How will the future look, oh, lets say about 20 years from now?
For a start, all of us will be driving electrically powered vehicles, and whether we need a battery charging assist with a separate engine running on ethanol, diesel, or hydrogen will depend on how far we need to travel before stopping for a Big Mac, the call of nature, or a shopping excursion to your wife's newly found antique emporium.
Your house or apartment rooftop will be covered with solar cells and windmills allowing total energy independence for individuals. Most industry, however, will still rely on energy providers for production and other business needs. Global warming continues if it's hot, or not, if there's snow outside your window.
Most politicians will still be lying, cheating, scandal ridden nabobs, out for a fast buck in exchange for photo ops, because some things are so deeply inherent in the human condition that we wouldn't be human without them. Scientists say they can tweak the human genome to preclude the propensity of public figures to engage in nefarious conduct, but of course, the politicians, acting on behalf of humanity and their own pocketbooks, won't let them.
Personal computers will be totally different. People will carry a pen-sized gadget which holds at least 10 terabytes of data, has a couple hundred gigs of memory, will project a three dimensional “screen” and “keyboard,” if you insist on having one, on any flat surface. The mouse will be your hand, eyes, or maybe some other body part if you feel daring or risqué. Of course it will be connected to a much upgraded version of the Internet by some technology much better than wi-fi. And these super computers will be running Linux.
Yes, I said Linux, although in the future we may be calling our favorite OS something other than than what Linus originally intended. Torvalds, of course will have achieved full saint-hood within the various geek communities (and I mean that in a friendly, non-disparaging way). Bill Gates and Steve Ballmer will finally have achieved equal recognition as the opposite of sainthood. Is there a real word for that? How about demonhood?
These super computers will have other functions as well, replacing the cell phone, ipod, blackberry, and probably dog whistle, pedograph, and oven temperature monitor as well.
Nevertheless, one thing will not have changed. Open Source, being what Open Source is, will continue the flame wars over which is the better environment, KDE, Gnome, XFCE, or any one of a dozen or so new data management systems. And it won't be just the “desktop” environment. There will be those who threaten great virtual conflagrations over which descendant of Red Hat, Debian, Slackware, or Gentoo should be the system of choice. Will Granular be among the favorites? We must all hope it will.
And finally, before I have another beer, my lovely wife will finally have given up on Vista and allowed me to install a decent OS on her laptop. Unless she's stolen my penputer.
What's your vision?