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Who wrote Linux? The second installment of tall tales

Here are two more tall tales from readers who want to know who really wrote Linux.

It's no wonder Linux is awash in lawsuits. No sooner do I reveal the real truth about Linux – that I wrote it! -- than a bunch of Johnny-come-latelies try to horn in on the action. It's a good thing I didn't spill the beans about time-traveling back to invent the wheel.

I'm sharing the contents of my mailbag with trepidation, but it's my duty to show the world just how the truth can get warped when money is involved. The money's only the $50 gift certificate we're offering for the best story, so imagine how crazy the stories would get if millions were involved. Oh, yeah, we don't have to imagine that. Thanks, Mr. McBride.

So, here are the first two stories, in the writers' own words. Then, check out the rest of the series. If you can outdo these tall tales, send your story to

According to Mark Adams…

I wrote Linux. It's true! Or rather, God did. And he coded it in Hebrew and Greek. I discovered this while working on a secret research project, to discover -- using Bible code -- the true cause of the sinking of the Titanic.

Try it yourself! Take every 1,342nd character from the King James Bible beginning Exodus 14:32, transliterate into the 8-bit bytes using a base26 algorithm, and you have a tar file containing the Linux 2.2.12 source code.

Interestingly, using some of the Dead Sea Scrolls, I've managed to get an earlier version. Some of the Scrolls are missing, and my Hebrew is limited, so its difficult to tell, bit I think its around version 1.0.4.

I'm currently working with the latest reprint of the New International Version, which, by the looks of it, gets you the 2.6.0-test9 version. I suppose if we start with the latest source code and work back we should be able to get a Bible which hasn't been written yet?

According to Kevin Kunreuther…

I wrote Linux ... or should I refer to its actual name, Kevinux. It began when I lost control of my original project, a knock-off of the Lisa/Mac GUI that would work on top of MS-DOS, called KevinDOS (pronounced ke vin dowz). Some enterprising young poker-playing geek with a fast-talking, balding, bullying business type bloke came into my upstairs Dallas loft one day and offered me 50 grand for the whole shebang before it was even at version 0.01. Needless to say, I happily took the money and now must apologize to the world (but not to Steve Jobs; he wanted to take over the world, too, you know. I'll never forgive him for causing the death of the Apple II, a true hacker's machine).

Flush with cash, I bought a new PC and thought about a new project: MS-DOS was a dog, so how about a Unix-like OS for PCs? At the local university, I was able to get these free editing tools and a compiler. The license on these tools was like nothing I've ever read before on a piece of software and gave me great pause: Was the creator of these tools a Commie Socialist hippie out to destroy Reagan's America via its technological underbelly, or was this character a profound libertarian and marketing genius?

I went with the path of least resistance and used the tools. Thus began the beginnings of Kevinux v 0.01.

Mind you it wasn't created totally out of a vacuum. In fact, I literally pulled the first code out of my (region in the human's southern hemisphere -- editor). Apparently while writing, I was exhausted and lay my head down on top of my work and ate the results in my sleep. Now I know why it's called roughage.

After many false starts and true endings, I finally had a version that made me happy. I hooked up to the Internet on my brand new 9600 bps modem and sent it off to my Finnish penpal, Linus Torvalds, who was looking for a new kind of e-mail reader for his machine. I asked him what changes would he make or suggest, and I never heard from the snake again.

One thunderstorm later, my computer and my backups went up in flames and Kevinux was no more. A year and a half later, there was this new Linux kernel that looked suspiciously like Kevinux with a lot of extra stuff and a GPL attached. Well, I admit it worked better than my original, and nobody was making any money off it, so I thought, "It's just a hobbyist OS." I happily used the rest of my money from the fast-talking geek to buy a Beboxen, thinking that this machine would be the future. Oops, goofed again. The rest is history.

But I'm working on a new project now ... this time we do away with hardware and and the Web and just do all our information processing and communication via our brains and broadcast it via antennas on back of our skulls. No ads. No proprietary work. All free to share info. The end of proprietary copyrights.

Hang on. A guy from Utah with a bunch of dollar bills in his hand just came into the room. I'll have to get back to you on this later.

Stay tuned for more stories.

What? You say that you created Linux? Well, Dr. Tuxenstein, let's hear your story. Tell me how, when, where and why you created Linux. The best story I receive-- as judged by an impartial jury of editors -- will win a $50 gift certificate. The runner-up will receive an excellent IT book from – you guessed it -- Prentice Hall. Send your entries to

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