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May 24, 2004

Who wrote Linux?

I was going to ignore this topic until it went away but I am starting to get emails about it ....

You can find the details of the story at The Register, but in summary, a known Microslosh front called the 'Alexis de Tocqueville Institution' has published a report casting aspersions on the foundation of Linux. The main thrust of the argument is that "Unix" was too complicated to be created by one person. This ignores three important points:

1. Unix was invented by one person (at least the kernel was) - Ken Thompson. It took two to convert it to a higher level language (which made it portable).

2. Other people had written Unix-like systems. Especially relevant was Minix by Andy Tanenbaum.

3. Linux is a combination of one person's kernel (written in Minix/Unix tradition) by Linus Torvalds and the rest of an operating system provided by Herd (the Gnu operating system).

To compile the report, the author went to speak to Andy Tanenbaum but Andy did not co-operate in the "right way" so he wandered off to interview students. Check out Andy Tanenbaum's story and keep in mind that as the author of his own operating system (Minix) he certainly knows what he is talking about and his opinion is far more relevant that the opinion of the Alexis de Tocqueville Institution.

Posted by Ozguru at May 24, 2004 06:00 AM