Monthly Archives: August 2013

17-2013 The Penguin and the charkha


The Penguin and the charkha

The Penguin and the charkha have many things in common. Many years ago, Gandhi chose the humble spinning wheel “charkha” as a symbol of protest against British domination and monopoly. The rest is history, and it repeated itself on 1991 August 25. That was the date in 1991 when Linus Torvalds posted an article in comp.os.minix saying his new experimental kernel was running bash and gcc, and he was going to post the source code soon. Though it’s impossible to pick a given day that Linux started, this is generally accepted as when the project reached critical mass. This was also the message that got others besides Linus interested in the project. A copy of the historic announcement is available at :: The feeble looking Penguin has made the menacing Goliath crawl on his knees.

The humble charkha created a home-made fabric called “khadi”. The coarse, hand-spun, hand-woven khadi not only displaced British textiles from India, it eventually helped throw away the British empire also. So, let us not underestimate the power of the Penguin !