May the source be with you, but remember the KISS principle ;-)
Home Switchboard Unix Administration Red Hat TCP/IP Networks Neoliberalism Toxic Managers
(slightly skeptical) Educational society promoting "Back to basics" movement against IT overcomplexity and  bastardization of classic Unix

Nikolai Bezroukov. Portraits of Open Source Pioneers

For readers with high sensitivity to grammar errors access to this page is not recommended :-)

Softpanorama Linus Torvalds' Interviews Collection (1998)
(preserving Linus Torvalds interviews for humanity ;-)

Prev Contents Next

Softpanorama Linus Torvalds' Interviews Collection(1998)

CRN: How did you first get involved in programming?

Linus Torvalds: I actually was introduced to programming by my grandfather. He bought a home computer for himself, essentially as a programmable calculator. I was 10 or 11 years old at that point. He enlisted me as his helper, even though I wasn't much help. I eventually started to make my own changes.

CRN: Why did you decide to write your own operating system?

Torvalds: It really was for my own use. . . In the home PC world, you had the choice of cheap hardware --fairly powerful hardware with the PC-but then, when you wanted to do real work . . . the operating system choice was very, very limited indeed. When you got a computer you got DOS, when I started, and Windows was just starting to appear. I had already got used to the university machines, and they ran on Unix. In the end, I'd been programming for more than half my life. I was the traditional geekish person who easily sat in front of a computer for eight hours a day.

CRN: Does Linux compete with Microsoft?

Torvalds: I think Linux has a different enough strategy that it doesn't play on the same teRMS. With Microsoft having a majority market share, it's really hard to compete on Microsoft's teRMS. And that's why OS/2 and the Mac OS, I think, won't survive. Linux is competing in a different kind of marketplace. How does Microsoft compete against Linux? What can they do? They can try to spread fear and uncertainty about Linux. They can't undersell Linux.

I really didn't know what I was getting into. It was hard, but hard in the challenging sense.

CRN: Will you work on applications?

Torvalds: I've never had any feelings that I want to do applications. The operating system is kind of like the heart of the system. It's just a very fascinating part of the system. The operating system is like the laws and police force. In a good country, you're not supposed to care because you don't notice them. You're not supposed to see the OS, and a lot of people aren't really aware [of it]. It's the underbelly of the civilized world.

CRN: What about Linux's future?

Torvalds: Right now, it's an alternative, but it's mainly an alternative for people who have specific needs. I certainly hope Linux will be more of an alternative for normal people, too. It's not a technical issue. It's more of a perceptive issue. It just makes more sense for normal people to go with the flow. Hopefully, going with the flow will no longer mean Linux isn't an option.

According to Linux creator Linus Torvalds, his development team is no longer playing catch-up with the major commercial Unixes.

In fact he added, it is time to look the Linux development effort to look more fertile development ground. "I'm no longer looking at the Unix market when I'm looking for competitors," he said, adding that when looking for new features to add to the free OS, he is looking more to Microsoft than to high-end Unixes like Solaris or Digital Unix. "I've been much more focused on the Windows NT and 98 target group as a market," he said.

Without mentioning specifics, Torvalds said he'd rather concentrate on making Linux more useful to "normal people" than adding high-end features -- like 64-128 processor NUMA scalability into Linux. "I expect that Linux will eventually have one of those NUMA versions," he said, "but I also expect it to be about five years [from now]."

I don't think that Linux per se will change. You have to realize that I was more nervous when Slackware came along -- somebody who was selling Linux for money, which was much more of a shock. I was kind of nervous. I thought it was a good idea, but I was kind of nervous.

But it just turned out to be so good. I mean there was such a synergy between having commercial people who wanted to make it easy to install and technical people who wanted to do the right thing technically that I'm not worried anymore when something like the Intel/Netscape announcement comes along. Because I just don't see how we can lose...

And you also need to have products to sell into this space. And they alluded to a product strategy. And I bet part of it is just selling support. For example, when you buy a CD right now, you can buy a CD for $50 and you get unlimited licenses. But most companies -- for completely inexplicable reasons -- think that is wrong. They want to buy 100 licenses. If they can't buy that with Linux, they're unhappy. So what I assume Red Hat is going to do is they're going to sell 100-license systems where the licenses are not so much the software licenses per se, but the support contracts. So a big company can say, "OK we'll pay $100,000 a year for this 1,000-user license, which includes support on a 24x7 basis.

