Despite its mini status on the desktop, Linux is certainly all around us, in phones, cars, planes, embedded devices, toasters, robots, etc. It's a great thing to be able to select which parts of the kernel you need only to run your particular device. No marketing campaign, it just works.I wonder how much of linux' success can be attributed to it being "free" and how much is because it's gratis...
I'm sure that being 'gratis' plays a part in Linux being considered
. But I very much doubt it's a major factor when it comes to Linux being chosen
Especially when you look at the technical acumen and the financial resources behind many organizations that do
choose to go with Linux.
Virtually all of them can well afford any operating system they want. And that remains true even if they don't mind "paying a little less" get it.
Having a stable, powerful, unrestricted and fully adaptable
OS is the main goal.
Not having to pay for a license to use it is just icing on the cake for this crowd.
I think one of the things that creates a perceptual problem when it comes to Linux is that people tend equate the Linux kernal
. This is probably because most people are so familiar with the monolithic approach to operating systems that Microsoft uses, that they assume all operating systems must work the same way.
The thing about Linux that almost always gets overlooked isn't how much
Linux brings to the table - it's how little
Linux itself is fairly small. Most of its increase in code size over the years comes from adding support for new hardware. But the real beauty comes when you realize you can strip out everything you don't need, add only what you do, and go from there.
And the fact you can do that is Linux's main selling point when it comes to critical system design.Quasi off-topic follows. feel free to ignore!
Linux vs GNU/Linux
In a way, it's kind of funny...
When the Linux kernal first got wedded to GNU, Richard Stallman (GNU's brilliant but difficult project leader) insisted on calling it GNU/Linux in order to call attention to the fact that what most people think of as "Linux" is actually made up of two major components: a small kernal and some ancillary code named "Linux" - and GNU, which is everything else.
Stallman believed this was an important distinction that needed to be maintained and, for a variety of reasons, felt the name should reflect that.
Linus Torvalds didn't object to any of this. (Some versions of the story say Linus's reaction was more along the lines of him saying "whatever.") But "GNU/Linux" didn't roll off the tongue as smoothly as "Linux" did. So over Stallman's protests, the general name became Linux.
Despite his many misgivings (and a long fruitless attempt to get the public to use the name GNU/Linux) Stallman eventually capitulated. Much like when Federal Express finally stopped insisting on being called that and ultimately went with FedEx, the name its customers bestowed on it.
Vox populi, vox dei, as the saying goes.
So if there's public confusion over exactly what constitutes Linux, we have only ourselves to blame.
Looks like Stallman was right about it after all...