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Just for Fun: The Story of an Accidental Revolutionary

3.94  ·  Rating details ·  3,949 ratings  ·  255 reviews
Once upon a time Linus Torvalds was a skinny unknown, just another nerdy Helsinki techie who had been fooling around with computers since childhood. Then he wrote a groundbreaking operating system and distributed it via the Internet -- for free. Today Torvalds is an international folk hero. And his creation LINUX is used by over 12 million people as well as by companies su ...more
Paperback, 288 pages
Published June 4th 2002 by Harper Business (first published 2001)
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Average rating 3.94  · 
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Bernie Noel
Oct 07, 2019 rated it it was amazing
An absloute must-read for all SOFTWARE engineers and programmers and especially so if you work with object-oriented or functional programming language.
Mar 17, 2012 rated it liked it
Recommended to Walter by: Alan Scholz
kinda split about this one. i went into it expecting a certain character to linus and finding a totally different one.

i guess i shouldn't be surprised. i had the notion of the "rockstar" shattered many moons ago. in the end, linus is just another guy with flaws just like anyone else. heck, linux wouldn't exist if he hadn't accidentially tried to dial the university of helsinki through /dev/hda1 instead of /dev/tty1.

there's a resiliency and an honesty to him i really like, even if he seems to tr
Ramon Fermin
Jun 26, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Fun things are fun
Ed Erwin
Gives a bit of a feeling of what Torvalds is like as a person, and the process by which he created Linux.

For a geek like me, it is nice to re-live the history of how computers have changed so much over the last 50 years, and how those changes have affected so many other things.

Back when I was originally learning programming, it was impossible for me to imagine that one could make a career out of it. I did it just for fun. Torvalds was doing the same. Many of the programmers of my age have a sim
Jeff Williams
May 31, 2011 rated it really liked it
David Diamond does not follow a formulaic path when laying down the story of Linus and the development of Linux. It's far from a comprehensive history of Linux's early days, JfF reads more like a weekend conversation with a friend over beers, geeking out over the technological nostalgia, and telling a good story or two on the trials and tribulations that came from developing one's own OS.
Mason Mohkami
Feb 16, 2020 rated it liked it
It's maybe just me comparing this with other biographies I've read, but this is a very shallow and brief story of Linus' life and his journey.
Jan 20, 2013 rated it really liked it
I thought I might get excited about open source (as a concept)but it's a pretty straightforwardly awesome concept, so I didn't find anything surprising. What IS interesting, philosophically, is that he comes right out and says "This is my life philosophy." It's really only touched upon at the beginning and end, but sort of exemplified through the whole quirky, detailed, fun story of this guy’s life. He’s a weird dude; both in what he says about his past, his attitude toward it, and how he acts w ...more
Mar 22, 2013 rated it really liked it
Recommended to Sameer by: Sanketh I
Surprisingly mature book, with a mixture of biographical narration and commentary about technology. The last few chapters are especially worth a read. Given this book was written in 2001, it's amazing how many of Linus's predictions about the direction of Linux and processors are true - he predicted both the emergence of low-power processors and the ubiquity of Linux in the book. ...more
Josh Friedlander
May 20, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: tech, biography
If you're reading this book you probably have heard of the simple beauty of the Unix philosophy, and have at least a vague idea of what it means for a "process" to "fork". You may even have a Unix beard. Likewise, you might have strong feelings about the GPL and the Open Source movement - to which a good section of this book is dedicated, somewhat superfluously in 2020 when even Microsoft claims to "♥ Linux" and Open Source.
As the title claims, this book-length magazine profile of the subject is
Olem Diga
Aug 13, 2019 rated it it was amazing
The title of this book is no bluff, this is one book that is really fun to read. It is written in a fun and engaging way, with lots of history, wisdom and humour.

So it's highly recommended and deserves nothing less than 5 stars. I noticed that people who give this book less than 5 stars in the reviews are people who mention having different expectations. So clearly, theres nothing wrong with this book, just that people tend to be narcissistic thinking the authors are writing to meet their expect
Winnie Yeung
Jan 16, 2021 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Must-read for software developers. Entertaining to see how Linux morphed into the biggest open source project in the world under Linus’ lazy style of management. He shares his world view that the motivation behind human actions are survival, socialize, and entertainment. In the book, we can see how developing Linux fits into the bill for him. I also enjoyed reading his anecdote with Steve Jobs and attack against the closed development mode of Microsoft. I’m now more motivated to be a problem-sol ...more
Nov 06, 2018 rated it really liked it
Erik Nilson
Dec 03, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Awesome book. Every developer should read it and apply rules mentioned in it.
Jun 05, 2016 rated it really liked it
This is the story about Linux, world's most popular operating system* and Linus, the unlikely man behind it. The story of a hard up, reclusive Finnish student creating something so remarkable is interesting enough, but the book shines in Linus' descriptions of the events of leading up to the context that enabled something like Linux to emerge: the erstwhile free software (now open-source) movement, the Unix philosophy and the geek culture of the 1980s. Linus also manages to explain tedious techn ...more
Jul 02, 2015 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
The book which shares authoring credits of Linus Torvalds and reporter David Diamond is about the life of Linus and Linux. The writing is mostly by Linus in first person with some intermediate chapters by David Diamond to give sort of an outsider's view of Linus' life.

