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  • Let me make an analogy between programs and recipes.

  • A program is a lot like a recipe. Each one is a list of steps to be-

  • -carried out with rules for how to tell when you're done-

  • -or when to go back. At the end there's a certain result.

  • If you cook you probably exchange recipes with your friends-

  • -and you probably change recipes too.

  • If you've made changes and you, and your friends, like eating it-

  • -then you might give them the changed version of the recipe.

  • Imagine a world where you can't change the recipe-

  • -because somebody has gone out of his way to make it impossible.

  • And imagine that if you share the recipe they will call you a pirate-

  • -and try to put you in prison for years.

  • I use the word "hacker" in its correct and original sense to describe-

  • -someone who pursues computer programming as an artistic passion-

  • -and who also is part of or identifies with the hacker culture-

  • -which is historically programmers who produced the Internet, Linux and WWW.

  • I guess you have to be a hacker to understand the specific mindset-

  • -that is to rebel against the idea that the OS source code should be withheld.

  • This open source attitude doesn't mix smoothly with the free market economy.

  • It's also a threat to the traditional concepts of copyright and intellectual property.

  • Companies like Microsoft that base their business on closed source code-

  • -have tactively molded free software into an image-

  • -of a monster of almost McCarthian proportions.

  • All this made up one of the strangest success stories of the 1990's-

  • -epitomized by the community's gifted leader and invaluable icon.

  • He planted the seed for a movement whose ramifications continue to spread.

  • Linus Torvalds has created a computer system that has struck-

  • -the whole industry with amazement.

  • Linux - an operating system that now runs 8 million of the world's computers.

  • Wired Magazine : "He is a shaman on par withinämöinen-

  • -and his operating system Linux is the Internet's most brilliant masterpiece".

  • Torvald's decision to distribute Linux for free and reveal-

  • -its underlying source code has made him a cult figure.

  • Linus Torvalds, the computer genius who dreams of defeating Microsoft,-

  • -actually Bill Gates. How's it going?

  • There are those who say that Linus Torvalds has achieved a-

  • -miracle.

  • The worker ants are constantly in contact with each other by modems-

  • -releasing code, encouraging feedback on modifications-

  • -to create the best possible operating system in the world.

  • San Jose, California

  • I didn't want anybody else to have to go through the same thing I had-

  • -to find something like Linux. Maybe some other computer science student-

  • -needs his own operating system and he doesn't have to start from scratch.

  • It wasn't a fight against the windmills. It wasn't Don Quixote against the world-

  • -trying to make a better place.

  • Come, come. Do you want food?

  • I much prefer working with people over email than face to face.

  • Else you tend to get into all these meaningless arguments and details.

  • Over email you have to think a bit before you send off a reply.

  • Just because we aren't at the same place doesn't mean that we aren't-

  • -together in a social sense. It's like one very, very large shared office.

  • We even have our arguments over the Internet in the same kind of way.

  • This is a huge project. There's never been a software project that I know of-

  • -that's been worked on by so many people from so many disperse places-

  • -to put this all together.

  • The most innovative thing about the Linux community is not its-

  • -source code but the social machine that developed around it.

  • What Linux is...? I suppose I would say...

  • Every computer is different, every floppy disk drive is different-

  • -every hard disk is different, every video controller is different...

  • Linux is the thing that knows how to make all these different parts-

  • -do the simple tasks like "write my file to the disk" or-

  • -"read this file off this floppy I have", or "draw this image on the screen".

  • Linux knows how to talk to these different pieces of hardware-

  • -to make them do the common operations that we need computers to do.

  • What do we mean when we say "Linux"? Some mean the whole operating system-

  • -on which everything that happens in a computer weighs.

  • Some say "Linux", pinpointing the single most important program - the kernel.

  • It has to go back to the person who started it. To the person who-

  • -somehow used the net to create a community of people-

  • -who all felt that their contributions were being valued.

  • That ability to foster cooperation could very well be something-

  • -that can only come from a person raised in a country like Finland.

  • Helsinki, Finland

  • 1969 - it seems to have been such a good year.

  • The moon landing, Woodstock, the birth of ARPANET, that led to Internet.

  • The first steps of UNIX, the operating system for big computers-

  • -and on December 28 Linus Torvalds is born.

  • All children learn primarily through playing.

  • For that reason I think it was very important for Linus to enter-

  • -the computer world when computers still were simple enough even for a-

  • -10-12 year old boy to understand what was inside this machine.

