The History of two big innovations

for Open Source Development

By Hani Nemati

Hani Nemati, PhD Candidate in Computer Engineering at Polytechnique School of Montreal

Hani Nemati, PhD Candidate in Computer Engineering at Polytechnique School of Montreal

The story is about a man who was born in Helsinki in 28 December 1969[1]. He was named after Linus Pauling, the American chemist who got Nobel Prize. He started his academic career by attending the University of Helsinki at 1988. After six years of working in computer science, he graduated with a master's degree. Then, he joined the Army to fulfill the mandatory military service. He worked there with the role of a ballistic calculation officer. 

This man is Linus Torvalds, the principal author of the Linux Kernel. 

This man is Linus Torvalds, the principal author of the Linux Kernel. 

Occasionally in life there are some inspirational moments. You can be inspired even by watching the fall of an apple from a tree, watching a movie or watching a landscape. This time he was inspired by reading Andrew Tanenbaum's book "Operating Systems: Design and Implementation". In this book Tanenbaum describes MINIX, basic version of Unix. He was fascinated by the structure of this book and how clear it was. After reading the book, he decided to resume his university study with a thesis titled as Linux: A Portable Operating System [2]. He developed Linux as operating system and published it as GNU and General Public License version2.

In 1996, he accepted a position at the company in California; then because he was more interested by Open Source Project, he moved to OSDL (Open Source Development Labs). Then because of his tremendous work he was named by the MIT Technology Review TR100 as one of the world's top 100 innovators under age 35[3].

He believed that "Open Source" was the only way to do software so he replaced software version control of Linux Kernel with git. Nowadays, git is used widely for software development. Like linux Kernel, git is a free software under the terms of the GNU General Public License version 2 [4].


Sources :

[1] Rogoway, Mike (September 14, 2010). "Linus Torvalds, already an Oregonian, now a U.S. citizen". Available at http://blog.oregonlive.com/siliconforest/2010/09/linus_torvalds_already_an_oreg.h tm

[2] "Technology Academy Finland – Stem cell pioneer and open source software engineer are 2012 Millennium Technology Prize laureates". Available at: https://web.archive.org/web/20131104182212/http://www.technologyacademy.fi/bl og/2012/04/19/laureates/