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Linus Torvalds PDF Print E-mail
Linus Torvalds

Linus Benedict Torvalds ( born December 28, 1969 in Helsinki, Finland) is a Finnish American software engineer, best known for having initiated the development of the Linux kernel and git revision control system. He later became the chief architect of the Linux kernel, and now acts as the project's coordinator.

In 1991 Linus Torvalds, a 21-year-old computer science student at the University of Helsinki, Fin., having just purchased his first personal computer (PC), decided that he was not satisfied with the computer's operating system (OS). His PC used MS-DOS (the disk operating system from Microsoft Corp.), but Torvalds preferred the UNIX operating system he had used on the university's computers. He decided to create his own PC-based version of UNIX. Months of determined programming work yielded the beginnings of an operating system known as Linux that, eight years later, developed into what many observers saw as a genuine threat to mighty Microsoft and its seemingly ubiquitous Windows OS. By 1999 Torvalds becomes a cult hero to a devoted band of computer users.

Operating Linux required a certain amount of technical acumen; it was not as easy to use as more popular operating systems such as Windows, Apple Computer Inc.'s Mac OS, or IBM's OS/2. Because its volunteer developers prided themselves on the quality of their work, however, Linux evolved into a remarkably reliable, efficient system that rarely crashed. Linux got its big break in the late 1990s when competitors of Microsoft began taking the upstart OS seriously. Netscape Communications Corp., Corel Corp., Oracle Corp., Intel Corp., and other companies announced plans to support Linux as an inexpensive alternative to Windows. As this scenario took shape, Linux devotees and the media delighted in portraying Torvalds as David out to slay the giant, Bill Gates, Microsoft's cofounder and CEO.

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