Open source is slowly and steadily taking over the world, without us realizing it. Here are some of the most popular consumer products that are running on open source technology.
PlayStation 4: You may be surprised to know that the Sony PlayStation 4 gaming platform uses FreeBSD. Sony has created its own fork of FreeBSD for PS4, called Orbis OS. In addition to the kernel, Sony is also using many other open source components including Cairo (a 2D graphics library), jQuery, Lua, Mono, OpenSSL, WebKit, and the Pixman. PlayStation 2 also offered a desktop interface that ran on Red Hat Linux.
Nintendo Switch: Nintendo’s new gaming console, is also powered by FreeBSD. In addition to the BSD kernel, Nintendo is using many other open source components that it borrowed from projects like Apple’s WebKit and Google’s Android.
Nvidia Shield: I think the Nvidia Shield TV streaming media player is going to rule the living room, thanks to streaming, gaming and artificial intelligence. Shield runs on the Linux kernel and Google Android.
Amazon Echo: Amazon’s Echo voice assistant/home automation devices are powered by Fire OS, a Linux/Android based operating system that powers a wide range of Amazon devices, including the Fire OS stick, Fire TV and Fire tablets.
Google Home: Google’s virtual assistant runs on a modified version of Chrome OS and Android.
Apple Watch: Apple’s smart watch runs on watchOS, which is based on the Darwin open source project developed by Apple. WatchOS uses XNU kernel which is developed by Apple as an open source project.
Apple TV: The Apple TV digital media player may not be as versatile as Nvidia Shield, but it does run on open source. Like watchOS, tvOS uses open source components like the XNU kernel and Darwin operating system.
MacBook: Like other Apple devices, MacBook also uses open source software. The laptop runs on macOS, which uses XNU kernel and the Darwin operating system. MacOS also gives you access to a pure UNIX environment and you can use utilities like terminal.
Roku: The Roku streaming TV and media player runs on Roku OS, which uses a modified version of Linux.
Nest: Google’s smart thermostat runs on a Linux-based operating system and other open source components. Google also offers firmware for Nest that allows users to unlock the device and run their own firmware.
These are not the only consumer devices that run either on Linux or BSD. Almost everything around you, with the exception of Microsoft products, runs some kind open source software. The next time you play Uncharted 4 on PlayStation 4, The Legend of Zelda on Nintendo Switch, or tell Alexa to turn the lights off, bear in mind it’s all running on open source.