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Time's Man of the Century: Linus Torvalds? 326

Mr H writes "According to Time's Person of the Century Poll Linus Torvalds is #15 out of 100." When I looked, Linus -- at #15 -- was ranked right below Madonna (#14), and right above Pope Paul VI (#16). Yitzhak Rabin was #1, Elvis Presley was #2, and Adolph Hitler was #3. Bill Gates, FYI, was ranked #17, Billy Graham was #4, and Albert Einstein was #5.
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Time's Man of the Century: Linus Torvalds?

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  • I really believe that Open Source software will empower more people to use the internet for communication and level the technological playing field for many people.

    However, having said that, the acomplishments of Linus, Linux, RMS, GNU or any other Open Source phenomenon or personality pales in comparison to the incredible scientific acheivments by Einstein, or the amazing non-violent resistance movement headed by Gandhi. These are truly great people when measured by the yardstick of the average person. Especially Gandhi. This man, through total peacefull resistance, gained sovereignty for India from the British Empire. If you've never seen the movie, go see it. It's a great story, and shows the philosophy that Martin Luther King, Jr. adopted in the civil rights movement in the US. (how then King is listed above Gandhi is unknown to me.. :) )

    I'm a big Linux fan, but putting your life on the line for others, and creating software just aren't in the same boat, IMHO.
  • Which helps the world more: Keeping starving poor people in 3rd world countries alive so they can breed and produce more starving poor people. Producing somthing that actively challenges the theory that in a capitolist society everthing MUST be done for the maximum possible profit, somthing that directly helps everyone have access to the "Information Revolution" - probably the most important thing since the enlightenment in the 1700s and 1800s. (That's the Information Revolution that I refer to) Yea, I pick "#2: Promoting the spread of knowledge" over "#1: Keeping alive starving poor people to breed"
  • Let's have a poll! How many of us here in the Internet user community use computers? :)
  • The great thing about Linus is he IS an average joe. He's just another cool friendly approachable guy. He did something really cool, which admittedly others among us could have done. But Linus chose to remain an "average joe," who is still the driving force in Linux without signifigant personal gain. In the century which has seen computing become one of its driving forces, I think that is truly visionary.
  • Well, it's not the same person for all of us, but maybe the generality of it could be placed here... My dad impacted my life far more than any of these...
  • by Andy ( 2990 )
    Vote early, vote often, geeks.
  • No, he was first to get a high profile project widely accepted. And, he made use of one of the most powerful abilities we humans have, the ability to build on the work of others.

  • Linus did not do anything significant this century. Look at Kernighan. Torvalds would be a nobody without him today. The creation of Unix was a far more signifcan event in the history of the computing industry than the creation of Linux was.

    Further, it is shown by the poll results how clueless the voters are. Rabin and Elvis before Hitler? Hitler affected far more this century than anyone (possibly excluding Lenin).
  • Ok, some may think this is a troll, but the truth is, at this point in the century, Bill Gates has had far more influence on the computer industry than Torvalds.

    (TIME's Person of the Century is that person who, for better or worse, most influenced the course of history over the past 100 years.)

    Now personally I think that this is something that ought to change, but I don't think that's gonna happen in five months.

    Now let's all hope that Gates gets wedged between Hitler, Stalin and Mao. Perhaps then people will get a clue...

  • More like "The 100 Worst Ideas of the Latter Half of the 1900s, with a Concentration on American Culture." What a waste of electrons.

  • I was thinking more along geographical lines than political lines. Politically speaking, lots changed, which was the point of my argument.


  • I dont think I would lump Linus anywhere near some our century's greatest leaders the few above included. Priorties people.

    Martin Luther King Jr. - effected a social revolution in this country peacefully

    Yithzak Rabin - was the equivalent of George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, and Abraham Lincoln to the people of Israel in creation of the Jewish state

    Gahndi - effected a social revolution that ultimately ended English colonialism and effectively ended all colonialism around the world

    Linus Tovalds - made a snappy OS, and started a movement to make source code free

    In the big picture the people above and COUNTLESS others brought more to our century then Linus did. Sorry but I think I will cast my vote for someone else.
  • Saddly it worked for Carnegie. When you hear "Carnegie" what do you think of? Answer: Carnegie Hall. If you were forced to come up with a second answer it would undoubtly be, the Carnegie Foundation, if for no other reason than PBS. You don't think about the blood of the working class. He successfully bought himself a new image in history. Even when you read the history books (i'm talking school books, not REAL books) his entry is basically, "He got rich with oil. Became a monopolist. Hung out with Rockerfeller. Oh yeah and he built a bunch of libraries, and concert halls, and all sorts of nice things for the community. He really gave back to society in the end, we salute him."

  • hehe, no someone is definately not playing fair.

    but as far as scientists go, wheres Tesla?? does anyone know ANYTHING about tesla?!
    him S-M-R-T!!!
  • He gets too much damn credit. All he is -- is an average joe coder, who happened to write a kernel.

    Ok. Where's your kernel, if any joe coder could write one?


  • ...the descussion board there espesically the one about Optimus Prime for man of the century.
  • Although quite cool, I have to admit, I would have to be pissed of if Linus Torvalds got this award. Yes, Linux is cool, yes Linus is cool, yes the Open Source (or Free Software, take your pick) movement is amazing... but let's not get lost in our own sociological importance! Has the movement done great things? Yes. Is it such that from a socio-political point of view, one of the more visible figureheads needs to be dubbed person of the year? Absolutely not.
  • That's why I think Time should do a report after "Person of the Century" called "People to watch in the next century" Linus could be there.
  • how refreshing.. a thread to a story that actually doesnt start with some idiot screaming "FIRST POST!#$@$!@#$"

  • Yah, there were.

    But linus is on the list for the same reason
    that adof hiltler is there instead of whoever
    the original head of the nazi party was.

    Hitler made things happen. He took a backward
    semi-broken politcal party, used it to take over
    a broken and indebted nation, and turned that
    into an earth shattering machine.

    Technically Franko and Mousalini did it first.
    but who do we remember?

    Raymond and Stallman may have been around first
    but they're projects did bring anywhere near
    the kind of strength and activisim to the
    community that linus' has had.

    And linux, because of it's philosophy, not its
    technoligy, or its age, belongs there.

    But an OS can't be person of the year.

    why not Linus?
  • Damn, they misbehave like a bunch of slashdotters :)
  • by torpor ( 458 )
    I look at that list, and I see all of these terribly famous/infamous people, and there's Linus' name right there in the midst of 'em, and somehow it just feels so strange to have seen this occur over the years.

