Today we have a special guest in the series of interviews we conducting here at OSNews. Linus Torvalds, the well known Linux founder, is with us to discuss everything about the kernel, Microsoft, the naming of GNU/Linux and the future. Read on!
1. When do you estimate the 2.5 development kernel source tree will open? What new features are planned to be included on kernel 2.6?
Linus Torvalds: I don’t want to open a 2.5.x development tree until I’m happy with the pending issues for 2.4.x – it’s taken longer than I hoped for, but it’s getting there. Within the month..
The biggest issues for 2.5.x (and the eventual 2.6 or 3.0 release) will probably be NUMA and other big machine scalability, along with an overhaul of the disk IO layer. At the same time, most of what affects “normal” users is the continued driver development etc.
The other part of scalability is scaling down (that’s the part that most “scalable” projects forget completely about), and there the interesting stuff is mostly about some of the QoS issues that some embedded users have. We’ll see where that takes us.
2. What are the best parts of the linux kernel in your opinion, and what are the parts than need changing or even rewritting?
Linus Torvalds: I personally really like our filesystem layer, and in general the “core” code is in pretty good shape. The problem spots tend to be in outlying areas, especially driver code. Much of our SCSI layer really needs to be rewritten eventually, and that’s one of the pushes for 2.5.x..
3. Are there any plans for a more “visual” way to add/remove drivers and reconfigure the kernel itself somewhat on the fly, which can be incredibly helpful for new users?
Linus Torvalds: I’m a big non-believer in manual driver and kernel configuration, be it visual or not. Most of the stuff happens automatically, and we’re going to make that more and more common. Things like hot-plugging a device and the driver automatically getting loaded is how things are supposed to work, none of this “device manager” stuff.
4. Recently you stated that GUIs are important for Linux’s market acceptance. Are you happy with the today’s offerings of KDE, Gnome or WindowMaker as modern GUI systems?
Linus Torvalds: I really like KDE, especially the fact that it’s more than just a window manager infrastructure, but that there are real applications developed under it too.
Which is not to say that there isn’t more to be done – I’m personally happy with what we have now, but at the same time I’d be very very unhappy if it didn’t continue to develop to become better..
5. What do you think of the FreeBSD 5 kernel and WindowsXP’s new features from a clearly technical point of view?
Linus Torvalds: I don’t actually follow other operating systems much. I don’t compete – I just worry about making Linux better than itself, not others. And quite frankly, I don’t see anythign very interesting on a technical level in either.
6. What is your opinion on Hailstorm, .Net and the rest of the technologies Microsoft is preparing to roll out in the years to come? Can these releases have an impact on Linux and if yes, in what way?
Linus Torvalds: See my answer about not caring what the competition does, but doing my own thing as well as I can..
7. Do you believe that the oh-so-many Linux distributions are a good thing for Linux’s overall good and future, or a problem that creates forks and inconsistencies throughout the platform?
Linus Torvalds: Oh, choice is always hard. But we take it for granted in politics, and I take it for granted in Linux. Quite frankly, everybody has slightly different priorities, and working in lock-step simply isn’t a good idea. Never has been, never will be.
When somebody who is different shows himself to be different in a _good_ way, that’s how development happens.
8. What is your opinion on RMS insisting calling Linux as GNU/Linux?
Linus Torvalds: I don’t mind what rms calls the system. I don’t think his arguments for the naming are very valid, but hey, at the same time I really couldn’t care less.
9. There was quite some discussion on the kernel mailing list some time ago about making Linux _truely_ preemptive and tear down the “big giant lock” around the kernel, which brings a number of good things, but for a price. What is your opinion on the issue?
Linus Torvalds: On the SMP side we’ve pretty much done it. For all intents and purposes there is no big kernel lock in any important area, and Linux these days scales pretty well, without getting into the nightmare scenario that some UNIXes got to where the locking granularity got so fine that it started impacting performance.
Some people have been playing with using the same locks on UP too, creating a fully preemptible kernel. A lot of people are playing around with the patches, and we’ll see when/if I’ll integrate them into the standard tree. It’s not a high priority for me: they don’t add performance (like the SMP scalability does), and if they improve latency noticeably I’d really rather look at why the latency is bad in the first place.
So right now as far as I’m concerned it’s one of those “cool features” things, and it will need some prodding from the real world to show whether it is worth it.
10. How do you see the future of Linux for the next 5 or 10 years from an engineering but also a marketing eye?
Linus Torvalds: I don’t use a marketing eye, I simply don’t care. There are others who do, I’ll let them worry about it.
From a technical standpoint, I believe the kernel will be “more of the same”, and that all the _really_ interesting stuff will be going on in user space. That’s not to say that there aren’t problems to keep us occupied in the kernel too, I just don’t think they make for all that interesting reading 😉
11. Let’s think “big” for a moment. How do you see the general future of computing in the years to come? What kind of evolution is the next… revolution for software or hardware?
Linus Torvalds: I was never a “big thinker”. One of my philosophies in Linux has always been to not worry about the future too much, but make sure that we make the best of what we have now – together with keeping our options open for the future and not digging us into a hole.
And I’m not a big believer in revolutions. What people call revolutions in technology were more of a shift in perception – from big machines to PC’s (the _technology_ just evolved, fairly slowly at that), and from PC’s to the internet. The next “revolution” is going to be the same thing – not about the technology itself being revolutionary, but a shift in how you look at it and how you use it.
What’s that shift going to be? Who knows. Maybe it will have nothing directly to do with computers at all, just using computers to create new life-forms or whatever.. Where the _excitement_ is not the tool, but what you can do with it.
Whatever it is, I’m sure it will run Linux…
On that note, I have started a project to make a hampster driver for linux. Yes, you heard me, a hampster driver. Wouldn’t it be cool to remotely control them? /dev/hmp0 hrm… telnetting a hampster, now wouldn’t that be interesting?
that was incredibly un-enlightening.
You lamer! Get a life…
ps: More like, whatever it is, I’m sure NetBSD will port it, or already has it.. No OS is more ported, and being BSD license, is more freely availble.
Not another NetBSD zealot…. I use NetBSD and it’s quite nice, but I don’t need the zealotry… I think Linux is doing fine too (except from the VM subsystem that is… which still sucks a bit). Talking about the VM, I wonder why Torvalds didn’t address that? It needs to be fixed.
getting more weirdness injected in him by the day. He don’t care about the future, he don’t care about other OS’s, he don’t care about nothin. Hey Linus, thanks for caring, otherwise you wouldn’t have started Linux!
Actually the VM subsystem <is> being addressed, 2.4.11 brought quite a few changes to the VM subsystem which should help a lot, eventually (hopefully) OOM will be handled better too…
Linus seems pretty ignorant for a leader of a major operating system. Makes me wonder about Linux’s future. Some informative quotes: “I don’t actually follow other operating systems much. I don’t compete – I just worry about making Linux better than itself, not others.” That’s great that Linux won’t use any innovations from some very smart people working on different operating systems. Linux will just reinvent its own innovations.
<p>”I don’t use a marketing eye, I simply don’t care.” Is Linux a developer or project manager? At the very least he doesn’t seem to want more than a software development part in Linux’s future.</p>
<p>I’ll close this comment out with a very insightful self-explanatory quote by Linus: “I was never a “big thinker”. One of my philosophies in Linux has always been to not worry about the future too much.”</p>
Linus has become too damn arogant.
Jordan Hubbart, now he’s cool
Even if linus doesn’t care, <a href=http://www.scaredcity.com>we still do.
So much, in fact, that we’re endeavoring to give away this useful set of <a href=http://www.opensourceworks.com>URLs, including a year’s free hosting. you could acquire them, as a result of your ability to follow simple directions.
I don’t think Linus ever proclaimed himself as a visioneer. After all he wrote an OS that already existed. Other people want him to be something he never was. Even if Linus is not looking at other software, other people do and Linux will be pushed towards this. Note that he is right when he expects most fundamental changes to occur in user-space. Unlike MS (they push everything in the kernel), userspace is the correct place to put most ‘kool’ tools, the kernel must be flexible, fast and STABLE enough to support whatever you write on top of it.
and hey, if you don’t like it – use something else or write your own…
I liked Matt Dillon from the FreeBSD project. Matt answers fully the interview questions (check Monday’s interview on osnews about bsd), he does not dismiss them as Linus does. I guess, Theo De Raadt and Linus are the same person somehow…
The world already has one Larry Ellison. It doesn’t need a second. Linus has a very level head and doesn’t shoot his mouth off. I’m pretty sure he sees a path for Linux in the future, but as Bill Gates has proven to us time and time again, it’s pretty hard to predict the future.
