A future so bright Tux needs shades

A future so bright Tux needs shades

Summary: Linux represents the ultimate flight to safety in troubled times


Killer Penguin beer labelTo hear Linux Foundation executive director Jim Zemlin tell it, the operating system war is over and Linux has won. (Rockies Brewing makes other fine beers, too.)

"Linux represents the ultimate flight to safety in troubled times," he said while offering some predictions for 2009.

"People want a platform they trust, that's low cost, that allows them to consolidate infrastructure, and that's Linux.

"Everyone uses Linux. It's in the TV, it's in your TiVo, it's in all the settop boxes, it's in your Sony camera. Make a trade on the NYSE and it's there, search on Google and it's Linux. Linux owns 85% of the supercomputer market. I've seen Linux in a milking machine."

If Linux were a corporate effort its CEO would be into champagne wishes and caviar dreams. As it is, however, Zemlin is just looking for steady growth next year. 

"The Foundation will continue to focus on the core things we do well. We'll continue to support Linux and the kernel development. We'll continue to work on the trademark.

"In April we'll hold our Collaboration summit in San Francisco. We invited the Consumer Electronics Linux Forum to attend.

"We'll expand the events we offer, including the first Linux Kernel Summit in Tokyo. We'll be hosting the LinuxCon in September, and expect it to be successful. We'll have content there for all communities. There will be rich training opportunities there.

"We'll have more content on the Web. Expect more original research out of us. We authored 'How to Participate in the Linux Community', a white paper."

But there will be no big offices, no Linuxplex, and you won't see Linus Torvalds on the cover of Forbes.  "No one is expanding."

So, I asked, what happened in 2008 to make 2009 look so bright?

Little Penguin Shiraz from Southeast AustraliaTwo things, Zemlin suggested.

Windows Vista has been a fiasco, and mobile form factors hit Linux' sweet spot. (I've had this Australian Shiraz. Very drinkable. Try it with turkey tomorrow.)

"Microsoft had to keep XP around a lot longer than they had anticipated. It hurt their ability to sell Vista. It impacted their need to rush Windows 7, which looks a lot like Vista."

Manufacturer disquiet led to experiments with the four-pound, no moving part Netbook, and Linux was ready with Intel's quick boot architecture, which turns a Linux PC into an instant-on Internet appliance.

Now, "Every major PC maker is shipping Linux computers to consumers," with HP and Dell starting to support the channel.

The one cloud on that horizon, as I noted in our Laptop Linux series, is incompatibility, which makes upgrading software a chore. The Foundation's solution to that is the Linux Standard Base, but anyone's decision to use it is "a commercial decision."

Then there is mobile. While 2008 turned into the year the Linux Netbook broke through, 2009 will be the year when Linux mobile breaks through, Zemlin said.

Android, LiMo, and the 100% mobile source Moblin are all coming to market in a big way. Motorola is committed to Android, LiMo stands for Linux Mobile. "Moblin specifically is a project to watch."

My own opinion is that Apple made the breakthrough Linux mobile is now running through. The success of the iPhone in spurring data use is forcing carriers to come up with alternatives, and Linux is the fast way there.

Jim Zemlin, Linux Foundation"Linux has now reached a critical mass," he concluded. "It would take billions of dollars to rewrite a kernel, or harden any operating system across all these forms of computing."

If you want to make money next year, learn Linux. 

"One of our biggest bottlenecks is going to be talent. My advice for engineers who are looking to weather this storm is learn Linux." Then you'll be toasting 2010 with Jim Zemlin as your sommelier.

(And if you need or want to avoid alcoholic embellishment, for any reason, click here.)




Topics: Operating Systems, Linux, Mobility, Open Source, Software

Kick off your day with ZDNet's daily email newsletter. It's the freshest tech news and opinion, served hot. Get it.