    There is something almost incongruous about it, yet its so right at the same time... hard to place it.

    Linux has come a long way since I got my first Yggdrasil CD-bootable distribution back in 93/94 and turned a useless 486 into my first own super Unix workstation! Well done Linus, and well done the rest of the global Linux team, for producing a truly excellent product.

    Linux is one of those projects that truly demonstrates that human beings working together, given peace and prosperity, are capable of overcoming insurmountable odds to achieve new heights.

    I'm really happy to have witnessed it, and played my small part in the process.
  • Many of the other comments bring up good points about other people (ie the inventors of the transistor) that had much more of an impact. Sure, I love seeing Linus on this list, and esp. higher than Bill. But logically? I read this list and wonder exactly how much of the vistors who voted really have a grasp of History?

    As I look at the list, most are from *MY* lifetime (I'm 27). How many of those do you think our kids will be reading about in history books in a few decades? Madonna? Elvis? Billy Graham? I'd really be surprised. Many of these seem like modern culture icons, but not a "Person of the Century".

    Being an artist, I'm surprised not to see artists and musicians (and no, I don't count Madonna & Elvis :) ). Almost all the answers have to do with politics & government. Picasso, Dali, Calder, I.M. Pei, and the like should be remembered. I'd be curious to see much more than the top 20 list. Personally? I voted for Georgia O'Keeffe []. But I'd like to see more people remember those creative souls who contributed to the arts in the past century.
  • I like Linus and all (who doesn't) but as being worthy of Time's Man of the Century? I don't think so. There were lots of other influential people that should be placed above that. JFK (Cuban Missle Crisis), FDR (The New Deal), Mao (Red China), and others. These are some truely great people that deserve recognition before Linus does.

    On the other hand, Linux has affected millions of people, whether they know it or not!

  • by DanaL ( 66515 )
    In terms of Important Computer Geeks, I think Von Neumann or Turing would have to be considered WAY more influential than Bill or Linus, since they both fairly key to getting the whole ball rolling.

    (I decided to vote for Von Neumann since he was also deeply involved in the US's atomic weapons program in WW2)


  • And, btw, I agree.. but i think that linux advocacy is insane to begin with... My question is, what decides someone as the "man of the century"?

    Also, I'm not certian that Linus'd wanna be Man of the Century, with Hitler up there in 3rd...

  • That's a very compelling argument and it got me thinking along different lines than I had before. I'm thinking about the space program, and how it has had a major lasting effect on the latter third of the century. My understanding is that because of the push to get to the moon in the '60s, much of the technology that runs our information society was either created from, or resulted in some way, from the space program.

    The problem I have in this arguement is pinning it down to specific individuals. Sure, Hitler changed the course of history, but he didn't do it alone, he was certainly the visible figurehead of the facist axis alliance, but he had help.

    Same with Ford. Sure he is credited with inventing mass production which was the key to industrialization of the western world. But, did he do it all by himself? I'm pretty sure he had the vision and all but I'm also sure he had a lot of help.

    And Torvalds. You see where this is going? He is the visible leader, is credited with the invention and the vision, and I certainly don't try to diminish that. But GNU and Linux are as powerful as they are because of the efforts of people other than Linus.

    Back to the space program. So was it Kennedy who was responsible for getting us to the moon which in turn led to our information age? Hardly. He made a famous speech committing the US to put a man on the moon by the end of the decade. He set a course and a goal that others fought for. Who were the real heroes behind the space program? The Astronauts? Certainly they made a significant contribution. The engineers who built the spacecrafts' systems? The astrophysicists who were responsible for formulating the mission profiles? The german rocket scientists who perfected the booster technology that got us off the surface of the earth and into space?

    Answer: all of the above of course.

    So what exactly is the point of naming a specific individual as the "person of the century"? Sells magazines, I guess.
  • Elvis, John Lennon, Madonna, and Princess Diana in the top twenty in a vote for the 'Person of the Century'? Where are the truly important figures of the last hundred years - Alf, Yahoo Serious, and Bob Saget?

    Seriously, though - the only thing that polls show us is how the media shapes truly meaningless information into 'news.' I guess they need something to do when the feed of corporate press releases they regurgitate begins to slow down.
  • You can't make an argument for Henry Ford, or anyone else really using that logic.

    Henry's creations where amalgamations of other peoples ideas sure with his own twist, but how about we give the guy who invented the internal combustion engine the award for maing something for henry ford to produce.

    Why don't we just vote adam&eve or romulus and ramus or austrolophitacine or whatever man/woman of the universe for just plain started the whole mess.
  • I reckon if we all pitch in we can knock him up a rank or two.

    Don't forget that the century doesn't end until December 31, 2000! We've still got a year (maybe not on the poll, though) to prove what we're made of.
  • As many others have said, It was who had the most impact, not who was the nicest.. Seriously, Hitler can be considered the catalyst for WWII, and WWII wrought significant social change here in the states (women in the workplace etc), we came into our own as a world military and economic power. Plus, if Hitler had never been born the History Channel would be out of business. :-)
  • I remember telling my wife some time ago (admittedly half in jest) that Bill Gates is going to be seriously p.o.'ed when he finds that the "great visionary of personal computing" mantle he's been lobbying for most of his career went to Linus Torvalds instead. This tickles the hell out of me.

    Having said that, I hope we all realize that for either of these gentlemen to win this award would not say pretty things about where we put our priorities.

  • Saddam Hussein is #20? And Hitler is #3? Something tells me not all the votes were exactly heartfelt...
  • I never said I particularly liked him or his invention... But, you'd be hard pressed to come up with something that has had a more direct impact on the lives of just about everyone in the world.

    I truly dislike TV, but again, think of the influence that TV has had on the last century.

    Time magazine has an excellent tradition of not necessarily recognizing 'good' people. The point is to recognize the person who had the most profound effect on peoples lives. It's hard to argue that ford is at least not high on the list. (But, I've not cast my vote, & I'm very much open to suggestions...)
  • True, Benz invented the automobile, but Ford moved it from a toy for the rich to a tool for the masses. While Benz certainly deserves credit, he wouldn't get my vote.

