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  • Linus Torvalds Isn't the "Father of Linux"

    "Ok, I admit it. I was just a front-man for the real fathers of Linux, the Tooth Fairy and Santa Claus."

    Thus begins a characteristically Torvaldsian e-mail to LinuxWorld News Desk sent by Linus Torvalds in response to our invitation to comment on the sensationalist claims this morning that he isn't, after all, the inventor of Linux.

    "They (for obvious reasons) couldn't step forward to admit that they had gotten bitten by the computer bug, and had been developing a series of operating systems on their own during the off season. But when they started with Linux (which they originally called Freax - they do feel like outsiders, you know, and that's a whole sad story in itself), they felt that they could no longer just let it languish in obscurity. They started to look for a front-man, and since Santa Claus is from Finland and thus has connections to Helsinki University, and the tooth fairy claimed 'He's got good strong teeth,' I got selected."

    "Since then," Torvalds continues, "I've lived a life of subterfuge, always afraid that somebody would find out the truth. I'm actually relieved that it's over, and that the Alexis de Tocqueville Institute has finally uncovered the lie. I can now go back to my chosen profession, the exploration of the fascinating mating dance of the common newt."

    In a PS he adds:

    "Btw, did you know that newts have more offspring if you play the harmonica to them during their mating rituals? It's true."

    And in a PPS:

    Btw, I do believe that somebody took over

    I don't think the Alexis de Tocqueville institute ever had humor (they certainly used to take themselves very seriously), but their site today is filled with jokes.

    Maybe they forgot to pay their DNS registration fee, and some enterprising person decided to play a joke on them? Or maybe their clocks are running a month-and-a-half late?

    Or is it really unintentional?


  • More Stories By Jeremy Geelan

    Jeremy Geelan is Chairman & CEO of the 21st Century Internet Group, Inc. and an Executive Academy Member of the International Academy of Digital Arts & Sciences. Formerly he was President & COO at Cloud Expo, Inc. and Conference Chair of the worldwide Cloud Expo series. He appears regularly at conferences and trade shows, speaking to technology audiences across six continents. You can follow him on twitter: @jg21.

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    Most Recent Comments
    Zoue 12/19/04 09:29:14 AM EST

    Best Wishes.

    Will Fortin 09/23/04 03:37:17 PM EDT

    ..The Tooth Fairy and Santa Claus huh?
    Well.. that would explain RedHat^

    Stormkrow 07/19/04 03:52:12 PM EDT

    David Mitchell

    Investigate, learn, seek the truth.

    FACT: AdTI wrote the book for Microsoft.
    FACT: The story originated when Linus said he "wrote the software while running Minix" Much the same as you use word or excel.
    FACT: The author of Minix has completly rebutted any claims by AdTI
    FACT: Where is this "study"? Who funded the "study"? What sort of scientific process was applied to make it a "study"? Control groups, mathematical dissemenation, c'mon something substaniative. You know like SCO's MIT mathematical analysis of Linux. (Which has somehow completely disappeared and MIT has no knowledge of any analysis studies...ever)

    Go use your XP box, surf AOL, and pay for your personal rights. You should have been bleeting like a sheep or mooing like a cow. Would have made more sense.

    Gray Hair 07/13/04 09:03:39 PM EDT

    What did Linus invent? *nix was invented years before by a couple of AT&T employees.

    Justin 06/28/04 07:25:54 PM EDT

    Ken Brown is probably a spy from Microsoft and SCO. Read the link above. A creep.

    Justin 06/27/04 12:14:48 AM EDT

    Thank you! You are certainly a man with wisdom and humor, Milord Linus. Your legacy will without doubt stretch throughout the lands, continents and oceans. Your enemy will eventually crushed by their own idiotic ideology. Long Live Linus!

    ps: Have fun with your chosen profession.

    Heke++ 06/07/04 07:48:26 AM EDT

    Yeah, Billy boy ain't a clean boy, for sure. If you really start digging, never know what comes up. Maybe there's a obscure young student who owns some of the M$ codebase, but left unnoticed. One day s/he may sue the big bad...

    But when it gets down to it, I think it really does not matter who invented Linux. It is reliable and fun to use. I have no way back... :) But as we know that Linus is the guy, it is a pleasure to address the credit to him (+ all the contributors)!