I would rather see someone like this in charge of Linux. He maintains a very positive image. Can you imagine what the media would do to the Linux community if Linus was proclaiming Linux to be the end all be all of the world and Microsoft is worthless. Hell imagine what the zealots would do if he was like that. It would become a freekin holy war against common sense.
Reading the interview I understood his logic. I dont market I program. I dont care about the future problems I care about these immediate problems. All signs of a dedicated individual. Scott you would be more pleased with a man who sits around dreaming of the future, out marketing the product and generally everything but work on code.
What do you think of the FreeBSD 5 kernel and WindowsXP’s new features from a clearly technical point of view?
Linus Torvalds: blah blah blah…
And quite frankly, I don’t see anythign very interesting on a technical level in either.
Don’t worry Linus. *BSD fanatics don’t see anything interesting on a technical level in Linus either.
Even if Linus doesn’t keep his ear to the ground on development, other people around him do which is more important.
Though with an attitude like that, I won’t be suprised when someone doesn’t splinter off and starts releasing their own kernels with say something like a “-ac” at the end of them. 🙂
I agree with Hyperion, Feh, and BM. Linus is doing the right thing by focusing on the problems of now, rather than trying to predict the problems of the future. Linux is a good OS, and its time will come. We, as users and developers, just have to continue to support it, and push for innovation.
Wow, what a let down. I mean Torvalds is not obliged to do or be anything other than a kernel coder, to each his own. But the linux community isn’t obliged to consider Torvolds a guiding light personality either, and after that interview I doubt anyone will.
It’s one thing to be an eccentric programmer whose unconcerned with mundane matters like marketing, but it seemed like he was purposefully being an jerk. Like the part about other OS’s, he says he doesn’t care about them, doesn’t know anything about what they’re doing, then says something like “anyway, they’re not doing anything interesting.” How does he know, I thought he didn’t care. Obviously he does care, and all the blather about “I don’t care” must have just been added for effect.
Next time I see a headline with Torvalds name in it, I’ll say to myself “who cares.”
This has to of been the most boring interview I’ve ever seen. Could Linus have been any less droll and nonchalant? I guess he’s written his book about causing a “revolution” but now he wants to shy away from that metaphor for some reason? Linux is and will always be a programmers toy, a great toy that millions of programmers can play together with and go off and create their own version of the toy and everyone else that builds the toy parts can focus on trying to introduce something old-yet-linuxnew that compiles on X amount of distro’s, and fufills everyones software (read: trendy) philosophy. It would be really fun to get everyone together and make a solid distro with specific optimizations between certain packages that can really make the user experience a good one. Windows and MacOS 9.x/10.x may not be as configurable, or “open source,GNU,FreeBeer,Whatever” but it’s a fluid and managable workspace with a dedicated hardware and software following that OEM’s can get behind. I think to really appreciate linux you have to have a real attitude towards MSZilla and OpenSource that allows you to turn face against modern OS innovations for your cause. I doubt it will ever be anything but a sports car to a programmer, and a waste of time to the average joe that doesn’t have a chip on his or her shoulder.
Q 8. What is your opinion on RMS insisting calling Linux as GNU/Linux?
RMS is not calling Linux as GNU/Linux!
He is calling the entire system GNU/Linux.
Linux is a kernel of an operating system not an entire operating system.
( Note that you’ll often see GNU/Herd when someone is talking about that system ).
Of course Linux doesn’t need any of GNU software. Just as GNU doesn’t need Linux but why write new software or use some proprietary software? Both GNU and Linux are great.
CPU Scheduling – didn’t mention lse.sourceforge.net or hp scheduler
SCSI… Why not focus on Fibre – SCSI is dying
Linus doesn’t care about the future of Linux or what the competition is doing because he doesn’t view it as a commercial machine. He doesn’t care if it becomes mainstream, or if billions of people use it. It is simply a labour of love to him. And as such, he feels as though he has nothing to prove to anyone and has no expectations to live up to.
I know, everyone would love to see Linux become mainstream and bring the mighty Microsoft to a grinding halt, but let’s face it: Linus has more practical things on his mind. And it really is that simple. It’s just a fun hobby to him.
I love Linus’ attitude on other OS’. It is the complete opposite of mine (I try every OS I can get my hands on), but I can fully understand his point: Why participate in endless wars over which OS is best and why and spend time on developing “visionary” ideas if you can simply sit down and write good code?
I can say I was not surprised at all about the comments that Linus pays no attention to other OS/s. The failure to learn from other operating systems has been the number one reason why Linux has not displaced Windoze.
I speak with many reporters and a frequently hear that they dread even writing about Linux because anything negative they include about it, no matter how true, will bring torrents of the most vicious flames imaginable.
The refusal to learn from others is the greatest failing of Linux.
Didn’t Linus originally study Minix to form his version of Unix on the PC? Wouldn’t that be seen as “attention to other OS/s”.
What is there in Windoze that is so good and we are missing in Linux so much? Don’t take this the wrong way, I use Windows every day and each OS is useful to me, so I’m not starting a huge debate over which OS is best, but the last post was a bit lame
You get flames from Windows users and Linux users if you post in the wrong places, and especially if you say the wrong things.
Everything I read just about sums it up. Linux is not a commercial os, its a fun toy, with a horrendous userland ( GNU tools specifically ).
It would not be an impossible (in fact, fairly trivial) act to port (for example) the libc to replace glibc (along with the rest of the userland). This would make for a decent userland… but why go through the effort when there is a not-so-toyish alternative?
I began fiddling with linux years ago, but was not pulled into the womb of unix until I tried FreeBSD for the first time — with no chip on my shoulder I fell in love instantly. A toy is a toy. BSD is an OS.
people still use ide, whats wrong with continuing to update scsi?
<p>He’s not arrogant; he’s laid back. I can relate to him. Great dude.</p>
What I do not appreciate are all of the extremely ignorant people who would tell you that Linus is a God, and that read far too much into a kernel that’s being written as a hobby.
I realy liked this interview.
Linus is a real person, and dosn’t try to hide it.
He could have just regurgitated some stupid slogan(Bill Gates style interview)
He coudl have wasted our time by atacking Mirosoft and pointing out the flaws in its new OS’s.
But instead he told us the truth “I care about coding the kernel”
If we stop and think about how much time and energy his job takes, not to mention the fact that he has a family. I’m not surprised he’s a bit monocular in vision. He’s just a regular guy, and so many people go around talking about him like he is some sort of superhero, or visionary. Can you imagine how damn annoying that must be? Give the dude a break and just leave him alone.
I can say I was not surprised at all about the comments that Linus pays no attention to other OS/s. The failure to learn from other operating systems has been the number one reason why Linux has not displaced Windoze.
Linux is a kernel, it is a simple program that is a few hundered Kb to a meg, depending how it is compiled. Everyone always talks about X-Windows / window managers / applications and think linux has something to do with these. He doesnt, he programs the kernel, which quite frankly is an outstanding piece of technology. Nothing competes with it at this moment on the 386 compatible series of machine(and just cos microkernels are newer does not mean they are better). And why exactly would one want to copy a flawed operating system such as windows? How can you without access to the sources at some level. If you are speaking with reporters, you should at least be able to construct valid opinions based on facts, not just churn out the same old boring ones that no longer make any sense 5 years after they were first mentioned.
In summary, if you are going to comment on linux, at least have the decency to know what it is.
I think most of you are forgetting something, we hack what we feel like hacking, and that’s about it. The linux kernel is Linus’s, it his idea and his code. Our opinions matter to him to some extent but he has never been obligated to change anything. He wrote it to suit himself not to make someone else money.
Just like when we code our own software. I don’t write code to make money, I write it to get things done that **I** need done. If I can be of some use to someone else great, if not c’est la vie. 90% of the code on sourceforge/freshmeat was written for the developers first and put there in case you could use it too… Nothing is stoping you from writing your own kernel except the daunting 10 years it would take you to write it alone.
