Nine years ago, when I started working for this wonderful magazine, the Linux landscape and the general outlook for open source was very different.
You couldn’t use the Linux desktop to access your online bank account, you could barely play any video and audio media and mentioning Linux to strangers was akin to admitting to a criminal past.
It took a lot of sincere explaining for people to understand it wasn’t a threat, and really wasn’t that difficult to learn. Now, it seems to me, Linux and open source has become the future, and while I’ve said it many times before, it’s saved us from a sterile future dominated by closed-source products and corporations. This is important. Not because of how much information those corporations would be able to gather about us, or how they may be coerced into working with a government agency, but because it gives us all a choice.
All of the mobile platforms Ben has looked at in the latest issue are great examples of this choice. If Android has just a little too much Google integration for your liking, try CyanogenMod. Want something lighter for your older smartphone? Take a look at Firefox OS or Sailfish. Then there’s Ubuntu Touch and KDE’s Plasma Active. None of this would be possible without Linux, its developers and people like Chris DiBona, ensuring that Google plays its part in the open source revolution and that it stays “on the side of the angels”, as he puts it.
Nine years ago, we were playing with a niche OS that had just become the default OS for the web. Now we’re playing with an OS at the heart of computer science, from educating our children to powering the world’s super-computers in the cloud.
And the future has never looked so good.