Linus Torvalds

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to navigation Jump to search

Linus Torvalds
Lc3 2018 (263682303) (cropped).jpeg
Torvalds in 2018
Born
Linus Benedict Torvalds

(1969-12-28) 28 December 1969 (age 52)
Helsinki, Finland
NationalityFinnish (by birth)
American (naturalized)[1]
Alma materUniversity of Helsinki (M.S.)[2]
OccupationSoftware engineer
EmployerLinux Foundation
Known forLinux, Git, Subsurface
Parent(s)Nils Torvalds (father)
Anna "Mikke" Torvalds (née Törnqvist, mother)
RelativesSara Torvalds (sister)
Leo Törnqvist (grandfather)
Ole Torvalds (grandfather)
Toivo Karanko (great-grandfather)

Linus Benedict Torvalds (/ˈlnəs ˈtɔːrvɔːldz/ LEE-nəs TOR-vawldz,[3] Finland Swedish: [ˈliːnʉs ˈtuːrvɑlds] (listen); born 28 December 1969) is a Finnish-American software engineer who is the creator and, historically, the main developer of the Linux kernel, used by Linux distributions and other operating systems such as Android. He also created the distributed version control system Git and the scuba dive logging and planning software Subsurface.

He was honored, along with Shinya Yamanaka, with the 2012 Millennium Technology Prize by the Technology Academy Finland "in recognition of his creation of a new open source operating system for computers leading to the widely used Linux kernel."[4] He is also the recipient of the 2014 IEEE Computer Society Computer Pioneer Award[5] and the 2018 IEEE Masaru Ibuka Consumer Electronics Award.[6]

Life and career[edit]

Early years[edit]

Torvalds was born in Helsinki, Finland, the son of journalists Anna and Nils Torvalds,[7] the grandson of statistician Leo Törnqvist and of poet Ole Torvalds, and the great-grandson of journalist and soldier Toivo Karanko. His parents were campus radicals at the University of Helsinki in the 1960s. His family belongs to the Swedish-speaking minority in Finland. He was named after Linus Pauling, the Nobel Prize-winning American chemist, although in the book Rebel Code: Linux and the Open Source Revolution, he is quoted as saying, "I think I was named equally for Linus the Peanuts cartoon character", noting that this made him "half Nobel Prize-winning chemist and half blanket-carrying cartoon character".[8]

Torvalds attended the University of Helsinki from 1988 to 1996,[9] graduating with a master's degree in computer science from the NODES research group.[10] His academic career was interrupted after his first year of study when he joined the Finnish Navy Nyland Brigade in the summer of 1989, selecting the 11-month officer training program to fulfill the mandatory military service of Finland. He gained the rank of second lieutenant, with the role of an artillery observer.[11] He bought computer science professor Andrew Tanenbaum's book Operating Systems: Design and Implementation, in which Tanenbaum describes MINIX, an educational stripped-down version of Unix. In 1990, Torvalds resumed his university studies, and was exposed to Unix for the first time in the form of a DEC MicroVAX running ULTRIX.[12] His MSc thesis was titled Linux: A Portable Operating System.[13]

His interest in computers began with a Commodore VIC-20[14] at the age of 11 in 1981. He initially programming for it in BASIC, then later by directly accessing the 6502 CPU in machine code (he did not utilize assembly language).[15] He then purchased a Sinclair QL, which he modified extensively, especially its operating system. "Because it was so hard to get software for it in Finland", he wrote his own assembler and editor "(in addition to Pac-Man graphics libraries)"[16] for the QL, and a few games.[17][18] He wrote a Pac-Man clone, Cool Man. On 5 January 1991[19] he purchased an Intel 80386-based clone of IBM PC[20] before receiving his MINIX copy, which in turn enabled him to begin work on Linux.

Linux[edit]

The first Linux prototypes were publicly released later in 1991.[8][21] Version 1.0 was released on 14 March 1994.[22]

Torvalds first encountered the GNU Project in 1991 when another Swedish-speaking computer science student, Lars Wirzenius, took him to the University of Technology to listen to free software guru Richard Stallman's speech. Torvalds used Stallman's GNU General Public License version 2 (GPLv2) for his Linux kernel.

