The world-dominating operating system of the next 50 years

08Jan07

What Operating System will you be running on your desktop after 2008? For the next 36 to 50 years? Do you care?

If yes, go on and read the essay “World Domination 201” by Eric S. Raymond (of “The Cathedral and the Bazaar” fame) and Rob Landley. In the essay, the authors claim that the race for the dominating operating system of the coming 50 years will be decided between now and 2008. They also point out what needs to happen in the Linux space win that race towards Desktop domination.

Now, I have mixed feelings about that essay: It is really interesting and written in very convincing style. Maybe the the race really will be decided between now and 2008. However, will pre-installs, hardware and multimedia support really swing it? I always thought that applications are what made people use computers.

Whenever I talk to someone regarding computers, what seems to be important is getting things done. No amount of multimedia support and hardware support will convince people to use a system if their favourite software is not available.

The more I think about it, the authors seem to describe the factors that are considered a prerequisite for adoption of an operating system – the “hygiene factors” of operating systems. If an OS does not fulfill these requirements, it will not be adopted on a wider scale. But fulfilling them will not mean that everyone will suddenly switch to that OS.

Achieving everything the authors outline will not be an easy task. Once it is done, Linux will have qualified as a contender for the race – but the race will not yet be won. I suppose that makes the essay “World Domination 102” rather than 201.

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