And what I think will happen is that some company -- maybe not IBM, but a company like IBM -- will just happen in the future where they're already doing multiplatform support, because everybody has it if you're in the big league. And they're just going to add Linux to the list of platfoRMS they support. And then you're going to be able to buy one machine and Linux will be installed on it. I expect that to happen within a year.


Just the fact that you've publicly stated that you're going to port. It implies a fair amount of work. The port itself, I suspect, is not that big of a deal technically, because Linux is fairly standard Unix after all. But it does imply a level of putting your sales people through the spiels, doing all the support stuff. It's still a big deal.

And before they have sold the first copy of Oracle or Informix, whatever, they're going to look at this and say "OK this is a new market and new markets can really explode or they can just go along and not be very exciting."

If you look at security bulletins, Linux is impacted by security bugs as much as any other vendor. The thing is that, when you get the bulletin, Linux already has a patch for it, while the other vendors tend to say, "We are investigating." Microsoft is just horrible. They don't even care. Sun is fairly good, but there are other companies that care less.

Security is a big deal now; everybody likes to talk about it. But long before this, there was a university report that stress-tested systems by feeding them bad data by normal tools; just feeding them random data and seeing what happened and how many of the systems died. And they proved fairly conclusively, at the time, that the then-free utilities were much more robust than any vendor. That's because there were more people working on them; there were more people really caring about the robustness. I think the same is true of security

Linus Torvalds

InfoWorld: In some ways, you're the poster child for the open source code movement. And even though you don't have a big company backing you, the people who back Linux do a nice job of supporting the product. Can that model actually work for other companies or is Linux a unique case?

Torvalds: I don't see why it shouldn't work. What you already have at many companies is completely separate marketing and development teams. There are some interfaces between them, and marketing is usually the pointy hair people that tell development what to do. The fact is that inside a company you have a development group that likes to be on top of things and do the right thing. Then you have a marketing group with completely different priorities and within a company you have this constant clash of wills.

InfoWorld: How does this conflict play out in an open source environment?

Torvalds: In an open source environment you decouple these groups. You don't have to decouple it a lot. For example, Netscape decoupled Mozilla so they are a completely different arm, but they are still in the same building. The other alternative is the Linux kernel. I'm so completely uninterested in all the marketing things. I don't want to work for a Linux company. But it's just a question of degrees. I don't want to feel that the economic success of the company I work for depends on the technical decisions I make. I want to make the technical decisions based solely on the technical issues. I want my priorities to be extremely obvious and always straight. But that doesn't preclude working with a marketing department. For example, there's Red Hat Linux. So you now have a separate group that does the marketing, distribution, and packaging. It's similar to the traditional model, it's just more clearly decoupled. This makes it more natural to have one development group, but perhaps 15 different marketing organizations. Or you could go the other way, and have one marketing group that gathers from different engineering groups. It also makes more sense from an economic sense. Why should you have one company that tries to do everything; we've tried that. And if you look at things on the hardware side, that's what happens. You have marketing companies like Gateway 2000 that buy from all the development companies. Let's not think that what we're talking about in software is all that radical or that we're left wing or right wing religious nuts.

InfoWorld: Have we lost our way in teRMS of operating system development? It seems that the operating systems are just getting bigger and bigger.

Torvalds: One thing that makes operating systems special is that it's extremely hard to change them. Changing an operating system means changing everything from under you. So changing the operating system is like trying to go in and transplant a person's brain. It's much easier to switch a word processor. It may be painful, but it's not that painful. You may have withdrawal symptoms. Once you have the operating system niche, you're really home free. That's what people are worried about. It implies that you can leverage your other products on top of that. It also means that you are free to do whatever you want to. And few people are going to switch because most people are going to just tag along and take whatever you give them. You have no incentive at all to do a good job.

boot: Linux is based on UNIX, right?

Torvalds: Well it's based on UNIX in the sense that I was used to UNIX and I really liked it. UNIX has a philosophy, it has 25 years of history behind it, and most importantly, it has a clean core. It strives for something—some kind of beauty. And that's really what struck me as a programmer. Operating systems that normal home users are used to, such as DOS and Windows, didn't have any way of life. Nobody tried to design Windows—it just grew in random directions without any kind of thought behind it.

boot: You mentioned you created Linux mainly for yourself. Was there a time when you sat back and said "Okay, I've got 100 users now… can I conquer the world?"

