Smart homes, smart TVs, smart watches, smart phones, smart fridges: is there anything that isn’t smart these days? Smart humans, might be a useful start. The startling thing is that behind that huge list of smart things is Linux (and perhaps a bit of BSD). The open source nature of Linux; its lightweight footprint and robust security (though nothing is foolproof) makes it perfect for use in tiny, deployable, internet-connected smart things.
An entertained home is a happy home, with the digital dream a real one, most homes have turned into a digital entertainment heaven. My home’s daily routine often revolves around keeping the tiny humans entertained streaming music, video and photos from a home Linux server (plus online services) around the home to a variety of devices. From the traditional TV with a Raspberry Pi media centre to Android tablets and Chromebooks, or through the Pi-powered projector for cinema-style fun.
You get an education! You get an education! You get an education! It’s not something Oprah Winfrey would give away, as I guess to some a free car would seem more valuable, but how much is an education worth? I’d suggest on a purely practical level a huge amount, and we all know it’s something that’s truly invaluable. It’s one part of FOSS that we almost take for granted, but by providing the tools and documentation it’s assumed that people can and do educate themselves in everything they need to know.
Next-gen GNU/Linux, what does that even mean? The FOSS world is so unlike the proprietary world. In that closed universe, new releases are considered so important that secrecy becomes paramount. So the next-gen release of Windows becomes so crucial. With FOSS and Linux development everything is laid bare. Sensible folk stick with the stable release but the brave-hearted can jump into an unstable, development branch and compile where angels fear to tread.
Linux is a fast operating system. In fact, we feel pretty safe saying it’s the fastest operating system. OK, so there are different metrics, but considering the world’s fastest supercomputer with a mere 3.1 million Intel Xeon
processors runs Linux, we feel on very safe ground for at least one of those metrics. Almost as impressive is that 97% (Source: http://bit.ly/LXFsuper) of the world’s top-500 supercomputers happen to run Linux. Check out the statistics yourself at www.top500.org, they’re really impressive.
“This is the year of Linux on the desktop” is the oft used battle cry from parts of the Linux community. A dive into comp.os.linux – or if you dare into advocacy
(http://bit.ly/LXFusenet) – and you can trawl all the way back to 2002 and see the same old cry hoisted high. But with Linux desktop use at around 1.5 percent (www.netmarketshare.com) and with the Steam Hardware Survey (http://bit.ly/LXFsteam) showing it at 1.1 percent, what happened?
Ubuntu is the distro people love to hate. That is ironic, as it’s spawned a larger number of currently forked
distros than any other flavour of Linux. Just take a look at the GNU/Linux Distribution Timeline from futurist.se/gldt. It’s a truly nuts diagram of just how forked the Linux world has become. Totting up the currently live distros, Ubuntu is easily the most fertile with 70 forks. Debian and Red Hat have just over 60 each, and as for the total? We lost count after 280...
The Linux Format team genuinely hope you love this issue, as we think it shows how GNU/Linux is touching
every aspect of not just the computing world, but our everyday lives too. Nothing highlights this better than our lead news story and the fallout from Heartbleed. Suddenly the world woke up and realised an open source project – OpenSSL – was a vital element in their lives, but from a near-disaster comes an amazing new solution.