Linus Torvalds in his younger days.
Twenty-two years ago Linux was born as a “(free) operating system” that founder Linus Torvalds was quick to downplay as “just a hobby” that wouldn’t “be big and professional.” My, but how times have changed. So much so that Linux now dominates mobile (Android), servers and cloud. No wonder that Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer derided Linux in 2001 as a “cancer” that “attaches itself… to everything it touches.”
He was right. At least, as it relates to Linux’s effect on Microsoft.
Earlier this week Torvalds celebrated the 22nd birthday of Linux by cheekily calling Linux “just a hobby, even if it’s big and professional” now in a way he never envisaged back in 1991. To help gauge just how far we’ve come since then, I asked Eucalyptus CEO (and fellow Finn) Marten Mickos and Cloudera Chief Strategy Officer Mike Olson to help put open source in perspective. Both men have had an outsized impact on open source, particularly the business of open source, and neither were shy about estimating open source’s impact.
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