After a visit to Transmeta in late 1996,[23] Torvalds accepted a position at the company in California, where he worked from February 1997 to 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[24] to be closer to the OSDL's headquarters in Beaverton.

From 1997 to 1999, he was involved in 86open, helping select 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.[25]

In 1999, Red Hat and VA Linux, both leading developers of Linux-based software, presented Torvalds with stock options in gratitude for his creation.[26] That year both companies went public and Torvalds's share value briefly shot up to about US$20 million.[27][28]

His personal mascot is a penguin nicknamed Tux,[29] which has been widely adopted by the Linux community as the Linux kernel's mascot.[30]

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.[31] He was criticized for his use and alleged advocacy of the proprietary BitKeeper software for version control in the Linux kernel. He subsequently wrote a free-software replacement for it called Git.

In 2008, Torvalds stated that he used the Fedora Linux distribution because it had fairly good support for the PowerPC processor architecture, which he favored at the time.[32] He confirmed this in a 2012 interview.[33] He has also posted updates about his choice of desktop environment, often in response to perceived feature regressions.

The Linux Foundation currently sponsors Torvalds so he can work full-time on improving Linux.[34]

Torvalds is known for vocally disagreeing with other developers on the Linux kernel mailing list.[35] Calling himself a "really unpleasant person", he explained, "I'd like to be a nice person and curse less and encourage people to grow rather than telling them they are idiots. I'm sorry—I tried, it's just not in me."[36][37] His attitude, which he considers necessary for making his points clear, has drawn criticism from Intel programmer Sage Sharp and systemd developer Lennart Poettering, among others.[38][39]

On Sunday, 16 September 2018, the Linux Kernel Code of Conflict was suddenly replaced by a new Code of Conduct based on the Contributor Covenant. Shortly thereafter, in the release notes for Linux 4.19-rc4, Torvalds apologized for his behavior, calling his personal attacks of the past "unprofessional and uncalled for" and announced a period of "time off" to "get some assistance on how to understand people's emotions and respond appropriately". It soon transpired that these events followed The New Yorker approaching Torvalds with a series of questions critical of his conduct.[40][41][42] Following the release of Linux 4.19 on 22 October 2018, Linus returned to maintaining the kernel.[43]

The Linus/Linux connection[edit]

Initially, Torvalds wanted to call the kernel he developed Freax (a combination of "free", "freak", and the letter X to indicate that it was a Unix-like system), but his friend Ari Lemmke, who administered the FTP server where the kernel was first hosted, named Torvalds's directory linux.[44]

Authority and trademark[edit]

As of 2006, approximately 2% of the Linux kernel was written by Torvalds himself.[28] Because thousands have contributed to it, his percentage is still one of the largest. However, he said in 2012 that his own personal contribution is now mostly merging code written by others, with little programming.[45] He retains the highest authority to decide which new code is incorporated into the standard Linux kernel.[46]

Torvalds holds the Linux trademark[47] and monitors its use,[48] chiefly through the Linux Mark Institute.

Other software[edit]

Git

On 3 April 2005 Torvalds began development on Git, version control software that later became widely used. On 26 July 2005, he turned over Git's maintenance to Junio Hamano, a major project contributor.

