In the year to come, open-source software will continue its kudzulike spread through IT.
For example, Sun Microsystems Inc. has been adamant about having "no Linux strategy," but its forthcoming Java Desktop System (which, by the way, has nothing more to do with Java than Windows does) may prove to be the best corporate desktop Linux solution yet.
Suns desktop is built atop SuSE Linux AGs Linux distribution, which is set to fall into the hands of Novell Inc. Well see next year how well Novell manages to digest SuSE and a previous acquisition, Ximian Inc., into a complete server-to-desktop Linux infrastructure product offering.
The coming year will also be a time to see whether and how well Red Hat Inc. can build on its enviable mind and market share in the Linux community to drive sales of its relatively costly (compared with the companys previous products) Red Hat Enterprise Linux line.
Finally, the 2.6 version of the Linux kernel will likely ship before years end, but itll be a few months into 2004 before well start seeing 2.6 appear in the major distributions. The new kernel carries a raft of improvements and fixes and will dramatically boost Linuxs scalability on large systems as well as its suitability for embedded solutions.