Linus Torvalds

28 Jan

“To kind of explain what Linux is, you have to explain what an operating system is. And the thing about an operating system is that you’re never ever supposed to see it. Because nobody really uses an operating system; people use programs on their computer. And the only mission in life of an operating system is to help those programs run. So an operating system never does anything on its own; it’s only waiting for the programs to ask for certain resources, or ask for a certain file on the disk, or ask to connect to the outside world. And then the operating system steps in and tries to make it easy for people to write programs.”

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            -Linus Torvalds

Torvalds was born in 1969 and grew up in Helsinki. At the age of 10 he began to dabble in computer programming on his grandfather’s Commodore VIC-20. By the time he reached college, Torvalds considered himself an accomplished enough programmer to take on the Herculean task of creating an alternate operating system for his new PC. Once he had completed a rough version of Linux, he posted a message on the Internet to alert other PC users to his new system. He made the software available for free downloading, and, as was a common practice among software developers at the time, he released the source code, which meant that anyone with knowledge of computer programming could modify Linux to suit their own purposes. Linux soon had a following of enthusiastic supporters who, because they had access to the source code, were able to help Torvalds retool and refine the software.

Linus’ Law

To explain why hackers would work together without pay to make something like Linux, Torvalds pens “Linus’s Law”. With tongue somewhat in cheek, Linus’s Law posits progress and evolution as upward motion along a hierarchy of motivations: from survival, to social life, to entertainment. What makes hackers tick, according to Torvalds, is this last and most sublime motivation. By entertainment, he’s not thinking of games so much as “the mental gymnastics involved in trying to explain the universe”, whether you’re Einstein, an artist or a hacker. Coding an operating system is, after all, a great deal like explaining the universe because one codifies the parameters and elemental models of everything that can happen. Torvalds means entertainment to encompass the passion and playfulness of activities intrinsically interesting and challenging—stuff we stay up late working on because we love doing it, not because of a deadline. (The Hacker Ethic)


4 Responses to “Linus Torvalds”

  1. anthonyvenable110 January 29, 2012 at 3:56 am #

    Reblogged this on anthonyvenable110 and commented:
    I really like this article

    • wir8 January 29, 2012 at 6:29 pm #

      Thanks for your activity and opinion, we appreciate the feedback.

    • anthonyvenable110 January 29, 2012 at 6:34 pm #

      I found this article about Linus Torvalds to be quite interesting I think its wonderful how this man while in college had an idea. No doubt an idea that quite a few ridiculed in the early 90’s during its conception.

      But look at it now!! It has grown beyond what apparently were his wildest dreams as an alternative at least if not a replacement for windows operating systems. I know for me personally I prefer using a dual-boot environment since even if I run into an issue with Window I have a backup and can still get into my PC or laptop all for free.

      So thanks so much Linus

      • wir8 January 29, 2012 at 6:44 pm #

        Isn’t it how all big ideas start? The only difference is that this man, Linus sought after his idea. This must be taken as an example by all.

        (And yes, dual-boot is the way to go for one who knows what he/she’s doing)

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