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Linux is Everywhere. We show you exactly where


Linux is Everywhere. From Space Stations to Microwave Ovens, Linux powers everything.” You might have heard that a lot and have always wondered ” Is that just a phrase or is it actually true ? “  Be assured, it is true. World’s biggest companies use Linux in one way or another but you are not going to believe unless I take names. Well, get ready for a roller coaster ride across the globe where I show you where and how Linux is used


Most of the Governments use Linux, which is pretty obvious for two major reasons. It saves money and provides the flexibility no other OS can . Below is a comprehensive list of Governments around the global using Linux -:

  • America – Starting July 2001, The White House started migrating the computers to the Linux-based Red Hat Linux and Apache HTTP Server and the migration was completed in February 2009. In October 2009, Drupal was chosen as the primary Content management system for White House Servers.

The United States Department of Defense uses Linux – “the U.S. Army is “the” single largest install base for Red hat Linux and the US Navy nuclear submarine fleets run on Linux.

In 2006, the US Federal Aviation Administration announced that it had completed a migration to Red Hat Enterprise Linux in one-third of the scheduled time and saved 15 million dollars.

The US National Nuclear Security Administration operates the world’s tenth fastest supercomputer, the IBM Roadrunner. which used Red Hat Enterprise Linux along with Fedora as its operating system.

The city government of Largo, Florida, USA uses Linux and has won international recognition for their implementation, indicating that it provides ” extensive savings over more traditional alternatives in city-wide applications.”

In June 2012 the US Navy signed a US$27,883,883 contract with Raytheon to install Linux ground control software for its fleet of vertical take-off and landing ( VTOL ) Northup-Grumman MQ8B Fire Scout Drones. The contract involves Naval Air Station Patuxent River, Maryland which has already spent $5,175,075 in preparation for the Linux Systems.

  • Germany – In 2003 the City Government of Munich decided to migrate their 14,000 desktops to LiMux, a customised version of Debian. Even though more than 80% of workstations were already using Free Software like Open Office, Firefox and Thunderbird.In November 2008, five years later the migration rate of 20% was achieved because of focusing on smaller deployments and winning over staff to the value of program. By the end of 2011, more than 9000 desktops were running Linux and the government of Munich later reported that the migration to Linux was highly successful and has already saved the city over €11 million ( USD $14 million ).

The Federal Employment office of germany has migrated 13,000 public workstations from Windows NT to OpenSuse.

  • France – the French parliament has switched to using Ubuntu on Desktop PCs. France’s Ministry of Agriculture uses Mandriva Linux.

France’s national Police Force, the National Gendarmerie, started moving their 90,000 desktops from Windows XP to Ubuntu in 2007 over the concerns over additional training costs of moving to Windows Vista, and following the success of OpenOffice roll-outs. The migration should be completed in 2015. The force have saved over €50 million on software licensing between 2004 and 2008.

  • South Africa – The South African Social Security Agency ( SASSA ) deployed Multi-Station Linux Desktops to address budget and infrastructure constraints in 50 rural sites.
  • Turkey – In 2003, the Turkish Government decided to create its own Linux Distribution , Pardus,  developed by UEKAE ( National Research Institute of Electronics and Cryptology ). The First version, Pardus 1.0, was officially announced in December 2005.
  • Philippines – In 2010, The Philippines started using national Voting System powered by Ubuntu.
  • Malaysia – In July 2010, Malaysia had switched 703 of the state’s 724 agencies to Free Software with a Linux-based operating system used. The Chief Secretary cited,”General acceptance of its promise of better quality. higher reliability, more flexibility and lower cost”.
  • China – State owned Industrial and Commercial bank of China ( ICBC ) has installed Linux in all of its 20,000 retail branches on the basis of its web server and a new terminal platform.

The People’s Republic of China exclusively uses Linux as the operating system for its Loongson processor family, with the aim of technology independence.

