2016 Linux predictions: Which ones came true?

2016 Linux predictions: Which ones came true?

Roughly one year ago, I made a series of predictions about what would happen in the Linux world during 2016. Let’s take a look at just how wrong I was.

1. We still won’t be using Wayland

Ah, Wayland. The eternally yearned for replacement for Xorg that never seems to ship by default on any (major) Linux distribution. I predicted that the status quo would remain the same—that the world would remain Wayland-less throughout 2016.

I was wrong.

On Nov. 22, 2016, Fedora 25 shipped—and with Wayland as the default display server.

I was this close (I’m holding my fingers really close together) to being right about this one. We went through roughly 90 percent of the year before a major Linux distribution shipped with Wayland by default.

So close! But, technically, wrong.

2. systemd’s scope will expand

The prediction here was simple: Beloved/hated systemd will continue to expand well beyond the realm of what features an “init system” (which isn’t really what systemd even is anymore) would require.

Nailed it, though this was sort of a no-brainer.

3. Canonical will pull away from phones

Canonical/Ubuntu pulling away from the phone market? This is a hard one to measure.

Wait. No, it’s not.

The last press release from Canonical that was phone-related was back in April. And the main press page for Canonical doesn’t list a single thing about phones. The last several announcements from Canonical have been very enterprise-centric. Even in the lead up to the holiday shopping season, not a peep about phones.

Nailed it. Canonical pulled away from phones during 2016 in order to focus on enterprise functionality.

4. Android will gain significant desktop-centric functionality

This one was a bit of a no-brainer. Will Google add features to Android in 2016 that make it more usable as a desktop system?

In August of 2016, Android N was released with multi-window view.

Did I nail it? Yes. Yes, I did. But this one was so easy it was kind of cheating. 

5. ChromeOS will gain full access to the Google Play store

This was another obvious one. The hints had been there for a while. And in 2016, the first Google Chromebooks shipped with the Google Play Store, giving ChromeOS (at least on some devices) access to a mountain of Android applications.

Prediction success!

6. A new, Linux-based phone OS will appear

The idea here was simple: With Canonical seeming to slowly pull out of the phone OS business, a new system—something Linux based—would crop up to fill that space.

But that didn’t happen. No new Linux-based Phone OS appeared and garnered any significant mindshare.

I bombed that one.

7. elementary, openSUSE, Fedora will gain market share

Oh, man. Why did I make this prediction? Am I just trying to make more work for myself?

Did these three distributions grow in 2016? Well. I think so. But in order to know for sure, I’m going to need to spend some time crunching numbers with the various distributions and find out the details.

And that will be a future article after we clock over into 2017.

Result: Remains to be seen.

8. Microsoft will increase its open source activity 

In 2016, Microsoft joined the Linux Foundation. So, yeah. I’d say that prediction came true.

The results

Accurate predictions: 5
Failed predictions: 2
Unknown: 1

It isn’t perfect, but it’s pretty good if I do say so myself. Now to sit down and write up my predictions for 2017—I think I can do a little bit better this time.


Copyright © 2016 IDG Communications, Inc.

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