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Old 04-01-2005, 03:37 AM   #1
jamyskis
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The mythology behind Linus Torvalds


What is it about Linus Torvalds that's endeared him to so many computer users compared to, say, Bill Gates? Why has this saint-like image surrounded him? Some Linux users see Linus as some kind of god-like super hero who can do no wrong, but I think it's been made pretty clear again and again that he was (and still is) a pretty normal guy who did a pretty extraordinary thing.

The Linux community is basically the successor to the community spirit that thrived in the 1980s and early 1990s on the Amiga, ST, Spectrum, C64, Amstrad et al before the proliferation of Windows, with the same tight-knit spirit and slightly tongue-in-cheek style that accompanied programmer and "hacker" groups back then. Linux basically represents the cheerful side of computing with people doing it either for fun or because they want to contribute something. Of course, money is made in the process, but it's not the sole driving force behind the creation.

Windows, on the other hand, was created out of a pure drive to make money and as such the community that developed around it is very profit-orientated. If you see "free" software (meaning no money, not the RMS definition of free) on Windows, most of the time it will be a crippled demo version masquerading as free, full of advertising, or just plain crap. What little truly free software there is is usually a port of a good Linux program thanks to it being open-source.

So, bearing this in mind, what is it about Linus Torvalds that endears him to so many people? Well, while Bill Gates and Steve Ballmer are the stereotypical business-driven programmers (well, Gates is anyway), Torvalds is a hark back to the early days of computing where the typical programmer's office was at home, even in their bedroom. Indeed, Linux was created in the basement of his mother's house. Many open-source writers are the same - they write this software in their free time, are not driven by profit and are not obsessed with PR.

Thoughts anyone?
 
Old 04-01-2005, 04:33 AM   #2
Shade
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Quote:
he was (and still is) a pretty normal guy who did a pretty extraordinary thing.
I think that sums it up right there. I wish one of my school projects had blossomed into one of the worlds' most robust operating systems

--Shade
 
Old 04-01-2005, 04:38 AM   #3
amosf
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Linus is a normal guy that is way smarter than me. Bill Gates is a normal guy (?) that's way more ruthless (and maybe money hungry) than me... Not much else I can think to say...

The difference I think is that you can actually email linus and even maybe get a reply

I have an email from linus. I framed it. It says 'shut up you idiot'...*

*Not actually true, tho I did have some cantact over a kernel issue and linus was very helpful - it was actually Alan Cox who scolded me Fair enough, it was a binary driver compatibility issue...
 
Old 04-01-2005, 04:50 AM   #4
alred
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The only difference between normal people is those who know how to do business and those who don't .Those who love money and those who .......er.......something wrong down here.....

yup,it's a myth all right.

Last edited by alred; 04-01-2005 at 04:53 AM.
 
Old 04-01-2005, 12:36 PM   #5
Crashed_Again
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Not to downplay Linus's importance in the open source movement but he was and still is simply a hacker. GNU really started the whole philosophy that most Linux users have come to love. Linus simply implemented it in an operating system.
 
Old 04-01-2005, 08:13 PM   #6
jaz
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you have alot of time on your hands. You seem to know to much, we will have to kill you.
 
Old 04-02-2005, 05:42 AM   #7
floppywhopper
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http://www.ao.com/~regan/penguins/tux.html

says it all really

floppy
 
  


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