The Future of Linux
14 July 1998
Prepared Question #2
Where will Linux be in two to three years?
- Sunil Saxena: ``It's all on my foil right here.''
- Among internets / intranets / ISPs, Linux will continue to grow,
especially in corporate America; we'll see continued adoption.
- There will be new growth in the areas of E-commerce and
business-to-business Internet EDI (electronic data exchange).
- It will start showing up in all sorts of Internet appliances,
including wearable computers, video-conferencing systems, etc.
- We'll see 64-bit Linux on the IA-64 (Merced).
- Linux will move into the data center via high-availability clusters
and 16- to 32-way SMP systems.
- Other spiffy features like I2O, hot swap, serial-based server
management and control, etc., will be supported.
- Linux developers will be granted early access and increased access
to specs and Intel engineers.
- ``Please come talk to us and tell us what we can do.''
- Larry Augustin:
- One big prediction: kernel 2.2 will be released within three
years (``and that's pushing it''). [much
- He also took the opportunity to thank Leonard Zubkoff for the
four-way Xeon port being demoed by VA Research in the rear.
Apparently he modified (added?) 20 lines of code at the last
minute without even having all of the sources there.
- Robert Hart:
- Two to three years is an eternity for Linux--even a week is a long
- People are lazy, and laziness leads to creativity, which means
great improvements for Linux.
- He again noted that it's the only non-MS operating system to gain
market share and that it's being actively courted by large vendors
such as Intel. He also noted that it's generating strong media
interest, and not only that, but the reporting is generally both
accurate and useful. (He thanked the representatives of the press
in the audience.)
- There will be a strong showing of easy-to-use apps.
- Linux will be the dominant server platform, not just on Intel but
across all platforms. I believe he mentioned ``64-bit, 4-way
- He mentioned that it was Bastille Day and recalled how, in 1788
and 1789, the people rose up and stormed the IT department and
gave freedom to oppressed machines. ``They even executed some
people.'' But he disputed his own comparison and said that Linux
isn't so much a revolution as an evolution; it didn't happen just
- He concluded by predicting that in two to three years, Linux will
be ``very nearly everywhere.''
- Linus Torvalds:
- ``I'm really bad at predictions.'' For example, a few years ago
when he was asked about SMP support, his reaction was, ``I dunno,
it's too expensive''; he said he didn't care much about it and
didn't find it interesting. But for the last year he's worked
almost exclusively on SMP.
- 2.2 will be out by then. [much
- The kernel is really just a vessel for what one can do; he claimed
that it was inappropriate to ask him such a question--``what's
really exciting is apps'' (and the journaling file system is
- Servers will be big. [Do we sense a theme
- The interesting part will be ``pretty'' apps that traditionally
haven't been Unix-based.
- Jeremy Allison:
- He used to keep track of every minor release of every piece of
free software; these days no one can do so for even 10% of it,
and there be some incredibly cool things in that other 90%.
- Linux will be a ``killer server platform.''
- Everyone at Cisco Systems already use Linux every time they print,
whether they know it or not. [See
this c.o.l.a announcement for details about the printer-admin
tool used at Cisco.]
- At least one major PC vendor will start shipping PCs with Linux
pre-installed. (And if not, Robert will start such a company...)
- With regard to applications, vendors are already ``not as greedy''
as they've traditionally been on Unix systems; Linux apps are
priced similarly to Wintel apps, not five times more. Linux will
be ``where the mothers are''--on the desktop--and one will be able
to buy almost any app for Linux.
- Linux is likely to overtake something, but I missed what...
- And again, he predicted that Linux will be installed on 20% to 25%
of shipping Intel systems.
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Copyright © 1998 Greg Roelofs.