    Linux is bringing the World closer to perfection.
    (however, Gedit needs syntax highlighting first... :)

    P.S. I object the claim that one need to live in CA to have a sense of humour. Need more proof :)

    Timo Toivonen 06/04/04 07:13:30 AM EDT

    I didn't read all the comments, though Billy Gates inventing Linux sounded familiar. Wasn't that the guy who stole Apples GUI for the early Windows versions back in the 80´s ? I saw a movie few years ago about those events. Hmmm..

    Ray 06/01/04 10:31:57 AM EDT

    And David Cutler never wrote NT for M$...

    Empty 05/28/04 02:13:07 PM EDT

    I cannot help but notice that the ADTI site has a section for Linus Brown and Tanenbaums comments...

    ...all of which link to "Page under construction".

    I imagine they are looking for creative ways to snip out all the bad things that these people have said about their farce, leaving only support, and keep ending up with an empty set.

    Linus, if you read this- personally I would sue for libel and ask for nothing in settlement but the copyright of the book, which you can then bury far down a hole with the bodies of the aforementioned holiday critters(whome we really know you killed and replaced with evil robots in order to steal their source).


    NPD 05/21/04 01:06:20 PM EDT

    I can't believe that you, santa claus and TF are taking credit for this. We all know that linux was stolen from SCO by the tooth fairy and santa clause. You guys should all be ashamed of yourselves especially you for going along with it.

    SCO should too since they stole it from the good witch of the north, the three little pigs, along with snow white and the seven dwarves.

    You all disgust me. The good witch, snow white, the seven dwarves, and the three little pigs have vowed to fight this injustice in an IP lawsuit against you, santa claus and the tooth fairy. We all know it would take at least 20 magical creatures to build such an operating system.

    for shame...


    MCSA 05/21/04 08:08:37 AM EDT

    I have been obliged to do a MCSA course by my employers. One thing I have noticed is that when M$ lift the skirts on the functionality of Windows 2003 Server, especially at a command prompt, suddenly there are all sorts of UNIX functions poorly disguised. Perhaps that's why M$ don't want people reading THEIR code too closely.

    jps 05/21/04 05:54:44 AM EDT

    Breaking News: Santa Claus Isn't the "Father of Linux".

    Santa Claus Discloses *Real* Fathers of Linux:
    "Ok, I admit it. I was just a middle-man (the front-man was Linus) for the real father of Linux, the Tux Penguin".

    Technophile 05/21/04 01:54:57 AM EDT

    Santa is from Los Angeles, California. I saw him last week at a pub crawl. Later on we had a few hands of poker and the bastard still owes me $50!

    At least I think it was Santa....or one of M$'s other tactics.

    Juhaz 05/20/04 05:50:48 PM EDT

    Of course Väinämöinen didn't write Linux!
    The master smith Ilmarinen who forged the legendary Sampo did. Or perhaps Linux is in fact Sampo, thing of infinite wealth, long thought lost.

    zebra 05/20/04 04:41:49 PM EDT

    sorry guys,

    Santa Claus is a wealthy man an can afford many homes,
    according to :

    "During the rest of the year he lives at the North Pole, in Finnish Lapland, or Dalecarlia in Sweden (traditions vary) together with his wife, Mrs. Claus,..."

    kind regards

    daniel 05/20/04 04:13:55 PM EDT

    thank you santa!
    gee, this feels so good... :-)

    Stint 05/20/04 03:23:41 PM EDT

    Now he's done it. SCO's subpoena is on the way to the North Pole as we speak.

    jtheory 05/20/04 03:05:51 PM EDT

    I wonder if anyone caught Linus' reference to P. G. Wodehouse's Jeeves and Wooster... Notice the "I can now go back to my chosen profession, the exploration of the fascinating mating dance of the common newt."

    One of the characters in the books was fascinated by newts, and demonstrated the mating dance to his friends. Funny stuff.

