Clement Charles

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July 24th, 2014 by Clement Charles


I am sure you will enjoy.

See inside the workspace of the world’s most famous developer, Linux creator Linus Torvalds, in this personal tour found on YouTube.




If you want more infos about Linus, here some good bits of his Wikipedia page, or you can also check the History of Linux on Wikipedia. Quotes and links should still be working.


Early years

Torvalds was born in Helsinki, Finland. He is the son of journalists Anna and Nils Torvalds,and the grandson of poet Ole Torvalds. Both of his parents were campus radicals at the University of Helsinki in the 1960s. His family belongs to the Swedish-speaking minority (5.5% of Finland’s population). Torvalds was named after Linus Pauling, the Nobel Prize–winning American chemist, although in the book Rebel Code: Linux and the Open Source Revolution, Torvalds is quoted as saying, “I think I was named equally for Linus the Peanuts cartoon character”, noting that this makes him half “Nobel-prize-winning chemist” and half “blanket-carrying cartoon character”.

Torvalds attended the University of Helsinki between 1988 and 1996, graduating with a master’s degree in computer science from NODES research group.[10] His academic career was interrupted after his first year of study when he joined the Finnish Army, selecting the 11-month officer training program to fulfill the mandatory military service of Finland. In the army he held the rank of second lieutenant, with the role of a ballistic calculation officer.[11] In 1990, he resumed his university studies, and was exposed to UNIX for the first time, in the form of a DEC MicroVAXrunning ULTRIX.[12] His M.Sc. thesis was titled Linux: A Portable Operating System.

His interest in computers began with a Commodore VIC-20. After the VIC-20 he purchased a Sinclair QL, which he modified extensively, especially its operating system. He programmed an assembly language and a text editor for the QL, as well as a few games.He is known to have written a Pac-Man clone named Cool Man. On January 5, 1991 he purchased an Intel 80386-based IBM PC before receiving his MINIX copy, which in turn enabled him to begin work on Linux. The first prototypes of Linux was publicly released later that year. Version 1.0 was released on 14 March 1994.[20]Later years[edit]

After a visit to Transmeta in late 1996,[4] Torvalds accepted a position at the company in California, where he would work from February 1997 until June 2003. He then moved to the Open Source Development Labs, which has since merged with the Free Standards Group to become the Linux Foundation, under whose auspices he continues to work. In June 2004, Torvalds and his family moved to Dunthorpe, Oregon,[21] to be closer to the OSDL’s Beaverton, Oregon–based headquarters.

From 1997 to 1999 he was involved in 86open helping to choose the standard binary format for Linux and Unix. In 1999 he was named by the MIT Technology Review TR100 as one of the world’s top 100 innovators under age 35.[22]

In 1999 Red Hat and VA Linux, both leading developers of Linux-based software, presented Torvalds with stock options in gratitude for his creation.[23] That same year both companies went public and Torvalds’ share value temporarily shot up to roughly $20 million.[24][25]

His personal mascot is a penguin nicknamed Tux,[26] which has been widely adopted by the Linux community as the mascot of the Linux kernel.[27]

Although Torvalds believes “open source is the only right way to do software”, he also has said that he uses the “best tool for the job”, even if that includes proprietary software.[28] He was criticized for his use and alleged advocacy of the proprietary BitKeeper software for version control in the Linux kernel. Torvalds subsequently wrote a free-software replacement for BitKeeper called Git.