Subsurface

Subsurface is software for logging and planning scuba dives, which Torvalds began developing in late 2011. It is free and open-source software distributed under the terms of the GNU General Public License version 2. Dirk Hohndel became its head maintainer in late 2012.[49][50]

Personal life[edit]

Torvalds in 2002

Torvalds is married to Tove Torvalds (née Monni), a six-time Finnish national karate champion, whom he met in late 1993. He was running introductory computer laboratory exercises for students and instructed the course attendees to send him an e-mail as a test, to which Tove responded with an e-mail asking for a date.[8] They were later married and have three daughters, two of whom were born in the United States.[51] The Linux kernel's reboot system call accepts their dates of birth (written in hexadecimal) as magic values.[52][53]

Torvalds has described himself as "completely a-religiousatheist", adding, "I find that people seem to think religion brings morals and appreciation of nature. I actually think it detracts from both. It gives people the excuse to say, 'Oh, nature was just created,' and so the act of creation is seen to be something miraculous. I appreciate the fact that, 'Wow, it's incredible that something like this could have happened in the first place.'" He later added that while in Europe religion is mostly a personal issue, in the United States it has become very politicized. When discussing the issue of church and state separation, he said, "Yeah, it's kind of ironic that in many European countries, there is actually a kind of legal binding between the state and the state religion."[54] In "Linus the Liberator", a story about the March LinuxWorld Conference, Torvalds says: "There are like two golden rules in life. One is 'Do unto others as you would want them to do unto you.' For some reason, people associate this with Christianity. I'm not a Christian. I'm agnostic. The other rule is 'Be proud of what you do.'"[55]

In 2010, Torvalds became a United States citizen and registered to vote in the United States. He is unaffiliated with any U.S. political party, saying, "I have way too much personal pride to want to be associated with any of them, quite frankly."[51]

Linus developed an interest in scuba diving in the early 2000s and has achieved numerous certifications, leading him to create the Subsurface project.[56]

Awards and achievements[edit]

Linus Torvalds receiving 2018 IEEE Masaru Ibuka Consumer Electronics Award from ICCE 2018 Conference Chair Saraju P. Mohanty and IEEE President James A. Jefferies at ICCE 2018 on 12 January 2018 in Las Vegas
Awards and achievements
Year Award Notes
2018 IEEE Masaru Ibuka Consumer Electronics Award IEEE Masaru Ibuka Consumer Electronics Award is conferred by the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers for outstanding contributions to consumer electronics technology has been named in honor the co-founder and honorary chairman of Sony Corporation, Masaru Ibuka. 2018 Ibuka award was conferred to Linus Torvalds "For his leadership of the development and proliferation of Linux."[6]
2014 IEEE Computer Pioneer Award 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.[57]
2012 Internet Hall of Fame On 23 April 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.[58]
2012 Millennium Technology Prize On 20 April 2012, Torvalds was declared one of two winners of that year's Millennium Technology Prize,[59] along with Shinya Yamanaka.[60] The honor is widely described as technology's equivalent of the Nobel Prize.
2010 C&C Prize 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".[61]
2008 Hall of Fellows In 2008, he was inducted into the Hall of Fellows of the Computer History Museum in Mountain View, California, "for the creation of the Linux kernel and the management of open source development of the widely used Linux operating system."[62][63]
2005 Vollum Award In August 2005, Torvalds received the Vollum Award from Reed College.[64]
2003 Linus (Moon) In 2003, the naming of the asteroid moon Linus was motivated in part by the fact that the discoverer was an enthusiastic Linux user. Although the naming proposal referred to the mythological Linus, son of the muse Calliope and the inventor of melody and rhythm, the name was also meant to honor Linus Torvalds, and Linus van Pelt, a character in the Peanuts comic strip.[65]
2001 Takeda Award In 2001, he shared the Takeda Award for Social/Economic Well-Being with Richard Stallman and Ken Sakamura.
2000 Lovelace Medal In 2000, he was awarded the Lovelace Medal from the British Computer Society.[66]
1998 EFF Pioneer Award In 1998, Torvalds received an EFF Pioneer Award.[67]
1997 Academic Honors In 1997, Torvalds received his master's 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.[68]

University of Helsinki has named an auditorium after Torvalds and his computer is on display at the Department of Computer Science.

