This is a list of my predictions of the future of computing - software, hardware, platforms and vendors, and the possibilities for new killer applications. ( and indeed, a fervent wishlist as well )
Prediction 1 ) Linux - and its future.
Kernel 2.2 (Summer of 98) will vastly improve hardware support under Linux, and will improve scalability and performance under heavy loads.
Kernel 2.3 will include universal graphics driver support in the kernel - ie on any platform, a tux logo could be shown at bootup. The whole graphics system will be simplified and of course optional - ie unneeded by a server - but no more suid root doom.
The use of kmod ( and hopefully its simplification of modules ) will lend itself to plug and play autodetection of hardware under Linux - as a consequence, Linux will no longer be so hard to install.
Gimp, Netscape 5, and Lyx will demonstate the worth of free (open source) software to the non technical end user.
Enlightenment, KDE and GNOME will demonstrate the range, power and flexibility of GUI's on Linux, and make GUI linux ( ie X ) more user friendly. And hopefully, any application using the athena widget set will die a slow death ( just personal prejudice )
Hopefully, a complete linux configuration and administration system will have been adopted by multiple vendors - everything from adding a new user to pushing a button to download a new kernel patch, apply it, recompile and insert a new lilo entry ni lilo.conf - in order that linux newbies can maintain a system. This system should be accessible from command line with optional flags ( for scripting, i guess) , a curses based character/menu interface, from within X, and a java/html interface for remote use with a browser ( no more need for telnet, hopefully)
Dosemu will be completed as it chases a stable target. Wine will be incomplete, but usable (in beta at least)
These will lead to more market penetration in server and desktop arenas, and to more ports of commercial software and more favourable publicity.
Prediction 2) Microsoft
Microsoft - will go from strength to strength. NT will gain market share, and with new releases of Windows 98 and 5 the critics of windows and bill will be submerged in the general "rejoicing" of a new release from redmond ( and more owners of obsoleted hardware will look outside the windows world. )
Prediction 3) Commercial Unix
Commercial Unix will suffer. The least capable will falter, and a new Unix vendor in both software and hardware will arise. Apple will eventually drop MacOS and promote its unix varient - while losing market share to everyone else. SGI,HP,Sun, will live on, SCO will die to NT, free unix and ported Unix on Merced. Digital will allow VMS to die while promoting the fastest NT servers. In the high end, Unix will expand the possibilities while in the low end losing out to cheaper hardware which gives more performance per pound.
Prediction 4) Any further killer applications will occur outwith the PC/Server domain, and instead in the field of consumer goods. These might include PDAS, set top boxes ( on say an Acorn Risc chip with ROM or CD-ROM based OS and applications - like PlayStation.
To round it off, OS/2 is dead and will fade yet further, Netware may cling on, DOS will be relegated completely to microcontrol systems and displace CPM there for the last time. Sun, Digital, ARM, Motorola will be the last major players in CPU's - Sun,Digital,Motorala in servers and Intel compatible on desktops - ARM chips for set top or embedded systems use.
Many ommisions, and innacuracies to be sure, but a plausible view of the future?
George Russell (posted to c.o.l.a)