The State of Linux: Game On at LinuxCon
Linux is landing on gaming systems and embedded devices, but challenges still remain as leading technology thinkers detail the state of Linux at the LinuxCon conference.NEW ORLEANS—At the annual LinuxCon USA conference that started Sept. 16, Linux Foundation Executive Director Jim Zemlin detailed the current state of Linux and how it is evolving in 2013. Zemlin didn't shy away from discussing the challenges either. And he wasn't the only one speaking about the state of Linux at the conference. Gabe Newell, the co-founder of gaming giant Valve, and Eben Upton, the executive director of the Raspberry Pi Foundation, also delivered keynotes talking about the opportunities for Linux in 2013. "Linux is awesome," Zemlin said as he began his keynote address. We are now beginning to see the end of the Microsoft Windows era of computing, according to Zemlin, as the impact of both cloud and mobile computing is beginning to become apparent. He stressed that Linux has now reached a tipping point, with support for every hardware architecture, and it is now the default model for new innovations. Zemlin noted, for example, that Twitter is built on open-source technology, as is Google and Facebook. There are some challenges though. For one, in Zemlin's view the Linux desktop has stalled somewhat and hasn't entirely fulfilled its promise yet. That said, he does see a bright spot with the emergence of Google's Chromebooks. A Chromebook is a Linux-powered notebook that uses Google's Chrome browser as the primary computing tool by which users access Web-based applications. Zemlin noted that he was recently told by an Acer executive that Chromebooks represent between 5 to 10 percent of Acer's U.S. shipments.
Another key challenge that Zemlin sees has to do with developer and legal resources. On the legal front, Zemlin sees a need to scale the legal talent pool with expertise in open source to help enterprises understand licensing concerns. In terms of developers, Zemlin sees a large demand for Linux developers and not enough talent to meet that demand.