1996 9793 Torvalds (Asteroid) In 1996, the asteroid 9793 Torvalds was named after him.[69]

Media recognition[edit]

Time magazine has recognized Torvalds multiple times:

InfoWorld presented him with the 2000 Award for Industry Achievement.[72] In 2005, Torvalds appeared as one of "the best managers" in a survey by BusinessWeek.[73] In 2006, Business 2.0 magazine named him one of "10 people who don't matter" because the growth of Linux has shrunk Torvalds's individual impact.[74]

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).[75]

On 11 October 2017, the Linux company SUSE made a song titled "Linus Said".[76]

Bibliography[edit]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Citizen Linus". LWN.net. 13 September 2010.
  2. ^ "Linus Torvalds 2008 Fellow". Archived from the original on 9 July 2010.
  3. ^ "Linus Torvalds: Why Choose a Career in Linux and Open Source" on YouTube
  4. ^ "Technology Academy Finland – Stem cell pioneer and open source software engineer are 2012 Millennium Technology Prize laureates". Technologyacademy.fi. 19 April 2012. Archived from the original on 17 January 2014. Retrieved 24 April 2012.
  5. ^ "Computer-Pioneer-Award". Archived from the original on 4 May 2014. Retrieved 5 May 2014.
  6. ^ a b "List of IEEE Masaru Ibuka Consumer Electronics Award recipients" (PDF). ieee.org. 3 April 2017. Archived from the original (PDF) on 28 March 2018.
  7. ^ Torvalds
  8. ^ a b c Moody, Glyn (2002). Rebel Code: Linux and the Open Source Revolution. Perseus Books Group. p. 336. ISBN 0-7382-0670-9.
  9. ^ Torvalds & Diamond 2001, p. 38, 94.
  10. ^ "NODES research group". Cs.helsinki.fi. 16 October 2008. Archived from the original on 21 February 2010. Retrieved 13 March 2010.
  11. ^ Torvalds, p. 29
  12. ^ Torvalds, p. 53
  13. ^ "Staff". The Linux Foundation. Archived from the original on 19 April 2009. Retrieved 24 April 2012.
  14. ^ Torvalds, pp. 6–7
  15. ^ Linus Torvalds, David Rusling (30 September 2016). LAS16-500K3: Fireside Chat with David Rusling and Linus Torvalds. 24:10: Linaro. Retrieved 8 October 2016.{{cite AV media}}: CS1 maint: location (link)
  16. ^ Ko, Ellen (27 September 2010). "Geek Time with Linus Torvalds". Retrieved 8 November 2015.
  17. ^ Torvalds, pp. 41–46
  18. ^ Torvalds, Linus: GMOVE. Program listing. In MikroBitti 11/1986, p. 63.
  19. ^ "The nightmare continues". Linux News. Abc.se. 5 January 1991. Archived from the original on 5 December 1998. Retrieved 13 March 2010.
  20. ^ Torvalds, p. 60
  21. ^ Torvalds, Linus Benedict (25 August 1991). "What would you like to see most in minix?". Newsgroupcomp.os.minix. Usenet: 1991Aug25.205708.9541@klaava.Helsinki.FI. I'm doing a (free) operating system (just a hobby, won't be big and professional like gnu) for 386(486) AT clones.
  22. ^ "Kernel 1.0 Source Code Release". Retrieved 27 October 2008.
  23. ^ "Linux Online – Linus Torvalds Bio". Linux.org. Archived from the original on 26 June 2004. Retrieved 13 March 2010.
  24. ^ Rogoway, Mike (7 June 2005). "Linus Torvalds, Incognito Inventor". The Oregonian. Archived from the original on 9 July 2014. Retrieved 8 July 2014. A sort of anti-celebrity, he is plainly ambivalent about fame and content to stay nestled at home in a tony cluster of million-dollar houses atop the densely forested hills of the Dunthorpe neighborhood.
  25. ^ "1999 Young Innovators Under 35: Linus Torvalds, 29". Technology Review. 1999. Archived from the original on 29 March 2011. Retrieved 14 August 2011.
