Today is the birthday of Linus. Although that's essentially a private event for him, there's an interesting historical link to the creation of the Linux kernel, too.
As is well known, before he started writing Linux, Linus coded on a Sinclair QL, a brilliant if rather bizarre system that was based on a cut-down version of the Motorola 68000 chip used in the Amiga, Atari ST, Apple Lisa and Macintosh. Linus was prepared to put up with the limitations of that chip because it offered multi-tasking Ã¢â‚¬â€œ and hence the possibility of some advanced programming.
It was for similarly rigorous reasons that he avoided buying a PC for some time: he disliked the underlying architecture of Intel's chips. But when the 80386 came out, Linus finally succumbed, and at the end of 1990, decided to buy a PC. The only problem was finding the funds to pay for it.
One source was a grant from the Finnish government. This was actually a student loan meant for general living costs during his time at university, rather than specifically for buying computers, but Linus not unreasonably felt that a PC was an indispensable item for a student studying computing science, and hence a permitted expense. He finally paid off that debt in November 1992.
To this student loan, Linus added what he termed Ã¢â‚¬Å“Christmas moneyÃ¢â‚¬Â
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