A little over a month ago, the hard drive on my laptop quit on me. Tapped out. The computer itself was just over a year old so I was devastated to say the least. Turns out it was a blessing in disguise because I upgraded to a new hard drive with a whopping 1 TB capacity, and an even better brand of operating system. Yep. I’m living the Linux life now, LXLE to be exact, and so far loving every minute of it. While I may be a late adopter, Linux has long been a favorite of computer users from all walks of life.
Low on Linux Adoption
Ubuntu distributor Canonical conducted a survey in 2012 that shed an interesting light on what the typical Linux user looks like. The survey painted a picture of male users (96 percent) who are either lured in by the open source aspect (77 percent), need a more secure system (57 percent,) or just not happy with their current OS (50 percent). Another study found that Linux is the dominant OS in cloud infrastructures and seeing steady year-over-year growth for mission-critical workloads. The research offers a nice user profile, but nothing underscores the potential of Linux like a few genuine use cases.
Facebook For Social Stability and Support
Some of the biggest websites in the world depend on Linux and the mighty Facebook is a part of that group. According to Amir Michael, former hardware design manager at Facebook’s, the social networking platform is built on a lightly modified version of CentOS, with certified support from Red Hat, a very ideal combination in this line of work. CentOS provides the stability a company like Facebook needs to deliver a consistent user experience, while Red Hat comes through in the clutch with proprietary software packages and enterprise support you just can’t get from the community.
DreamWorks for Rendering Movie Magic
Linux has become a star in Hollywood. One of the most famous Tinsel-town examples comes from DreamWorks, the production powerhouse behind hit films such as Madagascar, Kung Fu Panda, and Shrek, the animation sensation that made the company a monster. The firm leverages Linux’s processing power to support the robust rendering farm that produces most of the rich, graphical magic we see on the big screen. According to Red Hat, nearly every artist at DreamWorks uses Linux on their desktop and server to help streamline production processes, increase efficiency, and reduce costs.
Google for Doing Google Stuff
The cool thing about open source software is that you’re generally allowed to take a piece of code and use it to build your own product. This is what Google has done with “Goobunta”. A slightly modified version of Ubuntu, the most popular desktop distribution, Goobunta forms the core of the company’s search, advertising, and cloud computing platforms. While Windows and Mac tools are supported, Google prefers Linux for its superior out-of-the-box security, remarkable performance, and unmatched flexibility, which seem to be common drivers for those who use this OS.
LRZ for Powering Fastest Supercomputer in Europe
In 2012, IBM helped the Leibniz Supercomputer Centre of Bavarian Academy of Sciences and Humanities introduce a supercomputer dubbed the “SuperMUC”. The SuperMUC uses an enterprise server edition of long-time Red Hat rival SUSE to solve complex scientific problems and already ranks as the fourth fastest supercomputer in the world. This baby boasts ridiculous power with over 3 petaflops (147,456 cores) of CPU and a whopping 324 TB of memory. I’ve noticed that Linux does an awesome job of maximizing even subpar hardware so I imagine the SuperMUC being a beast!
Munich for System Liberation
With so much critical information on their systems, the governments of the world can’t afford to compromise reliability in computing. Linux makes an ideal solution with a secure architecture, cost effectiveness, and flexibility that allows different offices to seamlessly share information. The city of Munich recently completed a 10-year project when migrating nearly 15,000 desktops on its network over to LiMux, a custom distro the city authority came up with themselves. For this local German government, Linux was a cost effective alternative to the XP and third-party offices apps.
NYSE for High-Performance Trading Action
Beyond Google and Facebook, the most impressive Linux implementation may reside on Wall Street. In 2007, the New York Stock Exchange began its transition from Unix, one of the original workhorses of IT, to Linux. Financial exchanges benefit immensely from the speed boost Linux offers, which is vital for the messages constantly flowing between the hundreds of different servers that comprise the system. Additionally, source code modifications allow for further performance gains as well as the development of new components to support specific areas of the rapid-firing trading process.
I’ve mastered the bear minimum of Linux administration just to get back and running with my writing projects. There’s still a lot to learn and plenty more power to tap into, I’m sure. Exciting times ahead.
What’s your experience with Linux?
Photo credit: Andrés Álvarez Iglesias via Flickr