The Crystal Ball says
Dries asked for predictions about Drupal for 2004. I couldn't resist at the possibility of annoying others with "told you so", so here are my less-than-realistic forecasts. I suck at accurate predictions, so don't expect any:
With the growing popularity of RSS, syndication will take on a more central role in the blogging world (and elsewhere). Drupal's selective feeds (only a certain taxonomy term) are a good example of this, and tech like feedster.com is just plain wicked. For this to happen, syndication needs to mature: discussions about RSS sucking up tons of bandwidth due to clients not supporting/using 304's and such show that this is a growing problem. Atom will ride this wave of syndication and establish itself as an important format, though its acceptance will depend on how good it can profile itself, and how many Mac clients with fancy icons (and a lowercase 'i' in their name) will support it. Advanced syndication will do away with useless blog posts that just contain a link, a quote from another blog and an author's own opinion: all that won't be necessary as unique pieces of content are established once and promoted with a distributed popularity or ranking system instead.
Drupal's forum will be expanded, mainly to be more user-friendly: the goal will not however be to rival with popular software like phpBB or vBulletin, but to provide a flexible, community forum Drupal-style.
Drupal's permissions will be improved in the way that most people have been asking. The result will be an elegant, powerful but simple solution that solves 90% of the demands. The other 10% will enjoy the solid foundation and expand on it for their own needs.
To improve Drupal's search procedure, a magic gnome will pop-up who is an expert in this area and has fallen in love with Drupal. After a patch being rejected time after time due to imperfections (while still keeping on returning due to some weird sense of masochism), Drupal's search enters a new plane of existance which integrates seamlessly with all aspects (taxonomy, nodes, context, ...). The result will not rival the big boys like Google, but will still be the preferred method of searching a Drupal site due to increased relevancy.
And finally, after several considerable improvements and a generally high niftyness factor in CVS, Drupal will go up a major version 5, though only after 4.4.x is released.