This paper argues that Linux has not only emerged as a competitor to both Microsoft Windows and Macintosh operating systems, but is a better choice. The popularity of Linux has grown noticeably, with a recent surge in the use and adoption of Linux operating system by individuals and organizations across the world. I have examined various factors, including code accessibility, cost concerns, security issues, distrust of monopolies, functionality and features, applications, support, and ease of use and quality, to conclude that Linux is indeed a better choice. It is now tenable to say that Linux has not only emerged as the new threat to Microsoft and Apple in developing markets, but will soon surpass them and become the incumbent operating system of choice. Linux, the Operating System of Choice
In recent years, the global marketplace has witnessed an enormous rise in the use of computers, and ultimately the software used in them. Computers have principally made their mark in almost all the spheres of mankind (Kirby, 2000), and with this growth the software requirements for them have also grown at an exponential rate (Kumbhar et al., 2011). With this capacious rise of the computer industry, new software products keep creeping into the market, adding more capabilities as well as complexities to the assiduous and conscientious end users. Now more than ever before, customers or end users have a wide range of software options available at their disposal which can be used for their requirements and/or business purposes (Lone & Wani, 2011). As acknowledged by Kumbhar et al (2011), the development of high quality software has followed two main trajectories, namely open source and closed source software. A recent trend in the field of software is the open source genre, and it can justifiably be said that the Linux operating system has become the embodiment of this genre (Kirby, 2000). This paper purposes to argue that Linux has not only emerged as a competitor to both Microsoft Windows and Macintosh operating systems, but is a better choice than the other two. Overview of the Linux Operating System
The Linux history as an operating system goes back to 1991 when Linus Torvalds developed a UNIX-type operating system which he called MINIX, while a student at the University of Finland (McLaren, 2000). Available literature demonstrates that the MINIX platform was initially developed by university student Andrew S. Tannenbaum, but Linus decided to add more functionality into the system than originally proposed by Tannenbaum (Delozier, 2009). As acknowledged by Balakrishnan (1999), Linus “…released version 0.02 of the operating system in 1991 and worked steadily on it until 1994 when he released version 1.0 of the Linux Kernel” (p. 3). Eventually, according to this particular author, more and more programmers around the world came together and decided to give a Portable Operating System Interface for Computer Environments (POSIX) compliant UNIX-like system hinged on the founder’s operating system to global users under the GNU General Public License (GPL). Technically, according to MacKinnon (1999), “…Linux just refers to the core of the operating system, the so called kernel, which interacts directly with the hardware and supervises the operation of other programs” (P. 2). However, it is imperative to underline the fact that a fully functional Linux system includes many other components, without which the system would not be of much use. The important fact that makes Linux more appealing than Windows or Macintosh operating systems in this context, is that most of these components are entirely non-commercial and are developed and maintained by thousands of volunteers across the world (Delozier, 2009). Growth Trends of the Linux Operating System
The popularity of Linux has grown noticeably over the past decade, (Delozier, 2009) and even more...