Home > Linux > Linus Torvalds: Leader of the Free World Linus Torvalds: Leader of the Free World Eugenia Loli 2003-10-15 Linux 32 Comments How Linus Torvalds became benevolent dictator of Planet Linux, the biggest collaborative project in history. Read the 6-page article at Wired. About The Author Eugenia Loli Ex-programmer, ex-editor in chief at OSNews.com, now a visual artist/filmmaker. Follow me on Twitter @EugeniaLoli 32 Comments 2003-10-15 2:17 am I mean how much code does he write ? How much of his original code is still in the OS ? I can’t believe it’s more than 30 or 40 %. If that’s true then why the hell does the media make this guy out to be someone that invented the UNIX operating system? He got the ball rolling. But come on . It’s even time to change the operating systems name. How about GNU/World open source OS. 2003-10-15 2:19 am >I can’t believe it’s more than 30 or 40 %. That’s a whole lot my friend. This article exactly gave me the idea of the poll we run today btw. 😉 2003-10-15 2:40 am 30 or 40% ? is that true? that’s a lot of code. 2003-10-15 3:01 am How much code he wrote doesn’t matters… There’s more in IT than a programmer my friend. 2003-10-15 3:04 am Code isn’t what he does (as much) anymore. He is the organizer of the kernel. Organizing a project with hundreds of developers is a pretty impressive feat. He manages to be pretty objective, and always stays on track to be technically superior. And he helped to jump start a software revolution, even if he didnt do all the work, he deserves plenty of credit. 2003-10-15 3:21 am I read the full article this last weekend. I was horrified when the magazine stated that Linux was the OS and not the kernel. They basically implied that Linux does need all the GNU libraries that make GNU/Linux or Linux, however you like to call it an OS. It is sad because if anything Linux could be dropped tomorrow in favor of Mach. I believe you can get Debian and Gentoo with Mach kernels. 2003-10-15 3:22 am The article is taking an artistic liberty by calling him leader of the free world. Free world as in free software world, get it? Anyway, Linus is tremendously influential. Not only is much of the core kernel code his (read the changelogs in the kernels source files) but he is still the lead architect. He ultimately decides which direction the design of the kernel goes. That’s an extremely important role in a project of Linux’s size. As for renaming, hell no! The cutesy, rather than commercial, name is one of the things that make Linux special. Dedicated Linux users (and most developers) would revolt if you tried to change the name. 2003-10-15 3:23 am Have you ever noticed certain people who live according to certain standards are found to be ”very important” in this world? Torvalds is the inventor of the Linux kernel and currently one of the many contributors. However there are also many other inventors/contributors of Linux-specific things and inventors/contributors of opensource projects who help(ed) to Linux and open source in general. Such individuals don’t even have to be programmers! He’s one of the many, it’s narrowminded to see him as the ”leader of the free world”. He isn’t. Many things are beyond his control. And, the ”free world” is more than only Linux, open source or computers. It doesn’t stop at computers, and such ideals as opensource do not stop at computers either. All this, elitism, and misleading conclusions, but the title is plain incorrect imo. What i find unique in this hole aspect is that there is a very clear hierarchy in the Linux kernel, but outside of that it’s blurry. One who doesn’t agree with the hierarchy can easily create his/her own based on the current hierarchy. I can’t find a real life example of a society in which such is possible. Is there such a thing? 2003-10-15 4:34 am I agree with you. However, one does not need to be omnipotent and omniscient to be a leader. Linus is unquestionably the leader of the Free Software world, simply because no one else (except RMS: he’s more a high priest though) has had so much influence. 2003-10-15 4:46 am Linus took a personal project and transformed the world with it. Furthermore, he has stuck with the project as its lead instead of bowing out under the pressure, all while holding down various jobs. He overcame the complaints that “Linus doesn’t scale” in terms of managing the kernel tree, made some controversial and bold moves in changing the kernel’s revision control system to BitKeeper, all resulting in a better overall kernel development process. Throughout it all Linus has remained a benevolent and sagely “Keeper of the Kernel”, and for that he deserves everyone’s respect. As to comments about renaming Linux to something with GNU in the title, I would certainly *not* advocate that, considering GNU is the source of many of the problems facing Linux (as a programming systems product) today (e.g. glibc) 2003-10-15 5:18 am Absolutely. Particularly after all Tanenbaum’s doomsaying. And for those with the time, his book makes for an interesting read. My earlier comment was pure sarcasm, a feeble attempt at trolling to try and figure out why people do that. Nobody was supposed to agree with me. 2003-10-15 5:59 am How much of his original code is still in the OS ? I can’t believe it’s more than 30 or 40 %. If that’s true then why the hell does the media make this guy out to be someone that invented the UNIX operating system? Oh, this is such a typical comment from a programmer that values only his own kind of input! Management has zip value to him, it’s just typing the code that has any meaning … Mr Torvalds does a huge job in managing thousands of people and threads from all over the world. If he still wastes ANY time in coding, he should quit doing that as soon as possible. 