The principal force behind the development of the Linux kernel, Linus Torvalds, is going to get a cool $750,000.
Two innovators, including Linus Torvalds, a
Finnish American software engineer and the driving force behind the open-source
Linux kernel, have won this years Millennium Technology Prize, given out every
two years by the Technology Academy of Finland. The other recipient of the
prize, Dr. Shinya Yamanaka, was singled out for his contributions to stem-cell
development. Torvalds was awarded the honor for his creation of the operating
system. This is the first time that the grand prize has been shared by two
Torvalds was cited for the great impact the
Linux operating system has had on the openness of the Web and shared software
and networking development. Im really honored to be the joint recipient of
this years Millennium Technology Prize. This recognition is particularly
important to me given that its given by the Technology Academy of Finland, he
said in a press statement. Id also like to thank all the people Ive worked
with, who have helped make the project not only such a technical success but
have made it so fun and interesting.
The Technology Academy of Finland (TAF) is an
independent foundation established by the Finnish industry and the Finnish
state in partnership. The aims of the prize are to promote technological
research and innovation that have a positive impact on the quality of life,
alleviate fears towards technological change and encourage discussion between
technology specialists and societal decision makers, according to the
Technology Academys Website.
The Prize Committee decided, for the first
time in the Millennium Technology Prizes 10-year history, to award the Grand
Prize to two innovators. Dr. Shinya Yamanakas work in stem-cell research and
Linus Torvalds work in open-source software have transformed their fields and
will remain important for generations to come, Dr. Ainomaija Haarla, president
of TAF, said in prepared remarks. Linus Torvalds work has kept the Web open
for the pursuit of knowledge and for the benefit of humanitynot simply for
Yamanaka, a Japanese citizen, discovered a
new method of developing stem cells, which has helped scientists worldwide make
advances in medical drug testing and biotechnology. His work could one day help
grow implant tissues for clinical surgery and combat intractable diseases, such
as cancer, diabetes and Alzheimers, a TAF press statement noted.
Previous winners include Tim Berners-Lee,
inventor of the World Wide Web, Professor Shuji Nakamura, who invented colored
LEDs and a blue laser, and Professor Robert Langer, for developing innovative
biomaterials for use in tissue regeneration. The winner of the 2010 prize was
Professor Michael Graetzel, who was honored for his work on low-cost, renewable
energy sources with the development of dye-sensitized solar cells.
Nathan Eddy is Associate Editor, Midmarket, at eWEEK.com. Before joining eWEEK.com, Nate was a writer with ChannelWeb and he served as an editor at FierceMarkets. He is a graduate of the Medill School of Journalism at Northwestern University.