Linux is, in essence, an operating system that represented a $25 billion ecosystem in 2008. Since its inception in 1991, Linux has become a force in computing, powering everything from the New York Stock Exchange to mobile phones to supercomputers to consumer devices.
Linux is developed collaboratively, meaning no one company is solely responsible for its development or ongoing support. Companies participating in the Linux economy share research and development costs with their partners and competitors. This spreading of development burden amongst individuals and companies has resulted in a large and efficient ecosystem and unheralded software innovation.
Over 1,000 developers from at least 100 different companies contribute to every kernel release. In the past two years alone, over 3,200 developers from 200 companies have contributed to the kernel--which is just one small piece of a Linux distribution.
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Linux is the stable foundation for all IT workloads and deployments, both traditional and innovative, in any environment - bare metal, virtual, cloud, or containerized.
Everyone can run, study, share and modify the software.
Modified code can also be redistributed and even sold, but all of this must be done under the same license.
In the case of the cloud, even on Microsoft's Azure, more than 60% of the images on the Azure market and almost a third of the virtual machines are based on Linux.
Amazon Web Services and Google Cloud Platform offer multiple Linux distributions in their images available to the public.