Don’t forget that if no one person ever used the linux kernel again after this very instant, that Linus would not stop working on it.
Yes the REAL Sir Ace.
windows=explorer.exe, ie, word, etc.
Pretty pure. I don’t understand the windows vs linux debate. That’s apples and oranges. Maybe KDE vs windoze makes sense, but you don’t hear that. I don’t like windoze because it’s uglier than shit. Yeah, you can always change out explorer and use different shell replacements, but they don’t work as well as just about any window manager under linux. I do like linux. Is it harder? Yes. Is it overwhelming to a newbie? Yes. Do I care? No.
My loggs are still being filled with Code Red, nimda crap. Thanks MS.
My guess (important word, that. The subject is engaged in speculation.) is that we’re seeing Linus’ dismay over people asking him the same questions again and again. I think there are too many people out there trying to put Linus on a pedestal he’s not really happy with.
I feel reasonably sure that Linus does still care about things, even marketing things, but that he doesn’t want to be the mastermind behind the overthrow of the MS beast. Who would want that job? Until we see some actual evidence that Linus is, for whatever reason, making demonstrably poor decisions–or no decisions at all–we should just leave things as they are.
Let’s remember that Linus is, for all practical purposes, now a project manager. He makes the final call on what goes in the kernel tree. If he doesn’t follow other OSs, it doesn’t really matter. The folks doing active development work can include code and ideas from any source they please; all Linus has to do is approve it. So I don’t think that any of Linus’ expressed opinions is the harbinger of doom for Linux development. There’s no reason to think we’re in “Not Invented Here” land. Hell, it was just last week that I was reading about a BSD developer who was annoyed to find his ATA code in the Linux tree with no copyright statement or acknowledgement… That’s a GOOD sign…
I still don’t understand why so many ppl wonder/hope when Linux will kick windows from the desktop. I read the book Just for fun and Linus states that he wrote Linux to compete with Minix. It whas never meant to challenge Windows.
I made a funny observation a few years ago about Linux versus the various
BSD camps: the BSD people are acting more or less like CNN would like us
to believe that moslems are. (Note that I am clearly saying: “like CNN would like us to believe that moslems are”, not “what moslems are”. There’s a difference)
While the BSD people seem to have this massive inferiority complex and make a lot of noise about how great BSD is and how shitty Linux is, most Linux people, save the trolls on Slashdot, really do not give a shit. They are mostly agnostic. They don’t feel the need to say that Linux is superior. It works for them, it gives them something to tinker with and the atmosphere around the Linux crowd is generally more relaxed — thus fostering creativity.
I work at a company where we use a bunch of OSes. Windows, Linux, FreeBSD, Solaris, NetBSD, OpenBSD you name it. Usually the OS for solving a given task is chosen depending on what the people who develop, deploy and run the service are more comfortable with. Sometimes it comes down to particular things that one OS does better than the rest.
For instance we use a lot of Linux machines for development work. Why? Because there are more tools available under Linux. Commercial software vendors create things that just aren’t available under, say, FreeBSD. Sure you can run them in Linux emulation, but why would you if there os no reason to do it?
Other than being a good BSD zealot and not soil your soul with the unclean and ungodly Linux.
We deploy a lot of solutions that were developed under Linux on FreeBSD machines. Large scale stuff. A lot larger than anything you are likely to see during your entire carreer in UNIX. Using FreeBSD during deployment is a cost issue for us. If you save a few million dollars using FreeBSD for deploying a solution because some aspect of the OS would require more hardware if you ran Linux, then you do that. I can’t remember any of the Linux users in the company bemoan this fact.
Likewise, if you can cut development time in half because you have better tools under Linux it would be stupid to use FreeBSD; just because it is the Right OS.
This sounds pretty obvious, right? Apparently it isn’t. The last year I’ve seen two individuals apply for jobs here who wanted a clause in their contract that they wanted to ONLY deal with one OS. (I’ll leave it as an exercise to the reader to figure out which OS they preferred exclusively). Given that the BSD crowd is more prone to childish zealotry it didn’t really surprise me.
It told me something important though: you really do not want zealots working for you, whether they are one denomination or another. If you can reduce the number of obvious shitheads in your company that is a good thing.
I think the best thing that could happen to the BSD world would be if someone well respected within the communities would step up and tell people to quit being such whiners. It is embarassing to see grown people who are supposedly intelligent act in a way that makes them look like ignorant bigots. That’s not to say that Linux doesn’t have the same problem; sure it has, but to a lesser degree. Most chest-thumping Linux users are just that “users”. Clueless losers akin to the Amiga losers who claimed the OS of the Amiga was the best OS in the world — but couldn’t really tell you what made it so much better except the usual drivel that set it out from MS-DOS 3.2.
I’ve met Linus once. A few years ago we had dinner and an evening of talking about this and that. What strikes me about Linus is that this guy is probably the best leader you can get for any software project. He is focused and rational.
He is focused on what he wants to accomplish in a forseeable future and isn’t easily led astray by fads or hype (unlike most people).
He is rational in the sense that he doesn’t give in to emotional pressure but bases his decisions on what he thinks is right. This is important. I have managed open source projects and one of the things that I find very hard is rejecting bad ideas, bad code and bad people when the intentions are good. It is really hard to do. (Tridge [of Samba] said the same thing in an interview not too long ago). This is one of the things Linus does well. His level-headedness and his apparent lack of passion (apparent being the key word) when he reaches a decision is really something that other people could learn a lot from.
Now instead of flaming me: if you are a “guilty as charged BSD chest-thumper”, ease up a little. If you are basically a loser who never wrote any significant piece of software or even tried to contribute with some actuall skills that you have: grow a brain or at least try to put some work into maturing your intellect and keeping your passion restrained long enough to stop bullshit seeping out of your face.
Thank you for reading.
Some interview, just a bunch of non-answers if you asked me…
This is so typical for Linux community. Linus is an arrogant tech guy who is unable to listen to the market needs. Look what IBM has done to Linux! The god damn own the OS now and earn money on Linus free-of-charge developers. That sucks
In response to Scott’s comments (“Not impressed with Linus as a leader of Linux”) I think you misunderstand Linus’ role in Linux development, and the dynamics of Open Source & Free Software projects.
The direction of an OS project is driven by the people using and working on the software, not by a whizz-bang marketing vision. If developers want Linux to go in a certain direction (scaled down to embedded systems, or up to big iron, or supporting new device types), they will develop the code to do that. It is Linus’ job to integrate those changes into the main Linux codebase in a fair and reliable manner. If he pushed the project in the direction he wanted it to go, he would discourage people from submitting code that enabled Linux to be used in other areas and encourage people to fork the codebase into projects with a different focus than his.
I don’t think Linus is arrogant, perhaps he’s more a bit shy-type-of-guy.
He really shouldn’t care about other OS’es. Of course Linux has -let’s call it- problems of it’s own, and yes, they should be adressed, if possible. That’s his focus right now, and nobody should try to copy other OS’es. Linus neither.
Please remember that we like Linux for what it really is -stable and versatile- and not some windows clone who does it all better.
And for the quality of Linux : Lets talk about crashes per year, not per day.
well, if linus doesn’t take care, he will be the most known person in history who doesn’t care.
i understand him that he doesn’t care what the others do, but quite frankly, linus, you have to care, if you want to make the best os. all the blabla about the best os is just a big i don’t care-piece if you do not care. for the consumer, who wants to use the os on the desktop, linux is not really in great shape, at least what the normal user considers as great shape. why don’t you just care a little more and make really the best core of an os?
maybe your developer community also needs from time to time a little more care to find out that we do not really need the 203rd copy of ms office, but rather new, more creative ideas of software.
maybe i am worng, but i am angered of this i don’t cares in the past weeks from you. if you don’t care, why should anybody care?
Linus said it himself. All the interesting things will be happening in user space. This is not a change in ideals for him. This is the way Linux has always been. More over, it’s the was unicen have ALWAYS worked! Linus merely remade an OS that already existed, made it (mostly) compatible, and made it stable. X windows, Gnome, KDE, etc… These are all user space programs! The bash shell, xterm, etc, all user space! And Linus had nothing to do with them, and most of them already existed, with or without his help. I don’t understand why people see Linus as some great leader. All he is is a guy who programmed a good, solid basis for a free OS. Not even the whole OS.
