Wednesday, March 31, 2010

8 of the Best Free Linux Astrology Software

Astrology is a set of traditions, beliefs and systems which hold that there is a connection between the movement of heavenly bodies and events that take place on Earth such as human affairs, and personality.

Astrologists use the position of the planets to try to predict future events, and to inform the psychological understanding of an individual's psyche.

Up until the 17th century astrology and astronomy were inextricably intertwined. However, it is important to recognise that astronomy and astrology are two very different disciplines.

Astronomy is the scientific study of celestial objects and is widely respected in the scientific community, whereas astrology is based on universal, timeless symbolism, it is often regarded as a pseudo-science, and thought of as an art.

This article highlights the best astrology software that runs natively under Linux. There is not a wide selection of software available in this genre, and some popular Linux distributions (e.g. Ubuntu) do not include a single piece of astrology software in their standard repositories.

Nevertheless, there are some great astrology applications listed below for anyone who wants to try to improve his or her understanding of themselves or others.

To provide an insight into the quality of software that is available, we have compiled a list of 8 top quality open source astrology applications.

Hopefully, there will be something of interest for anyone interested in intuitive perception.

Now, let's explore the 8 astrology applications at hand. For each title we have compiled its own portal page, a full description with an in-depth analysis of its features, a screenshot of the software in action, together with links to relevant resources and reviews.

Astrology Software Fully featured astrology application
Cenon Astro Astrology module for Cenon
Maitreya Vedic and Western Astrology
Skylendar Modern astrology software for KDE with SQL support
Astrolog Award winning software
Morinus Uses the Swiss ephemeris for accuracy
Oroboros Python based astrology software
SymSolon Analyze horoscopes wiyh Symbolon cards

Monday, March 29, 2010

10 Netstat Command Examples

Netstat command displays various network related information such as network connections, routing tables, interface statistics, masquerade connections, multicast memberships etc.,
In this article, let us review 10 practical unix netstat command examples.

1. List All Ports (both listening and non listening ports)

List all ports using netstat -a

# netstat -a | more
Active Internet connections (servers and established)
Proto Recv-Q Send-Q Local Address           Foreign Address         State
tcp        0      0 localhost:30037         *:*                     LISTEN
udp        0      0 *:bootpc                *:*                                

Active UNIX domain sockets (servers and established)
Proto RefCnt Flags       Type       State         I-Node   Path
unix  2      [ ACC ]     STREAM     LISTENING     6135     /tmp/.X11-unix/X0
unix  2      [ ACC ]     STREAM     LISTENING     5140     /var/run/acpid.socket

List all tcp ports using netstat -at

# netstat -at
Active Internet connections (servers and established)
Proto Recv-Q Send-Q Local Address           Foreign Address         State
tcp        0      0 localhost:30037         *:*                     LISTEN
tcp        0      0 localhost:ipp           *:*                     LISTEN
tcp        0      0 *:smtp                  *:*                     LISTEN
tcp6       0      0 localhost:ipp           [::]:*                  LISTEN

List all udp ports using netstat -au

# netstat -au
Active Internet connections (servers and established)
Proto Recv-Q Send-Q Local Address           Foreign Address         State
udp        0      0 *:bootpc                *:*
udp        0      0 *:49119                 *:*
udp        0      0 *:mdns                  *:*

2. List Sockets which are in Listening State

List only listening ports using netstat -l

# netstat -l
Active Internet connections (only servers)
Proto Recv-Q Send-Q Local Address           Foreign Address         State
tcp        0      0 localhost:ipp           *:*                     LISTEN
tcp6       0      0 localhost:ipp           [::]:*                  LISTEN
udp        0      0 *:49119                 *:*

List only listening TCP Ports using netstat -lt

# netstat -lt
Active Internet connections (only servers)
Proto Recv-Q Send-Q Local Address           Foreign Address         State
tcp        0      0 localhost:30037         *:*                     LISTEN
tcp        0      0 *:smtp                  *:*                     LISTEN
tcp6       0      0 localhost:ipp           [::]:*                  LISTEN

List only listening UDP Ports using netstat -lu

# netstat -lu
Active Internet connections (only servers)
Proto Recv-Q Send-Q Local Address           Foreign Address         State
udp        0      0 *:49119                 *:*
udp        0      0 *:mdns                  *:*

List only the listening UNIX Ports using netstat -lx

# netstat -lx
Active UNIX domain sockets (only servers)
Proto RefCnt Flags       Type       State         I-Node   Path
unix  2      [ ACC ]     STREAM     LISTENING     6294     private/maildrop
unix  2      [ ACC ]     STREAM     LISTENING     6203     public/cleanup
unix  2      [ ACC ]     STREAM     LISTENING     6302     private/ifmail
unix  2      [ ACC ]     STREAM     LISTENING     6306     private/bsmtp

3. Show the statistics for each protocol

Show statistics for all ports using netstat -s

# netstat -s
    11150 total packets received
    1 with invalid addresses
    0 forwarded
    0 incoming packets discarded
    11149 incoming packets delivered
    11635 requests sent out
    0 ICMP messages received
    0 input ICMP message failed.
    582 active connections openings
    2 failed connection attempts
    25 connection resets received
    1183 packets received
    4 packets to unknown port received.

