978-1-58799-151-6 / 1587991519

Just for Fun: The Story of an Accidental Revolutionary

by Torvalds, Linus

Publisher:W W Norton & Co Inc



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About the book:

Linus Torvalds wrote the Linux kernel but Just For Fun could refer to writing the book. It isn't about Linux, it's about Linus. Here he tells us about his childhood, his time at Helsinki University, his marriage to six times karate champion Tove, about his children and about his attitude to life.

He comes across as a nice guy who, until Linux made him a celebrity, interacted with the world only tangentially. This could be in part a response to his frankly weird early home life in Finland.

David Diamond (of Red Herring magazine) acts as editor while Linus tells it like it is. But while Linus appears open, the story he tells is polished. As Liberace used to say when asked why people liked his take on the classics, "I leave out the boring bits". His four years in a darkened room with a computer as a boy may not have made gripping reading for everyone.

Linus is probably brilliant, but it's obsessive hard work, alone behind closed curtains, which enabled him to create Linux. One of the most interesting aspects of his story is how success--in his marriage and the wider world--has changed him. If we're to believe his own words his wife and children together with a Californian lifestyle are now his chief source of fun.

Linus Torvalds will one day rate an academic biography. In the meantime, the message here is that one route to personal fulfilment is doing what you want to do, as well as you can, for your own reasons--even just for fun. --Steve Patient

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