2003-10-15 6:28 am What is Planet Linux ?! Google didn’t help me…. =/ 2003-10-15 7:45 am we should start a project to port the bsd toolchain to Linux then, might actually give me a reason to practise my programming skill (or lack off) instead of messing around with Unix box’s (am thinking of buying a secondhand HPUX box already got an IRIX one) 😉 2003-10-15 9:02 am Is it worth pointing out that young Mr Torvalds is a white man who speaks English AS HIS THIRD LANGUAGE? If memory serves he’s a Swedish speaking Finn – so Swedish first language, Finnish second…English third. So, I don’t think the point really stands up. Linux is and always has been an international project – the maintainers for 2.4 and 2.2 are a Portugese speaking Brazilian and a Welshman, who while an English speaker is learning Welsh (Cymreag even). What I do believe is that journalists will give more prominance to someone based in their own country, who can speak in the same language – but that would seem to me to be a down to sheer laziness. Who would want to fly half way round the world and speak through an interpreter when you can drive 10 minutes up the road? 2003-10-15 9:06 am I mean how much code does he write ? How much of his original code is still in the OS ? I can’t believe it’s more than 30 or 40 %. Programming skills apart (and Linus seems quite good on that too), he deserves the publicity because of his attitude and vision, not due to how many lines of code he wrote. Since the beginning he had the humility to accept input from anyone willing to help with his project, and we know how protective we can get with our “toy projects”. 2003-10-15 9:38 am What is Planet Linux ?! Google didn’t help me…. =/ Planet Linux is a restaurant in San Jose where all the Silicon Valley nerds eat. The restaurant serves the same crappy burgers as other restaurants, but at least some of the money you spend goes into a Linux development fund. You can also enjoy viewing the unique items that are displayed, like the first copy of ‘The Cathedral and the Bazaar’ and a piece of Richard Stallman’s beard (he donated it after they promised him that the place would be called Planet GNU/Linux. However, they lied. That won’t ever happen). There are plans to open franchises all over the world. The first will be opened in Munich, Germany. Ultimately the goal is to have enough restaurants to generate the cash to build the Planet Linux Hotel & Casino, located in Las Vegas. Then every open source nerd in the world can go on a pilgrimage to Las Vegas to meet his or her fellow nerds. In the basement of the structure there will be room for several tombs that will function as the homes of famous open source developers after they have died. The Planet Linux Hotel & Casino will be open for other people as well, because the nerds are smart enough to know that you cannot win a significant amount of money in a casino. 2003-10-15 9:54 am Yes he does and not because what he has done but how he does it. Linus would be the first to fight this title “Leader of the free world” by starting to sum up people he feels are important. He’s the perfect leader because he rejects getting all credit, unlike some other self appointed god of the free world … 2003-10-15 10:05 am Absolutely. Particularly after all Tanenbaum’s doomsaying. And for those with the time, his book makes for an interesting read. My earlier comment was pure sarcasm, a feeble attempt at trolling to try and figure out why people do that. Nobody was supposed to agree with me. Tanenbaum (Christmas tree) has a problem with anything that isn’t “trendy” and legacy free. One only has to hear him rant about RISC as a prime example of how much this guys is out of touch with reality. CISC-x86 ISA has survived and adapted to changes. It has been cleaned up by AMD and now we have a x86-64 with all the annoying bits of the x86 ISA removed. Tanenbaum’s rant about Mach and micro kernels being more efficient than monolythic kernels is nothing more than academic rhetoric. On paper, yes, in practice no. Communism works in theory but in practice, it is a complete failure. Windows NT 3.x was a micro kernel until reality set in and now it is hybrid, like most kernels are today. 