    Actually, Time has been known to choose inanimate objects as it's Man of the Year, so perhaps teh automobile is really the best choice by itself...
  • Yea, linus is cool, but he isn't the man of the century! Even if you are obsessed with linux, he didn't make it all, he just made a kernel (much more than I have ever done though). Seriously, think of the others, my personal vote is going to Albert Einstein, his ideas were revolutionary, and showed people that even in the newier age, you can make so many amazing new discoveries. Einstein is the man, but then again it is just a magazine. I say we find the average joe somewhere and all vote for him, imagine, "man of the year, bob johnson of delaware!"
  • Every human being deserves the right to live. It's not the children's fault that they were born who they were. Maybe you should have been born a poor, starving, 3rd world child. Mabye you'd have some perspective.

    Or at least, with no computer access, we wouldn't have to listen to you ranting about how saving innocent people's lives is stupid.

    Sure, Linus did some great things for software. But it's just that, software. Human life is worth more then the best software ever produced will ever be.
  • Well, perusing the list of current votes, I can honestly say that, of the top 20, fully eight are total bullshit. The Person of the Year/Century/Decade/whatever awards are meant to be the most influential - whether good or bad. Repeat - the MOST influential. Elvis? Bull. Just because a lot of people can't believe that their beloved Elvis isn't eating nuggets at a BK somewhere doesn't make him influential. And no, I don't think he had a large impact on the music industry, and no, I don't care how many Elvis impersonators there are. Same with Madonna. She's done nothing but be popular. Maybe you could say she influenced a few people, but she has not changed the world.

    Skip to Billy Graham. What? He's a TV preacher. What has he influenced? A few people who already believed in God to believe more? Good work. Ronald Reagan? Nothing against Ronny, personally, but he was a pretty mediocre President. Hell, IMHO, we haven't had a non-mediocre President since Truman. One could argue that JFK was non-mediocre, thanks to his handling of the Cuban Missile Crisis, and I might buy that.

    Speaking of that, where is Truman? Truman ended the Pacific War of WWII with one swift, brutal decisive move. He probably saved millions of lives with those two bombs, and ended the war earlier and with less bloodshed then predicted, but apparently, ending this century's greatest war is less important then singing "Imagine"(John Lennon) or marrying a rich guy(Princess Diana). By the way, people - that's all Diana did. She married a rich guy. Forget thos "touching" photos of her holding poor childrens who have been harmed by land mines.

    Remember Mother Theresa, who gave all she could and more, and worked herself to the bone to help the poor. Diana did some nice shit, yeah, but she could afford to. Mother Theresa couldn't, but did so anyhow.

    Toss out Linus, definetly. Nice OS and everything, and I use it and love it, but in the grand scheme of things, he wasn't that influential. I'd much rather put Gates on that list, because he's been part of computing for much, much longer. However, I don't believe that Gates is that influential in the grand, worldwide scheme of things, so I'd toss him off too.

    Move up FDR, Truman, Neville Chamberlain...Heck, I'd probably move Shimon Peres up some. In addition, the problem with polls like this is that people are fixated on the last ten-twenty years. Arguably, WWI and WWII changed the world more this century then ANY other events...but only Hitler and Churchill are mentioned. Not Yamamoto or Hirohito, no Mussolini, no Goehring, no FDR, no Truman, no Harding, nothing.

    Toss out those pop-culture knee-jerk answers, and let's get this Linus bullshit out of there - let's pick people who really changed the world.
  • Without meaning any disrespect to FreeBSD or any other OS's out there, my point really was directed at what Linux has become. I actually don't belong to the Linus Religion. I think he deserves much credit, but I know that he isn't Linux.

    But, he is directly responsible (with others) for what Linux has become. He's the figurehead behind which this movement has sprung up. For the first time in many years, there's a true threat to Microsoft's dominance (admittedly, it might not topple MS, but you've got to admit that MS is scared). I know that BSD is arguably better, but BSD will not topple Microsoft, not even in the server marketplace, let alone on the desktop.

    Again, Linus as man of the Century is absurd. Linus as Man of the Year on the otherhand... He'd probably have my vote. Either him or Larry Flynt (Who'd've thought that a porn king could have such a direct & dramatic effect on the American political landscape?)
  • Maybe I've been spending too much time with my computer, but who is Yitzhak Rabin and why is he so important?
  • Penicillin and the polio vaccine are chump change compared to the biggie: the annihilation of smallpox.


  • Well, I'm happy to see that /. is not the only place where the poll questions are absurd (only this one is probably not on purpose). Still, there is a kind of geeky pleasure in answering an absurd question, and the more absurd the question the geekier the pleasure.

    To say that someone had a great influence on the century can mean two different things. What we would really like to say is that, had s?he not been there, future history would have been quite different. This is quite evidently the case of someone like Lenin: had he not been there (or even, had the Germans not let him return to Russia), the first Russian revolution would have been the Russian revolution, the socio-democrats would have taken power in Russia, and communism would probably never have been anything else than a theoretical philosophy. Probably the same could be said of Hitler.

    On the other hand, some great people did great things that would certainly have been done anyway (only later) had they not been there. (This does not necessarily diminish their credit, btw.) If Einstein had not discovered relativity, Poincaré or someone else would have done so (and indeed, there is reason to claim that Poincaré did discover relativity).

    So there are two different meanings to ``having a great influence on the century'': one can actually bring about things that would not have been brought about otherwise, or one can be the instrument of a great event that would probably have taken place in any case. I tend to think that most ``bad guys'' are in the first case whereas ``good guys'' are in the second. That is, Good is necessary whereas Evil is contingent. (Maybe this is my Hegelian way of seeing history.)

    Let us recapitulate. This century has seen two world wars (not one, but two) and one Cold War; it has seen the rise and fall of communism; the invention and first use of the atom bomb; the discovery of relativity and quantum mechanics, and such advance in medicine as had never been dreamt before (remember how deadly tuberculosis used to be); the fall of such once mighty empires as those of Germany, Austria, Russia, China and (in a way) Japan; the end of colonialism (and the Bandoeng conference); the appearance and disappearance of the League of Nations, and the foundation of the United Nations; the beginning of the conquest of space (and man's first step on the moon); the widespread use of the telephone and the automobile; and the invention of the computer. That makes a lot for just one century, and to each of these events is associated one or several names (some might not be widely known but that is beside the point: we are not concerned with fame but with importance). So the list is crowded indeed.

    Pardon me for being rude, but the idea that in all this the most important person might be the author of a piece of software seems patently ridiculous. Even if Linus had not started Linux, we would probably still have a BSD kernel with the GNU project on top, so even a free OS would be available. And if it is the concept of freedom itself which we find important, then put the credit with such people as RMS, not Torvalds.

