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NEC C&C Foundation The NEC C&C Foundation


2010 Recipients of C&C Prize

Group B

Dr. Linus Torvalds

Dr. Linus Torvalds

Fellow, The Linux Foundation


For the Creation of the Linux Kernel and the Promotion of Open-Source Operating System Development


Dr. Linus Torvalds developed Linux in 1991 as an operating system (OS) having functions interchangeable with those of UNIX, which had been in use for years.  Linux was released to the public as open-source software, becoming a new type of software development platform available for anyone to utilize freely.  Owing to this open-source approach to software, Linux was not only used as an OS for personal computers but also widely adopted for information technology devices ranging from built-in equipment such as for cellular phones and consumer electronics to mainframes and supercomputers.  Therefore, it greatly contributed to the development and progress of today's information technology devices.

Dr. Torvalds created Linux while a student at the University of Helsinki in Finland. In those days back in 1991, UNIX was recognized as business-use software and adopted for expensive workstations and minicomputers.  In contrast, Linux was developed for inexpensive home-use computers due to Dr. Torvalds' efforts, and had a significant impact on people worldwide.  There was also Minix, a UNIX-like OS for personal computers.  However, its functions were limited to educational use.  Linux was an extremely simple system at the start.  However, because it was released as open-source software, anyone was allowed to utilize and improve it freely and it progressed to the point where it was equal to, or better than, UNIX in every way.  Dr. Torvalds' initial contribution was that he invented a totally new approach to software development that made programs available to the public as open-source software, enabling a wide range of people to participate in its improvement.  His approach succeeded in spreading Linux worldwide without breaking up the Linux kernel by packaging software with network support, utilities, etc.  The approach also created a distribution method for correct and easy installation that satisfied users' needs.

Linux remains widely used as an OS for personal computers and small- and medium-scale network servers around the world.  It is also still widely used as an embedded system such as for cellular phones and consumer electronics and for large-scale information devices like mainframes and supercomputers.  Recently, it has been adopted for various smart phones and many are looking forward to its use as an OS for new portable terminal devices.

Linux has had an immense impact on the use, progress, and dissemination of information devices since its release to the public.  The NEC C&C Foundation thus highly praises Dr. Torvalds for his contributions to the advancement of the information technology industry, education, research, and the improvement of our lives.