Show statistics for TCP (or) UDP ports using netstat -st (or) -su

# netstat -st

# netstat -su

4. Display PID and program names in netstat output using netstat -p

netstat -p option can be combined with any other netstat option. This will add the “PID/Program Name” to the netstat output. This is very useful while debugging to identify which program is running on a particular port.
# netstat -pt
Active Internet connections (w/o servers)
Proto Recv-Q Send-Q Local Address           Foreign Address         State       PID/Program name
tcp        1      0 ramesh-laptop.loc:47212        CLOSE_WAIT  2109/firefox
tcp        0      0 ramesh-laptop.loc:52750 lax:www ESTABLISHED 2109/firefox

5. Don’t resolve host, port and user name in netstat output

When you don’t want the name of the host, port or user to be displayed, use netstat -n option. This will display in numbers, instead of resolving the host name, port name, user name.
This also speeds up the output, as netstat is not performing any look-up.
# netstat -an
If you don’t want only any one of those three items ( ports, or hosts, or users ) to be resolved, use following commands.
# netsat -a --numeric-ports

# netsat -a --numeric-hosts

# netsat -a --numeric-users

6. Print netstat information continuously

netstat will print information continuously every few seconds.
# netstat -c
Active Internet connections (w/o servers)
Proto Recv-Q Send-Q Local Address           Foreign Address         State
tcp        0      0 ramesh-laptop.loc:36130 101-101-181-225.ama:www ESTABLISHED
tcp        1      1 ramesh-laptop.loc:52564      CLOSING
tcp        0      0 ramesh-laptop.loc:43758 server-101-101-43-2:www ESTABLISHED
tcp        1      1 ramesh-laptop.loc:42367      CLOSING

7. Find the non supportive Address families in your system

netstat --verbose
At the end, you will have something like this.
netstat: no support for `AF IPX' on this system.
 netstat: no support for `AF AX25' on this system.
 netstat: no support for `AF X25' on this system.
 netstat: no support for `AF NETROM' on this system.

8. Display the kernel routing information using netstat -r

# netstat -r
Kernel IP routing table
Destination     Gateway         Genmask         Flags   MSS Window  irtt Iface     *        U         0 0          0 eth2
link-local      *          U         0 0          0 eth2
default         UG        0 0          0 eth2
Note: Use netstat -rn to display routes in numeric format without resolving for host-names.

9. Find out on which port a program is running

# netstat -ap | grep ssh
(Not all processes could be identified, non-owned process info
 will not be shown, you would have to be root to see it all.)
tcp        1      0 dev-db:ssh         CLOSE_WAIT  -
tcp        1      0 dev-db:ssh         CLOSE_WAIT  -
Find out which process is using a particular port:
# netstat -an | grep ':80'

10. Show the list of network interfaces

# netstat -i
Kernel Interface table
eth0       1500 0         0      0      0 0             0      0      0      0 BMU
eth2       1500 0     26196      0      0 0         26883      6      0      0 BMRU
lo        16436 0         4      0      0 0             4      0      0      0 LRU
Display extended information on the interfaces (similar to ifconfig) using netstat -ie:
# netstat -ie
Kernel Interface table
eth0      Link encap:Ethernet  HWaddr 00:10:40:11:11:11
          UP BROADCAST MULTICAST  MTU:1500  Metric:1
          RX packets:0 errors:0 dropped:0 overruns:0 frame:0
          TX packets:0 errors:0 dropped:0 overruns:0 carrier:0
          collisions:0 txqueuelen:1000
          RX bytes:0 (0.0 B)  TX bytes:0 (0.0 B)

Saturday, March 27, 2010

Kiss your MySQL website goodbye

Readers of this article also read: So You'd Like To Use MySQL 

In this article Mark Rais offers beginning Linux web administrators some guidance with regard to proper back up and restore of a dynamic website to help prevent a catastrophic moment.

Maybe it is just coincidence. I meet a colleague for lunch and he tells me that he does not regularly backup the business website.

Later on the same day, I visit a client site and the tech staff joke about who backs up their MySQL DB. It seems the engineer named "who knows" performs their backups.

When I arrive at home, there are a few emails about a website outage, and pleas for my assistance since they did not backup the website. I can tell you these folks can kiss their dynamic database driven website goodbye.

The fact is that if you run a business website, you need to perform proper backups, and not just the stuff that gets put on a tape and thrown in a closet each evening.

I am writing this article specifically for those beginning Linux web administrators who need to know how to properly backup their website.

Just because you're new to Linux and web serving does not mean it is difficult or that you should try to avoid performing proper website backups.

As always, use these tips as a general guideline only. The actual steps you need to take are highly dependent on your own context.

Outages occur for many reasons, but one of the leading reasons is a server failure and when that happens trying to configure and rebuild a dynamic website is painful. 