    Why, as another poster pointed out, the entire field of computer science appeared in this century. Turing is the important name there, and, possibly even more than Turing, John von Neumann (who was also in some ways responsible for quantum mechanics). To insisist in giving too much importance to people much nearer us is a case of temporal myopia. (I don't dare imagine what would happen if somebody asked for the most important person in the millenium! I think it would be much more interesting to ask for the most important person in the XIXth century, now that we have some distance.)

    Even if we want to be so near-sighted, and even if we insist on being geeks and giving computer science the importance it deserves, please remember what the most important phenomenon in computer science of these recent years is: it is not Windows, and it is not Linux. It is, obviously, the Internet. So I would name the man who invented the Internet, that is, Vinton Cerf.
  • 'nough said
  • I voted for Billy Graham. He's got more important things to talk about than race conditions in the kernel. :-)

    I used to work for him too.


  • If Linux is the best thing to come out of the net century, I'll be pretty disappointed. I wanna plug a wireless receiver into my head and download the Library of Congress on demand. Screw this personal computer stuff, let's think big. I want total connectivity. I want video vmail in my head, projected onto my visual cortex. Give me eyes with telephoto zoom, infrared vision, light amplification, and ultraviolet spectrophotometry. I want a built-in GPS wirelessy linked up to all the maps in the world. Think big! The pwrson who gives us these things will be the man (or woman) of the next century. Total empowerment! Not the one that made an evolutionary advance to our desktop PCs.
  • Hussein, tho'? Really? I'm not convinced Hussein (Saddam, that is) had much impact on the century -- compared to other dictators or near-dictators, such as:

    * Pol Pot.
    * Ho Chi Minh.
    * Heck, how about Assad? The former Ayatollah Khomeini, and the entire Iranian Islamic Revolution? How about Carter/Begin/Sadat? If you're looking at the Mideast, all those -- plus Hitler -- had more effect than Hussein, methinks. The only reason Hussein can be on the list is that his war w/ the US was recently televised; most of those voting him probably don't remember the Iran-Iraq war/stalemate.
  • by MouseR ( 3264 ) on Tuesday August 03, 1999 @04:36AM (#1768993) Homepage
    I think the Linus T. inclusion in this poll is utter BS.

    Mention anything about Linux anywhere and you'll see a flock of dedicated Linux users/developers just voting to make their cause more visible. I can relate to this because I used to flock around to "help Apple" in those polls.

    This reminds me of all the other open polls. It doesn't serve a value. Object World recently had a poll to determine the best web application server. There were Apple folks on the Mac OS X-Talk mailing list asking people to go vote for WebObject (still a damn good product, but the award it won makes it artificial).

    Torvald didn't do squat to "influence the course of history over the past 100 years". Nor has Gates. Nor has Jobs.

    People who shook the world for good were those who caused major shifts in society. John Lenon didn't do that either. He merely represented a free-form movement that started out of the will of the mass to change things. I guess HE can relate to Torvald. But neither really MADE the movements (BSD started out years before Linux, and is still used in more places than Linux).

    But you can bet that Hitler did change the course of hystory. He changed how societies collided each other. More so than Napoleon did. He defined what war is today. He defined how a society can be manipulated into beleiving a cause, either good or bad. None can really like what he did. But nobody can ignore what he did, and still reflects today, 50+ years later, when we are still going against war criminals, picking up debries and rebuilding nations from that war.

    However, Hitler couldn't have gone this far without the simplicity and genius of another man. And that's Henry Ford. Ford redefined (and basically invented) mass manufacturing, without which no U-Boats or Sherman thanks or rifles, bombs, amunitions, boots, hats, medals and tombs could have been produced in great-enough numbers to have ever made a difference. Ford didn't only shift society--he moved it, literally, by making possible (and afordable) the trade routes that constitutes today's world economies. His mass-produced cars, and the manufacturing lines that made them possible,is at the core of current human activities. Throughout this planet, right up to the moon. Apollo 11 wouldn't have made it in time for the Kenedy deadline ("before this decade is over") if it wouldn't have been for countless mass-produced parts like metal plates, wires, electronic components, bolts and paint buckets.

    Ford made it possible for the Jobs, Gates, Torvalds, Lenons to have their medium to publicise their cause. Imagine Lennon without mass-produced records or radios. Jobs without mass-produced Apple I parts. Gates without mass-produced Macs to copy from. Torvalds without mass-produced internet connection apartus: modems, phone lines, hubs. Imagine a great movie without Soilent Green.

    Henry got my vote.
  • Considering that Communism demands complete abdication of property rights, and replaces the whole concept of "just desserts" with "needs", thus requiring totalitarian enforcement to actually get people to produce a mere fraction of what they would normally do so, yes it *can* be considered as evil. When you take away people's motivations to actually be productive, in their own name, and require a state to implement a supposedly state-less system -- yes, that's wrong-headed, non-functional and evil.

    Then again, the world has never seen a true Marxist revolution *ever* take control of a significant nation, since we've never seen the industrial capitalism-out-of-control -> implosion -> proletarian revolution -> withering of the state.

    But that's just my take on it.
  • Phonies? Hmmmmmm. Kim Philby? Heh. Points to those that recognize that name...

    Ed McMahon/Dick Clarke also come to mind.
  • Yes, I understand Time's definition of it. :)

    What I'm saying is, a LOT of people (check the premature posts here on Slashdot for example) just assume that "Person of the Year" or "Person of the Decade" is a reward for being good. For example, you wouldn't find anyone who would declare the dirty fat kid in the back of McDonalds who wipes his nose on his hands as he fixes a Big Mac for you, "Employee of the Month".

    Yeeees, I know Time's definition isn't the same. But I'm betting most of the readers aren't going to think that way unless they put some rediculous disclaimer at the bottom of the picture. ;)

    I'm just trying to find a way to make it so that someone GOOD doesn't get pushed out of the way by some schmuck who murdered people. It would spare us from hearing the multitudes of "THEY PICKED HITLER??" cries from people who don't understand the qualification process. :}

    As for Linus...personally, I wouldn't lose sleep if he got recognition on that level. Most of the people on that list don't impress me. I'm rooting (so to speak) for Einstein, just because I love that saucy 'fro. >;)
  • Because I'd vote for him... Although I'm sure it'll be worse in 9999... with windows Triple X!

