Practical Technology

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2010’s Top Five Linux and Open-Source Stories

Sure, unlike me, you’re probably not reading this on a Linux desktop–Mint 10 for those who care about such things–but do you use Google, Facebook or Twitter? If so, you’re using Linux. That Android phone in your pocket? Linux. DVRs, network attached storage (NAS), trade stocks? Linux, Linux, Linux.

I think one of the most telling stories about Linux this year came from a friend of mine, Joe “Zonker” Brockmeier, who told me of a friend who said “Linux was too hard.” When Zonker asked him about his Android phone, he replied something like, “Oh, but Android is easy. It’s not Linux!”

Oh my. Android is indeed Linux, as is so many other devices and Web services and sites. Open-source developers have just gotten very good at hiding the dirty technical details from you. It just took them a lot longer than it did for the Mac OS X designers to hide its Mach, OpenBSD, and FreeBSD Unix roots from users. In the last few years though, they finally got the hang of it.

We’re going to see this trend grow only stronger in 2011 with the rise of Google’s Linux-based Chrome OS. That’s why Chrome OS is my first big story of 2010.

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