Who is the better programmer, Linus Torvalds or Steve Wozniak?

Updated on : December 8, 2021 by Alex Henderson



Who is the better programmer, Linus Torvalds or Steve Wozniak?

Thanks for the A2A.

Linus would say, no doubt. Because the systems Linux wrote code for are much more complex than the systems Steve wrote code for.

However, what they both did was more than astonishing for the time. And having started with the Apple II, Woz will always have a warm place in my heart.

But what Linus did has shaped my career moves over the past 20 years, and still does.

Both are at the level of achievement and prestige that few could fairly compare.

If you just look at your results, it would still be difficult to measure.

Suffice it to say that both are exemplary.

Definitely Linus Torvald. I must say that they are different types of engineers. Linus is software, Steve is hardware. But the complexity Linus faced was far greater than Steve's.

There's no answer. You must put each of them in a different time context.

One could argue, for example, that Facebook is more complex than BASIC. But programming in PHP is much easier than programming in Assembler. Believe me, I know!

It could be argued that Linus Torvals built a full operating system kernel for the X86 platform. But BASIC ran on 4K of RAM, on a computer that has less power than any modern toaster.

Larry Ellison was described as an "average programmer". What exactly is an average programmer? I do not know yet. I know programmers who are amazing: their code is clean, efficient, they know a lot

Keep reading

There's no answer. You must put each of them in a different time context.

One could argue, for example, that Facebook is more complex than BASIC. But programming in PHP is much easier than programming in Assembler. Believe me, I know!

It could be argued that Linus Torvals built a full operating system kernel for the X86 platform. But BASIC ran on 4K of RAM, on a computer that has less power than any modern toaster.

Larry Ellison was described as an "average programmer". What exactly is an average programmer? I do not know yet. I know programmers who are amazing: their code is clean, efficient, they know a lot of standards, etc. But they cannot produce a single successful product. Other encoders aren't that ... sophisticated, but they do produce amazing things.

For example, programming in PHP is quite simple. And PHP is not a language that demands a lot of "clean programming", to call it somehow. But Mark Zuckerberg took the programming language most hated by professional developers and built a badass product. And if you are a developer, you know that there is nothing so special about Facebook programming (at least, in the first versions). It is not programming. It is the IDEA, the PRODUCT, the RESULT of programming that counts.

I'd say, if an average programmer gave us the first working (OK, semi-functional) version of a relational database (Oracle v.1 didn't really work, in fact it was a terribly bad product until version 5), well, congratulations for average programmers! Having said that, it's true, Larry Ellison wasn't really the man who built the first version. The recognition goes to the late Bob Miner and his team. Read "The Difference Between God and Larry Ellison." It's a great read.

The question again is, what makes a programmer a good programmer?

When it comes to skills, Linus Torvalds is perhaps the biggest contender.

When it comes to building something with next to nothing, Bill Gates beats everyone.

If it's about being a pioneer, without knowing much about anything, the award goes to Larry Ellison.

If it's about seizing an opportunity for something simple and making it big, then Mark Zuckerberg is the champion.

Jeff Bezzos never wrote a single line of code, as far as I know. I could be wrong.

EDIT AFTER POST: If you really know the history of programming, you need to mention a lot of people BETTER than Torvals, Gates, Zuck or Ellison.

Dennis Ritchie, Ken Thompson, or Gary Kildall were far more skilled than any of those mentioned.

While Linus T. created the Linux kernel (and it is a great achievement), let's remember that Linux was a "clone" of Unix (well, not exactly a clone, but an operating system built to be 100% compatible). Dennis Ritchie and Ken Thompson designed and built Unix from SCRATCH! Sure, it had corporate backing, but money doesn't make talent. They built the most robust operating system for really underpowered machines (by today's standards) and their operating system, and its derivatives still rule the most important services in the world. If that's not rude, I don't know what is.

Gary Kildall built CP / M (among other amazing software). Remember that DOS was a CP / M clone. Microsoft bought it from another company. Gary Kildall developed one of the first optical storage systems (before CD-ROM). He was one of the first people to exploit the multitasking levels of the 386 processor, allowing multiple DOS applications to run at the same time when Microsoft or IBM had such a note, he built a better DOS than Microsoft (DR-DOS), and even Bill Gates recognized him as an influencer after his death.

And there is more.

Therefore, the "best" rating might not be for one of the well-known poster children. Many people, behind the scenes, were much bigger, and without them, things would not be the same.

