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Just some months in the past, the editor of the recently-departed Linux Journal wrote that in some ways the golden age of Linux and FOSS was 2007. “Linux was now mainstream in company IT, and it was a lot rarer to satisfy a lot resistance whenever you wished to arrange Linux servers, until your organization was a 100% Home windows store… FOSS firms have been making some huge cash, and builders have been being paid to work on Linux and FOSS full time.”
He additionally wrote that when Linux Journal later folded (the primary time), “It turned clearer than ever to me that whereas Linux and FOSS had received the battle over the tech giants a decade earlier than, new ones had taken their place within the meantime, and we have been letting them win.”
And he supplied this closing evaluation in April:
Right this moment, Linux has extensive assist, and various distributors supply with Linux pre-installed and supported. The web itself is filled with FOSS initiatives, and one of many first issues individuals do when they’re about to start out on a software program mission is to look on GitHub to see if something that meets their wants already exists. Linux completely dominates the cloud when it comes to numbers of VMs that run it, and far cloud infrastructure additionally runs FOSS companies. Linux is also in many individuals’s pockets and residential home equipment. Linux and FOSS are extra ubiquitous than ever.
Linux and FOSS are also extra hidden than ever. So a lot of these FOSS initiatives on GitHub in the end are used as constructing blocks for proprietary software program. So many firms that appear to champion FOSS by serving to upstream initiatives they depend on additionally select to maintain the initiatives they write themselves proprietary. Though Linux dominates the cloud, increasingly builders and system directors who use the cloud achieve this through proprietary APIs and proprietary companies. New builders and sysadmins get much less publicity to Linux servers and FOSS companies in the event that they use the cloud how the suppliers meant. And, whereas Linux runs in your pocket and in your house, it is hidden beneath an enormous layer of proprietary purposes.
For probably the most half, the FOSS philosophy that outlined Linux in its early days is hidden as nicely. Many individuals locally tout FOSS solely when it comes to the flexibility to see code or as a option to keep away from writing code themselves. It has change into rarer for individuals to tout the significance of the freedoms that come together with FOSS and the issues that come from proprietary software program. Certainly, most Linux utility improvement within the cloud nowadays is completed on Mac or Home windows machines — one thing that may have been thought-about unthinkable within the early days of Linux… I encourage everybody from all corners of the group to not take FOSS and Linux as a right. The world of available code and largely open protocols you get pleasure from right now is not a given. If present developments proceed, we might be again to a world of proprietary software program, vendor lock-in and closed protocols just like the world earlier than 1994.
This new battle we discover ourselves in is far more insidious. The ways in which proprietary software program and protocols have unfold, particularly on cell gadgets, has made it a lot more difficult for FOSS to win in comparison with up to now. If we need to win this battle, we’d like the entire group to work collectively towards a standard aim.
What we anticipate seldom happens; what we least anticipate typically occurs.
— Bengamin Disraeli