It is especially painful if you have to hurry the process, implement it on a server you probably have not used before, and do so only for a short period of time until the production server is back live. 

Instead, I have saved the day numerous times by keeping a totally static html rendition of a website for emergency situations.

Backing up your existing business website as a purely static html site is easily done by saving the presentation html (what you get when you look at the page from a web browser) into individual static files that properly link to each other.

In other words, you look over your DYNAMIC website, one page at a time, and SAVE each page as a static file.

Then edit the html to ensure all links properly work.

This may sound idiotic to some Linux admins with lots of time, experience, and the MONEY to operate fully redundant backup servers.

But most new Linux administrators running websites do not have the luxury of such options.

Again, the purpose for such a static backup is to buy you time. It relieves pressure so that without the intense urgency, you can systematically restore the production website.

This method is especially helpful if the outage is caused by severe load. Being able to switch over to a backup static website will ensure you don't offset the load on to another server, replicating the problem.

Dynamic websites do put much more load on a server.

Having a complete static working rendition of your website gives peace of mind, should a major server failure occur. It also provides a failsafe mode that allows you extra time to restore your dynamic MySQL website.

Backup all your website files
I don't know why this is not clear to some new administrators, but the files used to deliver the templates, css and other styles for your website are distinct from the actual content displayed.

For this reason, you need to ensure you perform a backup of your website files, not just backup individual files you think are of value such as the Themes files (Drupal, Joomla, etc).

The most effective backup is to precisely mirror ALL your files located under http, not just ones you think relate to your theme.

Too many times I've gone to an office where someone has backed up all their CSS files or all of their theme files, but not paid enough attention to modifications that may have been made to files.

It is easy and reasonable to perform a complete and absolute mirror backup of all files under http (some servers as httpdocs) directory.

This second tip may seem trite but will help ensure you have a comprehensive backup and don't end up having to tweak key files once you restore the website.

Backup your MySQL Database
I am offering suggestions for how to perform a MySQL backup mainly because the majority of websites I deal with are using MySQL.

For those who are new to Linux and dynamic website administration, there are several ways to perform a database backup.

One method is to simply access your server through the shell (bash, ssh etc) and type commands to perform backups and restores.

However, I've found that the majority of new Linux website administrators have access to some handy tools and interfaces.

For that reason I prefer to encourage and emphasize the use of the highly useful tool called phpMyAdmin.

This quality tool is really a result of the personal initative and expertise of guys like Peter Kuppelwieser and Tobias Ratschiller, who both contributed a lot of blood and sweat to deliver code that could then be sourced into the phpMyAdmin project by Loïc Chapeaux, Marc Delisle, and Olivier Müller.

They deserve a lot of thanks! 

Now what they allowed is a perfect tool for new web administrators to manage their MySQL database driven websites.

The best part is that the phpMyAdmin tool is available by default on almost all major hosted Linux servers. Or you can download and install it for your own business server here: Download phpMyAdmin.

1. Access the phpMyAdmin tool
On many hosted Linux servers you can access the tool through your cpanel or control panel.

Look for either of these options or similar to get access to the phpMyAdmin tool:


Start the phpMyAdmin tool and select the appropriate database.
Now from within the phpMyAdmin tool, choose Export.
On the Export phpMyAdmin window ensure you have selected the following:
1. Export window should specify the ENTIRE database, not just a table/s
2. Ensure you are exporting as SQL
3. Do not select under Database export options the "Add DROP DATABASE" Make sure this is unchecked.
4. Select Structure and make sure that "Add AUTO_INCREMENT value and "Enclose table and field name with backquotes"
5. Select Data and check use "hexadecimal for binary field" and ensure Export type is set to "INSERT".
6. Check "Save as file", do not change the file name, but you can use compression if you want. I often backup both compressed and uncompressed versions of smaller DBs.
7. Now press "GO" to download the backup file to your local computer.

Be sure to save the backup MySQL database file on to a backup Disc for future use! 

Restore your MySQL Database after a failure
This section is only for a situation where your existing database has been corrupted and you need to restore it.

Please use this strictly for situations where a full database restore is needed. 
1. Start the phpMyAdmin tool and select the appropriate database.

NOTE that if you do not yet have a database created (ie. in the case of a total failure and restore), you instead need to CREATE the database with the exact same DB NAME, User, and Password as you had for the previous DB.

I assume you already have the database created and that it is listed.
2. Choose the Import option
3. Properly choose Import options
On the Import tab, press the Browse button to find the backup MySQL file you had stored. Keep the Character set as indicated but be absolutely sure to unselect the Partial import option as shown.

Please be careful if your database is extraordinarily large as the "Max File Size" for uploading the SQL may have been set to limit your upload. You can check this size beside the Browse button.
4. Select SQL as the format type (you may only have one choice) and then press the Go button.

It will take several minutes for the upload and MySQL import.

I recommend you not panic unless the process has exceeded 15 minutes. Then you can assume something went wrong and may need to retry the process.

