Linux is everywhere now. It's on my TV, on my Roku, it's the firmware running my SAN hardware, it's the OS behind all of our virtualization platforms. If you know me, you know my technology passions are for Linux, Perl and pretty much anything running open source. I started using Linux about 1993/94 when I downloaded SLS from GEnie over my 2400 baud modem. It was kernel 0.99p11. It booted Linux and ran off of floppy. Later, I got a larger copy from GEnie using work's 9600 baud connection. I had to dialup Indy to get a speed that fast!
Later, when Windows 95 came out, I started running Linux as my desktop and I've stuck with it. I remember that the guys in my office would always reboot their Windows 95 systems at lunch as a preventative measure to prevent accidental lockups. One time, just prior to lunch, I distinctly remember Ken yelling "Oh no! It locked up and I've been working on that spreadsheet for an hour!" I typed "w" to get my uptime:
[rat@localhost Desktop]$ w
16:39:19 up 99 days, 8:14, 4 users, load average: 0.25, 0.25, 0.27
Ha! They can't keep their desktop up half a day - mine's been up for 99 days and still going. I think to myself: "Linux - I think I'll keep it."
It's been over 20 years. I can remember telling someone I worked on Unix and Linux systems. "Ah, a niche OS, eh?" "Niche?" Not really. Unix/Linux was running the Internet before these guys knew there was an Internet. It's always been the one to run DNS, web servers, DCHP servers, NTP (time protocol), etc. It ran all the SMTP (mail) and SNMP (network and hardware monitoring). Linux WAS the back office of any decent sized IT shop.
Later, Apple forked BSD Unix into its operating system OSX. Now Apple was Unix! I was very much at home on the Apple OSX command line. Everything was there: Bash shell, Perl, and all the core Unix commands. Pretty cool.
Next came Windows PowerShell. So many of the commands were aliased to bash commands that I was once again at home. I really like Windows 2012 R2 Core and PowerShell. Each new version of PowerShell adds more and more bash-like aliases.
And now, Microsoft Azure Cloud Services has dozens of versions of Linux you can deploy in their cloud service. One estimate was that over 75% of the virtual machines in Microsoft Azure Cloud Service were Linux. Even better - Microsoft runs AZURE on Linux!! What's more, the Azure services SDK client also runs on Linux! It was pretty freaky seeing bash scripts with a Microsoft license boiler plate on them. And now the Office 360 is coming to Linux!
It's not a niche! It's not going away. I'd say that, without fan fare, Linus' OS has finally won. I saw the future 20 years ago. It is Linux!!
Merry Christmas everyone!
P.S. Don't forget - Linux is the OS running Android phones and the Raspberry Pi.