Linus Benedict Torvalds was born on December 28, 1969 in Helsinki, the capital and largest city in Finland.Many members of the family were journalists. His parents, Nils and Anna Torvalds, were both radicals at the University of Helsinki during the 1960s. His father was a Communist who spent a year studying in Moscow in the mid-1970s and later became a radio journalist. His mother worked for a Finnish newspaper as a translator and a creator of news graphics.
In 1987 Torvalds used his savings to buy his first computer, a Sinclair QL. This was one of the world's first 32-bit computers for home use. With its Motorola 68008 processor running at 7.5MHz and 128KB of RAM , this was a big step up from his grandfather's Commodore Vic 20. However, he soon became unhappy with it because of it could not be reprogrammed due to the operating system residing in ROM.
In 1988 Torvalds followed in the footsteps of his parents and enrolled in the University of Helsinki, the premier institution of higher education in Finland. By that time he was already an accomplished programmer, and, naturally, he majored in computer science. In 1990 he took his first class in the C programming language, the language that he would soon use to write the Linux kernel.
After a visit to Transmeta in late 1996, Torvalds accepted a position at the company in California, where he would work from February 1997 until June 2003. He then moved to the Open Source Development Labs, which has since merged with the Free Standards Group to become the Linux Foundation, under whose auspices he continues to work. In June 2004, Torvalds and his family moved to Portland, Oregon, to be closer to the OSDL's Beaverton, Oregon–based headquarters.From 1997 to 1999 he was involved in 86open helping to choose the standard binary format for Linux and Unix. In 1999 he was named by the MIT Technology Review TR100 as one of the top 100 innovators, under the age of 35, in the world.
In 1999 Red Hat and VA Linux, both leading developers of Linux-based software, presented Torvalds with stock options in gratitude for his creation. That same year both companies went public and Torvalds' share value temporarily shot up to roughly $20 million.
Till 2003 Torvalds worked at Transmeta Corp. in California as a software developer while continuing to supervise the development of the Linux kernel. In 2003 he became a fellow at Open Source Development Labs (OSDL), a Linux-development consortium in Beaverton, Oreg.; OSDL was merged in 2007 into the Linux Foundation (est. 2007), which now sponsors his work. He became a U.S. citizen in 2010.
In 1998 Torvalds received an EFF Pioneer Award. In 2000 he was awarded the Lovelace Medal from the British Computer Society.In 2001, he shared the Takeda Award for Social/Economic Well-Being with Richard Stallman and Ken Sakamura. In 2008, he was inducted into the Hall of Fellows of the Computer History Museum in Mountain View, California. He was awarded the C&C Prize by the NEC Corporation in 2010 for contributions to the advancement of the information technology industry, education, research, and the improvement of our lives.
On April 23, 2012 at Internet Society's Global INET conference in Geneva, Switzerland, Torvalds was one of the inaugural inductees into the Internet Hall of Fame, one of ten in the Innovators category and thirty-three overall inductees.
Lessons we should learn from Linus Torvalds:-
His motivating factor, then, was not to earn money from a superior product, but just simply to build a better quality, more reliable operating system. He was described as a perfectionist and sore loser. He was very focused on computers and ignored other activities such as sports to program in solitude.