    BTW.. whats so cool with firstpost... I hope to be the lastpost!
  • I didn't know the Time editors were Linux geeks...
  • Hell, who cares whether Linus is (in reality) more or less important than someone else? I fully support getting Linus to the top of the list, because it highlights how ridiculous it is to take seriously a voluntary poll from a semi-tabloid magazine that reflects the opinion of the political elite in one single country...
  • That would be Gavrilo Princip. There's a bio at: incip.html

    Of course, Princip was just a pawn in the hands of the true mastermind, Colonel Dragutin Dimitrijevic: agutin.html

    It seems that their legacy lives on, as old tensions create new wars and problems in the area.

    While a great choice for political expression, I'd like to think that ultimately, leaving "the cradle of Earth", the flurry of spin-off technology associated with the space race, and the power projection offered by missiles adds up to a good deal more. I'll keep von Braun as my vote, but I'd have to say that at least Dimitrijevic belongs up there too.
  • I voted for Ronald Reagan. He's #9 on the list.
  • It's just another WWW poll, and not much more can be said about it. I don't know why Time dignifies the concept with their name. I'm not trying to slam any of the people who've made it to a high ranking on the list, but this thing is about as stacked as any survey I have ever witnessed.

    Awhile back, a publisher tried to engage in a "Greatest Books" survey and it was basically taken over by Ayn Rand fiends. This isn't a lot different.

    They should rephrase the question "which perl script can pump through the most votes" and just leave it at that.

    Yes, I know I just forked the topic of my message from being about the legitimacy of the survey to a rant about the feasibility of a perl script hack of the poll page. I only mentioned it as one hacking venue. It could be done with Python or suchlike as well.
  • Surely one wouldn't proclaim some evil beast of a man
    as deserving this award. Although it sounds somewhat
    corny, they should have two seperate but equal awards:
    One for a positive influence, and one for the centuries worst villain.
    Seems fair to me, but it lacks that "Man of the Century"
    simplicity that makes for a good press. >:P
  • "Man of the Century" is not necessarily an award, and in some cases it's not even an honor.

    Here's the thing: the title goes to the person who has had some sort of great historical impact over the specified time period (the last century, in this case). Yes, Hitler was a madman, an utter freak, but you've got to admit that he did have one hell of a lot of historical impact.

    Personally, I'd have the three go this way:

    Man of the Year: Linus Torvalds (inventor/maintainer of Linux, an OS which came out of literally nowhere to challenge the Microsoft hegemony and is putting up one hell of a fight)

    Man (Woman would be more appropriate in this case) of the Century: either Admiral Grace Hopper (inventor of FORTRAN, the first non-assembly programming language, which is a big part of why computers are so pervasive) or whoever at Intel is credited with the introduction of the microprocessor (just as important in the pervasity of computers today)

    Man of the Millennium: Johannes Guterberg (inventor of the first practical printing press, the single biggest catalyst the the spread of knowledge there has ever been, even greater than the computer
  • A century is far too long a period of time to be able to pick one person and say that they somehow sum it up. It would be better to take each decade and describe the people who made the world a better place during that time, or the people who made the world a different place for those who came after them. This whole man of the century is nothing more than something to sell more magazines, it's got very little merit as an idea.
  • "Ronald Reagan? Nothing against Ronny, personally, but he was a pretty mediocre President."

    Beg to differ, but I don't think that he was a particularly mediocre president.

    Alot of ppl give him a rap, for spending us into a huge hole, but the long term legacy of the debt that he created, is that we won the cold war. We simply outspent the Communists, because our system could support the deficits better. And the debt itself, isn't the issue that it seemed like either. We are in a position now, where a mere 28 years after Ronnie was ushered into office, we could basically retire the debt, if we desired.

    Just for the record tho, I voted for Einstein. He was instrumental in the theories behind the bombs that Ronnie spent so much building. Along with so many other theories.
  • >... 486 into my first own super Unix workstation!
    i believe the proper phrase is "Full-Fledged UNIX workstation!"
    (note the '!' is part of the phrase, not my statement)
  • Dangerous ground naming Vint Cerf. Without the vision of Bush, Licklider and Baran, he may never have been in the later frame alongside Kahn or indeed Crocker. Ah well, that's the media circus for you. I reckon that it was Paul Baran's work demonstrating the strategic importance that made the greatest impact, drawing together all those (and many, many more) fine computer scientists under defense contracts. See:
  • I've been hoping for a digioptical range finder. Just a little readout that identifies what I'm focusing on and tells me its distance, maybe velocity.
  • I would settle for an implant that made the time display in the corner of my field of vision. I think the girl from Neuromancer had that (it's been a while since I've read it). How hard would that be to make? If every nerd on the planet threw away thier black plastic watch and paid 500 bucks for an optic nerve implant, that's like a billion dollars. Bio majors, team up with an EE major and build me an optic nerve clock. If you could do it before Christmas, that would be great. Thanks.


    "I don't need no steenking sig"

  • Rabin was prime minister (right term?) of Israel until he got assassinated ~3 years ago.
    He was responsible for wide advances regarding peace between Israel and the PLO as well as its neighbour countries.
  • Time and People online polls are fixed. For instance, last year People had an online poll for man of the year. A recurring guest named "Hank the Angry, Sullen Dwarf" from the Howard Stern Show was number one and I believe that Ric "Nature Boy" Flair of World Championship Rassling was number 2.

    People then disqualified all of the legitimate votes for Nature Boy and the Dwarf in order to arrive at the predetermined result that they wanted. As a result of Time-Life's duplicity Tom Hanks "won" the poll.

    I say boycott these polls. If Time-Life is not willing to count each and every vote then these polls are just a scam to attract web traffic.

  • Now wait a minute. The entire field of computer science was spawned this century. Think of all the towering giants who made huge contributions:

    Alan Turing
    John Von Neumann
    Edsger Dijkstra
    Don Knuth
    Niklaus Wirth
    Tony Hoare
    John McCarthy
    Frederik Brooks
    Ivan Sutherland
    Alan Kay
    Robin Milner
    Ken Thompson
    Jim Blinn
    ...etc., etc.

  • ... of the sum total.

    What Linux has become, like so many other open source projects like it, could *only* have been possible, (or might *never* have been possible) due to the efforts of those other people in the list.

    That's my point. Linus, and therefore Linux, is the best representation *in the list* of the sum total of all of those other members of the list, and therefore, if you want a good end-sum evaluation of all those other data points for the 20th Century, Linus/Linux is it.

