2008 Predictions

Zeth has blogged his predictions for 2008. I thought that I would post up a reply here, rather than leaving a comment!

There are a few of his predictions I wanted to challenge (so, when January 2009 comes round, I can either have egg on my face or, preferably, point and say “I told you so”!)

A single Linux distro, probably Ubuntu, will have more users than Apple OS X.

I doubt this will happen. Unfortunately I couldn’t find any statistics, but I believe the Mac market share is ~5%, and the Linux market share is <0.5%. For Linux — and not just Linux, one distribution — to climb up the rankings that much would require a seismic shift in the market (Ok, I probably shouldn’t use the word ‘market’, but I just did, so there :p) — the likes of which have never been seen before in the Linux world.

I don’t think this will be the year of Linux just yet, and although I think Desktop Linux will catch on – gradually – I don’t think we’re ready just yet to overtake OS X.

By the end of the year, more pre-installed Linux desktops will be sold than Macs.

See what I said regarding the last prediction. I don’t think Linux is going to grow that fast, particularly as there isn’t really a market for pre-installed Linux desktops at the moment. How many Linux desktops have Dell sold so far? Around 40,000. How many Macs do Apple sell? This page would seem to indicate it’s around 2,000,000 per quarter. So we’ve got a fair way to go.

Social networking will become a protocol.

I’m not sure whether Zeth here is a little confused as to what the meaning of ‘protocol’ is, or perhaps I’ve just missed something important about Web 2.0. But in my understanding, TCP is a protocol (cunningly demonstrated by the use of the word ‘Protocol’ in ‘Transport Connection Protocol’). IP is a protocol, HTTP is a protocol. But social networking? Not a protocol on a level I’m used to dealing with.

The dictionary defines protocol as ‘a set of rules governing the format of messages that are exchanged between computers’ — not as ‘a set of rules governing the format of messages that are exchanged between people’.

Now, I can see some elements of social networking websites becoming (for want of a better word) “protocolised”, but I think to say that ‘social networking will become a protocol’ is meaningless. Having said that, maybe I should have waited for Zeth to come up with his more detailed post on that one before making a judgement 😉

Well, that just about wraps up this critique of Zeth’s predictions for 2008. And if you’re reading this after 2008 – I told you so. I hope.


5 thoughts on “2008 Predictions

  1. You can read more when the posts get to that point, however, Apple claims that OS X on proper macs (not ipod, itv or iphone) has 22 million users, which would be between 1% to 1.4% of the computer owning population.

  2. I guess it’s always difficult to estimate statistics. I was going by the BBC Statistics — I know there was a fiasco about the number of Linux users, but the number of Mac users I think is probably accurate.

  3. Well as I have looked into this area I have found all my assumptions were wrong. Firstly all the statistics based on Web requests are almost always completely bogus and biased to the English speaking, or (at least English understanding) world. To take an extreme example, my blog has 60% Linux usage, does that mean that 60% of the world uses Linux? Not at all.

    Overestimating the number of Mac users is a common mistake. People just ignore the non-English speaking, non-Western world. The usage of Windows/Linux in the western world is roughly the same as in the developing world. However, Mac usage almost completely drops off when you look outside US+Europe.

  4. I guess getting reliable statistics for the developing world would be a challenge in itself. Still, I look forward to reading your blog post where you explain it in more detail 🙂

  5. Don’t forget the One Laptop Per Child project (sorted to OLPC) I believe those are rolling out in various numbers over the new year and are based on a Linux operating system…

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