The State of Linux 2020

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The State of Linux 2020

It's no longer an optional initiative to embark on the journey of digital transformation. As the world passes through trying times, what is the state of Linux in 2020?

· Open Source Zone ·
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As the world passes through trying times in 2020 withstanding and navigating through challenges posted by COVID, some things which are seeing a significant boost include ways in how corporations perceive digital transformation.

It's no longer an optional initiative to embark on this journey but an imperative keeping in mind the significant ways in which digitizing development and operations enable effort savings and in turn reduction in cost to maintain and scale their technical landscape. 

And what do we see as one of the core tenets of this transformation? It is a cloud-enabled as well as a cloud-native state based on Linux, one which is platform agnostic, robust, scalable, agile, and doesn’t incur a significant amount to the exchequer. Well, it is indeed a significant journey for Linux as an operating system of choice forming a base for the cloud-native platforms as also to be wholeheartedly embraced by the major corporations for example those in the product field to those in the field of data and analytics.

History of Linux

If we look back at the history of Linux since the time Linus Torvalds started it as a hobby at the University of Helsinki in 1991 being a poster boy for all that is free and open-source, standing steadfast against the onslaught of the proprietary systems to the times we currently live in where we have events like Microsoft Open Source Virtual Conferences in 2020. And guess what is the main theme for the event? Microsoft loves OpenSource and Microsoft loves Linux. Well, we know then that these are indeed times where the Linux lovers feel vindicated. And that is not all, let’s look at some of the significant corporate and cloud adoptions of Linux in 2020.ds

More than 90% of public cloud workloads, more than 60% embedded systems and IoT devices, a whopping 99% in the supercomputer market, and more than 80% of the smartphone market run on Linux. And if that was not enough, we also see a significant contribution from the proprietary operating system makers like Microsoft ( read WSL ) and Apple ( read Linux virtualization in mac BigSur) making it a part of their desktop ecosystem in some form or the other.

It was not long back that thinking of compatibility between something natively proprietary like the SQL Server on Linux was a thought which was not only far fetched and often considered as something remotely impossible. Its no longer a dream though and here is what we see on similar lines about the usage of Linux surpassing that of windows in Azure.

How? And What Drove This Rapid Adoption?

With open source being at the core of the Linux kernel development ecosystem with over 13500 developers who have contributed to its development from across the globe since 2005 as per this report from Linux foundation it was only a matter of time that this will become the behemoth that it is today. With the Cloud Native Foundation (CNCF) taking this a step further through popularizing the container-based ecosystem based on docker and Kubernetes, the penetration of Linux across all industry verticals has got a shot in the arm. 

One area where it has yet to get significant traction is the desktop Linux with a less than 3% market share, however with OEMs like Dell and Lenovo upping the ante through shipping more number of Linux based laptops and desktops based on Ubuntu as also Linux only OEMs like System76 shipping their Ubuntu-based Pop!_ OS systems it may be only a matter of time before we see the shift happening here as well.  Being a Linux user both on work and personal front for more than a decade, it gives me immense pleasure at the state of Linux and the significant heights which it has risen to by 2020 while we celebrate its 29th year. 

A famous quote by Mahatma Gandhi which has stood the test of time and has held good for Linux throughout is “First they ignore you, then they laugh at you, then they fight you, then you win” 


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