  26. ^ a b Gumbel, Peter (13 November 2006). "Linus Torvalds". Time. Archived from the original on 30 September 2009. Retrieved 13 March 2010.
  27. ^ Rivlin, Gary. "Leader of the Free World". Wired. Retrieved 14 June 2008.
  28. ^ a b "Linus Torvalds: A Very Brief and Completely Unauthorized Biography". The Linux Information Project. Bellevue Linux Users Group. 24 January 2006. Retrieved 22 October 2010.
  29. ^ Torvalds, Linus (9 May 1996). "Re: Linux Logo prototype". Archived from the original on 30 May 2012.
  30. ^ "Why a Penguin?". Archived from the original on 13 January 2007. Retrieved 19 May 2009.. linux.org
  31. ^ Linus Torvalds at Google, on Git on YouTube, 9:50–10:00
  32. ^ Morris, Richard (17 July 2008). "Linus Torvalds, Geek of the Week". Archived from the original on 10 January 2010. Retrieved 3 August 2009.
  33. ^ "Interview with Linus Torvalds from Linux Format 163". TuxRadar. Linux Format. 29 November 2012. Archived from the original on 19 January 2014. Retrieved 3 February 2014.
  34. ^ "About Us". The Linux Foundation. Retrieved 19 June 2013.
  35. ^ Vance, Ashlee (16 June 2015). "The Creator of Linux on the Future Without Him". Bloomberg.
  36. ^ Sharwood, Simon (19 January 2015). "Buggy? Angry? LET IT ALL OUT says Linus Torvalds". The Register. Retrieved 8 November 2015.
  37. ^ Clarke, Gavin (7 November 2012). "Torvalds: I want to be nice, and curse less, but it's just not in me". The Register. Retrieved 8 November 2015.
  38. ^ "Lennart Poettering: Open Source Community "Quite A Sick Place To Be In"". Slashdot. 6 October 2014. Retrieved 8 November 2015.
  39. ^ Gold, Jon (5 October 2015). "Linux kernel dev Sarah Sharp quits, citing 'brutal' communications style". Network World. Retrieved 8 November 2015.
  40. ^ "Linux 4.19-rc4 released, an apology, and a maintainership note". 16 September 2018.
  41. ^ Corbet, Jonathan (18 September 2018). "Code, conflict, and conduct". LWN.net.
  42. ^ Cohen, Noam (19 September 2018). "After Years of Abusive E-mails, the Creator of Linux Steps Aside". The New Yorker. New York City. ISSN 0028-792X.
  43. ^ Corbet, Jonathan (22 October 2018). "The 4.19 kernel is out". LWN.net.
  44. ^ Moody, Glen. "The Greatest OS That (Never) Was". Wired. Retrieved 22 July 2013.
  45. ^ "An Interview With Linus Torvalds". Tech Crunch. 19 April 2012. Retrieved 22 April 2012.
  46. ^ Ingo, Henrik. "Open Life: The Philosophy of Open Source (HTML book) | OpenLife.cc". www.openlife.cc. Retrieved 4 August 2020.
  47. ^ Linux trademark, 15 August 1994, IC 009. US 021 023 026 036 038. G & S: computer operating system software to facilitate computer use and operation. FIRST USE: 19940802. FIRST USE IN COMMERCE: 19940802
  48. ^ "Linus Explains Linux Trademark Issues". Slashdot.org. Retrieved 13 March 2010.
  49. ^ "Subsurface | An open source divelog". subsurface-divelog.org. Retrieved 17 December 2021.
  50. ^ "License page on the Github for Subsurface". Github. 19 April 2022.
  51. ^ a b Rogoway, Mike (14 September 2010). "Linus Torvalds, already an Oregonian, now a U.S. citizen". The Oregonian. Retrieved 16 September 2010.
  52. ^ Torvalds, Linus. "index : kernel/git/torvalds/linux.git". Linux kernel. Retrieved 30 May 2013.
  53. ^ "Debian's reboot(2) man page". Retrieved 16 August 2011.
