Linked by David Adams on Mon 21st Jul 2008 14:44 UTC, submitted by Moulinneuf
Linux Linus Torvalds is remarkable, not only for being the technical genius who wrote Linux, but for then being able to inspire and lead an enormous team of people to devote their free time to work on the operating system and bring it to maturity. We sent Richard Morris off to interview Linus, and find out more.
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Sweet
by Soulbender on Mon 21st Jul 2008 15:10 UTC
Soulbender
Member since:
2005-08-18

I love how you make it sound like Richard Morris was sent to do the interview on behalf of osnews.

Reply Score: 5

v geek?
by antik on Mon 21st Jul 2008 15:19 UTC
RE: geek?
by Laurence on Mon 21st Jul 2008 15:47 UTC in reply to "geek?"
Laurence Member since:
2007-03-26

Geek who bad-mouth competitors to gain cheap popularity is not worth any respect.


You can't respect many geeks then because there's more OS fanboys than there are OS developers.

In fact you'll be hard pressed to find any geek that's has been that involved in an OS and is entirely impartial.

Reply Score: 5

RE: geek? - MS and Apple too then huh
by jabbotts on Mon 21st Jul 2008 17:50 UTC in reply to "geek?"
jabbotts Member since:
2007-09-06

Badmouths competitors, I guess Apple and Microsoft are both off your list too then.

Reply Score: 5

RE: geek?
by flanque on Mon 21st Jul 2008 23:09 UTC in reply to "geek?"
flanque Member since:
2005-12-15

I was going to suggest Balmer as a geek who bad mouths, but realistically he's just a brute.

Reply Score: 4

The myth of the sparetime hackers...
by Bleistift on Mon 21st Jul 2008 16:14 UTC
Bleistift
Member since:
2007-05-18

[quote]...enormous team of people to devote their free time to work on the operating system...[/quote]

This may have been true for Linux 1.x but now?

Oh well...

Edited 2008-07-21 16:15 UTC

Reply Score: 1

Cool 'n all...
by ohxten on Mon 21st Jul 2008 19:03 UTC
ohxten
Member since:
2008-02-17

That's cool and all... but how many Torvalds interviews do we have to have?

Reply Score: 0

RE: Cool 'n all...
by satan666 on Mon 21st Jul 2008 19:37 UTC in reply to "Cool 'n all..."
satan666 Member since:
2008-04-18

That's cool and all... but how many Torvalds interviews do we have to have?


Wow, someone actually complained that Linux gets too much press coverage! When Steve and Bill produce the tiniest fart you've got every single reporter covering it.

Reply Score: 7

RE[2]: Cool 'n all...
by ohxten on Mon 21st Jul 2008 22:05 UTC in reply to "RE: Cool 'n all..."
ohxten Member since:
2008-02-17

When Steve and Bill produce the tiniest fart you've got every single reporter covering it.


I hope by "you're" you mean the media, not me.

I just meant there are about a million Linus Torvalds interviews out there, and most of them either consist of the same questions, or are answered in his book _Just For Fun_. I really respect LT, but I'm tired of all of the same old-same old interviews.

Edited 2008-07-21 22:06 UTC

Reply Score: 0

RE: Cool 'n all...
by Soulbender on Tue 22nd Jul 2008 04:46 UTC in reply to "Cool 'n all..."
Soulbender Member since:
2005-08-18

Hopefully more like this one since it's actually good.

Reply Score: 2

RE: Cool 'n all...
by irbis on Tue 22nd Jul 2008 08:16 UTC in reply to "Cool 'n all..."
irbis Member since:
2005-07-08

That's cool and all... but how many Torvalds interviews do we have to have?

Perhaps in a way you might be partly right... (although I haven't seen another new Torvalds interview online for at least a month.. ;) ) But - in my opinion - there are again so many good points made by Linus in this interview that I cannot help but recommend the story and mark it as a "starred" story also. Just read Linus' comments concerning software patents, for example:

"patents are very much used to stop competition, which is undeniably the most powerful way to encourage innovation. Anybody who argues for patents is basically arguing against open markets and competition, but they never put it in those terms.

It's also distressing to see that people patent ideas. It's not even a working 'thing'; it's just a small way of doing things that you try to patent, just to have a weapon in an economic fight. Sad. Patents have lost all redeeming value, if they ever had any.
"

Edited 2008-07-22 08:18 UTC

Reply Score: 3

Linus Torvalds, the best ever
by diegoviola on Mon 21st Jul 2008 20:11 UTC
diegoviola
Member since:
2006-08-15

I really admire Linus. He is a modest person, always trying to overcome himself, doing things because it's fun, and not for trying to get other people's attention or money.

