Annual scorecard

The year is drawing to a close, so now is a good time to evaluate my predictions for 2002. It's an interesting exercise, especially because most tabloid psychics don't tend to fare well when you evaluate their annual prophecies. Thankfully, I'm no psychic, and I'm not shy about having my statements evaluated in the light of history.

A couple of my prognostications for 2002 from an earlier column have come up a tad short.

First, I predicted that Apache would finally be recognized as the de facto corporate Web server. Although it's the server of choice in many prominent organizations, some still staunchly hold to IIS. Nevertheless, Apache is a big dog in the yard.

Secondly, I predicted that Linux would become firmly entrenched in the POS (point-of-sale) retail market. While it is aggressively gaining ground, it's still a bit shy of where I thought it would be. But give it six months.

One prediction that was pretty much on the mark was that Linux would quietly continue to become a mainstay in both e-commerce and handheld/portable devices. Linux is definitely a player in e-commerce; just ask major players such as Amazon.com. It's also gaining attention in the handheld market (I love my Sharp Zaurus!).

Another one that seemed to be right on the money was that more Fortune 1000 managers would see the benefits of open source. A number of large corporations -- particularly in the financial arena -- are trying open-source solutions. IBM's Linux initiatives have certainly helped this situation. Many of the attendees at the recent Enterprise Linux Forum in Boston indicated that they are already using Linux on the job and looking to see what else open source can do for them.

Two predictions were accurate beyond my wildest dreams. First, I said this would be the year that Linux on the corporate desktop would be a reality. While a number of U.S. companies are actively evaluating Linux desktops (thanks in part to Microsoft's aggressive licensing policies), the biggest boom seems to be in other countries. Even with huge infusions of cash from Microsoft, countries such as Peru and India are still paying close attention to open source. Other countries, including China, Japan, Holland, and Germany, are evaluating and deploying open-source alternatives in both the public and private sectors.

The second highly successful prediction was that Microsoft would be generating major FUD -- fear, uncertainty, and doubt -- regarding Linux. In fact, the amount coming from Redmond has been so abundant that one could say that Microsoft has a monopoly on Linux FUD.

And finally, my one negative forecast did not occur. As I predicted (it wasn't hard), Microsoft did not release Office for Linux. Yes, CodeWeavers CrossOver Office allows you to run Office under Linux, but you can't hold that against me.

I'm satisfied with my record for 2002. Next stop: 2003.

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