What is Linux?
Linux is the most popular and most used open-source operating system around the world. Where do you find Linux and who uses Linux? Well, you might be surprised but you probably already make use of Linux in some form in your daily lives. Android phones are powered by Linux, stock exchanges are powered by Linux, cars are powered by Linux, your TV is powered by Linux and plenty more examples can be named. Linux was originally created by Linus Torvalds while he was a student in 1991 as a free and open-source alternative to Minix which was a Unix clone used in academic institutions then. Linux is the blessing behind the scenes that never gets the credit for all that it drives in our technology-driven world, and I am here to explain exactly why Linux deserves the biggest THANK YOU from everyone around the globe. Let’s look at some popular facts about Linux:
1. Smartphones and Smart Devices
There are more than 10 Linux-based mobile operating systems such as Firefox OS, Ubuntu Touch, Ubuntu Mobile, and Android. Android OS is based on a modified Linux Kernel and now runs on 80% of smart devices around the world such as smartphones, tablet computers, smartwatches, smart TVs, vehicle music systems, and much more.
2. SpaceX & NASA
SpaceX launched 32000 Linux computers into space for Starlink Internet. SpaceX also utilized Linux in its powerful Falcon 9 rockets and many more technologies. The International Space Station (ISS) runs on Linux. Previously the International Space Station has run on Scientific Linux, which is a Red Hat Enterprise Linux clone, and afterward, they decided to move to Debian.
3. Worldwide Web (Internet)
Most of the Internet and public clouds like AWS and Google Cloud Platform to name a few runs on Linux. The worldwide web runs mostly on Linux coupled with open-source software such as Nginx or Apache HTTPd web platforms to name a few. If you visit one of your favorite websites today the chances that it runs on a Linux platform as I explained in the previous sentence are almost 100%. Social media platforms such as Facebook, Instagram, and many more applications and web platforms are built on Linux.
4. Electric Vehicles and Self Driving Cars
Tesla which is the electric vehicle automaker founded by Elon Musk runs their own in-house brew of Linux distributions and most other vehicle companies make use of Automotive Grade Linux (AGL). Self-driving cars are continually making headway as well with Google and other companies leading the charge with Linux-driven platforms.
100% of the world’s fastest supercomputers run on Linux. 5 supercomputers run Ubuntu, 20 on Red Hat Enterprise Linux, and 109 on CentOS. The fastest supercomputer currently in China is named the Sunway Taihulight, which is powered by 650 000+ CPUs run on a customized version of Linux called the Sunway RaiseOS.
6. Japan Bullet Train
Linux powers Japan’s bullet trains. The bullet trains use Linux to maintain and manage the advanced automatic train control system.
7. US Department of Defence
The US Department of Defense is using Linux in many of its technologies and the US Army is the single largest install base of Red Hat Linux. Nuclear submarines also run on Linux.
8. Stock Echanges & Banks
Globally the world of financial exchanges is becoming Linux-friendly. Most of the stock exchanges globally run on Linux. The largest stock exchange The New York Stock Exchange runs on Linux. The systems at the NYSE can generate 1 500 000 quotes and process 250 000 orders every second. Linux-based systems power banks and financial institutions globally. Think of it this way when you are transferring money to a friend or paying an account there are Linux-based systems processing your transaction and millions of other transactions every minute.
9. Air Traffic Controls
Air Traffic Control systems make use of Linux. Back in 2006, the Federal Aviation Administration in the USA switched to Linux to run their custom-built software that displays the air traffic flow and controls.
10. Global Tech Giants
Global tech giants like Amazon, Google, Twitter, and Facebook. All of them run on Linux. More so all the biggest tech giants contribute to the Linux kernel development such as Google, Huawei, Red Hat, Canonical, Intel, and Facebook to name a few. To give you a small example, every time you search for something in Google's search bar the calculations behind the scenes are performed by Linux platforms running extensive algorithms to give you the best possible results for your search query.
11. Microsoft Loves Linux
How successful is Linux? Well, I think all the facts mentioned earlier clearly indicate that Linux is probably the most successful software in the world and in history books. Need more proof? Steve Jobs offered the creator of Linux Linus Torvalds a job in the year 2000 with the condition that he stops the development of Linux. Well thankfully for all of us Opensource Geeks worldwide he declined that offer. Want even more proof? Well, Microsoft was no fan of Linux at all and probably attempted to extinguish the project in the late ’90s. Today that all changed as Microsoft even leverages Linux for its server and cloud business and even contributes to the Linux kernel development.
12. Video Industry
Do you love those breathtakingly special effects you see in blockbusters? Well, they are partly thanks to Linux as an estimated 90% of the visual effects of Hollywood blockbusters rely on Linux at some stage in their production pipelines. The visual effects of Avatar were developed on a Linux Platform with 3D applications using FOSS software.
13. Ubuntu Linux
Ubuntu is the world’s most popular Linux-based desktop Operating System and my personal favorite as well as I utilize Ubuntu as well as POP OS. Ubuntu was originally created by Mark Shuttleworth (First African in Space) from his Garage in Welkom, South Africa, and was later sold to Canonical.
14. Internet of Things (IoT)
Some time back I wrote two articles namely Technologies of the Next Decade, and IOT Industries outlining where the future of technology is heading and shaping. This may not come as a surprise to you, but the Internet of Things (IoT) widely runs on Linux as well. Single board systems such as a raspberry pi run on Linux with many IoT companies globally building custom Linux distributions to accompany their IoT products. The aim of IoT is to connect everything that can be connected to positively affect lives and impact businesses with that said the shaping of IoT has already begun and Linux is a part of it all the way.
There are still plenty more examples that I can mention that are powered by Linux. The truth is Linux powers most of the global technology. Linux-powered examples like those mentioned above are Android phones, game consoles, smart TVs, tablet computers, smartwatches, in-car entertainment systems, the biggest stock exchange in the world The NYSE, and most of the stock exchanges globally run on Linux, global financial companies, fintech industries, global banks, automation and smart factories, smart cities, self-driving cars, and many more. If I missed a few favorite examples, then feel free to leave more uses of Linux in the comments section below.