In 1991, Linus Torvalds shared the Linux kernel with a few computer hobbyists. The operating system they built reshaped the software industry.

Why you should listen

Fascinated by the economy and elegance of experimental operating system Minix, computer scientist Linus Torvalds wrote an operating system kernel and shared it with independent programmers. The system that they fleshed out and released in 1994 -- Linux -- was remarkable not only for its utility and efficiency but also for the collaboration of its community.

Now enjoying mainstream respectability (and the support of the computer industry), Linux runs on the servers of Amazon, Google, and much of the wired world. As the sole arbiter of code for the Linux Foundation (which he characteristically downplays by saying “the only power I have is to say ‘no’”), Torvalds quietly inspires open-source projects worldwide.

What others say

“[Torvalds has] been as instrumental in retooling the production lines of the modern economy as Henry Ford was 100 years earlier.” — Bloomberg.com, June 16, 2015t

Linus Torvalds’ TED talk

More news and ideas from Linus Torvalds

Live from TED2016

The quotable Linus Torvalds, live onstage at TED

February 17, 2016

I am not a visionary. I’m an engineer. [As a kid] I was into computers, I was into math, I was into physics. I don’t think I was particularly exceptional. My sister said my biggest exceptional quality was that I would not let go. Q. During the development of Linux itself, that stubbornness brought you […]

Continue reading