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Linux Technology

Linus Shares the Millennium Technology Prize 111

Posted by samzenpus
from the tied-for-first dept.
udas writes "The Millennium Technology Prize is awarded every two years for a technological innovation that significantly improves the quality of human life, today and in the future. This year, Linus Torvalds, Linux's creator, and Dr. Shinya Yamanaka, maker of a new way to create stem cells without the use of embryonic stem cells, are both laureates for the 2012 Millennium Technology Prize. This prize, which is determined by the Technology Academy of Finland, is one of the world's largest such prizes with candidates sought from across the world and from all fields of technology. The two innovators will share over a million Euros. The final winner will be announced by the President of the Republic of Finland in a special ceremony on June 13, 2012."
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Linus Shares the Millennium Technology Prize

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  • by xzvf (924443) on Thursday April 19, 2012 @06:50PM (#39740761)
    I think the fix was on.
    • by xzvf (924443) on Thursday April 19, 2012 @07:00PM (#39740845)
      And before I get jumped on, Linus deserves it. Linux and open source in general, created more opportunity and employment than all the politicians combined. While the wealth wasn't concentrated in his hands like the Ellison's and Gates' of the world, what he started created a lot of income for many others. Stallman deserves credit too, for the creation of the GPL and the GNU tools Linus used, but his ideology would have prevented the operating system's success and effected the ecosystem that grew around Linux. We're lucky that the balance of technical savvy and tame ego of Linus allowed this revolution to happen.
      • by openfrog (897716) on Thursday April 19, 2012 @07:55PM (#39741261)

        Stallman deserves credit too, for the creation of the GPL and the GNU tools Linus used, but his ideology would have prevented the operating system's success and effected the ecosystem that grew around Linux.

        You say one thing and its opposite in the same sentence. Linux could exist upon the principles and roots that were the vision of Stallman. You then want to speak about the attitude of Stallman, which some finds not to their taste, but this very attitude, and its concrete fruits in the continuing evolution of the GPL, has been a determining factor in the preservation and growth of this whole open source/free ecosystem.

        I find it short-sighted of the jury to have ignored this aspect of things and if I were Linus Torvald, I would share the prize with Stallman in a very public gesture. THIS would do wonders to advance open source/free software in the minds of many.

        • by Chibi Merrow (226057) * <mrmerrow@@@monkeyinfinity...net> on Thursday April 19, 2012 @08:10PM (#39741353) Homepage Journal

          You say one thing and its opposite in the same sentence.

          He says the truth. Stallman's "You're either with us, or against us." ideology would be completely toxic in a leader of a project like Linux.

          Linus didn't set out to spread a philosophy, he set out to make something useful. He found a particular philosophy useful in the creation of this thing. Stallman is out to spread a religion.

          Note that I say this with no intention to imply anything Stallman says or believes is wrong.

          • by openfrog (897716) on Thursday April 19, 2012 @08:49PM (#39741645)

            Stallman's "You're either with us, or against us." ideology would be completely toxic in a leader of a project like Linux.

            That's your mistake right there. First, your mis-characterization of Stallman's attitude does not reflect the spirit, and the very practical effect, of the GPL, at all. And second, Stallman's role and influence is not one of a leader of project like Linux. Different roles, different attitudes. You simply reaffirm old saws like "oh he just set out to do something useful without caring about such a nasty thing as ideology". My point is, and I re-assert it: without Stallman and his founding principles (call it what you want, I don't care), there would be no Linux, and without his dogged persistence and his very active and pro-active role as maintainer of the GPL, Linux, and the whole free software eco-system, would not have survived.

            I should have said it better: Linux, by sharing his prize with Stallman, would multiply the value of that prize, for both of them, by a factor of one or two magnitudes. He would make history.

            • by Chibi Merrow (226057) * <mrmerrow@@@monkeyinfinity...net> on Thursday April 19, 2012 @09:12PM (#39741797) Homepage Journal

              That's your mistake right there. First, your mis-characterization of Stallman's attitude does not reflect the spirit, and the very practical effect, of the GPL, at all.

              I never mentioned the GPL in my post. I said his ideology. The GPL is a (very good) product of Stallman's ideology, but his ideology is much larger than the GPL. And it very much is an ideology that refuses to compromise and refuses to work with others who do not agree with the ideology. There's nothing wrong with that, it just prevents a person from successfully leading a project like Linux.

              And second, Stallman's role and influence is not one of a leader of project like Linux.

