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Linus Torvalds Officially a Hero 406

CortoMaltese writes "The European edition of the Time magazine has selected Linus Torvalds as one of the heroes of the past 60 years. From the main article: 'In the 60 years that Time has been publishing an Atlantic edition, extraordinary people have emerged from the churn and turmoil, creativity and chaos of a period that witnessed the aftermath of world war, the toppling of communism in Central and Eastern Europe, the vanquishing of apartheid in South Africa, the advance of women, the failure of old certainties and the rise of new fears. These people are our heroes, and in this special anniversary issue, we celebrate them and their many achievements.' The article on Linus is titled 'By giving away his software, the Finnish programmer earned a place in history.' Linus is cited in the 'Rebels & Leaders' category along with Nelson Mandela, Mikhail Gorbachev, Margaret Thatcher, and others."
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Linus Torvalds Officially a Hero

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  • Re:Heroes (Score:3, Informative)

    by Sergeant Beavis ( 558225 ) on Monday November 13, 2006 @03:27PM (#16827134) Homepage
    I guess Bill giving away all of his money isn't good enough.
  • by Martin Blank ( 154261 ) on Monday November 13, 2006 @03:49PM (#16827480) Homepage Journal
    There has been some growing unease about Mother Teresa and the practices that her order followed, including lack of proper medical hygiene in her hospices and baptism of non-Christians as they lay dying. There have also been allegations that her hospices allow excruciating pain to continue, on the basis that suffering is divine (as Jesus Christ suffered), and therefore more likely to get the patient into heaven. She did do some good things, especially in publicizing the plight of the downtrodden in Calcutta and similar cities, but that may have been counterbalanced by the suffering that she allowed.

    Princess Diana, OTOH, was vocal about her chosen cause -- removal of mines in warfare and helping the non-military victims of them -- and raised millions for it, and much of it was directed to ease the suffering of the often-poor people who fell victim to old mines laid by any nation, without care for what side they favored or what religion they were. I don't label her a hero, but I also have my doubts about Mother Teresa.
  • by dfghjk ( 711126 ) on Monday November 13, 2006 @04:16PM (#16827902)
    BSD already had a C compiler! If there were no Linux and no GNU, there would be a lot of developers available to do similar things with different names (assuming there's a comparable free software movement at all).

    The opportunity for Linux to come into existance at all was due to GNU not making progress on a kernel and BSD being tied up in their legal battles. Had history unfolded differently it's not clear we'd be any worse off. Frankly starting with the experienced codebase of BSD would seem better IMO.
  • by Perdo ( 151843 ) on Monday November 13, 2006 @04:21PM (#16827960) Homepage Journal
    No one will deny René Descartes' contribution to establishing a framework for the scientific method, but Einstein's work is never attributed to Descartes.

    Linus knows he is standing on the shoulders of giants, including RMS's shoulders. RMS's clear lack of self esteem prevents him from knowing he is a giant, thus his campaign to co opt attribution of Linus's work.
  • Re:Heroes (Score:3, Informative)

    by Total_Wimp ( 564548 ) on Monday November 13, 2006 @04:38PM (#16828224)
    No, that was Bill's friend, Warren Buffett. Bill gave a nice percentage, but he kept far more than he gave.

    Bill is awesome for giving as much as he did. Don't mean to put him down. Just wanted to give credit where credit was due to Buffett, who's giving away basically everything.

  • by levork ( 160540 ) on Monday November 13, 2006 @05:07PM (#16828726) Homepage
    Spyglass then went broke.

    Uh, no, Spyglass was bought out for $2.5 billion []. Granted, this was a stock exchange at the height of the dot com boom, but it's hard to call that going broke.

  • Re:Troll ? (Score:1, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday November 13, 2006 @05:22PM (#16829026)
    Of course, if you would have read the article correctly, you would have seen that each profile is written by a different author.

    The Thatcher article, in particular, was written by a Czech Prime Minister, who believes that Thatcher provided a successful political model for post-Communist countries, like his own, to follow. Who else would you get to write an article to praise Thatcher but a Thatcherite?

    I'm also puzzled by your comparison of Thatcher to Bush. Why not compare Thatcher to Churchill or Roosevelt? It's a more apt comparison as the article is celebrating Thatcher for being being on the winning side of a struggle to end the worst totalitarian regime of the twentieth century, not being stuck in an uncontrollable millitary situation for no good reason.