He is a great person, brilliant, with great talent and passion, a great inspiration for me and for the rest of the world.

Thanks for your work and for making the world a better place Linus, you are a great example to follow ;) .

Edited 2008-07-21 20:22 UTC

Reply Score: 5

RE: Linus Torvalds, the best ever
by fretinator on Mon 21st Jul 2008 20:17 UTC in reply to "Linus Torvalds, the best ever"
fretinator Member since:
2005-07-06

He doesn't seem to be that nice of a person. He called the OpenBSD folks a bunch of "Masturbating Monkeys". I watched a talk he gave at Google on GIT (the version control system he created), and be was merciless in his remarks to CVS and SVN. I don't get the feeling he has a proper respect for those that have come before. IMHO

Reply Score: 2

diegoviola Member since:
2006-08-15

He doesn't seem to be that nice of a person. He called the OpenBSD folks a bunch of "Masturbating Monkeys". I watched a talk he gave at Google on GIT (the version control system he created), and be was merciless in his remarks to CVS and SVN. I don't get the feeling he has a proper respect for those that have come before. IMHO

He is just trying to be funny in his own way. Don't take it personal, I find his comments cool and funny.

Reply Score: 7

tomcat Member since:
2006-01-06

He is just trying to be funny in his own way. Don't take it personal, I find his comments cool and funny.


There's nothing wrong with having a sense of humor. But there is something wrong with consistently demonstrating exceptionally poor taste. Masturbating monkeys, indeed.

Reply Score: 2

sgibofh Member since:
2007-03-31

the comments he makes not only are funny but also are food for thought.

Maybe he's right when he states things like the monkeys.
Sometimes, something that just works is ok enough. In fact, most of the time is.

Reply Score: 2

dbolgheroni Member since:
2007-01-18

...maybe, maybe...

Maybe you're wrong agreeing with Linus. But I'm pretty sure you know, as Linus, nothing about what OpenBSD devs are really doing.

Reply Score: 0

RE[2]: Linus Torvalds, the best ever
by TLZ_ on Mon 21st Jul 2008 22:02 UTC in reply to "RE: Linus Torvalds, the best ever"
TLZ_ Member since:
2007-02-05

Well, he is a *self-declared* asshole.

I still think he's good though, and people who create good stuff are often assholes. Simply because they care more about what they are creating than human consideration. Steve Jobs doesen't really seem like a very nice guy, but he get's shit done. Same can be said for many others.

Reply Score: 3

ohxten Member since:
2008-02-17

I kind of agree. That comment was out of line IMO. He lost a bit of my respect there...

Reply Score: 1

chemical_scum Member since:
2005-11-02

I kind of agree. That comment was out of line IMO. He lost a bit of my respect there...


It's no fun if you can't say what you think. I don't always agree with what he says (I am a Gnome user) but I always enjoy him saying it.

Edited 2008-07-21 22:34 UTC

Reply Score: 2

FishB8 Member since:
2006-01-16

Linus doesn't have PR and Sales departments that he has to parrot. He calls it like he sees it and is quite candid. He does tend to overstate things in order to get his point across, but despite that I would take his opinions and point of view as genuine. Too many other people tend to say nothing at all for public record, and when they do it's pre-baked crap that's politically correct and nobody is offended, but nobody takes it too seriously either.

I think that you have to be willing to risk offending people if you want to be taken seriously.

Reply Score: 1

Soulbender Member since:
2005-08-18

Even though I'm an OpenBSD user i've decided not to give a fsck what Linus says about it or what Theo says about Linux. Not everyone can get along and agree on everything. Both can be assholes and both have good ideas.
Just let it slide and get on with life.

Reply Score: 3

Giving Linus too much credit
by TaterSalad on Mon 21st Jul 2008 20:26 UTC
TaterSalad
Member since:
2005-07-06

This article gives Linus just a bit too much credit. Technical genius? I think not. Yes he created his own OS but thats about it. I hate reading interviews with him in it because he always feels this need to bash others, in this case Ballmer. He isn't that great.

Reply Score: 4

RE: Giving Linus too much credit
by irbis on Tue 22nd Jul 2008 15:19 UTC in reply to "Giving Linus too much credit"
irbis Member since:
2005-07-08

he always feels this need to bash others, in this case Ballmer

No - you are certainly not fair to him in this case. He is just replying some questions concerning Mr. Ballmer's own dirt throwing against Linux. Now, what is he going to reply? That he humbly thanks Mr. Ballmer for his friendly, insigthful and cooperative comments...? Linus is known for his straight comments but his answer here could even be considered quite polite comparing it to what Mr. Ballmer has been saying about Linux.

