Miguel De Icaza, 26
Geeks love Linux the "open-source" operating system that, amazingly, might pose a serious threat to Microsoft Windows. But the rest of the world--say, 99 percent of us--have little patience with Linux’s arcane command line interface, which seems like something out of the bad old days of DOS. The solution? Give Linux an easy-to-use graphical interface, designed, naturally, as open-source software. That project, already well under way, is led by Miguel de Icaza in Mexico City. De Icaza is coordinating development of a graphical interface called GNOME that makes Linux accessible to all by giving Linux the windows and icons that the masses have become accustomed to. (The system is free for the download.) In addition to spearheading GNOME, de Icaza has developed an open-source spreadsheet program called Gnumeric-impressive accomplishments for a mathematics undergraduate at the National University of Mexico who holds a day job at the school as a computer systems administrator. Richard Stallman, the MIT open-software guru, calls de Icaza "not only a capable software designer, but an idealistic and determined campaigner for computer users’ freedom."