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InformationWeek Predicts Linux’s Future

InformationWeek tries to guess what Linux will look like in another four years in “What Linux Will Look Like In 2012.”

The most interesting and important issue will be continued efforts, and successes, in simplifying Linux for use by regular people who don’t care that much about computers.

IW emphasizes this first in its piece: “The single biggest change you’ll see is the way Linux evolves to meet the growing market of users who are not themselves Linux-savvy, but are looking for a low-cost alternative to Microsoft (or even the Mac). That alone will stimulate enormous changes across the board, but there are many other things coming down the pike in the next four years, all well worth looking forward to.”

The growing wave of ultra-mobile PCs (or “netbooks”), inspired by the OLPC XO and led by Asus’ Eee PC, may prove to be the first foothold Linux makes in its assault on the end-user space. “By 2012, it’ll be a brand name unto itself, thanks to the exploding netbook market, where Linux has proven itself to be a solid way to build an inexpensive computing platform. By that time, many first-tier manufacturers like Dell ought to be offering such devices — and those that already do (like HP) will probably be looking seriously at offering more Linux-based gear.”

(Ubuntu also sees the potential of netbooks, and has launched “Ubuntu Netbook Remix” to address this market.)

In conlusion, IW sees Linux increasing its technical strengths, consolidating its current markets, and successfully branching out to new areas. Better usability and pricing will ensure it rapid and sustainable growth.

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