  • Cuba – Students from the Cuban University of Information Science launched its own distribution of Linux called Nova to promote the replacement of Microsoft Windows on civilian computers and government computers, a project that is now supported by the Cuban Government and have successfully migrated more than 8000 computers to this new operating system.
  • Russia – In late 2010 Vladimir Putin signed a plan to move the Russian Federation government towards Free Software including Linux in the second quarter of 2012.
  • Netherland – The Dutch Police Internet Research and Investigation Network ( iRN ) has only used Free and open source software based on open standards, publicly developed with the source code available on the internet for audit, since 2003. the use 2200 ubuntu workstations.
  • Spain – The regional Andalusian Autonomous Government of Andalusia in Spain developed its own Linux distribution, called Guadalinex in 2004.
  • Pakistan – The Government of Pakistan established a Technology Resource Mobilization Unit in 2002 to enable groups of professionals to exchange views and coordinate activities in their sectors and to educate users about free software alternatives. Linux is an option for poor countries which have little revenue for public investment. Pakistan is using open source software in public schools and colleges, and hopes to run all government services on Linux.
  • India – The government of Kerala, India, announced its official support for Free Software in its State IT Policy of 2001. which was founded after the first ever free software conference in India, “Freedom First!”. held in July 2001 in Trivandrum, the capital of Kerala, where Richard Stallman inaugurated the Free Software Foundation Of India. since then, Kerala’s IT Policy has been significantly influenced by FOSS, with several major initiatives such as IT@School Project, possibly the latest single-purpose deployment of Linux in the world, and leading to the formation of the International Centre for Free and open Source Software ( ICFOSS ) in 2009.


Education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world – Nelson Mandela. Free Software should be part of the education system and some countries have done a remarkable job of integrating Free Software in their education system.

  • The Children’s Machine – The OLPC XO-1 ( previously called the MIT $100 laptop and The Children’s Machine ), is an inexpensive laptop running Linux, which will be distributed to millions of children as part of the One Laptop Per Child project, especially in developing countries.
  • China – The Chinese government is buying 1.5 million Linux Loongson PCs as part of its plans to support its domestic industry. In addition the provision of Jiangsu will install as many as 150,000 Linux PCs, using Loongson processors, in rural schools starting in 2009.
  • Italy – Schools in Bolzano, Italy, with a student population of 16,000, switched to a custom distribution of Linux ( FUSS Soledad GNU/Linux ) in september 2005.
  • Russia – Russia announced in October 2007 that all its schools computers will run on Linux. This is to avoid cost of Licensing currently unlicensed software.
  • Switzerland – 9000 computers were converted to Linux and OpenOffice in school district Geneva, Switzerland.
  • Georgia – In 2004, Georgia began running all its computers and LTSP thin clients on Linux, mainly using Kubuntu, ubuntu and stripped Fedora-based distro.
  • Philippines – The Philippines has deployed 13,000 desktops running on Fedora, the first 10,000 were delivered in 2007 by Advances Solutions Inc. Another 10,000 desktops of Edubuntu and Kubuntu are planned.
  • India – Government officials of Kerala, India announced they will use only free software running on Linux Platform, for computer education, starting with the 2,650 government and government-aided high schools.  The Indian State of Tamilnadu also plans to distribute 100,00 Linux laptops to its students.

The Indian government’s tablet computer initiative for students use Linux as the operating system as part of its drive to produce a tablet PC for under 1,500 rupees ( US$35 ).

  • Germany – In 2012 the Keibniz Supercomputing Centre of the Bavarian Academy of Sciences and Humanities unveiled the SuperMUC, the world’s fourth most powerful supercomputer. The computer is x86-based and features 155,000 processors cores with a maximum speed of 3 petaflops of processing power and 324 terabytes of RAM. Its operating system is SUSE Linux Enterprise Server.

Germany also announced that 5,60,000 students in 33 universities will migrate to Linux.

  • Venezuela – In 2009, Venezuela’s Ministry of Education begins a project called Canaima-educativo, to provide all students in public schools with “Canamita” laptop computers with the Canaima Debian-based Linux distribution pre-installed, as well as with open source educational content.

Businesses and non Profits

Linux is used extensively on servers in businesses, and has been for a long time. Linux is also used in some corporate environments as the desktop platform for their employees, with commercially available solutions including Red Hat Enterprise Linux, SUSE Linux Enterprise Desktop, and Ubuntu.