Torvalds: The first 100 users were the only point where I said "Whoa, this is really a jump." But even then, it happened so gradually that 100 users was obviously not something that was going to take over the world. A hundred compared to a few million, that's a big jump. And it always grew so slowly and so non-obviously, that I didn't even know who downloaded it because I just put it up for FTP and everything else happened without me really being aware of it. So strangely, after the first 100, I completely lost track and stopped thinking about it. These days I jokingly talk about taking over the world and being the next Microsoft. But at the same time it really is a joke because I personally only care about the technical issues. So even though Linux is sold commercially these days, I've never really been involved. To me, a commercial company that sells Linux is just another user. Some of them have major requests of having things done in a specific way, but the fact that they're selling Linux for money doesn't make those requests more or less important—they're just another request as far as I'm concerned. Everything I do is based on what I think is technically the right issue.

boot: Does Linux have a good chance of unseating Microsoft?

Torvalds: I certainly hope Linux will be one of the players that will be instrumental in this. It really is very strange to have one company that has this much power.

boot: What happened if it doesn’t happen?

Torvalds: We'll see some real stagnation in what you can do with computers. Software companies are already scared of making products that are too good because Microsoft either starts to look at them, or buys them up. That scenario happens fairly often. The bad situation, which is equally likely, is Microsoft decides they won't spend money on buying this company because they can compete in the same market space. And then just by being this big behemoth, they just roll over this smaller company. It's kind of sad. This is supposed to be the land of opportunities but many hardware and software companies are scared of Microsoft coming and taking their market away. Not by Microsoft being innovative, but by Microsoft just rolling over them.

boot: The perception is that UNIX appears to be a dying platform. Can Windows NT kill UNIX?

Torvalds: Sure. One of the biggest problems in UNIX is all the mixed vendors. There aren't all that many big UNIX vendors, and many have decided (for marketing reasons) that it’s too hard to compete against Microsoft. So what they're doing is they're competing against each other, which is very detrimental to the UNIX market as a whole. One UNIX vendor may get a bigger market share, but it's only because they have one feature that is specific to them, that no other UNIX has. And it is not something that software developers want. They want to write their program once and run it on everything. And by writing their program for Microsoft Windows they can almost do that because it won't run on everything, but it will run on a large portion of the market. The UNIX in-fighting has just fragmented the UNIX market.

boot: Is the learning curve detrimental to Linux's overall success?

Torvalds: It is. Visual Basic for example, is a really bad programming language. But at the same time if you have a really small application, you don't want to jump through hoops to make it look pretty. And that's the success of Windows—it’s mediocre, but it’s easy...

boot: You’ve got a full slate of global developers who are working on Linux. Why hasn't it developed into a state of chaos?

Torvalds: It’s a chaos that has some external constraints put on it. For example, the pure kernel has a copyright that says that whoever does Linux development doesn't need to go through me. If Microsoft wanted to, they could take Linux tomorrow, start development on it, and do it completely on their own. There's nothing to stop anybody from doing that. However, they are required to make all the changes available to everybody else. This "no ownership" idea means that the only entity that can really succeed in developing Linux is the entity that is trusted to do the right thing. And as it stands right now, I'm the only person/entity that has that degree of trust. And even if somebody thought I was doing a bad job (which is fairly rare) and that somebody decides that "I really want to fix this feature," there's a really big hurdle to convince everybody else that he CAN fix that feature. It allows chaos, but at the same time it has certain built-in things that just make it very stable. But you really need to be very good to take over development. Knowing that the best person will be there to pick it up, is exactly the kind of security feature you need in a development network.

boot: By nature of your current stature, some would accuse you of profiting from Linux's success. Have you done that and does this diminish Linux's overall "free OS" movement?

Torvalds: Profiting? I'm getting a lot of recognition and some of it is not necessarily deserved. I've done a lot of the really core functionality of the kernel, but there's been hundreds of other people who have written drivers for specific devices. And to some degree they get less recognition than they really should in this area because I'm the only person who people really see as the figurehead of the development. Bill Gates gets all the glory for Microsoft even though he's got thousands of people working for him. But I haven't made much money from Linux.

boot: So are you making any money on Linux at all?

Torvalds: No. Because I made Linux, I was able to make a name for myself, and I have a much better job than I would have otherwise. So that kind of indirect thing obviously exists. A few years ago people knew I was a poor student. At Christmas time I used to get a few personal checks of $100 or so. It didn't pay for development, but it was nice knowing that people care so much they're willing to pay even a small amount of money just because they want to.

boot: There’s a perception out there that Linux is very difficult to install…

Torvalds: [interrupts] And it's completely wrong. But the perception comes from the fact that when you buy a PC, Windows is already installed for you. So you don't ever actually see how nasty it is to install. When you install Linux, you actually have to do it yourself. Most people who want to use Linux find themselves coming from a Windows background, and even though Windows isn't easy to use, they're used to it. So there's a small problem right there just getting used to a new system. It's like when you're switching cars—you're going from a stick shift to an automatic—it's just difficult getting used to it or going the other way. For some things the stick is better; for some things the automatic is better and you can use both. The other issue is that you have to install it yourself, which you didn't have to do with Windows. But it really isn't any harder to install. And you don't have to reinstall it every time something goes wrong, which you have to do with Windows.

boot: Is Linux doomed to be a niche OS?

