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Who wrote Linux? Better whoppers than SCO's, part 3

The editor opens her mailbag and unleashes more missives from those who claim to be a Linux luminary.

My true story about how I wrote Linux and Linus Torvalds ended up with it reads like a pleasant English cosy. How could it possibly have spawned so many tales that read like South Park scripts?


Who Wrote Linux? The second installment of tall tales


Who Wrote Linux? I did! No, Harry did! Or was it the monkey?

With that word of warning, prepare to read these missives from my mailbag. Each is presented (mostly) in the writers' own words. (Some editing has been done, but probably not enough!) Then, carry on and check out the other tall tales in this series. If you can outdo them, send your story to

According to Greg Hart…

It all started as I was seated in a public restroom in the heart of Redmond. I had just written the world's slickest OS on the world's slickest toilet paper. It was simple and concise: NO-OP, DISPL-BSOD, HALT. Alas and naturally, I left my notes behind.

I decided to try again, this time authoring my work on a real computer of the day -- the DEC PDP-11/70. I wrote day and night until I was exhausted, then wrote some more. I flipped switches. I watched blinking lights. I was entranced by the deafening tone of oversized cabinet fans blowing air from the floor up through the top of the six- foot-tall, black-and-maroon cabinets.

Finally the perfect OS was complete. I knew it was perfect because it compiled without errors.

But I did not write this OS to execute on a PDP-11/70, as fine a machine as it was. I wanted nothing less than the perfect instruction set to execute my perfect OS, so I created that perfect instruction set and generated my perfect OS object for it, knowing that someday an engineer as smart as I would create a computer with the perfect instruction set.

Suddenly, and without explanation, I was in Helsinki chatting up my perfect OS with a young student named Linus. That's when the news hit like a power surge: the perfect instruction set exists -- on a Pentium CPU! The price is low so nearly everybody can afford one. Wouldn't it be a great idea if my perfect OS was available to everyone at little or no cost? Everyone could enjoy it and not be committed to expensive hardware and proprietary OSes.

I wanted to name my perfect OS the Diligent Operating System, but there was a feeling of emptiness and incompleteness. I wanted a name reflecting its harmless and passive nature. I was set on EUNUCHS but Linus felt he deserved some credit for pairing the perfect OS with the perfect CPU. Thusly was created the name LINUX. Now those seeking quality and cost effectiveness use the Linux OS on the Pentium CPU.

Although Linus remains in the limelight, I prefer the obscurity of techno-geeks. My days as a PDP-11/70 monkey are over. I sometimes wonder what happened to that toilet paper I left behind in Redmond. I hope some fool didn't actually believe it was a good idea.

According to Michel Clasquin…

With respect to your recent article, I feel that I must object to the various claims, all completely false and spurious, of people claiming to be the original authors of Linux.

In fact, no-one ever "invented" Linux, and it is a grave heresy to make such a claim. Linux is the primeval squawk of the Great Penguin, the original Great Algorithm that set the so-called Big Bang in motion. In this particular nexus of space-time, Linux has chosen to manifest itself as a Computer Operating System (and note how that abbreviates to COS, the first syllable of "cosmos"); but, we should not let that fool us. Linux has always existed in some form or another and always will. It guards us like the penguin guards its egg.

Linus Torvalds did not "invent" Linux, nor did anyone else. He merely tapped into the ageless wisdom of the Great Computer Consciousness (GCC) that surrounds us all and set in motion the rebooting of human consciousness. In this, he was aided by the Great Natural Unfolding (GNU), as prophesied by the prophet Richard, the man of the stalls, which is why this particular manifestation is known as Gnu/Linux.

Let us therefore rejoice and exclaim together: "There is no OS but Linux, and Linus Torvalds is its prophet during this Dark Age of Redmond."

Donations may be forwarded to the First Church of Linuxianity, P.O. Box ...

According to Hector Rodriguez…

I never was fortunate enough to own a computer and didn't know anyone who had one. One day playing baseball I was the catcher. Because I was sitting a little too close, the batter hit me on the head and knocked me right out. When I awoke about 10 seconds later, I ran home for some reason. I don't understand it myself. Then, I grabbed some paper and starting writing a bunch of code. It just looked like a bunch of garbage, but I had to write it all down in order to analyze it and see what it all meant.

Linus came over later that day, and he saw the code. He said, "Wow, I never knew you could code." I was like, "What?" So, he asked me who wrote the code, and I said "I did.' I explained what had happened, and he asked to borrow it to see what it did.

I never did see Linus again, and next thing I know he is famous for creating a OS called Linux. Upon examination of the code, I realized it was exactly as I wrote it, but I never did have any way to prove it. So, rather then suffer great humiliation, I let it all go. But I do pray that the Lord will send me more much needed code.

That's how Linux was born. I truly believe that the Lord had gifted me with this code. So, next time you pray, thank the Lord for such a great gift and pray that he should give me more code.

According to Debbie Johnson…

No, I'm not going to take credit for writing Linux; but I think we all know who created Linux don't we? It was Linus' mother, of course.

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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