As local governments come under pressure from institutions such as the World Trade Organization and the International Intellectual Property Alliance, some have turned to Linux and other Free Software as an affordable, legal alternative to both pirated software and expensive proprietary computer products from Microsoft, Apple and other commercial companies. The spread of Linux affords some leverage for these countries when companies from the developed world bid for government contracts (since a low-cost option exists), while furnishing an alternative path to development for countries like India and Pakistan that have many citizens skilled in computer applications but cannot afford technological investment at "First World" prices. The cost factor is not the only one being considered though - many governmental institutions (in public and military sectors) from North America and European Union make the transition to Linux due to its superior stability and openness of the source code which in its turn leverages information security.
In 2003, the Turkish government decided to create its own Linux distribution, Pardus, developed by UEKAE (National Research Institute of Electronics and Cryptology). The first version, Pardus 1.0, was officially announced on 27 December 2005.
The Government of Kerala, India, announced its official support for free/open-source software in its State IT Policy of 2001, which was formulated after the first-ever free software conference in India, "Freedom First!", held in July 2001 in Trivandrum, the capital of Kerala, where Richard Stallman inaugurated the Free Software Foundation of India. Since then, Kerala's IT Policy has been significantly influenced by FOSS, with several major initiatives such as IT@School Project, possibly the largest single-purpose deployment of Linux in the world, and leading to the formation of the International Centre for Free and Open Source Software (ICFOSS) in 2009.
The Government of Pakistan established a Technology Resource Mobilization Unit in 2002 to enable groups of professionals to exchange views and coordinate activities in their sectors and to educate users about free software alternatives. Linux is an option for poor countries which have little revenue for public investment; Pakistan is using open source software in public schools and colleges, and hopes to run all government services on Linux eventually.
The city government of Largo, Florida, USA uses Linux and has won international recognition for their implementation, indicating that it provides "extensive savings over more traditional alternatives in city-wide applications."
In 2004, Venezuela's government approved the 3390 decree, to give preference to using free software in public administration. One result of this policy is the development of Canaima, a Debian-based Linux distribution.
Austria's city of Vienna has chosen to start migrating its desktop PCs to Debian-based Wienux. However, the idea was largely abandoned, because the necessary software was incompatible with Linux.
The City government of Munich, Germany, chose in 2003, to start to migrate its 14,000 desktops to Debian-based LiMux. Even though more than 80% of workstations used OpenOffice and 100% used Firefox/Thunderbird five years later (November 2008), an adoption rate of Linux itself of only 20.0% (June 2010) was achieved. The effort was later reorganized, focusing on smaller deployments and winning over staff to the value of the program. By the end of 2011 the program had exceeded its goal and changed over 9000 desktops to Linux. The city of Munich reported at the end of 2012 that the migration to Linux was highly successful and has already saved the city over €11 million (US$14 million). Recently it has been announced by the Deputy Mayor Josef Schmid, the city is putting together an independent expert group to look at moving back to Microsoft due to issues in LiMux, the primary issues have been of compatibility; users in the rest of Germany that use other (Microsoft) software have had trouble with the files generated by Munich's open source applications. The second is price, with Schmid saying that the city now has the impression that "Linux is very expensive" due to custom programming, The independent group will advise the best course of action, and if that group recommends using Microsoft software, Deputy Mayor Josef Schmid of the CSU party says that a switch back isn't impossible. The city council said they already saved more than 10 million dollars, and there is no major issue with the switch to Linux Some observers, such as Silviu Stahie of Softpedia have indicated that the attempted rejection of Linux has been influenced by Microsoft and its supporters Mayor, and that this is predominantly a political issue and not a technical one. Microsoft's German headquarters has been committed to move to Munich as part of this issue. In February 2017 city council considered the move from the Linux-based OS to Windows 10.
The Dutch Police Internet Research and Investigation Network (iRN) has only used free and open source software based on open standards, publicly developed with the source code available on the Internet for audit, since 2003. They use 2200 Ubuntu workstations.
Linux is often used in technical disciplines at universities and research centres. This is due to several factors, including that Linux is available free of charge and includes a large body of free/open source software. To some extent, technical competence of computer science and software engineering academics is also a contributor, as is stability, maintainability, and upgradability. IBM ran an advertising campaign entitled "Linux is Education" featuring a young boy who was supposed to be "Linux".
Examples of large scale adoption of Linux in education include the following:
The OLPC XO-1 (previously called the MIT $100 laptop and The Children's Machine), 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.
Orwell High School, in Felixstowe, England, school with about 1,000 students, has switched to Linux. The school has just received Specialist School for Technology status through a government initiative.
