8 Linux predictions for 2016

Looking ahead to 2016, I see big things for ChromeOS, Android, and even Microsoft in the Linux world.

Lunduke looks ahead for Linux
As 2015 comes to a close, the time has arrived to make predictions for what will happen in the Linux (and broader Free and Open Source Software) world in the year ahead. Will all of my predictions actually come true in 2016? Who knows? But I’m making them anyway!

We still won’t be using Wayland.
That’s right. I’m going on the record and saying that, when 2016 ends, we still won’t be using Wayland. Oh, sure. Maybe the odd Linux distribution here or there might be shipping with Wayland enabled. But the big distros? Xorg, baby!

systemd’s scope will expand.
systemd’s scope will grow to include an office suite and web browser. Just kidding. But not really. The little init-system-that-could is going to keep on expanding to include more and more functionality over the next year. There will be much gnashing of teeth in the Linux community.

Canonical will pull away from phones.
During 2016, Canonical will scale back, and possibly cease entirely, development of the phone version of Ubuntu. At the same time, the company will renew a focus on the Ubuntu desktop and server. I know. I know. I hear many of you yelling already. But I think this is the route Canonical will take to achieve success (financial and otherwise) in the market.

Android will gain significant desktop-centric functionality.
The next major release in 2016 will have new functionality that will allow Android devices to behave in a way similar to modern desktop operating systems. Most notably: Applications in movable, overlapping windows. We will then see an uptick in new Android-powered laptops (and tablets shipping with keyboards).

ChromeOS will gain full access to the Google Play store.
While we’re talking about Google, in 2016 ChromeOS will gain the ability to install and run Android applications directly from the Google Play store. While the available application selection may not be quite as extensive as what is available on, say, an Android tablet – it will be similar to what is currently available for Android TV (read: a small, but growing, subset of apps) – it will still provide a huge boost to what ChromeOS devices can do outside of the browser.

A new, Linux-based phone OS will appear.
Despite – or, perhaps, because of – the problems with Linux-based phone systems (non-Android ones, at any rate) at the end of 2015, the next year will see a new Linux-based system built for phones make some big waves. Who will it be? I haven’t the foggiest. But I’m confident some company (or organization) is going to surprise us in this area.

elementary, openSUSE, Fedora will gain market share.
The Linux world can be a crazy place sometimes. One minute, Distro A is on top of the world, the next minute Distro B comes out of nowhere to dominate the landscape. I think the biggest market share gains (from distributions that exist at the close of 2015) will be from elementary OS, openSUSE, and Fedora. What sort of gains are we talking about? I have no clue. But, mark my words, it will be noteworthy.

Microsoft will increase its Open Source activity.
In 2016, Microsoft will step up its level of activity in the Free and Open Source world in a big way. Additional code will be released under Free (or, at least, Open Source) licenses. Linux will be something they talk about more and more. We will see Microsoft have a bigger and louder presence at Linux and FOSS-related conferences. And the Linux community will grow increasingly accepting of it. It will be weird.

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