Network Computing: The 10 Most Important People of the Decade (#3: Linus Torvalds)Oct 02, 2000, 16:37 (4 Talkback[s])
(Other stories by Gregory Yerxa)
"There's no doubt that Torvalds has been a major force in computing and networking. His operating system started out as the catalysts of most revolutions do--quietly. But as interest in Linux grew, so did its commercial potential. Determined to share and improve on his project to the greatest extent possible, Torvalds committed commercial suicide and conjured up a copyright that would prohibit anyone--including himself--from using his creation for capital gain. So extensive and complete was the original copyright that within months he changed it to a less restrictive GNU General Public License (GPL), a move he says was the best thing he ever did. Who are we to disagree?"
"Torvalds' decision to freely distribute his work stands in stark contrast to the practices of the day. While IPO fever hadn't yet risen to the pitch of recent years, programmers commonly cashed in on their personal creations. In the early 1990s--at the same time Microsoft was seeing incredible commercial successes--the Linux movement steadily navigated the pitfalls of GPL development and made refinement after refinement...."
"In the past three or four years, we've started to see the impact of Torvalds' philosophies on day-to-day business. His concern for the bottom-line functionality of any project he becomes involved with is commonplace within the GPL community, where programmers would rather redo something poorly implemented--potentially causing other functionality to be lost--than continue with something less than optimum."