Linux creator nets <i>Economist</i> honour

Linus Torvalds, creator of the Linux kernel, has been presented with an Economist award for successful technology breakthroughs

The creator of Linux, Linus Torvalds, was honoured with a Computing Innovation award by The Economist magazine on Tuesday.

The award recognises individuals that have driven financially successful breakthroughs in various areas of technology including bioscience, computing, communications, energy and the environment. Entries were nominated by Economist readers and journalists, and the winners were chosen by a panel of 17 judges.

Torvalds was unable to make it to the award ceremony in San Francisco, but Stuart Cohen, chief executive of the Open Source Development Lab (OSDL), picked up the award on his behalf. In June 2003 Linus was made a fellow at OSDL, where he leads the development of Linux.

Cohen said that the Economist award recognises that Linux, led by Torvalds, has revolutionised the IT community.

"Because of the leadership of Linus Torvalds and the contributions of the entire Linux development community, Linux has already had an extraordinary impact on our lives -- and the impact of Linux will only continue to grow," said Cohen.

Torvalds has already won numerous awards including the Takeda Award in 2001, the World Technology Award for Commerce in 2001 and the Nokia Foundation Award in 1997. Time magazine named him one of the 100 most influential people in the world in 2004.

Torvalds created the Linux kernel in 1991 as a 21-year-old computer science student at the University of Helsinki, Finland. He made the Linux source code available so that developers could modify it to suit their own needs.

The first major version of the Linux kernel, version 1.0, was released in 1994, with version 2.0 following two years later. The same year saw the birth of Linus' first daughter, whom he describes as "Linus v2.0" on his personal Web page.

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