Torvalds: No, but I'm actually hoping that it won't take more than 25 or 30% of the market. If Linux owned 95% of the market it would be equally as sick. There is some need for competition.

boot: Would you ever consider working for Microsoft?

Torvalds: Yes. I wouldn't say no to a job just because it's Microsoft, but it would have to be a real dream job and right now I don't see Microsoft having that kind of dream job.

boot: What would your dream job be?

Torvalds: Paying lots of money for me sitting in some Hawaiian island playing Quake. Seriously, if they had something really interesting going on in the kind of area where I'm working, I could consider working for them. I don't have any religious belief that Microsoft is evil and that Bill Gates is Satan.

boot: What's the current state of SMP?

Torvalds: Right now we're slowly making ready for the next stable version which would be called Linux 2.2. The new SMP support is a lot more solid than it used to be. The current stable kernel, which is 2.0, does have SMP support and it works for most people, but it has known problems in certain combinations with hardware and it's not very efficient under certain circumstances and the current development kernels are much better in that way. Much smoother when you have multiple jobs running on both CPUs and in general taking better advantage of having multiple CPUs. But it's something that will continue to evolve. Right now we've been concentrating on scaling to two CPUs and four CPUs because that's what most people tend to have, especially duals. But within a few years, maybe eight will actually be a reasonably normal number and we'll have to work on it some more to make it really use eight CPUs to full advantage. You can run it on it right now but depending on what you're doing, you may not get much of a speedup.

boot: What other features do you have lined up for the next version?

Torvalds: The next version is not going to be a big step. It's going to be mainly a performance release. It's more of a maturity thing. 2.2 will add officially the PowerPC and SPARC support. And again, the SMP is much, more mature. Performance is better too.

boot: Will there be a time where Linux isn't available for free?

Torvalds: No.

boot: You say that very quickly.

Torvalds: Yes. One of the reasons I say it quickly is I've been asked the question before and I also have made certain there is no way anybody can take the freeness away. I very strongly feel that it's a good thing and the copyright requires it. And when somebody sends me big patches, I don't ask them to assign the copyright over to me. So right now for example, the kernel itself has probably on the order of 50 or 100 copyright holders and the actual copyright license has always been the same. It's the GPL that requires that sources always be available. So in order to make a version of Linux that is not under that license, you have to get all those copyright holders to agree to the new license. The parts of the kernel that I own completely are significant, but they aren't enough to really make a good system. I did that consciously. I wanted to bind my own hands so that even if people don't trust me personally, they trust the fact that even if I wanted to turn commercial, I couldn't.

boot: If there was a tagline for Linux, what would it be?

Torvalds: Very early on I reached the conclusion that anything I ever get in e-mail is just hot air until I see some real code or some real fruit of the discussion. So we used one that we stole from Nike, the "Just Do It" tagline. It says don't just spout fire, just do it; and then after it's done, show the world.


Linus Torvalds talks about the past and future of Linux and shares his opinions on current events.

LF: After creating Linux, you took the decision in 1992 of registering it under a GPL license by the FSF that allows for a quite generous distribution of the sources of the kernel.

Linus: I changed the Linux copyright license to be the GPL some time in the first half of 1992 (March or April, I think). Before that it had been a very strict license that essentially forbid any commercial distribution at all - mostly because I had hated the lack of a cheaply and easily available UNIX when I had looked for one a year before..

LF: From time to time you have strongly defended the GPL license over other licenses, BSD comes to mind.

Linus: I'd like to point out that I don't think that there is anything fundamentally superior in the GPL as compared to the BSD license, for example. But the GPL is what _I_ want to program with, because unlike the BSD license it guarantees that anybody who works on the project in the future will also contribute their changes back to the community.

And when I do programming in my free time and for my own enjoyment, I really want to have that kind of protection: knowing that when I improve a program those improvements will continue to be available to me and others in future versions of the program.

Other people have other goals, and sometimes the BSD style licenses are better for those goals. I personally tend to prefer the GPL, but that really doesn't mean that the GPL is any way inherently superior - it depends on what you want the license to do..