  54. ^ Richardson, Marjorie (1 November 1999). "Interview: Linus Torvalds". Linux Journal. Retrieved 2 April 2011.
  55. ^ Diamond, David. "Linus the Liberator". SiliconValley.com. Archived from the original on 27 January 2001. Retrieved 28 February 2020.
  56. ^ "Divelog.blue Interviews: Linus Tovalds". Divelog.blue. Retrieved 1 July 2018.
  57. ^ "Linus Torvalds Named Recipient of the 2014 IEEE Computer Society Computer Pioneer Award". Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers. 23 April 2014. Archived from the original on 4 May 2014. Retrieved 5 May 2014.
  58. ^ "2012 Internet Hall of Fame inductees 2012". Internet Hall of Fame. Retrieved 24 April 2012.
  59. ^ "Linus Torvalds wins the tech. equivalent of a Nobel Prize: the Millennium Technology Prize". ZDNet. 19 April 2012. Retrieved 24 April 2012.
  60. ^ "Yamanaka wins Finnish award for iPS work : National : DAILY YOMIURI ONLINE (The Daily Yomiuri)". Yomiuri Shimbun. Japan. 21 April 2012. Archived from the original on 22 April 2012.
  61. ^ von Eitzen, Chris (21 October 2010). "Linus Torvalds awarded 2010 C&C Prize". The H. Heinz Heise. Archived from the original on 24 October 2010. Retrieved 22 October 2010.
  62. ^ "The Computer History Museum Announces the 2008 Fellow Awards Recipients" (Press release). Computer History Museum. 18 June 2008. Retrieved 22 October 2010.
  63. ^ "Fellow Awards: Linus Torvalds". Computer History Museum. 21 October 2008. Archived from the original on 9 July 2010. Retrieved 22 October 2010.
  64. ^ "Linux creator Linus Torvalds honored with Reed College's Vollum Award". Web.reed.edu. 24 August 2005. Retrieved 13 March 2010.
  65. ^ Margot, Jean-Luc (2004). "Adaptive Optics Observations of Kalliope-Linus". UCLA. Retrieved 30 August 2013.
  66. ^ "Talking to Torvalds". British Computer Society. September 2007. Archived from the original on 2 October 2007. Retrieved 13 March 2008.
  67. ^ "Torvalds, Stallman, Simons Win 1998 Pioneer Awards". W2.eff.org. Archived from the original on 7 October 2010. Retrieved 13 March 2010.
  68. ^ Torvalds, p. 28
  69. ^ "9793 Torvalds (1996 BW4)". Retrieved 4 September 2013.
  70. ^ "The 2010 Time 100". Time. Archived from the original on 3 January 2007. Retrieved 7 May 2010.
  71. ^ Lessig, Lawrence (26 April 2004). "Linus Torvalds: The Free-Software Champion". Time magazine. Archived from the original on 23 May 2007. Retrieved 3 October 2006.
  72. ^ Nicholas Petreley (17 January 2000). "This year's Award for Industry Achievement goes to the creator of Linux, Linus Torvalds". InfoWorld. p. 82.
  73. ^ "The Best & Worst Managers of the Year". Bloomberg BusinessWeek. 10 January 2005. Archived from the original on 1 January 2005. Retrieved 13 March 2010.
  74. ^ "10 people who don't matter". CNN. 22 June 2006. Retrieved 13 March 2010.
  75. ^ "Linus Torvalds named one of the 100 most influential inventors". The H. 4 February 2010. Archived from the original on 8 February 2010. Retrieved 15 February 2010.
  76. ^ SUSE (11 October 2017), Linus Said – Music Parody (Momma Said), archived from the original on 11 December 2021, retrieved 22 October 2017
  77. ^ * Loney, Matt (10 April 2001). "Exclusive: Linus Torvalds tells his story". ZDNet. Retrieved 9 August 2017.

Further reading[edit]

  • Himanen, Pekka; Torvalds, Linus; Castells, Manuel (2001). The Hacker Ethic. Secker & Warburg. ISBN 0-436-20550-5.

External links[edit]

Preceded by Millennium Technology Prize winner
2012
Succeeded by