Log in or register to join the discussion
  • The end of aggravation

    I agree. I'm sure the same can also be said about OS X, but for me, Ubuntu has made my computing life a pleasure again. Windows is just too much work and aggravation.
    • Hear! Hear!

      Using Windows is like going to the dentist, you hate going but sometime you just have to. I am very happy and maybe a little lucky that I can use Linux at work. It's made having to use Windows bearable. ]:)
      Linux User 147560
  • A new day has dawned.....

    And new leaves are being turned over!

    No time to gloat, though. Attacks come from all quarters, some unimaginable new ones, from the powers that be. Stabs in the back are frequent and occasionally deadly.

    Fight the good fight. Scrutinize the enemy, and their lackeys. Be alert, be cautious, but NEVER be afraid. Care for your wounded. Remember, a stab in the back is always painful, but seldom fatal.

    Ole Man
    • Wow, that is inspirational...

      and completely delusional.

      I've been hearing "This is the year of Linux" for 10 years now. still waiting...

      mkay, back to your echo chamber now with ya.

      Have a nice day.
      • 2001

        Actually, I'm pretty sure 2001 was the year of Linux.http://survey.netcraft.com/Reports/current/graphs.html
        (Apache is usually run on Linux a.k.a. LAMP)

        Sure, that wasn't the desktop, but I think the desktop has been dying for the last few years, anyway. Everyone I know buys laptops instead, despite my suggestion that they'd get more for their buck if they went with a desktop. The netbook is in 8 of the top 10 position on Amazon. Apple has the others. These netbooks all happen to run XP ....

        Eventually, I'm looking for a REALLY smart phone (Cortex-A9?) and a dock to go with it. Give me a RedFly ( http://www.celiocorp.com/ ) type setup for when I'm on the road and need a bigger keyboard/screen. I'd be more than satisfied with that.
        • "These netbooks all happen to run XP ...."

          No, ALL these netbooks DO NOT happen to run XP. Netbooks is just another market that Microsoft horned in on and used their thug power to dominate, as usual.

          You should refine the FUD before distributing it.
          Ole Man
          • Read first, then flame

            My statement was that all of the 8 netbooks in Amazon's top 10 happened to run XP. "Happened" here meant at that moment. It was true when I looked at the page that day. It wasn't true at certain times before and after that. I did NOT say that all netbooks in the world run XP: about 30% run some Linux-based OS.

            MS did not really use thug power to get into this market, I believe. ASUS came out with a Linux model first and was convinced by customer demand later to add XP. Once Microsoft extended the life of XP for only these devices, Asus put it on and sold it. It sold extremely well.

            Netbooks were selling well before XP was on them, though. How would MS pressure Asus to change a winning combination in a new market? They couldn't. People are just used to XP, so that's what they want on their netbooks. Vista suffers the same problem with its acceptance as a new OS. Face it, Microsoft (and XP in particular) has been around long enough for everyone to get into a rut with it. They don't want out of that rut, either.

            Read before you flame, old man.

            p.s. I've been using Linux on the desktop exclusively since the late 90s.
          • Back up there and tell your story again

            And this time tell it right. There, that better than "flaming" you?

            You say, "Microsoft (and XP in particular) has been around long enough for everyone to get into a rut with it. They don't want out of that rut, either."

            You REAL sure everyone "don't want out of that rut"? Is that why some of you folks keep trying to cover up (hide) "that rut"?

            Microsoft must not be able to "disguise" their activities adequately. Otherwise they wouldn't need you (and some of your sidekicks) to help them out.
            Ole Man
      • Hey little man, you stay stuck in yesterday ...

        ... more work for us ;-)
    • Got to make time

      "No time to gloat, though."

      Make the time.

      Ah the desperate MSCE, with so little knowledge and a
      collapsing economy. Good luck learning a unix, years of
      technical ignorance will hold you back. It's not as easy as
      ignorantly clicking until something works (momentarily).

