ANALYST: Jason Brooks MOST IMPRESSIVE: Open-source alternatives to key business applicationssuch as Mozilla for Web browsing, OpenOffice.org for office productivity, and Evolution for e-mail and PIM choresenable users to get work done without those pesky entangling licensing restrictions. These software advances have set the table for Linux on the mainstream corporate desktop.MOST USEFUL: Ive been impressed with the growth of open-source content management systems such as PHPNuke and ezPublish. These products significantly lower the barrier to publishing data and collaborating online. SLIPPING OFF THE RADAR: Weve come to expect and demand a live Internet connection as part of our computing experience. Handheld computers and other mobile devices that lack this connectivity will continue to fade into unimportance, usurped by others that grant access to e-mail and corporate data. YEARS BIGGEST TECH STORY: The Microsoft antitrust case is closed (mostly), and while the result wasnt to everyones liking, its served to place the tech world on notice: If were to have an open, competitive computing platform moving forward, it cant be based on a proprietary operating system. WHAT TO WATCH IN 2003: Desktop Linux wont change the world or pull the rug out from under Windows this year, but itll make some definite waves. Watch for Linux desktop growth to begin in school and government sites in the United States and other countries. LEVEL OF PRESCIENCE LAST YEAR: Last year (as in the year before), I waved the flag for Bluetooth. The short-distance wireless technology maintained steady but slower-than-Id-expected growth. Hope springs eternal, however, and Im looking forward to snipping more wires in 2003provided that Bluetooth begins shipping by default on more mobile phones.
BIGGEST DISAPPOINTMENT: I was hoping to see more activity in the area of Internet-connected mobile devices and 2.5G wireless data services in 2002. With the slowed tech economy, however, it wasnt surprising to see demand and development stall in a product class viewed by many as gadgetry. Lower device and network access costs should give this space a boost next year, however.