Andrew S. Tanenbaum

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Andrew S. Tanenbaum

Andrew Stuart "Andy" Tanenbaum (born 1944) is a professor of Computer Science at Vrije Universiteit, Amsterdam in the Netherlands. He is best known as the author of Minix, a free Unix-like operating system for teaching purposes, and for his computer science textbooks.

He was born in New York City and raised in White Plains, NY. He received his bachelor's degree from MIT. He received his doctorate from UC Berkeley in 1971. He and his wife moved to the Netherlands (her homeland), but he retains his United States citizenship. As of 2004 he teaches courses about Computer Organization and Operating Systems, and supervises the work of Ph.D. candidates.

He is well recognized for his textbooks on computer science, which are famous as standard texts in the field, particularly:

He also wrote:

Minix was the inspiration for the Linux kernel. Tanenbaum became involved in a famous Usenet discussion[1] ( in 1992 with Linus Torvalds, Linux's creator, about the merits of Linus's basic approach using a monolithic kernel instead of the microkernel-based designs that Tanenbaum believed were the way of the future. He went on to write the Amoeba distributed operating system.

Books such as Just for fun and Rebel code mention heated arguments between Tanenbaum and Torvalds. Tanenbaum is said to have said that if Torvalds had been one of his students, he would have given him a low grade. Torvalds is also said to have responded to one of Tanenbaum's accusations with "Look, which of us is making money with Minix and which of us is giving Linux away for free?".

In 2004 Tanenbaum created, a popular web site analyzing opinion polls for the 2004 U.S. Presidential Election, using them to project the outcome in the Electoral College. The site also provided an electoral map. Surprising results on this map (such as, for example, a short period when Hawaii, traditionally Democratic, was listed as "Barely Bush") would often surface in popular discussion. Through most of the campaign period he kept his identity secret, referring to himself as "the Votemaster" and acknowledging only that he personally preferred Kerry. Tanenbaum, a Democrat, revealed his identity on November 1, 2004, the day prior to the election, also stating his reasons and qualifications for running the website [2] (


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