In case you haven't yet done so, get thee to the article by longtime Dr. Dobbs Journal editor Mike Swaine on the future of operating systems. With his usual wit and technical acumen, Swaine dissects the current "identity crisis" that operating systems seem to be going through, pointing out that although--with the advent of subscription/service and hosted models--people have been predicting the end of the desktop operating system since 1999, that death has been greatly exaggerated.(Although Swaine makes a brief nod toward Gartner's dramatic prediction last year that Vista would be the last Windows operating system, a news story that broke since his story was filed has a Microsoft senior executive detailing plans to deliver the follow-on to Vista in 2009. Which means it should show up in...2015?)
One of the more interesting predictions that Swaine makes is that it would be "shocking" if Linux doesn't steal a significant piece of the market from Microsoft--of course, which version of desktop Linux will prevail is still a major question.
And Swaine doesn't limit his analysis to desktop operating systems only. After all, one of the biggest OS fights going on is in the cell phone and handheld device arena, which is seeing versions of Windows, Linux, and maybe even the Mac OS battling it out for dominance along with more established small operating systems such as Symbian. And then there's the question of whether operating systems are perhaps becoming irrelevant or even unnecessary. Have you been following the operating system arena? How do you think things are likely to play out over the next few years? Would you consider a move to Linux? Let us know by replying to the InformationWeek blog.