Let's remember: technology is a matter of iterations. Today's developers stand on the shoulders of a giant. We thrive on the incredible work of previous generations. Whenever everyone calls us "geniuses", we must remember that we are not. We are nothing more than the continuity of the great work of thousands of unknown programmers who gave us better tools to build better things. There is no better, there is no worse. There are only tools and everything we can do with them. Developers are not geniuses. We are artisans. We are closer to a carpenter than an alchemist. We do not work with arcane powers unworthy of ordinary mortals. We just take a few tools and try, every day, to master them to do a great job.

Could it be said that the work of a man striking stone against stone, 100,000 years ago, without any other type of tool, is less than the work of a man today, with electric or pneumatic tools? Pretty unfair comparison, right?

First of all, you need to differentiate between Linux, the kernel, and Linux, the operating system. Linus Torvalds created the first. The latter is a collaboration between millions of developers around the world, involving the GNU Project, the Linux kernel development team headed by Torvalds, the various X Window System developers over the past 29 years, and others. This is why the Free Software Foundation calls for complete Linux operating systems that use software from the GNU Project to be named "GNU / Linux".

Torvalds was a 21-year-old college student with an Intel-based PC.

Keep reading

First of all, you need to differentiate between Linux, the kernel, and Linux, the operating system. Linus Torvalds created the first. The latter is a collaboration between millions of developers around the world, involving the GNU Project, the Linux kernel development team headed by Torvalds, the various X Window System developers over the past 29 years, and others. This is why the Free Software Foundation calls for complete Linux operating systems that use software from the GNU Project to be named "GNU / Linux".

Torvalds was a 21-year-old college student with an Intel 386 processor-based PC and nothing better than a 16-bit MINIX to run it. Both in his studies and in his spare time, he was a user of Unix and Unix-like systems, and a member of the Unix hacker community. By 1991, he and his fellow hackers had long been waiting for the completion of the GNU Project, which would have made a free Unix-like operating system available for anyone to use and even modify as they see fit. GNU had reached the point where all the necessary components for a complete operating system were available, except for the graphics server (which was already provided by X) and a fully functional kernel.

Torvalds, who knew how to code and had a great understanding of how Unix worked, decided that he would try to write his own Unix-like operating system kernel. He was successful enough to submit his work to college for credit and publish it to the public in case someone else wanted to work with him. He wasn't the only one frustrated by GNU's inability to deliver a working kernel, and it just so happened that many people in the hacking community started working with Torvalds to improve and advance the work he had started. In February 1992, five months after its first release, Torvalds released version 0.12 under the GNU General Public License, which got many of the coders in the GNU Project itself to back the effort. (Before this,

The Linux kernel was already better than the GNU kernel effort (known as Hurd), the fact that it was now under the GNU GPL and therefore received support from the GNU community helped Linux develop rapidly after that. The Linux kernel was able to run an X server in March 1992, and in early 1994 it reached version 1.0.0, capable of running X and the GNU user tools at full capacity.

Already, on December 8, 1992, the kernel was deemed sufficiently developed that the first commercial distribution, Yggdrasil Linux / GNU / X, was released. The Linux kernel was only 15 months away from its initial release on September 17. 1991.

The rest is history.

Torvalds did not set out to become famous. In a Usenet post he made about a month before launching the kernel, he said the following:

I'm making a (free) operating system (just a hobby, it won't be as big and professional as GNU) for 386 (486) AT clones. This has been brewing since April and is beginning to prepare. I'd like feedback on things people like or don't like in minix, as my OS looks a bit similar (same physical file system layout (for practical reasons), among other things).

His "hobby" and his willingness to share his work and collaborate on it with the world, effectively completed the GNU Project. According to one study, a commercial effort to develop a modern Linux-based operating system (including the GNU tools, the Linux kernel, and the X server) would have cost $ 1.48 billion. Today, at least half of all enterprise servers run on Linux kernel-based operating systems, and about 80 percent of smartphones (Android uses the Linux kernel as a base). It has also become viable and useful as a daily desktop operating system. This answer is being written on a PC running a Linux kernel.

Linus thinks he hates C ++.

But based on your comments, it is quite evident that Linus does not know C ++; You only know a little about C ++, and most of it seems to be based on a pretty old story.

