Linus was born on December 28, 1969 in Helsinki, Finland. He enrolled at the University of Helsinki in 1988, graduating with a master's degree in computer science. His M.Sc. thesis was titled “Linux: A Portable Operating System” and was the genesis for what would become the most important collaborative software project in history.
In August 1991, Linus announced that he was developing the Linux kernel, proclaiming, “it won’t be big and professional.” Never in the history of technology has someone been so wrong. In spite of his humble proclamation, Linux has become the world’s most pervasive operating system. Today the Linux kernel forms the basis of the Linux operating system and powers billions of Android devices, powers ChromeOS, and has permeated almost every industry and form factor. Smartphones, TVs, appliances, cars, nuclear submarines, air traffic control, stock exchanges, and scientific research all run Linux. Linux also provides the underpinnings of the internet and the cloud computing industry.
In 2005, citing a lack of free and open source version control tools that met his needs for performance and scale, Linus famously created Git in only 10 days. Today Git is widely used in software development and for other version-control tasks such as configuration management, and has become popular as an integral part of the DevOps culture.
In 2000, Linus was listed by Time Magazine as Number 17 in the Time 100: Most Important People of the Century. Again, in 2004, Time Magazine named him one of the Most Influential People in the world. He was honored in 2008 with the Millennium Technology Prize by the Technology Academy Finland, “in recognition of his creation of a new open source operating system for computers leading to the widely used Linux kernel.” He is also the recipient of the 2014 IEEE Computer Society Computer Pioneer Award. A true tech titan, he was admitted to the Computer History Museum Hall of Fellows, joining the ranks of the tech elite including Rear Admiral Grace Murray Hopper, Tim Berners-Lee, Gordon Moore, Ken Thompson, Dennis Ritchie, Steve Wozniak, and others.
Torvalds remains the ultimate authority on what new code is incorporated into the standard Linux kernel.