Hello, 2005

Here is my very brief history of 2004, albeit in no particular order.

Here is my very brief history of 2004, albeit in no particularorder.

Jonathan Schwartz became president of Sun and spent most of theyear yammering out loud in his blog. Microsoft handed out earlyChristmas presents to a number of plaintiffs, leveragingappeasement into a real business strategy. BesidesMicrosoft’s “Get the Cash” campaign, the companyalso launched “Get the Facts” and its B-side,“Spread the FUD,” featuring Steve Ballmer on vocals.The new iMac was released, while the iPod ruledthe land. Zaftig replaced loksh on the redcarpet, while style maven Martha Stewart landed in the slammer.Shaun of the Dead brightened the big screen, while theEpisode III trailer held the promise of redemption( yetagain) for George Lucas. The United States had an election, andHilary Duff and Lindsay Lohan traded barbs.( Unfortunately, thelatter catfight was far more entertaining.)

While 2004 was a decidedly mixed bag of news for most, the newsfor Linux and open source was predominantly bright.PHP 5 was released, adding object-oriented features to thepopular web development language. Several new Linux andopen source companies were launched, and even the stoic andendangered venture capitalist beast rustled out of hibernation(long enough) to invest in Linux Networx and others. Kernel2.6 made its way into more and more distibutions, andperhaps surprisingly, there were more and more distributionsreleased, each with its own spin and specialties.( You can readJason Perlow’s survey of the many Debian variantsover on page XX.) The SCO suit seemingly lost steam( or perhaps Ishould say “hot air”), and except for the ongoing( andpoorly-handled) intellectual property tussle over Mambo,predictions of litigation precipitation were overblown.

So what lies ahead? While I can’t predict nextfall’s hemlines, I’ll take out my Official MadamePearl’s Crystal Ball to gaze into the not-too-distantfuture…

Microsoft doesn’t go out of business.

There’s no doubt that Windows continues todominate the desktop, but the desktop is slowly becoming ananachronism. For more and more people, computing — personalcomputing — migrates to cell phones, game consoles,televisions, and any other number of other small and dedicateddevices.

Sun doesn’t go out of business.

Shocking, but true. In 2005, Sun also releases Open SourceSolaris, but Duff vs. Lohan: Rumble in the Jungleattracts more attention. And revenue.

HP has a bake sale.

Fiorina promises, “If you bake it, they will come.”Investors take their dough elsewhere.

Conjoined twins “free as in speech” and“free as in beer” are separated.

Joined at the hip since birth, the two concepts are finallyexcised from each other in the minds of buyers and the media.(Nonetheless, the two remain close and connected spiritually.) Thenumber of companies that derive significant revenue from opensource increases, with Novell and MySQL AB the big winners.

Linux goes off to college.

The once pimply penguin grows up and heads off to EnterpriseUniversity to major in business. Enterprise’s Bill Gates Hallof Computer Science is made co-ed.

Perl 6 is released.

( Hey, a geek can hope.)

All in all, it looks like a fun year. Now, where does the linefor Episode III start?

Martin Streicher is the Editor-in-Chief of LinuxMagazine.

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