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Torvalds the "5th Most-Powerful Man in Tech" 594

Posted by CmdrTaco
from the where-is-shampoo dept.
An anonymous reader writes "According to silicon.com, Linus Torvalds is the fifth most influential man in technology. The bio they have written for him isn't the most flattering to the open source community though. I quote: "If it wasn't for the presence of Lara Croft and Xena Warrior Princess, techies around the world would have posters of Torvalds on their walls." It goes on to say: "In truth Torvalds best work is in the past"... which seems to negate their own argument for having him in there. Also in the Top 5 is Steve Jobs (1) who comes out on top of Bill Gates (2). As an interesting aside, the writer of the Sobig virus even makes it in at Number 42..."
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Torvalds the "5th Most-Powerful Man in Tech"

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  • by jargoone (166102) on Tuesday October 07, 2003 @12:00PM (#7153628)
    That's it? Should be #2. Linux is the second best OS in the land!
  • Does this mean he now has a chance of obliterating Gates in "Celebrity Deathmatch" ?
    • Re:Does this mean (Score:2, Informative)

      by Trigun (685027)

      Number of results on Google for the keywords Linus Torvalds and Bill Gates:

      Linus Torvalds
      ( 814 000 results)
      versus
      Bill Gates
      (2 720 000 results)

      The winner is: Bill Gates


      He still has a ways to go to win a googlefight.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday October 07, 2003 @12:02PM (#7153646)
    And how do I get back to aol.com from this site? I just installed this Internet. HELP!!!
  • Mmmmm (Score:4, Funny)

    by grub (11606) <slashdot@grub.net> on Tuesday October 07, 2003 @12:02PM (#7153648) Homepage Journal

    The bio they have written for him isn't the most flattering to the open source community though.

    Whatya mean? the last line says "Rumour has it he's a Guinness man as well." Mmmmmmm...Guinness... [guinness.ie]
  • Wah? (Score:3, Funny)

    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday October 07, 2003 @12:03PM (#7153653)
    You don't have a poster of Linus on your wall?
  • Agenda setting (Score:5, Insightful)

    by BWJones (18351) on Tuesday October 07, 2003 @12:03PM (#7153654) Homepage Journal
    The ranking is the top Agenda setters, not the most powerful folks in tech as the poster states. For this reason I can easily see S. Jobs and Gates towards the top. This is slightly different than influence and worlds different that "Most Powerful".

  • Darl? (Score:2, Funny)

    by Ikeya (7401)
    Where's Darl McBride on the top 50? I'd say he's pretty influential right now. Look at him, he has the UNIX world groveling before him!
    • Re:Darl? (Score:3, Funny)

      by Dysso (19466)
      It's spelled "growling"...
    • Re:Darl? (Score:5, Interesting)

      by rifter (147452) on Tuesday October 07, 2003 @12:11PM (#7153791) Homepage

      Where's Darl McBride on the top 50? I'd say he's pretty influential right now. Look at him, he has the UNIX world groveling before him!

      According to legend, when Apple became a corporation and therefore employees had to be numbered, there wasa disagreement between Wozniak and Jobs over who to be number 1 which was settled by making Woz number 1 and Jobs number 0. Now it is Darl's turn to be 0. :) Fitting isn't it?

    • How about Darl is number one on the list of most laughed at people in the computer world with Laura DiDio taking number two and the rest of the SCO upper management taking the remainder of the top spots.
    • Re:Darl? (Score:5, Interesting)

      by fuqqer (545069) on Tuesday October 07, 2003 @12:41PM (#7154111) Homepage
      Putting Darl McTurd on that list is equivalent to putting the Iraqi Information Minister on a list of the most influential politicians in the Middle East. e.g. stupid.

      I'm surprised at Number 3...I've never heard of him. Come on, Sklyarov above Ellison? Why weren't any networking or ISP execs mentioned in the top 5. It's obvious that networking and services are the biggest growth technologies. The guys who wrote this are stuck in the past with software developers. I'm not a good programmer, but I think I can safely say that there have been no major advances or paradigm shifts in software recently.

