What started off as a hobby project for the Finnish engineer Linus Torvalds, has turned into a global phenomenon.
Today Linux is literally powering the modern economy – everything from Amazon public clouds, stock exchanges, and social networks run on Linux. It also runs in devices like sensors, printers, routers…and what not. Linux virtually owns the smartphone market with Android.
Here is a sneak peek at some of the most interesting devices powered by Linux.
Chromebook: Chromebooks run on Chrome OS, a Linux-based operating system developed by Google. Chromebooks are the closest Linux can get to the traditional desktop market. Chromebooks continue to gain popularity, in fact, Chromebooks outsold MacBooks in the US last year.
What sets ChromeOS apart from other platforms is that it deploys a unique mechanism for software updates that keeps the devices up-to-date all the time, without any user intervention. As a result they are extremely secure and maintenance free. With the arrival of Android applications on Chrome OS, Chromebooks are going to become even more appealing to a wide range of users.
Chromecast: Chromecast is a small, $35 device that turns any HDMI-enabled TV into a smart TV. Chromecast support is baked into many services like Netflix, YouTube, Amazon Prime… that allows for streaming of content from any smartphone or tablet to the Chromecast devices. Now, there is an audio-only version of Chromecast that turns any speaker into smart speaker, allowing users to stream music to these devices from music services like Google Play Music, Pandora, Spotify, YouTube music and many more. Chromecast, as usual, runs on Linux.
Smart TVs: If you are buying a new TV from a reputed brand, the chances are it’s a smart TV. Virtually all smart TVs are powered by some Linux-based operating system. Samsung TVs use Tizen OS, Amazon is selling Fire OS based TVs, LG uses their own webOS and Sony sells Android based Smart TVs.
Smartwatches: Smartwatches from Samsung, Motorola, LG, ASUS, Huawei, Sony, etc. run on a Linux based operating system. Most watches run on Android Wear, except for Samsung that uses Tizen OS on Gear S smartwatches.
Nvidia Shield: Nvidia Shield is primarily a media streaming box for streaming movies, tv shows and music. It competes with Apple TV. However, it’s evolving beyond just a streaming box. Nvidia Shield is also doubles up as a powerful game console to play supported games from the Google Play Store. Nvidia is building a gaming service called GeForce NOW, where users can stream games online. Nvidia Shield also doubles up as full-fledged virtual assistant, powered by Google Assistant.
Drones: There are many commercial and consumer drones that run on Linux. Some of the Linux powered drones and drone platforms include Brainiac, ￼BeBop, Solo, DroneKit, BeagleDrone, Paparazzi Project, Ground control, Panopticopter, Airware, APM Planner and more…
Drones are evolving beyond hobby and toys. They are now used in commercial and industrial applications to deliver goods, save lives, monitor and repair industrial instruments and much more. They are becoming IoT devices with wings. This evolution has created demand for mature operating systems for these devices.
Canonical has created a version of Ubuntu that runs on IoT devices. Companies like Erle-Copter, DJI and Qualcomm are using Ubuntu to create drones or add-on board for drones.
Tesla Cars: Yes, Tesla cars run on Linux. Tesla cars are like IoT on wheels and like most IoT devices they run on Linux. Tesla cars are powered by NVIDIA DRIVE PX 2 AI computing platform and run on Linux OS. Based on Elon Musk’s Tweet, Tesla cars are running version 4.4 of Linux OS.
Virtual Assistants: There are two major virtual assistants or smart speakers: Google Home and Amazon Echo, and both run on Linux. While Amazon Echo runs on Fire OS, a Linux based operating system developed by Amazon, Home runs on Linux-based Android.
These are some of the most exciting Linux powered devices, we will continue to update this list to add newer and even more exciting devices.