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Reinventing Discovery by Michael Nielsen

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CHAPTER 4

Patterns of Online Collaboration

On August 26,1991, at 2:12 am, a 21-year-old Finnish programming student named Linus Torvalds posted a short note to an online forum for programmers. It read, in part:

I’m doing a (free) operating system (just a hobby, won’t be big and professional like gnu) for 386(486) AT clones . . . I’d like to know what features most people would want. Any suggestions are welcome, but I won’t promise I’ll implement them :-)

Just 14 minutes later, another user responded with the words “Tell us more!” and asked several questions. Nearly six weeks later, on October 5, Torvalds posted a second note, announcing that the code for his operating system—soon to be dubbed Linux—was now publicly available. He wrote in the ...

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