If all works correctly, you will return to the phpMyAdmin window and a message will appear confirming you have successfully executed the SQL query.

This confirmation indicates the database is up and functioning with the back-up content.

Troubleshooting a MySQL Restore

Error indicating query failure

It is possible that either the original database backup you created is corrupt or you are trying to import the file that may be compressed as uncompressed or vice-versa.

Please ensure that your Import settings match the backup file you created. In most cases this error is caused by a wrong configuration setting during your Export. 

Error regarding temp file
The selected file D:\temp\fileXXXXX.tmp could not be uploaded, because the destination XXXXXX is not properly configured.

This message is most likely due to a configuration issue with your Content Management System not the MySQL database.

For instance you may try to go into your Drupal CMS and ensure that under Administration -> Settings -> File System, the file system is set to Private.

Unable to restore due to DB size
If you are dealing with a particularly massive MySQL db, you may prefer to use a very good tool called BigDump. See: Big Dump Database tool.

6 of the Best Free Linux HDR Imaging Software

High dynamic range imaging (HDR) is an important technology for photographers.

It is a collection of techniques that allow a wider dynamic range of luminances between the lightest and darkest areas of an image.

The human eye can adapt to luminances from 0.000,000,1 cd/m² up to 1,000,000 cd/m², and can cope with a luminance range of 1:1000.

However, computer displays only offer a contrast of approximately 300:1.

This means that the luminance offered by a computer monitor falls significantly short to what the human eye can actually process.

HDR software allows computer graphics to offer the full real world levels of illumination, with darker darks and brighter lights, while at the same time increasing the amount of lighting detail displayed in all areas of the image.

While standard image formats utilizes 8, 16 or 24 bits with applied gamma and color space, the HDR image format extends the bit depth up to 96 bit in a linear color space.

Additionally, HDR images can be photometrically correct.

HDR images are normally generated by combining multiple normal images of the same scene taken with different intensity levels, or as the result of creating a global illumination rendering.

To provide an insight into the quality of software that is available, we have compiled a list of 6 top quality open source HDR applications.

Hopefully, there will be something of interest for anyone interested in HDR imagery.

Now, let's explore the 6 HDR tools at hand. For each title we have compiled its own portal page, a full description with an in-depth analysis of its features, a screenshot of the software in action, together with links to relevant resources and reviews.

HDR Imaging Software
Luminance HDR Provides a workflow for HDR imaging (previously known as Qtpfsgui)
Hugin Panorama photo stitching program
CinePaint Works with 16-bit and floating point pixels for HDR imaging
pfstools Command line HDR manipulation programs
OpenEXR HDR image file format and HDR utilities
Radiance Lighting simulation and rendering system

50 Places Linux is Running That You Might Not Expect

It was not long ago when Microsoft Windows had a tight stranglehold on the operating system market. Walk into a Circuit City or Staples, it seemed, and virtually any computer you took home would be running the most current flavor of Windows.

Ditto for computers ordered direct from a manufacturer. In the last decade, though, the operating system market has begun to change.

Slightly more than 5% of all computers now run Mac, according to Linux is hovering just beneath 1% of the overall market share in operating systems. And although that might sound like a small number, Linux is far more than just a fringe OS.

In fact, it's running in quite a few more places than you probably suspect. Below are fifty places Linux is running today in place of Windows or Mac.

For easy reading, they are divided amongst government, home, business, and educational usage.

Business Users of Linux
Businesses, as well as governments, have slowly begun to realize the various benefits that Linux and open source software can provide.

In fact, given that costs are more important to the decision making of businesses than governments, they arguably have an even greater incentive to check it out.

Below are several businesses that have made the switch or begun making the switch from Windows to Linux.


Longtime software and services company Novell announced in 2006 that it was undergoing a company-wide migration from Windows to Linux on employee desktop computers. As of April of that year, roughly half of Novell's 5,000+ work force had migrated to Linux, with that figure expected to climb to 80% by November. It was a bold and sweeping change for such a large, established company, and it took over a year for the migration to take effect following its announcement in 2006.

Believe it or not, the gigantic, ever-growing cluster of servers that power Google's search and other apps runs Linux. Of course, in typical fashion, Google was not content to simply run an out of the box version on its own hardware. Intsead, the search giant had its engineers cook up a customized version of Ubuntu referred to within the company as "Goobuntu." Linux is also frequently used internally on desktop machines, beyond its use on Google servers.


In addition to doing development work on Linux itself, IBM is known to use it internally on desktops and servers. IBM also ran a TV ad campaign in 2006 called "IBM Supports Linux 100%." One of the commercials can be seen here. In the last decade, perhaps no larger company than IBM has contributed more to the success of Linux, both financially and developmentally.

Electronics giant Panasonic is another household name company to use Linux in powering some of its operations. Like several other firms on this list, Panasonic used Linux only after Windows NT proved woefully inadequate for what the company needed - voicemail systems, in this case. Rather than paying NT's expensive license fees, Panasonic's in-house developers created their own system incorporating Linux-based voicemail technology. Ultimately, the system they created was so successful that it grew to replace the Windows system completely, which has since been long discontinued.

