Cringely was Apple employee No. 12 -- literally, he worked in the garage -- in 1977. A dispute over a three-figure failed salary payment led Cringely to leave in a huff. Not long after those wacky characters Steve Jobs, Woz, and the rest of that home brew crew cashed in to mega fortunes.
Cringely did what every confused nerd without a job does: He taught at Stanford, then he went into journalism.
Aside from his woeful career choices, Cringely is reliable to come up with some of the most interesting industry forecasts you can find in print. He's not a tech industry giant, he just knows what makes it tick.
Cringely's latest foray into futurism makes a simple, logical prediction: Retiring Boomer software engineers are going to give Open Source software a fresh kick in the pants.
By his count, we're going to have 100,000 retiring software engineers every year for the next 18 years, and they're going to need something fun and creative to do with their time.
His rationale is credible:
With this considered, Cringely believes Boomers are going to take to Open Source as a hobby. Maybe they won't stay up all night solving problems, but he thinks they may be wise enough to know they don't have to.
That means, potentially, a lot of cool free software for which we currently pay through the nose. This already exists. Instead of paying $300+ for a Microsoft Office suite, you can download a free Open Source version that actually works with MS Office documents. It's totally free, and is fully functional on both Win-duhs and Mac OS X.
However, Cringely disappoints me because he's predicting rather than making demands. He's an influential guy. He should be calling for these geeks to get to work on the long overdue teleportation device and never-delivered promise on the hover car.
I've got a whole closet full of gray jumpsuits and black boots just waiting for that sci-fi future to arrive.