The Computer History Museum Tuesday night honored three legends in the industry, including Linux-creator Linus Torvalds whose operating system became the catalyst for the open-source software movement that challenged traditional concepts of intellectual property.
Along with Torvalds, the museum honored at its annual Fellow Awards ceremony Jean Bartik, one of the first programmers of the ENIAC computing system that later evolved into the first stored-program computer; and Bob Metcalfe, who led the invention, standardization and commercialization of the Ethernet local-area networking system for PCs.
Torvalds, 38, described how he worked alone on Linux for six months at Helsinki University of Technology before accepting help from other developers. "It actually took awhile before I learned to trust people," he said.
As time went on, Torvalds found people who understood what he was trying to do and were willing to contribute code to the nascent operating system that would one day challenge Microsoft (NSDQ: MSFT)'s Windows in running business applications on computer servers. Key to Linux's success was the open-source model used in its development.