People, the “future of Linux” lies not with Linus Torvalds. He’s merely the guy who wrote the foundation. You want people to look up to? Look at GNU, they’re the ones who made the phenomenon we know now as Linux possible, and had every bit as much to do with it’s success as Linus did.
I think IBM is doing an excellent job. They are pouring oodles of cash into important projects for furthering Linux, giving it things that it lacks, helping making the pill more edible to the commercial industry.
Meanwhile Linus does his thing and does so well. (Though since Linus does not have his own marketing department to project an image of himself that you guys would swallow more easily, you would actually have to make an effort to discover that he does his job well).
Also, I would like you to make a mental effort to understand the difference between what the “market” wants and what the “users” want. Obviously this distinction has escaped you, so I’ll help you: what the “market” wants is not based on technical merit nor is it identical to what users wants — it is based on what marketing-people know how to sell in great volumes.
Linux on the other hand is heavily geared towards its users. Before Linus Thorvalds accepts or rejects a patch, he has to consider what will benefit the majority of his users — and he does. He has clearly stated this on many occasions: the single most important criterion for something to be included in the kernel is if it benefits real users. Things that are just hype or curiosa for people who prefer to masturbate, rather than creating, are not important to Linus because they do not really help further Linux.
Believe me, what IBM is doing is _healthy_ for Linux. If the Linux community can’t see this, or even feel they have to resent it, then the Linux community can just go fuck itself.
Mr. B, I am surprised how much you know about the market, the user and Linus Torvalds.
Obviously, Linus does not make teh right choices, what the user needs or will benefit from. Otherwise more people would use Linux out there, right? Personally i consider the attitude, that one person decides on the benefits for all of this community, arrogant.
The obvious hate against marketing departments of big companies, especially Microsoft, does not justify a I don’t care-position. Sometimes it might even help Linux-developers to look to the other side, maybe there are some people who have great ideas, too.
Truthfully, Linus is just extremely unassuming.
He doesn’t provide “solid answers” to the questions because there aren’t any. I mean, if he lays out a clear road, he would be bound to follow it. I don’t know how many times I see Linux and Windows zealots bash each other because “Microsoft didn’t do this thing they said” or “Linux nerds did this other thing”. It’s pathetic (especially some of the threads lately about the IP theft in the Linux kernel which I believe is resolved now). Linus got flamed a few years back because he missed a “if things go well” release date he mentioned for 2.4 (admittedly, he missed it by 6 months, but it was an offhand comment at a convention!). Now he just doesn’t give solid answers where there aren’t any.
Anways, Linux was not built by a coherent design goal or roadmap–but rather a coherent design *philosophy*. Linux was built by stringent evaluation of which code was good and which code was bad. It’s that simple.
Put simply, followers need directions. Linux is not written by followers. It’s written by those who take their own initiative. If you follow linux-kernel, you’d laugh if you heard someone say “Linus will tell Alan to handle this and Andrea to handle this and Rick to handle this, and …” It doesn’t work that way. They just do it.
The magic of Linus is that he has an exceptional talent at putting the pieces together. It’s wierd, but sometimes he accepts a patch mailed directly to him from a nobody because he thinks it’s good, but someone who’s a known kernel-coder sends a patch to the list instead because “Linus said to send it there”. He just knows how things fit together.
Linus actually pushes very few things in the kernel. The major coders push themselves.
To be honest, he doesn’t answer because he doesn’t really know. He’ll know while it’s being developed. One of the most exciting times I spend each week is going to http://kt.zork.net/kernel-traffic/latest.html and reading the latest Kernel Traffic (I used to subscribe to linux-kernel but don’t have the time anymore). He just works on some core stuff and mediates well (the most influential thing in the history of Linux has been ‘patch’).
Just a short question to everyone criticizing Linus; how many of you have worked as part of a large software project? Marketing ideas, visions of the future, and new directions to head in are the last thing you want when you have an adequate product that you are aiming to perfect.
Linux (the kernel, the bit Linus works on) is more than adequate now, and Linus seems like the perfect guy to perfect the kernel.
From what I’ve read on this page, you guys seem not to appriciate what Linus did. As someone stated, if you don’t like it, don’t use it. I can read between the lines of the interview, and what I’m reading should be as clear to you as it is to me.
Personally, I love the OS. Have you ever had the pleasure of showing an avid Windows user a Linux Desktop – Windowmaker, GNOME and KDE Themes? I know I have, and just seeing the look on their face validates whatever existance Linux holds. I love to explain to them that people now have the ability to construct a user interface to completely and utterly express artistic and practical abilities.
So if you don’t like it, don’t use it. Who cares if Linus is arrogant, who wouldn’t be a little high on themselves. I think you expect entirely too much from the guy who gave you an Open Source version of computer science.
Thanks, Linus. Take a break. To those with disdain: give it a rest.
Linus doesn’t *have* to care about the user level stuff. It’s not his job. In Windows, higher level stuff and stuff that should be in user space is placed in the kernel where it adds unnecessary bloat, insecurity, instability, inflexibility, and maintenance problems.
Linux’s design is the simple classical model: make the kernel as flexible as possible so that more and more stuff can be written at the higher level without having to worry about the lower level. The evolution is towards simplicity, not complexity. If something is in the kernel, can it be placed outside? If not, why not? If Linus could make Linux a single OS trap that was flexible enough to handle all user space applications, he’d do it. Why should it be different?
The simple fact is, nothing much of interest has been done on the OS level for at least a decade. It’s mostly been figured out. Higher level user space is where the action is. If you look at the Darwin kernel (i.e. the kernel of MacOSX), it really doesn’t look that much different than FreeBSD or Linux. Where the innovation happens is in the upper layers. If there’s a problem in the upper layer, you won’t have to worry about it damaging the lower level stuff. If a user writes a bad program, it can never crash the OS. This is the way it should be.
Many of you are hammering Mr. Torvalds for his non-interest in other OS’es.
Why? I dont care if the next OS is better – I like what I have.
I dont try to get every person to run Linux – If other like waht they have, then thats the right choice for them.
Do I want to focus on the future – No (to a certan degree). If I did, I would not accomplish anything
(Hey lets wait for a talking computer, instead of writing a display-driver.???)
He states that he does not care what others think – thats not arrogant.
It sound more like some envy him because they cannot ignore what others think of them.
Thinks about it – dont shout at him, or anybody else for that matters, just because you disagree but try to look at it from the other persons perspective.
As for the “best os(tm)”, I somehow hope that linux is not the best, because then someone else has the plesure of using a better OS than I. I’m certanly not believe in others misfortune!!!
“Never engage in a battle of wits with an idiot; they will bring
you down to their level, then beat you with experience.”
Well you got it. Linus is only interested in what happens in Linux. A big mystery is solved: now we know why Linux didn’t copies the biggest invention of
Microsoft, the BSOD.
Linus is working on the kernel and trying to get it as good as possible, he doesn’t care about Product Activation or Internet Explorer integration in Windows because this is a no issue in Linux.
A kernel should be small and fast. Everything else is UserLand. The kernel consists of drivers, memory management, interface with hardware and so on. Nothing more. Based on those idea’s what happens in Windows, Solaris, MacOS or other OSes is NOT important.
Linus is interested in getting the job done.
First of all, the interview was only eleven questions long!! You aren’t going to learn everything you want to know from only eleven questions. Secondly, I am glad Linus isn’t paying attention to BSD or WinXP. Those OSes are their own little, just as Linux is it’s own. I am glad Linus is focusing the problems of his OS and not worrying about how he is going to compete with other OSes and adding worthless, “gee-wiz” features that just bog down the OS.
So, the rest of you can go on and keep pissing and moaning all you want. Linus and the rest of us will continue moving Linux forward.
Linus concentrates on his interest – and try to do it as good as he can. What more can be said. At least for me – it sounds like a wise way of keeping on tinkering on your pet, and if others can throw in ideas as well – then even better….
Nothing bad about MS Windows, *BSD – whatever, and why should he – he has nothing to fear and everything to win.
I think Linus is exactly who we need to be heading this thing. In addition, I think he has the right attitude.
I’m sure he is not oblivious to advancements being made in other OSs. Who would you rather have directing and driving Linux development; a go-go, the latest is the best, market his ass off, talking head that would eventually start closing off areas to the kernel, try and find a better way to make money off this thing we all love, or a guy that plugs away at the foundation, making it stronger and faster so all of us have this great, unequalled play ground we call Linux?