              And that's what I said, as well, but when the GP said:

              ... but his ideology would have prevented the operating system's success and effected the ecosystem that grew around Linux.

              I assume that's also what they meant, that Stallman could create the GPL and champion the cause of free software, but he could not successfully be in charge of Linux. And you said they were wrong, which led to me saying you were wrong... So who exactly is wrong here? :)

            • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

              by cupantae (1304123)

              Richard, is that you?

          • by ozmanjusri (601766) <(moc.liamtoh) (ta) (bob_eissua)> on Thursday April 19, 2012 @08:53PM (#39741675) Journal

            Stallman is out to spread a religion.

            I've always found Stallman's approach to be totally practical, and requiring no leap of faith or belief in intangible entities at all. In fact, there is a huge body of evidence that the tools he has created (Gnu, GPL, etc) are well-designed and effective.

            I'd see him more as a very focussed craftsman or artisan than a preacher.

            • by Anonymous Coward

              Hurd, GPL3....

              • Actually in hindsight, much of Hurd looks remarkably prescient, especially in light of the current malware epidemics. Substantial parts of its design have found their way into other OSs:

                The GNU Hurd, by contrast, is designed to make the area of system code as limited as possible. Programs are required to communicate only with a few essential parts of the kernel; the rest of the system is replaceable dynamically. Users can use whatever parts of the remainder of the system they want, and can easily add components themselves for other users to take advantage of. No mutual trust need exist in advance for users to use each other's services, nor does the system become vulnerable by trusting the services of arbitrary users.

                http://www.gnu.org/software/hurd/hurd-paper.html [gnu.org]

                And again, GPL3 is a solid practical response to the issue of software as a service. It's not essential in every instance, and like all other Free licenses, it's the author's right to decide how much freedom they want to grant their users,

                • by unixisc (2429386)

                  Problem is that the FSF/GNU has demonstrated beyond reasonable doubt that they are incapable of producing a kernel on their own. If Hurd has moved anywhere today, it's thanks to the likes of Debian and Arch, who are doing their own ports. Otherwise, most recently, FSF LA has taken Linux 3.3 and re-branded it 'Libre-Linux [fsfla.org]' after removing all 'non-free' software. Likely reason for it was Linus making it clear that his kernel is not going to go GPL3, so they decided to fork it to this and make it GPL3, and

                  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday April 20, 2012 @02:07AM (#39743175)

                    Problem is that the FSF/GNU has demonstrated beyond reasonable doubt that they are incapable of producing a kernel on their own.

                    GNU needed a free kernel. They started to (slowly...) work on that and called it Hurd. Then Linux, also a free kernel, just like Hurd, came along. Unlike Hurd, Linux was ready to ship. What that means to Hurd? It means Hurd was not vital anymore, resources could be allocated to other, more pressing, problems.
                    Linux made Hurd unnecessary.

                    If you think I'm bullshitting, RMS said in an interview:
                    "The work that is needed is at the driver and firmware level. That's why our high priority task list includes items relating to free drivers, but not the HURD."

                  • by aloniv (1972020)

                    Problem is that the FSF/GNU has demonstrated beyond reasonable doubt that they are incapable of producing a kernel on their own. If Hurd has moved anywhere today, it's thanks to the likes of Debian and Arch, who are doing their own ports. Otherwise, most recently, FSF LA has taken Linux 3.3 and re-branded it 'Libre-Linux [fsfla.org]' after removing all 'non-free' software. Likely reason for it was Linus making it clear that his kernel is not going to go GPL3, so they decided to fork it to this and make it GPL3, and all the famous FSF distros - Blag, Dynebolic, Trisquel et al will at some point or other be using it, if they don't already.

                    Speaking of GPL3, it's the reason that organizations which previously didn't have problems w/ GPL2 are now discarding software that has 'upgraded' the license to GPL3 - best example being LLVM/Clang replacing GCC for that reason alone. The 'issue' of software as a service is actually not addressed - even the FSF concedes that it's impossible to address it, even while it thinks of it as an 'issue'.

                    Linux-libre addresses the problem of non-free firmware (which is incompatible with the GPL license) creeping into the kernel Linux over the years. Linux-libre cannot be relicensed under GPLv3 since Linux is licensed under GPLv2 (without or later) and changing the license to version 3 would require the consent of all the developers (and Torvalds is known to prefer version 2 so it won't happen).

            • by gl4ss (559668)

              I'd see him as focused craftsman or artisan if he had spent some time actually on hurd..

              stallmans biggest fallacy is that he thinks nobody else would have cloned the unix tools to free to share versions if he hadn't done it. and that is just bullshit.