  • Amazon –, the US based mail-order retailer, uses Linux “in nearly every corner of its business”.
  • Google – Google uses a version of Ubuntu internally nicknamed Goobuntu.
  • Wikipedia – Wikipedia moved to running its server on ubuntu in late 2008, after having previously used a combination of Red Hat Enterprise and Fedora.
  • DreamWorks – DreamWorks Animation adopted the use of Linux since 2001, and uses more than 1,000 Linux Desktops and more than 3,000 Linux servers.
  • IBM – IBM does extensive development work for Linux and also uses it on desktops and servers internally. the company also created a TV advertising campaign : IBM supports Linux 100%.
  • NYSE – The New York Stock System uses Linux to run its trading applications.
  • Novell – Novell initiated a migration from Windows to Linux back in 2004. Of its 5500 employees, 50% were successfully migrated as of April 2006. The Migration rate rose to 80% in november.
  • LSE – The London Stock Exchange uses the Linux based MilleniumIT Millenium Exchange software for its trading platform and predicts that moving from windows to Linux will give it an annual cost savings of at least £10 million ($14.7 million) from 2011-12.
  • Banco do Brasil – Banco do Brasil of Brazil, the biggest bank in the country, has moved nearly all desktops to Linux, except some corporate ones and a few that are needed to operate some specific hardware. They began migration of their services to Linux in 2002. Branch servers and ATMs all run Linux and the distribution of choice is Open Suse.
  • Dukejets – DukeJets LLC (USA) and Duke Jets Ltd. (Canada), air charter brokerage companies, switched from Windows to Ubuntu Linux in 2012 upon converting their operations management suite to the web-based AirManager software package they helped design.
  • Mindbridge – Mindbridge, a software company, announced in September 2007 that it had migrated a large number of Windows servers onto a smaller number of Linux servers and a few BSD servers. It claims to have saved “bunches of money.”
  • Wotif – Wotif, the Australian hotel booking website, migrated from Windows to Linux servers to keep up with the growth of its business.
  • Virgin – Virgin America, the low-cost U.S airline, uses Linux to power its in-flight entertainment system, RED.
  • Erine Ball – Ernie Ball, known for its famous Super Slinky guitar strings, has used Linux as its desktop operating system since 2000.
  • CME – The Chicago Mercantile Exchange employs an all-Linux computing infrastructure and has used it to process over a quadrillion dollars worth of financial transactions.
  • Electrolux Frigidaire – Electrolux Frigidaire Infinity i-kitchen is a “smart appliance” refrigerator that uses a Linux operating system, running on an embedded 400 MHz Freescale i.MX25 processor with 128 MB of RAM and a 480×800 touch panel.
  • KLM – KLM, the Royal Aviation Company of the Netherlands, uses Linux on the OSS-based version of its KLM WebFarm.
  • Nav Canada – Nav Canada’s new Internet Flight Planning System for roll-out in 2011, is written in Python and runs on Red Hat Linux.
  • Kim Cascone – American electronic music composer Kim Cascone migrated from Apple Mac to Ubuntu for his music studio, performance use and administration in 2009.
  • Chi-X – The Chi-X pan-European equity exchange runs its MarketPrizm trading platform software on Linux.
  • Peugeot – Peugeot, the European car maker, announced plans to deploy up to 20,000 copies of Novell’s Linux desktop, SUSE Linux Enterprise Desktop, and 2,500 copies of SUSE Linux Enterprise Server, in 2007.
  • United Bank Of California – Union Bank of California announced in January 2007 that it would standardize its IT infrastructure on Red Hat Enterprise Linux in order to lower costs.
  • Laughing Boy – Laughing Boy Records under the direction of owner Geoff Beasley switched from doing audio recording on Windows to Linux in 2004 as a result of Windows spyware problems.

Scientific Institutions

  • NASA – NASA has migrated the International Space Station from Windows Xp to Debian 6.
  • University of Portsmouth – The University of Portsmouth in the United Kingdom has deployed a “cost effective” high performance computer that will be used to analyse data from telescopes around the world, run simulations and test the current theories about the universe. Its operating system is Scientific Linux. Dr David Bacon of the University of Portsmouth said: “Our Institute of Cosmology is in a great position to use this high performance computer to make real breakthroughs in understanding the universe, both by analysing the very latest astronomical observations, and by calculating the consequences of mind-boggling new theories…By selecting Dell’s industry-standard hardware and open source software we’re able to free up budget that would have normally been spent on costly licences and reinvest it.”
  • Tianhe – Tianhe-I, the worlds fastest super computer as of October 2010, located at the National Centre for Supercomputing in Tianjin, China runs Linux.
  • University of Toronto – Canada’s largest super computer, the IBM iDataPlex cluster computer at the University of Toronto uses Linux as its operating system.
  • CERN – Both CERN and Fermilab use Scientific Linux in all their work; this includes running the Large Hadron Collider or the Dark Energy Cameraor the 20,000 internal servers of CERN.
  • Internet Archive – The Internet Archive uses hundreds of x86 servers to catalogue the Internet, all of them running Linux.