      I believe hardware and networking guys should be making the top 5 or ten people in that list. Paradigm shifts in hardware are being seen all the time. Shifts to broadband, wi-fi, miniaturization, networking technologies, these are the future.

      - Not writing a sig bows to your overlords on incomprehensible slashdot estonia...
    • Re:Darl? (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Zeinfeld (263942)
      Where's Darl McBride on the top 50? I'd say he's pretty influential right now. Look at him, he has the UNIX world groveling before him!

      You have to be skeptical of the methodology. This is just a list of the top 50 best known people in tech. It says nothing about influence.

      Take for example the listing of Knuth who has been retired for several years at this point. About twenty of the people on the list are CTOs or CEOs of barely known startus with a 95% probability of disappearing without a trace.

      They g

  • Power or Influence (Score:5, Insightful)

    by pork_spies (659663) on Tuesday October 07, 2003 @12:04PM (#7153670)
    They are not the same! Influential people can be those who influence those with power but may have little or no power themselves. Think of advisors to POTUS.
  • "If it wasn't for the presence of Lara Croft and Xena Warrior Princess, techies around the world would have posters of Torvalds on their walls." It goes on to say: "In truth Torvalds best work is in the past"...
    That's a poster of T'Pol, thank you very much. ;)
  • by TWX (665546) on Tuesday October 07, 2003 @12:04PM (#7153680)
    ... but you can reasonably expect to sit down and have a beer with him after work if you're in the right city. Can you say the same about numbers one through four?

    It's nice having people in the upper-levels of Linux kernel development who actually read and post to mailing lists...
    • by Mr_Silver (213637) on Tuesday October 07, 2003 @12:09PM (#7153760)
      It's nice having people in the upper-levels of Linux kernel development who actually read and post to mailing lists...

      If Bill G and Steve J actually did any development any more then you could make this a valid comparison.

    • by Soulfader (527299) <{ten.ecapsgis} {ta} {gis}> on Tuesday October 07, 2003 @12:19PM (#7153885) Journal
      ... but you can reasonably expect to sit down and have a beer with him after work if you're in the right city. Can you say the same about numbers one through four?

      And more importantly, you might actually want to. I quote the article:

      Rumour has it he's a Guinness man as well.
      How many of the top 4 are closet Bud Light drinkers? =)
      • by MORTAR_COMBAT! (589963) on Tuesday October 07, 2003 @01:17PM (#7154542)
        At an annual brewmaster's convention, the brewmasters of Budweiser, Miller, and Guinness get together after-hours at a bar.

        The Budweiser brewmaster tells the bartender, "I'll have a Budweiser, the King of Beers." And the bartender pours him a Budweiser.

        The Miller brewmaster tells the bartender, "I'll have a Miller, thank you." And the bartender pours him a Miller.

        The Guinness brewmaster shrugs his shoulders and tells the bartender, "I'll have a water, please." The bartender pours him a glass of water. In response to the Budweiser and Miller brewmasters' questioning glances, the Guinness brewmaster says, "Well, if you boys aren't drinking, then neither will I."
  • So how do we know the anonomous writer of the SoBig virus isn't already near the top of the list?
  • by djeaux (620938) on Tuesday October 07, 2003 @12:06PM (#7153701) Homepage Journal
    Sometimes the two aren't the same, are they?

    Bill Gates is powerful, because he's so insanely wealthy. He then can influence all sorts of people with his power.

    Linus Torvalds may be influential in tech circles, but whether that translates into any normal interpretation of "power" is another question.

    • Bill Gates is powerful, because he's so insanely wealthy. He then can influence all sorts of people with his power.

      Yes, yes. But Steve Jobs is the one who's insanely great .

      Marketing slogans aside, it's really good to see a more-or-less mainstream press article rating the influence of a "grassroots" movement so highly in relation to more traditional business.

