Subtitles section Play video Print subtitles Let me make an analogy between programs and recipes. A program is a lot like a recipe. Each one is a list of steps to be- -carried out with rules for how to tell when you're done- -or when to go back. At the end there's a certain result. If you cook you probably exchange recipes with your friends- -and you probably change recipes too. If you've made changes and you, and your friends, like eating it- -then you might give them the changed version of the recipe. Imagine a world where you can't change the recipe- -because somebody has gone out of his way to make it impossible. And imagine that if you share the recipe they will call you a pirate- -and try to put you in prison for years. I use the word "hacker" in its correct and original sense to describe- -someone who pursues computer programming as an artistic passion- -and who also is part of or identifies with the hacker culture- -which is historically programmers who produced the Internet, Linux and WWW. I guess you have to be a hacker to understand the specific mindset- -that is to rebel against the idea that the OS source code should be withheld. This open source attitude doesn't mix smoothly with the free market economy. It's also a threat to the traditional concepts of copyright and intellectual property. Companies like Microsoft that base their business on closed source code- -have tactively molded free software into an image- -of a monster of almost McCarthian proportions. All this made up one of the strangest success stories of the 1990's- -epitomized by the community's gifted leader and invaluable icon. He planted the seed for a movement whose ramifications continue to spread. Linus Torvalds has created a computer system that has struck- -the whole industry with amazement. Linux - an operating system that now runs 8 million of the world's computers. Wired Magazine : "He is a shaman on par with Väinämöinen- -and his operating system Linux is the Internet's most brilliant masterpiece". Torvald's decision to distribute Linux for free and reveal- -its underlying source code has made him a cult figure. Linus Torvalds, the computer genius who dreams of defeating Microsoft,- -actually Bill Gates. How's it going? There are those who say that Linus Torvalds has achieved a- -miracle. The worker ants are constantly in contact with each other by modems- -releasing code, encouraging feedback on modifications- -to create the best possible operating system in the world. San Jose, California I didn't want anybody else to have to go through the same thing I had- -to find something like Linux. Maybe some other computer science student- -needs his own operating system and he doesn't have to start from scratch. It wasn't a fight against the windmills. It wasn't Don Quixote against the world- -trying to make a better place. Come, come. Do you want food? I much prefer working with people over email than face to face. Else you tend to get into all these meaningless arguments and details. Over email you have to think a bit before you send off a reply. Just because we aren't at the same place doesn't mean that we aren't- -together in a social sense. It's like one very, very large shared office. We even have our arguments over the Internet in the same kind of way. This is a huge project. There's never been a software project that I know of- -that's been worked on by so many people from so many disperse places- -to put this all together. The most innovative thing about the Linux community is not its- -source code but the social machine that developed around it. What Linux is...? I suppose I would say... Every computer is different, every floppy disk drive is different- -every hard disk is different, every video controller is different... Linux is the thing that knows how to make all these different parts- -do the simple tasks like "write my file to the disk" or- -"read this file off this floppy I have", or "draw this image on the screen". Linux knows how to talk to these different pieces of hardware- -to make them do the common operations that we need computers to do. What do we mean when we say "Linux"? Some mean the whole operating system- -on which everything that happens in a computer weighs. Some say "Linux", pinpointing the single most important program - the kernel. It has to go back to the person who started it. To the person who- -somehow used the net to create a community of people- -who all felt that their contributions were being valued. That ability to foster cooperation could very well be something- -that can only come from a person raised in a country like Finland. Helsinki, Finland 1969 - it seems to have been such a good year. The moon landing, Woodstock, the birth of ARPANET, that led to Internet. The first steps of UNIX, the operating system for big computers- -and on December 28 Linus Torvalds is born. All children learn primarily through playing. For that reason I think it was very important for Linus to enter- -the computer world when computers still were simple enough even for a- -10-12 year old boy to understand what was inside this machine. In today's world there's so many layers of information and- -complicated stuff between that which is shown on the computer screen- -and that which is inside the machine. It's difficult for the children of today- -to play their way to the insight the same way Linus did. I think it was love at first sight both for my father and for- -Linus who together were childishly excited, both of them, to try- -the possibilities that VIC-20 offered. The place where Linus developed Linux is no longer- -because the walls have been torn down. Here in the corner where the couch is is where Linus' desktop and computer,- -that he worked on, used to be. The biggest change is that he nowadays is a stand up-guru- -because he is used to perform in front of an audience and he can handle them. That might not be surprising, but still striking when compared with how- -he actually was: relatively shy and withdrawn, and not the one who- -got in touch, but his friends were the ones who kept in touch with him. Hello everybody out there using MINIX. I'm doing a free operating system. Just a hobby. Won't be big and professional- -like "GNU" for 386 and 486 AT clones. This has been brewing since April and is starting to get ready. I'd like any feedback on things people like or dislike in MINIX- -as my OS resembles it somewhat. Any suggestions are welcome- -but I won't promise I'll actually implement them. firstname.lastname@example.org 1991 - The Soviet Union closes down. The Gulf War. The British physicist Tim Berners-Lee- -releases a hypertext system, calling it the "World Wide Web". Microsoft is well on the way for world domination. And on September 17 Linus Torvalds sends the first- -version of Linux, 0.01, to the world, via Internet. The first responses arrive within hours. "Linux was invented here" "University of Helsinki" We