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Linus Torvalds: The Genius Behind the Creation of Linux Kernel




Linus Torvalds is one of the most renowned computer programmers in the world. He developed one of the greatest operating systems that we know as Linux today. Linus has been mainly known as the coordinator and founder of Linux- a UNIX-like operating system.

About Linus Torvalds

Early life of Linus Torvalds

Born on December 28, 1969, in Helsinki, Finland, Linus Torvalds is the son of journalists- Nils Torvalds and Anna. His grandfather, Ole Torvalds, was a poet. Linus was named after a famous American chemist and Nobel Prize winner- Linus Pauling.

Between 1988 and 1996, Linus Torvalds went to the University of Helsinki and graduated with a master’s degree in computer science.  He took a break from his studies after the very first year of his college to join the Finnish Army.  There, he served on his 11-month training program on the rank of second lieutenant. In the year 1990, he resumed his studies and got introduced to UNIX.

Linus Torvalds Torvalds Life post 1996

Linus Torvalds joined the Transmeta Corporation, California in the year 1996. There, he served from February 1997 to June 2003. After that he began working with the Open Source Development Labs that has since united with the Free Standards Group for the Linux Foundation.

In the year 1999, leading Linux-based software developers, such as Red Hat and VA Linux offered their stock options to Linus. Both the companies went public and Linus enjoyed his share worth $20 million in the same year.

The Birth of Linux

In the year 1991, Linus bought his own IBM- compatible personal computer. He got hugely impressed with this computer because of the usage of better Intel chips. At the same time, he found the built-in MS-DOS operating system not up to the mark. The prime reason being his good experience with the UNIX operating system in the computers of his university.

This inspired Linus to come up with his own UNIX version for his computer. Due to financial strains, he made do with a small cone of UNIX known as MINIX, which was developed by Andrew Tanenbaum, an operating system expert. Although advanced as compared to MS-DOS, MINIX lacked certain features and offered some issues. The main one being the unavailability of all of the source code.

Linus saw no point in using a software for which the source code was not made public. Thus, he decided to build his own operating system from scratch incorporating the plus points of both UNIX and MINIX. He left his education midway and focused on his project totally.


All through the developmental phase of Linux, many programmers contributed in the creation of this operating system. In the year 2006, it was speculated that Linus himself wrote about two percent of the Linux kernel. Nonetheless, in the year 2012, Linus claimed that he mostly worked on merging codes given by others and did little programming.

Personal Life of Linus Torvalds

In the year 1993, Linus Torvalds met and later married Tove Torvalds, a multiple time Finnish karate champion. Together they have three daughters- Patricia Miranda, Daniela Yolanda, and Celeste Amanda. In the year 2010, Linus became an official citizen of the United States and registered to vote there.

Global Recognition

On April 23, 2012, Linus was inducted into the Internet Hall of Fame in Geneva, Switzerland. On April 20, 2013, he became the winner of the Millennium Technology Prize, which is equivalent to the Nobel Prize in the field of technology.

In the year 1999, he received the reputed doctor status at Stockholm University. In the year 2005, he received the prestigious Vollum Award from Reed College.

Linus has been recognized multiple times by Time Magazine for his magnificent body of work. In the year 2000, he was placed at 17th position as one of the most important people of the century. In 2004, he was recognized as one of the most influential people. In the year 2006, he was included in the list of top revolutionary heroes of the past 60 years.

Linus at present

After serving as the chief architect of the Linux kernel, Linus holds the title of the project coordinator at present. In September 2013, he attended the LinuxCon conference. There, he gave an unclear answer to one seemingly important question. When he was asked, if he would provide backdoors into Linux, he said no verbally, while nodding his head for a yes.

Linus Torvalds has truly gone into the history for being one of the best software engineers in the world, if not the best; what do you think?

Robert lives in Texas and works from home due to certain family commitments. He is the gem of a person, and an expert in covering the local news. Due to his expertise in the general news, he writes for the Headlines column of He has immense experience in print media. He has been with the team ever since the website was started.

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