Google, and much of the web and internet infrastructure that powers the world’s digital revolution today, relies squarely on Linux.
Linux is the kernel whose development started more than 25 years ago, and today the term applies to a number of operating systems building on that kernel and powering anything from the world’s top supercomputers to every Android phone – and much of the vast expanses of tech that lie in between.
Linux is free and open-source software, used and built upon for any feature needed by its users and audited in plain sight by anyone needing to ascertain its security – and that’s what enabled the rise of early ISP pioneers in the US all the way to the giants of today.
Even Microsoft – the merciless behemoth of the 1990s who once called Linux “the cancer” and who waged an ultimately useless decade-long campaign of patent trolling against it – has since thrown in the towel, becoming reliant on Linux for the most profitable part of its enterprise – the cloud.
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But what’s Google doing? Its Android mobile operating system is a Linux OS. Every Chromebook laptop is powered by Linux. And Google, realizing their dependence on Linux has become a leading sponsor of the trade group funding its development, the Linux Foundation.
So is all that enough to make sure that Google is not throwing under the bus those Linux users who run the OS not only on their servers and phones – but also on their desktop/laptop workstations?
Google is banning some Linux browsers like Konqueror, Falkon, and Qutebrowser from its services as “insecure.”
To be fair, most Linux desktop users run browsers like Chromium (open-source version of Chrome), Firefox, and others. WebKit-based Konqueror is what most of us will even recognize on this list of “popular Linux browsers.”
What’s interesting here, however, is Google’s disinterest in bothering to properly test/certify any software that’s not immediately profitable due to a small user base. But shouldn’t Google – built on Linux from the ground-up – make an effort to support the very community and the eco-system it owes its success to – however small some of its elements may be?