  • If it wasn't for the presence of Lara Croft and Xena Warrior Princess, techies around the world would have posters of Torvalds on their walls.

    Yay! Linux manages to take one step forward in the acceptance of it by PHB's and CTO's in large organisations and two steps back by making it sound like it's hacked by a bunch of teenage nerds with no understanding of the "real world" (let alone "real women").

    Image might not be everything - but its a big something.

  • Good idea (Score:5, Insightful)

    by the_consumer (547060) <.slash. .at. .smitty.mailshell.com.> on Tuesday October 07, 2003 @12:06PM (#7153711) Homepage
    Stroking the ego of a virus writer, way to go. I'm sure that'll entice her to stop.
  • by Nijika (525558) on Tuesday October 07, 2003 @12:07PM (#7153721) Homepage Journal
    And he's such a regular guy (seemingly) that it probably gives him a bit of a shudder to read that. I don't envy the position Linus is in though, I mean looking back, he didn't set out with the goal of being worshipped globally by computer nerds, he just had this re-write of Minix he was working on. Eesh!
  • Jobs is overrated (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward
    Jobs' role is overrated. Some Mac "innovations" (like pinhole to eject media) no-one ever follows. He makes a colorful splash with his colorful consoles, which end up meaningless in the tech world (the candy-colored iMac look had more influence on staplers and George Foreman grills than computers).

    Due to the locked-in relationship of the hardware and software, his influence is limited for the most part to the tiny Mac world. This could change as soon as his music store goes beyond its limited beta situatio
    • Re:Jobs is overrated (Score:4, Interesting)

      by rampant mac (561036) on Tuesday October 07, 2003 @02:58PM (#7155535)
      "He makes a colorful splash with his colorful consoles, which end up meaningless in the tech world (the candy-colored iMac look had more influence on staplers and George Foreman grills than computers)."

      I'm not sure the above is just a troll, but Jobs' influence has dramtically changed the landscape of computing as we know it. Those fruity iMacs you mention not only changed the way we "look" at computers, but also consumables as well. After the iMac's debut, you couldn't swing a dead cat around your head without hitting something with translucent, colored plastic (sorry cat lovers).

      What about OS X? How many web sites not only outright copy the look of Apple's own site? Or products that mimic the Aqua goodness? Maybe sites like Macromedia [macromedia.com] or desktop environments like KDE [kde.org].

      Big deal, right? What else has he done?

      His Macintosh gave us a GUI, mouse and pointers. His NeXT machine gave us the World Wide Web. His iMac gave us a simple network appliance. His OS X now gives us a UNIX environment grandparents, moms and teenagers can use.

      Quite a set of lifetime achievements.

  • Negate? No. (Score:5, Insightful)

    by schon (31600) on Tuesday October 07, 2003 @12:07PM (#7153725)
    It goes on to say: "In truth Torvalds best work is in the past"... which seems to negate their own argument for having him in there.

    Why does that negate their own argument?

    Power doesn't mean "how much have you coded recently", it means "how much influence do you weild."

    Bill Gates hasn't coded anything in over 10 years, but he's made the list - are you suggesting he's not a power either?
  • Carly whatshername (Score:2, Insightful)

    by mccalli (323026)
    Well, at least silicon.com's techies have the same opinion of her that I do.

    On looking for her biography, I currently get a 'page cannot be found' message...

    Cheers,
    Ian

  • Slashdotted (Score:5, Funny)

    by ParnBR (601156) on Tuesday October 07, 2003 @12:08PM (#7153732) Homepage
    It seems we are the most influential people over silicon.com servers.
  • Well... yeah! (Score:5, Insightful)

    by RyanFenton (230700) on Tuesday October 07, 2003 @12:08PM (#7153733)
    Of course Linus wouldn't be the most "powerful" - he lets others make up their own damn minds. He doesn't own any companies, and he lets others use his ideas with only the agreement to give credit where credit is due, and use derrivative ideas in just the same way. The power is not in the man, but in the ideas. This "ranking" shouldn't be counted as an insult to open source in any way - powerful men are not a particularly valid way to rank ideas.