      Linux now at critical mass in all but the desktop. Enterprise
      desktop interest continues to grow. Whatever the result
      having a good alternatives to the evil overlord is great.
      Richard Flude
      • Plus many more years experience ...

        ... helps.

        The only thing to be aware of is the so called IT techies that couldn't see beyond Windows even until now will be bladdering on about how great they are and yes they can do Linux too, but may tarnish it slightly with their uselessness at all things computing.

        There's no Microsoft press release for Linux for them to abide by ;-)
  • RE: A future so bright Tux needs shades

    Ah- okay, so I have a question:

    Can I install Mono in a Linux-enabled HDTV if it has an ethernet port? ]:)


    That way, I can develop my own C# application for interprocess TCP communication! :) As an addition to that, I could use my Windows Mobile smartphone to control the input source, picture controls, etc.

    If a home theater receiver uses Linux, same thing! :)

    This could all integrate with my home automation system! :) I have Elk M1 Gold for security and automation, and Insteon for lighting. :)
    Grayson Peddie
  • GNU/Linux and F/OSS

    Look at what the GNU/Linux faithful have been saying for the years. Especially the last few years. While it sounds comparable to what is said about the other two main proprietary operating systems, GNU/Linux is healthy and growing wildly just like the geeks said it would. The other two have their fan base, but their fans have little to cheer about...mainly because their teams don't care about their fans...the consumer. not in the least. Their products show it, and so does their business performance.

    Take where GNU/Linux is, today, in software technology, the overall strength and growth of our entire ecosystem, add to that the skyrocketing increase in user base, and you get even more people using it for more things and contributing ever more to the base because GNU/Linux IS it's users. The potential is unimaginable.

    ...gotta get me some cheap sunglasses...
    • and all without huge marketing budgets ;-)

  • Only with a usable desktop

    Bill Gates had it right in the 1980's -- get the Windows desktop on every PC for cheap or free and you will have dominance.

    That is the lesson for Linux.

    Until there is a brainless desktop for every Mom and Pop user, Linux dominance will not be assured.

    That's why distributions like Kubuntu are so important -- they are geared to the menu-drive, simplistic user.

    When Kubuntu is fault-free, then Linux will be a lock.
    • I love Kubuntu

      But it doesn't get the support that the Gnome Ubuntu gets.

      One day...
  • FAIL: Still can't install Opera w/o/console!

    Linux hasn't won jack squat because be it Linux programmers or software vendors the moment I have to open a console to do anything I can nor am not willing to bother spending the whole day figuring out what simply just works in XP. I can't install older versions of Firefox or any versions of Opera in example. Let's not forget the enforced page file which has absolutely no role in today's competently built consumer computers. Since Vista blocks and Windows 7 with it's touch screen support (where consumers can choose between a 15 inch touch screen or a 24 inch LCD) it's clear neither Microsoft nor the Linux community understand what makes a great OS: getting things done. Until RPM installers become available for every piece of software (because that magic install list is woefully incomplete even though it has forty FTP clients) Linux as well as every OS will play second fiddle to XP.
    JAB Creations
    • huh?

      funny youd have to do that... what exactly are you using?

      I can install Opera and use it easy without using a command line. RPMs? yuck, your using a RPM distro, yeah that might be tougher, I gave up RPMs years ago.
    • Opera 1 click install in Ubuntu GNU/LINUX

      I'm using Ubuntu 9.04 alpha1 and have used Ubuntu since 6.06 it's always been a 1 click install for me. Go to opera.com and their website notices I'm using ubuntu and takes me right to the download page and GDEBI opens the file and installs it for me. Watch me demo it at http://nudepenguin.net where NUDE stands for New Users Do Everything.
    • Stick to the repositories...

      ... If you don't like CLI installs, then do the click-click install from your distros repository.

      If you don't like to fiddle with things, try Linux MINT - based on Ubuntu, is has a rather large software repository available.

      Best of all - if you install from a repository, application updates are handled for you.