Linus Torvalds

Who is Linus Torvalds? A small biography

Linus Torvalds is one of the most famous programmers of our era: he is the creator of Linux. He indeed created the core of Linux for an open-source project, and the other developers decided to name their operating system Linux to honor Linus Torvalds.

He is also the developer of Git, a free and open source distributed version control system designed to handle everything from small to very large projects with speed and efficiency and a management and planning software named Subsurface.

Linux has received many prizes and distinctions for his work, such as the Millenium Technology Prize in 2012 and the Computer Society Computer Pioneer Award awarded by the IEEE.


Born in Helsinki, Finland in 1969, Torvalds is the son of journalists Anna and Nils Torvalds. He graduated from the University of Helsinki in computer science with the research group NODES but his academic career was halted by the finnish military draft. Nevertheless, he continued with his passion by studying UNIX in his university.

The creator of Linux will start to gain interest in computers at age 11, with a Commodore Vic-20 and a Sinclair QL, but he will use Unix only when he will receive MINIX..


The developers of Linux had already been able to develop a major part of the operating system, but struggled to finish its core. Thus, Linus’ contribution (approximately 2%) helped finishing the OS. Torvalds will be an important developer and leader for Linux, supervising the development of the OS. He will also be influential in the Linux Foundation, being in charge of supporting Linux, and will be in fact employed by the Foundation to assure he allocates all his time to Linux. He personally uses Fedora Linux as he own a PowerPC and maintained a computer not connected to the Internet to conserve Linux’s core in case it would be compromised by cyber-pirates.


Linus Torvalds will be subject to many critiques for his tendency to use commercial software rather than open-source and free softwares. Previously using BitKeeper, he will react to these critiques by creating his own open-source software to replace it, Git!


Linus Torvalds is a man that invented a powerful and free operating system, freeing us from the monopoly of Microsoft and Apple.