          • Linus didn't set out to spread a philosophy, he set out to make something useful. He found a particular philosophy useful in the creation of this thing. Stallman is out to spread a religion.

            Ah, you exaggerate methinks. RMS is also responsible for many practical things, including GCC. His failure to produce a viable operating system kernel says more about his technical aptitude for that particular design problem than anything else.

          • by Hatta (162192)

            Stallman is out to spread a religion.

            Note that I say this with no intention to imply anything Stallman says or believes is wrong.

            How does that work?

            • My view here is that Linux needed Linus, and RMS. Linus for his practical approach and willingness to compromise to get a viable working project, and RMS to keep the focus on the ideology. Compromise is always needed, and ideologues like RMS don't always agree that a working product is better than a barely functional but ideologically pure product. That is why HURD failed, and continues to flail in obscurity. Linus' practicality is what makes Linux so great, that he is willing to compromise .. just a bit, t

          • by galanom (1021665)

            Stallman is out to spread a religion

            Stallman is indeed an ideologist but he has written also way too much no-nonsense software.
            His ideological organization, what you call religion, has created many tools, indeed they could make up an entire system, if there was a decent kernel.
            Actually, without either his ideology or his organizations tools, Linus might had not managed to build Linux so efficiently and so free.

        • by countach (534280)

          While Stallman and Linus shared the same license, Stallman insisted on the copyrights being assigned to the FSF. One could argue that Linux wouldn't have really thrived the way it did if Linus had had the same attitude. (Although Stallman did have good reasons for his stance).

          • by postbigbang (761081) on Thursday April 19, 2012 @08:53PM (#39741681)

            Sharing is good. The utilities that Stallman rewrote are historic, and have their origins in BSD, which is a version of Unix. The leadership in making the Linux kernel evolve stands on the shoulders of many, but riding several thousand elephants at once stands out for Linus. Stallman: somewhat solo. Linus: lasso'd a hurricane.

        • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday April 19, 2012 @08:45PM (#39741599)

          Richard now wants all references to either him or Linus to be "Stallman-Torvalds".

        • No, it's perfectly valid. RMS laid the foundation for copyleft and Linus utilized it in the best way for the project. Linux is still only licensed under the GPLv2. A lot of tech companies which provide major support for the kernel would be more likely to shy away from it if they had to deal with the v3 license. If RMS had maintained copyrights to the software, he probably would have never hesitated to impose stronger copyrights on it and my feeling is that this would have hurt Linux and free software, not h

          • by openfrog (897716)

            You say that the comment I criticize is perfectly valid, while the way you formulate your comment, stating quite well the founding role of Stallman, demonstrates that you perfectly understood the gross injustice to Stallman perpetrated by the comment in question. So the comment, now moderated +5 insightful, go figure, is far from valid.

          • Linux is still only licensed under the GPLv2.

            Linus says that is because there are too many copyright holders involved to change that now.

            A lot of tech companies which provide major support for the kernel would be more likely to shy away from it if they had to deal with the v3 license.

            You don't know that. Apple (read: Steve Jobs) made a big show of dropping Samba over v3, but then they also made a big show of using FreeBSD instead of Linux so I don't read much into that. Actually, GPL v3 is more compatible with other licenses than v2, for example it is

          • by bolthole (122186)

            On the other hand, I still think RMS played a more fundamental role in the success of the Linux kernel. There are other open source UNIX kernels out there as we all know, whether they're licensed under the GPL or not, and a few have also reached that critical mass of community support. We would have other kernels, but without gcc and the GPL, free software wouldn't be a fraction of what it is today.

            Without gcc, sure. But without the GPL.... not that big a deal.

            The big difference in what Linus did, vs what other people (*BSD) did before him, was NOT the license. The license was *NOT* what made linux popular. The difference was in choice of management over what stuff gets included, and what doesnt. etc, etc.

            Linus could just have easily have chosen the BSD license, or the apache license, or (insert reasonably "free-to-use" license here), and things would have progressed pretty much the same way.

            T

        • I find it short-sighted of the jury to have ignored this aspect of things and if I were Linus Torvald, I would share the prize with Stallman in a very public gesture.

          Patience, there's always next year's prize.

          Personally, I would rate RMS's contribution even more influential than Linus's, being fundamental to both GCC and Linux for starters, but it's a close call.

