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TOP CONTRIBUTORS

Linux is perhaps the most famous example of open source technology. Linux refers to both an operating system kernel, and to the suite of software which surrounds it. See the article on open source for more information about the open source technology approach and its impact on businesses.

There are three broad categories of relevance for Linux:

  • Servers, where Linux is a popular operating system. In September 2008, Steve Ballmer (of Microsoft, which competes with Linux) estimated that Linux has a 60% market share on servers. [1]
  • Embedded computing, such as smart phones, digital video recorders, and other electronics, where it competes with operating systems such as Windows CE and QNX.
  • Personal computing. Here Microsoft's Windows dominates, and Apple's OS X is a minor contender; Linux has minimal market share.
    • Linux has relevance to low-power, low-cost netbooks, however.

Affected Companies

Distributors

Some companies such as Red Hat and Canonical distribute Linux operating systems directly and sell support. Others distribute environments based on Linux, such as Google's Android for cell phones and Chromium for netbooks and similar embedded devices.

Application developers

Many enterprise software vendors develop software which runs on Linux (and sometimes other platforms), such as:

Users

Many Internet-facing technology companies use Linux for their servers.

  • IBM is a major user and supporter of Linux.
  • Google uses Linux extensively.

Many other technology companies will use Linux to power their devices.

Competitors

Microsoft competes with Linux on servers and in the embedded device market. If Linux begins to gain significant market share on the desktop, it will affect sales of the Windows operating system.

Apple competes with Linux on cell phones through Google's Android operating system, and will likely see competition for their iPad from the related Chromium operating system (also based off Linux).

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