Think Windows is the big operating system in the world? In terms of the big picture, it isn't. The little operating system that just started out as a personal project for Linux Torvalds is now what really runs computing worldwide.
The desktop and laptop personal computing market is still owned by Microsoft, but the foundation on which everything else rests is Linux. The days of Linux fearing Microsoft are over. In fact, Linux has grown to the point where it almost feels sorry for Microsoft.
"I think we just don't care that much [about Microsoft] anymore," says Linux Foundation Executive Director Jim Zemlin in an interview with Network World. "They used to be our big rival, but now it's kind of like kicking a puppy."
Almost 20 years ago, Linus Torvalds released his free operating system that he said would be "just a hobby, won't be big and professional like gnu." And now, almost two decades later, his work has shaped the IT world.
"I think that on the 20th anniversary, it's worth reflecting back on where we came from," Zemlin said. Linux had a "humble start as a project for a college student in Helsinki, to something today that runs 70% of global equity trading, something that powers, really, the majority of Internet traffic, whether it's Facebook, Google or Amazon."
Besides running big business, Linux is also the basis for new operating systems such as Android, Chrome OS and WebOS.
Of course, there is still one area that Linux can't crack. "Linux has come to dominate almost every category of computing, with the exception of the desktop," Zemlin said. "…the good news is the traditional PC desktop is becoming less important, and areas where Linux is very strong in terms of client computing are becoming more important."
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