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Who Invented Linux and What is He Doing Today?

Linus Torvalds

Did you ever wonder who invented the famous Linux operating system that has transformed services in the web hosting arena? The primary driver behind the open source operating system is a man named Linus Benedict Torvalds, a Finland native. He was the chief software architect behind Linux, and today is acting as the coordinator of the Linux project.

Torvalds originally is from Helsinki, Finland, and he went to the university there from 1988-96. He graduated from the university with a master’s degree in computer science from NODES research group. His career in academia was interrupted in 1989 when he went into the army in Finland. He chose an officer program to fulfill the military service requirement in his home country.

Torvalds was a second lieutenant, and worked as a ballistic calculations officer. In 1990 he went back to the university where he worked with UNIX for the very first time. He then wrote his Master of Science thesis, which he called Linux: A Portable Operating System.

Early Computing
Torvalds’ first computer was a Sinclair QL, famous for its unique keyboard (pictured right), purchased in 1987. He was not happy with the purchase because the computer could not easily be reprogrammed because of the OS that was in its read only memory.

In 1991, he bought an Intel 386 computer that had a then-massive four megabytes of memory. He viewed the chip as a major step up from previous Intel products. However, he was very disappointed with MS-DOS, which he felt had not advanced enough to take any sort of advantage of the greatly improved capacity of the chip. He became a big fan of the UNIX OS and that is what he used the most in his work for some time after that.

The Dawn of Linux
In fact, he tried to buy UNIX for his 386 Intel computer but it was too costly. He decided to create an entirely new operating system that was based upon UNIX and MINIX. Such began the largest software collaborative project on earth.
In 1996, Torvalds took a research position at the company Transmeta, in California, working there for six years. At that point, he moved on to the Open Source Development Laboratory. Since that time, that organization has merged with the Free Standards Group. These two organizations became the Linux Foundation.

Today the Linux inventor works full time on the project for Open Source Development, which is based in Oregon. While he has only personally written two percent of the source code, Torvalds makes all final decisions on modifications to the OS.

Check out Torvalds explaining a little more how Linux came to be:

About Jake Neeley

Jake Neeley is a content marketing and social media geek who loves learning, outdoor sports (especially those in Utah mountains), and time with the fam. Connect with Jake on Google+, Twitter, and LinkedIn.

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2 Comments

  1. Posted October 24, 2012 at 3:43 am | Permalink

    Actually, it’s more appropriate to call the operating system GNU/Linux instead of just Linux. The term ‘Linux’ refers only to the kernel.

    • Posted November 6, 2012 at 12:58 pm | Permalink

      @Josh, agreed… most are simply more familiar with “Linux.” I also had someone say (who didn’t comment) that Linus copied parts of UNIX, sounded quite sticky :)

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