2003-10-15 10:15 am “Tanenbaum (Christmas tree) has a problem with anything that isn’t “trendy” and legacy free. One only has to hear him rant about RISC as a prime example of how much this guys is out of touch with reality. ” Have you ever read his books ? I really doubt. He said that RISC architectures are good, but aknowledge the fact that Intel did a great job by extending their x86 line while His book about computer architecture, 2d edition, describe 3 architectures He was a bit biased towards the early linux project, but micro kernel work in real world, just watch QNX, for example. The fact most firms didn’t make it doesn’t mean it cannot exist. Nice try… 2003-10-15 10:54 am He was a bit biased towards the early linux project, but micro kernel work in real world, just watch QNX, for example. The fact most firms didn’t make it doesn’t mean it cannot exist. QNX is a specialised operating system. It isn’t a general purpose for desktop or server use. The only other Mach based operating system besides MacOS X is Tru64 which is based off the Mach kernel that was developed between DEC and OpenSoftware (OSF). Yes, it is possible to create it, however, vendors weigh up the possible benefits with the added complication. Most vendors at the end of the day don’t see any advantage with the Micro kernel. It looks great on paper but in the real world, a modular monolithic kernel performs and does the job. 2003-10-15 1:48 pm Linus is ONE of the leaders of the open source world. He and his OS is the most visible part of the OSS but people like Richard Stallman are also leader even if they have different philosophy. Open Source or Free Software is like a big familly where members can have different opinions, ideas… 2003-10-15 3:07 pm As if ‘code’ is the most important aspect of a product. A good CS major will not end up coding most of the time. 2003-10-15 3:12 pm Info: “Christmas tree” is spelled Tannenbaum in german (double-n). 2003-10-15 4:12 pm Free World have no leaders. At least that’s how I idealize a Free World. 2003-10-15 4:47 pm “QNX is a specialised operating system. It isn’t a general purpose for desktop or server use.” Why do you think these are “general purpose”? They seem like special uses to me. I would say QNX is more general purpose because it can work with a much bigger range of hardware. 2003-10-15 4:53 pm “QNX is a specialised operating system. It isn’t a general purpose for desktop or server use.” Why do you think these are “general purpose”? They seem like special uses to me. I would say QNX is more general purpose because it can work with a much bigger range of hardware. What the heck does hardware support have to do with whether something is a “specialised piece of software”? Would you use Windows PocketPC for a webserver? of course it, it was designed for PocketPC’s. Same goes for QNX. QNX was not designed to be run on a desktop or as a server operating system. Its focus is on the embedded market. That is what they SPECIALISE IN, embedding. For QNX to become a general purpose operating system, it would have to be given a major overhaul in regards to how it handles processors/threads vs. the realtime setup they have now. 2003-10-15 10:09 pm While QNX leans towards embedded devices, it’s certainly not limited to them. QNX is perfectly capable (and rather good at) being a server, be that Web or whatever. We’re not talking about running a web server on a PocketPC, but running PowerPC on SMP x86 boxes. But the *real* coolness of QNX comes when you have multiple nodes. The nodes are all interconnected, so they can all see each other’s filesystems, devices, etc. It makes a great clustering OS. 2003-10-15 10:14 pm less than 2% of his code is in a current linux kernel. And less and less with time since he is project manager and not coder. Not impressive. 2003-10-15 10:19 pm http://searchwebservices.techtarget.com/gDefinition/0,294236,sid26_… 2003-10-16 12:48 am “there’s more to IT then being a programmer” Paulo, are you saying that from the perspective of being a coder yourself? i.e. you might be trying to say “As an experienced coder who has worked on large projects, I can attest that there is a great deal of non-coding work associated with said projects” (if you are coming from that position…great! please finish up on your point and tell us what other elements come into play, when crafting a large project like KDE,the linux kernel,Gnome etc etc etc) if you are some desktop jockey in charge of 35 win2000 machines…perhaps you should refrain from posting. 2003-10-16 1:07 pm less than 2% of his code is in a current linux kernel. And less and less with time since he is project manager and not coder. Not impressive. project manager ? nice troll. Is more of a leader than a manager. He admited that he is a bad manager because he tried (and failed) to be one at Transmeta. I see him more as a gate keeper of Linux. His place became a kind of QA officer – this is as important as code. And, yes, Linus is impressive for keeping his way of thinking througth all those years. Also, he manage itself not to be the central piece of Linux. One day, Linus will retire and Linux will continue as usual because this is what he want. THAT IS IMPRESSIVE !