So these are the few places we know of where Linux is used and this is not even a fraction of what the real numbers are. Please feel free to comment and if I have missed any Linux using country or company, mention it in the commetns and I’ll  be quick to add it to the list.

52 replies to this post
    • That’s in fact very easy… there is a small country in the northern Europe called Denmark… there you will need to look very long and very hard to find anyone using Linux in the business or government. Windows is something the Danes know and like and you can go to hell with your cute small penguins!!! Microsoft is to big to fail… and OpenSource has many hidden expenses and can’t be trusted because everyone can read the source… and modify it behind the back of everyone.
      The truth is Microsoft!

      btw. I am a Linux user… and I have manged to install Linux on several servers and all desktops where I work.

      • No software company is “too big to fail”. I am not saying MS will fail. Many well known companies have gone out of business. In some cases, the brand name has been bought by someone else to use because of its recognition by the public. The common causes have been a failure to adapt to changing markets and very bad bets on expensive products that failed.

    • Not sure about other countries, but in Romania the vast majority is on Windows (low end users on XP, with probably near 50% on Windows 7, and some OEM Vista lefts). I’m talking desktops here; mobile/tablet/smartphone is on Android (with some iOS on IT/corporate); Nokia phones have an important share (personally, I like them better – but this for another post).

      The user base will go hand in hand with culture; if anyone could recompile libc, probably Linux would rule most of the time. But considering gaming, hidden costs (yes, HymerX is right), and most of the time, how can you answer to a customer having troubles with something like OpenOffice? “Pay for support, reinstall this, do that” – face it, no ordinary user will fire up a console and do sudo work. And MS Office just works, no matter how hard X zealots will blast.

      The fact government have a massive user base goes hand in hand with these mammoths having specialized personnel for installing, troubleshoot, support etc. (the reality is different when facing some 58 year old grandma pushing enter key to the despair…) – something that home user does not.
      Then there’s gaming. SteamOS is a very good initiative – and I pray for them to succeed – but there are some more steps to beat DirectX (go to the SteamOS installing page and you will see how non-trivial is to install – superlarge size, no dual boot etc).
      DOS (and especially Windows 95) were not good OSes, but brought the gaming to the mass level, something Linux did not reached yet.

      Summing up: gov’t: checked; IT/software shops: checked; home user: not yet.

      • The common mistake is not to differentiate between commercially supported distros and community distros. The commercial distros have support provided by the vendor. While I can not comment on the quality of their support but I am not very impressed with MS’ recent support. Community distros can be somewhat trickier for support depending on how closely they are tied to a commercial distro and user base of the distro. I have found the documentation generally easier to understand and more accessible than MS’.. Also, one is more likely to find quality third party information.

        If commercial support is a requirement, then I would recommend one of the commercial distros.

        Most users and SME use Windows because that is what is preinstalled. As larger organizations and governments switch to Linux more people will be exposed to a distro and will become familiar with it. This creates a hidden demand for Linux in the future and also creates a knowledgeable user base to support users and SME who do not have the skills to convert to Linux on their own.

      • while there are some areas like games on window only but not on Linux (this will change soon anyway) – most of others are not quite valid.

        Such as using sudo on terminal to do thing? or require a command line? No need for now; everything you can use GUI to configure. Probably it is linux of 5 years ago?

        Ubuntu is one of desktop distro and I have tried 12.04 – and actually try to do anything as normal end user do without touching the console. It works great. Just try it and see. More over the documentations is large and very helpful even I do not need any support. I installed it in my friends laptop and intended to give it to his 70 years old Dad who knows nothing about computer at all. Guess what? It works much better than his previous window XP one.

  1. High Performance Computing Wales run several supercomputers around Wales for business use and scientific modeling and data processing purposes, all of their supercomputers are Linux based.

  2. Peter Jacskon’s studio that has made all those big, BIG budget films also runs Linux servers and desktops.

    Also, there is a that good stat about the top 1000 supercomputers running almost all on Linux.