  1. The early C ++ compilers had quite a few bugs. It's not much worse than the C compilers of the same era, but the errors were * different *, and the C compiler I was using (gcc) was heavily tested against the Linux kernel, so you hardly ever saw his errors, but (to the extent he tried) he ran into errors in the C ++ compiler.
  2. C ++ was the first "conventional" object-oriented language. Much
Keep reading

Linus thinks he hates C ++.

But based on your comments, it is quite evident that Linus does not know C ++; You only know a little about C ++, and most of it seems to be based on a pretty old story.

  1. The early C ++ compilers had quite a few bugs. It's not much worse than the C compilers of the same era, but the errors were * different *, and the C compiler I was using (gcc) was heavily tested against the Linux kernel, so you hardly ever saw his errors, but (to the extent he tried) he ran into errors in the C ++ compiler.
  2. C ++ was the first "conventional" object-oriented language. Much of early C ++ was basically written as Smalltalk with weird syntax. That works poorly at best (if you want Smalltalk, use Smalltalk) and particularly poorly on the Linux kernel.
  3. This is probably not that old a story Linus seems to have come to a solid conclusion based on fairly minimal analysis, so when he saw things that he thought he recognized, and they didn't work as he expected, he discarded everything related. as a massive bug from people who didn't know what they were doing (e.g. in C it NULLcan be a bit type safe - to get similar behavior in C ++ you need to use nullptr, no NULL).

So I would say no, Linus doesn't hate C ++ any more than I hate, say, the Swahili language. I know a few little facts about Swahili, but certainly not even enough to have a significant level of like or dislike towards it. The difference is that I realize that I am completely ignorant of Swahili.

From what I understood from his memoirs, Apple wasn't really the kind of company Wozniak enjoyed, and it wasn't making the computers he liked.

Wozniak enjoyed working at HP, which was then a true engineering company. I wanted Apple to be like this. But from the start, its top investor and CEO said, no, Apple will handle the marketing. Wozniak accepted it, but was never happy with it.

Then look at what happens after Apple II becomes hugely successful and the company is swimming in money: Apple has at least 3 new big projects in parallel, and Wozniak isn't running any of them. They have a founder ge

Keep reading

From what I understood from his memoirs, Apple wasn't really the kind of company Wozniak enjoyed, and it wasn't making the computers he liked.

Wozniak enjoyed working at HP, which was then a true engineering company. I wanted Apple to be like this. But from the start, its top investor and CEO said, no, Apple will handle the marketing. Wozniak accepted it, but was never happy with it.

Then look at what happens after Apple II becomes hugely successful and the company is swimming in money: Apple has at least 3 new big projects in parallel, and Wozniak isn't running any of them. They have a founding genius, but he's not working on any of the big news. Instead, Wozniak works on the next version of Apple II (and is proud of it). Why? I think Wozniak did not like these projects, he did not consider them valuable.

Apple II was built as an open architecture machine, with plenty of extension slots for third-party cards (ignoring Jobs's objections). What does Apple produce next? Apple III drastically cutting extensibility and also intentionally introducing Apple II incompatibility to lock in users. Would Wozniak be happy working on it? I doubt it and Apple III fails.

There are two GUI-based machine projects, Lisa and Macintosh (the former, or probably more exactly the zero version). They both go like shit. I don't think any of them appeal to Wozniak either. Lisa fails, the Macintosh is about to die when Jobs takes over it as his pet project (and eventually reinvents itself into a commercial success, and yes, it is built as a closed system to lock down users). Despite being a commercial success, there are many stories from the employees, what kind of a jerk Jobs was. I highly doubt that Wozniak wants to work in an environment like that. At that point he had already had his main disagreements with Jobs.

So Wozniak hands over Apple IIGS, and then he runs out of projects at Apple. They don't let him do what he wants, he doesn't want to do the silly things they want, and the whole company is toxic as hell (Jobs is happy as a clam in this environment). At the time, Wozniak had a lot of money, so he went his own way and moved on to other things. He's a good guy and has a strong sense of loyalty (Jobs really had a fit of hysteria when Wozniak decided to leave), so he'd let them keep him on the payroll, and he spoke in public at times.

They are all brilliant technologists, billionaires, and highly successful CEOs. But Elon Musk is on another level with the likes of Thomas Edison and Leonardo da Vinci.

Elon Musk has proven his worth in software (Zip2, X.com, and PayPal), electric cars (Tesla), rockets (SpaceX), brain enhancement (Neuralink), geological engineering (Boring Company), and high-speed mass transit (HyperLoop). ). ). And not only did he discover science, he built a successful company around each of them. There are a lot of super smart people, but 99% of them couldn't translate their technical ideas into success.