I’ll take the later. He’ll be here for the long hall selflessly plugging away at making Linux better and better.
I have a hard time understanding this discussion here about care, what Linus does and the best OS.
What is the purpose of Linux? Isn’t it about to build the “best OS”?
Now, what is the best OS? Is it about what the developers want or what the users want? Linux is too valuable to put it into a limited space of a community. I still believe in Linux making it all the way up to the consumer desktop, as an equal alternative to Windows for everybody.
It is hard to believe we will get there, if Linus, who is not just the person who works on a tiny part of the whole but as more or less as a symbol of this OS, keeps being unspecific. He has the ability of some kind of leadership and he needs to direct developers in the right direction. Otherwise it will stay a pretty wild playground of the user space with no clear path.
I have to say that I’m disappointed with that article. Not much was said at all. Sounds to me like Linus doesn’t like talking to the press…
Do you seriously think that market pressure should guide development? How business-centric of you.
Look, I’ll make this very simple. Almost every flaw, bug, and crash that you have ever experienced is due to precisely that–the market. I don’t like that. If you do, that’s your problem.
Linux is a technical system. It’s qualities lie in it’s technical design. That said, Linus makes technical decisions based on their usability, stability, and technical merits. The market doesn’t fit anywhere in that decision line.
Look, I hate loose analogies as much as the next guy, but think of it this way.
If the market demands a styrofoam bridge, I’ll still use the ones made of concrete–okay? Call me old fashioned, but just because everyone and their brother is making styrofoam bridges because the market wants them to be lighter and yellow, doesn’t affect my primary concern–will it keep me out of the river (okay, maybe styrofoam would …).
Now is the market always stupid? No. But when it is smart, Linus has a history of accepting any patch that improves the kernel without breaking it (note this inclusion of ReiserFS, shortly JFS, but not XFS).
Linus makes a Linux that works–well. All of the pretty front-end crap that most people *THINK* is an OS, is *NOT HIS JOB*. There are the same guys at Microsoft, Sun, Netscape–you name it. He handles the back-end and makes it as perfect as he can. When asked, he gives answers that indicate that he will develop it in whichever way is best at the time (implicit in this is his good judgement at not fragmenting the design). There is nothing wrong with these responses–and much that is desirable about it.
If you don’t appreciate the above comments because you’ve been tricked into a product view of software, just think about it every time you crash (even in the rare cases Linux does) and notice that Linux is getting steadily better–not revolving around the same level of suckage. After all in the words of Linus Torvalds, “Linux sucks. It just sucks less than everything else.”. And as an OS kernel, he’s probably right.
Dear Mr B,
I strongly disagree with your treatment of BSD developers. Can you point out any real BSD developer, who ever tell Linux off? I can’t (except some whom I don’t want to name). Because *BSD operating systems wanted to be good, and their developer wanted to have a consistent, highly usable system. They wanted to compare their code and operating system in a fair way. They only wants to have their copyright on the product. They can admit, like Matt Dillon did, that Linux has better on some points, Solaris is better on some other. They do their bests to improve their systems. I have heard somewhere not much time ago: “Linux lovers hate Windows, BSD lovers like UNIX”. This come from the vision that Linux has to beat the Windows, and suggesting the market, and several Linux distribution creator. I think it is nonsense. Windows can’t be beaten on the desktop platform until you get device driver for you Windows-beating-Operating system off the shelves for any exotic device driver. And installation of such a hardware is not more than few click or reboot. It does not make sense for desktop platform , if you don’t have to reboot. Even does not make sense if the preformance is better than Windows. Only simplicity makes sense.
I think, If somebody likes a certain operating system is not a problem. If he or she is bigot of a certain operating system that is problem. Linus in his interview seems to be bigoted to Linux, because he does not care about the other operating systems. He at least has to care about the trends of the operating systems and the technical trends. And probably he does.
Biggest problem of the Linux is, that Linux is just a kernel. The operating system is missing. The consistency is missing. Ask a company, that is developing for Linux. They hate Limux, because it is so diverse. If they develop for RedHat, they probably not work under Suse, but certainly not under Caldera or Debian. There are incombatibilities in version of certain Linux distribution. Recently I spoke to a company, who is develoing in large volume for Linux. They are planning to develop their own distribution, because they cannot afford (they have a lot of money!) support more than 1-2 distribution. But with their distribution it is easier. They sell with their hardware bundled. And they can provide better support. The Linux market is scattered, like Unix market was scattered in 8-15 years ago.
Personnaly I like several operating systems, and I developed for more than 8 and I am currently developing for more than 3 operating system and also dealing with 3 other. I know some of their strong and weak points. I always use that is necessary. However my current favorites are: FreeBSD and Solaris.
By the way I can admint certain developer’s “childish zealotry” because they have an integrated system…
To ‘idontcare’, you really should take a look at projects like KDE and GNOME if you want to see the progress of Linux on the Desktop. Those developers are the ones (if any) who are in a position to compete with Windows.
There simply isn’t much in the kernel which is in a position to compete, except for increasing the number of hardware devices supported. And Linus does work to add support for new device types and build a good device interface for device drivers, so in that sense, he does care about what devices Linux supports. But not because some other OS supports them but because some Linux users want them supported. No sense wasting time on supporting a device which has only a few users.
Now, if you wish for some device support for something which only a few users need, then start a company to do it! You can do that if you desire. You can spend the money to pay programmers to do it, if you can’t program yourself. Nothing is stopping you. That’s how Linux works.
I too want Linux to succeed on the Desktop, and I believe it will, simply because it caters to the needs of it’s users, rather than to marketing trends.
I think many of you made some very stupid comments. Who the hell cares about Linus’s negative attitude? I sure don’t. Wouldn’t it bother you a little with the hype behind Linux and getting bothered by everyone. The reporters alone are enough to drive me nuckin futs.
Linux as a kernel is very nice and has many benefits and cool features but when you slap it together with GNU software is where it becomes weak and insecure. I will have to say *BSD 0wnz and is a real OS (along with Solaris, Windows, HP-UX and etc.) not some well coded kernel with third party utilities. Frankly besides the kernel Linux bites. You have to many vendors and no standards in place which creates problems in hundreds of areas. Maybe a FreeBSD like approach would be better for the tree, but at this rate we will never see that. Also for those who feel like flamin me sit back and take a look at the big picture and then reasses the situation. Linux is not ready for the corporate enviroment, yet. BTW, all my servers are being migrated to *BSD or Plan9 ;p
Esp. about the GNU Linux stuff. RHS is stupid and calling Linux ‘GNU LINUX’ is stupid… but than again – I couldn’t care less.
Oh, and to all the people who think that Linus is actually not interested in other operating systems – I pfffttt you!
He was merely avoiding political questions, becuase whatever answer he would give there – there will be many people not to like it.
And about using no ‘marketting eye’, I fully understand him and agree with it. Let Suse/Redhat/Mandrake/whatever (debian left out intentionally!) care about marketing. Linux is a programmer, a scientists if you’d like. Not a marketing man. And if you’re looking for an OS coordinator who is solely a marketing person, check out Windows.
Again, I ‘pfftt’ at you, fools.
simple answer: i care. but i have more and more a hard time to identify my work with a person who does not care. as said, maybe i see things wrong, but i do not agree with the direction linux goes.
Don’t you think that he’s being a bit to arrogant and ignorant? I mean look how he waves off the questions about XP and .NET, he says that he doesn’t care about what the competitors does. Is it because he feels that Linux is falling behind in these areas? I read in another interview in a Swedish magazine (Datormagazin) not long ago, then they asked him about the new Mac OS, then he was quick to say that it still had very poor memory management and that his first release of linux did it better. He claims that he doesn’t make Linux to compete with others, but to make something that he likes himself.
Well they say that ignorens is bliss…. but hey!!! Wake up Torvalds whats gotten in to you!!!!!
He reminds me, I cannot remember that movie whose music was all played by Dire Straits. Such a nice film with that nice scottish landscape.
I do remember the music!
Mr. J, to some extent I agree with your assessment of Linux’s fragmentation in distributions. There are several different kinds of fragmentation:
1. Standard directory structure, locations of config files, and config filenames.
This is something distributions are trying to standardize on. It also helps if programmers write their programs to not assume file locations, but to find them the way a user would (in the PATH, in other config files, etc.)
