In other words, perhaps that prejudice was formed because a skilled and intelligent C++ programmer would not bother harassing the kernel people and calling them fools for not using God's chosen tool, because a skilled and intelligent person knows it ain't true. So those people could really have been producers of crap. Further, since the kernel is not in C++, all of the admirable work he dealt with daily would be in C. So it is self-reinforcing I guess. Probably some inversion of this could be applied to people who work exclusively in a C++ realm.
I think the major reason for the success of linux is together with GNU it provides an open source clone of unix. It and BSD were developed about the same time, but I believe minix was in circulation a few years before that.
@capt.jack: see what a snakepit there is here? People are freaking hilariously territorial about everything. That's what Bruce Eckel is working within, I just wanted to point that out in context. It's like political propaganda written to seduce the innocent/naive.