Keep reading

They are all brilliant technologists, billionaires, and highly successful CEOs. But Elon Musk is on another level with the likes of Thomas Edison and Leonardo da Vinci.

Elon Musk has proven his worth in software (Zip2, X.com and PayPal), electric cars (Tesla), rockets (SpaceX), brain enhancement (Neuralink), geological engineering (Boring Company) and high speed mass transit (HyperLoop). ). ). And not only did he discover science, he built a successful company around each of them. There are a lot of super smart people, but 99% of them failed to translate their technical ideas into a successful company. Elon has done it multiple times, in very different industries.

Bill Gates is undoubtedly the most technically skilled software visionary, architect, coder, and entrepreneur. As brilliant as he is technically, he had an equally excellent business mind. For decades, Bill Gates was the richest man in the world. That requires brilliance and determination.

Jeff Bezos is a brilliant visionary in software, e-commerce, cloud computing, and business strategy. He's also the richest of all today ... and he's not finished. Amazon can do almost anything it wants.

Steve Jobs was the best in the world in consumer product design with the world's first technical innovations like Lisa and Mac (GUI, multiscreen, mouse), Ipod, Iphone, Ipad and AppStore. Each of them changed the way consumers use technology.

Mark Zuckerberg is super smart, a great programmer, and a business visionary. And he did all of this while he was still in college. He created a product that 2.5 billion people use every day. That is truly extraordinary. He has grown as CEO while building Facebook from scratch to $ 600 billion of market capitalization.

American tech companies rule the world thanks to these five extraordinary people. In the past, there could be ONE such person every 50 years. We had all five in a life-changing era. It may never happen again.

Woz told me that near the end of his time at Apple, he went to Hawaii to isolate himself and do some coding for a project. He looked out the window and saw dolphins playing in the ocean, felt the warm breeze and thought, “I don't have to do this anymore. I can just enjoy life. "At that point, he left the active day job with Apple, but he's never exactly" gone. "He's like an" Apple Fellow "or something. Also, I'm not sure, but I still think. use your health insurance.

He has been to many Apple events since he left. I went with him to the keynotes of the Apple Developer's Conference i

Keep reading

Woz told me that near the end of his time at Apple, he went to Hawaii to isolate himself and do some coding for a project. He looked out the window and saw dolphins playing in the ocean, felt the warm breeze and thought, “I don't have to do this anymore. I can just enjoy life. "At that point, he left the active day job with Apple, but he's never exactly" gone. "He's like an" Apple Fellow "or something. Also, I'm not sure, but I still think. use your health insurance.

He has been to many Apple events since he left. I went with him to the Apple Developer's Conference keynotes in the days when Jobs spoke and we could all be in an auditorium without masks. I'm sure if Apple wanted me to speak at an event or make an appearance or something, they would have no problem doing so. He also has no problem criticizing Apple if they do something he doesn't like.

He organized two American festivals in the 1980s, not really caring how much money he lost in the process. A lot of people had fun and that's all they cared about. He also loved mixing technology and music.

Later, he saw the need for a universal remote control (for televisions and so on). I had all these devices and they all had their own remotes all over the place. So he founded the company CL-9 (Cloud 9) Surely having a remote control that controlled all his devices would be better, right? Well yeah, except that I was overthinking the future. Most people at the time only had one device (a TV) and sometimes a VCR. Good idea, too soon.

He also founded a company called Wheels of Zeus. I worked with him in this small company of about 12 people. This company developed a kind of GPS tracker before GPS was everywhere. A kind of grassroots network. It was somehow based on WiFi, which was not that great at the time. Again, good idea, too soon.

Woz will always be a part of Apple and Apple will always be a part of it.

By the way, you can read about Wheels of Zeus in another Quora answer:

What happened to Steve Wozniak's Wheels of Zeus company? Https: //www.quora.com/What-happened-to-Steve-Wozniaks-company-Wheels-of-Zeus

This is not really a technical answer, but since your question is why he is "regarded" as one of the best programmers, it is important to know that it has a lot to do with the perspective that people have of him.

The main reason is that it embodies the spirit of a true programmer. He didn't write Linux, because it was his job, or he was asked to. He wrote it because the IBM PC with Intel 386 was by far the most powerful system he had ever seen, and MS-DOS was hardly doing it justice. He tried to get UNIX, which was too expensive, and then Minix, a small UNIX clone written for education.

