Invention at Play

Inventors’ Stories
Back to Inventors’ Stories

Linus Torvalds, Linux Computer Operating System Founder
< 1 2

The Linux logo is a happy penguin cartoon figure

The Linux logo is a happy penguin cartoon figure

The Evolving Linux Community

Torvalds attributes the success of Linux to the way the Linux community has evolved “by mistake and luck” into a strong force. “Things don’t get better by having the same people test it over and over again.” According to Torvalds, “Everybody wants to impress their peers, improve their reputation, elevate their social status. Open source development gives programmers the chance [to show off their skills.]”

Conceived as a way to give computer users more control, a vast number of software programmers have taken Linux’s source code and adapted it to meet their individual needs. As Linux has become more of a commercial product and moved into corporate information-technology settings, users who aren’t software developers have become an especially important driving force in the system’s evolution.

Torvalds says, “[Non-programmers] tend to do different things [with their computers than] what I do, so their needs are different. And in many cases those differences have shown something that was missing or badly done in Linux. So even though those users aren’t interested in how Linux works, they have been instrumental in making it better.”

Next: Continue to next section,“Keep Making It Better”›

skip navigation

Email Stroller


Email this to a friend!
Let this stroller roll across your friends’ desktops so they can learn about the team at IDEO that designed it.

send to friends

National Museum of American History, Behring Center Invention Playhouse Inventors’ Stories Does play Matter? Exhibit Info Resources Contact Us Site Map Site Credits Lemelson Center