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Date:      Tue, 19 Jul 2011 09:32:26 +0200
From:      Polytropon <>
To:        Konrad Heuer <>
Subject:   Re: 2020: Will BSD and Linux be relevant anymore?
Message-ID:  <>
In-Reply-To: <>
References:  <>

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On Tue, 19 Jul 2011 08:18:41 +0200 (CEST), Konrad Heuer wrote:
> But: Neither BSD nor Linux will ever have chance to conquere the desktop, 
> despite of KDE, Gnome or anything else.

On the other hand, the desktop as we understand it today
won't be present in the future. More and more mobile devices
will obsolete localized storage and processing, so in my
opinion, systems will divide in (1st) those that run on
client devices such as netbooks, smartphones and tablets,
and (2nd) those that run on the "big servers" bringing
storage, processing power and applications to the users.

> In business environments there is 
> no alternative to Windows.

Depends => debatable. An example is LVM insurances: They
switched thousands of desktop to Linux recently. Another
example is IBM using OpenOffice.

Over the years, business environments will realize that
in order to get costs down and productivity up, there is
no alternative to abandoning "Windows". But this process
will take some time. I believe that it will happen, as
the current path just means increasing costs in _any_
regards. Still, as long as this costs can be "integrated"
into products and services that the customer finally will

> Microsoft successfully created Active Directory 
> from DNS, LDAP and Kerberos with an easy-to-manage interface and - 
> meanwhile - a seasonable server operating system like Windows Server 
> 2008R2.

You can ask the admins of that environments what _they_ think.
Increasing costs for IT installations and IT staff. Many of
the "Windows" admins are tired of using outdated software,
keeping dead applications on artificial life support and
users being less and less able to do "everday tasks" (from
their point of view, of course).

Among my friends, I have few "Windows" admins, and some of
them have a UNIX background. They often express the wish
for things we take for granted in BSD - tools for automation,
for diagnostics, tools to look into the "black box" that
decides about decline and fall of a business, while being
faced with problems that they can just solve by the well
known "wipe + install cycle". As long as everything seems
to work - fine. But if it surprisingly stops working - big
trouble. They also complain about less and less knowledge,
experience, logic, understanding of fundamentals and even
terminology, missing ability of deduction among young IT

> It was long way for them from horrible Windows NT, but they did 
> it. I don't see any chance to manage a large client-server-cloud with BSD 
> or Linux as you can do with Active Directory.

The tools are there. What I assume you seem to miss is the
front-end GUI that allows illiterate people to administrate
such a complex conglomerate. Computers aren't easy, although
advertising wants to make people believe the opposite. And
as soon as the existence of a business depends on a working
IT, less costs are better. And if less costs also bring less
risk (from proprietary stuff and vendor lock-in), the better.
But as long as money doesn't play an important role...

> Additionally, and especially in the personal environment, the market will 
> more and more move away from the traditional PC or notebook -- except for 
> games, but that's again not an area where Linux or BSD are strong -- to 
> tablet PCs and other mobile devices.

Well, I also assume this. And entertainment components will
also undergo such a kind of migration, means that Internet
functionality will be in the TV set, and gaming... hmmm...
that's where consoles still hold an important market share,
next to gaming PCs.

> To my mind we'll have to face a rapid 
> change within the next years, and operating systems of the future might be 
> Android or IOS or Windows Mobile or something similar which my base on 
> Linux or BSD but are something different.

Rapid? I don't think so. Business is lazy, and governments
are lazier than lazy, so the transition to locally-centralized
installations will take some time. Of course I can't be sure
about the time required for this, 10, maybe 20 years?

But the change _will_ happen, driven by industry primarily.
Users will adopt, as always.

> BSD will have to keep in and find new niches on the server market.

It will be among the systems keeping dead systems alive, and
it will surely be important for running technically fundamental
infrastructures on which the shiny boxes build their front.

> The 
> number of installations is not the most important figure. Functionality is 
> important -- ZFS, HAST, CARP, jails, as already mentioned -- would be nice 
> to see a distributed file system.

Hmmm... sounds familiar. Didn't VMS have that? Oh wait, things
like VMS didn't even exist! :-)

Linux and BSD will be there, in one form or another. Especially
BSD will be part of systems you "don't see", such as routing
systems, firewalls, PBXs and so on - due to its licensing
that allows free use (and even turning it into a proprietary
product). Linux will also be the basis of the software used
in mobile devices, as it it will be a platform for non-x86
systems that fit the needs of mobile computing much better.

As people slowly start to realize that security is important,
there will be "new chances" for Linux and BSD to provide what
MICROS~1 has (intendedly) failed to deliver: Security you can
rely on, by the fact that nothing is hidden (and can be used
for "unofficial" purposes by governmental contracts). There
are also interesting projects about a "High Security Server"
(HSS) developed by a german security company. Especially in
Cloud computing this will be important.

Do you remember the fun when MICROS~1 + Telekom customers
lost all their data in the Cloud years ago? :-)

While I agree that Linux and BSD _may_ be irrelevant to the
masses, it will be relevant to "non-conformers" (the real
professionals) in 2020. Two years later, we'll be processed
into Soylent Green anyway. :-)

Magdeburg, Germany
Happy FreeBSD user since 4.0
Andra moi ennepe, Mousa, ...

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