At his own Weblog, Bruce Perens (right) looked into his own crystal ball for 2006 recently and came up with a pretty rosy scenario.
The Internet will beat closed networking, Java and PHP will begin to fade, and Linux will go marching home again, hurrah, hurrah.
I would love to be so cheerful. I would sleep better at night. Perens' predictions are based on the better technology winning, and no one being able to "game" the outcome to suit their own agenda.
But whether that will all happen in 2006 is, for me, an open question. Not only are cellular carriers like Verizon continuing to maintain walled gardens, in which they decide what users can do and charge content providers for the privilege of doing it, but now the Bells want to do the same thing for the general Internet. Perens doesn't mention this threat, maybe he doesn't consider it to be serious, but the cellular carriers and DSL providers are, in general, the same people.
Perens' optimism has a global view to it, but I didn't get my passport stamped this year. In Perens' view it's easy to see Chinese chip-makers looking at Linux for their phones, and that the features you want on a Tokyo train will be different from those you want in an LA traffic jam.
Unfortunately I take a U.S.-centric view, and here the resistance to an open world is strongest, and baked into key institutions. If this means I think the U.S. will fall further behind the rest of the world next year because of that resistance to open source principles so be it.
But that's what I'm expecting.