Heros Behind Opensource

Many great people have dedicated their life and their work to the development of open-source softwares and applications.    So we all should be grateful to them.  Here this community is open-source community is remember their work and follow them.  Few of them which we would like to mention are below:

Linus Torvalds:

Linus is the visionary man behind the today’s Linux Operating System.  His full name is Linus Benedict Torvalds.  He was born in 1969 in Helsinki, Finland. Being the software engineer he initiated the development of Linux kernel.  Now he is the chief architect of Linux Kernel.

King of Linux

Torvalds completed his graduation and master degree in University of Helsinki     (1988-1996)       in Computer Science. In 1990 he was exposed to UNIX for the first time.  His M.Sc thesis was titled  Linux: A Portable Operating System. His work began with Commodore VIC-20. Then he purchased Sinclair QL  operating system. He programmed an assembly language and text editor  for QL . Then in 1991 he purchased an intel 80386 based IBM-PC and began his work on Linux.  In late 1996 , he accepted a position at the company at California, where he worked from 1997 to  2003.  He then moved to the Open Source Development Labs, which has merged with Free Standards Group to become the Linux Foundation, under whose auspices he continued to work. From 1997 to 1999  he was involved in 86open helping to choose the standard binary format for Linux and Unix.  RedHat and VALinux supported Torvalds and they started developing Linux based softwares.  His personal mascot was Penguin nicknamed named TUX, now it has been adopted as mascot of Linux Kernel.

Initially Torvalds wanted to call the kernel he developed as Freax ( which means UNIX like operating system for free) , but his friend who administered the FTP server where the kernel was first hosted for downloading, named Torvalds directory as Linux.  About 2% of the Linux kernel was written by Torvalds.  Torvalds owns the LINUX trademark and monitors use of it through the Linux Mark Institute.


Dennis Ritchie:

Dennis MacAlistair  Ritchie is an American computer scientist notable for influence in C and other programming languages and operating systems like UNIX and Multics. He was born in New York and graduated from Harvard University with degrees in physics  and applied maths.  In 1967 in began working in Bell laboratories.

Ritchie’s important inventions are C (programming language) and UNIX operating system. The C language is widely used in application and operating system development. Ritchie has said that creating the C language “looked like a good thing to do”  and that any one in the same place and same time could have done the same thing.

In 1983  Ritchie and Ken Thompson jointly received the Turing Award for development of generic operating system theory and specifically for the implementation of UNIX operating system.  In 1999 Thompson and Ritchie jointly received National Medal of Technology from president of United States  Bill Clinton.


Ken Thompson:

Kenneth Lane Thompson is a co-founder of UNIX with Dennis ritchie. In 1943 he born was born in Louisiana, United States.  UNIX and its derivatives are known as best operating systems designed ever. He pursued in Bachelor’s(1965) and Master’s degree(1966)  in Electrical Engineering and Computer Science in University of California(Berkely). In 1960 he met Dennis Ricthie at BELL laboratories.  They worked together on various projects like MULTICS(OS) and the major was invention of UNIX operating system in 1969.     Before Ritchie created C , Thompson invented B (programming language needed for UNIX system programming ). Thompson had developed his own version of  QED text  editor which included regular expressions for searching text, which later became the standard text editor “ed” for UNIX. In 1992 Thompson invented UTF-8 ( character encoding scheme) together with Rob Pike. He also developed chess playing software. In 2000 Thompson retired from Bell laboratories and now he is working in Google as a Distinguished Engineer.


Richard Stallman

Richard Mathew Stallman was born on 16th March 1953 in New York. His parents were Daniel Stallman and Alice Lippman. He is a computer programmer.  In 1985 he established the “Free Software Foudation” and and launched GNU(GNU’s Not Unix) project to develop UNIX like free operating system. In mid 1990’s he spent his time in advocating for free software and campaigning against software patents.  He has contributed a lot in developing number of free softwares namely Emacs, GNU Compiler Collection  and GNU Debugger etc.  While pursuing his degree in 1971 in Harvard University, he became a programmer at MIT Artificial Intelligence Laboratory. While graduate student at MIT, Stallman published a paper on Artificial Intelligence Truth Maintenance System called dependency- directed backtracking system.  As a hacker in MIT’s AI laboratory, Stallman worked on software projects like TECOEmacs, and the Lisp Machine Operating System.     Stallman proclaimed the licensing of softwares as “Crime against Humanity”.

Stallman argues that  software users should have freedom to share it  and should be able to change it as per their needs. In 1985, Stallman published the GNU manifesto , which outlined his motivation for creating free operating system similar to UNIX. In 1991, Linus Torvalds a Finnish student used GNU development tools to produce Linux Kernel. Stallman has written many essays on Free Software.  After personal meetings Stallman received many positive complements about the Free Software Movement from then – president of India Dr. A.P.J Abdul Kalam who himself is a scientist and from president of Equador.

Stallman only computer is Lemote netbook which he chose because it can run with 100% free software even at BIOS level, stating freedom is my priority. He stated that “ I have campaigned for freedom since 1983 and I am not going to surrender that freedom for the sake of more convenient computer.”


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