It’s that time of year again. Last year I wrote about challenges and priorities for open source, standards, and virtual worlds. In January, 2007, I reviewed my favorite blog entries for 2006 (and note that I was considerably more succinct when I did this for 2008 about two weeks ago). Finally, in 2006 I made some “open wishes” for that year.
I do go back and read these prognostications though I don’t grade myself on them. What usually happens is that things turn out to be more complicated than expected or else something surprising pops up. Financial market meltdown effect on open source as predicted twelve months ago? Sun buying MySQL?
That’s fine, and that’s what makes this sort of thing entertaining, though what happened to Wall Street et al was not funny by any means.
When I make predictions I’m somewhat handicapped in what I can say. I can’t give away IBM plans or strategies, nor can I pretend to make official pronouncements on behalf of the company when I’m really just trying to stimulate conversation and brainstorming. Business and industry partnerships also limit the amount I might decide to be critical about another industry player. That is, and I think you all know this, I’m not really completely independent.
Thus, to be clear, what follows are just my personal thoughts on some things we might or might not see in 2009 as it concerns open source.
- The pressure will pick up on successful open source database-driven projects like WordPress to use databases like PostgresSQL in addition to MySQL, though it might be difficult to do.
- We will not see a major fork of MySQL away from the Sun-maintained version.
- Microsoft will initiate a serious and non-trivial project at the Apache Software Foundation, in part to show that their $100,000 investment last summer was more than just marketing.
- Microsoft will not initiate any sort of serious and non-trivial project using GPL v3, though they will by 2012.
- OpenOffice.org will continue to mature and add users, especially on the Mac.
- Apple’s iWork desktop productivity suite will gain support for ODF, with interoperability with OpenOffice.org a key consideration.
- We still won’t see an open source competitor to Adobe Photoshop that has enough features and is easy enough to use. (I know about GIMP and Seashore.)
- The level of shrillness about open source supporters who use Macs will rise.
- The number of open source supporters who use Macs will rise. (Aside: empirically, the number of industry analysts who use Macs already appears to have increased.)
- The use or planned use of open source in governments, especially the US, will rise significantly.
- We’ll see fewer columns and trade journal blogs dedicated to open source by the end of the year as 1) open source becomes more mainstream, and 2) people run out of things to say.
- The growth of new open source projects on sites like Sourceforge will slow, but the total number of open source contributions will increase as more people work on key projects.
- Business will be good for intellectual property attorneys as more companies decide to incorporate externally-developed open source code into their products.
- OpenSimulator will increasingly challenge Second Life for those who wish to host their own virtual worlds.
- A new non-Java, non-Mono open source virtual world project will start to get serious traction this year.
I may come back and add a hunch or two as I think about this some more. How about you? What do you think will happen?