Great Expectations for Linux in 2013

Well another holiday season has come and gone, leaving more than a few jangled nerves and expanded waistlines in its wake.

Holiday pressures are bad enough by themselves, of course, but Canonical’s splashy and yet profoundly confusing Wednesday announcement so soon afterward hasn’t exactly helped.

Yes, it’s Ubuntu for phones, but it isn’t the same as the Ubuntu for Android you’ve been expecting for almost a year! Sure, makes perfect sense!

Oof, it’s going to take more than a few triple Tequila Tux cocktails to bring back Linux Girl’s hitherto cheerful post-holiday mood.

What May Come

Anyhoo, leaving all that Ubuntu wackiness aside for the moment — Linux Girl knows she can’t avoid discussing it, but will save it for another day — it’s time to look at the big picture.

This is the start of a momentous new year, after all, and as such Linux bloggers — like so many others around the world — have been forming their hopes for what may come over the next 12 months.

Ready for an obfuscation-free look at the future? Then relax, sit back and read on.

‘Greater OEM Acceptance’

“My hopes and dreams for Linux are really the same for 2013 as they’ve been since the 90s,” Google+ blogger Linux Rants offered over a fresh round down at the blogosphere’s Broken Windows Lounge.

Specifically, “I’d love to see a greater OEM acceptance of Linux, with more big-name brands like Dell, HP, and Lenovo not only selling Linux-based computers, but promoting them to the public,” he explained.

Windows 8 has “greatly increased the attractiveness of Linux-based systems just by being Windows 8, and I really hope that the FOSS community can take advantage of that opportunity,” Linux Rants added.

Indeed, Linux Girl will toast to that whole-heartedly.

‘Retail Shelf Space Will Open Up’

“In 2013, ARM and */Linux will intrude in the desktop/notebook space in a big way, agreed blogger Robert Pogson.

“From Chromebooks to thin clients, there won’t be a form factor untouched,” he added. “The difference? Retail shelf space will open up to */Linux on everything, not just small cheap mobile computers.”

That trend actually started back in 2011, Pogson told Linux Girl, and “was proved viable with a few more successes in 2012.”

‘Nowhere to Go but Down’

Now, “in 2013, OEMs and retailers will flood the market with */Linux on all kinds of things after seeing in spades that ‘8’ does not sell at any price,” he predicted. “2013 will be the year that M$’s OS took a nose-dive from its lofty heights onto the busy streets of IT.

“Wintel has been pretty flat for a year, and there was no joy from ‘8,’” Pogson concluded. “There’s nowhere to go but down.”

Consultant and Slashdot blogger Gerhard Mack had other matters on his mind.

“For 2013, I hope Valve ports more games to Linux and that other game makers will follow suit,” he told Linux Girl.

‘Give Linux a Real Chance’

Google+ blogger Gonzalo Velasco C. said he not only wishes “all GNU/Linux developers and users the best,” but also that “other OSes’ users would give Linux a real chance,” he began. “So may they find something good and useful they are going to love, in time.”

In addition, “I also wish some OEM big guys would stop flirting and coming with empty or low-quality proposals, and start giving GNU/Linux the whole respect it deserves as a good, mature and complete OS for corporate and domestic users,” Gonzalo Velasco C. said.

Within the Linux community, meanwhile, “I think some standardization would be nice,” he added. “To make four or five mainstreams regarding packaging, formatting, hard drive managing… would be great. More fragmentation is only good in a scenario of alien invasion :-D”

‘A Legitimate Option for the People’

Slashdot blogger hairyfeet saw a shift in power on the way in this upcoming year.

“Google is taking Linux away from the all the little prima donna devs and the 50 billion projects controlled by little nobodies that control their own little fiefdoms and don’t play nice with each other to put a top-down control in place and thus FINALLY bring FOSS software to the masses,” hairyfeet suggested.

“In just a few years, Google has caused FOSS to explode,” hairyfeet explained. “Not only will we have phones and tablets and laptops and even game consoles, but we have even seen Android taking over more and more jobs away from Linux like plug PCs and STBs.”

Hairyfeet’s hope and dream, then, “is just for Google to keep doing what they are doing, bringing FOSS up as a legitimate OS that your average user can actually buy and use,” he concluded. “Because at the end of the day, I thought that was the goal of FOSS (not RMS and GPL — that is another story): to be a legitimate option for the people and to compete not because of philosophy but because it’s just really, really good.”

‘I Hope We Get Back to Freedom’

Last but not least, Google+ blogger Kevin O’Brien took a high-level view.

“I hope we will get back to freedom,” O’Brien told Linux Girl.

“The emphasis over the last few years has been on commercial success, of which the worst example is ‘open core,’ which I define as ‘I want the cool factor of being open while keeping control of everything,'” he explained.

“I did not join the free software community in order to promote corporate success,” O’Brien concluded. “And for those companies that complain that free software is too restrictive in its licensing, I say, ‘Tough. If you don’t like it, write your own damn software.'”

Katherine Noyes has been writing from behind Linux Girl's cape since late 2007, but she knows how to be a reporter in real life, too. She's particularly interested in space, science, open source software and geeky things in general. You can also find her on Twitter and Google+.

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