Kelly's Top 5 Tech Predictions for 2007 (as relevant to SkyOS)
Lots of people in the tech industry like to take a shot at predicting how the future in our industry will unfold over the course of the upcoming year. I'm almost done reading "Dealers of Lightning: Xerox PARC and the Dawn of the Computer Age" by Michael Hiltzik (which gives a very detailed history of Xerox's "PARC" project), and it sort of inspired me to see how well I could do predicting some future courses as they might relate to SkyOS, as well as dropping some hints as to where I know we are already going. ;) Feel free to ridicule me in the comments to this news item. :)
1. SkyOS LiveCD. A SkyOS LiveCD will be made available in the near future. It will include access to some of the most popular/useful applications available in SkyOS, and will give users the ability to run through and generally evaluate the system as a whole. Timeframe: Q1/Q2 of 2007. Likeliness: 9/10.
2. Firefox continues to gain steam, others follow. This is probably a no-brainer, but maybe not? It seems like a lot of people in the tech media seem to think that Internet Explorer 7 is going to start drawing people back to the fold. I think this is bunk. I always tell people that in order for a product to gain marketshare, it has to no only MEET the capabilities of the current champ, but EXCEED them as well (I'm not the only or first one to champion this idea, just to make sure that's known). The reason Firefox took off like a wildfire is because it was better than Internet Explorer. At best, Internet Explorer 7 is as good as Firefox, but the damage has been done. I honestly feel that the web browser market is a good parallel for the desktop market (albeit with some major differences). I think that Apple, the Linux community, and likewise the SkyOS team need to keep in mind that not only do we need to be as good as Windows, we need to be better. That means better reliability, better protection, better experience...just better.
Hopefully other software packages will keep that in mind as well. Thunderbird has made some great in-roads, and OpenOffice is...well, they're trying. :) At the end of the day, if these cross-platform applications can make some headway, it will in turn help other platforms to gain market share as well (obviously). Timeframe: 2007. Likeliness: 10/10 (Firefox), 5/10 (everything else).
3. Windows Vista will neither succeed or fail. As systems like MacOS X and Linux (especially Ubuntu as of late) become more attractive to end-users (due to whatever reasons, price, aesthetic appeal, killer-apps, etc), Microsoft's grip on the industry will begin to slip. I'm not going to be the average harbinger of doom for Microsoft, and proclaim this year to be "The Year of (insert platform of choice here)", but rather, I think it will be a cumulative effort of many systems that will cause their domination to falter, if ever so slightly. Vista will obviously sell what it needs to, and in that respect it will be successful as Microsoft sometimes defines the word, but I think that the adoption/migration rate will begin to slow, and the reason for this will be users finally starting to look elsewhere.
People often ask if I hope that Linux and MacOS fail, in the hopes that this would somehow help SkyOS's chances of success. Aside from the obvious fact that both these respective projects have demographics that are exponentially larger than ours (and thus, their successes/failures literally have no bearing on what we do), quite the opposite, I hope they continue to gain new grounds. If there were no MacOS or Linux, and SkyOS had to battle against one dominant system on our own, we would not win, bottom line. One dominant system means that particular system controls the industry, both in settings standards, as well as market share. With two systems (enter, say, MacOS), both the controlling parties of that system would have to coerse with one another to stymie any additional competition, which becomes harder (both with the laws and logistics involved). Enter a third party (say Linux), and it becomes very hard for one system to retain control, especially as the other systems begin to pick up market share. The systems begin having to cooperate and adhere to more open standards in order for them to stay in business.
With that in mind, the barrier to entry begins to lower, which makes way for hobby OS's, to become AltOS's, and finally mainstream OS's. So rather than hoping for MacOS X and Linux to fail, quite opposite, I wish them enduring and increasing success in the new year. Timeframe: Q1 2007 and beyond. Likeliness: 7/10.
4. ATI (AMD) will open some specifications. Over the course of the year, I think that some or many of the specifications needed to create drivers and support for ATI's technology will be opened up by AMD. I believe this for two reasons:
- First, AMD is going to be integrating ATI's technology, moving it from a dedicated card, to a chipset or subset of the processor (maybe both). This is to make them more competitive with Intel, who has already opened the specs for much of their graphics technology. This will necessitate that AMD follow suit, in order to become competitive on that front.
- Second, I really feel that AMD will move away from dedicated cards (see previous listing item), which will remove them from such a direct competition with NVIDIA. This is another reason why ATI never opened specs, and with that barrier out of the way, hopefully they will be more inclined to open their specs.
This of course means good things for OS's like Linux and SkyOS, who will hopefully be able to actually support ATI's line of hardware. Who knows, maybe it will even encourage NVIDIA to consider a similar move... Timeframe: Q3 2007 and beyond. Likeliness: 6/10.
5. Finally, SkyOS will be publicly released. After what seems about 30 years worth of work (I'm sure even more to Robert), SkyOS will finally be released to the public. Lots of details are still being worked out on this one (as well as the obvious issues still present in the system), but we're really shooting to make it happen. Timeframe: Q3/Q4 2007. Likeliness: 7/10.
How does that sound? Am I crazy? I know that at least for the SkyOS-specific predictions, they're based on more than my own crazy observations. I guess we'll have to meet back here in 2008 to see how I did. :)