Virgin America

Virgin America, a low-cost U.S. airline run by entrepreneurial big-shot Richard Branson, uses Linux to power its in-flight entertainment according to CrunchGear. The entertainment system (called RED) is powered by Red Hat and Fedora specifically, and was reportedly chosen because it is "very stable and agile." After four years of development, RED hit the airways as a rousing success.

Cisco Systems, the computer networking and routing giant, switched to Linux after vowing to use Microsoft's Active Directory solution for its servers." Indeed, the deal was so celebrated that Cisco management dubbed them to be an "all Microsoft" company according to In an imfamous turn of events, however, Cisco's own IT staff could not get its network printign to work properly using Windows NT and were thus forced to switch to Linux, which has yet to cause similar problems to our knowledge.


Never let it be said that Linux is a fringe operating system for inconsequential gizmos and gadgets. No stronger proof to the contrary exists that ConocoPhillips, which proudly uses Linux to power a massive (and massively important) cluster of servers aimed at exploring the earth for new sources of untapped oil. C-Net's reported in depth on the machine, which, largely due to using Linux, reportedly "costs a tenth of the average price of a conventional supercomputer." Alan Huffman, then manager of Conoco's seismic imaging technology center, claimed that the machine was capable of performing 500 billion calculations in a second.

Omaha Steaks

Omaha Steaks, a popular catolog-oriented steak retailer, switched to open-source Linux in 2001, according to While they had previously been running internally with IBM AS/400 computers, they now operate a cluster of Linux serves in-house that both runs its corporate website and is connected to the AS/400 system. JavaWorld explains in-depth how migrating to Linux at the server level helped Omaha Steaks expand the wildly popular gift aspect of its business by integrating consumer information and lowering costs. Advertisements for this mail order company can be found in the back of most up-scale home oriented magazines. They were running their internal systems on an IBM AS/400 and outsourced their Web site, but they wanted to tie the on-line ordering directly into the AS/400. A cluster of Linux servers now runs the Web site and connects to the AS/400.


Online book and electronics retail behemoth is said to "use Linux in nearly every corner of its business", according to ZD Net. After Amazon "began to use Linux in 2000 for basic tasks", Linux began speading through the company "notably the company's database" system. A separate ZD Net post in 2001 referenced a document Amazon filed with the Securies & Exchange Commission stating that switching to Linux had saved the company $17 million. By 2004, it was reported that Amazon "had nine worldwide distribution centers with a total of 4.2 million square feet" and that essentially "everything that happens in them is driven by Linux.


European car maker Peugeot announced in 2007 that it was set to deploy up to 20,000 copies of Novell Desktop Linux and 2,500 copies of SuSe Linux Enterprise Server. eWeek reported that "unlike recent Novell Linux deals that were released with a great deal of fanfare, such as Novells recent sale, via Microsoft, to Wal-Mart, this deal appears to have been made solely on the Linux desktops own merits." IT represenatives from Peugot remarked that they were pleased to discover how well supported and user-friendly Linux was upon checking it out.


Popular online encyclopedia Wikipedia is another staunch supporter of Linux, having switched to Ubunto in 2008 after a lengthy tenure using Red Hat and Fedora prior to that. Ars Technicaexplains that "Wikimedia's move to Ubuntu is part of an effort to simplify administration of the organization's 400 servers" and that the switch "could help increase the distribution's visibility in the Linux server market and demonstrate its viability in large-scale deployments." It was no small gig for Ubuntu, which now powers the servers that spit out up to 10 billion page views a month on Wikipedia.

New York Stock Exchange

The New York Stock Exchange is another perhaps unexpected business user of Linux. A report on how London's stock exchange was also "abandoning the failed Windows platform", it was stated that New York's exchange already used Linux to power its trading platform and furthermore that it "seems to be doing quite nicely." InformationWeek revealed in 2008 that it was Red Hat Enterprise Linux, specifically, that the NYSE ran on its trading platform.

Burlington Coat Factory

Burlington Coat Factory, a retailer with 280 individual stores across 42 states, run Linux in their distribution centers and "a few new stores", according to A full-fledged roll-out to all existing stores is underway, and 1,250 Dell computers with Linux pre-installed were evidently purchased "to support the effort" at transitioning fully from Microsoft Windows to Linux.

Raymour and Flannigan describes Raymour and Flannigan's transition to Linux as "a major transformation" for the Syracuse-based furniture retailer, who switched all its servers to Linux back in 2002. According to company management, "it was easier to put Linux, rather than another operating system, on the older 486-based machines" that were available early on at Raymour and Flannigan. While Linux requires some manual configuration, NetworkComputing says, the benefits have largely outweighed the costs.

Tommy Hilfiger wrote that fashion magnate Tommy Hilfiger "chose eOneGroup and Linux for its new e-business infrastructure" way back in 2001. Company representatives were quoted as saying that "we saved significantly on the time and expense of deploying this total infrastructure", as opposed to if another operating system provider had been chosen.