2. Versions of C/C++ libraries expected to be included.
This can be nearly as bad in OSs such as Windows, between Win95,Win95OSR2,Win98,WinNT 3.51, WinNT 4.0, Win2k, WinME, WinXP, and other versions. Windows programs solve the problem by “upgrading” you whenever you install a product that needs a newer version. It’s not considered polite to do that without asking in the Linux world (though it might be nice to have it as an option).
The second problem here is one with C++ — the binary API has changed from version to version, as they come into compliance with the C++ standard. Hopefully this will be stable sometime soon.
3. Kernel versions.
Usually this isn’t an issue unless you need a kernel feature that isn’t in your kernel, such as driver support. However, it does mean you can’t use drivers from a different distribution’s kernel. Partly this is due to arbitrarily version numbers given to the kernels by the distributors (such as 2.2.18mdk instead of just 2.2.18), and the Kernel protecting itself from different versions of drivers which could cause havoc.
The only real (at least partial) solution to this would be to have distributors agree on standard features to include in kernels, then give all their equivalent kernels identical version numbers. However, then you would limit everyone to the least common denominator. For example, Red Hat kernels might use large memory support, but I might need a kernel compiled for an extremely small address range.
4. Proprietary extensions.
VMWare, Win4lin, Open Sound Source (commercial), and Nvidia are all commercial, proprietary vendors who support Linux, and whose software either compiles into the kernel or uses kernel modules. The problem comes when they need different kernels and you want to use them all at once (I do). To some extent this can be solved by vendors building a generic open source module which can either be included in the standard kernel or at least be recompiled on the fly when you install the software. OSS and VMWare both use the latter technique.
To the extent that Linux could generalize the interfaces they use, so the extensions no longer have to be added by the vendors, this problem can be solved. However, it requires vendors agreeing on a standard way to do something and proving that it is of general use, not just a way for them to leverage Linux to make money.
I’ve outlined some of the reasons Linux is fragmented, as well as some of the solutions, and I hope you can see that it isn’t all cut and dried. Some of these issues are hard to resolve, and even commercial vendors haven’t resolved them satisfactorily. Others will be resolved with time. Still others we may never see fully resolved, but hopefully the incompatibilities can be hidden behind layers the user never needs to penetrate if they don’t want to.
Lani, if you knew a little about the underlying technologies it would help you understand. The technologies of XP and .NET are not OS-level (though MS would like us to think so). They are user-level in the classical sense, in that creating them doesn’t require “root” access.
So, for Linus, a kernel programmer, there is nothing for him to do, to compete with XP and .NET because it’s a comparison of apples and oranges. Or should I say, of acorns and oaks. The Linux kernel is merely an acorn, but a very good one, from which Oak trees grow.
It’s the place of developers like Miguel de Icaza (GNOME founder) to worry about .NET, not the place of a kernel developer, even if he’s the head one.
It’s amusing to see the low quality of discourse in the message threads
here. … “incredibly un-enlightening” says too much about the unrealistic
expectations that many people have about Linus. What could he have said
that would have been “enlightening.” (Answer that, and you’ve achieved
enlightment in the only way that’s possible, through your own efforts;
too much talk about “teaching” and not enough listening for “learning”).
Linus doesn’t present himself as a guru; he’s not out to enlighten
us. As another poster to this thread said: “I don’t think Linus ever
proclaimed himself a visioneer” [sic]. I’ve never heard Linus claim to
be visionary nor revolutionary.
I guess that the consensus opinion was that this interview was un-inspiring.
That doesn’t surprise me. First the questions were boring. Linus has been
hearing the same questions for years (when’s the next release of $next_version,
what do you think about $alleged_competitor or $notable_public_figure,
what features are you planning to focus on, and what do you read from
/dev/crystalball). It’s a litany.
Personally I’m surprised that Linus still tolerates all these interviews.
He’s basically said the same things every time, year after year. He’s
changed some of his opinions on minor technical issues. That’s natural,
he’s learned from experience.
What I liked best in this interview is his statement that the tools are not
as interesting as the products of their use. He’s a tool smith so he’s
personally interested in the Linux kernel. That’s the tool he’s spent
a third of his life refining. However, its impossible for him to discuss
the parts of that which are interesting (to him, and people like me) in
an interview setting. Such a discussion would immediately dive down into
details that most of this readership (probably including the interviewer)
would simply not understand. Linus is a craftsmen not a luminary nor an
If I was doing an interview with Linus, I’d want to get into technical
details. I’d like to ask things like:
he don’t care marketing …
he don’t care others OS …
and certaintly don’t care ours comments, and for me it’s OK …
(continued from previous post; silly browser, [Tab],[Space] submitted
my last post!)
Questions for Linus:
There has been some discussion regarding the increasing proportional
overhead of using 4K page sizes (x86 and most other 32-bit platforms)
on large systems. If you saw a clean implementation, would you accept
some patch that would make this adaptive or tunable? How would you
envision reducing the overhead (memory/core and processor/cycles)
for performing memory management on systems with tens of Gigabytes
in RAM? Are there constraints in the common architectures that make
this particularly messy?
If you could influence the next generation of CPU architecture design
(beyond your obvious involvement with Crusoe), what you would change to
make things better for future versions of Linux?
I’ve heard that there are still issues with Linux’ robustness under
extreme load; particularly with high interrupt rates driven by network
traffic. Some people have proposed a significant change to the
device driver interface which would implement a hybrid interrupt/polling
device scheduler (either using thresholds or a simpler “first interrupt
fills a queue and sets polling, queue drain re-enables interrupt” model).
Have you seen any promising patches for this yet? Do you have any
suggestions for any kernel hackers that might be working on this? If
this made it into an early 2.5 release, would you want to see a packport
You’ve talked about “the other end of scalability” on a few occasions.
Do you have any thoughts on how to scale down to smaller devices
(such as PDAs)? Do you think the switch to CML2 [Eric Raymond’s
kernel “configuration management language” which Linus has said will
become standard for 2.5] will facilitate a finer granularity and
greater diversity of kernel options? Will its (partially automated)
support for patches and external source trees help with some of that
low-end scaling? Do you think devfs might help? Would it have to be
I heard of an experiment which re-defined the printk() as a
macro (turned very printk() into an empty string or something
of that sort). This was used by some embedded system developers
to produce a run-time kernel image that was significantly smaller
than a stock kernel build. If a clean patch that accomplished this
was sent your way, would you merge it?
What do you think of the xgcc/MetaL static code assertion testing
(is that the right phrase for it) work being done by Dawson Engler’s
team at Stanford? [This is the project that has uncovered and submitted
hundreds of bugs that then “meta language” GCC compiler patches helped
discover in the Linux kernel over the course of the last year or so].
If (or when) the release their tools, would you like to see some
adoption by kernel developers, perhaps by nudging them to include
the meta-assertions that apply to their bits of code?
Once upon a time there was a dearth of journaling/logging filesystems
for Linux. Now we have an embarassment of riches with about a half
dozen contenders in the field (Reiserfs, ext3, JFS, XFS, jffs, and
GFS, at least). Do you have any thoughts on how some of the common
code among these might be consolidated? Do you have any personal
favorite features among these? What do you think is missing from the
array of filesystem features available in Linux?
Once upon a long time ago there were some unofficial patches to support
“overlay” (or translucent, or union) filesystems under Linux. Do you
see anyone updating or re-implementing those features? Is there something
in the current VFS design that makes this difficult or impractical?
What do you think about ACLs (filesystem and/or process)? How about
the many other kernel “hardening” patches (such as Openwall, HAP,
LIDS, and the NSA’s SELinux)? How can we extend the Linux security
features while retaining the “UNIX-ness” of Linux? Do you think that
the onus for the system’s security/integrity still belongs primarily
in user space? Are all of these “hardening” patches destined to
remain eternally “unofficial” add-ons?
Have you looked at or thought about the efforts to create automated
kernel test suites? Have you ever considered merging such test
suites into the existing kernel sources (as make targets)? [I,
for one, would love an easier way to run a newly compiled kernel
through its paces for a few days before deploying it on my
One last “leading” question: What should the kernel do if
the init process (PID==1) exits or dies? It seems like traditional
UNIX systems rebooted (or panic()’d?) in that case. Linux seems
to just silently sit there (presumably still routing, packet filtering,
and handling any system calls that come it. What do you think it
should do, and why?
