Change is in the air in 2009.
- 7 is being touted as a “Linux-killer” by sycophants of that other OS. This means the puppet-masters are fearful of GNU/Linux. They have been fearful since 2000 or so when IBM began to push GNU/Linux. Now their worst nightmares are coming true:
- netbooks give them nowhere to hide the cost of that other OS
- Obama won
- Vista only sells to those who do not know they have a choice
- economic downturn makes GNU/Linux very conspicuous as a centre of growth
- Obama won. He used FLOSS in his campaign. He has asked McNealy to report on use of FLOSS in government
- netbooks are selling like hot-cakes
- quad-core CPUs are becoming inexpensive but CPUs have been good enough for a long time, probably since 1998 for the desktop, and 1990 for thin clients.
- layoffs abound, even in IT
- RAM prices are dirt-cheap
- hard drive prices are becoming dirt-cheap
- motherboards are having GNU/Linux in ROM and it is not only for thin clients
What does all this mean? I believe we will see real change in IT in 2009.
- The quad-core revolution combined with dirt-cheap components will permit M$’s bloat to run for those foolish enough to spend money on high-end systems when low-end will do the job but I predict fewer people will be that foolish in 2009. Not everyone chooses to drive a Cadillac. Other cars have wheels. Most people are finding the wonderfully inexpensive netbooks will do the jobs they need doing: surfing and a bit of word-processing. With more services coming from the web, very few of us need anything more than that. Intel and AMD who have bet the farm on high-end CPUs will be in for a shock in 2009 when netbooks keep growing and notebooks and desktops become large netbooks. Wintel cannot fool all the people all the time. Price/performance competition is emerging to undermine the sand-castle of monopoly.
I am surprised by AMD. They seem to be ignoring the netbook. This is utter folly. Soon only gamers, HPC, and servers will use AMD’s chips.
- Ignoring the netbook/assuming it is transient will cost AMD and Intel dearly in 2009. Chinese home-grown processors, VIA and others will make huge gains in unit-share.
- If 7 is installed on netbooks without malware-scanning they will be owned by the malware. If 7 is installed with malware-scanning/DRM/phoning home, what will happen to the “performance increase” over Vista? GNU/Linux will win the netbook market easily. There is no magic in 7. It cannot do more useless stuff without impacting performance.
- Emerging markets will continue to gobble up GNU/Linux as they are very sensitive to price and not locked in. Expect much of Europe, South America, Asia and Africa to grow away from the monopoly in 2009. Netbooks will lead the charge. If the big OEMs will not produce enough of them others will. Others are 40% of the production now. ACER and ASUS grew spectacularly in 2008 by pushing netbooks.
- Chinese production of all things IT will continue to grow. They are not locked in to Wintel and will produce $100 netbooks in 2009 in quantity. That will surely be the end of the Wintel monopoly. If netbooks are hot everywhere at $250-$300, they will be incendiary at $100. There will be few sales of licences by M$ at that price. If M$ tries to sell 7 for $0 on the netbook, who, in their right mind, would pay $300 for it on a bigger machine? Very few. Only those locked in and they are not buying in 2009.
- The only reasonable use for the quad-core CPUs on most desktops will be as a GNU/Linux terminal server so expect huge increases in this sector. In a few years, thin clients will be as popular as netbooks today. Price/performance advantages are very large against XP. They will be astronomical against Vista/Vista II. The OEMs will have to push hard on server consolidation and terminal servers to sell chips in 2009. That other OS is at an extreme disadvantage in these spaces because of the GUI/malware/updates/registry/re-re-re-boots/lack of shared memory. It is a single-user OS, after all. Compared to GNU/Linux, on the server, Vista/Vista II is like DOS compared to UNIX, a pale imitation.
Thin client production/sales should make a real move in 2009. Growth and consolidation have made the supply side mature but they have plenty of production head-room. 2009 will use that up. Because of the low material costs, thin client production can be ramped up much faster than desktop/notebook production falls. There will be a large market swing in 2009. For schools, governments, and offices in business and healthcare, expect many new installations/upgrades to use thin clients. Those that stick with Wintel will lose a lot of the cost advantage of thin clients but gain the labour reductions matching the economic downturn. Those who adopt GNU/Linux will have it all. OpenSolaris will have some action too.
- The Seagate fiasco will see a shift to Western Digital. No one needs the hassle of flashing their hard drives. Coming in an economic downturn, this event could be a severe hit for Seagate. Perhaps they will not recover from it. They lost brand loyalty.
- In 2009, M$ should start re-organizing. They cannot ignore reality much longer or they will take a big hit in their bottom line. If Vista does not sell in 2009, “software assurance” fizzles, and they dump XP on netbooks at a very low price, where is the growth? The toys will not subsidize the empire. It must eventually produce something of value in the market or be replaced with something that does. 7 is M$’s last chance and the longer it is delayed, the more remote is that chance. If 7 comes out laden with DRM/phoning home/any warts at all then the cash cow is ended. Christmas 2009 will be the deadline. If 7 is not a winner by then it never will be able to hold back the flood. To be a winner, 7 has to appeal to the XP-lovers out there and it will not. To promote 7 they will have to kill XP and that is the end of the story. If they keep XP some way, they will lock themselves into technology from 2001 which was obsolete then. There is no way that will be able to compete with market dominance in the face of Vista II/GNU/Linux etc. They cannot promote both XP and Vista II. The hypocrisy will be palpable. Will they keep XP for netbooks only? Then business will migrate to Mac OS or GNU/Linux. If they allow XP back onto notebooks/desktops then the XP-lovers will never buy the newer products. Will they put an XP-skin on Vista II? Then performance will drop again. This is a no-win situation for M$ They must descend the mountain of monopoly to survive.
- GNU/Linux will keep on doing what it is doing. Through diversity, it can survive any twists of fate. Through collaboration it will become the largest software development house on the planet. In 2009, everyone on the planet will know there is a choice in OS. Everyone will have that choice and many millions will make that choice. They will have lower-cost software and make the best use of their hardware.
Update:M$ makes cuts. How is that for an accurate prediction? I had not read this article which was published today when I made my prediction. M$ blames netbooks. HAHAHAHA! M$ should blame its short-sighted approach to IT. The chickens are coming home to roost.