Toyota Motor Sales

AAX.Net reported years ago on a "30 dealer pilot roll-out" of a system using Linux to connect car dealerships to Toyota's factories. The system was a "web based system from the ground up, and will be handling 30 different functions including parts ordering, warranties, sales transactions and repairs." As the 30 dealer pilot was successful, Toyota promptly announced plans to roll out the Linux-based system to 1,200 other dealerships.


Travelocity (funny gnome guy and all) is yet another Internet business powered by Linux servers. According to NetworkWorld, Travelocity management cited their desire "to improve our flexibility and really decrease our time to market" as the chief reasons for choosing Linux over other alternatives. Management at Travelocity also admits to being "big fans of open source, from total cost of ownership and from the sharing/collaboration [creation processes], using tools developed by other people and having [easy access] to other people who have experience with them."

Home & Scientific Uses of Linux
Finally, Linux has also found homes in various home and scientific capacities. From video game systems to science labs, Linux is playing an even bigger role in consumer technology. Below are several noteworthy examples.

Sony Playstation 3

While Linux is not pre-installed on the PS3, it was designed to allow easy installation of it and Gamespot revealed in 2006 that "Terra Soft Solutions is now making Yellow Dog Linux 5.0 available for download for the PS3." Installing it requires a keyboard, USB cord and mouse, and for the user to "partition the PS3's drive into two partitions so that the GameOS and Linux can run on dual partitions."


Miniature laptops called Netbooks have become extremely popular in recent years, and often ship with minimalist distributions like Xandros or Linpus that are optimized to run efficiently using the limited resources Netbooks must use due to space and cost constraints.While Netbooks are still frequently sold with Microsoft Windows installed, they are shipped with Linux more than perhaps any other mass-market laptop around.

Some Dell Models

In recent years (particularly 2007-2008) distributions of Linux like Ubuntu have placed a higher than ever priority on user friendliness in efforts to capture some of the Windows market. Consequently, Dell and other mass-market PC manufacturers have taken to pre-loading Ubuntu and other distributions on their computers.


Cern uses Scientific Linux on a massive scale for mission-critical applications. FreeSoftwareMagazine, for instance, notes that Linux is powering the $10 billion Large Hadron Collider, a machine designed to do important subatomic research. CERN, it should also be noted, is where Tim Berners-Lee invented the hypertext link while working there in the 80's as an independent contractor. CERN also runs Linux on its 20,000 internal servers.

Internet Archive

Anyone who has ever used the Wayback Machine to peer at the past of a website has unwittingly been served information by a throng of x86 servers running Linux -- hundreds of them, in fact.

ASV Roboat reports that the ASV Roboat, a research craft designed to glean data about "the Pacific whale population in cooperation with the marine biology department of the Oregon State University", is apparently powered by Linux software. It is a considerable test of Linux's technological capabilities, as the craft is charged with "researching large geographic areas over long periods of time at low cost." The ASV Roboat can be seen in the video posted above.

IBM iDataPlex in Canada

Canada's largest supercomputer, the IBM iDataPlex (housed at the University of Toronto) is also powered by Linux. According to the Canadian Globe and Mail, the massive machine cost "$50-million to put together, and its brain takes up as much room as a warehouse full of refrigerators." Its tasks are many and demanding, including running "more than 300 trillion calculations a second, simulating the Earth's climate 100 years into the future in four days and helping researchers study cosmic background radiation."

Government Users of Linux
Governments at all levels (national, state, federal and international) have opted to deploy Linux across their computer systems for a host of reasons. Some are purely technological, with the governments in question preferring the open-source benefits of the OS. Others are financial, as Linux is typically far less expensive than buying a license for Windows. Still others are political, as organizations like the World Trade Organization have actively pressured governments to shun Microsoft products. In any case, here are some of the governing bodies that now run Linux on their computers.

U.S. Department of Defense

According to, the United States Department of Defense is the "single biggest install base for Red Hat Linux" in the world. Nor was it an unconscious choice, as Brigadier General Nick Justice, the Deputy Program Officer for the Army's Program Executive Office proclaims "open source software is part of the integrated network fabric which connects and enables our command and control system to work effectively, as people's lives depend on it." Justice went on to state that "when we rolled into Baghdad, we did it using open source", and that he was indeed Red Hat's "biggest customer."

U.S. Navy Submarine Fleet reveals that "the US Navy nuclear submarine fleet is using GNU/Linux" as well.

The City of Munich, Germany

The city of Munich, Germany has "chosen to migrate its 14,000 desktops to a free Linux distribution, rather than a commercial version of the open source operating system" according to a 2005 ZD Net report. The distribution Munich chose was Debian, and is said to have "considered several alternatives before choosing Debian", settling on it ultimately because of price and the degree to which it could be customized to meet Munich's municipal computing needs. The German Foreign Office, as well as the city of Vienna, also opted to make the switch to Debian in 2005.

