Zachary DuPon is a 6th grader who will turn 13 years old soon. He used to be an Arch Linux user and is looking forward to installing Gentoo Linux soon.

The story of Zach goes like this – his school organized a project where students were asked to write a letter to their heroes, while most kids wrote to celebrities, Zach wrote to the ‘real’ hero of the modern technology world – Linus Torvalds.

Since Linus works from home he doesn’t disclose his ‘work’ address, Zach’s letter went to The Linux Foundation, which scans all letters before sending them to Linus. When the foundation saw this letter they contacted Zach’s school and, being as generous as they are, invited him to LinuxCon so that he could meet his hero in person.

Jim Zemlin, the executive director of the Linux Foundation, introduced Zach to the crowd right after the keynote panel discussion. Zach met Linus and got his Linux Bible signed by the father of Linux; he also received a signed copy of Linus’ own book Just for Fun: The Story of an Accidental Revolutionary

The DuPont family
The DuPont family
Swapnil Bhartiya with Zachary DuPont
Swapnil Bhartiya with Zachary DuPont

I didn’t want to miss this opportunity so I approached the DuPont family as soon as they finished talking to Linus and arranged this video interview. I am a father of a 2 year old son and as a father, I was truly amazed how confident, articulate and clear Zach is in his thoughts.

Here is some trivia from the interview:

  • He used Arch Linux once
  • He plans to contribute once he becomes good at programming
  • He hasn’t filed any bug reports and thinks he should. He also said that he didn’t come across any bugs
  • He is not a huge fan of WINE
  • He likes KDE’s Plasma desktop, but it doesn’t work well on his Gateway machine
  • He is a Debian GNU/Linux user with XFCE desktop environment

Linus may be Zach’s hero, but Zach is the hero of the entire GNU/Linux and Free Software community, who continues to remind us that our future is in great hands.

Update: Zach has started blogging and you can check out his first blog here.

  • Anton

    I was just like Zach when I was 13. Kind of regret not contacting the Linux Foundation now :P

  • Zahidur Rahman

    A fantastic moment that can remind our early days of linuxing.

  • lacinyC

    Swapnil you are a cool dude! :)

  • Russell Barlow

    He wants to learn programming and wants to contribute when he does, why has nobody given him a copy of K&R yet?

  • Mr.Awesome

    I’m Only 14 And I Was Only 9 When I Installed Ubuntu 9.10 On My Mom’s PC Because Of The “Compiz Cube” (She Didn’t Mind Much) But Now, I Created Underbar OS. (A Linux Distro Using Gnome-Flashback (A Gnome-2 Clone Using GTK3) As The Default Desktop)

    It’s Amazing What We Teens Can Do…

  • Simos Katsiaris

    i started with madriva 10, so?
    Linux has a lot of young blood, blame the trolls for them being hidden

  • Allan Brazute Alves

    I remember to be kind of Zach about Linus, but I was about 15 years old. I remember because it was reading something Linus said that I learned the word “Palatable”. :D
    By that days I was already a Red Hat Linux user, learning how to be a server admin, and a HTML developer, just starting to learn Delphi/Pascal that I came to ditch for PHP and Bash Script.
    Hey Linus, I still follow you on G+. :)