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Linus Torvalds winner of the 2012 Millennium Technology Prize (technologyacademy.fi)
188 points by tuukkah on Apr 19, 2012 | hide | past | web | favorite | 39 comments

The text is pretty bad for such a prestigious thing:

> Linus Torvalds said:

> “Software is too important in the modern world not to be developed through open sources.

"Sources"? I bet he didn't say that.

This bit is even worse if you're at all familiar with tech:

> What the selection committee said about this year’s Laureates

> Linus Torvalds > “In recognition of the unprejudiced creation of a new open source operating system leading to the largely exploited Linux kernel.

"Widely used", not "largely exploited"!

Agree, the sentence "Today millions use computers, smartphones and digital video recorders like Tivo run on Linux." also doesn't feel likt it's quite done.

Nevertheless, huge congratulations of course, it's always fun when Linus (and software engineering in general) gets some recognition. :)

He might have said the original in Swedish [sic].

sic? Not Finnish?

He was born in the Swedish-speaking community of Finland. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Swedish-speaking_Finns

1. I agree it sounds a little abnormal, but it makes sense to me. Why are you so quick to write "open sources" off as error (or fabrication)?

2. from google re: exploit - 1. Make full use of and derive benefit from (a resource): "500 companies sprang up to exploit this new technology".

1) Because it's not correct. It's "open source".

2) Sure, but it makes you cringe as a tech person, and sounds just like the kind of thing a non-native speaker would have written that's technically correct, but doesn't really sound quite right.

Both `open sources` and `exploited` have precise meanings in this context. A quick proofread by someone familiar with Linus would have removed these two mistakes.

I am guessing the conversation may have taken in finnish. Linux is(was?) Finnish after all. Some words just do not translate well.

When I write in Italian, I get a native speaker to double check it because I know I make errors. And generally I write for things that are not nearly so prestigious.

The word "exploit" is a synonym for "use". It's only recently that it acquired the negative connotation of "use without consent or compensation". If the quoted commitee member (it's not a quote from Torvalds) isn't a native English speaker, it's a reasonable mistake to make.

I think the selection committee downplayed the importance of Linux a bit: "Today the estimated number of users is 30 million...".

According to ComScore, there's around 52 million Android users in the US alone. And then there's all the users of Linux-based websites...which is just about everyone who owns a computer.

I think it's been modified to just "millions", unless I'm looking in the wrong place?

If you include routers, ip cameras, entertainment devices etc that use linux, maybe the correct number is billions.

It's still there, right at the foot of the page:

In recognition of the unprejudiced creation of a new open source operating system leading to the largely exploited Linux kernel. The free availability on the Web swiftly caused a chain-reaction leading to further development and fine-tuning worth the equivalent of 73,000 man-years. Today the estimated number of users is 30 million. The achievement of Linus Torvalds has had a great impact on software development and on cultural and ethical issues of networking and openness of the Web.

Lest we forget Git, which is a great DVCS and is changing the way Open Source software is developed.

And closed systems too.

And server configuration snapshots.

And definitely dotfiles. Keeps all my machines in sync as I like them.

and all my papers. :) I use git for managing word docs at school.

Ooh! Evangelism time!

Have you tried LaTeX yet? I just started using it seriously and I don't think I'll ever go back. It's amazing for writing. And since it's good old plain text, it's highly compatible with git. I love being able to import sub-documents into one large structure; it's like writing modular code, but with papers.

I will definitely check it out. Getting get to sync whith MS doc was certainly a pain.

In recognition of his creation of a new open source operating system for computers leading to the widely used Linux kernel.

Couldn't help but think of RMS and the GNU operating system when I read this sentence.

They got it backwards, it should read: In recognition of his creation of a new open source kernel leading to the widely used Linux-based operating systems for computers.

Yeah - even though rms would still complain about that sentence, the first version is just painfully wrong. Why bother to distinguish between the OS and the kernel if you're going to attribute the former to the wrong person? It's not like the kernel is named after him or anything!

I couldn't help think: "New? It's over 20 years old...". By this logic, we should still be giving Nirvana awards for "Nevermind".

That is exactly what I found interesting. Reading hn one might be tempted to think that only three latest new thing matters. Think Trello : they use only post 2012 technologies and everyone says wow.

But in reality it takes 20 years our more for a "real" technology to mature and get serious recognition. The OP should remind us about this fact when we get too hot about something too new.

Looks like Linus did more or better work. I 've never used/seen a gnu hurd system in my life.

Edit: Well, then you should not stop at Stallman. Hundreds of scientists, going back to Godel and beyond gave roots to modern open algorithms/software by giving away their academic research for free. I think Linux did not start just to be a free kernel, but because linus wanted to actually make a better system than minix (and learn to use 386, and finish his Master!).

Oh, I didn't mean GNU+Hurd in particular, rather the fact that any operating system is more than "just" the kernel. And that is not meant to discredit Linus' outstanding achievement.

But you've seen the GCC - the thing that compiles the Linux kernel, right? The default C - and some more languages - compiler on almost any Linux or BSD system.


How ironic it is that they cite Tivo as an example of embedded Linux. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tivoization

It'd be ironic if they were giving the award to a FSF person. Linus has no problem with Tivoization, though.

Let's not forget Dr. Yamanaka's contributions to iPS techniques. I keep seeing these trump hESC in all of the primary literature I read (granted, much due to the political stigma of hESC funding).

For example, I've been reading all the literature about the establishment of an antigen deficient RBC precursor line from iPS for replacing blood donations wholesale. We're a long way off since globin expression is wrong (fetal vs adult; thus O2 binding kinetics are wrong; T/R states...), and there are a wide variety of other issues. Unfortunately globin switch is epigenetic / in histone coding...

iPS are amazing and have an incredible future in medicine.

He definitely deserves it. Congrats Linus.

Isn't this 12 years late (or 11 years)? Or perhaps 988 (989) years early?

Linux has been growing ever since, and Linus is still in charge of the whole thing: http://kernelnewbies.org/LinuxChanges http://youtu.be/yVpbFMhOAwE

What about Stallman? Not to discredit Torvalds, but a kernel != an operating system

Indeed, but emacs isn't very close to world domination.

It's the GCC and the related tools, my friend, that made possible the GNU Linux OS and its kernel, and a multitude of other open source (free!) software. And also the GPL license, of course.

People shouldn't be so fixed just on Emacs as the only Stallman's contribution and defining legacy in the software world. IMHO, his editor is the least important thing he created.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/GNU_Compiler_Collection http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/GNU_General_Public_License

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