Faces behind Linux — Part #1

What/who you imagine when you hear the names “Ubuntu”, “Debian”, “Slackware”, etc?  Is this tux, penguin, disribution logo? Have you ever wondered who is behind certain Linux distribution?

Ian Murdock -- Debian LinuxIan Murdock (left) founded Debian while a student in 1993. He named Debian after himself and his then-girlfriend Debra, now his ex-wife, thus Deb(ra) and Ian.

From Ian’s blog:

Debian was one of the first Linux distributions and arguably the first open source project that explicity set out to be developed in a decentralized fashion by a group of volunteers. Today, over 1,000 volunteers are involved in Debian’s development, and there are millions of Debian users worldwide.


Mark Shuttleworth -- Ubuntu LinuxMark Shuttleworth (right) who founded Ubuntu Linux was the second space tourist and one of Debian’s key developers. His biography is too interesting to be published here so just use google to get more facts. Mark:

I can pay, however, because ten years ago when I was still studying at the University of Cape Town in South Africa… Linux allowed me to compete with the best companies in the world, without any obstacles between me and success. That made me a billionaire; so I could fly into space and do many other wonderful things.

Gael Duval -- Mandriva LinuxGaël Duval (left) was born 1973. He is a graduate of the Caen University in France where studied networks and documentary applications. In July 1998, he created Mandrake Linux (now Mandriva Linux), a Linux distribution originally based on Red Hat Linux and KDE. He was also a co-founder of MandrakeSoft (now merged in Mandriva) with Jacques Le Marois and Frédéric Bastok. Gaël Duval was responsible for communication in the Mandriva management team until he was laid off by the company in March 2006, in a round of cost-cutting. Duval suspected part of the reason for his dismissal was disagreement with management over the company’s future strategy, resulting in a lawsuit against the company. Gael:

It was clear for me that Linux had the potential to be an excellent alternative to Windows, or maybe even a full replacement, and at the time I thought that it would be good to provide a Linux distribution that would be as easy to use as Windows.

Patrick Volkerding -- Slackware LinuxPatrick Volkerding (right) was born 20th October 1966. He is the founder and maintainer of the Slackware Linux distribution. He is the “Slackware Benevolent Dictator for Life”. Volkerding earned a Bachelor of Science in computer science from Minnesota State University Moorhead in 1993. Patrick in 1994:

Linux is my big fun project right now – gets pretty crazy sometimes trying to keep up with all of the development going on; for instance, last week the new C libraries, GCC, and kernel were all released within a couple days of each other. Luckily, I like keeping my machine current. Judging from the mail I get when things fall a bit behind, so does everyone else.

Daniel Robbins -- Gentoo LinuxDaniel Robbins (left) is best known as a founder of Gentoo Linux project. During his time as a system administrator at the University of New Mexico in Albuquerque Robbins first came into contact with Linux. He became a developer on Stampede Linux, and later formed his own distribution Enoch Linux, which was later renamed Gentoo in 2002.
Daniel in 2007:

The logic is as follows: it is impossible to write a kernel module without it being a derivative work of the kernel, which is GPL, so in turn the module itself must be distributed under the terms of the GPL and thus cannot be binary-only/proprietary in nature.

To be continued…

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Stefan Durand

My name is Stefan, I'm the admin of LinuxScrew. I am a full-time Linux/Unix sysadmin, a hobby Python programmer, and a part-time blogger. I post useful guides, tips, and tutorials on common Linux and Programming issues. Feel free to reach out in the comment section.

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