Electronic Design

Linus Torvalds

Torvalds (2002)

In 1991, Torvalds, a 21-year-old computer science student at the University of Helsinki, wanted to run Unix on his home computer. However, the software cost too much, and at that time it ran only on expensive workstations. So Torvalds began writing a Unix clone that would bring the power of Unix to a PC. Torvalds soon created a kernel that worked directly with the processor and named it "Freax." But when he tried to post it on the Web, the FTP site manager, fearing the word had negative implications, renamed Torvalds' FTP site "Linux," the label Torvalds had included for his personal use. In October 1991, the first functional Linux operating system was released. Torvalds patented Linux under the Free Software Foundation's General Public License, which made it free and available to everyone, but prevented distribution without the source code.

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