Who will be the next Geek King?

Who will be the next Geek King? In July 2008 Bill Gates, arguably the greatest Geek King there ever was will step down as leader of Microsoft. Surely we will continue to hear from him but his departure from the software world leaves a great void in Geek culture. Who will replace him? Who has his stature? Who has his utter Geekiness? Should the Geeks be ruled by committee? Should Geeks even be ruled?!

Well we here at Layer 8 have some thoughts on that. In our heart we think the true Geek King wouldn't be rich but really, you'll notice from our list that we don't take that notion too seriously. We think he needs to be deeply involved in the industry or at least has some sort of impact on it. We think he should look the part too, not too flashy, with a bad haircut perhaps. But really if we put too many requirements out there no one will qualify.

So, here are our nominees for the next Geek King. We'll deal with a real obvious one first:

Ray Ozzie. Microsoft Chief Software Architect certainly he has the cache to be the next King. His creation of Lotus Notes and subsequent rise to Microsoft's Lead position leaves him in a cult position for many Geeks. Our only knock on him would be that he's not always out there stirring up the public pot with his geekiness. He has Steve Ballmer for that.

Linus Torvolds: The Linux creator will get Geek votes by default. He once said he thought his name came, at least in part from the Peanuts character Linus. How geeky is that?! And of course Torvalds says he originally developed the Linux kernel as a hobby. A hobby?

Al Gore: Gore didn't invent the Internet as we all know by now, but you know, he did make it better. He has had his hand in tons of legislation to make the Internet faster and more useful for research and other endeavors. He has also has been a U.S. Vice President, senator, Nobel Peace prize candidate , presidential contender, Oscar and Emmy winner, environmental activist and a concert promoter. He makes Gates look like he was asleep for the past 20 years.

And now, the underdogs: Douglas Gayeton: Come on, anyone that can get HBO to fork over six figures for an animated film on Second Life has some major Geek cajones. The animated film follows the life of Alva, an avatar of real life director Douglas Gayeton. Alva's purpose is to discover the creator of Second Life, but is instead met and deals with a number of situations and colorful characters.

Ed Iacobucci: The cofounder of Citrix and an ex_IBMer to boot. But what really put him in the Geek King nomination realm was his hobby: airplanes. This month the Federal Aviation Administration in fact approved Iacobucci's use of six-seat jet aircraft for his DayJet on-demand air service that for now would fly between five Florida cities.

Steve Colbert: We toss this one into the ring because he has somewhat of a Geek following already, though being a comedian on Comedy Central as the host of The Colbert Report is a little outside our Geek King requirements. Still, he has interviewed and skewered quite a few industry luminaries. It's also worth noting that Google wants to question Colbert under oath in connection with the $1 billion copyright infringement lawsuit brought against the company and online video company YouTube by Viacom International. And when Captain America died earlier this year, Colbert inherited his indestructible shield.

Jimmy Wales: yes the cofounder of Wikipedia. While his background isn't as Geek-filled as some of the folks on this list, he seems to have embraced the lifestyle in recent years. It would be hard certainly to find a Geekier place than Wikipedia anyway.

George Hotz: Yes the computer hacker from New Jersey who was the first person to unlock Apple's iPhone from the services of AT&T. For us the fact that he traded the unlocked iPhone for "a sweet Nissan 350Z and 3 8GB iPhones" and a paid consulting gig, well, we thought there's a Geek with an idea.

Greg Packer: This one is admittedly a dark horse but we thought he's at least be an interesting King. Greg Packer waited in line outside Apple's main New York City store since Monday in hopes of being first in line to buy the over-hyped hardware. Why? Well if you recognize the name, Packer, has been the ubiquitous "man -in-the-street" quotemaster for hundreds of newsmaking events and has been quoted over 100 times in everything from the New York Times and Associated Press to CNN and MSNBC. According to a Columbia News Service: "[Packer] was first in the line to see ground zero when the viewing platform opened at the World Trade Center site December 30, 2001. He was the first in line in 1997 to sign the condolence book at the British consulate when Princess Diana died. He slept outside in the snow in Washington in January 2001 to be the first in line to greet President George W. Bush after his inauguration."

And don't forget to vote for a Geek Queen here.

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