  • In today's world there's so many layers of information and-

  • -complicated stuff between that which is shown on the computer screen-

  • -and that which is inside the machine. It's difficult for the children of today-

  • -to play their way to the insight the same way Linus did.

  • I think it was love at first sight both for my father and for-

  • -Linus who together were childishly excited, both of them, to try-

  • -the possibilities that VIC-20 offered.

  • The place where Linus developed Linux is no longer-

  • -because the walls have been torn down.

  • Here in the corner where the couch is is where Linus' desktop and computer,-

  • -that he worked on, used to be.

  • The biggest change is that he nowadays is a stand up-guru-

  • -because he is used to perform in front of an audience and he can handle them.

  • That might not be surprising, but still striking when compared with how-

  • -he actually was: relatively shy and withdrawn, and not the one who-

  • -got in touch, but his friends were the ones who kept in touch with him.

  • Hello everybody out there using MINIX. I'm doing a free operating system.

  • Just a hobby. Won't be big and professional-

  • -like "GNU" for 386 and 486 AT clones.

  • This has been brewing since April and is starting to get ready.

  • I'd like any feedback on things people like or dislike in MINIX-

  • -as my OS resembles it somewhat. Any suggestions are welcome-

  • -but I won't promise I'll actually implement them.

  • torvalds@kruuna.helsinki.fi

  • 1991 - The Soviet Union closes down.

  • The Gulf War.

  • The British physicist Tim Berners-Lee-

  • -releases a hypertext system, calling it the "World Wide Web".

  • Microsoft is well on the way for world domination.

  • And on September 17 Linus Torvalds sends the first-

  • -version of Linux, 0.01, to the world, via Internet.

  • The first responses arrive within hours.

  • "Linux was invented here"

  • "University of Helsinki"

  • We first heard whispers in the cafeteria-

  • An operating system was being developed and started to spread.

  • We learned to know Linus better.

  • His programming skills had already been noted here.

  • Linus based Linux on UNIX, because of its basic ideals.

  • The original UNIX operating system had been created by Ken Thompson-

  • -and Dennis Ritchie at AT&T's Bell Labs in 1969.

  • UNIX was in the beginning a relatively free operating system-

  • -and very popular in the university circles.

  • The philosophy is based on two notions:

  • Firstly, everything is a file.

  • Secondly, when you build something you write things that are for a single-

  • -purpose but to do that purpose well.

  • Putting Linux on the net was kind of natural in many ways.

  • There were a lot of small reasons. Like the fact that I thought it was-

  • -a good idea to make Linux available to others so that they could try it out-

  • -and send comments back to me.

  • He really had two choices. He could make it completely free-

  • -or he can try and charge for it.

  • Linux would not exist if he had tried to make profit out of it.

  • Nobody would have bought it. It would have been a dead end.

  • You haven't been here for a while. We've already installed the third version...

  • We had difficulties to fit Linux-stuff into one computer.

  • At first Linus didn't want to release Linux for free.

  • He was thinking hard about what kind of copyright he would use.

  • I persuaded him to release it under the GNU copyright.

  • Especially, as the compiler I used was released under the GPL-

  • -I eventually ended up using the GPL myself.

  • The "GNU General Public License" (GPL) funded by the Free Software Foundation-

  • -in the mid 1980's says that if you change and modify the code-

  • -you have to make your changes and improvements freely available.

  • The GPL hinders any one person to have a monopoly-

  • -over an important piece of technology.

  • I think the timing was good. Even just a year earlier I don't think it-

  • -could've been done, and a year later someone would've done something similar.

  • The Internet hadn't gotten to the general population-

  • -but it was getting very strong in university networks.

  • I'd done a mailing list program in the "C" programming language-

  • I had to expand it and add features.

  • Rapidly thousands of people were interested.

  • It was a surprise. The numbers doubled in short intervals.

  • It was crazy. After 1000 people 2000, the next day 4000 people.

  • Without Internet Linux development would've been like chess by mail.

  • My name of choice was "FREAX".

  • Which was both "free", "freak" plus the "X" that you need for UNIX.

  • I didn't like the name FREAX. It wasn't very commercial...

  • Ari Lemmke, who actually put Linux up for FTP, thought that it really was a bad idea.

  • He really hated the name. He made the FTP site available and just-

  • -called it Linux because that was the working name.

  • The name stuck, and Linux is a much better name...

  • "GEEKS"