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While i still stand firm that the day of Desktop Linux has passed, there is no doubt that from its humble beginnings this open operating system not only changed the direction of IT, but have changed the world we live in. It’s more popular and used today than it has ever been, just not in the guises and up front ways that something like Windows or OSX is.
How have the guys with the beards and sandals changed the world we live in?
For years there was a simple equation being used, each year computers got more powerful and each generation of the core software operating systems got bigger. Then came the netbook, introduced by Asus this wiped that equation aside and went for low cost and low powered computing. Taking the simple concept that users just need a browser, a mail client a a few other tools the initial EEE PC was shipped with a Windows themed Linux OS.
While from a desktop perspective the netbook revolution went the way of Windows XP the fact is a change was made in the hardware industry where low powered low cost devices Which do run Linux well using Intel and Arm chips are the way forward for TV boxes, computers and various other internet everywhere devices.
Windows is a desktop operating system and its derivatives at the server end have been built for a long time from those desktop roots, Linux is a server OS which has spawned a desktop. This provides the desktop which is built on a server security and strong foundation. Also the lack of GUI required also makes the server a lightweight option.
While not perfect and 100% secure the security lessons learnt from the Linux model have slowly made it over to the Windows server model which step by step has built on the lessons of the linux server. The last few versions of Windows have even provided a gui free experience for a lighter option.
While this might seem bad for Linux, it has other strengths, however there is no doubt that the Linux model has provided us all with the benefit of more secure Operating systems.
How has this changed the world? Simple it kickstarted a mobile computing revolution. IOS may have really put the smart phone on the map (and that is built on a *nix OS) however Android has really in the last few years really pushed the envelope in providing a whole spectrum of low cost to high end devices all based on the Linux Kernel.
As people have become more mobile, so have devices with Tablets being spawned all over the place, and this is possible because of the low cost of Android and the multiple platform Linux support for processors.
Google, Facebook, Amazon all built on the power of Linux, VMware’s powerful ESX infrastructure, Linux based, the internet is powered by Apache and other Open source solutions running on Red Hat and other flexible enterprise Linux solutions. So while the future of the Linux Desktop might be in decline the server room is in growth.
Musch like the smart phone revolution the server and backbone solutions use Linux because of its licensing, flexibility and cross platform hardware capabilities. As ARM becomes a stronger platform for hardware Linux has a huge head-start over other alternatives.
For a while there you wanted software of any decent usability you paid for it, sure there was shareware and freeware however that started getting loaded with nasties. Then something happened a program called Phoenix or maybe Firebird the forenames of Firefox a free open source to the then slow, cumbersome and useless Internet Explorer. Firefox offered users Tabbed browsing and many other features. The poster child for Open source and OpenSource = Linux.. Paving the way for much other software OpenOffice, Virtualbox and other such software. Today there are many polished great Open Source alternatives and this is mainly because of Linux..