Visit Jeremy's Blog.
Go Back > Forums > Non-*NIX Forums > General
User Name
General This forum is for non-technical general discussion which can include both Linux and non-Linux topics. Have fun!


  Search this Thread
Old 04-01-2005, 02:37 AM   #1
Registered: Jan 2004
Location: Paderborn, Germany
Distribution: SuSE 10.0, Ubuntu 5.10
Posts: 56

Rep: Reputation: 15
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, 03:33 AM   #2
Senior Member
Registered: Mar 2003
Location: Burke, VA
Distribution: RHEL, Slackware, Ubuntu, Fedora
Posts: 1,418
Blog Entries: 1

Rep: Reputation: 46
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

Old 04-01-2005, 03:38 AM   #3
Senior Member
Registered: Jun 2004
Location: Australia
Distribution: Mandriva/Slack - KDE
Posts: 1,672

Rep: Reputation: 46
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, 03:50 AM   #4
Registered: Mar 2005
Location: singapore
Distribution: puppy and Ubuntu and ... erh ... redhat(sort of) :( ... + the venerable bsd and solaris ^_^
Posts: 658
Blog Entries: 8

Rep: Reputation: 31
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 wrong down here.....

yup,it's a myth all right.

Last edited by alred; 04-01-2005 at 03:53 AM.
Old 04-01-2005, 11:36 AM   #5
Senior Member
Registered: Dec 2002
Location: Atlantic City, NJ
Distribution: Ubuntu & Arch
Posts: 3,503

Rep: Reputation: 57
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, 07:13 PM   #6
LQ Newbie
Registered: Apr 2004
Location: midwest
Distribution: fedora core 1
Posts: 12

Rep: Reputation: 6
you have alot of time on your hands. You seem to know to much, we will have to kill you.
Old 04-02-2005, 04:42 AM   #7
Registered: Aug 2004
Location: Albany, Western Australia
Distribution: Mageia , SME , IP Fire, LinuxMX
Posts: 630
Blog Entries: 2

Rep: Reputation: 114Reputation: 114

says it all really



Thread Tools Search this Thread
Search this Thread:

Advanced Search

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is Off
HTML code is Off

Similar Threads
Thread Thread Starter Forum Replies Last Post
Linus Torvalds divorce3 General 8 02-10-2005 01:34 AM
Interview with Linus Torvalds ernesto_cgf Linux - News 2 10-17-2004 07:04 PM
Help this poor Linus Torvalds!!!!!! melinda_sayang General 11 09-28-2004 05:55 PM
Linus Torvalds linuxzouk General 7 05-16-2004 10:17 PM
Linus Torvalds log General 7 02-13-2003 08:21 AM > Forums > Non-*NIX Forums > General

All times are GMT -5. The time now is 09:58 PM.

Main Menu
Write for LQ is looking for people interested in writing Editorials, Articles, Reviews, and more. If you'd like to contribute content, let us know.
Main Menu
RSS1  Latest Threads
RSS1  LQ News
Twitter: @linuxquestions
Facebook: linuxquestions Google+: linuxquestions
Open Source Consulting | Domain Registration