Linux at 20, and getting to hear someone who’s been there since the start

I’ve had the good fortune of hearing Jon “Maddog” Hall speak a few times this year. Today was made even more special in that it’s close to the 20th anniversary to Linus Torvald’s announcement that he had begun work on his own free Unix-style kernel. Maddog has been involved since the beginning with Linux, and is one of the most amazing advocates of FOSS on the planet. Among other things he is currnently involved with Project Caua and has been the director of Linux International for 17 years.

Hearing him talk about the beginnings of Linux today was amazing. Flying Linus out to New Orleans to demonstrate Linux, and then the effort to port it the DEC Alpha platform… it took a lot of people and a lot of vision — and dumb luck.

The single thought that kept ringing through my head was a scent from my favorite TV Show ever, the West Wing.

President Bartlet: There’s a promise that I ask everyone who works here to make: never doubt that a small group of thoughtful and committed citizens can change the world. You know why?
Will Bailey: It’s the only thing that ever has.

Maddog was around, and was lucky and intelligent enough to be a part of one of those moments that truly changed the world. Thanks to him and all of the others involved, and I can only hope that I’m given the same opportunity one day.

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