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Application Areas of Linux

written by: Tolga BALCI•edited by: Lamar Stonecypher•updated: 1/8/2010

Linux is a bigger beast than many people think, but what are the application areas of Linux? Did you know that the mobile phone in your hand may be running Linux, not to mention your games console, and many more technologies are running the OS?

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    Introduction

    Of course there is a reason why Microsoft sees Linux as a bigger threat than Apple. Linux is everywhere: servers, desktops, netbooks, laptops, cell phones, mobile internet devices… and you are using, or at least communicating, with Linux powered computers every day. In this article, we’ll take a look at some of the application areas of Linux.

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    Servers

    Linux has conquered the server market. Apache is a powerful web server. Postfix, Sendmail, QMail, and Exim are all powerful e-mail server applications that are built to run on Linux. SpamAssassin anti-spam server software was built originally for Linux and then ported to Windows. The examples are almost endless.

    Have you wondered why this is the case? Because Linux has what every server wants: stability, reliability and a high uptime rate. While proprietary anti-spam programs have certain lists that they check to determine whether a certain message is spam or not, SpamAssassin checks with other servers to figure out if the message is classified as spam in other locations. Server security is one reason why many companies prefer to run Linux.

    And have you ever wondered what system is behind Google, the world’s most well-known search engine? Linux. There is no Microsoft product designed to handle this amount of load. Sorry Redmond.

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    Desktops, Laptops, Netbooks

    Linux had a bad reputation of being hard to install at first. But the open source developers quickly addressed the situation to improve installation and hardware detection, and eventually they surpassed the Windows operating system in terms of desktop experience. If you have not heard of CompizFusion and the 3D desktop, I suggest you to do a quick search on Google to see the results.

    Linux has carried its stability, reliability, and uptime features to consumers in the desktop, laptop, and netbook markets. Linux is designed to work with very low hardware and memory requirements (such as netbooks, or down to 486 processors) and it performs outstandingly on the high performance computers.

    If you prefer, you can even make your Linux computer a Media Center or a controller for your digital home.

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    Cell Phones

    Motorola RAZR Is that a Motorola RAZR you are using? Or is it a ROCKR? Maybe it’s a T-Mobile G1? I am sorry, but you are already using Linux in your cell phone. Shocked? Please don’t be. While you have to close all your programs to free up memory on your cell phone in Windows devices, your Linux handset takes care of it automatically, and brings that famous server reliability to your handset. When you close a program in a Linux device, it is “closed” and not “pushed under the rug” as in Windows Mobile devices, so you do not experience slow-downs when you are using your cell phone.

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    Mobile Internet Devices

    Nokia 810 MID Yet another area Linux has conquered are the mobile Internet devices or MIDs, such as the Nokia’s N800 and N810, in which Intel sees a lot of prospects for the future. They actually run Ubuntu. So instead of getting a MID on which you can only use what you are given, you can install a program from the Ubuntu repositories and customize it as you want. How about opening up an SSH connection or VPN to the server at your workplace?

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    Conclusion

    Yes, Linux is everywhere - from high-performance servers to mobile handsets, and even airport kiosks where you can quickly get some news or arrange your travel. There are in essence hundreds of application areas of Linux, making the giants consider it a threat.

    I recommend you to take your part in the Linux revolution and at least give it a try with a Live CD, such as Knoppix, that requires no installation.