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Linus Torvalds, Linux Computer Operating System Founder
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Linus Torvalds

Linus Torvalds

Linux Computer Operating System Founder

“[Linux has] a development team that is bigger than anything Microsoft could pay for. It’s not that [Linux] is better-engineered; it’s that there are so many more people working on it, and it is better tested.” --Bob Young, president of Red Hat [software company]

Linus Torvalds created Linux--a computer operating system--as a student at the University of Helsinki, Finland, in 1991. But he quickly realized he’d need other programmers’ help to make Linux work well. Using the Internet, he invited programmers around the world to write parts of the system. Collaborators quickly improved it.

Linux, like other operating systems, acts as a bridge between your computer’s hardware, or physical equipment, and its software, allowing you to interact with your computer. But unlike most systems, Linux is free in several ways. First, users are free to look at the programming code, customize it for their own needs, and make their own repairs. Linux also lets users suggest ways to modify the overall program, thus ensuring that it’s constantly improved by users around the world. And the core operating system costs nothing.

Next: The Evolving Linux Community ›

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