Archive: June 1999 — A Gigalapse foretold

Robert Metcalfe, creator of Ethernet and the founder of 3Com Corp. took on the role of a tech-age Nostradamus and looked into the future at the World Wide Web Conference in June 1999.

“”The Internet will

suffer a Gigalapse. The Internet depends on seven root name servers which are maintained by volunteers, crabby volunteers scattered around the world,”” he said.

Metcalfe also predicted that the Internet stock bubble would burst on “”November 9, 1999, a Monday. Then Y2K will kick in.”” His forecast that the open source movement would fail was met with grumbling from his audience.

“”Open source will fizzle just like Unix did in the ’80s…Unix and Linux will never come close to Wintel.””

While the Internet hasn’t suffered its predicted “”Gigalapse,”” the dot-com bubble certainly did burst, although it waited a few months past Metcalfe’s November deadline.

As for open source, a recent IDC report stated that 14 million copies of Linux in use in 2002. That number will almost triple to 36 million by 2006.

At J.D. Edwards’ annual conference in June 1999, the big news was its announcement of an e-commerce strategy, which it planned to piece together through a combination of acquisitions and partnerships. The company’s CEO said that while only about 20 per cent of J.D. Edwards’ customer base was actively looking at doing business online, he expected that the number would increase after Y2K.

While the news of the 1999 conference was important for the company and its users, its unlikely that any J.D. Edwards conference has had the attention or made as many ripples as this year’s, which ran amidst daily breaking news concerning PeopleSoft and Oracle.

In June 1999, smart cards and its benefits were discussed, but several barriers were preventing the widespread adoption of the technology in North America, including privacy. Catherine Johnston, president of the Advanced Card Technology Association of Canada (ACT) described smart cards as the next wave of technological change similar to the PC revolution.

Duncan Brown, the director of research with Ovum Inc. said that he didn’t see technology as the barrier to multiple applications with smart cards. “”The main barrier is business relationships and changing mindsets.””


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Jim Love, Chief Content Officer, IT World Canada

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