NixFAQ wishes everyone a happy new year. Last year was devastating for many. This year brought a new hope for the people who want to stand up once again. People lost their job, business, profit and even life savings on slowly drowning business, health issues and more. The *Nix world is affected too. Impacts of covid destroyed businesses, small Linux businesses, commercial distributions and small OEMs.
We have hopes to recover soon but the pandemic won’t simply go away this soon. New year may bring something special for many, but unfortunately, most things won’t change any soon. I too have hopes and dreams for 2021, and in this article, I’m going to predict a few things. These are all wild guesses you can say, as I’m not a fortune teller, and nor fortune telling exists. But from previous events, history and ongoing issues, I can guess how this year will go for the *nix.
This happens every year, so it’s safe to say we may see some new entries this year. Five or more distros will go live this year. Some of them will offer unique features and offers you never had before. This is the year we will see new distributions that can break out of the typical fork shell while being consumer friendly. Many commercial distributions will continue business as usual and start to gain more profits. Some may rebrand and many may choose different business models this year.
Many applications that are still in-development may get released this year along with good support and awesome features. This is a no-brainer since many projects are in-development for years long and are expected to be fully developed within a few more months. This year, Steam proton will receive a huge boost in features and some game changing stuff will happen for Gaming on Linux. Elementary OS will improve a lot this year and may announce cool as heck stuff this time.
Finally, the Cyberpunk craze will fade over time, but Linux players will be more into this game because Valve is actively making it playable fully in Linux. Maybe Cyberpunk will be the most played games on Linux too?
While you may expect an increase in desktop market shares, it won’t grow more than 5% this year. Also, we do not need to rush at all. We can expect many unique distros this year that may attract many users with unique features we have never seen before in a Linux distro. And there are Linux in places where Linux is most needed, this year we may see market share rising, but this year won’t be the year of Linux.
Many desktop environments will walk toward making them more usable, conventional and good looking. This year, we can expect desktops getting more and more beautiful and polished. Ubuntu may remain the same, but all the other flavors of Ubuntu and other distro using no customization on top of vanilla DE will receive polished and beautiful UI. Desktops will get more usable and the user experience will vastly improve this year. This year, developers will change their mind on keeping stuff ugly working and will go for a better desktop.
Current alternatives for CentOS will advertise more and attract users. And some more distros will come up as CentOS alternatives this year. If you don’t know why, and you live under a rock and come up once in a year, you should read about CentOS suicidie. Hopefully Rocky Linux will release a beta soon as they promised in the forum.
Linux desktop is getting lots of attention recently, so it’s safe to assume developers will take Linux seriously this time and push more apps toward nix repos and flatpaks. More support could be on its way for Linux users and more proprietary applications will be ported to Linux this year. Microsoft may release more apps for Linux and may also improve WSL2. Although there is little chance MS will bring Office 360 to Linux, I’m certain the procedure and development will start in 2021, or atleast end of 2021. Office 360 is slowly moving toward cloud territory and will be on Linux soon.
Applications that you missed and slowly developed applications and older apps will come to life this year. Many projects might get brought back and continue with active development this year. And some apps will suddenly get updated more frequently than usual. Many older applications will get modern looks, updated user experience and improvements.
MS contributions to Linux will grow and Microsoft will adopt Linux more in their cloud business. As I have already discussed, Microsoft will bring many applications, cloud specific stuff and more to Linux. Azure is where Linux will get more fame in Microsoft business.
Many people coming from different distributions miss lots of stuff in Linux, and this year the gap will be filled with many viable alternatives. Better font manager is already here, but it will be included on many distros this year. Linux desktops will get more accessible and we will soon be enjoying a better software ecosystem in Linux.
Apple M1 Mac is one of Apple’s big achievements. Improving ARM and making it such a way that increases efficiency and performance in great proportion compared to Intel’s slow evolving chips. This year, we can expect Apple M1 macs running Linux. Linux will soon support M1 macs fully and people will test and share their experience running it on new hardware. Speaking of M1:
ARM is getting popular and ARM based products are too. Many Linux distributions have been supporting ARM for many years. This is the year when we can see more improvements for ARM operating systems. Canonical is fully supporting Raspberry Pi now, and other distro including Manjaro, Fedora and OpenSUSE may soon. Many distros that did not have ARM versions, may release ARM versions of their OSs this year. We can safely say, this is the year of ARM devices with Linux.
I have predicted some wild stuff in this article that may or may get true. Based on what’s happening in the community, trends and past events. We can expect more this year with drastic changes in some aspects. Other stuff might not be that big. Whatever happens, I have high hopes for 2021, and I wish you all the best for this year. Thank you so much for reading.