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Device vendors – wake up and smell the value!

To celebrate the 100th issue of Linux User & Developer, Jos Poortvliet Takes a look into his crystal ball to make a prediction about the future of open source....

Jos Poortvliet is the openSUSE community manager for Novell

While my crystal ball has never impressed anyone, looking at the future is certainly fun. I predict that at some point a device vendor is going to wake up and see the value it could bring to working with an existing free software community.

I know there is not that much value in current code – a vendor like Acer can probably re-create the whole Plasma or Enlightenment technology in six months – and working with an entrenched community is far from easy. But in the end, devices are all about ecosystems. Joining an existing community can give your product a huge kick start, especially if that community has a huge body of largely reusable and highly portable code!

Let’s be honest – it’s more of a wish than a prediction. If the opaque nature of communities won’t already do it, the failure of Nokia to work with free software will most likely deter most vendors. But if you want to get ahead of the competition you have to innovate and there are only really two ways of doing that: throw a lot of money at it or crowdsource it. Well, you could clone Steve Jobs, but depending on one person is not exactly a future-proof option.

So let’s see if anyone decides to take advantage of the thousands of brilliant minds working on mobile GUI technology…