  3. […] ” Linux is Everywhere. From Space Stations to Microwave Ovens, Linux powers everything.” You might have heard that a lot and have always wondered ” Is that just a phrase or is it actually true ? “ Be assured, it is true. World’s biggest companies use Linux in one way or another but you are not going to believe unless I take names. Well, get ready for a roller coaster ride across the globe where I show you where and how Linux is used …Read More […]

  4. I would have to agree with WRD. It might be more efficient to list all the places that Linux is NOT running. Its amazing to see Linux is spreading, I have constantly heard about the “Year Of The Linux Desktop”….well guess what? We don’t NEED a Year Of The Linux Desktop! Linux really IS everywhere…and if it’s not on every desktop on Wall Street well who cares? it’s literally holding up the financial markets! I wonder what things would look like if Windows was everywhere?…oh wait… already is…and what a MESS that is!!

  5. You forgot all the embedded thin clients that are Linux based, but what’s this all really mean?
    Not a lot to your average Joe user. Linux is a perfect solution if you have a need for a customized OS and have some sort of IT department to help manage it. In fact any corporation that isn’t using a Linux based OS really should start to question their IT department on why.
    But every time I see a list like this it seems to be trying to suggest that Linux is the only viable OS for everyone and that’s just not true. Linux still suffers under the yoke of too many cooks in the kitchen. The Linux community is split between hard core users that think everyone should know their OS at the code/kernel level and have all bash commands memorized, open software divas that think no respectable distro will ever have, or should have, anything to do with proprietary code, program writers and users creating a 1000+ camps each expounding the virtues of a different environment/program for some obscure reason, and constant forks of Linux OSs as everyone attempts to finally make “the one Linux to rule us” and of course kick Windows off the top of the heap.
    All this does is create a massive headache for the average user that wants to give a Linux distro a try. I know because I’ve been that user. I’ll give just one example of my experience with a distro. I’ve been trying different distros on and off and I found I had one that look pretty promising, except it refused to network with my windows systems. This was the first time I’d run into this problem, with other distros each had other problems, but this was the first networking problem I’d run into. So I went to the forum to get some help. I had 2 responses asking why I wanted to have windows computers? Well I’m a gamer first and I’m sorry WINE still doesn’t cut it so I still need windows. One guy told me he used an FTP program to transfer files back and forth. Yes a frigging FTP program! Talk about taking a step backwards so I ignored him. The last guy gave me a link to a white paper on Samba shares. A very long PDF file on Samba shares. A, I’ll need a couple of other white papers to understand this white paper on Samba shares.
    I said thanks and explained I’m not a comp sci major, or work in IT, I’m just a average user trying out Linux. I asked if there was a simple GUI driven setting that I could play with (as I had with windows on other occasions) because I really didn’t want to use Bash if I could avoid it. I mean I’ve used command line in Win3.1 and many of the Win9x variants but command line isn’t really necessary in a proper GUI environment, it’s just legacy for people that prefer it. His response was “Any competent user should be totally familiar with his/her OS. Any Linux user worth a sh@t simply is or they shouldn’t be using it, which means to fix your problem you need to study up on Samba shares. The same goes for Bash, you should really learn it. It’s extremely powerful and every good Linux user uses it. Are you sure Linux is for you?” Well I replied “nope” and uninstalled it and went back to using all windows systems again. Problem solved.
    The funny thing while this was the worst example, pretty much every time I had problems with a distro that’s pretty much how things went. On the other hand I always find the information to easily (and that’s the important part) fix any windows problems I have. The latest was with a Seagate NAS box that would lose it’s credentials on any machine after a reboot. I now know three different and all easy ways using a windows GUI, to restore a NAS box’s log-in credentials and make them stick after a reboot. Easy peasy.
    Currently the most user friendly distros like Ubuntu and Mint seem to moving towards making everything easy and straightforward for day to day use. In fact too easy. You still need to be a Linux guru if you want to be a power user. That’s got to change before any Linux distro can challenge windows. But I’m afraid that the very fractured community that gives Linux it’s personality is also holding it back, and I don’t see that changing anytime soon.

