The readings for this week are:

  1. Birth of a Nerd

  2. Birth of an Operating System


For this week, we will be reading the autobiography of Linus Torvalds, whom many consider the ultimate hacker:

And I basically sat in front of a computer for four years... My order was always the same: a Coke and a doughnut... Yes, I was definitely a geek. No question about it... So I would be sitting in front of a computer and be perfectly happy.

For this upcoming week, you are to consider the following questions as you perform the readings and participate in class:

  1. In what ways did Linus Torvalds's upbringing resemeble yours? In what ways was it different? What elements of his childhood contributed to his development as a hacker?

  2. What drove Linus Torvalds to create his own operating system? What was his original motivation? What resources did he have? Who did he work with? How much planning or how serious did he take his endeavor?

  3. What itch do you currently have? That is, what sort of problem or project do you wish you could solve... just for fun?

Note, you should not simply list the questions and answer each one directly. Instead, the questions are there to help you brainstorm about the question:

Do you find the story of Linus Torvalds' upbringing and creation of Linux inspiring, interesting, or irrelevant? How does his story compare to other computing luminaries such as Bill Gates or Steve Jobs? What do you wish your story to be?