Spain maintains that Spain has long been the strongest supporter and user of Linux from a national government standpoint. Linux has spread rapidly throughout Spain since 2002, when the government of Extremadura actually created its own cutomized Linux distribution (called LinEx) based on Debian, using GNOME as its "default desktop environment." Since then, the government "gave away the product CDs at every opportunity -- in government offices, magazines and even daily newspapers" as part of a determined and ongoing effort to get LinEx out to everybody." By handing out the software for free and continuing to publicize its availability, Linux spread from Extremadura throughout the rest of Spain and remains widely used today.

Federal Aviation Administration

Few government users of Linux appear to be happier with their choice to switch than the United States Federal Aviation Administration. According to Wikipedia, the FAA announced in 2006 that it "had completed a migration to Red Hat Enterprise Linux in one third of the scheduled time and saved 15 million dollars" in the process of doing so. Score it another big-time government client for the Red Hat distribution of Linux.

French Parliament

French Parliament opted in November 2006 to dump Windows in favor of Ubuntu Linux, according to ZD Net The move was part of a comprehensive shake-up in the software run on Parliament computers, resulting ultimately in "1,154 French parliamentary workstations running on Linux, with productivity software, the Firefox Web browser and an open-source e-mail client." Despite the training costs, Parliament officials named cost savings and technological superiority of open-source software for parliamentary purposes as reasons for the switch.

State-Owned Industrial and Commercial Bank of China

According to a 2005 InformationWeek report, the state-owned Industrial and Commercial Bank of China "decided to roll out Linux in all of its 20,000 retail branches." As the largest bank in all of China, the institution committed to buying "an unrestricted user license" as part of a full-blown integration of Linux "throughout its entire banking operations network" culminating in 2008. At the time, InformationWeek stated that this represented the largest deployment of Linux to date in the Chinese financial sector. Essentially, Linux became "the basis for its web server and a new terminal platform" at the bank.

Pakistani Schools & Colleges

In 2002, the government of Pakistan launched a Technology Resource Mobilization Unit to promote the spread of open-source software (including Linux) throughout that country. The unit (comprised of academics, businesspeople and government officials) has largely succeeded in educating computer users throughout Pakistan about what free software has to offer. As a result, Pakistan is using Linux in many of its public schools and colleges and plans to ultimately run it on all of its government computer systems. In countries like Pakistan, where little money is available for government investment in technology, Linux and other open source software is appealing from a cost perspective.


Cuba, never a fan of capitalism or corporate enterprise, took the step of developing its own Linux distribution (called "Nova") to replace Microsoft Windows in February 2009. According to Carribean Net News, the switch to Linux was motivated not by technology or cost issues, but instead constituted "the latest front of the communist island's battle against what it views as U.S. hegemony." Nova was introduced during a conference held in the name of "technological sovereignty" and was touted as essential to Cuba's "desire to replace the Microsoft software running most of the island's computers." Evidently, Cuban officials feared that U.S. security agencies could access Microsoft software code and in the process discover secrets belonging to the Cuban government. Whether or not Cuba's switch to Linux has any practical effect on relations between the two countries is debateable, but they have been using Nova ever since.

Macedonia's Ministry of Education and Science reported in November 2007 that every student in Macedonia would use computer workstations powered by Ubuntu Linux, as part of that country's "A Computer For Every Child" program. In total, more than 180,000 workstations were covered by the project, described as "one of the largest known thin client and desktop Linux deployments ever undertaken." Indeed, Macedonia's Minister for the Information Society dubbed it "the largest and most important education project undertaken in the 15-year history of the Republic of Macedonia." Under the agreement, 160,000 of the 180,000 workstations were to be virtual PC terminals, while the other 20,000 were to be stand-alone PCs, all of which accomodated one student each and ran the Ubuntu Linux OS.

U.S. Postal Service

The U.S. Postal Service is a textbook example of a once-avowed Windows loyalist switching to Linux for purely technical reasons. While the Postal Service ran Windows NT on its servers until the bitter end, they then switched to using over 900 Linux clusters spead throughout the country for use in sorting the nation's bulk mail. They use technology from Pacific Northwest Software, who proudly explains in-depth the work it has done in switching the Postal Service to a Linux-based infrastructure. Those interested are encouraged to check it out here.

U.S. Federal Courts explains that the U.S. Federal Courts rely on Linux for all manner of administrative tasks, including "case management, case tracking, finance and accounting, probation and pretrial services." Linux has been used by the courts since November of 2003, when PEC Solutions assisted in orchestrating a "migration of the Federal Judiciary to a Linux-based system."

Government of Mexico City reported in 2001 that the government of Mexico City had concluded that "they can no longer justify the ever rising cost of Microsoft Windows when the cost of Linux software is very low." In an interview with Wired, the city's technical coordinator, José Barberán, "announced plans to switch city computers to the Linux operating system and to use the money it saves to fund social welfare programs." At the end of the day, when faced with pressure to increase social spending, "cutting costs by moving to open-source software was a logical choice for the mayor."