    • Mint and Ubuntu tend to be good platforms for people who have _a specific reason_ to run Linux, but aren’t familiar with how Linux works yet. Both are also popular because they allow _basic_ computer usage (watch movies, read mails, browse the web, play music) without having to own a copy of Windows. The other distro’s aren’t trying to “rule them all”, they’re trying to do things differently. Mostly because they can, but also to figure out a better way of doing specific things. If you don’t really have a reason for using Linux, you’re better off just sticking with Windows.

      I understand your grief, though. I started as a Windows power user, and migrated to Linux about 12 years ago. It was really frustrating at first, because, like you, I hit that brick wall where you find out that all your experience with Windows doesn’t really help you in the slightest with Linux. Initially, I just got frustrated with the lack of GUI programs, but after a while you start to realize the reason: they’re _less_ useful than command-line programs, because they’re harder to automate and chain together.

      For me, the biggest draw to Linux is that you can use 20+ different command line programs, chain them together in a batch script, and automate a specific task, without having to build the parts yourself. You don’t even have to look around the web for those command line programs, because the best ones are included in the repository system, and it’s all free. You’re not getting the keys to the car, but the keys to the automated production facility where they build cars.

      If you have a choice, use Linux when you want to create software or automate tasks.
      Use Windows for everything else.

      • I’ve also used GNU/Linux for quite a long time, close to 16 years total, and even back in its early days, I could set up a GNU/Linux machine to perform the same task as Windows, but it wouldn’t require any reboots. Even back then, machines running GNU/Linux could run for hundreds of days, unscathed. Windows even to this day, cannot do this effectively. Times are changing. As more software is ported to GNU/Linux, the more Windows will become irrelevant on the desktop. The issue is awareness… GNU/Linux isn’t sitting on store shelves like Windows and Mac OSX. However, more people today are becoming aware of GNU/Linux than ever, so expect to see it continue to grow on ALL platforms.

  6. In Uruguay the project Ceibalita brings Fedora with Sugar interface for all the children below the age of 12 and from 12 to 18 they have a computer with Ubuntu that is given by the goverment.

    In another thing because the phisolophy of Linux and open source, America is a continent not a country. At least the USA president says ‘The united states of america’ not America.


  7. Of course Linux can be found in all of these environments. What made you feel so insecure that you had to write and article about it? I do not intend to write an article showing all the places my favorite OS is used. It’s already known very well!

  8. Basically the only place that GNU/Linux is not owning the market are desktops and laptops. However, this is changing as more mobile devices appear, GNU/Linux is appearing right along with them. Those that are trying to stay 100% Microsoft are going to fall behind and will be yesterday’s news. It’s too bad it’s taken so long for businesses to realize the power and benefits of GNU/Linux, but it’s better to be late than never.

  9. I seem to miss the most obvious, Android (linux based), router software (linux based), smart TV’s (linux based), media streamers (linux based), NAS (linux based), navigation systems (linux based), almost every “smart” device you can think of is actually linux based.

  10. but still, if you have dual graphics laptop with intel rapid storage and rapid start, your linux distro will not support it and you will revert back to windows and use linux in virtualbox. no major software company will give any first thoughts to linux even google will not release google drive for linux. i am fucking tired of listening to this crap “linux is powerful”. it is but add this too to it “desktop linux is still crap”.

    • Of course Intel doesn’t support rapid storage on Linux – it doesn’t have to, the OS supports rapid storage out of the box: It’s only retarded, obsolete OSes where you need extra support for this to work.

      As for rapid start, Ubuntu boots in less than 10 seconds from a spinning drive. What use would be rapid start for Linux? Even so, there’s work to bring this to Linux too – You might want to read the comments to see why there’s little interest in this in the Linux community.

      There’s IMO a bit of politics involved in Google not providing gdrive for Linux. Their entire internal infrastructure is Linux based (you are not allowed to do development work on anything else, unless you develop for a specific non-Linux OS, and even then your primary desktop will still be Linux). They want their ppl to use docs in the cloud, and not download them locally. If they provided gdrive for Linux, everybody would replicate their gdrive locally – which would be a huge waste – they do use tons and tons of docs in the cloud. Nevertheless, the community picked up, and there’s – it does most of what I want of it to fill the gap, even if it doesn’t support everything gdrive provides.

