Linux -- I just met you, and this is crazy!

IT Product experts will tell you that for a viable business, you need to solve problems that urgent, pervasive, and the market is willing to pay to solve. I wonder if Linux Torvalds ever envisioned the extent of the market problems Linux would be solving or the pervasiveness it would have on IT? Linus grew up in Finland (I've been there), and I can attest that Finland is a colder place than it looks. Could someone from a place that feels as cold as the polar ice-caps really have such a grand vision? Maybe so, as this is the same place where real reindeer exist, and where good ole' St. Nick supposedly resided. I bet many of you have been using Linux in some way for a long time, and just didn't know it. In fact you may be singing to yourself, "Linux, I just met you, and this is crazy...!" If you don't believe me, read on...


Linux is based on "open-source" use, but has also been the basis for many, many enterprise offerings and continues to grow an enormous rate, bringing more gifts than even Santa Claus.


Consider the likes of these companies that are contributing to Linux:


  • Red Hat
  • Novell
  • Intel
  • IBM
  • Oracle
  • Academia
  • Nokia
  • Fujitsu
  • Texas Instruments
  • Broadcom
  • Linux Foundation
  • Google
  • Analog Devices
  • SGI
  • AMD
  • Parallels
  • Freescale
  • Cisco
  • Renesas Technology
  • MontaVista
  • Atheros Communications
  • Wolfson Microelectronics
  • Marvell
  • NetApp
  • Linutronix
  • Samsung


The above contributors are only a sampling, as the Linux Foundation tracks over 700 companies, that are contributing code today. Dell's Software Group is also a contributor, as Dell has grown its software portfolio through multiple aquisitions.


How pervasive is Linux? Consider some of these larger products that use or embed Linux .


  • OpenStack - A global collaboration of developers and cloud computing technologists producing the ubiquitous open source cloud computing platform for public and private clouds.


  • Chrome OS - A Linux-based operating system designed by Google to work primarily with web applications. The user interface takes a minimalist approach and consists almost entirely of just the Google Chrome web browser; since the operating system is aimed at users who spend most of their computer time on the Web, the only "native" applications on Chrome OS are a browser, media player and file manager.


  • Chromebook - A personal computer using the Chrome OS. Chromebooks are gaining market share as a low-cost, light-weight laptop. Dell recently announced the Chromebook 11.


  • Network Hardware - There is really a ton that could be said here, but to keep it short, Linux is embedded on DSL routeres, NAS boxes, IP Cameras, Switches, Firewalls and more.


  • Software Defined Network - Allows network administrators to manage network services through abstraction of lower level functionality. The Linux Foundation's OpenDaylight project is bringing together industry powers that will help solve the problems that will influence the future of networking.


  • Web Servers - Between Apache and Nginix, open source web servers account for nearly 70% of the market.


  • Databases - How many of you run MySQL, PostgreSQL, SQLite, MariaDB, or other open source databases? These are very commonly used in IT deployments.


  • Hadoop - The Apache™ Hadoop® project develops open-source software for reliable, scalable, distributed computing. Hadoop is used for managing and analyzing Big Data.


  • Android - Building on the contributions of the open-source Linux community and more than 300 hardware, software, and carrier partners, Android has rapidly become the fastest-growing mobile OS. Android powers hundreds of millions of mobile devices in more than 190 countries around the world.




When you really think about the pervasiveness of Linux and how and where it is being used, it is incredible -- and it's not just for webservers, databases, applications, networking, and high performance computing. Even just a few years ago, how many were using Android devices? Linux really is at the heart of the biggest IT trends -- Big Data, Cloud, and Mobile, and the IT problems it solves through mass community contribution will continue to get bigger and better. IT professionals also love Linux, because companies can't get enough of their skill sets. Santa, wherever he is, I am sure is proud of "Linux", the Finnish born masterpiece.