April 05, 2011, 2:50 PM — Two decades after Linus Torvalds developed his famous operating system kernel, the battle between Linux and Microsoft is over and Linux has won, says Linux Foundation Executive Director Jim Zemlin.
With the one glaring exception of the desktop computer, Linux has outpaced Microsoft in nearly every market, including server-side computing and mobile, Zemlin claims.
"I think we just don't care that much [about Microsoft] anymore," Zemlin said. "They used to be our big rival, but now it's kind of like kicking a puppy."
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While Microsoft's stock has stagnated over the past decade, open source torchbearer Red Hat has soared, Zemlin notes. And Linux software is everywhere, he says, as proponents of the open source project prepare to celebrate its 20th year of existence.
"I think that on the 20th anniversary, it's worth reflecting back on where we came from," Zemlin said in an interview with Network World. Linux had a "humble start as a project for a college student in Helsinki, to something today that runs 70% of global equity trading, something that powers, really, the majority of Internet traffic, whether it's Facebook, Google or Amazon."
Linux can be found in consumer electronics devices, like Sony televisions and camcorders, the Amazon Kindle, and in smartphones and tablets as part of Google's Android. Linux leads the market from the tiniest embedded systems to the largest supercomputers, with more than 90% of the Top 500 supercomputing sites in the world running Linux.
"Linux has come to dominate almost every category of computing, with the exception of the desktop," Zemlin said.
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