Linux is Everywhere (Now in the Air)

amcpherson's picture

When I talk to family and friends outside of the technology business about what I do, I often get reactions like this, “I’ve never seen or used Linux. It’s just used by technology geeks, right?” My reply? “I’ll bet you a thousand dollars you’ve used Linux. You just haven’t realized it.” I then ask them the following:

  • Do you use the Internet? Every time you use Google or you’re using Linux.
  • Have a Sony Playstation 3 or Tivo in your living room? You’ve got Linux.
  • Have an account at a major bank or a financial services company? Chances are they use Linux (often times on a mainframe) to run your account.
  • Use a mobile phone? Chances you either are or will soon be using Linux. Motorola and Palm, for instance, are both using Linux in their new models.

The examples go on and on. Linux has made the progression from hobby to ubiquity in a relatively short time. Why? Because of it’s scalability and open-ness, Linux is used in more types of devices than any other OS in history. It’s distributed and open development process allows it to be customized quickly for these special purposes.

Now we see recent news that Singapore Airlines (my favorite airlines btw) is putting a personal computer running Linux in every seat of their newer planes. This will be a great way for people to explore Linux for the eight to fifteen hours of flight. (I was going to say “painlessly explore” but then thought about those eight to fifteen hours and revised my sentence.)

This is another example of an innovative company using Linux not to reduce costs, but to add more functionality and differentiate itself against the competition.