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Maclean's: Bill Gates besieged

Mar 25, 1999, 12:58 (3 Talkback[s])

Thanks to Hans Johnson for this link.

Earlier we reported on a Maclean's story, not yet available. Today it is available for reading on their website.

"They came by the thousands last week, a ragtag army of pasty-faced computer geeks in sandals and T-shirts, streaming into the San Jose Convention Center in California's Silicon Valley to honour the 29-year-old hacker from Helsinki who might just be the one to dethrone Bill Gates. Linus Torvalds, the Finnish anti-Gates who gave birth to the Linux operating system, was waiting with his wife, Tove, and a double stroller carrying their two infant girls, the very picture of domesticity with a diaper bag slung over his shoulder the way other programmers haul around laptops. But when he ambled on to the stage to deliver his keynote address, the geeks hailed him as their leader, erupting into cheers and prolonged applause. "Calm down," an obviously embarrassed Torvalds said, and the crowd obediently fell silent. Afterward, they mobbed him for his autograph, grown men behaving like adolescent groupies at a rock concert."

"Who is Linus Torvalds, and why has he become a high-tech hero? He may not be well-known outside the computer industry, but in places like Silicon Valley Torvalds' name inspires awe and respect in equal measure, and for one very good reason. Linux, the operating system he invented as a 21-year-old university student in Finland, has in recent months emerged as a potential threat to Windows, the product that has made Microsoft Corp. of Redmond, Wash., the world's most highly valued company by market capitalization. And nothing, but nothing, would delight the hackers of Silicon Valley more than to see mighty Microsoft brought down to size. To them, Gates is the Darth Vader of the desktop, a dangerous megalomaniac who must be stopped before he and his $594-billion company achieve total world domination."

Complete Story