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Linux: World domination (and jobs) in sight

As devices proliferate and manufacturers look to lower costs, the market for Linux devices and related jobs will continue to boom. Only Microsoft seems to dislike the trend.

U.S. Department of Labor data suggest that systems analysts and software engineers comprise two of the fastest-growing six job categories through 2016. With 80 percent growth in Linux job postings over the last five years, according to the Linux Foundation, it could well be that these categories will be dominated by Linux geeks.

Tux apologizes for raining on your parade, Microsoft

World domination...finally in sight?

It's looking more and more likely. Linux is everywhere, creating jobs, lowering IT costs, and serving as poster child for the open-source business and development movements.

This momentum isn't lost on Microsoft, which has revived its anti-Linux charm offensive. Speaking at CES, Robbie Bach, president of Microsoft's entertainment and services division, overlooked Windows Mobile's dismal market performance to sneer at mobile Linux, claiming that Linux in its current form is not "really sustainable."

Tell that to Google, which is seeing its Linux-based Android handsets gain rapid adoption.

Outside mobile, tell it to consumers who, according to new IDC data, are downshifting to low-cost hardware like Netbooks, hardware that increasingly runs Linux. Linux claims 30 percent global market share in Netbooks.

Sure, Microsoft claims the rest of that market, but at a significant cost to its profit margins.

Even Microsoft's erstwhile friends are abandoning it. Take Intel, which powers much of the world's mobile, PC, and server hardware, just closed a banner quarter, in part because of its growing clout in Linux-based hardware. Intel, in part to get out from under Microsoft's thumb, is a big proponent of Linux, driving Linux development for all hardware categories.

I have been actively involved with Linux since 2000, when I worked at embedded Linux pioneer, Lineo, then moving on to Novell in 2002. I have seen Linux move from novelty to necessity. This shift is only going to accelerate.

It has to. The market requires it.

As Canonical, the company behind the popular Ubuntu Linux distribution and community, argues in its current marketing literature:

The wide range of hardware support, the flexibility of licensing and the required speed of innovation will dictate that Linux is used at the heart of the majority of (post-PC) devices.

No wonder Microsoft is revving up its anti-Linux marketing machine after a few years of relative silence.

The more jobs Linux creates; the more devices it populates; the more of the economy centered on it, the more the "fundamental economic reset" Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer predicted will come true, and not to his advantage.

Follow me on Twitter @mjasay.