Time Magazine: Man of the Millennium

Peter da Silva peter at baileynm.com
Sat Sep 26 08:27:13 EST 1998

In article <y6vhmbhy9c.fsf at tweedledumb.cygnus.com>,
Craig Burley  <burley at tweedledumb.cygnus.com> wrote:
>  Linus Torvalds

>At least from a comp.arch point of view, he's probably done more for
>the viability of "whatever architecture you want to create and
>whatever machine you want to build, as long as it's cost-effective"
>as anybody.

Now now, it's just the fluke of a lawsuit that held BSD back long enough
for Linux to take the lead, and I suspect that without Linux and BSD the
Hurd would have been FORCED to switch from "development toy" to product
by now. That's three free operating system projects peaking in the same
few years. And that's just the UNIX-like ones... there's been a plethora
of specialized open-source operating systems.

I wouldn't give primacy to Linus, though he's an amazing fellow... but
rather to Dennis Ritchie, Ken Thompson, Brian Kernighan... the team that
developed the "good enough" operating system that swept aside all the
layers of complexity people had expected to face and replaced them with
an incredibly simple model that was at the same time a joy to use.

And right under them, Andy Tannenbaum... because without Minix there would
have been no Linux, and I believe it laid the seeds for the opening of BSD
as well.

>(Of course, Richard Stallman might deserve to be mentioned as well.)

I suspect that you're right, without GCC it would have been a lot harder. :->

(there are other free C compilers, but I don't think they were around in
 about, oh, 1990)

In hoc signo hack, Peter da Silva <peter at baileynm.com>
 `-_-'   "Milloin halasit viimeksi suttasi?"
         "Tell init(8) to lock-n-load, we're goin' zombie slaying!"

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