      As for “destkop linux is still crap” … when did you last try a KDE desktop? It’s so much ahead of anything else that it doesn’t even make sense to discuss it. The only destkop environment with a dim chance of catching up is Gnome, but things were not going very well with in Gnome development team, last time I checked. In contrast, both Windows (in any of its incarnations) and OSX look and feel antiquated. KDE is so flexible that if you absolutely insist you can make it look and feel like anything you like, but it doesn’t force you into a specific pattern. What exactly look and feel you get is distro-specific. Since there are tons of distros out there, just pick what you like best. You don’t like the default Windows setup? Tough luck, there’s just one distro available.

      Especially for companies, Linux on the desktop makes much more sense than Windows – provided you don’t call it crap before even knowing what it can do. It has automation built in, the last virus for Linux was developed in 2007, as a proof of concept, and I vaguely can recall at most two cases of Linux viruses in the wild (iirc, one was an experiment gone bad). Even if a virus manages to spread, it usually can’t do much due to the built in strong security – unlike on Windows, once a virus has infected a machine while being run as a regular user, it still has to gain administrative privileges, which is very hard. In contrast, automating administrative tasks and properly securing desktops on Windows is close to impossible.

      Another PITA for Windows admins is software updates. It is typical that on Windows most vendors provide their own update mechanism (the ones from Adobe and MS being the most annoying ones, IME, and many vendors not providing an automated update mechanism at all). It is much simpler than that on Linux – the admin sets up a local mirror of the distro the company is using, and adds a default cron job to perform the update on each station. All software is then being updated by just a single update job.

      Also, whereas a batch of a few dozen updates on Windows can take hours (it did happen to me, upon the first start of machines which were not running for some weeks), It has absolutely never happened to me for a full update to take more than minutes – and an update only requires a reboot if a new kernel version was installed.

      By using NFS and centrally managed storage, backup of user data is a breeze – Windows’ replication of home folders sucks bigtime, by comparison (way too slow and it often happened to me to loose my profile when on Windows due to unclean shutdown).

      So all in all, it is IMO stupid and purely caused by ignorance that even newly set up companies, without legacy applications, set up shop using Windows. There might be some costs for companies having lots of legacy applications, but this factor is also most often blown out of proportion – it’s been at least ten years since companies started migrating their intranet apps to the web, and browser-based apps run similarly well on any OS supporting a decent browser (Both Chrome and Firefox run faster on Linux than on Windows), so there cannot be that many VB6 and Visual FoxPro apps still around. Even if there were, creating fresh apps on Linux is a breeze, compared to Linux, and there’s amazing tooling and library support, so porting those apps is most likely going to be cheaper than paying for all the new licenses when upgrading to a new Windows version. Even worse: Windows usually forces you to update the hardware as well, which adds at least a few hundred dollars per workstation. Multiply this by thousands of seats, especially for large organizations, and think about what app migration you can finance from this money.

      For home users, desktop linux is fabulous. Besides getting everything you need packaged in a much more convenient form, Linux media players rock, compared to what Windows has to offer. Desktop integration is something Windows users can only dream about – in fact, I have noticed Windows users don’t even understand what a tightly and nicely integrated destkop means, when you try to explain it to them (imagine having everything, from plain text editor to file search to document editing to filesystem indexing to media player to network storage interacting seamlessly – my guess is you can’t really comprehend what it feels like). The only lacking area is games – but Steam is available on Linux, and most Windows-only Steam games can be still played on Linux using wine. In fact, I play older Windows games on Linux using wine, because they simply run smoother.

      Resource-wise, I found that running the same development environment on Windows uses more than twice as much memory and runs significantly slower than running it on Linux. Compilation time on Linux tends to be half of that on Windows. A friend doing 3D graphics instead of programming found that scenes of average complexity could not be loaded on Windows because it would crash, whereas he could work on them without any lag or other sort of problems when running the same 3D animation app under Linux. You’d probably not notice the difference unless you keep many dozens of Excel tables and Word documents open all the time, if you’re not doing development or other computing-intensive work – but if you do, you will most likely also notice that Linux as a desktop is simply faster and more robust.

      Therefore, for me the case is closed: Linux on the desktop rules, and it’s unlikely that Windows will be able to ever close the gap. While still a slow process, migration to desktop Linux will accelerate over the coming years, eventually leaving the desktop Windows users in the minority. It may not be a fast process, but by releasing things like Vista and W8 MS seems to actually support this movement.

