[linux-elitists] PengPod engineers for a new project

Shlomi Fish shlomif at shlomifish.org
Wed Sep 4 02:57:46 PDT 2013


Hello David and all,

On Thu, 08 Aug 2013 10:27:22 +0100
David Edmondson <dme at dme.org> wrote:

> On Thu, Aug 08 2013, Jason White wrote:
> > As to predicting the long term, I suppose it depends on whether you
> > think what we today call phones and tablets, and the operating systems
> > running on them, will ultimately displace desktop machines as
> > traditionally understood. We could be heading into an era of Linux in
> > the server room, Linux (Android, Firefox OS, Ubuntu Touch, KDE Plasma
> > or whatever) in the end-user-facing devices, and nothing in between as
> > the PC legacy slowly disappears. There would be both new challenges
> > and opportunities for software freedom in that environment.
> 
> "It was the best of times, it was the worst of times, it was the age of
> wisdom, it was the age of foolishness, it was the epoch of belief, it
> was the epoch of incredulity, it was the season of Light, it was the
> season of Darkness, it was the spring of hope, it was the winter of
> despair, we had everything before us, we had nothing before us, we were
> all going direct to Heaven, we were all going direct the other way."
> 
> Linux will win completely and be everywhere, but we will have none of
> the freedoms that it was intended to allow.

In addition to what other people said, I'd like to note that there is a problem
with predicting such things with absolute certainty: they don't always come
true. Some predictions I recall that didn't come true:

1. In the turn of the 1990s the astrological section of one of the Israeli
newspapers, said that by the year 2000 parts of North America and Scandinavia
will disappear. It didn't happen.

2. Before the https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gulf_War , an Israeli military
politics expert told the public that the Iraqis will certainly not fire
missiles at Israel. After the war (when many missiles were fired onto Israel),
the other experts boycotted him, not because he made a false prediction (which
is human), but because he proclaimed it would be absolutely certain that it will
happen.

3. Here are some predictions from Earth Day 1970 that didn't materialise:

http://www.ihatethemedia.com/earth-day-predictions-of-1970-the-reason-you-should-not-believe-earth-day-predictions-of-2009

4. In http://www.joelonsoftware.com/articles/APIWar.html , it is mentioned that:

««
In the early 90s everyone thought IBM was completely over: mainframes were
history! Back then, Robert X. Cringely predicted that the era of the mainframe
would end on January 1, 2000 when all the applications written in COBOL would
seize up, and rather than fix those applications, for which, allegedly, the
source code had long since been lost, everybody would rewrite those
applications for client-server platforms.
»»

This prediction didn't come true either.

5. I recall that someone on an Israeli
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Free_and_open-source_software once claimed that
several years from then (I think it was 5 years), proprietary software will
become extinct, and I recall it was said over 5 years ago.

----------------

So be careful when making such predictions and presenting them as a
certain-to-happen fact, because you may be proven wrong. As someone noted
on a chat I had on IRC, people predicted that certain technologies will kill
the PC several times before, and it didn't happen.

In one essay that an Israeli open source enthusiast wrote he made the claim
that there were only 3 or 4 *profitable* companies who developed and sold
non-open-source software. In one comment to the essay on
http://www.whatsup.org.il/ , one commentator gave a list of ten profitable
vendors of non-open-source software, and there were likely many more at the
time and still are.

Regards,

	Shlomi Fish

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