Linux is everywhere, except maybe in your food. Although you might typically only think of Linux on your geeky friend’s laptop or powering a server, Linux runs on many devices, from consumer electronics to the world’s fastest super computers.
The Android operating system is popping up all over the place, and every one of those devices runs a version of Linux specially stamped with Google’s approval. Devices like the Droid from Motorola, the HTC Evo 4G, the Motorola Xoom tablet, Google TV, and the Barnes & Noble Nook ebook reader all run Linux.
2. Boxee Box
Boxee has made Internet streaming and online video viewing a cinch with its oddly shaped Boxee Box from D-Link. Plug it in and get 1080p video from Netflix, VUDU, and a ton of online networks and websites. It will also play just about any video or audio format you throw at it. And yes, the Boxee Box runs Linux.
TiVo is nothing new. Millions of people use it to record their favorite shows and also watch Amazon Video On Demand, Netflix, Hulu Plus, and more. TiVo runs Linux and is an industry standard for DVRs.
The ebook reader that changed the game is also a Linux device. Amazon’s Kindle runs Linux, and you can download the source code directly from Amazon.com. The Kindle offers a selection of over 900,000 ebooks, newspapers, and magazines, all in black and white Linux glory.
5. IBM Watson
Remember IBM’s Watson, the super computer that mopped the floor with human contestants on Jeopardy? Watson runs SUSE Linux Enterprise Server on ten racks of IBM Power 750 servers. It is capable of recognizing human language, interpreting it, and coming up with logical responses. It is intelligent and will someday rule the world.
Many of the world’s servers run Linux, like those at serving hosting provider 34SP.com. The CERN LHC is just that really big physics experiment, but it needs a ton of server power to run. Some people thought it would rip a hole in the fabric of space and time (and it still could), and while it is doing that, it will be running Linux. Making use of 40,000 CPUs and 15 petabytes of data per year, the LHC may be the biggest Linux device of all. CERN also distributes its own custom version of Linux called Scientific Linux.
The Roku video player is another competitor for Internet set-top box supremacy. It plays Netflix, Hulu Plus, and a boat load of other popular online streaming services. The Roku is probably the least expensive of the bunch and is also a Linux-based media player. It supports HD playback and a ton of features.
8. Sony Bravia TV (and several other products)
Sony’s Bravia TVs are in living rooms all over the world. A great number of them run Sony’s own version of Linux for its user interface. Sony also has a number of other products that run Linux, including Internet TVs, cameras, digital players, camcorders, digital photo frames, e-book readers, and home and car audio systems. You can browse through the source code for all of these products on Sony’s Code Distribution Service website.
Linux is no stranger to servers, and is becoming very noticeable on desktops and laptops. As you can see from the above example, Linux is also powering large and small devices all over the world. It is by far the most versatile operating system, and it is completely free.
Tavis J. Hampton is a seasoned writer with a decade of experience in IT, web publishing, and free and open source software. Some of his services include writing, web design, electronic publishing, and information management.