Mostly obvious predictions for open source in 2011, or are they?

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I’ve been reading many of the lists of predictions for free and open source software in 2011. Most of them are pretty obvious: many of the things that were significant in 2010 will continue to be so in 2011. The obvious tweak to this is to ask whether such-and-such will make it big or fade way.

Here’s a list of these types of questions and my guesses at answers:

  • Will ChromeOS from Google be an interesting player, will it merge with Android, and will it replace Windows on hundreds of millions of desktops? Yes / maybe / no.
  • Will Android devices surpass those from Apple? Perhaps, but only in aggregate volume.
  • Will one emerge that will clobber the iPad in market share? No way.
  • Will some flavor of Windows be more significant than Android on tablets? No.
  • Will we see more open source apps on the most popular smartphone platforms? Fewer than some people will hope, since developers see those platforms as a way to make money without a lot of the overhead.
  • Will Linux gain further market share as people continue to flee from Solaris and install new servers for new applications? Yes for both the shift and the lift.
  • Will there be more lawsuits around the use of open source in smartphones? Yes, and from the same and usual suspects.
  • Will Windows Phone 7 beat out Android phones or iPhones? Only in the State of Washington, briefly.
  • Will LibreOffice pass OpenOffice in downloads? No, but check back in 2012.
  • Will open source virtualization via KVM start to gain market share against VMWare and Microsoft HyperV? Yes.
  • Will the “open cloud” become more significant and more widely implemented? Only once we agree on a definition.
  • Will Windows Internet Explorer continue to lose market share to Firefox, Chrome, and Safari? Yes.
  • Will Diaspora replace FaceBook? No.
  • Will any open source system replace WordPress, Drupal, and Joomla in the top three of open source content management systems? No.
  • Will 2011 be the Year of the Linux Desktop? That was last year. Seriously, the question is no longer relevant, though Desktop Linux will be adopted by several surprisingly large organizations as well as many individuals.

In my personal opinion, the main open source areas to continue to watch in 2011 will be cloud, virtualization, system management, and analytics. Simplification and ease of use will be critical make or break factors for each.

On the standards side, the so-called open data movement will gain increasing importance especially as potential users realize they don’t want to have the formats dictated to them by a single company.

What are your predictions?