posted by Thom Holwerda on Fri 20th Nov 2009 17:11 UTC
IconNow this is one to ponder. This year, the Nobel Peace Prize went to Barack Obama, president of the United States. The prize has been given to both politicians and non-politicians alike, and Keith Lofstrom thinks its time to hand over the Peace Prize to a non-politician once more: Linus Torvalds.

Lofstrom's argues that Linux has done - and is doing - a lot of good for the world, and as such, Linus deserves the credit. "Linux is one of the largest cooperative international efforts ever undertaken," he argues, "It inspired Ubuntu, One Laptop Per Child, and many other global projects. Linux conquered the supercomputer space, the server space, the embedded computer space - by peaceful means! Linux helped sequence the human genome, helps protect the world computer infrastructure from viral attack, and is now the pathway for millions to learn computer programming and participate in new international efforts."

As odd as it may sound, I do believe he has a point. Linux is indeed bringing people together - not in the mushy kind of way, but in a real way: people from all over the world collaborate on the kernel. On top of that, the success of the Linux kernel is partially responsible for the popularisation of open source software.

Thanks, in part, to Linus Torvalds, we have quality free and Free software, making it possible for even the poorest of people to gain access to computers and the advantages that brings. I do think, however, that the Free Software Foundation should share in such a prize.

That is, if I were to agree he indeed deserves the Nobel Peace Prize. I believe that Barack Obama shouldn't have received the prize; neither did Al Gore. When I think of the Nobel Peace Prize, I think of people like Aung San Suu Kyi or Mother Theresa - and certainly not of a programmer or a guy who made a film.

What are your thoughts?

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