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Book Review – Just for Fun: The Story of an Accidental Revolutionary

Just for Fun: The Story of an Accidental Revolutionary
By Linus Torvalds and David Diamond

I’ve never been a Linux zealot, but like any self-respecting geek I’ve known the general background to the development of the Linux operating system and like to root for and support open source software wherever possible.

This book describes in detail Linus Torvalds’ (the ‘creator of linux’) background and early life, interspersed with segments from his meetings with David Diamond, the co-author. It then goes on to answer some of the typical questions you might have about a man who developed an operating system which powers millions of computers and devices while managing to remain at its heart freely available and freely modifiable. Linus sums the book up with convincing arguments for open source software and against the ‘evils’ of patents and intellectual property law.

I found the start of the book to be much more easy going to read, and consequently more enjoyable. Even the sections about the technical considerations during the birth of Linux that Linus had to deal with seemed well-conveyed and therefore really quite interesting to learn about. The latter half of the book was, to me, much less ‘fun’, but still important as some readers will want answers about open source software and how it works. Whether you agree with his opinions, it has to be said they are well expressed, and at times thought provoking.

Ultimately this is a book I’m glad I’ve read as it was enjoyable and insightful, if a little draining at times. Despite it’s age this book leaves you with a sense that the significance and relevance of both open source software and Linux in today’s world cannot be underestimated.

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