THE CODE: STORY OF LINUX PART 1 OF 3
In 1991, a 20-year old Linus Torvalds, a thin, bespectacled, Swedish- speaking Finnish computer science student sends a posting to an Internet newsgroup asking for advice on how to make a better operating system. His project is a hobby, he says, and would never become ‘big and professional’.
But in ten years he and his loose alliance of hackers all over the world creates an operating system – Linux – that challenges Windows 2000 for the server market and is now poised to dominate the next generation of handheld and desktop computers. What makes Linux different, and deeply troubling for traditional software companies, is that no one owns it. Every user is free to adapt it in any way they wish, as long as they pass it on to others on the same terms.
The Code presents the first decade of Linux from 1991 to 2001. Besides Torvalds, it includes many of his closest allies in development process, that is nowadays seen as the greatest success story of the Internet culture. Eventually, Linux becomes a viable business solution within the computer industry. Media loves the story of ‘a single hacker against the forces of darkness’. ‘Linux’ becomes a catch phrase.
Torvalds turns into an international media star. No more a shy nerd, but a relaxed, witty media performer par excellence. Linus is a Jesus for a politician, respected and adored by both Linux enthusiasts, the counter-culture – and the big businessmen. A rare combination, this time or any other.
But even after all this attention Linus Torvalds remains, as a person, an enigma. When interviewed in the media, he is always asked the same questions and usually giving the same answers too.