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2008 to be year of non-desktop LinuxJay Lyman, January 3, 2008 @ 2:19 pm ET
I wanted to be among the first to post about how 2008 looks to be the year of desktop Linux (half jokingly, of course). Then I thought about how far the Linux OS has to go before it is approaching even Apple’s slice of the market (which by the way is getting bigger).
Fact is, with a variety of new and old PC form factors and vendor initiatives, 2008 will probably be quite good for desktop Linux. It could darn well be a breakout year. However, I don’t think we’ll be hearing as much in 2008 about desktop uses of Linux as we will about other forms of Linux driving its use.
Top of the list is virtual appliances, which typically run a trimmed-down OS. Linux is free, flexible, stable and secure. It is helping drive virtual appliances, with vendors such as virtualization veteran VMware and its Virtual Appliance Marketplace as well as newcomers such as JumpBox building appliances on the open source OS. We’ll also see more from Red Hat, which is incorporating appliances prominently in its latest Linux strategy.
2008 should also bring a continuation of Linux preference and productivity for embedded and mobile devices. Linux lies at the center of Android, Google’s forray into mobile device software. Linux is also the fastest-growing business segment for embedded and device OS sellers such as Wind River, which sees no slowing of Linux not only in mobile devices, but also in networking equipment and the hot segment of automotive infotainment (aka vehicle telematics).
We can also expect more action around real-time Linux, which is getting a big-time push by some significant forces. First and foremost are financial services customers willing to pay high premiums for any performance increases they can get. Vendors such as Concurrent, Monta Vista, Novell and Red Hat are all looking to respond to these and other high-end customers. In addition, the Linux kernel community has come around to real-time and is now driving both collaboration and competition.
Closely related is supercomputing and HPC. I wrote in 2007 about the continued leadership of Linux among the world’s top supercomputers and HPC. The trend should continue in 2008, giving Linux (represented by a handful of companies rather than one) the kind of dominance that Microsoft has held on the North American desktop.
Sure, we’ll be hearing about desktop Linux and the OS should manage some substantial gains there, but I believe these other uses of Linux are what will really highlight 2008.
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