    Thats all I was trying to say.
  • "As humans, how much pain and lives have been saved by having penicillin? In 1928 Alexander Fleming discovered an 'accidental'
    mold in one of his petri dishes that would save countless lives. Both in war and peace. If you are looking for sheer numbers of people
    affected by one thing, that would have to be close to the top. "

    I'm sorry, but that is pure crap. Yes, Fleming discovered penicillin mold and it's properties, but he thought it was just a curiosity, not worth anything. It was Howard Florey and Ernst Chain who turned penicillin into a medicine. If it hadn't been for them, it could easily have taken far longer for someone to rediscover the effects of antibiotics and to actually use them.
    If you're going to argue for people's inclusion in this list on the basis of their effect on this century, you could hardly go much further than the people who essentially destroyed the world's fear of illness - prior to penicillin people could easily die from complications to minor illnesses (even the common cold): consequently people lived in genuine fear of illness. Since the advent of antibiotics minor ailments are exactly that: minor. No one worries that they might die if they don't get over their cold in a week.

    The last fifty years would have been a very different time if it hadn't been for the work of Florey and Chain in making use of Fleming's fortuitous discovery.

    Of course, since this "Man of the Century" thing seems to be a popular vote, it will probably end up going to someone who was either popular or well known for no good reason, or someone who had a reasonably large, but very *visible* effect (eg Hitler), rather than to the people who had the massive but largely invisibile effects. Popularity polls always put forward popular people, but rarely are the really important people popular.

    So hey, lets all vote for Linus. It's more fun than voting for Florey, Chain or Salk and having your suggestions upstaged by "Entertainers" who never did anything with their lives. Elvis? That makes me sick. So I'll laugh it off, and vote for someone I think would apreciate the joke.

    Linus 4PM!
  • The man who started the first world war. A killing in Sarajevo and some ambitious people in Austria and Germany had the idea they could win a great war. The first would war made it possible for Lenin to take power in Russia. It made it possible for Hitler to take power in Germany. Well, someone else might have done the killing (in fact there was quite a number of people trying to do so), however they didn't.
  • I have to say I voted for William Shockley, for that very reason. I also think you could have been a little more polite in your diatribe, although I do agree with the spirit of what you're saying. ;-)

  • First off, I hope that Time will decide that they should have a group of people be the "People of the Century", rather than have a single person. Perhaps it should be a group of leaders, whether it includes the likes of Hitler or not. Maybe some of the people that put together the first computers in this century -- the computer has definitely had a lasting impact (at least on those of us in developed or moderately developed countries). There is a huge number of people in the computer (and networking -- i.e. Internet) field that could be mentioned. Of course, those people would probably get much more credit if the century had started in 1940 or 1950 instead of 1900 -- nobody wants to have someone from 1995 to be a Person of the Century...

    Of course, Time isn't going to take the online poll as a literal thing -- they are most likely just using it to get ideas, and to see some of the different people that we look up to, hate, or get brainwashed by..

    I think Time will pick someone we don't all know, just to prove a point.. Perhaps the person that discovered you could transmit sound over the radio, the inventors of RADAR, or some other moderately obscure person or group. I guess I just don't need to get reminded about all the wars, oppression, and death that happened in this world in the last century.. I'd rather see someone that made a lasting, positive impact -- even if we hardly recognize their names.
  • And another moderator comes along, sees an interesting post marked 'Troll', and bumps it back up to counter the "abuse"...

    I wonder if there's a trend which says "a comment moderated once, is more likely to moderated five times than an 'equivalent' unmoderated comment" :)

  • This is not flamebait, but truely my opinion. Gates has done a HELL of a lot more for the technology world then Linus. I do love Linux, and nearly never use Windows, but that is because I hack. Few people hack. If we wanted Torvalds at the top of something, it would have to be the most influential technology person of the century.
    Gates brought the simple computer to the masses. Steve Jobs did not. He screwed up. Gates picked up where he left off, and for that he became a virtual god on earth (monitarily at least). Everyone seems to think marketing directs the people. Well, they are wrong. The people direct marketing. Gates created what the people wanted. Torvalds created what he wanted, and let the people help him. Both are fine ways to do it, but offering a service for a fee is more appealing to the consumer then forcing them to help out. Deal with it, the consumer doesn't program, and the consumer doesn't use Linux! In time though, more and more people will use it. Why?
    • Because we have nifty GUI tools which copy Windows (which copied all the others, I know).
    • Because we have our own marketting now with RH and the media's Linux feeding frenzy (not to mention insane Linux zealots who will die before admitting StarOffice crashes and burns more then an alpha release of MS Office.)
    • Because people hate Gates and rich people in general.
    • Because it is fast.
    • Because it is secure.
    • Because it is stable.
    • Because it is free.

    So take the good with the bad, and get your wooly head out of that sheeps @$$ in front of you. Take a look around and view reality for the first time. It is always easier to let the person in front of you do the thinking for you, but then why bother living at all?
  • No oviously the moderators had too many points on their hands. A few oviously moderated it up to atleast 3 then someone moderated it back down to 2 with troll being the reason. Why it got moderated up to 3 in the first place excapes me.
  • well, saddam is a joke but hitler should be #1. my interpretation of man of the century is not nicest guy of the century but rather most influential.

    let's face facts. hitler was a brilliant general. u hafta remember britain & france at that time were world powers. and germany basically made asses of both of them. also, this is the same germany that got smoked in WWI and was literally bankrupt for much of the 20s. in 10 years, Hitler brought them back up to super power status. his war basically ended the great depression.

    he is also one of the most charismatic leaders. convincing an entire nation that they are superior and capable of taking over the world is a pretty tough sell. (though the states is coming close).

    his influence still continues today. it can be seen in the ethnic cleansing in kosovo.

    i don't agree with what he did. but give credit where it's due, the dude was a genius. and all genuises go insane.


  • Many of the people filling out the poll probably don't remember names like Goering, or even Churchill. Hmmmm.

    JFK, arguably, was influential. Not positively, in my opinion -- given that his actions regarding the "Bay of Pigs" invasion encouraged the Soviets to exploit his perceived weakness, letting the nation be saved from nuclear obliteration inside information from disaffected Soviets... but, apparently, there exists some mystique that still lingers in the media. That's influence. I hate it, but it's there.

    Nixon arguably was also important on the world stage, for generally backing Kissinger, for engaging Mao, for massively increasing public distrust of Presidents, for completing the w/d from 'Nam, and so forth. He also brought about various social policies.

