, Linux will see a huge surge in use for those technologies. I think you'll also see some new car companies emerge from the need for more efficient transportation and no doubt the brains they put in those new cars will have something to do with Linux.
10. Science - The scientific world has always faced stressed budgets, negative politicians and dwindling public confidence. Linux can help offset those ever-shrinking research budgets. Large laboratories such as the Los Alamos National Laboratory has used Linux in supercomputing clusters for years. Those clusters built from recycled computers saved the laboratory millions of dollars in the computing horsepower required for its projects.
These are the ten Linux-related technology areas to watch for the coming year. We'll see at this time next year how many came to pass. My guess is that most, if not all, will. As the world pulls out of this economic dive, Linux will provide the much needed technology life jacket we need to get our finances back on track.
What do you think? Do you think that Linux-based technologies will help pull us from the mire of economic destruction? Write back and let us know.