    Ryan Fenton
    • Definitely. Just because most of his work was done in the past doesn't mean that he doesn't continue to work today. He just changed the direction his skills went.

      Remember the Transmeta Crusoe? Linus was hired to work on that processor. Now he's been permitted to take a leave of absence and go work at the OSDL, where he can write code for the 2.7 kernels.

      IMO Linus deserved number 4.
  • ID / John Carmack (Score:4, Insightful)

    by 2fakeu (443153) on Tuesday October 07, 2003 @12:11PM (#7153779)
    I'd say John Carmack is badly missing there. He's been trendsetter since years.
  • Wow, they must have been really hard up for a third woman to put on the list to go with Naomi Klein. They could barely come up with even a shred of a justification for that one. Someone at the magazine must be part of the "Dude, advertising is just trying to, like, SELL you stuff!" set.

    For that matter, does anyone actually care what Tim Berners-Lee has to say any more? I thought he was just someone they trot out to act like a father figure and talk up his latest unworkable, silly Big New Idea plea for atte


  • Anyone know where Cowboy Neal ranked?

  • Buffy, Faith and Willow? Sunnydale may be a big hole in the ground, but let's not forget it's finest (former) inhabitants.
  • by Per Abrahamsen (1397) on Tuesday October 07, 2003 @12:12PM (#7153808) Homepage
    His agenda seem quite influential, much of Linux' success is due to his agenda (through the GPL and software).

    He may not be at the top, but he should be on the list. And above the Sobig author...
  • no RMS? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by nuggz (69912) on Tuesday October 07, 2003 @12:12PM (#7153809) Homepage
    What about RMS, he has done a lot of work for Free Software.
    If Linus gets to #5 being the embodiment of Open Source, how can they neglect GNU ?
    • Its GNU/Linus, you insensitive clod!
    • Re:no RMS? (Score:2, Insightful)

      by RevMike (632002)

      What about RMS, he has done a lot of work for Free Software.

      If Linus gets to #5 being the embodiment of Open Source, how can they neglect GNU?

      Linus is influential because he has given very few people cause to dislike him. He avoids taking part in political arguments, he avoids making himself anyone's enemy.

      RMS is a zealot, and for every person he brings into his way, he alienates two others. RMS's influence is limited becaue of the numbers of people that he alienates.

      As a good example of what Li

    • Re:no RMS? (Score:3, Interesting)

      by Locutus (9039)
      As others have pointed out, the people who publish todays articles are pretty clueless about what's actually going on. Not all but many and this is proof of another.

      The author of the results/comments most likely does not know what GNU is and he probably thinks OSS is Linux( not GNU/Linux but just Linux ). His comments about Lara Croft/etc shows that he thinks the OSS community consists mostly of high school kids. The guy is WAY out of date. IMHO.

      LoB
    • Re:no RMS? (Score:4, Funny)

      by Weaselmancer (533834) on Tuesday October 07, 2003 @12:43PM (#7154129)

      Because it's so much fun not giving him proper credit and then watching him foam at the mouth.

      It should be an Olympic event. Tell him you love using Linux to compile code, or using Linux to surf the web. Bonus points if you can get his eyes to roll back into his head or have him gibber in tongues.

      Weaselmancer

    • Without LINUX GNU would still be working on HURD. LINUX made GNU, not the other way around. While Linus used a GNU licence, and that process allowed LINUX to be come what it is, LINUX made the whole thing POPULAR, and brought it into the Mainstream.

      It is important to note that LINUX validates GNU, but that doesn't make it more .... influential. Linux's validation is the power, not GNU.
    • Right, the number #5 should be said as RMS/Linus.
  • Going down... (Score:2, Informative)

    by Sir Haxalot (693401)
    So here's the Google Cache [google.com]
  • Vajpayee ?? (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Vedanti (689689) on Tuesday October 07, 2003 @12:13PM (#7153821)

    The list has India's prime minister Atal Behari Vajpayee at 8th.

