Thursday, December 27, 2007

My crystal ball says...

I don't make a whole lot of predictions. It's always tough to go on the record with a hard prediction. Some of those that I have made in the past are:
  • I totally missed the boat on paperless medical software... actually it was more like the boat wasn't built yet. I designed and pushed a paperless medical office a full fifteen years before the market was ready for it. I couldn't give the stuff away then; now it's practically mandated.
  • I correctly bet the farm on Windows 95 over OS/2 Warp. That wasn't as much a no-brainer as it seems today. Warp was a true 32-bit OS, whereas Windows 95 was a hybrid; and I worked in an all-IBM shop at the time. But IBM's slogan of "a better Windows than Windows" worked against it. Why develop applications for OS/2 when you could hit both platforms by developing for Windows? And why buy OS/2 when all the apps were labeled "designed for Windows 95"? I claim 100% for this one.
  • I correctly predicted Red Hat Linux's huge IPO. A seeming no-brainer for those of us aware of Linux at the time. That was a minority at the time, though. I claim 100% for this one, too.
  • In 2002 I predicted that Christmas of 2004 would be when Linux on the desktop took off. That turned out to be overly optimistic. Three years later, Christmas of 2007, it happened, though. That's when Wal-Mart offered (and sold out of) Linux PCs using the gOS distribution of Linux (a derivative of Ubuntu). Never underestimate the power of low cost... it's a large part of what drove people to Windows 95 rather than the technically superior OS/2. Once again, apps drive the process. However, Open Source application adoption on Windows is making the transition to Linux easier. After all, is, regardless of your platform. The same goes for the GIMP, Nvu/Kompozer, FireFox, OpenProj, Scribus, Inkscape, and a host of other programs. All are multiplatform, and are compelling alternatives to Microsoft Office, Photoshop, FrontPage, MSIE, Microsoft Project, Microsoft Publisher or Quark, and Adobe Illustrator, respectively. Increasingly, the thing locked to the Windows desktop is Microsoft products and some games. Even gaming doesn't have Linux locked out.
  • I predicted that there would be no compelling reason for upgrading to Windows Vista. That prediction was 100% on the money. (here. and here. and here.)
What's up for this year? Maybe your guess is as good as mine, maybe not. For what it's worth, here are my guesses.
  1. MSOOXML will not be ratified as an ISO standard (We'll know really quickly if this one comes through... like, by February).
  2. The ODF will continue to gain momentum through non-U.S. adoption of this as a standard. More governments will realize that a truly open standard that is not controlled by a US company is to their benefit.
  3. There will be a resurgence in the use of Lotus Notes as IBM improves marketing of the product and captializes on the fact that Lotus Notes 8 contains a free version of Lotus Symphony, which uses ODF as a standard. IBM will finally take heed of the perennial complaints of the poor marketing of its Lotus product line. They will be emboldened in part by improvements in the user interface that convince them they have a product to sell proudly.
  4. US companies will pull off-shored tasks back within the US borders, "boondocking" them instead. "Boondocking" is my term for locating call centers in rural areas or de-centralizing them to take advantage of the lower cost of living outside of the usual urban areas.
  5. Microsoft Vista will still suck. This means more growth for Ubuntu/Kubuntu and other Linux flavors. Big beneficiaries: Novell, Red Hat, Microsoft Windows XP (go figure).
That's probably five too many, and we'll have to see how they turn out.


Blogger Dave Leigh said...

Y'know, if I'd thought a little longer I'd have added that SCO will die. My defense is that it's too obvious to include.

If you see a man falling from a bridge, how much skill does it take to "predict" that he's going to fall into the river below?

I think SCO's already dead... they just won't admit it. Nevertheless, for the record... I predict they're going closing up shop for good in 2008.

December 31, 2007 at 8:17 AM  

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