As you can see, I’m not an interviewer. I’m a techie. I want to dive
into details about what the kernel does and how it does it. I’d also
like to see some changes — and I’m curious which of these Linus would
consider and which ones he’d hate.
The attributes which Linus exhibit that have most contributed to Linux’
success are: pragmatism and “good taste.” He has consistently recognized
what works NOW, and what is too ugly to merge/accept even if it does work
now. He doesn’t get so caught up in his vision nor in his image of
elegance that he fails to just make it better with every step.
For example, this protracted period of 2.4.x stabilization which has
left us without a 2.5 development branch for almost a year, has been
inelegant. Linus has said that he didn’t expect it and that he doesn’t
like it (it doesn’t match his “vision” of how it should have been).
However, he’s done it and made significant progress towards a 2.4 that
we can live with on our production servers for a couple years worth of
2.5 development. (BTW: 2.4.x has been a magnitude better than the
early 2.2.x releases — where filesystem corruption concerns had everyone
walking on eggshells for six months).
Anyway, it’s a pity that interviewers don’t “get down” with Linus and
talk about the kinds of things that he thinks about while he’s coding
and merging. However, I wouldn’t think of going to him and wasting his
time with YADI (yet another damned interview). I’d rather leave him
to do his hacking and to see the wife and kids when he feels so inclined.
Linus (if you’ve come across this and wasted all this time reading my
rants), thanks! You may be one of the better programmers in the world,
but I think that pales beside your social skills and good judgement.
If you ever get tired of kernel hacking; I’d love to see what you’d do
with a database “kernel” (engine). If you ever get sick of UNIX, I’d
love to see what you’d do with EROS.
I imagine that Linus Torvalds gets a bit weary of the same old questions – which lets face it, would you want to answer over and over again?
he’s a humble guy….To remain “quiet” on certain issues is probably a smart move, he ain’t a marketroid and he probably doesnt really care if you use linux or not – which , given the fact that you are FREE to if you choose, doesnt really give you the *right* to bitch about him and it.
He wrote and “controls” an OS Kernel – he aint your daddy, he doesnt have to come up with answers to life the universe and everything just to please an audience and he’s not on some personal crusade…. who the hell says he has to be….(and thankfully, he’s not)
…Although an important part of the whole thing….Linux isnt the only kernel hacker /Linux developer out there, and while he does deserve credit, he doesnt really deserve a bunch of people bitching about the fact that he gave a “boring” interview… who cares, Nobody expects him to be Bob Hope…. He does what he does and he does it quite well.
If you dont like linux, then hey, don’t use it or go and write your own kernel – personally, it Wouldnt worry me either way.
If you’re expecting “enlightenment” and remain dissatisfied, go find some old beardy guy on a mountain somewhere.
As for the “well to get “market share” competing with windows” camp, All I would say on the matter is….Linux aint windows….and long may it remain.
People are funny things. They like to quote others quite often.
For instances, VM is the new buzz word for this week. One person uses it and
everyone is in toe Gousteping. Personally, I believe what needs to be addressed
Nothing is ever perfect.
click, tap tap tap, clickclick, tap tap tap…………………tap tap, clickclick, click…
To arrogant? Hardly. Just not caught up in the BS of the freeloader suits that thought they would build a career out of deciphering linux for other suits.
F that. Linux is winning for reasons far beyond its *leaders* wants or dislikes. It is succeeding because it solves problems. What better possible motive could one have for it’s creation. “I dont worry about other OS’s. just how can I make Linux better.”
And that is a not sufficient for some?
Well lets see, 1 million man hours of develepment = $0 for Linus Torvalds. Sure, maybe a few speaking engagement here or there, but remember, this guy is not Bill Gates, say anything, ship anything do anything FUD, just protect his 40 billion dollar hoard.
Lets see 40 billion/4000 companies = about 1million each? whats the problem here, Linus or Bill.
Oh, the Bill And Linda Gates foundation gave about 2 drops of sweat to you and me to the WTC effort, Yea thats right, relatively speaking, about 20-30 bucks in equivilent dollars. (you know the foundation set up AFTER the US Justice Dept was frying his ass and for PR purposes)
Whatever, Journalists need crap to write about and linus doesnt care, so what.
Seems to me that some people in the [other] o/s camps are acting VERY childish. Is there some kind of jealously over Linux gaining quite a strong ”mind share” as well as ”market share” amongst the big corporations. What’s with the cheap shots at Linus? He’s a CODER, for gwads sake! His opinions are just that: opinions.
Frankly, I find his down to earth attitude refreshing in this age of monolithic CEOs who boldly proclaim a new ”eXPerience,” etc. with every new release of software that does nothing but enslave IT people and end users in an endless upgrade treadmill.
Perhaps a reason for the popularity of distributions based on the Linux kernel is the GNU GPL itself? I’m one of those end ”lusers” who don’t know how to code but have gotten absorbed enough in technology to have some kind of clue. Many people feel that BSD licensing is too restrictive in terms of allowing commercial companies (MS anyone?) to gobble the code up and give absolutely nothing back. Perhaps due to the licensing there’s more driver development? Perhaps companies such as AOL, Real, Yahoo, Oracle, IBM, HP-Compaq, even Dell support Linux to a large extent due to the licensing?
Use what works for you, but quit belittling the ”benevolent dictator.” He’s an awesome human being who gives selflessly for those of us seeking alternatives to the mainstream.
I have read several recent interviews with Linus and time after time after time I see one and just one thing consistently coming accross: Linus allowed his ego to start controlling him and it is getting exponentialy worse as time passes by. Either that or he is not good at expressing what he really meant by what he said.
If I am correct though, and he continues like that we should worry about future of Linux, because I see all signs of a project leader that is getting out of control and is starting to endanger project long term wise. World is full of ex-primadonas that got ruined by their ego. Wise person should notice that emphasis is on word EX and resist going down that path. It will be interesting to watch what will happen. Either Linus will wise up or he is going to contribute to his own demise. It would not be good for anyone (except Microsoft) if second one happens. Even if it does, I hope that will not mean demise of Linux too.
OK Linus, you had me convinced that you and yours had a plan for the future. Now I’m not so sure. Could I be so bold as to summarise the article as “I don’t know, and I care even less?”
Reinventing the wheel, hmm?
Initially Linux started out as a concept project spin off from the Minix OS©
Far as I can recall Andrew wanted to do a lock step thing where any change went through him©
Linus thought, that sucks and did his own thing because he really didn’t care for it©
Linux; like GNU, is not UNIX©
If it were UNIX, it would be in the same hole SCO, SGI and all the others are in©
I see people saying, hey Linux developers should stop trying to reinvent their own innovations and reinvent Microsofts reinventions of the wheel©
Maybe we should develop our own over glorified Directory Access Protocol and call it, hmm©©© a registry©
Naw, theres already LDAP and besides why would you ever use a directory service as a database ¥seems like that comment’s in the preamble of the LDAP RFC¤©
There are those that believe nothing ever gets done until someone sells something©
If that were true, most of the truly innovative things would have never been invented ¥wonder how many people bought stock in Orville and Wilbur?¤©
I personally think we should reinvent WPA, now there’s something Linux could really use!
Lets sell you a peice of hardware and lease you the software©
If you don’t register, we’ll lock you out©
But then again, I don’t care, I’ve got more important things to build©
I have been using (debian) linux since 1998 and have followed user as well as
kernel level development very closely and this has to be the most stupid and boering
interview by linus or anyone i have read matt dillion’s interview was just great
i think if linus wants to pose as a technical hacker not caring about marketing and
other crap should atleast talk about exiting things needed in the future kernel
as to attract more programmers if not users but the *not caring about anything*
attitude will only make me consentrate on my *BSD workstations. linux is a great
OS but the BSD’s are not behind and now the linux evanglist’s can no longer talk about
windows unstabality I think it only makes sense to see the market and what others are doing in order to get a good system .
Some great insight here, wish there had been a few better follow-up questions, though. His replies suggest a personal philosophy not based on the consumerism/ competitive model but on what the Sports world might call ‘personal best’ — “I just worry about making Linux better than itself, not others.”