    AdTI 05/20/04 01:41:28 PM EDT

    *FLASH NEWS* Linus Torvalds linked to Saddam regime. Acording to the AdTI, Linux would have been used in Iraqi WMD. In an addendum to the polemic report, a US general is quoted:

    "The main reason we have not found documentation proving the presence of WMD is that apparently Saddam was reluctant to document his programs. This follows closely the tradition of undocumented open source programs. Coincidence? We do not beleive so. Not documenting programas is very unamerican"

    In another interview seen at the report, Darl has shown concern for possible IP violations by the antique Iraqi regime concerning alledged SCO IP property of various WMD including , but not limited to, Mustard Gas, Sarin and Anthrax:

    "We are really concerned about IP violations committed by the Iraqi regime concerning our products. We beleive Saddam couldn't have really got in to the top three Evil Axis without our really killer products."

    SCO has sent letters to the familiars of the Kurds that used this WMD. The letters threatens legal actions unless familiars pay a $699 fee for each license wich would authorize to one dead familiar. SCO also offers a discount of $99 to those kurds that survived to the WMD and thus didn't use SCO products to their entire satisfaction.

    David Mitchell 05/20/04 11:03:04 AM EDT

    What's interesting is that neither the spoofish reply by Torvalds nor the many clap-on-the-back comments by Linux fans actually engage the substantive claims. If the de Tocquevile study is balderdash--or, more likely, irrelevant; Shakespeare, after, all grabbed his core plots from other sources, but then transfigured them--why not make the case? It doesn't work to acknowledge the existence of the study and then simply to dismiss it as unworthy of substantive engagement. That's trying to have one's cake and eat it too. Outsiders will conclude that the reason the study isn't being answered is that it can't be. (A press release, by the way, is not the same thing as the report a press release is about.)

    A Dane 05/20/04 10:29:28 AM EDT

    Wrong! Don't believe the false claims! Santa Claus lives in Greenland that by the way is ruled by Her Majesty Queen Margrethe of Denmark.

    Proof? It's on the Internet.

    Roland Smith 05/20/04 06:02:02 AM EDT

    Andrew Tanenbaum thoroughly debunks the ADTI study.

    Proof again that being a MS sock puppet can hurt if you care about your reputation. :-)

    sam moses 05/19/04 12:37:57 PM EDT

    Hey, if these guys care so much about copyright infingement, why are they using a copyrighted picture of the penguin from the old batman series on their main page without the permission of DC comics? Must not be that important.

    Daniel R. Bonnici 05/19/04 12:34:38 PM EDT

    I like Linus T. He is a rare breed of creative entreprenuer, along with his friends/associates whose expertise and drive, and dedication, have given the computing world a valid choice of operating systems. These people exhibit what makes humans different from animals.
    Thanks friends: DB

    OI 05/19/04 11:24:28 AM EDT

    So Linux is intellectual property of Santa Claus OI (OI is inc. in Finish), or shorter, SCO.
    Known as the Santa Claus Organization in the US, The Men in Red (hats),

    ThenAvain 05/19/04 09:35:53 AM EDT

    I covered this a long time ago:

    The Tooth Fairy 05/19/04 09:31:14 AM EDT

    Oh no!!! They all know now!! Sh1ts really gonna hit the fan and by the way Santa, we agreed 'its for free!' or there's gonna be hell to play!!

    arl 05/19/04 09:27:53 AM EDT

    Yes, yes, now I remember .. It was Gandalf which insisted me to release Freax, and name it to Linux.

    The name "Linux" had some REAL meaning, but I do not remember what it was, maybe it had something to do with those lost eunuch programmers Santa Claus was trying to find.. or were they serving lemon scented napkins somewhere instead of doing the kernel coding..

    copsewood 05/19/04 06:58:14 AM EDT

    Typical criticism of a post-modern project from a modernist perspective (see Larry Wall's article great explanation of this cultural conflict).

    baustiech 05/19/04 04:53:00 AM EDT

    Jesus, they're French, after all. Or at least they have a French name. Both are HUGE strikes against them. How could you expect more?