    From either World War: Chamberlain, as a symbol of failed appeasement? Perhaps move up Hitler, instead, for exploiting that. Add Sir William Stephenson, Bill Donovan, or Admiral Canaris for espionage. Add perhaps Goebbels (showing the power of propaganda); Eichmann or Mengele (for reminding the world how truly foul and evil Man can be at his worst); Guderian (for blitzkrieg -- but there's probably someone else there.). Add McArthur, for symbolizing Allied resistance in the Pacific. Add Julius and Ethel Rosenberg, for helping the Soviets become an atomic power and thus possibly preventing a hot war by bringing about a nuclear standoff. Yamamoto should probably be there for demonstrating the dangers of complacency (on the Allied side). Eisenhower, as Supreme Allied Commander in Europe, *definitely* had more impact this century than Madonna.

    More recently, Gorbachev or possibly Yeltsin demand nods, and Reagan for accelerating the massively expensive arms race to a pace that forced the Soviets to a reckoning.

    In the Middle East, we have Begin, Nasser (sp?), Assad, Khomeini, Ariel Sharon, Sadat, Arafat, King Hussein, Rabin, Peres... and Netanyahu, for possibly being the last symbol of intransigence.

    And so forth. Heck, I'd toss in Orville and/or Wilbur Wright...
  • Preach on! I actually voted for Turing myself, seeing as the transistor can't necessarily be attributed to ONE inventor...but my line of reasoning was almost EXACTLY yours... Not to mention the effect that the transistor and modern computational theory had on the development of television, which, in my humble opinion, has had the greatest impact on culture than almost anything in history.. I couldn't believe that Turing wasn't even in the Top 20!
  • It probably got moderated up to three, and the last person who saw called it a troll, causing it to slip back to 2.

    I can certainly see how that would happen - it was written intelligently, but was certainly provocative. The moderation system worked - it's still on the first page of results, and I think it deserved to be there.


  • Truman? Truman came to office just as the war was ending, just in time to make the decision to drop the bombs. FDR helped bring a bit of hope to the nation during the Depression and then WWII, so he definitely belongs on the list. Truman just happened to be in the right place at the right time.

    As for Lennon, you're very sadly mistaken if you think he "just sang a song". He helped influence every single artist in Rock 'n' Roll from the very beginning. He helped other artists to see that music just wasn't music, but a way of making a statement and changing the world around you. Artists from The Who to Rage Against The Machine have their sociopolitical roots in songs like "Revolution" and "Working Class Hero". Lennon and the rest of the Beatles weren't pop culture because some record exec said they should, they were popular because they struck a chord with so many people with both their music and their lives.

    Bottom line: FDR, Hitler, Stalin, Ford and Mother Teresa have all had major influence in this century and deserve to be recognized (not necessarily applauded, but recognized) for it. But let's not dismiss someone as a "pop-culture knee-jerk answer" just because they weren't a politician, religious leader or baron of industry. JFK wasn't a particularly good president (one has to look no further than the negotiations with the steel industry at the time) but he touched something inside of us. And that is why Lennon belongs on that list.

    "My role in society, or any artist's or poet's role, is to try and express what we all feel. Not to tell people how to feel. Not as a preacher, not as a leader, but as a reflection of us all."
    - John Lennon
  • It's a shame that most of the people on the list simply represent the most memorable names hyped by the (predominately TV) media in the last decade. While I don't disagree that most of these people are important in one way or another, can they fairly be described as having been the people who most influenced the course of history in the last 100 years?

    For what it's worth, I didn't use tactical voting - my nomination went to the former German rocket scientist Werner Von Braun, whose contribution to scientific advancement throughout the world has precipitated more change than can be reasonably recorded in even a single volume book, let alone a simple sound-bite.
  • Man (Woman would be more appropriate in this case) of the Century: either Admiral Grace Hopper (inventor of FORTRAN, the first non-assembly programming language, which is a big part of why computers are so pervasive)

    I thought that she invented COBOL, not FORTRAN.

  • TIME's Person of the Century is that person who, for better or worse, most influenced the course of history over the past 100 years.

    I bet Rabin has had a lot more votes than the poll suggests - I mean, who can write "Yitzhak" without tyops?-)

  • They won't pick Hitler. Despite the definition, despite the votes... they just won't.

    Similarly, they won't pick Mao or any other 'villian'. They will pick a good guy.

  • Until I see Linus above Ronald Reagan I'm going to tell everyone I know to vote for Linus. Is that so wrong?


  • Lots of computer geeks have been more influential than Linus Torvalds. Dennis Ritchie is an obvious one (The C programming language, and Unix). So is Donald Knuth ("The Art of Computer Programming"). Even Bill Joy (BSD, and Sun too I think?) was more influential than Linus.

    I had to vote for Alan Turing though. Not only did he invent the model of computing, he also broke Enigma. If not for that WWII might have gone the other way.

    And of course, his model of computing has affected the space race, the arms race, etc. Not as significant as mass production, but hey, he was "one of us".

  • All of those other people in the list are either

    1: political leaders that a) started wars, or b) ended wars
    2: religious leaders that a) fell from grace, or b) held the grace of their god
    3: pop culture figures that are products of a greedy western hype machine (Madonna, Bill Gates, John Lennon, Pricess Diana)
    4: appear on the list only by virtue of the revenues they have generated for the media machine.

    Where does Linus sit? He's not in either of those categories, realistically (okay you could say #4, but that's secondary to his function, unlike Madonna whose prime purpose is to do just that).

    Linus, and the entire Linux project, is a peace-time project. You have Jews, Hispanics, Atheists, disabled people, nerds, geeks, jocks and other 'types' of people all working together, peacfully, productively, making something that countless thousands of other members of the human race will put to use to enhance their lives through greater productivity, education, etc.

    For free.

    Linux is the product of a truly Free Society. It is not some government funded project, it is not based on some fascist/rascist/capitalist/whateverist agenda.

    Linus' inclusion in that list is the only one that makes sense.

    Should we put a figurehead on the 21st Century that means anything *other* than what this civilization has fought the *entire* century to become, which is a Freedom for All Races? Should we say "the 21st Century was best represented by Adolf Hitler, who was a war monger who persecuted the Jews"?

    Should we say "the 21st Century is best beheld by the image of Mother Theresa, who, in spite of her own personal suffering and persecution, continued to suffer her entire life so that children in 3rd World Countries, ignored by the rest of the species, could have decent health services"?

    No. I don't think so.

    Linux is the child of all of those other people on this list. It's prime creators' (Linus) image is the natural representation of everything that all of those other figureheads has either fought *HARD* to obtain, or *HARD* to prevent.

