Most of the new Motorola phones such as the extremely successful RAZR phone run on Linux. There are plenty of other computer appliances such as WiFi and broadband routers that use Linux as well. Now, we have an announcment from Palm that they will be releasing PDA-phones that run on Linux in the future. There are many reasons why Linux is able to penetrate so many markets.
First, is the nature of open source. Having it's guts available to anyone with the necessary know how encourages people to experiment. Therefore, device developers are able to accurately experiment with the use of this OS before deciding on one to deploy in their devices. They are also able to easily customise the OS to fit the different quirks of the devices by only implementing features that are necessary.
Second, due to it's open nature, it has been successfully ported to a variety of architectures. There is hardly a processor platform out there that does not have a Linux port. The ports range from the smaller microcontrollers to the powerful 64-bit multi-core processors. Hence, it is fairly simple to get it to work with any platform that the device manufacturers may choose to use. This results in it being used in everything from advanced toasters to computers.
Thirdly, due to it's popularity as a desktop OS, there are many applications that are written for it. Many of these applications can be immediately used even on small embedded systems while others might need to be ported. This simplifies the development of software for the device as there are already many available libraries and source code to use.
All these reasons make it an excellent choice of OS to use by hardware engineers who develop these devices. As hardware engineers, they are responsible for building a solid hardware platform that the software engineers can rely on to process tasks. So, this OS provides a wonderful interface for both hardware and software engineers as they both know what it does.
So, there are already many people out there who are using Linux without even being aware of it. For the people who think that Linux is a toy OS without a future, you should contemplate on this fact the next time that you try to turn on any machine or device, from toaster to television and car to computer. Yes, it even runs some cars.