I recently read an interesting interview with Linus. While I would recommend reading the whole interview, here are some highlights that tend to support some ideas I've been throwing around on my blog.
Open source programs have clearly made some great advances in the past few years. We've seen it with Linux and Mozilla. What sort of future do you foresee for open source? What do you foresee happening to software vendors tied to proprietary software models?
The power of open source really lies in various groups improving and building on an increasingly bigger existing base and slowly turning that base into commodity. One of the keywords here is "slowly" - it's by its very nature pretty evolutionary, i.e. it takes time. It's, in my opinion, also pretty unstoppable, but the process definitely makes it possible for proprietary vendors to generally take advantage of the open source commodity base, and continue to be proprietary "on top" of that base. ...
What will happen to the PC world if Microsofts market share should decline? What will the technology landscape look like?
If Microsoft loses its dominance, that's likely a good thing for the market in general. Again, see the IBM connection from a few decades back: More open competition tends to make the market not only more lively, but also tends to grow it. So the notion that many people seem to have that the PC market lives and dies by MS dominance would seem to have no basis in reality. If anything, near-monopolies tend to stifle things.
Linus describes the progress of open source software as improving "slowly" and that is generally the pace, though I have highlighted a few catalysts in past posts.
I have also had mixed feelings over that past week with news that Daniel Robbins (the creator of the Gentoo distribution) has gone to work with Microsoft. (I'm writing this from a gentoo box...). I guess one possible fruit of this move might be that Microsoft (with the help of Robbins) provides some sort of new open source catalyst (and/or competition) to further improve the collective software pool...
Somehow I don't think I'll be performing a stage one longhorn install anytime soon.