Bonum Certa Men Certa

Planting Seeds of Doubt in Microsoft's Future

by Rui Seabra, Vice-President of the Board of ANSOL *

Taking into account the almost-exponential growth on the perception of Free Software, I expect its continuity throughout 2009. The year 2008 saw many massive adoptions (in the magnitude of several dozens of thousands each) of Free Software in enterprises and public administrations of various countries. I wouldn't be too surprised if one comes up in the magnitude of hundreds of thousands of workstations. Big GNU/Linux distributions will continue to publish updated versions, allowing users to take advantage of the latest offerings in the world of Free Software, without needing to wait for several years to view (as in Vista) a failed edition of their operating system.



“A special wish is reserved for that software patents are formally prohibited in the whole world, as they are an impeachment to research and development in the area of informatics.”Open standards, thanks to the Microsoft OOXML fiasco, have become a political slogan. As the saying goes, "bad or good, what matters is that it's spoken about," hence even if for the bad reasons, the perception of the importance of open standards grew significantly. I expect strong advances in this area, mostly on what regards strengthening open standards so that they aren't susceptible to or dependent on secret information only available to a company that dominates the corresponding market.

Namely, I expect a growing number of Open Document Format (ODF) adoptions as an official interchange format between public administrations and both private and collective citizens, as a way of not imposing a software or technology choice with direct financial gains to a designated company. I also wish that the consecutive special authorisations will go beyond the legal limits on non-procurement acquisitions for them to stop happening, which would stop renewals without procurement of workstation software in the value of several millions euros each to companies like Microsoft, SAP, etc. and that both public procurements and non-procurements stop systematically excluding Free Software.

A special wish is reserved for that software patents are formally prohibited in the whole world, as they are an impeachment to research and development in the area of informatics.

Finally, although not wanting to become a "futurologist", I think there is a strong possibility that Microsoft may file for the north American Chapter 11 -- bankruptcy protection. Even though they report big gains, their reports omit several suffering losses, including their unique units with positive value, Windows and Office. If one lowers the expectations several times during the year, we'll always be able to report overcoming expectations by the end. As an example, if they had bought Yahoo, Microsoft would be, officially, in debt.

___ * Written by Rui Seabra, Vice-President of the Board of ANSOL under the terms of the Creative Commons "Attribution Share Alike" 2.5

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