From rather humble beginnings in 1991, Linux has grown to be a widely used OS, running on virtually every type of computer system from the lightweight Raspberry Pi to Intel-based notebooks, all the way up to the Tianhe-I, the world’s second fastest supercomputer. A stripped down version of the Linux kernel also powers Android Ice Cream Sandwich tablets and mobile devices.
Most organizations make their revenue by selling support or consulting services to clients. New consultants and vendors appear all the time, particularly tied to Web development and mobile services. The big commercial vendors include:
- Red Hat
- Canonical Ltd.
- SuSE Linux Enterprise
Many companies have built large organizations using Linux on their own computers and servers. Its open nature and readily available source code allows them to develop their own in-house software. You’ll certainly recognize these giants:
Not only have companies like Google revolutionized the way the Internet is indexed, they’ve created an entirely new ecosystem in the mobile sector. Google’s Android OS powers countless tablets and smartphones.
A thriving non-profit industry has sprung up around Linux, too. Software costs money and various foundations fund the research and development necessary to maintain and expand programming projects. Linus Torvalds, creator and maintainer of the Linux kernel, is funded by one of them. The leading organizations are:
- Linux Foundation
- Linux International
- Mozilla Foundation
- Apache Software Foundation
- The Document Foundation
Covering Linux news and developments has created a number of publishing houses. The products and services range from news aggregators to publishers of how-to books, from magazines to websites. Among them are:
Into the Future
You and Linux have a bright future.
Most regularly maintained programs are updated on a roughly quarterly or annual basis. Now that the process of releasing new versions and project funding has matured, most companies involved are self-sustaining and generally profitable.
Many of the ecosystem’s project teams are always on the lookout for new talent, albeit on a voluntary basis most of the time. New programmers and developers have ample opportunity to learn the ropes of software development and build their technical credibility with their peers before going on to secure paid professional positions. This apprenticeship model makes it easy for good programmers, developers and engineers to get valuable real-world experience and demonstrate their skills in the marketplace. Open source projects give software people a viable path to a good standard of living, regardless of the individual’s education or background.
Linux is like a giant toolbox of programs, systems and processes. All you have to do is take some initiative, start learning and be committed to your future.