Keep reading

This is not really a technical answer, but since your question is why he is "regarded" as one of the best programmers, it is important to know that it has a lot to do with the perspective that people have of him.

The main reason is that it embodies the spirit of a true programmer. He didn't write Linux, because it was his job, or he was asked to. He wrote it because the IBM PC with Intel 386 was by far the most powerful system he had ever seen, and MS-DOS was hardly doing it justice. He tried to get his hands on UNIX, which was too expensive, and then Minix, a small UNIX clone written for educational purposes, but it had serious drawbacks. So, he wrote his own operating system based on the two. The most interesting incident of that time is what is widely known as the "Linux is obsolete" debate, between Linus and Andrew Tanenbaum (the guy who wrote MINIX). The Tanenbaum-Torvalds Debate, read it if you have time.

As for GIT, it was not about how he wrote it, but again, why did he write it? I hated managing source control. Used BitKeeper for a while, but even had performance issues. Then again, he wrote his own. How many programmers around the world see suboptimal behavior in programs and yet turn a blind eye to them? But no, not this guy. He didn't like something, he changed it. He had no vested interests, he was not in it for the money. He loved programming and was a selfless man who always believed in sharing his knowledge with the world. What else does it take to be an ideal programmer?

Met with Steve Jobs; I saw them come out of a conference room together.

I'm not sure what it was about; Avi was at the meeting too, so it was probably about trying to buy him as an engineer. Was this in 2005 or so? Rumor has it that they also met around 2000 (?), When Linus was still on Transmeta.

I know there were patches to support Transmeta Crusoe registered in the CVS tree for Mac OS X in 2004; they weren't labeled as such, but I recognized the control register that it would only be needed on a Crusoe to be useful for a protected mode operating system. I asked about it, and that's

Keep reading

Met with Steve Jobs; I saw them come out of a conference room together.

I'm not sure what it was about; Avi was at the meeting too, so it was probably about trying to buy him as an engineer. Was this in 2005 or so? Rumor has it that they also met around 2000 (?), When Linus was still on Transmeta.

I know there were patches to support Transmeta Crusoe registered in the CVS tree for Mac OS X in 2004; they weren't labeled as such, but I recognized the control register that it would only be needed on a Crusoe to be useful for a protected mode operating system. I asked about it, and that's when I vowed to keep the Intel projects secret.

I have no idea about Gates.

Gates once said he was in a "jihad" against Linux; Linus, on more than one occasion, has been filming talking about something and "turning the bird" at the camera, saying disparaging things about Microsoft.

I'd be surprised if they never met.

I don't know about Wozniak either, but you'd be surprised who you run into in a couple of places, and I've seen Woz and Linus at the same cafe on different days, so I'd be shocked. if they haven't. Additionally, Woz appears as "the celebrity in line" at Apple product launches at a particular Apple store.

Woz, unlike Steve, was a shy and conserved boy from childhood, introverted. He didn't want to be up front to present his products or sell them. He himself admitted that Jobs was far better than him at public relations, marketing, and presentation.

Woz was happy designing the circuits for Apple computers, created one for Apple I, and co-created for Apple II. It was the marvel of Woz's engineering coupled with Steve's intuition for design, persuasion, and marketing skills that laid the foundation for Apple. It was Steve's idea to market his computers. He was always up front for obvious reasons.

Keep reading

Woz, unlike Steve, was a shy and conserved boy from childhood, introverted. He didn't want to be up front to present his products or sell them. He himself admitted that Jobs was far better than him at public relations, marketing, and presentation.

Woz was happy designing the circuits for Apple computers, created one for Apple I and co-created for Apple II. It was Woz's engineering marvel along with Steve's intuition for design, persuasion, and marketing skills that laid the foundation for Apple. It was Steve's idea to market his computers. He was always up front for obvious reasons. He had a vision and it worked really great! Hence, it gained immense popularity around the world.

But that doesn't mean Woz wasn't given credit! It is also very well known. He wasn't very hungry for wealth (and neither did Steve, really) and he was less skilled at what Steve marveled at. Steve always added "that's Woz" in presentations while Woz was still at Apple. And later, at the launch of his visionary devices like iPod, iMac, iPhone, etc., he would invite Woz and other early executives and glorify them.

Other Guides:


GET SPECIAL OFFER FROM OUR PARTNER.