As 2009 came to a close and 2010 started I decided to put all of my schooling and research to good use and attempt some short term prognostication. I entered the realm of people making predictions for 2010. Here’s a recap of my predictions for 2010 and how everything shook out:
The Eclipse Foundation will undergo a major upheaval related to community/corporate structure and governance.
Wrong - As near as I can tell there was no upheaval in the Eclipse Foundation. The Foundation continues to grow and release some really high quality software.
Highly customized hardware running on Open Source will continue to under-perform, particularly OLPC and Litl
Correct - OLPC stayed relatively out of the news this last year. Most of the talk has focused around the XO-3 that is expected to be revealed at CES 2011. The biggest news that I remember seeing about OLPC is that the display technology was available from Pixel Qi and you could hack it into your netbook. Very cool, but not what OLPC set out to do. As for Litl, the only real time I heard about them over the past year was when they sponsored elements of the Boston GNOME Summit.
No Netflix on Linux
Correct - This was almost too easy. Next year I’ll predict that Mac users are smug.
The Boxee Box will underperform
Correct - The Boxee Box was delayed because of a switch to an Intel architecture, a decision that makes it very similar to a Google TV device. Complete with the drawbacks of content blocking. However, somewhat orthogonal, it appears that HTPC and embedded attached devices are still a niche market. Apple made some nice inroads with the new version of Apple TV, but that’s not open source. Given the tepid reviews of the Boxee Box, I’d say this was Correct.
Google will suffer a major privacy problem and be quiet about it
Mostly Correct - Google did have a bit of a privacy leak, but not quite in the way that I thought. Google Buzz proved to be a privacy disaster for them and it took them a while to respond. They were eventually sued over buzz and lost, but no compensation was due to users. I’d say that I’m 75% correct on this one, I’m taking off some because they did respond.
A major Open Source community will disassociate itself from the Free Software Foundation
Wrong - I don’t recall any major Open Source community attempting to disassociate itself from the FSF.
GNOME’s reliance on commercial firms will cause a schism and no one will care about GNOME in tablets and phones
Half Correct - This prediction was sloppy and really should have been two different predictions. It still appears that very few people care about MAEMO/MeeGo. The Nokia N8 is a niche device that even ubernerds tend to eschew. This doesn’t appear to have caused many problems for GNOME, however. Therefore, right on one, wrong on another.
Ubuntu will remove at least one major application and direct users to the cloud.
Wrong - Nothing of the sort happened. In retrospect this was a foolish prediction given how Ubuntu pushes itself for rural communities which may have poor network access.
Rights of Open Source authors will be challenged as a project evolves and code from the original authors no longer exists.
Wrong - I searched and couldn’t find any example of such a scenario when the original code from an author has been entirely removed and the license changed. Maybe this is too much of a stretch, or maybe it just didn’t make enough news.
At least one major project will transition from the GPL to a more business friendly license
Wrong - Although every year a handful of smaller projects switch licenses, I don’t remember seeing any major projects switch from the GPL to a more business friendly license. If anything, major GPL projects seem to have become stronger in their defense of the GPL (e.g. Wordpress).
Total score: 3 correct, 1 75% correct, 1 50% correct, 5 wrong. That means five of these came partially true, but if we just add the values, we get 4.25, which means that I wasn’t a golden prognosticator of Open Source for 2010. However, on the bright side, at least I was able to test my predictions, unlike Kurzweil, right?
Coming soon I’ll post my predictions for 2011. I’ve learned a little from this analysis and hope to use that knowledge to make some better future predictions.