  • Re:Heroes (Score:4, Informative)

    by smitingpurpleemu ( 951712 ) on Monday November 13, 2006 @05:26PM (#16829112)
    Ronald Reagan back in the 1980's called the Mujihadeen in Afghanistan (and by association Mullah Omar and Osama himself) freedom fighters for fighting against the USSR.... I'm sure that's what the poster was referring to. Those then-freedom fighters are now the terrorists that are fighting the Americans in Afghanistan.
  • Re:Heroes (Score:3, Informative)

    by sp3d2orbit ( 81173 ) on Monday November 13, 2006 @05:58PM (#16829692)
    I'm glad you brought up the American revolution. I can't think of a better example that shows so clearly the difference between freedom fighters and terrorists. Start by comparing the opening salvos of the American revolution with the Al Qaeda's initial moves. Two events are most commonly associated with the start of American revolution: 1) The Boston Tea Party 2) The Declaration of Independence. Our founding fathers got pissed off and threw some tea into the ocean. Then they got together and wrote a document talking about how all men were created equal, signed it, and waited for the British to attack.

    Compare that to Al Qaeda's initially moves. Instead of tossing tea into the ocean, they murdered >2000 innocent civilians. Instead of taking credit for the attacks and standing up for his principles, Osama cowardly denied that he had anything to do with it. Al Qaeda has no Declaration of Independence; they have no founding principles of equality or liberty.

    As the war went on, American diplomats were actively engaged with the other world powers of the time. We talked to France and secured their assistance (though only after we had demonstrated the ability to win battles). We had concrete demands for the end of the war: simply our independence. On the contrary, Al Qaeda makes no effort to engage in politics (only war). They have no demands for an end of the war (only death to Israel and the infidels).

    See, while both parties engage(d) in violence, only one of the two groups had (have) an interest in ending the battle and making the lives of themselves and others better.
  • Re:Heroes (Score:2, Informative)

    by carl0ski ( 838038 ) on Monday November 13, 2006 @06:25PM (#16830166) Journal
    it's not impossible various TRojans like Blaster Worm and MyDoom launched DOS attacks from Windows Machine grinding the Internet in some countries to a trickle
  • by Abreu ( 173023 ) on Monday November 13, 2006 @06:51PM (#16830560)
    I think too many people here missed the "haha" at the start of my comment...

    Of course, I appreciate the upmodding even though I was aiming for a +3, Funny, instead of a +5 Insightful
  • by fumblebruschi ( 831320 ) on Tuesday November 14, 2006 @12:53PM (#16839370)
    You raise a good point: there is very little that has been written about her that is genuinely non-partisan, and the non-partisan sources are generally either not in-depth (articles about her in Time magazine, for instance) or written in circumstances that don't lend themselves to impartial consideration (such as her Nobel laureate biography.)

    However, I believe you mistake in "skipping the sources that have a relation to the Catholic church". For one thing, since *all* sources that deal with her are partisan in one way or another, you are simply removing one source of bias and relying on a different source of bias, which of course will skew your conclusions. For another, you're mistaken in thinking that Catholic writers are universally hagiographical in dealing with her; she was criticised by orders within the Church (particularly the Jesuits) for what they saw, with some reason, as her Catholic bigotry ("bigotry" in the non-racial sense, meaning "excessive belief in the superiority of the Catholic religion.") (Of course, there are also Catholics even further to the extreme than she was, who criticized her for idolatry, because she attended Buddhist services.)

    As you suggest, it is of course best to judge for yourself after looking at all the sources: from people who were her enemies for religious reasons; from people who supported her politically but opposed her theologically; from people who considered her solely as a temporal figure; and others. Some of the sources aren't worth anything, of course, both (on one side) the people who viewed her uncritically as a living saint, and (on the other) the people who castigate her as cynical and mercenary. For Catholic views you can see the Proceedings of the Roman Curia, which is charged with reviewing her life and actions, and takes into account all criticism of her from both within and without the Church. For external views, there is a Hindu group that publishes criticism of her, beginning with Aroup Chatterjee's "Open Letter to Mother Teresa" which was published a few years ago. Hindu criticism falls under three main heads: the nuns of her order generally did not speak Bengali (the native language of most of their patients); international funds raised for her order were, ultimately, under the control of the Vatican; and (in their view) she did not show enough respect for the Hindu religion. (Chatterjee also wrote a book about her that was called The Final Verdict; it's a good source, but calling his verdict "final" is probably optimistic.)

    Finally, you can read op-ed pieces about her in any newspaper from the last thirty years; people seem to give more weight to the negative than the positive, but to me they all look equally poorly-researched and agenda-driven. You can't give much credence to a writer who speaks of Teresa's "journey to your heart", nor to one who makes an angry charge that she wasn't really dedicated to helping the poor because she herself lived in poverty.

If I have seen farther than others, it is because I was standing on the shoulders of giants. -- Isaac Newton