We hear so much about Apple OS and Windows. For the average computer user however Linux is perceived as a niche operating system for techies only and is way out of their comfort zone. This is a pity as there are Linux distros (distributions) that meet all sorts of needs. For example, Linux Mint is a distro that both Apple and Windows users find very intuitive and the various LPS distros are used for military purposes. Of course you could always create your own distro should you feel so inclined and have the technical knowhow.
Ubuntu Server and Desktop to the rescue
A very popular Linux distro (based on the Debian distro) is called Ubuntu. Ubuntu was started in 2004 by South African Mark Shuttleworth. Ubuntu is most popularly used as a server OS and desktop OS but is gaining ground in tablet and phone use. Ubuntu is particularly interesting in that its server version is good enough to power the likes of Wikipedia however it’s also adaptable enough that the desktop version can easily be downloaded and used on a PC or Mac.
Unfortunately the perception by many that Linux distros are difficult to use and maintain means that the likes of Ubuntu desktop isn’t used more widely; I’d love to see more schools in Australia use Ubuntu desktop.
How widely Ubuntu is used (and other interesting facts)
Getting accurate usage stats for Ubuntu is difficult as registration for use of the OS isn’t mandatory. Also the software can be downloaded for free from many different sources. Below are details however that illustrate the popularity and diverse use of this awesome Linux distro:
- The most powerful Supercomputer, China’s National University of Defense Technology Tianhe-2, runs Ubuntu.
- Netflix and Wikimedia (including Wikipedia) use Ubuntu on their servers.
- 59% of users find Ubuntu very easy to install with another 29% noting the install process as easy.
- Among law enforcement and security agencies, Ubuntu Desktop is used by, among others, the Dutch Police and the French Gendarmerie.
- Edubuntu is an Ubuntu child distro (also called flavor) focused on Education users. There are also various other Ubuntu child distros targeted at specific uses such as Ubuntu Studio (with a multimedia focus) and Ubuntu Kylin (localized for China).
- Various not for profit organizations distribute used computers after installing Ubuntu to school kids. Two organizations that do this are World Computer Exchange and Partimus.
- Ubuntu is increasingly being used by government for electronic voting and data analysis such as in Slovakia and the Philippines.
- Ubuntu is the most popular Web server technology.
- Amazon web Services (AWS) dominates cloud computing with users including Pinterest, Wix, Capital One, Fairfax Media and eTix. Ubuntu is by far the most commonly used OS for servers on AWS.
- Ubuntu has advice for converting people to use Ubuntu as well as specific resources for Women involved in Ubuntu.