Happy New Year, folks ✨
Year 2024 is here, and it is time to look forward to the trends that will shape the year.
We are not fortune-tellers, so we cannot tell exactly what will happen. However, we could surely make some predictions based on what we've seen so far.
And here are our predictions on how things will move for Linux and Open Source.
1. Rise of Open-Source AI
Mozilla was among the first ones to kick 2023 off with plans to work on open-source AI and to develop solutions like ChatGPT. That was followed by Hugging Face stepping up their game and becoming one of the most popular AI communities out there, facilitating collaboration on a global scale.
We also saw the birth of The AI Alliance, formed with over 50 founding members that include some big names such as Meta, Intel, Oracle, CERN, etc. with a simple goal; to support open innovation and science in AI.
There was even an open-source project called GuardRail that aims to promote Responsible AI development by providing a framework for keeping AI in check.
All the open-source AI development might translate into integrations with distributions or open-source tools. Sure, unlike other commercially successful desktop operating systems, Linux distros may not “market” the AI-powered features, but you never know?
All in all, if you ask us, the year 2024 will be a crucial year for open-source AI, and we can't wait to see what's in store! 😃
2. More Games for Linux
Gaming on Linux has been something of a hit or miss in the past, even though we had some native games, and useful tools such as Wine, Lutris, Bottles, etc. Linux was not really the focus of many game developers, until Valve's Steam Deck handheld arrived.
Powered by the Arch-based SteamOS, this device has paved the way for many games to run on Linux, while also turning the attention of game devs towards the platform.
In 2023, we already saw plenty of game releases that work natively on Linux, and 2024 should be no different.
Not to forget, the open-source gaming tools like Bottles will also work on improving the user experience. So, a user who switched from Windows should find the platform more convenient for gaming.
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3. More Immutable Linux Distros
Yes, the range of immutable Linux distros is all set to expand in 2024 with Ubuntu taking the center stage by announcing earlier in 2023 that they will be offering a Snap-based immutable Ubuntu Desktop with the upcoming Ubuntu 24.04 LTS release.
While Fedora already had an immutable variant (Silverblue) with GNOME desktop, they have added one more to their offerings. With the Fedora 39 release a new variant, “Fedora Onyx” debuted with the Budgie desktop.
Seeing that, we also expect other new immutable offerings in 2024, with existing immutable distros such as blendOS and Vanilla OS becoming better.
4. Introduction of RISC-V Servers
With the United States escalating their AI Chip war with China in 2023, we may see RISC-V powered servers being one of the hot takes of 2024 as the country scrambles to become more independent in the field of chip manufacturing.
They have already begun by deploying what they claim to be the “first commercial implementation of RISC-V cluster in the cloud”, which is a SOPHON SG2042 powered cluster set up at Shandong University.
5. Better UI/UX on Linux Distros
If we were to take 2023 as an indicator, we can confidently say that 2024 will be a year when we will see many innovations being made for the user interface and user experience side of things on a Linux distro.
Take for instance what the GNOME 45 release did, it ditched the “Activities” button for a pill-shaped workspace switcher that changed the way users interacted with workspaces.
Then there's Zorin OS 17, which redefined the visual experience in a Linux distro by implementing a “Spatial Desktop” so that users get better contextual awareness while interacting with the desktop.
And, as a first, in 2024, we will be seeing a blue screen of death in Linux, thanks to systemd that will serve up helpful error messages in the event of a boot failure.
Exciting distribution releases like Vanilla OS 2 (Orchid), desktop upgrades like KDE Plasma 6, Rust-based COSMIC by Pop!_OS might take this all up a notch, or so we hope!
Not to forget that there has been a considerable push towards a Wayland by default future for many Linux distros too!
6. Source-Available for Software Projects
Even though some software projects do not entirely adhere to open-source principles, some have taken the route to make the source-code publicly available (with the restriction to distribute it commercially).
This is made possible by licenses like CC BY-NC-SA 4.0 (Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0).
Some may argue that companies should embrace open-source definition for their products. However, we believe, this approach will improve the trust and promote transparency compared to any traditional closed-source product.
Year of the Linux Desktop? 😛
And looking at the market share for Linux, you may think that the numbers are too low. But, we can't lose hope just yet.
Even though we may be far from the year of the Linux desktop, we will still be closer to it than ever before. You see, there has been a steady increase in the adoption rates for Linux desktop in 2023, and 2024 might just be the year we see a more meaningful uptick.
💬 What are your predictions for the year of 2024? Share yours in the comments below!