Looking back, looking ahead

December 29, 2010

Now that I have finally disengaged myself from the what is commercially and socially — and for some, spiritually (and God bless you, every one) — known as “the holiday season,” I have been giving a lot of thought to how good a year 2010 was, the Sun purchase by Oracle and the Novell deal notwithstanding, and what 2011 has to offer.

It looks like 2011 will be the year of the Linux deskt . . . I’m sorry, what? Oh. Well, never mind. Let’s skip that one

Looking back at 2010, most recently we had both Russia and Cuba going to FOSS, which must prove Steve Ballmer right about Linux being Communist. After all, I think a young Linus Torvalds was able to see Russia from his house a lot better than Sarah Palin could from Wasilla. Meanwhile, Red Hat — oh, what’s in a name anyway, comrade? — became poised to be the first billion-dollar Linux company and stats show that they are gaining market share in the corporate server world. Go, Shadowman! And there’s that little green space cadet Android making gains in the various markets where it now works. So despite an Apple/Microsoft shell company buying Novell and the other — and more evil — Larry essentially killing open source at what was once the Camelot-esque Sun, 2010 was a good year.

Of course, 2010 would not be complete without the introduction of Chux, the Linux distro developed by Chuck Norris — A Linux designed by Chuck Norris would require no backups, as it would be too scared of Chuck to fail, and the CPUs run faster to get away from Chuck Norris. You don’t boot it, it boots you. Go here to take a look here.

What would I like to see in 2011? Glad you asked. What would be nice would be:

Digital pundits not saying that 2011 is the year of the Linux desktop, because it’s won’t be. And that’s OK. Believe me, until this year when the San Francisco Giants won the World Series, I know the “wait-’til-next-year” drill very well. The year of the Linux desktop will come someday — as it should — but with all the advances Linux is making in server and smaller formats — yes, I’m looking at you, Android — we don’t have to put all our eggs in that basket to determine Linux a success. We don’t have to thump our proverbial chests and say “this year . . . the desktop,” and then when the end of the year rolls around and it isn’t, there’s not a whole lot of wailing and gnashing of teeth. To say nothing of garment-rending . . . . The fact of the matter is that Linux and FOSS are as healthy as they have ever been, Novell and Sun sale notwithstanding.

Go to the show: Linux shows and expos are popping up all over, so you really have no excuse in 2011 not to go to one. The established ones, like the Southern California Linux Expo (SCALE 9X this year) and OSCON, are now being joined by a whole host of other events throughout North America. Most recently, Indiana gets its own Linux festival in March, aptly titled the Indiana Linux Fest. It joins, in order of appearance (off the top of my head — and forgive me if I forget your expo), SCALE, Linux Fest Northwest, COSSFest in Calgary, Texas Linux Fest, Southeast Linux Fest (in the GNU South), OSCON, Ohio Linux Fest, and Utah Open Source Conference. You’ll find me at SCALE, Linux Fest Northwest, COSSFest (hopefully — if they let me out of the country), OSCON and Utah Open Source Conference on an annual basis.

Oh, and one more thing: Lindependence 2011 will be held in early July, around Independence Day, in Felton, California — where Lindependence started a couple of years ago.

Last, but certainly not least:

Large distros carrying their weight in the FOSS realm: First it was the GNOME study by David Neary that had Red Hat, Novell and others carrying the developmental mail for GNOME — Red Hat and Novell with 10-plus percent each — while Canonical came in at, wait for it, 1.03 percent. Fine. That’s been hashed out already both on these pages and elsewhere. But the Linux Foundation released its annual report on Linux kernel development late in the year — go ahead and get the PDF file here — and while you’re at it, you might want to do a search for Canonical to see how often it shows up. Spoiler alert: It doesn’t. And I’m just going to leave it at that, hoping that Canonical and/or Ubuntu shows up on next year’s report.

Let’s all have a great 2011.

[FSF Associate Member] (Fedora ambassador Larry Cafiero runs Redwood Digital Research in Felton, California, and is an associate member of the Free Software Foundation.)
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  1. Colonel Panik
    December 30, 2010 at 9:09 am

    2011 Year of the Linux Desktop? Sure seems like it at the Headquarters of the Panik battalion. With 5 laptops and one
    poor old desktop all running Linux, 1 Fedora, 2 Ubuntu, 2 with the wonderful Mint-Debian, 1 with some remix version of Ubuntu, I’d say it sure as hell is the year of the Linux Desktop. And it always will be.

    Community, that is what brought the Colonel to FOSS. You see
    I am really an old hippie and this Colonel stuff is just to
    throw off the authorities. Them bassackward conservatives loves them some military men. So, there must be some benefit to belonging to a community? Maybe it is the bigger
    knowledge pool. It could be the shared resources, material and talent. Could be that we are all afraid to be alone.
    Whatever the reason for your community, it will suffer an
    early demise if some of the members are just taking and not
    giving back. As LtFSG points out or points towards some very damning information on who is and isn’t helping to carry the load in our FOSS Community we should be thinking about how to encourage more participation from all the players.

    Nice list of upcoming events for the Linux/FOSS crowd, if there are more please let us know. These events go back to
    the Community thing. Talk about giving back? The people who
    cobble together these Cons/Fests are putting out a huge amount of time, money, effort and tears. I was able to follow the chatter on IRC for the first Texas Linux Fest, what a task they had. Of course everyone was a professional event coordinator and knew just what to do, lol. Watching the cars roll in for that first TxLF was something I will never forget. A 400+ group of geeks can take your breath away.
    There is today’s example of Community, we have more.

    2011 will be the Year of the Linux Community

    • December 30, 2010 at 9:16 am

      Well said, Colonel. Methinks you may have the makings of a blog here . . . .

  2. Alan
    December 30, 2010 at 2:39 pm

    Every blogger and tech journalist jokes about the whole “year of the linux desktop” thing, but I can’t remember the last time anyone seriously prognosticated a sudden massive move to FOSS on the desktop — 2006 maybe? I think even the most dogmatic pundits have long since realized that migration away from Windows (if it ever happens) will be slow, inconsistent, and probably aided by some other fundamental shift (like desktop => mobile).

    Or of course, the move to chux.

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