        • by hairyfeet (841228) <bassbeast1968@@@gmail...com> on Friday April 20, 2012 @07:42AM (#39744635) Journal

          I think you are wrong and here is why: RMS has made it pretty clear that as far as he is concerned the GPL V2 is completely broken and therefor only GPL V3 should be used, yet Linus won't license the kernel under GPL V3 nor will any of the devices mentioned like phones, TVs, and the bazillion other embedded devices that use Linux be using it right now if it had been under GPL V3.

          The problem is when it comes to RMS like a lot of groups that were also originally started with good intentions such as PETA and Greenpeace as time goes along and he doesn't see the world adopt his beliefs he is becoming more and more militant. Read the man's own words in for instance the GPL VS LGPL debates and its quite clear that all those that say "The GPL is an infection" frankly would have a supporter in RMS because that is what he wants. For him its no longer about making good software that you are free to modify but about pushing an agenda and while i'll get hate for saying this frankly in the last 5 years his anti-corporation stance has become IMHO almost Marxist in his hatred of corporations. Read the man's writings and you'll see a progression from optimism to a lot darker vision, even going so far as to refuse interviews unless you use HIS language the way HE declares it to be which if that isn't the height of arrogance and self importance i don't know what is.

          So I'm sorry but Linus would have gotten along just fine without RMS and in fact if it would have continued to follow RMS instead of refusing to go GPL V3 like he did then I have no doubt Linux as we know it today would be all but dead as the corps simply would have went with BSD or some other OS that didn't actively fight them at every turn. Linus could have easily used the existing BSD tools and I doubt Linux would be all that different than it is today and I'd argue the simple fact that so few of the mainstream projects are adopting GPL V3 just shows that RMS no longer speaks for the majority, if he ever did.

          • by unixisc (2429386)

            I fully agree w/ this. Had GPL not existed, Torvalds might have released Linux under a BSD, MIT or one of the many myriad licenses out there, or written his own (just like Apache, Mozilla, Sun, et al had done), and Linux may have been none the worse for it. In fact, I daresay that if he could have easily moved Linux to a non-GPL license like Apache to make it more attractive to businesses, he might have - it's not a trivial exercise for him to do any more than the FSF could pull Linux under GPL3.

            For som

            • Dude,

              You cannot be a marxist without controlling everything, including information. Marxism cannot exist except under authoritarian rule, and people like Chavez make extensive use of controlling information to maintain their dictatorial control over the populace. Chavez isn't doing any favors for his people, and for people like you to think he is is just proof that you can't reason the cause and effect the nature of governance.

              In other words ... Chavez is Big Brother. The very thing you extol as virtuous is

            • by hairyfeet (841228)

              Here is what turned me off of anything that RMS touches, the simple fact that you are "free" to do as he says, and that is it. you read his blogs and he makes it quite clear that anyway other than the GPL way should be openly attacked and banned, and uses the classic Dubya "You're with me or against me" language all over his writings. The word compromise simply doesn't exist in RMS land and he is so blinded by his desire for Communism that he blathers on and on about Chavez and Castro while at the same time

      • Do we really need a computer genius getting together with a DNA specialist, creating some freaky thing from a Terminator movie?

      • Linux and open source in general, created more opportunity and employment than all the politicians combined. While the wealth wasn't concentrated in his hands like the Ellison's and Gates' of the world, what he started created a lot of income for many others.

        Wow, that's a perspective I never considered. Linus and RMS gave to the world more in terms of absolute dollars than the combined greed of Larry Ellison and Bill Gates managed to take away. Now, who is greater?

      • by Tough Love (215404) on Friday April 20, 2012 @12:18AM (#39742709)

        ...and tame ego of Linus...

        And whatever gave you the idea that Linus's ego is tame? Linus himself would be happy to disabuse you of that misaprehension. [google.com]

      • by unixisc (2429386)

        Had Stallman actually produced good software (since Emacs), I would have agreed that he deserves credit here. But if it's only going to be about licenses, I'd put ESR ahead of RMS in this one - at least, the former isn't a sanctimonious fanatic moralizing about every aspect of software usage. His latest - dinging Saas [gnu.org], and continuing w/ his tinfoil theories on how services abuse you by getting you to voluntarily hand over your data. But hey - neither he nor his guys can write an OS - having failed to do

      • tame ego of Linus

        I'm not sure if the openBSD/openSUSE guys would agree.

      • I agree Linus does deserve it the guy gave away an idea that was worth billions. The guy is all class. Plus his open source innovation paved the way for all the open source products of today congrats Linus.
        • by swillden (191260)

          I agree Linus does deserve it the guy gave away an idea that was worth billions.