Garden Grove, California

Perhaps the earliest governmental adopter of Linux on our list is Garden Grove, California, which made the switch all the way back in 1995, according to Linux Journal. Evidently, the city was in a cash crunch when it opted to give Linux a try, and found that it saved so much money that they later decided to roll out Linux across the city, including on some desktop systems.

Largo, Florida

A 2003 article entitled "Largo Loves Linux More Than Ever" explains how the Floridian city came to rely so heavily on Linux software. After having such great success running city computers on Linux, Largo's municipal government soon thereafter was "talking about Linux-based terminals in all the city's police cars." To their credit, remarked that Largo's system administrators (who are responsible for managing the city's Linux machines) were "the least harassed, least worried, calmest sysadmins we have ever met." Perhaps there is a correlation?

Czech Post

Perhaps taking a cue from the U.S. Postal Service, the Czech Republic's own post office successfully migrated to Linux in 2005, according to Europa.The chosen distribution of Linux (SuSe) now runs on "4,000 servers at 3,400 post offices across the country, as well as at 12,000 client terminals used by 20,000 employees." Once more, cost was a driving force behind a large state institution switching from Windows or other providers to free, open-source Linux.

Educational Users of Linux
Educational institutions, like businesses and government, have increasingly decided to roll out Linux on servers and desktop computers for their open-source and cost benefits. These institutions range from public schools (elementary, middle and high school) to colleges and post-graduate schools. Below are several of the most prominent educational establishments to have switched from Microsoft Windows to Linux.

Russian Schools

In 2007, the nation of Russia announced that all its schools would begin running Linux software. A BBC report on the matter stated that Russia's "schools formerly tended to run illegal copies of Microsoft operating systems", but that since Russia joined the WTO, that is no longer accepted practice. Therefore, rather than buy licenses for all the software it had been pirating, it opted to go with the free Linux operating system. While admitting that most teachers and students had no experience with Linux, Russia's education officials nevertheless felt that the transition would go well and that the software would suit the purposes of schools.

German Universities reported in August 2007 that "around 560,000 German students plus thousands of staff at 33 German universities will now be supported by Linux systems from Novell." SuSe Linux Enterprise Desktop was the specific distribution chosen, evidently for the "more flexible IT architecture" that it provides "when compared to other proprietary software."

The Phillipines

The switch to Linux is said to be "forging an education revolution" in the Phillipines, according to ComputerWorld. As they explain, "after a successful deployment of 13,000 Fedora Linux systems from a government grant, plans are underway to roll out another 10,000 based on Ubuntu" in that country. Apparently, Linux reached popularity because of its lower installation and maintenance costs in the Phillippines in the wake of 1997's Asian financial crisis.


Former Soviet state Georgia began "began running all its school computers and LTSP thin clients on Linux, mainly using Kubuntu, Ubuntu and stripped Fedora-based distros" back in 2004, according to Wikipedia. Add Georgia to the growing list of less-wealthy countries that opted to use Linux for cost reasons versus pay expensive licensing fees for Microsoft Windows.

The Indian State of Tamil Nadu told the story of how "after being put off by Microsoft's bundling tactics for academic users", the Indian state of Tamil Nadu decided instead to "distribute 100,000 Linux laptops to students there." The laptops were to be sold to students for $800, a "considerable markdown compared to retail value." While the government proposed to license Windows at $12 per copy, Microsoft stood firm at $57 per copy, prompting Tamil Nadu to go with Linux instead.

Switzerland Schools

Wikipedia also reports that Switzerland converted 9,000 of its computers to using Linux and's suite of office productivity tools in its Geneva district in September, 2008. As has been seen by the licensing fees other software companies charge, there is often a compelling financial incentive to use Linux instead.

Bolzano, Italy

The town of Balzano in Italy (with a student population of 16,000) reportedly switched to using a customized distribution of Linux across all its schools in 2005.

Kerela, India reported in September 2006 that from now on, in Kerela, India, "nearly 1.5 million students in the 2,650 government and government-aided high schools in the state will no longer use the Windows platform for computer education. Instead, they have switched over to the free GNU/Linux software." Rather, they would now begin running Linux operating systems and accomplishing all word processing and spreadsheet tasks via software. An education official was quoted as saying ""we have decided that we will use only free software for computer education in Kerala schools" on the eve of a 56,000 teacher Linux training program.

One Laptop Per Child

The much-publicized One Laptop Per Child program was built around the OLPC XO-1, which, according to Wikipedia "is an inexpensive laptop running Linux, which will be distributed to millions of children as part of the One Laptop Per Child project, especially in developing countries." Here, again, the low cost of Linux was a major factor in its inclusion.

Indiana Schools revealed in August 2006 that "more than 20,000 Indiana students are now Linux-enabled under a state grant program to roll out low-cost, easy-to-manage workstations." The state's Affordable Classroom Computers for Every Secondary Student program rapidly grew from "24 high schools to 80 high schools" after it became clear that software costs per computer ($100 prior to the migration) could be cut down to $5 using Linux and other open-source software. Districts get to choose which distribution of Linux their schools will run and have considerable control over the implementation.