11 Predictions for Free Software in 2008

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"You must be mad," Gary Trudeau says in a self-interview in one of his Doonesbury collections, when he raises the subject of political predictions. "I only do post-mortems."

As a journalist, if a very different kind from Trudeau, I appreciate the sentiment. Looking back at 2007, who could have predicted that, after all the posturing by open source advocates, that the new version of the GNU General Public License would have caused so little division? Or that Linspire and Xandros would have followed Novell and made their own deals with Microsoft? Or that virtualization, which was such a hot topic in 2006, would have settled down to just another technology?

Still, despite the dangers of prediction, and the near certainty that I'll miss at least some of the big stories, here's my list of the high and hot spots we're likely to see in free software next year.

KDE 4 launches

2008 will kick off with the long-awaited release of KDE 4 on January 11. Traditionally, a major version number indicates major changes, and KDE 4 will be no exception. Performance, look and layout are all being radically rethought. You can expect some controversy and complaints, but also considerable enthusiasm for the final release.

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