The book is mainly in 3 parts: Birth of a nerd, Birth of an operating system and King of the ball. I loved reading the first two parts where Linus talks about Finland, early life with his family, introduction to computers, birth of

Jun 07, 2019 added it
Shelves: non-fiction
Sometimes... eh... lame. Particularly liked those part dealing with technical aspects and would've much preferred if it was mostly consisted of that. All in all, "fun" to read. ...more
Feb 05, 2021 rated it liked it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Paul Korir
Aug 24, 2013 rated it it was amazing
This is the book...

It combines the (early) life of Linus Torvalds and the development of Linux (how could they be separated?). What I admire most about Linus is his single-mindedness, his lack of duplicity: he doesn't pretend, he tells it like it is. I don't necessarily admire how he says it but at least you can be sure he's not lying.

This book has a chapter on programming in which Linus tries to explain what makes programming so special. To the non-programmer this will not make sense. I think o
Roshni Kanchan
Feb 06, 2016 rated it it was amazing
The funniest autobiography I've ever read.
He is all praise for open source (as expected). No focus on many / any flaws.
But then he also calls himself an asshole and an inconsiderate bastard and makes fun of his own nose (after the nth occurrence of his nose I actually wasted 5 minutes of my life looking up Google images and found a perfectly fine nose on Linus's face assuming those are his photographs).
All in all a very entertaining read. Maybe inspiring too.
Andrei Petre
Apr 24, 2018 rated it really liked it
Great book for getting to know Linus more. I especially liked his general approach to life and to coding, which is obviously, just to have fun - I got something out of it. It's an easy read and has a few jokes at times, so I definitely enjoyed most of it. ...more
Feb 26, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
un-put-downable. really enjoyed the wry sense of humor and the candidness of Linus
Marian-Cristian Rotariu
I got everything I expected from this book. Some technical details, some good, spicy stories and some Linus philosophy. It is a must read for every Linux developer.
Jan 29, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: classics-for-me
Read this book and you will understand the premise of all those rants and why they are so justified!
Amandeep Chugh
Apr 24, 2019 rated it really liked it
I feel its a must read for a programmer (a passionate programmer or otherwise).
It gave me a fresh perspective on the benevolent side of technology, especially open source.
Nov 26, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Being a nerd like Mr. Torvalds, interested in technology, I enjoyed this book very much, especially from him talking about how he started programming, what computers he owned, what kind of a sun deprived, unsocial youngster he was, how Linux came to life, all the way up to the point where he was giving talks in front of thousands of people -even though he never dreamed of being able to do that due to anxiety-, being a god to the people in the open source software movement (he said this sarcastic ...more
Bogdan Purcareata
Oct 19, 2017 rated it it was amazing
I do believe in the authenticity of this book, the way Linus talks about himself. He isn't one to pose. He's using the same strength both in technical arguments and in self deprecation of his typical nerd life - the blandness of the home office, the conference-t-shirt-socks-in-sandals engineer attire, the uneasiness around people. But his brilliance lies in the simplicity of his beliefs, the focus on solving problems - most of the time, simply because they are interesting - on tackling complex s ...more
May 05, 2017 rated it liked it
A very interesting read but it could have been much better. My guess is that most people will read this to understand a bit about Linus and how Linux grew from its beginning in his bedroom to where it is today and you don't get the detail I would have liked - much of it is brushed over.
What is interesting is how he decided to give his creation away for free and not monetise it and his opinions on this. His predictions for the future (and given that this was written some time ago) came remarkabl
Yates Buckley
Jul 25, 2020 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: curious
Fun book/biography of the story around the birth of a new operating system (well a derivative operating system) that was critical to the history of computer software.

The most important impact of the Linux story is the potential productivity of a motivated decentralised force that have a shared objective under an open software development mind set. The socioeconomic impact of this success is still playing out today and will continue to do so with all sorts of opportunities and contradictory failu
Jun 17, 2017 rated it really liked it
Extremely honest and candid account of the circumstances and motivation under which he ended up writing the early version of Linux. Written to give the impression that you are casually chatting with him while taking a road trip. Exactly the geek-in-Finnish-winter story you might expect, but makes you know him a bit better after reading the book.

A page turner for the beginning half, then loses steam a bit but continues to have some interesting bits thrown in the latter part as well, still making
Anthony Mangino
Aug 22, 2020 rated it really liked it
Despite being something of a neophyte in the Linux world, it felt a prudent investment of my time to learn something about the man behind the machine. While the autobiographical piece of this book moved rather quickly, it nonetheless offered insight into Linus' motivations and the impetus behind his creation of Linux. For those interested in the technical details, these are present in perhaps less detail than would be desired. However, the treatment of Linus' worldviews and family history proved ...more
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Linus Benedict Torvalds is a software engineer and hacker, best known for having initiated the development of the Linux kernel. He later became the chief architect of the Linux kernel, and now acts as the project's coordinator. He also created the revision control system Git. ...more

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