  11. Long live Linux! I am running Windows 7 and Linux Mint on a partitioned hard drive. Yes, I am capable of partitioning a hard drive from the command line; but Linux Mint did it for me. I believe that the easiest way to learn a new anything (operating system) is to ease into it gradually. The really neat thing about experimentation these days is that you can buy a 2TB external hard drive for around $100.00. With that amount of disk storage available, and a reasonable amount of native inquisitiveness, the sky’s the limit. If all that is too intimidating, I say, go back to your Fisher-Price toys!

  12. I have been playing around with Ubuntu Linux for the past few weeks.

    Started with 13.10 but found it just too unstable so moved back to an earlier version. Also very unstable.

    Of course it is great that it is free and may be fine if you lock it down to a single app and work around the bugs for that app but i cannot believe that it is ready for prime time as an out of the box operating system for anybody but nerds.

    Maybe other Linux implementations are more stable but i doubt it.

    • if you want to try ubuntu you should always try a LTS version (12.04 LTS current stable version) v. 13.10 might be unstable because it’s mainly for developers

    • Idunno, unless you describe in more detail what exactly you mean by unstable I think your comment won’t get much credibility – for no other reason than your experience being the complete opposite of what the vast majority of desktop Linux users experience.

      I have started using Kubuntu on the desktop about four years ago. I absolutely never experienced stability problems, even if I use it on three different machines atm. I also use it at work – where many co-workers use W7. In almost two years (since my last job change) I had to bugfix things manually only twice – and that’s because I insist using the binary drivers from the graphics card manufacturer instead of the distro-provided drivers. In both cases the fix was to uninstall the old drivers and install the fresh ones – took about 20 minutes the first time, and maybe just five the second time – I already had a script. By comparison, a typical Windows machine needs rebooting several times a week, each reboot taking several minutes.

  13. In Brazil there is another state bank that runs state lotery and normal operation, it has more than 20K Linux touch screen workstations installed around the country since 2007.

  14. I can see now where I have been going wrong with Ubuntu Linux. I had (note the past tense) expectations that by the time a product reached version 12 or 13 that it would actually work out of the box.
    But I see now that even Linux evangalists like Anonymous Coward above do not expect it to work out of the box and immediately go off and seek out drivers and run his own developed scripts to make it work.

    It reminds me of the TV industry in the 1950s and 1960s. You did not buy a TV in the store in those days. You ordered it from a TV shop and an engineer came to deliver and install the TV. He came with a box of spare valves etc and spent the afternoon making it work. Now once it was working it usually worked well but no-one had expectations that you could plug it in and it would work straight off.

    So, back to Linux. if you have a single app like the Lottery mentioned in Waltenhares story above, you can probably lock down your operating system to work with that single app and a single hardware config. No big deal. That was what we did with the proprietary operating systems before UNIX and Microsoft.

    And, as i said before, it is free which is great for running 20,000 workstations. You can afford then to have the engineer spend some time locking it down to a specific environment.

    But if you are looking for a replacement for Windows?…. not yet ready for prime time.

  15. I have been using Linux since about 1990, started using MS-DOS about 10 years before that.

    Let me know when any Microsoft O/S out of the box, without additional software:
    (1) supports 35 virtual desktops
    (2) allows me to have 2 auto hiding panels
    (3) has multi-tabbed directory windows & terminals
    (4) is anywhere near as secure as Linux
    (5) allows one to a different Desktop Environment & install it without rebooting
    (6) …

    When I use any Microsoft O/S, I feel like I’m flying blind with one hand tied behind my back.

    All O/S’s have problems, just that Microsoft comes with more problems than Linux, and they charge you lots of money for the dubious privilege of using their O/S!

  16. Linux runs 492 of the worlds top 500 fastest computers, Unix 6, Microsoft 2 with the help of Novel Linux.
    Microsoft are in the top 20 companies that contribute to the Linux kernel not because they want to, because they have to contribute to stay in the enterprise business sector to keep MS Office servers running on Linux.

    Linux is developed by 200 plus worlds top hardware and software manufactures/developers, you will notice if you look that all these companies and software developers used to be Microsoft’s partners in the passed, not any more,
    Here is the List of the companies

  17. Poland usage Linux is 9.2% from all OS list (82.5 is Canonical Ubuntu)
    0.3% is OS X
    4,2% other
    rest windows (42% Windows XP)

    data is avg median from 6 stats counter polish sistes from 2004.01.06

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