    India's boom - largely engineered by Vajpayee - means some analysts are predicting the country could face its own IT skills crisis over the next five years.

    Nothing can be further from truth. Personally Vajpayee has had no effect on IT in India. He has no ideas or plans for the future, as far as IT is concerned. I think Narayana Murthy [redhotcurry.com] would have been a better choice.

    I doubt the list is a well researched list.

  • Influential? Definitely. Powerful? Uhh, no. In reality, there are still many more people in the tech world who have considerably more power than he does. After all, exactly how much money have Linux companies actually made? It's a pittence compared to the other big players out there. I'd argue he has much more influence than he has actual power in the industry, especially since anyone can modify his product without giving him a second thought.
  • One of the biggest problems with a lot of people today is that they equate economic success with success in general. However, in the case of Apple and Steve Jobs, the success is in pushing new boundaries that other companies didn't want to touch. Apple has been VERY influential (and therefore Steve Jobs). They popularized the GUI, they brought a sense of style to computing (which is very important regardless of what anyone may think), they shifted the look of the box itself from the ugly beige box to the
    • You're right. Mac OS X is a perfect example of the merging of the two worlds: Apple and GNU. Mac OS X is a significant thing for GNU software because the basis of the OS is Unix, just like Linux. Ergo, GNU software can be easily ported to Mac OS X and vice versa. Which means that programs like OpenOffice.org and Evolution now have another OS that they will run under.

      This is a Good Thing.
  • Copy of article (Score:3, Informative)

    by breman (683776) on Tuesday October 07, 2003 @12:15PM (#7153846)
    No 5. Linus Torvalds creator of Linux [silicon.com]
    Last year's position : 21

    Hero of the open source movement, geek made good, thorn in Bill Gates' side - there are so many reasons why people vote for Linus Torvalds each year.

    In a nutshell it's because he embodies the idea that there is always another way, an antidote to the Microsofts of this world, evidence that the idea of the 'community' within IT is still there. If it wasn't for the presence of Lara Croft and Xena Warrior Princess, techies around the world would have posters of Torvalds on their walls.

    Torvalds started work on the Linux kernel while he was at university in Helsinki in 1991 and since then it has been taken up and developed as a serious alternative to proprietary software.

    In truth Torvalds best work is in the past but he got the ball rolling and he continues to be an Agenda Setter because he is the very embodiment of the open source community. A vote for Torvalds is not a vote for the man but more a vote for what he represents.

    Linux now poses a major threat to Windows and a series of adoptions in the past year, especially at governmental level (and there are more expected in the coming year) means that threat is only set to increase.

    Rumour has it he's a Guinness man as well.
  • by Savatte (111615) on Tuesday October 07, 2003 @12:18PM (#7153872) Homepage Journal
    "If it wasn't for the presence of Lara Croft and Xena Warrior Princess, techies around the world would have posters of Torvalds on their walls."

    Are you sure it wouldn't be Ellen Feiss?
  • Sobig is 42 (Score:5, Funny)

    by rifter (147452) on Tuesday October 07, 2003 @12:21PM (#7153912) Homepage

    As an interesting aside, the writer of the Sobig virus even makes it in at Number 42..."

    So the answer to life the universe and everything is a Windows worm? Somehow it is all very clear to me now... :)

  • Steve Jobs (1) who comes out on top of Bill Gates (2)
    Great, that's just the mental image I wanted before dinner. Thank you very much.
  • Journalistic fluff (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Angst Badger (8636) on Tuesday October 07, 2003 @12:37PM (#7154064)
    Not flattering? The main problem with this bio is that it is poorly written fluff by some hack with a lot of space to fill. There's substantially better journalism in People. Ignore this junk.
  • Strange Headline (Score:3, Insightful)

    by donutello (88309) on Tuesday October 07, 2003 @12:40PM (#7154100) Homepage
    I'd expect the headline to say "Steve Jobs Most Powerful Man in Tech" rather than focus on Linus being 5th most powerful.
  • Greg Dyke (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Yanray (686150)
    I love the fact that Good old Rupert was knocked down to size by a pioneer in e-izing independent media, Greg Dyke. I have loved the BBC's style of reporting since living in Birmingham for a year. Since then Greg Dyke has moved the BBC to be one of the best news/tv sites on the net. Regardless of what you think of the BBC itself he has paved the way that other media giants are going to intigrate thier services onto the Net.

