It’s been three decades since Linus Torvalds announced plans to release a free and open source operating system with a Unix-like feature set. In that time Linux has come a long, long way.
There are hundreds of desktop operating systems based on the Linux kernel, although they still have a pretty tiny market share when compared with Windows and macOS. But in some ways, Linux may be one of the world’s most versatile, most widely-used operating systems.
Linux now powers most of the servers that make the modern internet tick. It’s also installed on many IoT and embedded devices. And the Linux kernel is at the core of Google’s Chrome OS and Android operating systems (although that may change eventually).
Heck, you can even install Linux on a Windows PC and run native Linux applications within Windows 10.
In recent years developers have also started porting Linux to run on smartphones. That effort is very much a work in progress and I wouldn’t recommend most users replace an Android or iOS device with one running a mobile Linux distribution yet. But things are getting better all the time, and some folks are already using Linux phones like the PinePhone as their daily driver.
Over the years independent developers as well as corporations have also created powerful applications for Linux including office suites, web browsers, photo and video editing and animation software, and even polished PC games. Gaming company Valve has also been making headway in turning Linux into a platform that can almost rival Windows for PC gaming, and the company’s upcoming Steam Deck handheld game console will be powered by Linux.
Like I said, Linux has come a long way in 30 years. Who knows where it will go in the next 30?