Meet the Genius behind Linux Kernel: Linus Torvalds

Linus Torvalds is among the reputed names in computer programming across the world. He is the father of one of the legendary operating systems we use today, Linux. He is the founder and coordinator of a UNIX-like OS, Linux.

Early Life

Born in Helsinki, Finland on December 28, 1969, Linus Torvalds is the son of journalist parents – Anna and Nils Torvalds. Ole Torvalds, the famous poet, was his grandfather. He was named after Nobel Prize winner and well-known American chemist – Linus Pauling.

From 1988 to 1996, Linus attended the University of Helsinki and graduated in computer science with master’s degree. After the first year of college, he took a break to join Finnish Army. He served on his training for 11 months as the second lieutenant. In 1990, he continued his studies and learned about UNIX.

His Life Post 1996

In 1996, he joined Transmeta Corporation, California. He worked there from February 1997 to June 2003. He worked with Open Source Development Labs which has merged with the Free Standards Group under Linux Foundation. Linus got stock options from the legendary Linux-based developers like VA Linux and Red Hat in 1999. Linus got his $20 million worth of share, and both companies went public.

The Inception of Linux

In 1991, Linus acquired his own IBM-supported PC. He was very influenced to the computer because it had advanced Intel chips. However, the built-in MS DOS was quite disappointing for him. He used computers in the university which worked on UNIX operating system.

This is the reason why Linus launched his own UNIX-based operating system. He did it with small UNIX cone which is known as MINIX because of his financial conditions, developed by Andrew Tanenbaum, an OS expert. Even though it is more advanced than MS DOS, MINIX didn’t have some features and had some bugs. Non-availability of source code is the main issue.

Linus found it completely useless because the source code was not used. Hence, he chose to develop his own OS from scratch, using all the plus points of both MINIX and UNIX. He focused on his project for which he left his education in the middle.

Personal Life

In 1993, Linus met and married Tove Torvalds, a Finnish karate champion. They have three daughters – Daniela Yolanda, Patricia Miranda, and Celeste Amanda. In 2010, he got the citizenship of the US and registered to vote.


Many programmers took part to create Linux across the development phase. In 2006, it was believed that Linus wrote around 2% of Linux kernel. In 2012, he claimed that he merged the codes by other programmers and did some sort of programming.

Global Fame                   

Linus was introduced to the Internet Hall of Fame on April 23, 2012, in Geneva, Switzerland. He won Millennium Technology Prize on April 20, 2013, which is similar to Nobel Prize in technology. In 1999, he got the status of a reputed doctor at Stockholm University. He received the most-acclaimed Vollum Award in 2005 from Reed College.

He has got a lot of recognitions by Time Magazine for his tremendous work. He was ranked 17th as the most important person of the century in 2000. He became one of the most influential people in 2004. He was ranked among the top revolutionary heroes of the last 60 years in 2006.

Share this post

Post Comment