Skip to main content
Icons of Progress


The Era of Open Innovation

No product, idea, or achievement is possible without our most critical asset—the collective thought capital of hundreds of thousands of IBMers. The expertise, technical skill, willingness to take risk and overall dedication of IBM employees have led to countless transformative innovations through the years. Meet team members who contributed to this Icon of Progress.

  • Irving Wladawsky-Berger 

    Irving Wladawsku Berger

    Formerly an IBM vice president for technology strategy, Dr. Irving Wladawsky-Berger guided the IBM team into bringing Linux into the business. He began his IBM career in 1970 at the company's Thomas J. Watson Research Center. In 1985, he headed IBM’s initiatives in supercomputing and parallel computing. Wladawsky-Berger became chairman emeritus of the IBM Academy of Technology, and was co-chair of President Bill Clinton's Information Technology Advisory Committee. A founding member of the Computer Sciences and Telecommunications Board of the National Research Council, he is a visiting professor of engineering systems at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and an adjunct professor in the Innovation and Entrepreneurship Group at the Imperial College (London) Business School. Originally from Cuba, Wladawsky-Berger earned an MS and a PhD in physics from at the University of Chicago in Illinois.

  • Samuel J. Palmisano 

    Sam Palmisano

    Sam Palmisano, formerly vice president of the IBM Server Group, is chairman of the board, president and chief executive officer of IBM. He led the effort to adopt Linux on IBM servers and other hardware. Palmisano began his career with IBM in 1973 in Baltimore, Maryland. Since then, he has held a series of leadership positions at IBM, including senior vice president for the Enterprise Systems and Personal Systems groups. Palmisano played a key role in creating and leading IBM Global Services, rising to senior vice president, and building the largest and most diversified information technology services organization in the industry. He also served as senior managing director of operations for IBM Japan. He became president and chief operating officer in 2000, and was appointed to chief executive officer in 2002, and chairman in 2003. Palmisano is a graduate of The Johns Hopkins University.

  • Daniel D. Frye 

    Dan Frye

    Born in Portland, Oregon, Dr. Daniel Frye is a founding board member of the Linux Foundation. Frye graduated from the University of Idaho with a degree in physics and received both his master of arts in physics and his PhD in theoretical atomic physics from Johns Hopkins University. Frye started at IBM with a postdoctoral position in parallel programming and later rose through the development ranks and coauthored original IBM corporate strategies for both Linux and open-source software. Frye founded, and still leads, the IBM Linux development team and the IBM Linux Technology Center (LTC). He is currently the vice president of IBM’s open systems and solutions development. Frye has served in a variety of industry Linux and open-source groups. In 2010, he was named to the University of Idaho Alumni Hall of Fame for contributions to open-source software.

  • Linus Torvalds 

    Linus Torvalds
    On September 17, 1991, Linux version 0.01 is released.

    Linus Torvalds is the creator and patent holder of Linux. He was born in Helsinki, Finland, and attended the University of Helsinki between 1988 and 1996. He earned an MSc in computer science with the thesis “Linux: A Portable Operating System.” He has worked on Linux ever since. In early 1997, Torvalds accepted a position with Transmeta and worked there through June 2003. Torvalds then joined the Open Source Development Labs, which later merged with the Free Standards Group to become the Linux Foundation, where he was named the foundation’s first Fellow. Torvalds currently resides in Portland, Oregon, where he and his wife, Tove, have three daughters.