first heard whispers in the cafeteria- An operating system was being developed and started to spread. We learned to know Linus better. His programming skills had already been noted here. Linus based Linux on UNIX, because of its basic ideals. The original UNIX operating system had been created by Ken Thompson- -and Dennis Ritchie at AT&T's Bell Labs in 1969. UNIX was in the beginning a relatively free operating system- -and very popular in the university circles. The philosophy is based on two notions: Firstly, everything is a file. Secondly, when you build something you write things that are for a single- -purpose but to do that purpose well. Putting Linux on the net was kind of natural in many ways. There were a lot of small reasons. Like the fact that I thought it was- -a good idea to make Linux available to others so that they could try it out- -and send comments back to me. He really had two choices. He could make it completely free- -or he can try and charge for it. Linux would not exist if he had tried to make profit out of it. Nobody would have bought it. It would have been a dead end. You haven't been here for a while. We've already installed the third version... We had difficulties to fit Linux-stuff into one computer. At first Linus didn't want to release Linux for free. He was thinking hard about what kind of copyright he would use. I persuaded him to release it under the GNU copyright. Especially, as the compiler I used was released under the GPL- -I eventually ended up using the GPL myself. The "GNU General Public License" (GPL) funded by the Free Software Foundation- -in the mid 1980's says that if you change and modify the code- -you have to make your changes and improvements freely available. The GPL hinders any one person to have a monopoly- -over an important piece of technology. I think the timing was good. Even just a year earlier I don't think it- -could've been done, and a year later someone would've done something similar. The Internet hadn't gotten to the general population- -but it was getting very strong in university networks. I'd done a mailing list program in the "C" programming language- I had to expand it and add features. Rapidly thousands of people were interested. It was a surprise. The numbers doubled in short intervals. It was crazy. After 1000 people 2000, the next day 4000 people. Without Internet Linux development would've been like chess by mail. My name of choice was "FREAX". Which was both "free", "freak" plus the "X" that you need for UNIX. I didn't like the name FREAX. It wasn't very commercial... Ari Lemmke, who actually put Linux up for FTP, thought that it really was a bad idea. He really hated the name. He made the FTP site available and just- -called it Linux because that was the working name. The name stuck, and Linux is a much better name... "GEEKS" "NERDS" We have an impressive set of geeks and nerds here. The first question from the easy category: "How do you pronounce Linux?" Well, I pronounce Linux as "Linux". However, the total answer to that is if you're Linus Torvalds- -you probably pronounce it "Leenux". On the other hand,- -if you come from the west coast of the United States- -you pronounce it as "Lynix". And Linus said he doesn't care how you pronounce it- -as long as you just use it! It was in July of 1991- -which was shortly after Linus had released the 0.09 version of the kernel- -that I started playing with Linux. Heard about it on, I think, Usenet. Downloaded it from Finland, started playing with it- -and thought it was really neat! At that point there was very limited trans-Atlantic Internet bandwidth- -so it was very painful to down- load all these packages from Finland. And so I decided: "Well, we need to do something about this"- -and I used my personal workstation, "TSX-11.mit.edu"- -and I set up a mirror archive of all the kernel sources on my private workstation. And that was the first US Linux FTP site that came into existence. The first time I got Linux was I downloaded the floppy images for Linux- -and in the Penn State University computer lab I installed it on one of their machines. They subsequently kicked me out of the computer lab that day- -but that was my first experience with Linux. Very early in 1992 suddenly I didn't know everybody anymore. That it was no longer me and a couple of friends. It was me and a couple of hundred people who I had no idea- -where they were, what they did with the system, and who they are. And that was a big step. University of Helsinki The 1.0 release in 1994 was certainly important and it meant a lot to me- -just because there was a lot of work behind it. It was certainly a landmark to commercial use of Linux. It was really hard to use Linux commercially before 1.0. Welcome to Linux operating system 1.0 press conference. Why is this kind of UNIX-like system done at all - -especially at the University of Helsinki? Because there exists, also for PC, UNIX operating systems - -but they are very expensive. For example, DOS costs about 200 marks. UNIX costs 20 000 marks. It's pretty much for a student to pay. Try going to a computer shop and ask for SCU-Unix. They will look at you as if you were mad. In fact, it is easier to write it yourself! The development process of Linux is odd. It's not a hierarchy, but everyone is free to suggest changes to the code. There's one person who leads, makes the big decisions, and chooses the best ideas: Linus - "the benevolent dictator". Everyone knew that someone had to be the head of this work group- -and Linus was the natural head, given that he did the original core Linux- -kernel and Linus was someone who was a very, very good leader. He's someone who's actually quite humble. He doesn't try to take credit for something he doesn't do. You want to have hundreds, thousands of people working on the kernel- -at the same time. But you don't want to have all these people- -stepping on each other's toes all the time- -because that way most of the time will be spent on resolving- -conflicts between people and you just have flame wars all the time. I used to think that there was this hierarchy where I was at the top- -and they were my lieutenants- -and I don't think it's that way anymore. It's more like a web of trust- -where I have people I trust, and they have people they trust. Well, there are lots of things that motivate developers! There's artistic pride, the satisfaction that you get from doing good craftsman-like- -work. There's the idealist feeling of being part of- -something larger and more important than you are. There's a desire to help the world and see that solutions happen. In the absence of monetary rewards most people, most of the time,- -are playing for a kind of reputation reward among their peers. One strength of the Linux development world- -is that practically every software author can be contacted directly by email. Ted Ts'o was crucial in the spread of Linux in the United States.