How Linux is silently changing our lives in different ways
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On August 25, 1991, 21-year-old Finnish student Linus Torvalds announced on the internet a project he started as just a pleasure, nothing big and professional. Less than a month later, Torvalds introduced everyone to the Linux kernel. Since then, the world has changed in an unexpected way.
From the way we interact with each other every day to preparing for the future of humanity, Linux is becoming a part of our technological development. To celebrate the 28th anniversary of Linux's release, let's take a look back at how this platform is fundamentally changing our lives.
Linux and the internet
It's hard to imagine what life would be like without the internet. That's the way we communicate, the way we learn and the way we know about the outside world. Needless to say, the internet is one of the most important discoveries in human history and today it is being powered by Linux.
Linux-based operating systems are the number one choice for servers worldwide. These servers are the machines that help each individual or company's services, digital products and websites connect to the internet. Whether it's Google, Twitter, Facebook or Amazon, even Apple, most companies use Linux in some form to run their businesses.
It's hard to say exactly how many servers are running on Linux. In 2015, web and market share analytics firm W3Cook estimated that there were about 96.4% of servers running Linux or one of its variants. No matter the exact number, it's not wrong to say that the Linux kernel is underpinning the entire web today.
Calculator in your pocket, on your wrist, and on your TV
Not only is it a basic component of the internet, Linux has also changed the way most of us access the internet through Android smartphones. Founded in October 2003, a group of developers created Android from Linux to run their digital cameras. Nearly 16 years later, it became the most popular operating system in the world, with a presence on more than 2 billion devices.
There are also Chrome OS, Android TV and Wear OS, all made from Linux. Google is not the only one doing that. Operating system developed by Samsung, Tizen is also made from Linux and it is even supported by The Linux Foundation.
It could be Samsung Galaxy Note 10 or OnePlus 7 Pro. It's amazing that at least one of the many devices we use every day uses some form of Linux.
Linux and the automotive industry
Smartphones and similar devices have become so popular these days. Unlike them, self-driving cars and smart electronics are still relatively new to the consumer electronics industry. But like other devices, most of them run on Linux.
Tesla uses Linux to make software for each of its products. In 2018, ZDNet said Tesla also released its product code, showing it was refined from open source software.
Tesla is also not the only one to do so. Most major automakers such as Honda, Mazda, Volkswagen and Mercedes-Benz rely on Automotive Grade Linux to equip their connected cars. The widespread availability of standardized connectivity would be almost impossible without Linux kernel.
Supercomputers and research tools
Supercomputers have been around since the 1960s. But no matter when they appeared, supercomputers are becoming more powerful than ever, and nearly all of them use Linux.
Supercomputers are the most powerful computing devices on the planet. Scientists use them to study quantum mechanics, weather forecasts, and molecular research. In 2017, all 500 of the world's most powerful supercomputers used Linux. Besides supercomputers, organizations like the European Organization for Nuclear Research (CERN) also use Linux for their work.
In 2009, CERN launched the world's largest particle accelerator, the Large Hadron Collider. The computer that runs it also uses Linux. CERN uses it for the study of material, energy and how the world is formed.
NASA and SpaceX
Linux has even changed the way we study the universe. For reasons similar to the fact that cars and supercomputers use Linux, NASA also uses it for most of its computers on the International Space Station (ISS). Astronauts use these computers to conduct research and tasks related to their missions.
But NASA is not the only space research organization using Linux. Private rocket company SpaceX also uses Linux for many of its projects. In 2017, SpaceX sent an HP-powered supercomputer running on Linux to space, and according to As Me Anything on Reddit, even Dragon and Falcon 9 rockets use Linux.
As you can see, the Linux kernel has changed our lives more than we thought. It is indispensable for our communication, scientific research and technological development. Without Linux, these development processes could be delayed for many years or even be difficult to survive.
So, thank you Linux for bringing us closer together for the past 28 years, both digitally and in practice. We are looking to the future where Linux will continue to change our lives more and more.
By: Emma Chavez