The King of Planet Linux
At 21, wearing a ratty robe in a darkened room in his mother's Helsinki apartment, Torvalds wrote the kernel of an operating system that can now be found inside a boggling array of machines and devices. He posted it on the Internet and invited other programmers to improve it. Since then, tens of thousands of them have, making Linux perhaps the single largest collaborative project in the planet's history. Twelve years on, the operating system is robust enough to run the world's most powerful supercomputers yet sleek and versatile enough to run inside consumer toys like TiVo, as well as television set-top boxes and portable devices such as cell phones and handhelds.