Linux Becomes More Popular

Since 1997, Linux and other open-source systems have become more and more popular. Linux saw a lot of success in the server market, where cheap PCs that can be bought in stores can serve as an almost full replacement for more costy UNIX servers by installing Linux. Even if the latter are used, they very often run open source servers and other open source programs, utilities and frameworks.

Linux has become the number one choice for constructing clusters, a large set of computers that are networked together to form a fast computation system, with powers that rival or exceed super-computers. There are various kinds of clusters around. Some of them are performed at a relatively high level. Others, try to make the system believe it has as many processors as there are nodes.

Linux also had a lot of success in the embedded market, serving as the framework for creating software that is embedded in hardware.

The Internet boom not only made free software more essential for its operation , but also enabled more and more users and developers to share their code, get help and work together for advancing it.

At the moment, Linux had a much more limited success as a choice for a desktop system. While being the only operating system that is gaining market share, it still has a very low one, in comparison to Microsoft solutions. Many projects started to supply users with desktop and GUI environments and applications. Some of them are very mature, usable and successful. Only time can tell if and when Linux becomes the default solution for the desktop.

Apple's MacOS X was released and is based on Darwin, which is an open-source BSD-derived system. MacOS X can run UNIX applications natively, and supports the X-Windows system, which is the de-facto GUI framework for UNIXes (including Linux). It is therefore a popular UNIX choice for PowerMac computers (and more recently for Macintosh computer based on Intel-based chips), albeit not the only one since Linux, and various open-source BSD clones and other UNIXes can run there as well.

The recent recession in the information technology market, did not seem to slow down the development of open source software. Freshmeat is still busy as ever with releases of new software, and since the recession started, many important new releases were done for a lot of major applications and even many more less important ones.