          What idea was that? I respect Linus and Linux, but there really aren't many novel ideas in the kernel, and what novel ideas are there didn't come from Linus. Linus' achievement was primarily figuring out how to get first tens, then hundreds, then thousands of other developers to pitch in and help him out -- and for creating a process that allows him to manage such an enormous flow of contributions without sacrificing code quality, losing control of the project, or pissing people off so much they stopped h

      • by swillden (191260)

        Stallman deserves credit too, for the creation of the GPL and the GNU tools Linus used

        I don't think so.

        I'm not knocking Stallman, but this is a prize for contributions to technology, not for contributions to the philosophy of technology. Stallman's contributions to technology are not insignificant, but he would have to get the prize for his work on EMACS, gcc, etc. And while those aren't trivial, his technical contributions to them is, at this point, far less significant than Linus Torvalds' technical contributions to Linux. They also suffer from a lack of visibility, which admittedly i

    • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday April 19, 2012 @07:02PM (#39740857)
      Besides, we all know it should go posthumously to Steve Jobs for his technological innovation in...well...nothing really. But STEVE JOBS!
      • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday April 19, 2012 @07:21PM (#39740985)
        Don't forget his mother—she created Jobs for a lot of us.
      • by Anonymous Coward

        No, he invented the rounded corners. Don't forget that. And all those thousands of Apple employees, none of them could do anything at all without Steve Jobs showing them how. And Wozniak? He never took a calligraphy class so there's no way he could possibly have designed anything useful.

        (anonymous to avoid the inquisition)

      • by jsfs (1329511)
        Steve Holt!
    • by dkleinsc (563838)

      Actually, what really happened is that Tove threatened to kick the butt of everybody on the committee if they didn't pick Linus, because she's just that awesome.

      But seriously, well-deserved, as the guy has had a huge impact on the future of operating systems and project management.

  • Innovation (Score:4, Funny)

    by Sponge Bath (413667) on Thursday April 19, 2012 @07:01PM (#39740849)

    The first to write a Unix like operating system?
    The first to write a free Unix like operating system?
    The first to use a penguin as a mascot for an operating system.

    Innovation.

    • Re:Innovation (Score:5, Insightful)

      by moranar (632206) on Thursday April 19, 2012 @07:05PM (#39740875) Homepage Journal

      Get bent. Digging deep enough, and being enough of a smartass, nothing is actually innovative. Meanwhile, other people are writing world-class operating systems for the love of the game.

      • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

        by Osgeld (1900440)

        digging deep enough? really? OK lets see how far we have to dig, Linux, Minix, Unix.

        Holy shit! someone call the archeologists, historians, and philosophers, its a real damn mystery

    • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

      by Anonymous Coward

      And your contribution is?

      Thought so.

    • Re:Innovation (Score:4, Interesting)

      by IANAAC (692242) on Thursday April 19, 2012 @07:38PM (#39741113)

      If you were around before Linux had a mascot, you'd remember that there was a lot of criticism for choosing a penguin as the mascot. For a variety of reasons.

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward

      The first develop an operating system in the open and build a successful development community around that operating system. To encourage everyone - from hobbyist to multinational corporation to participate in its development and benefit from it without looking for personal compensation.

    • by unixisc (2429386)
      For the first 2, doesn't the credit belong at least partially to Tanenbaum, whose Minix provided the model on which to build this OS? I think that Torvalds' organizational skills are what won him this award - after all, Tanenbaum hasn't been able to make Minix even close to successful to the extent that Torvalds has for Linux.
    • by gl4ss (559668)

      how many supercomputers run minix? not too many.

      being first or latest isn't the point, that it's useful and popular is the point.

  • Congratulations Mr. Torvalds and Mr. Yamanaka, well done!
  • Well deserved.
  • Misnomer? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Guppy06 (410832) on Thursday April 19, 2012 @10:02PM (#39742051)

    The Millennium Technology Prize is awarded ever two years

    Wouldn't that make it "The Biennial Technology Prize?"

  • Does this mean that it's finally the year of Linux on the stem cell?
  • Why wouldn't Stallman, who kept software as the open, available and academic exercise that is modeled on the principles of Science not get any recognition at the same time as Linus? Are you all on Minix/Linux or BSD/Linux? Is there some punch-bowl turd not using Linux on anything that wants to chime in knowing that portion of the comment wasn't directed at them?

    And, of course...HAPPY HOLIDAYS!

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