You have all heard the jokes that the end of the Mayan calender on December 21st 2012 might bring about "the end of the world" in some type of cataclysmic event. Regardless of whether or not this is necessarily true, there have been more than a few technology releases/announcements in the past couple years that many of us thought would never happen.
8. Starcraft 2 releases (and runs on Linux!). This is one many gamers have been waiting on for some time. After Starcraft Ghost turned into vaporware I think some of us where wondering if Blizzard was ever going to release anything other than WoW expansions ever again. Starcraft 2 is finally here and it was worth the wait, easily one of the best RTSes I have ever played.
7. Microsoft releases a decent desktop operating system. After their Vista fiasco that left many consumers running back to Windows XP, Microsoft took their time getting Windows 7 from beta to a release stage. The result is truly their best desktop operating system. Sure it is not as resource friendly as some alternative operating systems, but if you are coming from XP or Vista - Windows 7 truly does simplify your PC.
6. Broadcom releases open source drivers. The bane of Linux users for many years now has been Broadcom wireless chipsets. Sure, distros such as Ubuntu have made it easier in recent years to install the closed source driver - but a fully open source driver is by far a best case scenario. Once these drivers make it into the mainstream kernel releases, modern Linux distributions will support most all internal wifi chips OOTB.
5. Steam client comes to OSX. Easily the most popular digital distribution system for games on Windows, Steam has been released for OSX. In addition to this Valve company, the one behind Steam, is also re-releasing all of their source engine games (CSS, TF2, L4D, ect.) re-written to use OpenGL for Apple's platform. Something such as this could allow OSX to one day challenge Microsoft's dominance in the PC game market.
4. Microsoft extends Windows XP downgrade rights till 2020. This one might not signal the end of the world exactly, but I think it makes those of us who work on Windows wish the end would come a little sooner. Even though Windows 7 has done so many things correctly the business world is always afraid of change, meaning we will be dealing with this now decade old operating system for another ten years (at least).
3. Microsoft contributes 20,000 lines of code to the Linux kernel. In a move that shocked many Microsoft submitted code that allows Linux virtual machines to perform better when running on a Windows Server 2008 host system. Keep in mind that while 20,000 lines sounds like a lot, it is simply a drop in the bucket of the millions of lines of code that comprise the Linux kernel.
2. Enlightenment E17 libraries reach beta. After ten years and several rewrites later of being defined as "alpha" software, E17 has finally reached a beta stage. It is yet to be seen if we will see a 1.0 release any time soon, but for the time being a beta release is a step in the right direction. If you would like to easily check out the E17 beta, take a peek at Bodhi Linux.
Finally, drum roll please...
1. Duke Nukem Forever gets a release date (again). First announced on April 28, 1997 Duke Nukem Forever seemed to be eternally delayed. This makes for it's 5th (6th, 7th?) release date. This one appears to be a solid one though (so much in fact that there are "early access keys" being advertised on Steam). Hopefully this one will not disappoint when it finally releases after almost 14 years.
Where there any other advances in technology or releases in recent years you thought would never happen?