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Friday, September 20, 2013



Linus Benedict Torvalds was born on December 28  1969. He is Finnish American Software Engineer who was the principle force behind the development the development of Linux Kernel.

In 1987 Torvalds used his savings to buy his first computer, a Sinclair QL. This was one of the world's first 32-bit computers for home use. With its Motorola 68008 processor (the part of the computer that performs logic operations and also referred to as a central processing unit or CPU) running at 7.5MHz (megahertz) and 128KB (kilobytes) of RAM (random access memory), this was a big step up from his grandfather's Commodore Vic 20. However, he soon became unhappy with it because of it could not be reprogrammed due to the operating system residing in ROM (read-only memory).
In 1988 Torvalds followed in the footsteps of his parents and enrolled in the University of Helsinki, the premier institution of higher education in Finland. By that time he was already an accomplished programmer, and, naturally, he majored in computer science. In 1990 he took his first class in the C programming language, the language that he would soon use to write the Linux Kernel (i.e., the core of the operating system).
In early 1991 he purchased an IBM-compatible personal computer with a 33MHz Intel 386 processor and a huge 4MB of memory. This processor greatly appealed to him because it represented a tremendous improvement over earlier Intel chips. As intrigued as he was with the hardware, however, Torvalds was disappointed with the MS-DOS operating system that came with it. That operating system had not advanced sufficiently to even begin to take advantage of the vastly improved capabilities of the 386 chip, and he thus strongly preferred the much more powerful and stable UNIX operating system that he had become accustomed to using on the university's computers.

                                                            Consequently, Torvalds attempted to obtain a version of UNIX for his new computer. Fortunately (for the world), he could not find even a basic system for less than US$5,000. He also considered MINIX, a small clone of UNIX that was created by operating systems expert Andrew Tanenbaum in the Netherlands to teach UNIX to university students. However, although much more powerful than MS-DOS and designed to run on Intel x86 processors, MINIX still had some serious disadvantages. They included the facts that not all of the source code was made public, it lacked some of the features and performance of UNIX and there was a not-insignificant (although cheaper than for many other operating systems) licensing fee.

                                                        Source code is the version of software (e.g., an operating system or an application) as it is originally written (i.e., typed into a computer) by a human using a programming language (such as assembly, BASIC, C or Java) and before it is compiled (i.e., converted by a compiler) into machine language, which the processor (but not humans) can understand directly. Having the source code is necessary in order to study or improve software. A highly skilled programmer such as Torvalds can easily become bored and frustrated with software for which the source code is not available.
Torvalds thus decided to create a new operating system from scratch that was based on both MINIX and UNIX. It is unlikely that he was fully aware of the tremendous amount of work that would be necessary, and it is even far less likely that he could have envisioned the effects that his decision would have both on his life and on the rest of the world. Because university education in Finland is free and there was little pressure to graduate within four years, Torvalds decided to take a break and devote his full attention to his project.
On August 25, 1991, he announced his initial creation on the MINIX newsgroup comp.os.minix  and took suggestions as well as he also uploaded his source code and names int linux(Linus + MINIX) .

The code was released  under the GPL(General Public License) and anyone who whishes to add their own suggestions and modify to optimize the code were welcomed. 
Linux/GNU together were combined to create a full fledged free open source operating system.

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