Linus:
'I have a hard time really seeing what the heck Ballmer is doing. First the monkey dance, then the chair throwing. At some point he called Linux 'un-American', apparently because he doesn't like the competition. Then the cancer thing.

I think he tried to say that open source grows very aggressively and takes over (which is good - if you're into that whole expanding markets thing), but he wanted to put it in terms of something that grows out of control and is bad for what it is growing in. Thus: cancer. So I can certainly see the logic of choosing that word. '

Of course open source grows aggressively: what's not to like? Low cost, great quality, and a lack of being shackled to some commercial company that you can't really trust further than the fact that they'll happily continue to take your money. And yes, it does grow at the cost of Microsoft, but that's called competition. It doesn't make it 'cancer' any more than it ever made it 'un-American'.

To me that reply looks more like good argumenting (than bashing) when Linus is just defending Linux (and free competition) against the continuing attacks by an aggressive OS monopolist.

Edited 2008-07-22 15:37 UTC

Reply Score: 4

RE: Giving Linus too much credit
by xyzzyx on Tue 22nd Jul 2008 18:27 UTC in reply to "Giving Linus too much credit"
xyzzyx Member since:
2008-01-09

Yes he created his own OS


No, he didn't. He created a kernel of an OS.

Reply Score: 1

Like what he's saying about licences
by TLZ_ on Mon 21st Jul 2008 21:57 UTC
TLZ_
Member since:
2007-02-05

I like what he is saying about licenses that he's open enough to see that there is something more than only GPL(despite him preffering it).

Unlike certain FOSS-indivudals who want you to a free licence... as long as it's GPL.

Reply Score: 3

It's GNU/Linux, you insensitive clod!
by da_Chicken on Tue 22nd Jul 2008 18:12 UTC
da_Chicken
Member since:
2006-01-01

From the article:

Torvalds called it Linux (short for Linus' MINIX).

Actually, he originally called it Freax (combination of "Free Unix" and "Unix for freaks"). Then Linus's friend Ari Lemmke managed to convice him that Freax perhaps wasn't such a cool name as Linus had thought.

Linus's comment in the interview:
And when it comes to distributions, ease of installation has actually been one of my main issues - I'm a technical person, but I have a very specific area of interest, and I don't want to fight the rest. So the only distributions I have actively avoided are the ones that are known to be "overly technical" - like the ones that encourage you to compile your own programs etc.

Yeah, I can do it, but it kind of defeats the whole point of a distribution for me. So I like the ones that have a name of being easy to use. I've never used plain Debian, for example, but I like Ubuntu. And before Debian people attack me - yeah, I know, I know, it's supposedly much simpler and easier to install these days. But it certainly didn't use to be, so I never had any reason to go for it.

So why does Linus still keep actively avoiding Debian now that he's been told that Debian has become a no-brainer to install? I'd guess he just dislikes distros that have "GNU/Linux" in their name.

There's this old controversy in naming the operating system that uses the Linux kernel and the GNU tools and utilities. Richard Stallman wanted to keep the ideals of the GNU project (which existed before the Linux kernel) visible and he suggested to call the operating system first "Lignux", and then "GNU/Linux" or "GNU+Linux".

Linus didn't like those names at all, and he generally doesn't approve of the GNU ideals (although he does seem to like the GNU GPL license, version 2). After giving up on "Freax", Linus has preferred to call the operating system that is based on his kernel simply "Linux".

Wikipedia has an article about the naming dispute:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/GNU/Linux_naming_controversy

Reply Score: 1

tomcat Member since:
2006-01-06

Sorry, but Stallman seems to be an egocentric douche, and I don't blame Torvalds for ignoring the controversy. Nobody really cares about the "GNU/Linux" vs "Linux" naming except the GNU guys. I mean, shit, why stop with Linux? Why not prefix *every* app with all of its dependencies? Answer: Because it's moronic, and it doesn't contribute anything, technically speaking. It's all about ego masturbation; hence, my original statement at the top of this post.

Reply Score: 1

hobgoblin Member since:
2005-07-06

iirc, the gpl2 have much the same criteria for sharing that torvalds put the linux source under originally, but with better words then he could come up with at the time.

basically for him its not so much a case of etics as a case of convenience. and thats also why he started coding it in he first place, so as to not have to take the trip to the unix lab each time he wanted to test something.

Reply Score: 2

Comment by Netfun81
by Netfun81 on Wed 23rd Jul 2008 22:49 UTC
Netfun81
Member since:
2008-03-25

I realize that Linus made minux work on pc hardware, but that is hardly creating an OS. The Linux OS is created by many developers around the world. What would it be like with Xorg, KDE, Gnome, Firefox, etc. It wouldn't be useful at all. Linus has his place with the kernel but I think gets too much credit for creating the "Linux OS"

Reply Score: 1