Linus Torvalds

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Linus Benedict Torvalds (Swedish pronunciation: [ˈliːnɵs ˈtuːrvalds]  ( listen); born December 28, 1969 in Helsinki, Finland) is a Finnish [2][4] software engineer and hacker, best known for having initiated the development of the Linux kernel and the git revision control system. He later became the chief architect of the Linux kernel, and now acts as the project's coordinator.



Early years

Torvalds was born in Helsinki, Finland. He is the son of journalists Anna and Nils Torvalds,[5] and the grandson of poet Ole Torvalds. Both of his parents were campus radicals at the University of Helsinki in the 1960s. His family belongs to the Swedish-speaking minority (5.5%) of Finland's population. Torvalds was named after Linus Pauling, the American Nobel Prize-winning chemist, although in the book Rebel Code: Linux and the Open Source Revolution, Torvalds is quoted as saying, "I think I was named equally for Linus the Peanuts cartoon character", noting that this makes him half "Nobel-prize-winning chemist" and half "blanket-carrying cartoon character".[6]

Torvalds attended the University of Helsinki from 1988 to 1996, graduating with a master's degree in computer science from NODES research group.[7] His academic career was interrupted after his first year of study when he joined the Finnish Army, selecting the 11-month officer training program to fulfill the mandatory military service of Finland. In the army he holds the rank of second lieutenant, with the role of a ballistic calculation officer.[8] In 1990, he resumed his university studies, and was exposed to UNIX for the first time, in the form of a DEC MicroVAX running ULTRIX.[9] His M.Sc. thesis was titled Linux: A Portable Operating System.

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