[SIGCIS-Members] Linux at 25 in IEEE Spectrum

Stephen Cass stephen.cass at gmail.com
Mon Apr 4 11:33:13 PDT 2016

This is the 25th year of the first public release of the kernel of the
Linux operating system. Readers of this list may be interested in two
articles we put together for the occasion at IEEE Spectrum.

The first is by Christopher Tozzi, titled "Linux at 25: Why It Flourished
While Others Fizzled" and can be found at:


The second is a Q&A with Torvalds himself, written by yours truly. It can
be found at:


One of the most notable things about the Q&A is that Torvalds runs counter
to a significant element typical in "Great (Wo)Man" narratives: He
explicitly rejects the virtue of possesing some great personal vision in
his explanation for the success of Linux:

"...The lack of understanding about the eventual scope of the project
helped, but so did getting into it without a lot of preconceived notions of
where it should go.

The fact that I didn’t really know where it would end up meant that I was
perhaps more open to outside suggestions and influence than I would have
been if I had a very good idea of what I wanted to accomplish. That
openness to outside influences I think made it much easier, and much more
interesting, for others to join the project. People didn’t have to sign on
to somebody else’s vision, but could join with their own vision of where
things should go. I think that helped motivate lots of people."

We would of course be interested in any feedback you might have on these


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