    For the worlds worst example see FOX News.
  • by Animats (122034) on Tuesday October 07, 2003 @12:42PM (#7154127) Homepage
    Despite all the hype, Apple has less market share than it did when Gil Amelio left. Jobs' contribution was caving in to Microsoft and cost-cutting, not innovation.

    The most innovative hardware technology in computing today is coming from Sony. Everybody else has architectures from the past; Sony is actually selling new ones, in volume.

    Incidentally, Motorola is about to bail out of the semiconductor business. They're trying to sell off their semiconductor operation. Sad.

    • Regardless of whether most people would shell out the money for the systems, I think that most Slashdotters would agree that Apple's hardware is very, very nice. 1gHz bus, serial ATA, FireWire 800, etc. The hardware rocks. This poll is meant to measure influence, not power or market share. Apple innovates, everyone else follows. Incidentally, Motorola can go fuck themselves. They sat on their asses for years, contributing nothing to the improvement of CPUs. Fortunately, IBM has picked up the slack in
  • they don't mention my name once. I mean, REALLY. Sooner or later I will force those fools to recognize my contributions. Ohhhhh, yesss, they laugh now, but someday... SOMEDAY...

    muah. a. hah. ah.
  • Gates too. The Jan/Feb '99 cover of MIT's Technology Review with Torvalds and Gates face to face has been on my wall for years now. There is a devil mustache and horns on Bill, of course.
  • Strange. I just thought he was just a TV exec. For those not familiar he is the head of Newscorp, parent company of Fox and Sky.

    I was also interested as to why Sobig made it and Blaster/Lovsan did not. Blaster forced people off the net because their systems were constantly rebooting. Sobig was just a clever e-mail that has been used before.
  • I don't know a single geek with Xena posters. Most geeks have Star Trek or X-Files posters, at least that is what I have in my office.
  • Video gaming? (Score:3, Interesting)

    by NetDanzr (619387) on Tuesday October 07, 2003 @12:47PM (#7154191)
    I noticed that one group of people was not represented among the top 50 at all - people connected to video gaming. Don't tell me that companies like Sony are less important for the future of technology as virus writers or even 15-minutes of fame people like Dimitri Sklarov.
  • ...is number 8 because he's prime minister of India? How did he even contribute to making India a software destination worth considering??
  • by benploni (125649) on Tuesday October 07, 2003 @01:06PM (#7154432) Journal
    From Silicon.com's Agenda Setters 2003:
    http://www.silicon.com/as2003/analysis2.htm l
    ===============
    Someone who could well have fallen into this category this year but
    didn't make the list at all is SCO CEO Darl McBride. He has led his
    company's charge to get credit for what it claims is some of its code
    turning up in Linux. So far the row has taken the form of a lawsuit
    brought against IBM, headlines in the media and SCO invoicing some
    users for Linux roll outs.

    However, when asked what happened when his company was served with a
    request to pay a SCO licence for Linux, panellist Ric Francis,
    Safeway's CIO, said: "I told them to stick it. At the end of the day it
    is never going to fly. It's the last dying breath of a company that is
    never going to make money."

    McBride - in the headlines yes, agenda setting no. There is a
    difference.
    ===============
  • This list is bogus (Score:3, Interesting)

    by geekee (591277) on Tuesday October 07, 2003 @01:22PM (#7154596)
    The CEOs of Intel and AMD aren't even on the list. I'd think they'd have something to do with setting the tech agenda.

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