Happy Birthday Linux

Linux turns 25 today. That's four years older than Linus was when he invented it. That means Linus has spent more of his life with Linux than he did without it. I also suppose that's true as well for many (possibly most) Linux users, experts and deployers of all kinds.

Linus surely had no idea how large a thing he would start by putting up a shy posting on the comp.os.minix newsgroup that began,

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(486) AT clones.
and ended,
it's free of any minix code, and it has a multi-threaded fs.
It is NOT protable (uses 386 task switching etc), and it probably never
will support anything other than AT-harddisks, as that's all I have :-(.
By now he has a pretty good idea, but it hasn't gone to his head. Here's his latest posting to the LKML (as I write this, anyway):
From    Linus Torvalds <>
Date    Sun, 21 Aug 2016 16:50:34 -0700
Subject    Linux 4.8-rc3

After last weeks somewhat unusual patch statistics (only 1/6th
drivers), we're not back to the normal programming with rc3, and we
have the usual situation with roughly ~60% of the patch being driver
updates. It's spread out, but most of it tends to be networking, GPU,
USB and a new EDAC driver.  But all of it is fairly small.

Outside of the driver department, we've got core networking, some
filesystem updates (mainly xfs, although in the diffstat afs shows up
too, but that's really from the networking changes) and a smattering
of updates all over: documentation, scheduler, some miinor arch
updates etc.

And some perf tooling fixes.

It all looks pretty sane, I'm not seeing anything hugely scary here.
Go test it out,

Consider what happened between then and now: countless incremental and constructive hacks that gradually built, maintained and improved what is now the world's most essential operating system. Meanwhile, the inventor and alpha maintainer of this thing is as casual, serious, grounded, sober, modest and good-humored as ever. What kind of person would do that, and be like that, for twenty five years?

To make this easy, I'm going to keep the psychoanalysis short and shallow. That's what Myers-Briggs is for. Chop the human population into sixteen boxes: 4 x 4. On the x and y sides are pairs of archetypes: Introverted/Extroverted, Intuitive/Sensing, Thinking/Feeling and Judging/Perceiving. I know Linus well enough guess he's an INTJ (introverted, intuitive, thinking, judging). The 16 Personalities page calls this type "The Architect", adding, "It’s lonely at the top, and being one of the rarest and most strategically capable personality types, INTJs know this all too well. INTJs form just two percent of the population." Also, "people with the INTJ personality type are imaginative yet decisive, ambitious yet private, amazingly curious, but they do not squander their energy." Might be bullshit, but we're not running code on it, and it sounds about right.

So, hats off to Linus, and to everybody whose fingerprints are on Linux, and therefore the world.


Doc Searls is Senior Editor of Linux Journal