Mad, Beautiful Ideas
2008 Predictions

So, I may be a little late for my 2008 Predictions, seeing as how we’re almost 72 hours into the new year, and I may be basing some of my predictions on news from the last several days, but I still feel it’s important.

Privacy is going to be compromised more and more readily this year. And companies will stoop to more and more despicable acts to violate our privacy to make a buck. If the Facebook and the existing hacker economy have shown nothing to us, it’s that there is a ton of money to be made by harvesting and selling people’s private information, and the trend will continue. Sure, it’s nearly impossible to function these days without leaving some sort of a digital footprint, but we should have more say in how our footprints are used. Of course, to do that, we need to be more careful how big a footprint we leave.

Not that this is going to become any easier. Data is money, and as long as people are willing to pay, others are going to figure out how to harvest this data. The Storm botnet will be remembered as a pleasure memory as larger and more insidious botnets replace it. I suspect that by the end of the year, even Nugache will be viewed as quaint.

Despite being declared an utter failure this year, Microsoft’s Vista Operating System will take on a new life in Corporate America this year as Windows Server 2008 is released, which will finally make Vista worthwhile for industry. While Business will be the early adopters of Vista, I suspect home use will become the norm by the end of 2008. Vista performance will not improve appreciably, but hardware will improve, and the major vendors (Dell, HP, etc) will drop XP in their consumer lines once the business sales pick up.

Apple will continue to grow in the laptop and mobile device markets, though desktop sales will continue to flounder. The iPhone SDK will be a joke, and it will be nearly impossible for a developer to get approval from Apple to run their code on the iPhone. The AppleTV and iTunes’ video store will take off this year (along with competitors), as the media houses begin to tap into this market. However, we will not see DRM-free video on a large scale this year, though DRM—free music will continue to thrive.

Google’s Android will flounder this year, particularly in the US. They lack hardware support from any major cell phone producers, and while the GSM network has greatly improved, it’s still not as common as the CDMA network. People will leave their CDMA service vendors for the iPhone, but Android, despite it’s capabilities and developer support will enter the market this year with a whimper.

Mono’s recently added support for Windows.Forms will begin to draw more attention from developers (who will be more interested in the Mac support, than Linux). This will be a huge year for the Mono project, as many more companies take interest in the fairly trivial porting of their applications. Most people are still developing .Net 2.0 or 3.0 applications, both of which have strong support in Mono, making it a reasonable target.

Linux will maintain very slow growth on the desktop, but the server market will pick up considerably this year, particularly with the Samba project’s new access to Active Directory/SMB/CIFS documentation. Mono’s ability to run ASP.NET applications will aide greatly in once again widening the gap between Windows and Linux on the webserver market. The ability for companies to save thousands of dollars on licensing fees by going with a Linux-based solution will be the impetus for this migration.

I don’t foresee any game changing events this year, but it should prove very interesting nonetheless.