Don Marti

Fri 16 Dec 2005 08:00:52 PM PST

Predictions for 2006

Advertising goes direct. This year, the New York Stock Exchange wiped out the "seat holder" system. In 2006, we'll see the same thing happening to ad buying and selling—and we'll see more innovative media companies do no ad selling at all, just using Google. The coming ad network price/feature war between Microsoft, Google, and Yahoo won't hurt.

"Death of Java" greatly exaggerated. In the 2000 paper The Cost of Migrating COBOL Developers to Java, the Gartner Group points out, in the nicest possible way, that it's cheaper to treat programmers as disposable than to pay for retraining and wait out their productivity ramp-up. In the real world, tool turnover means staff turnover. And in the real world, problem space knowledge and organizational knowledge are much more important than tool knowledge. So you're going to keep your COBOL++, I mean Java, developers.

Platforms get granular for self-defense. Tired of worms that attack software you don't use, but that you need to patch anyway because it's part of the "platform"? In 2006, you'll get better dependency checking to deploy just what you need, and update services that are smart enough not to bug you about software you don't need to update because you don't have it. (Gentoo has done some interesting work in this area, so be prepared for some "I told you so".)

Software entrepreneurs in India disintermediate marketing to the US. Most US open source users, developers, and "power" proprietary software users will deploy or seriously test at least one product—possibly open source, possibly proprietary—with an India-based brand name.

No future in carrier discrimination threats. Giving preferential treatment to web sites that pay a special fee would be a dumb move inviting retaliation. In response, a non-pipeowner could deploy a Coral-like service, and make carriers pay to peer. This is a big Won't Happen. Would have been a great "Internet War" news story, though.

Other predictions:

Bruce Perens: "Feature phones and the content sent to them will prosper in markets where many people ride mass transit - and not elsewhere."

Nancy Weil: "Because of the dominance of BlackBerries among lawmakers, their aides and others who work the corridors of Washington, D.C., the need for patent law reform will be pushed to the fore..."