    So I say he deserves to be in that list with the rest of them.
  • by Shoeboy ( 16224 ) on Monday August 02, 1999 @10:00PM (#1769090) Homepage
    Why not Hitler? WWII was _the_ most significant political event of this century. That puts all the major leaders - FDR, Churchill, Stalin and yes, Hitler in the running for most historically significant figure of the century. Not the most admirable perhaps, but definitely one of the most significant. I voted for Gandhi myself, but the case for Hitler is pretty strong. He's a bit unlikely to disappear from the annals of history.
  • by drwiii ( 434 )
    I seriously hope most of the people top-ranked in this poll aren't even in consideration.. Linus Torvalds, for example. Besides writing a few lines of computer code, what has he really done that's impacted this entire century? The same goes for entertainers. Elvis Presley? Madonna? Give me a break.

    I don't think that any one person is worthy of the title of "Man of the Century". For every "big name" you see in that list, I'd bet there's at least 50 people working twice as hard behind-the-scenes that don't get media attention.

    All of the people on that list are who they are/were because they have people behind them. They have a following. People working for them, subscribing to their way of the world, willing to go the extra mile for them. A single man is nobody without his peers to back him up.

    In my opinion, the Man of the Century isn't even a man. It's the brain. Not necessarily the human brain, just the brain in general. They're everywhere. The unstable element in an otherwise stable experiment. They get us into trouble, and sometimes out of trouble if we're lucky. They build things, and they break things. They can be your best friend, or your worst enemy. They can reason, and adapt. And who knows what they'll experience over the course of the next century.

  • I'm wondering how many of Hitler's votes came from little kids trying to be funny, and how many came from people who were voting for "historically signifigant" people. Myself, I thought that Person of the Century was supposed to be about people who had a positive impact on history, but I dunno. I didn't read the fine print.
  • First, for all the people getting their knickers in a knot about Saddam and Hitler being high on the list: The purpose is to pick, and I'm quoting from Time's own website, the "person who, for better or worse, most influenced the course of history over the past 100 years." (Emphasis mine.) It's just like when Time selected the Ayatollah as Man of the Year back in 1979 or 1980 -- it's not like the editors actually thought he was a good guy.

    Second, I wouldn't be astounded at Linus ranking high or above Bill. If you haven't yet learned that Linux zealots love flooding polls like these, you haven't been paying much attention. Hell, if OS/2 had a figurehead (and no, I don't think Dave Tholen counts as one), I'm pretty sure that he'd be running away with this contest.

    FWIW, I'm not sure who I'm going to vote for, although I'm struggling to find someone to top Hitler, the Holocaust being only one of a number of reasons for choosing him.


  • hmm ... perhaps you should have read the definition of this poll.
    this poll isn't about the 'child of all of those other people on this list' but for the one who 'most influenced the course of history over the past 100 years' and - although the world should be ashamed about this - adolf hitler did so a lot more than many of the other.

    on the other side linus has a good chance in 2099 :-)
  • The 100 Worst Ideas []. I only have two small complaints:

    1) You can only pick one choice out of the list.
    2) The choices at the top will probably get more votes simply because they're at the top.

    Still, it's quite entertaining just to read through the choices.

    By the way, I voted for Albert Einstein for the Person of the Century, simply because it's the best thing I could come up with. How Madonna or Linus even got on the list is beyond me. And who is Yitzhak Rabin? Am I missing something?

  • Where do they get all those hundreds of thousands of votes from? This poll surely got hacked. Also check out this poll []. Mustafa Kemal Ataturk got 1305357 votes? Yeah right. Or look at Scientists and Thinkers. As if 769029 people in this world actually know the name of Enrico Fermi (and to be honest, I don't know either Jonas Salk and Viktor Hambardzumian).
  • Unfortunately the phonies & frauds list doesn't keep a running tally (at least visibly), but I did find it interesting that the large majority of the ones I saw read "Bill Clinton"
  • Why is everyone so uptight about an online poll? Ever since Hank the Angry, Drunken Dwarf was voted one of the most beautiful people in the world, I thought everybody knew that web-based polls aren't meant to be treated seriously. So what if Madonna and Linux are up there with Einstein et al. Do you think Times is going to put her on the cover?

    Instead of everybody screaming "This is ridiculous blah blah blah, Linux doesn't deserve this blah blah blah, here's my overreacted opinion blah blah blah", let's all take this lightheartedly and /. the poll with more votes for Linux/Madonna/Hank ; )

  • That would be John Bardeen, Walter Brattain and William Shockley, Inventors of the transistor. E-V-E-R-Y-B-O-D-Y uses the transistor. Without which Linus would be programming an abacus -er- Eniac.

    Need to vote for a computer geek?? Then that would have to be Alan Turing, who gave us computability theory, of which I do not believe we have seen the full effects of yet.

    But lets get even more real. We could have lived without the transistor. Sure, alot of us would be glass blowers instead of hackers.

    As humans, how much pain and lives have been saved by having penicillin? In 1928 Alexander Fleming discovered an 'accidental' mold in one of his petri dishes that would save countless lives. Both in war and peace. If you are looking for sheer numbers of people affected by one thing, that would have to be close to the top.

    Along this line, look at Jonas Salk, who created the first polio vaccine. How many children can live without the fear of this horrid disease now?? But thats not what makes him a good choice. He spent his life travelling the world to foster peace among all people. You need a hero??? he would be a very good choice.

    Slashdotters, get real and go back and change your dumbass choices.
  • Yes, well, let's all keep in mind that Andrew Carnegie gave all that money away in an attempt to help history forget all the lives he destroyed while he made it.

    While Gates can't begin to qualify as being as bad as Carnegie in absolute terms, I suppose relative to the times and his industry he hasn't done badly; maybe your comparison is apt.

  • Well, sure. And Bill Gates is just an average rich kid who happened to start a software company; I'm with ya here. Anyone could have done it. Hell, I bet you have a couple of times on rainy weekends.

    And I guess I'll call my car an "assorted nuts and bolts" sedan, 'cause lord knows that's the largest number of pieces in it (and let's face it - where would it be without them?), and my computer is an SIS computer 'cause that's what most of the chips in it say on 'em (cpu's doin' nothin' without the chipset, credit where credit's due I say), and my motorcycle is of course a Snap-On motorcycle 'cause those are the tools I use on it (not goin' anywhere if I can't work on it), cool, that makes perfect sense.

    On a slightly more serious note, it really doesn't take much rational thought to see that Linus' contribution to computing has a) been very significant and b) almost nothing to do with writing code.

  • Are bananas necessary to the survival of vegetables?

Make it myself? But I'm a physical organic chemist!