Open-source predictions 2022: Snap and Flatpak, CentOS Streams, Linux job demand, and more

Jack Wallen’s annual predictions on open source. Is this the year Linux finally hits the desktop? Is open-source able to solve supply-chain problems? Steamdeck: Will it show the world Linux gaming

Image: Shutterstock/Arthur Palmer

I will not lie. 2021 wasn’t a terrible year for Linux. It wasn’t the Year of the Linux Desktop, as many people hope. However, there was no denying the continuing dominance of Linux within the enterprise space. There was also a slow but steady growth of Linux on the desktop. Linux gained in nearly every space, except for the smartphone area.

SEE: Linux turns 30: Celebrating the open source operating system (free PDF) (TechRepublic)

What’s next for 2022? It will be the year of Linux desktops? It’s unlikely. However, this doesn’t necessarily mean that the Linux desktop will not see significant improvement and expansion. Let’s all take the crown of prognostication off our collective heads, and make some bold (and not so bold!) predictions about where it will go.
open-source

where it is headed in the coming years.

Massive acceptance and growth

Yes, that’s right. I’m starting off big. This isn’t a difficult task, especially considering how much enterprise businesses depend on open-source software. It is pretty clear that open source software is driving business. But, I think we will see 2022 when big business takes open source technology to new heights. I am confident that we will see new uses for open-source software. This will allow industries to be more creative, productive, and agile. 

These will start to trickle down to smaller businesses from larger enterprises. This will allow businesses that had previously struggled with competition with larger corporations to find a little more level playing field (at minimum with their technology). Low-code/nocode solutions, which rely on open source technology, will play a part in this. This will allow companies of all sizes to create innovative software that empowers their businesses.

Large companies will choose Linux for their desktop of choice

You betcha. This is going happen. Although it might not be happening in America and may not make the headlines, it will happen. This trend has been growing for a while. With the Windows 11 hardware requirements, many businesses will finally see the benefits of open-source Linux and Linux. Ubuntu will be Ubuntu’s desktop choice. The rollout of Ubuntu will be smooth and almost invisible.

This will be true for businesses that don’t rely on proprietary desktop software, but instead rely on web services and applications to function. It will be easy for the company to realize how productive and cost-effective Linux is on its desktop.

The desktop has undergone a subtle transformation

The Linux desktop will undergo a subtle transformation. With the help of Maui Shell (convergence notwithstanding), it will become clear that the modern version of the desktop is just as effective and powerful as the original.

This shift is not about GNOME vs. Cinnamon vs. KDE vs. Pantheon vs. Xfce. It’s about a shift to UX. Many Linux desktop developers have focused their efforts on the Linux community until now. This is a friendly and familiar group. In 2022, I expect a shift in UX towards new users. This is the section of society Linux has for the most part ignored for years. Developers will realize that growth is only possible when there are new users. This will allow for wide-scale innovation in the desktop. Not to dumb it down, but to actually make it more intelligent. 

This will allow for some of most creative and practical solutions to ever appear on the Linux desktop.

Flatpak and Snap have a wider acceptance

Over the years, Flatpak and Snap have received a lot of ridicule. That’s partly because people don’t like change. Snap and Flatpak simplify the process of installing applications. However, they make it possible to have more applications on the desktop. This is something that cannot be overemphasized.

SEE: 40+ Linux terms and open source terms you must know (TechRepublic Premium).

Take this as an example: With Snap or Flatpak enabled from the box, it is possible to install apps like Slack and Spotify on desktop distributions. The average user is not able to access this process without Flatpak and Snap. This is what Linux needs, and the entire community will realize the value of universal packages. It’s not surprising that a new distribution will be released which completely defaults to Snap and Flatpak installation via its App Store. This distribution may not be so far off as you think. This distribution could also be a boon to new users. Imagine not being bombarded with outdated, out-of date applications when you open the App Store from a desktop distribution. It could be a major win for some.

There is a demand for IT professionals who are open-source.

Enterprise businesses are already scrambling for IT professionals with open-source skills. This trend will only continue to rise in 2022. In fact, I believe that the demand for open source skills will be at top of every business’s list this year. This is not just about Kubernetes or containers. Businesses will look for open-source skills in almost every job. Why? Because they are confident that open-source software can eventually power all aspects of their business.

Now is the time to revise your resumes, and ensure that you have open-source listed near the top.

Supply-chain problems can be treated

Supply-chain attacks won’t stop as long as hackers are around. When supply-chain attack occur, the domino effect can be devastating and it is very widespread. I am confident that the open-source community will step up in the next year to find a way to stop these attacks. They might not be able stop this kind of attack completely, but they should learn a lot. 

The Linux Foundation will spearhead this effort. They have a vested in making sure open-source software can not only drive supply chains but also make them reliable and secure.

Launch of a new social network open-source will be made

This might be wishful thinking on my part, but I believe 2022 will finally see the launch of a new type of social network site … one that is open-source from top to bottom. The site will be powered by open-source technology. Its ethics will be just as transparent as its code. 

While this open-source social network may not be as popular as Facebook right away, it will launch with an impressive launch and provide Zuckerberg with some serious competition.

CentOS Stream will reach a new audience

I will not lie, CentOS Stream 9 is not nearly as terrible as we thought. It is solid, reliable, and as familiar as CentOS 8. Although I don’t believe the entire community will adopt CentOS Stream 9, I do believe that it will be used extensively for testing and development environments.

Steamdeck will prove Linux can be game

Steamdeck will finally prove that Linux can compete with Windows. While Linux won’t take over Windows desktop gaming, what 2022 will prove to developers of games is that Linux can be a viable alternative. This realization will result in Linux being able to compete with Windows in the gaming arena via Steam.

Here are my open source predictions for 2022. My prognostications for 2022 will hopefully be correct, so Linux and open-source can enjoy the best 365 day of the year.

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