You’ve been told that you can do just about anything with Linux, but how far does that statement really go? Linux might be far from popular on desktop computers, but it shines everywhere else. You’ve probably used Linux today, even if you didn’t realize it.
Without even mentioning Android devices, let’s take a look at 10 interesting devices or systems that run Linux so you can get an idea of how much Linux actually affects your life.
Why Is Linux Everywhere?
Whether you know it or not, Linux can be found everywhere. There are several reasons why this is the case:
- It is extremely flexible due to its open source nature, so anyone can go through Linux’s code and modify it however they need.
- It is very portable, meaning that it can be easily used on virtually all CPU architectures.
- It is very fast, which means that it can be used on cheaper hardware.
- It is free, which is a good incentive for almost anyone.
Top 500 Supercomputers
Think no one uses Linux? Take a look at the top 500 supercomputers in the world. A whopping 96.4% of them run Linux.
There are several reasons why this is the case. Since all supercomputers are staffed with knowledgeable programmers, they can easily take Linux and make changes as they see fit. Second, because Linux can run on virtually every CPU architecture, there’s no problem with getting it to run on the more specialized hardware that supercomputers use.
Flight Entertainment Systems
Flight entertainment systems, the ones that allow you to watch TV shows and movies, surf the web, and play games in the comfort (heh) of your own airplane seat, commonly run Linux. Why? Because Linux is extremely flexible, fast, and it doesn’t cost anything in licensing fees. This way, airlines can create their own setups which include client systems (the ones that go into the seats and talk to the server somewhere in the plane) which include cheap hardware. Not only are they saving money with the cheaper hardware that still gets the job done, but they also save money on licensing. Imagine having to pay for a Windows license for every seat in the airline’s entire fleet!
Smart Refrigerators and Nest Thermostat
House appliances like a smart refrigerator and or a Nest Thermostat also commonly run Linux. All of these devices use Linux because some sort of operating system must take care of the main applications that run on it, as well as facilitate the use of WiFi and other I/O. Again, Linux is also open and easy to configure which makes it an ideal choice.
Sadly, Linux hasn’t been put on a toaster (yet).
Large Hadron Collider and International Space Station
Linux powers The Large Hadron Collider, one of the most respected scientific facilities in the world. And the LHC is hardly alone in this regard: the International Space Station replaced Windows with Linux on the computers onboard. When it comes to science, Linux is common.
Do you like guns? You can buy yourself a smart rifle which runs what else but Linux. With the smart rifle, you can do all sorts of things, such as setting a target, and having the rifle keep track of the target and automatically fire whenever you’re aiming correctly to hit it. For hunting, that might take the fun out of the sport, but it’s cool technology nonetheless.
It’s documented that Google uses a modified version of Ubuntu, the most popular Linux distribution, for its self-driving car project. And the project has a lot of sophisticated work going into it – a sliver of which you can see in the video above. Another impressive project powered by Linux.
Traffic Control Systems
Important public systems such as San Francisco’s traffic control system or the nation’s air traffic control use Linux. Such large infrastructure projects require specialized setups that Linux can fulfill best, once again because it’s flexible and cheap. This is one of the best examples of how Linux can affect your life indirectly.
Robotic Milking System
What’s the weirdest device that runs Linux? How about a robotic system for milking cows? The VMS, short for Voluntary Milking System, allows the cows to be milked when they want to, and it frees up a dairy farmer’s time quite a bit.
As you can see, Linux is simply everywhere. If you don’t come in contact directly on a daily basis, it certainly affects your daily life in an indirect manner. There are many more places in the world (and beyond) that use Linux, but these are what we think are the most interesting examples. Linux will only continue to spread, which is good because Windows XP-powered ATMs have got to go.
Interested in trying out Linux now? Check out our listing of the best Linux distributions out there!
What’s your favorite example of Linux in the wild? Is there anywhere Linux cannot go? Let us know in the comments!