Citrix's Mark Hinkle: Linux Can Change the World Beyond Technology

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Mark-HinkleCollaboration can change the world and Linux and open source developers must use what they’ve learned to lead the way. This was the message delivered by Mark Hinkle, director of open source solutions at Citrix, in his inspirational keynote at LinuxCon and CloudOpen Europe in Edinburgh this morning.

“We can't just be satisfied with the way we develop software and IT. We need to share that culture and platforms with our colleagues in other industries,” Hinkle said. “The future is open and it's our responsibility to share what we know with other people.”

Linux creator Linus Torvalds kicked off a revolution 22 years ago with his now-famous email declaring the start of a new “hobby.” The Linux operating system has now eclipsed Unix and Windows to dominate in the server and mobile device markets. And it’s showing increasing momentum on the desktop, driven by the rise of gaming on Linux and increasing support from OEMs, said Linux Foundation Executive Director Jim Zemlin in his "State of Linux" keynote preceding Hinkle's talk.

In other words, Linux has won, said Hinkle, summarizing Zemlin’s message.

“It's not even the operating system, it's everything we do around the development of open source software that's caught on,” Hinkle said. “There is no more powerful or effective model (for innovation) than open source development.”

A platform for innovation

A new generation of open source software and hardware has evolved to create a platform for innovation, Hinkle said. That technology, combined with the web’s ability to connect developers and ideas globally, has the potential to accelerate development and innovation in fields beyond high-tech, from medical research to green energy and clean water, and beyond.

Prosthetic limbs are still based on technology designed nearly a century ago, for example. Over the past few years using open source components, a 15-year-old student from the UK was able to create an electronic hand for a fraction of the cost of the medical establishment, Hinkle said.

There's no good reason for medical technology to be this outdated. Consumers should have the same expectations for medical equipment that they do for mobile devices, he said. “We need a Moore’s Law for health care.”

Given its history of success and the large community surrounding it, Linux and open source software are in the position to lead that change. Think of all the other problems that could be solved by applying open source software to another field.

“What you do is setting the standard for how progress will happen in the 21st century,” Hinkle said.

 For a full summary of today's keynotes, see a recap of our live blog on Linux.com. And be sure to tune in tomorrow for more coverage of LinuxCon and CloudOpen Europe.