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'Almost Anybody Can Have An Idea' -- Linus Torvalds

from the obvious,-really dept

A constant theme here on Techdirt is that it's not the idea that's crucial, but the execution. Here's someone who seems to agree:

People like to idolize the "ideas" and "inspiration", but in the end, almost anybody can have an idea. Getting things actually done is where people stumble.
The person speaking those words -- Linus Torvalds -- certainly hasn't stumbled much. In January 1992, only about 100 people in the world were using his Linux kernel, which he had written as a 21-year-old student in his Helsinki bedroom, on a PC with 4MB of RAM. Twenty years later, Linux sits at the heart of some 300 million Android devices, with 850,000 more being added every day, and runs 91% of the world's top 500 supercomputing systems.

The idea of writing a kernel for Richard Stallman's GNU operating system was obvious to everyone -- it was the key piece still missing. In fact, a year before Torvalds started Linux, Stallman himself had begun working on a version called the Hurd, along with a few fellow coders of his Free Software Foundation.

Despite this impeccable pedigree, the Hurd is being used today by only a tiny fraction of the hundreds of millions running Linux -- further evidence that it's really not the idea, but the execution that counts.

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Filed Under: execution, fsf, gnu, idea, inspiration, linus torvalds, linux

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  1. icon
    Richard (profile), 27 Apr 2012 @ 3:53am

    Re: Re:

    How does one take an idea? Do you lose the ability to think if someone has the same idea as you do?

    Lets see, idea theft, oooh I know:
    - Finding Nemo
    - Shark tales
    Seemed a bit fishy to me.


    - A bug's life
    - Antz
    Something buzzing yet?


    - Kung-fu Panda
    - Skunk-fu
    Or do we need to karate-chop it into you?

    Make em laugh

    - Be a clown

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