When he says “not much new in technology except for changes in perception” he may indeed be disclosing that he does review the work of others. A review that learns from the open source opportunity, rather than to set a goal to compete with their insight directly.
Maybe he doesn’t try to make his work better by comparing flaws in someone else’s good work as to how he might have done it, or competing in anger when he sees something very good (as in ‘why didnt I think of that’). I see in his comment a person who has learning at the core of his actions, more concerned with responding to a changing environment rather than anticipating a future advantage. I have no problem that my livelihood depends on a person filled with wonder, curiosity and focus and on the thousand other people who follow his lead to create good stuff.
I don’t share anyones dissapointnent here. I would be much worse if Linus speaks like a communist leader (Lenin or Fidel Castro), for example: Linux or Death! Viva GNU revolution! Linuxoids around the world, unite!!!
Fortunately, we can see a real professinal.
Whenever some guy becomes ‘famous’ or influential in some sense, there’s a flock of persons who want to deify him, often much against his will. What I see here is that Linus doesn’t want this kind of attention – he just wants to be left alone to do what he is good at. I can fully sympathize with this; I personally would really hate it if I suddenly found that any word from my mouth was regarded as some divine truth.
So, I don’t think he’s arrogant or whatever people have spilled on this list – he just protects his right to be a plain and uncomplicated guy who doesn’t have to guard his every word. Thank God he’s not yet another self promoting wanker.
Give the guy a break.
I am seeing a lot of negative comments here.
How many of you would enjoy answering the _same_ questions you have been asked for the last 5 years? There was not a
single _original_ question in that entire interview. Don’t slate Linus. You don’t know him. The closest you can come to it is
maybe by reading his book – Just For Fun, I did. It gives more of an insight into what makes him tick. I don’t claim to be a
personal friend or a psychologist, but Linus’ responses in this interview are clearly votes of apathy.
Interviewers: Think of constructive and original questions, you might get decent answers.
His attitude is understandable. Why waist time to watch other OS’? It should be KDE developers watchin’ Windows and I think that if some other OS’ kernel gets way ahead someone tells him ’bout it
sorry for bad english, seems like only few finns write it correctly =)
A lot of you are blamming Linus for the boring interview and not bringing up certain things. You ever think that the interviewer could just be shitty? Linus doesnet ask his own questions people.
When a question is asked on Google, about 20% of the possible answers on the Internet is compared to the question. From that analogy it is possible to assume that the questions given to Linus are not necessarily about the only way for the future for Linux. Thus if he doesn’t care, what type of care does the future request for Linux?
In his answers I find that if the kernel is the best one possible, and all future development is supposed to be in the user space of Linux, then the needs from the future might be met – even if the future can’t be explicitly outlined today.
I personally find that no other OS can be used to do its job on so many types of hardware and for so little cash for the software that the current way of adapting to the future seems good.
Live well Linus and use your own head and make your own decissions.
What could be learned from Windows that would influence the kernel development? Bloating? FUD?
Remember, most Linux users are also Windows users, or have been. I use Windows everyday, which is fine since we have an IT department that maintain the installation, so I don’t end up with a lot of work when the sytems falls over.
I was wondering: When will they change that photo of Thorvalds to a more recent one?
Sounds like he’s really not bothered about the direction of Linux. I bet the investers in Linux are dissapointed to hear that the creator of the OS is not too bothered about its future.
I guess Solaris will continue to be the dominant unix OS in business.
IBM have adopted Linux, but then IBM have adopted most OS’s (except Solaris). Any OS will do for IBM as long as it shifts its big hardware machines. If Linux fizzles out, I doubt Big Blue will care. It may have invested $1Bn, but then it can afford that kind of ‘betting money’, so it’s no real indicator of success. It’d probably have payed that to develop an OS like Linux+marketing. It’s still got AIX.
I’m a Linux Sysadm, and I doubt this Linux market will make me much money in industry, so I’m gonna start looking at Solaris.
linus tovalds has the right to be what he wants to be. remember, he started the project as a hobby!
Linus is no more than a man like you or I. He has incredible programming skills, and started something that has become HUGE. That every one of you flaming him probably use on a daily basis. MS’s kernel is a few hundred thousand lines long, even if it were open source noone could do sh*t with it. This is an interview, you can not expect every question and answer that you read to be the most enlightening experience of your life. If Linus did not stay focused on what he does, we would not have such a stable product. Leave it up to RedHat or Corel to do the marketing, or KDE and GNOME developers to research the other OS’s and add the fuctionality there. Talking about biting from the hand that feeds. Wake up and stop being dumb, we all want Linux to be the biggest and best OS out there, but it can and never will be if you dont give it the time and dedication it deserves, which Linus has already proved he has now 10 years in development.
Think about it.
I can’t understand why some people just can’t appreiciate those who are simple and real. does the world always need a flambouyant loud-mouthed and flashy marketing guy (need i name him)??? Linux is simple and great and so is Linus. If linux is really not that good then why would ‘poor’ bill gates lose his sleep over it.
way to go linus. great attitude.
pretty arrogant, isn’t he? though linux is my first choice, i dont like this interview. i mean, not to care about anything like he suppose himself to, is not only overbearing but also silly and naive in my oppinion.
Long Live LiNuX
Even though he’s my connational, I am disappointed. And frankly, I don’t see a future for Linux. Linux is going nowhere. Adopting NUMA? That’s old news. Having real plug-and-play? That’s old news (look at BeOS or MacOS – oh, right, you don’t look around).
And even though I use Linux for development, I realized it’s just another UNIX. I could as well use Unixware, Solaris for Intel or *BSD. Same thing. I really don’t see Linux being relevant, in 5 years from now. With such a spearhead, it won’t ever make it to the masses, and it’s equally worrying that it’s only doing catch-up to the other server OS.
Well, we are in a recession. If Linux doesn’t make good inroads in the server market, it never will.
That’s an answer to chanio.
One comment said it best
“…linux is a labour of love”
Listening to everyone complain that Linus isn’t providing a guiding light or doesn’t have the future dream in nicely wrapped bundle ready to present every reporter that asks makes me mad at first. Then I laugh, because this whole “scene” reminds me of the scene in Forest Gump where Forest is running across America because he just wanted to run. Well, soon enough everyone and their reporter brother is asking him what cause he is running for. Next you know it, there’s hundreds of other runners following him. Then one day he just stops running. All the followers feel let down that he just stopped. That he didn’t have some flashy words of wisdom or some great thought. As stupid as the idea seemed at the theatre, it makes perfect sense to me now. Maybe Linus is just running, and if you choose to run with him, that’s your choice. He never asked for your money or for your patronage. He didn’t wait for the votes to be counted. He’s just doing his thing. If you enjoy it, so much the better. If you don’t, make your own OS or buy someone else’s. Just quit bitching.
And that’s not for bitching, I am actually glad Linus was so candid and revealed his utter lack of any vision. At least now I have the clearest yet reason for getting Linux out of our programs, fast.
Linus, does not need to care about other OS’s and why should he. He craeted LINUX and that’s what he is good at. Other developers look and work on other OS’s and can implement there own tweaks into the code and if Linus likes it he’ll incorprate it into the OS. However, to claim what the future holds its anybodys guess just look at Sept 11, 01. Destiny has a mind of it own.
Please don’t interview the least imaginative person on earth ever, and I mean NEVER AGAIN!!!
I installed RedHat Linux 5 some time ago and man what a nightmare. Now I understand why – the ship still has no rudder! Sorry Linus but your attitude amazes me. Jim Slade has it right when he says that “The refusal to learn from others is the greatest failing of Linux”. Unfortunately the Linux community as a whole seems to breed on an arrogance that keeps them and their product in their own little world. Oh well have fun you geeks and I’ll come back in 5 years and see how far behind you are then.
This is a silly interview and it seems that maybe the interviewee may be a little tired of this media attention and fanboy adoration. Don’t read anything into the comments. He follows the development of other OS’es, and if he doesn’t plenty of kernel people below him do.
This just sounds like a guy who is tired of being asked stupid questions all the time. The Free BSD guy may be willing to answer a bunch of questions now, but give him a few years of media ASS-WHIPPING and he will change.
Concerning Linus’s feelings about competition, I wish to cite Carnegie Mellon University’s cheer:
APATHY! APATHY! APATHY! A! P! A!…NEVERMIND
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