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The Rampantly Unofficial Linus Torvalds FAQ

...a collection of trivia and personal facts about Linus.

1. Who is Linus Torvalds?

He wrote the Linux kernel. If you don't know that, why are you reading this?

2. What does he look like?

Here is a decent picture of Linus. It is Copyright 1999 by Gary Wagner. He has since had laser eye surgery and no longer wears glasses.

3. How should I pronounce `Linus'?

If you're speaking Swedish (his milk tongue) it's /lee'nus/. You can hear this in an audio file if you have a sound card.

If you're speaking English, Linus answers to either /lie'nus/ (long i) or /li'nus/ (short i). We have a sound file of Linus pronouncing his name in English.

4. Where is Linus from?

Finland. He grew up in Helsinki (the capital of Finland and its largest city). He wrote the Linux kernel while a student at Helsinki University.

5. When was he born?

December 28th 1969.

6. If Linus is Finnish, why is his birth language Swedish?

Finland has a significant (about 6%) Swedish-speaking minority population. They call themselves finlandssvensk or finlandssvenskar and consider themselves Finns; many of their families have lived in Finland for centuries. Swedish is one of Finland's two official languages.

7. What is Linus's middle name?

Many people seem to think think Linus's middle name is "God". A few claim it ought to be Eric. But in fact his middle name is `Benedict'. He doesn't use it much.

8. Where does Linus live?

He's now resident in Portland, Oregon, having moved to the U.S. from Helsinki in early 1997. He lived in Santa Clara and San Jose before going to work for OSDL

9. Does Linus have a home page?

He has one at; it's got an animated penguin and cute pictures of his baby daughter Patricia Miranda Torvalds.

10. What editor and mail reader does Linus use?

Linus deftly avoids the most persistent religious war in the hacker community by using neither Emacs nor vi. He uses MicroEmacs. And, we are told, Pine as a mail reader.

11. What is Linus's email address?

You can reach him at

Note: because Linus is who he is, he gets a staggering amount of email that he has to deal with. Don't waste his time. Linus is too nice a guy to hurt you if you abuse this address, but there are probably about a hundred thousand people who would be displeased enough to mess with you if you did.

12. What does Linus do when he's not hacking Linux?

He works at Open Source Development Labs.

He plays with his baby daughters, Patricia Miranda and Daniela. We have a picture of his family.

He drinks beer (especially Guinness). Occasionally he shoots pistols. He does not combine these two activities.

He enjoys driving his Merecedes SLK 32 AMG.

Yes, he in fact has a life. We await enlightenment on his other leisure-time activities. Assuming he wants to talk about them.