There are famous people in all walks of life. Whether a famous poker player, a famous esports athlete or regular athlete, or a musician, actor or painter, you will find celebrities everywhere. Not all of them are as famous as some sports stars or musicians and actors, but their fame has given them millions of fans and recognition all over the world.

Software developers rarely get the fame that they should, particularly those that drove change and made the world a better place. Here are some of the world’s most famous software developers.

Linus Torvalds

Who could be more famous or important in this case, than the creator of the Linux kernel, Linus Torvalds?

He single handedly gave us tons of operating systems, as well as one of the world’s most popular mobile OSs, Android. 

Back in 1991, a dissatisfied Torvalds built his own kernel, because a system named Minix wasn’t available for personal use for free, only in educational facilities. People, dissatisfied with how Microsoft was doing things, joined in on the open source project and today, we have many Linux distros and a bunch of other goodies thanks to Torvalds.

Dennis Ritchie

However, the work Torvalds did wouldn’t be possible without the work of Dennis Ritchie and colleagues, who developed the C programming language, the thing that powers most operating systems nowadays. Anything that needs to be optimized and work closely with memory management and the actual hardware units is written in either C or C++, but mostly C. C has grown a lot since its early days, but it is still a rather great general-purpose programming language.

James Gosling

MuralidharanR, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

In no way related to Ryan Gosling, but famous on his own, James Gosling created Java, the single most used programming language. Java works on all platforms and whenever there is doubt about which programming language to use for cross-platform support, Java comes to mind.

He developed Java in 1994, but eventually left Sun Microsystems after they were acquired by Oracle.

He worked for various companies after that, from Google to Amazon, eventually working on his own projects.

Tim Berners-Lee

Not many people can be cited as changing the world, Tesla comes to mind, Einstein, but Tim Berners-Lee really gave us a shove. He invented the internet. He was working at CERN at the time, and he had already invented the hypertext in 1980. It was 1989 and he was desperate, as he stated. There was a need for the internet, the research demanded it. He “just” joined all the pieces together and the internet was born.

We all know how that story goes, having been using it for the past thirty years. 

Bjarne Stroustrup

When programming languages are concerned, two come to mind as the most important, C and C++. Bjarne Stroustrup invented C++ and programming was never the same. An object-oriented language, C++ is powerful and is often used to code when you are working with the machine. In combination with C, C++ makes a powerful tool to develop just about anything. 

As far as software developers go, these are the world’s most famous and influential developers, having built either languages or kernels that would end up changing the world. One of them invented the internet, which is an accomplishment of its own.