    Bill Door 05/19/04 03:06:12 AM EDT

    Linus MUST be a Terry Pratchett fan :-)

    joulupukki aka santa claus 05/19/04 02:25:51 AM EDT

    Yes, i am from finland. i know elves and raindeers but who is toofairy?

    wawadave 05/19/04 01:38:37 AM EDT

    Aye santa never wrote linux. he designated it out to the elves and raindeer. toofairy only did debuging! that all and i,m sticking to it!

    wawadave 05/19/04 01:29:36 AM EDT

    Aye santa never wrote linux. he designated it out to the elves and raindeer. toofairy only did debuging! that all and i,m sticking to it!

    annon 05/18/04 10:09:07 PM EDT

    This is a bunch of lies. How can you say that Linux didn;t invent Linux. Where is the proof that the things being quotes here are actually from Linus. Who the hell do you think maintains the Linux Kernel. This whole thing is a joke and I hope it gets resolved. Power to Linus.

    Al Franken 05/18/04 03:11:01 PM EDT

    When this is over and the courts determine that Santa Clause owns all the IP rights to Linux, Linus could tour as a stand up comic. Unfortunately, you'd have to have an IQ of atleast 135 to understand his jokes.

    Damn.... Well, maybe I could just sit there and drink.

    dol 05/18/04 02:17:53 PM EDT

    hail spongebob... now i remember who bill gates reminded me of.

    The Truth 05/18/04 02:16:22 PM EDT

    No one should question the fact that Santa Claus lives in Korvatunturi, Finland! Come and meet him if you don't believe me. But leave your woolly hats at home if you're about to visit him at summer. And no, you don't have to be afraid that you would be eaten by a polar bear since we've got none. ...Nor penguins...but lot's of reindeers of course!

    Zeead Elaheebocus 05/18/04 12:50:39 PM EDT

    Santa is indeed the real father....I got a tip off from one of the elves working for him. I'm surprised

    Rodrigo Peres Gomes 05/18/04 12:30:43 PM EDT

    thats funny
    I can see the next news.
    Gates didnt start with Microsoft. SpongeBob Squarepants starts all...

    Michael 05/18/04 12:06:00 PM EDT

    Finally the true reason why they called one of the major distributions 'Red Hat'

    Jasper 05/18/04 10:13:25 AM EDT

    Linus, he is truly a GENIUS.

    Christopher 05/18/04 10:08:17 AM EDT

    It`s so disgusting to read paid people`s bullshit!

    HAL.9000 05/18/04 09:47:23 AM EDT

    bill is an idiot
    this touquville crap is microsoft in disgiuse
    and for the attacks on *NIX and linux systems in universitys
    its Micro$hit

    Morvan 05/18/04 09:30:09 AM EDT

    It´s the beginning of the END, for M$. They´re desparate! they commence to show signals of the debacle. Long Life for Linus...

    Morvan 05/18/04 09:29:55 AM EDT

    It´s the beginning of the END, for M$. They´re desparate! they commence to show signals of the debacle. Long Life for Linus...

    WhoBacksAdTItoWriteThisStuff 05/18/04 08:52:03 AM EDT

    If all this hokey stuff really is Microsoft working through paid shills, it is
    certainly would be a revealing admission they consider themselves pretty
    incapable of competing on merit. It shows a marked preference for subterfuge
    which appears to have earned a similar assessment of competency.

    anonymOus 05/18/04 08:50:02 AM EDT

    Hmm, I know this idea is not very popular but...

    No, Linus did not 'father' Linux when it comes to ideas initially, he does when
    it coems to code and to implementing those ideas.

    Going from there to claiming he stole them is way too far tho, at that time
    those ideas were well known and tought in schools and universities and had been
    for a while really. They were also widely documented in many books, including
    books from the peopel that this institute claims to have interviewed.

    I think it is important however to se that distinction. This argument is going
    to be repeated, and possibly by someone who does a better job at it

    I for one would be interested to hear what Linus himself has to say about it. I
    never caught him on being untrustworthy or lying, I do think I caught him a few
    times on not caring too much about such claims, and somehow my feeling says that
    he'd answer along the lines of 'I fathered the initial code, and we did the
    rest' and lay no claims to the ideas.

    Laxator 2 05/18/04 08:35:19 AM EDT

    I visited the web page and guess what ?
    I could read sotries like "Fed... up", "Ideas matter dept.", etc, but when I wanted to access the story " The origins of Linux® ", well, a window popped up requesting that I introduce a user name and a password! Good that I do not have so sign the SCO NDA just to read the story.

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