In 2008 Torvalds stated that he used the Fedora distribution of Linux because it had fairly good support for the PowerPC processor architecture, which he had favoured at the time.[29] His usage of Fedora was confirmed in a later 2012 interview.[30]

Currently, the Linux Foundation sponsors Torvalds so he can work full-time on improving Linux.[31]


IEEE Computer Pioneer Awar

On 23 April 2014, the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers named Torvalds as the 2014 recipient of the IEEE Computer Society’s Computer Pioneer Award. The Computer Pioneer Award was established in 1981 by the IEEE Computer Society Board of Governors to recognize and honor the vision of those whose efforts resulted in the creation and continued vitality of the computer industry. The award is presented to outstanding individuals whose main contribution to the concepts and development of the computer field was made at least 15 years earlier.[41]

Internet Hall of Fame

On April 23, 2012 at Internet Society‘s Global INET conference in Geneva, Switzerland, Torvalds was one of the inaugural inductees into the Internet Hall of Fame, one of ten in the Innovators category and thirty-three overall inductees.[42]

Millennium Technology Prize

On April 20, 2012, Torvalds was declared one of two winners of that year’s Millennium Technology Prize,[43] along with Shinya Yamanaka.[44] The honor is widely described as technology’s equivalent of the Nobel Prize.


In 1997, Torvalds received his Master degree (Laudatur Grade) from the Department of Computer Science at the University of Helsinki. Two years later he received honorary doctor status at Stockholm University, and in 2000 he received the same honor from his alma mater.[45] University of Helsinki has named an auditorium after Torvalds and his computer is on display at the Department of Computer Science.

In August 2005, Torvalds received the Vollum Award from Reed College.


In 1998 Torvalds received an EFF Pioneer Award.[47] In 2000 he was awarded the Lovelace Medal from the British Computer Society.[48] In 2001, he shared the Takeda Award for Social/Economic Well-Being with Richard Stallman and Ken Sakamura. In 2008, he was inducted into the Hall of Fellows of the Computer History Museum in Mountain View, California.[49][50] He was awarded the C&C Prize by the NEC Corporation in 2010 for “contributions to the advancement of the information technology industry, education, research, and the improvement of our lives”.[51]


Time magazine has recognized Torvalds multiple times:

InfoWorld presented him with the 2000 Award for Industry Achievement.[54] In 2005 Torvalds appeared as one of “the best managers” in a survey by BusinessWeek.[55] In 2006, Business 2.0 magazine named him one of “10 people who don’t matter” because the growth of Linux has shrunk Torvalds’ individual impact.[56]

In summer 2004, viewers of YLE (the Finnish Broadcasting Company) placed Torvalds 16th in the network’s 100 Greatest Finns. In 2010, as part of a series called The Britannica Guide to the World’s Most Influential People, Torvalds was listed among The 100 Most Influential Inventors of All Time (ISBN 9781615300037).[57]


In 1996, the asteroid 9793 Torvalds was named after him. In 2003, the naming of an asteroid moon (Linus) was motivated in part by the fact that the discoverer was an enthusiastic Linux user.


As of March 2011, Torvalds has been granted 35 patents worldwide (application and granted patents).[58]

Desktop environment criticism[edit]

In 2005, on the official GNOME developmental mailing lists, Torvalds encouraged users to switch to K Desktop Environment 3 rather than use GNOME.[59][60] However, Torvalds thought KDE Plasma Desktop 4.0 was a “disaster” because of its lack of maturity, and so he had switched to GNOME by 2009.[61] Dissatisfied with his perceived loss of productivity, he switched to Xfce after the GNOME 3 release, making another harsh post against GNOME.[62] After improved KDE versions were made, he switched back to KDE Plasma Desktop 4[63] but soon switched back to GNOME 3 stating that “it has been getting less painful”[64] with Frippery and gnome-tweak-tool which he suggested to be merged into GNOME.[65]

Possible NSA approach[edit]

In September 2013, Torvalds was asked at the LinuxCon conference whether he had been approached by a US government agency to add backdoors into Linux; he responded with a verbal “no” while nodding his head “yes”.[66] He later confirmed that it was obviously a joke.[67] However, Linus’ father Nils states:

When my oldest son [Linus Torvalds] was asked the same question: “Has he been approached by the NSA about backdoors?” he said “No”, but at the same time he nodded. Then he was sort of in the legal free. He had given the right answer, [but] everybody understood that the NSA had approached him.

Nils TorvaldsLIBE Committee Inquiry on Electronic Mass Surveillance of EU Citizens – 11th Hearing, 11 November 2013[68]


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