All primary and secondary public schools in the Swiss Canton of Geneva, have switched to using Ubuntu for the PCs used by teachers and students in 2013-14. The switch has been completed by all of the 170 primary public schools and over 2,000 computers. The migration of the canton's 20 secondary schools is planned for the school year 2014-15
Brazil has 35 million students in over 50,000 schools using 523,400 computer stations all running Linux.
22,000 students in the US state of Indiana had access to Linux Workstations at their high schools in 2006.
In 2009, Venezuela's Ministry of Education began a project called Canaima-educativo, to provide all students in public schools with "Canaimita" laptop computers with the Canaima Debian-based Linux distribution pre-installed, as well as with open source educational content.
The Chinese government is buying 1.5 million Linux Loongson PCs as part of its plans to support its domestic industry. In addition the province of Jiangsu will install as many as 150,000 Linux PCs, using Loongson processors, in rural schools starting in 2009.
Government officials of Kerala, India announced they will use only free software, running on the Linux platform, for computer education, starting with the 2,650 government and government-aided high schools.
The Indian state of Tamil Nadu has issued a directive to local government departments asking them to switch over to open source software, in the wake of Microsoft's decision to end support for Windows XP in April 2014.
The Philippines has deployed 13,000 desktops running on Fedora, the first 10,000 were delivered in December 2007 by Advanced Solutions Inc. Another 10,000 desktops of Edubuntu and Kubuntu are planned.
Sony's PlayStation 3 came with a hard disk (20 GB, 60 GB or 80 GB) and was specially designed to allow easy installation of Linux on the system. However, Linux was prevented from accessing certain functions of the PlayStation such as 3D graphics. Sony also released a Linux kit for its PlayStation 2 console (see Linux for PlayStation 2). PlayStation hardware running Linux has been occasionally used in small scale distributed computing experiments, due to the ease of installation and the relatively low price of a PS3 compared to other hardware choices offering similar performance. As of April 1, 2010, Sony disabled the ability to install Linux "due to security concerns" starting with firmware version 3.21.
In 2008, many netbook models were shipped with Linux installed, usually with a lightweight distribution, such as Xandros or Linpus, to reduce resource consumption on their limited resources.
Through 2007 and 2008, Linux distributions with an emphasis on ease of use such as Ubuntu became increasingly popular as home desktop operating systems, with some OEMs, such as Dell, offering models with Ubuntu or other Linux distributions on desktop systems.
Android, created by Google in 2007, is the smartphone & tablet operating system which, as of late 2013, runs on 80% of smartphones and 60% of tablets, worldwide; it is pre-installed on devices by brand hardware manufacturers.
Free I.T. Athens, founded in 2005 in Athens, Georgia, United States, is a non-profit organization dedicated to rescuing computers from landfills, recycling them or refurbishing them using Linux exclusively.
Mindbridge, a software company, announced in September 2007 that it had migrated a large number of Windows servers onto a smaller number of Linux servers and a few BSD servers. It claims to have saved "bunches of money."
Virgin America, the low cost U.S. airline, uses Linux to power its in-flight entertainment system, RED.
Amazon.com, the US based mail-order retailer, uses Linux "in nearly every corner of its business".
The Chi-X pan-European equity exchange runs its MarketPrizm trading platform software on Linux.
The London Stock Exchange uses the Linux-based MillenniumIT Millennium Exchange software for its trading platform and predicts that moving to Linux from Windows will give it an annual cost savings of at least £10 million ($14.7 million) from 2011–12.
ElectroluxFrigidaire Infinity i-kitchen is a "smart appliance" refrigerator that uses a Linux operating system, running on an embedded 400 MHz Freescale i.MX25 processor with 128 MB of RAM and a 480×800 touch panel.
DukeJets LLC (USA) and Duke Jets Ltd. (Canada), air charter brokerage companies, switched from Windows to Ubuntu Linux in 2012.
Banco do Brasil, the biggest bank in Brazil, has moved nearly all desktops to Linux, except some corporate ones and a few that are need to operate some specific hardware. They began migration of their servers to Linux in 2002. Branch servers and ATMs all run Linux. The distribution of choice is OpenSuse 11.2.
KLM, the Royal Aviation Company of the Netherlands, uses Linux on the OSS-based version of its KLM WebFarm.
Ocado, the online supermarket, uses Linux in its data centres.
The University of Portsmouth in the United Kingdom has deployed a "cost effective" high performance computer that will be used to analyse data from telescopes around the world, run simulations and test the current theories about the universe. Its operating system is Scientific Linux. Dr David Bacon of the University of Portsmouth said: "Our Institute of Cosmology is in a great position to use this high performance computer to make real breakthroughs in understanding the universe, both by analysing the very latest astronomical observations, and by calculating the consequences of mind-boggling new theories...By selecting Dell’s industry-standard hardware and open source software we’re able to free up budget that would have normally been spent on costly licences and reinvest it."