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Happy New Year

Posted by rwinston on January 3, 2005 at 5:57 AM PST

Well, it's that time of year again. It's hard to believe that 2004 went so fast. This year has been busy, and downright hectic at times, so it's good to be able to sit back for a couple of weeks, take a breather, and make some plans for the next year.

The Java-related highlight of the year for me was making a trip to SF to this year's JavaOne. The best part about JavaOne was getting the chance to meet so many truly great people while attending. It's a funny thing about conferences - a couple of weeks after the conference is over, you can't remember what sessions you attended, but you always remember the parties (most of them ;))

I normally don't like to make predictions, but here's a few bets that I reckon are pretty safe for 2005:

  • Contrary to what Don Box predicts, I think that Firefox will continue to grow in 2005 and will not be usurped by a "new kid on the block" browser from a third party (i.e. Google). Browsers are tough to get right, and the market can be fickle. Firefox is, after all, only now benefiting from an investment put in a few years back (remember Phoenix)? The main challenge for Firefox will be to maintain the momentum that they have managed to achieve over the last year.

  • The EU legislation on software patents has been the subject of a bitterly-fought battle during 2004, and this will continue well into 2005. Many open-source (and commercial) developers are nervous about the impending legislation, and their nervousness has been made all the more acute by the seemingly underhanded way in which the legislation has been repeatedly pushed forward, despite heavy opposition. I'll be optimistic on this issue, and predict that the legislation, even if it is passed, may have much of its bite removed after a drawn-out EU parliament battle. The resulting legislation will be an expensive and ineffective attempt to placate both sides of the debate, whilst not really benefiting either. Much like a lot of EU legislation, really.
  • I would be very surprised if 2005 is not the year that SCO finally disappears beneath the waves. Like a lot of people, I have been following this madcap adventure (you couldn't make it up) since it began, and now it looks like it might be finally running out of steam. With alarmingly few allies in their corner, and investor confidence long since evaporated, they have become a running joke. Onegood thing to come out of this has been the Groklaw site, run by Pamela Jones, which proved conclusively that the open source model can work for more than just software. Maybe when this is all over, she will write a book about it. I reckon she will have no shortage of offers.

In 2005, I'm looking forward to more developments on the rich client side (a lot of competing technologies sprung up in 2004), the release of Geronimo, more exposure for JDK 5.0, and finally taking a look at EJB 3.

Happy new year.