Linux today represents a major economic force, with an ecosystem estimated about 25 billion dollars. Linux in practically is everywhere. When we do a Google search or read a book on the Kindle, Linux is that runs behind the scenes.
Linux unequivocally demonstrated the potential of developing systems in a collaborative manner, which is the core of the Open Source model. It would be virtually impossible for any software company, unaided, to create an operating system of its size and complexity. It is estimated that the cost of developing a distribution like Fedora 9, with its more than 204 million lines of code corresponds to almost 11 billion dollars.
To get an idea of the workload over the kernel, the last 4 ½ years, the average was 6,422 new lines added per day, and other altered 1687 and 3285 removed. 2.6.24 to 2.6.30 of the average increased to 10,923 lines added per day.
Who would have the financial clout to sustain by itself a venture of billionaire?
Therefore, Linux is not only used on web servers and print servers, but every day we see more and more core business applications running on Linux platforms. IBM, for example, has consolidated its internal computing environment (internal systems) on System z mainframe platform, running Linux.
Linux still has much room to grow. It is quite likely that we will see a more intense migration of Unix like Solaris and HP-UX to Linux because of uncertainty about the future of these platforms.
What is the future of Solaris servers under the management of a software company like Oracle that do not know the intricacies of the economic models of the hardware industry?
And platforms based on Itanium? Maintain a line of processors requires much investment that is necessary to have sufficient scale to be payback. In comparison to the Xeon line, the Itanium is not a high-volume product to Intel. While Intel does not publish its production volume, industry analysts estimated that in 2007 the rate of production was 200,000 processors per year. In 2007 the number of Itanium servers that were sold was 55,000. Very small number compared to 417,000 RISC servers (IBM’s Power family and other technologies) and 8.4 million x86 servers.
But what about the future?
With the changes that are already happening, as the increasing spread of mobile computing, will cloud computing model stands as Linux?
It’s an easy answer. Linux will not get much space on the desktop in positioning itself as the dominant mobile computing platform, such as smartphones, netbooks, tablets. In its last fiscal year that ended on June 30 last year, Microsoft first acknowledged in its report to shareholders that Linux systems for client machines, basically netbooks, Canonical and Red Hat would be a threat to their business. Previously, there was only recognized the threat of Linux servers. Also in smartphones it is clear that the Windows system that dominated the era of desktop failed to take off in mobile computing, with Windows Mobile losing ground every day.
What about servers? Linux on these machines are highly aligned with the trends of virtualization and cloud computing. Some good points about Linux call attention when we talk about cloud hosting programs. First, Linux runs virtually on any hardware platform, which facilitates the provisioning, allocation and management of computational resources in the cloud. We can build anything from a cloud-based x86 platform like Google even clouds on IBM mainframes, using the high throughput and ease of virtualization of these machines. The cost of licensing is another interesting factor. Although there are distributions licensed, a provider of cloud web hosting infrastructure, the large number of servers that should have (we speak here in thousands or tens of thousands of machines), may adopt, by scale, non-commercial versions of Linux. Virtualization is another plus point of Linux, with several available technologies such as Xen (cloud base architecture of the Amazon) and KVM.
Today, if we look at Linux cloud hosting, we already see its use as a technological base of the cloud from Google, Amazon and Salesforce’s Force.com, and others. And certainly its use will spread in future offerings cloud programs.
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