Where is Linux going? This is an important question many people ask, especially when their decision about whether or not to use Linux will have consequences for their business or other critical systems. After all, it would be risky to build important systems on an operating system with an uncertain future. But those fears are unsupported by the evidence.
Keep in mind that Linux started as a simple project. When Linus Torvalds was creating the first Linux kernel in 1991, he described it merely as a “hobby”, and had the simple goal of making the computer display the words “Hello world” on the screen. From those humble beginnings, Linux has grown into the operating system that runs most of the websites on the Internet. The fact that such massive growth has occurred organically is a testament to the benefits of open source.
In addition to it’s popularity as a web platform, Linux has seen growth among desktop users in recent years. With the increase in digital security breaches, the unveiling of government surveillance, and the difficulty of using various proprietary systems together, Linux has gained popularity with users who want a secure, stable, and open system.
This growth among desktop users has been further driven by the decreasing cost of computer hardware. A typical mid-range computer can run Linux in a virtual machine inside another operating system like Windows, allowing people to try it “risk free”. This has enabled more people to experiment with Linux than ever before, and they can even learn the basics of how to use it without jumping in head first.
As other projects like Mozilla Firefox and Wikipedia have shown, there is a strong demand for open and collaborative systems. And there is no more prominent example of the power of open source than Linux and the passionate community behind it.
The future of Linux will be a continuation of its past. As an open source project, Linux is the result of endless curiosity combined with a passionate community. And it is precisely this combination of traits that will continue to make Linux grow in popularity over the coming years.