I can see two expressions about Operating System: "on Linux" and "in Linux". E.g.:

  • The application can run on Linux.

  • The application can run in Linux.

Which one is right? Or both are right?


3 Answers 3


Either one is possible, but "on" is more common. It expresses a common metaphor of a computer functioning in layers of a sort, with the hardware on the bottom, the BIOS above that, the OS above that, and finally applications.

Saying that the program runs "in" Linux calls up the idea of using Linux* as a container or environment. This is not wrong either, but it's less common, perhaps because it's less useful as a metaphor for understanding how computers work.

*Probably actually GNU+Linux, but that's a technicality.


It is context dependent.
I would use on in some contexts, such as when referring to a computer "platform" (like an OS):

The application can run on Linux.

As generic word usage, you would say "on a platform", not "in a platform".

In another context, you could use in, when talking about programming (code that makes up applications)

That application was written in Linux.


Using "on" is more common if the application can be interacted with users.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .