In the world of technology, Linux and the broader Open Source ecosystem continue to thrive, driving countless innovations and powering an array of devices like never before. Over the years, the landscape has evolved, and today, Linux and Open Source applications play a more significant role than ever before.
One notable development is the rise of technologies such as Docker and containerization, which have revolutionized software deployment and management. Where previously a development team might utilize virtualization to deploy and test their applications they can now use Docker to create an environment that does many of the same things as a virtual machine, but it uses significantly less hardware resources.1
In addition to the rise of these technologies is the development of alternative operating systems based on Android, such as GrapheneOS and CalyxOS. These systems offer a more streamlined transition compared to their predecessors in particular with GrapheneOS you can install the operating system to your Android device using your web browser - eliminates the need for complex adjustments or potentially risky custom installations. With heightened security and user-friendly interfaces, users can now embrace these alternatives with confidence.
Amidst the dynamic landscape, some projects have shifted and transformed. For instance, Canonical’s ambitious Ubuntu for TV never materialized, and their plans for an operating system designed for phones were eventually dropped. However, the Ubuntu Touch name and project lives on thanks to the UBports Foundation. There is another exciting project utilizes KDE’s Plasma environment, however regrettably it suffers from the same issues as Ubuntu Touch and like CalyxOS, where there is a limited set of smartphones (commonly Google Pixel devices) that are officially supported.
Linux’s true prowess lies in its role as a source of great technological advances. Notably, the KDE Project developed the KHTML engine for its Konqueror browser, which later evolved into WebKit for Safari, which in turn Google utilized to develop their Chromium and Chrome browsers before creating the Blink engine based on WebKit. It is ironic that although Linux hasn’t seen a lot of success on the desktop, one of the web engines that arose within Linux powers the majority of web browsers in use today - including Microsoft’s current web browser, Edge.
Linux’s ubiquity extends beyond the desktop market, with a significant presence in devices like Amazon’s Kindle line of products, Google’s Android, an expanding selection of gadgets running Google Chrome OS2, and most interestingly Valve’s portable gaming device, the Steam Deck.
Leading up to the release of Valve’s Steam Deck in 2022, the company invested significant resources in developing their Proton compatibility layer. This initiative aimed to enable Windows-designed games to run seamlessly on Linux, a strategic move as Valve had chosen Linux to power their portable gaming device. Thanks to Valve’s efforts it has resulted in a delightful consequence: Linux users can now enjoy a diverse range of games on their Linux-based PCs, opening up a new world of possibilities for gaming on this platform.
Back in the day, discussions about Linux primarily took place within distribution communities’ forums and blogs. During my regular blogging days, I used to follow Martin Owen, (aka Doctormo) blog, which had a strong focus on Linux and the Open Source community. While he hasn’t posted in quite some time, his insights were captivating, especially his thoughts on monetizing open source projects, given the number of developers working for free. Interestingly, as time passed, we have witnessed the emergence of platforms like Patreon and Kofi, offering accessible and user-friendly avenues for financial contributions to open source projects. This transformation has revolutionized how users support and contribute to these projects, making it easier than ever before.
It is interesting to look at how far Linux has come, when I first wrote on this blog there weren’t as many faces on YouTube discussing Linux, now it feels like I can pick and choose from amazing content creators like Brodie, Nick from the Linux Experiment,Tech Hut and Nicco, a KDE developer3 it is really amazing how far things have come as the years go by.
Linux and Open Source remain vibrant, fostering continuous innovation and shaping the technological landscape. As the journey continues, the Linux community thrives, united by passion, dedication, and the shared goal of advancing technology for all. So, whether you are already fond of Linux or simply curious about Open Source, explore the wonders that Linux and its community have to offer.
I have limited understanding of Docker and containerization but it is my understanding that they way they work is unlike virtual machines which take hardware resources for themselves Docker (and containers) work by sharing the kernel of the host operating system, the unfortunate consequence is that you cannot create Linux Docker containers on Mac and vice versa. ↩︎
A version of Chrome OS released last year by Google that can be installed on a wide range of devices that were not originally designed for Chrome OS, such as several old iMacs and MacBook notebook computers. ↩︎
Some other Linux YouTube channels I watch regularly: Learn Linux TV for amazing tutorials and walk throughs, Brandon Stecklein’s channel for the latest on his experiences using Google Chrome OS Flex, i12bretro - they’ve had some interesting videos on using Proxmox and virtualization, Chris Titus Tech, Distro Tube, and Abstract Programmer who has amazing and easy to follow instructional content on how to install all sorts of Linux apps, he was particularly helpful when I was trying to figure out how to setup MySQL on Ubuntu Server. ↩︎