Why the Linux Kernel is Still Important

When Linux first arrived, it was mostly a hobby for enthusiastic engineers and computer science students who could contribute by developing code. The steep learning curve associated with fitting Linux to your machine was a barrier to entry for more novice programmers.

Over time, this has changed significantly. Online forums, workshops and classes have made Linux more accessible to the average internet user. The free sharing of ideas has come to epitomize the open-source community, and for software engineers, Linux is at the heart of this community. This democratization of Linux has had incredibly positive impacts on the computing world.

Now, Linux is everywhere. Enterprise-level companies use Linux distributions to process the biggest production workloads in the world. It has replaced proprietary commercial Unix operating systems in very large companies with better stability and less downtime. Because Linux systems can be as small or as large as you want, it’s also now being used in our homes for smart and mobile devices as well.

The open source nature of Linux is incredibly beneficial for these enterprise-level companies. Linux distributors leverage the contributions of the entire open source community. This wide range of contributors produces a more stable product with more features but also ensures that the OS keeps growing and solving real-world problems that are beneficial to a wide range of users.

Linux Kernel Runs the Cloud

Potentially the most impactful outcome of the kernel is its importance to the infrastructure of modern cloud computing. Linux’s scalability has paved the way for supercomputers and server farms to function efficiency while requiring relatively lightweight computing resources. In fact, Linux supports about 90% of the public cloud workload.

Without Linux, the cloud as we know it would not exist. This is, in part, because Linux has become so ubiquitous—its use cases are nearly limitless. Because it has been time-tested, many engineers and IT professionals have a solid grasp of Linux fundamentals, making it an attractive choice for enterprise companies dealing with the cloud.

Cloud-based software and products are becoming the norm in the engineering world. Unsurprisingly, major cloud providers such as AWS, Azure and Google Cloud are all supported by Linux as well. Linux is unique because it is a shape-shifter that can conform to the needs of any given engineering environment, and it’s incredibly stable because of the army of contributors that fortify weak points in the software.

Linux Forever

The concept of Linux is just as important as the Linux product. The concept allows a free and open source operating system to be refined, reinforced and replicated across an endless web of contributors. Thirty years is a long time for software to be relevant, especially with the ever-shortening tech product cycles. Because it was designed with the intent to be changed and updated by an open source community, Linux has no foreseeable expiration date.

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