David A. Wheeler's Blog

Fri, 10 May 2019

The year of Linux on the desktop

For those who know their computer history, wild things are going on regarding Linux this year.

Linux is already in widespread use. For years the vast majority of smartphones run Android, and Android runs on Linux, so most smartphones run on Linux. As of November 2018 100% of all top 500 supercomputers worldwide run on Linux. Best estimates for servers using Linux are around 66.7%, and Linux is widely used in the cloud and in embedded devices.

But something different is going on in 2019. All Chromebooks are also going to be Linux laptops going forward. Later this year Microsoft will include the Linux kernel as a component in Windows. In a sense, 2019 is the year of the Linux desktop. This was not in the way it was envisioned in the past, but perhaps that’s what makes it most interesting. No, it does not mean that everyone is interacting directly with Linux as their main laptop OS, and so you can certainly argue that this doesn’t count. But increasingly that is measurement is less important; people today access computers via browsers, not the underlying OS, and that system is often running and/or developed using Linux.

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