15 August 2007

Linux Weather Forecast

Get your umbrellas out for the Linux Weather Forecast:

The need for a Linux Weather Forecast arises out of Linux’s unique development model. With proprietary software, product managers define a “roadmap” they deliver to engineers to implement, based on their assessments of what users want, generally gleaned from interactions with a few customers. While these roadmaps are publicly available, they are frequently not what actually gets technically implemented and are often delivered far later than the optimistic timeframes promised by proprietary companies.

Conversely, in Linux and open source software, users contribute directly to the software, setting the direction with their contributions. These changes can quickly get added to the mainline kernel and other critical packages, depending on quality and usefulness. This quick feedback and development cycle results in fast software iterations and rapid feature innovation. A new kernel version is generally released every three months, new desktop distributions every six months, and new enterprise distributions every 18 months.

While the forecast is not a roadmap or centralized planning tool, the Linux Weather Forecast gives users, ISVs, partners and developers a chance to track major developments in Linux and adjust their business accordingly, without having to comb through mailing lists of the thousands of developers currently contributing to Linux. Through the Linux Weather Forecast, users and ecosystem members can track the amazing innovation occurring in the Linux community. This pace of software innovation is unmatched in the history of operating systems. The Linux Weather Forecast will help disseminate the right information to the ever growing audience of Linux developers and users in the server, desktop and mobile areas of computing, and will complement existing information available from distributions in those areas.

Good to see Jonathan Corbet, editor of LWN.net, for whom I write occasionally, spreading some of his deep kernelly knowledge in this way.

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