KDE could be the most valuable tech company you have never heard of; because it could be the future of Linux.
That means companies can build phones and tablets that do not run on Alphabet’s (NASDAQ: GOOG) Android or Apple’s (NASDAQ: AAPL) iOS operating systems. Instead, the devices will run on Linux, the popular open-sourced operating system that originated in Finland.
Thus it could be possible to build smartphones and computers not dependent on Big Tech from Silicon Valley. Moreover, it could be possible to build smartphones not dependent on American technology.
Can KDE and the Future of Linux break the Chinese-American Duopoly?
Hence, KDE could theoretically break the American stranglehold on phone operating systems with Plasma Mobile which will be a popular idea in many parts of the world. In addition, KDE’s Plasma could make it possible to build phones almost anywhere.
In fact, the Finish company Necuno Mobile is planning a Plasma smartphone they will manufacture in Finland, not China. Therefore, KDE has the potential to break the growing Chinese/American duopoly on mobile technology.
To clarify, a duopoly occurs when two players dominate a market. Notably, the United States of America is the world’s dominant creator of technology. However, the People’s Republic of China is the world’s dominant manufacturer of electronics.
For example, any country could build its own mobile devices with Plasma. In addition, it could be easy to adapt existing devices, such as used phones, to run on Plasma.
Under those circumstances, companies in developing nations could offer their own smartphones, tablets, or laptops as an alternative to Android. Consequently, KDE could be a threat to Alphabet’s (NASDAQ: GOOGL) Android empire.
So what is KDE and the Future of Linux?
Since KDE could be the future of Linux, we must ask what is KDE? To begin the acronym KDE reportedly stands for K Desktop Environment. In detail, they first created KDE for the UNIX operating system but switched to Linux.
Today, KDE is an open-sourced community of developers based in Europe. KDE’s mission is to develop Linux-based operating systems for mobile devices. Plus, KDE develops devices of its own such as a Linux Slimbook.
KDE’s corporate structure is confusing because it is an open-sourced cooperative network. To clarify, that means developers take part in KDE as independent contractors.
Interestingly corporations; including Alphabet (NASDAQ: GOOGL), participate in KDE as patrons. That means the companies finance KDE’s operations in exchange for access to its technology.
KDE has several potentially lucrative projects for the future of Linux
It is easy to see why Alphabet is interested in KDE; the community has several lucrative projects for the future of Linux underway.
Markedly, the best-known and most disruptive of these projects is Plasma Mobile. In essence, Plasma Mobile is a hacker’s toolkit for mobile devices. Therefore, anybody could theoretically use Plasma to hack a smartphone and use it without a commercial operating system.
Beyond Plasma Mobile, there’s KDE neon a package of applications that serve as a solid core for the Plasma Desktop. They base KDE neon on Ubuntu, a popular free variant of Linux. In detail, KDE neon serves as both a computer operating system and a base for applications to run on.
Plus, there are a wide variety of KDE applications including a full suite of free desktop software. A notable offering is the KDE frameworks which serve as Add-ons for coding Qt apps.
Qt Solutions and KDE are bringing the future of Linux to the Internet of Things
Specifically, Qt Solutions is a Finish company that builds high-performance user interfaces (UIs) for enterprise software, applications, and commercial platforms.
Qt is important for the future of Linux because it is integrating solutions like Plasma Mobile and the KDE applications with the internet of things (IoT). Notably, Qt Solutions is working with LG on smart appliances, medec on medical devices. Rockwell Automation on Industrial Automation, and Daimler AG and Peugeot on autonomous vehicles.
Hence, Qt Solutions could integrate Linux with artificial intelligence, robots, and autonomous vehicles. Therefore, Qt Solutions is another company that could be worth a lot of money someday.
KDE has offers many commercial applications for the future of Linux
Surprisingly, KDE is helping to create many potentially lucrative commercial applications for the future of Linux. Besides Qt and Alphabet (Google) KDE’s patrons include Canonical, blue systems, SUSE, and privateinternetaccess.
In detail, Canonical is the company behind Ubuntu. Plus, blue systems is an IT company that specializes in working with free software. Moreover, SUSE is an Enterprise Linux provider that offers servers and cloud solutions. Finally, privateinternetaccess is a popular virtual private network (VPN).
For instance, blue systems and SUSE can over cloud storage and other enterprise solutions based on KDE apps to big business. In addition, privateinternetaccess can offer a secure connection to Linux-based cloud storage solutions.
Finally, Canonical offers a popular Linux based operating system not associated with Big Tech, namely Ubuntu. Thus, KDE is slowly creating a potential alternative to today’s American dominated cloud.
How valuable are KDE and the Future of Linux?
It is too early to estimate the potential value of KDE and the future of Linux. However, the experiences of three American companies could give us a glimpse of KDE’s future.
First, there is Red Hat Inc. (NYSE: RHT), the scrappy Linux and open-source solution provider. Importantly, Red Hat was just sold to IBM (NYSE: IBM) for $34 billion. Like KDE Red Hat offers open-sourced and cloud-based Linux enterprise solutions.
Conversely, Qt Solutions looks more like Red Hat than KDE. Therefore, I will not be surprised if a large American or Chinese tech company buys Qt Solutions at some point.
Second, there is GitHub the gigantic open-sourced software registry, Microsoft (NASDAQ: MSFT) bought for $7.5 billion. Like KDE, GitHub offers a library of open sourced software.
Finally, there is Alphabet (NASDAQ: GOOG) which offers the most widely used Linux operating system for mobile devices, Android. Impressively, there were 2.53 billion Android users worldwide in 2018, Statista estimates. Moreover that number could grow to 2.97 billion by 2020.
Not surprisingly, Alphabet is a moneymaking machine. For instance, Alphabet records revenues of $33.74 billion for 3rd Quarter 2018. Additionally, Alphabet had $106.42 billion in cash and short-term investments on 30 September 2018.
The future of Linux could be worth a lot of money to investors
Thus, KDE could or its patrons; which include Alphabet, could make a lot of money at some point. Unfortunately, most of us cannot invest in KDE because it is a community and not a traditional corporation.
However, I think KDE could make a lot of money because it could shape the future of Linux. In particular, KDE is one of the organizations helping to build an open-sourced global cloud infrastructure for Linux.
If that project succeeds, Linux could become the world’s operating system and the organizations that provide Linux will make a lot of money. Under these circumstances, KDE is an organization every tech investor should watch carefully.
Those who understand the future of Linux and organizations like KDE and Qt Solutions could make a lot of money. However, it will probably be quite some time before the public can invest in these organizations.