Linux at 20 years: a progression from promising to pervasive

As Linux celebrates its twentieth anniversary this week, Nils Brauckmann, president and general manager of SUSE, has discussed the contribution that the maverick open source operating system has made to the global technology ecosystem.

Brauckmann argues that Linux has grown from an initial measure of “promising”, to a time when we might all regard it as “pervasive”. Through web sites and portals such as Google, Facebook and Amazon, someone experiences Linux every day, yet they probably even don’t know it.

“From my perspective, one of the greatest achievements on its 20th anniversary is the serious reputation Linux has earned in the data centre for business-oriented, mission-critical deployments. We can be pretty safe if we state that, as a general truth, businesses needs high performing, secure, interoperable and cost effective solutions. Linux embodies all of these factors, which is what makes it so ubiquitous today.”

“As today’s sophisticated enterprises continue to deploy Linux, it will maintain its dominance as the ideal platform for innovation. Just this year, openSUSE board chair, Alan Clark was instrumental in helping the Linux Foundation form its new High Availability Working Group, designed to accelerate the development of key technologies that provide businesses with 24/7 connectivity.”

“SUSE already has a proud heritage for participating in the growth, stability and support for Linux. Not only has SUSE provided leadership to the Linux kernel, but we contribute to other Linux related projects such as GNOME, KDE, Xen, KVM. Moving forward SUSE will operate as a separate business unit of The Attachmate Group. By operating SUSE as its own business, we can focus on the needs of our customers to accelerate the delivery of Linux solutions to customers including London Stock Exchange, Sony and Walgreens.”

Note: for European readers not familiar with Walgreens, think of a combination of Superdrug and Boots but with the added option to purchase cigarettes and (in some states) alcohol.

“In the future, we predict a mass adoption of Linux within cloud computing. Linux supports the broadest range of physical, virtual and cloud environments and underlies countless cloud platforms including Xerox, Vodacom, Amazon, Fujitsu and IBM. In addition, the innovation taking place with Linux-based mobile devices is incredible. Only Linux offers the technical modularity and commercial flexibility that developers need to optimise Linux for their specific uses.”

Brauckmann’s words are telling indeed. He uses the terms “mass adoption”, “Linux” and “cloud computing” alongside each other with no hesitation at all.

Speak to a mobile analyst and it’s not uncommon to hear comments such as “the future is Android” banded about.

Speak to an open source convert about cloud computing and you might hear “Linux modularity is a killer for cloud” spoken.

Google that last comment now and you’ll get this blog, Google it in eighteen months and you just might get a few more hits.