LF: Recently, some companies of statue like Netscape Communications Corporation, who plans to integrate its navigator with Linux, stunned the world announcing their intention to release the source code to the public. What analysis can you make of the GPL license, the "Free Software Movement" and Netscapes's recent move?

Linus: I don't think that Netscape wants to "integrate" the navigator with Linux, I think that what happened is that the Netscape people have long been aware of how well the Linux development model works, and that the assault on the browser market by MicroSoft made them decide it was time to use non-traditional means to change the marketplace a bit.

I'm personally very pleased that Netscape is doing this: if for no other reason than the fact that it shows that even well-known commercial companies are starting to notice how useful and successful the free software paradigm really is. Netscape doing it may show the way for other companies to do it later..

LF: Related to this, How do you see Linux and the free Software community in 2, 5 or 10 years from Now? Do you think the free Software Community will keep the rate of evolution of the Commercial Software, integrating whatever new technologies in Linux and BSD?

Linus: I never try to make any far-reaching predictions, so much can happen that it simply only makes you look stupid a few years later. I obviously think that freely available software can not only keep up with the evolution of commercial software, but often exceed what you can do commercially. Netscape obviously seems to agree with me.

LF: Despite Linux short life, this operating system has gained hundreds of thousands of adepts all over the world in a record time. Many experts chose it for their companies without prejudice, from an objective point of view, not because they are fanatics of Linux but knowledgeable of its virtues. There are others more cautious who do not publicly admit using Linux (perhaps afraid of bringing a backslash to their company for using free software). Finally there are those who are true champions of Linux, identifying themselves perhaps with a David trying to defeat a Goliath personified by Microsoft. This last company represent the market system in essence, their main objective, beyond the product itself, is to sell and make money in huge amounts. Do you share or understand this attitude?

Linus: I can certainly understand the "David vs Goliath" setup, but no, I don't personally share it all that much. I can't say that I like MicroSoft: I think they make rather bad operating systems - Windows NT is just more of the same - but while I dislike their operating systems and abhor their tactics in the marketplace I at the same time don't really care all that much about them.

I'm simply too content doing what I _want_ to do to really have a very negative attitude towards MicroSoft. They make bad products - so what? I don't need to care, because I happily don't have to use them, and writing my own alternative has been a very gratifying experience in many ways. Not only have I learnt a lot doing it, but I've met thousands of people that I really like while developing Linux - some of them in person, most of them through the internet.

LF : Please allow me to make an easy and superficial comparison. You, like Bill Gates have developed an operating system of great success while still being a student. Well actually Gates did not really developed an OS himself, but allow me the comparison ;). You have gained tremendous popularity and won several prices like "The UniForum Award" or the recent "Nokia Foundation" in 1997 which mentions your "inspiring example for young researchers". Now Mr. Gates, years past and far away from that youngster who together with Paul Allen founded Microsoft, is disgustingly rich and lives in a mansion near Lake Washington, Seattle, which cost him around 63 million US$. Can you see yourself, your wife Toe and your daughter Patricia in a house like that?

Linus: I have no idea where I'd get that kind of money, but I can certainly imagine living in a house like that. I'd probably enjoy it immensely ;)

But I don't really think that the comparison is all that valid. Bill Gates really seems to be much more of a business man than a technologist, while I prefer to think of Linux in technical terms rather than as a means to money. As such, I'm not very likely to make the same kind of money that Bill made..

LF: The 25th of August 1991, you launched the following message to the USENET: "Hello everybody out there using minix. I'm doing a (free) operating system (just a hobby, won't be big and professional like gnu) for 386(486) AT clones." Since the birth of Linux in 1991 (Destiny wished you didn't called it Benedictux, thankfully), the evolution of this operating system has gone through various stages since that primitive 0.01 of September 1991. By the 5th of October you already had 0.02 an shortly after 0.03, finally arriving to a 0.10, 0.11 and a very decent 0.12. From here it jumped to the 0.95 and 0.96, already foreseeing the first "non-beta" version. After the first version, in June 9th 1996 you announced version 2.0 which had little to do with its predecessors: multi-architecture support, symmetrical multi-processor support, read-write shared memory mappings of file support, just to mention a few of its innovations. Do you have any idea when we will see version 3.0 and what can kind of innovations will merit a jump to a new version?

Linus: Right now it looks like the next "jump" is going to be real-time and cluster features. Linux is actually already used for both of these things, but being used for something and being designed to do it are two different things.

But I really don't want to limit Linux to any special "five year plan": the clustering and real-time stuff is just something that people are already working on, and that is fairly well understood and has traditional uses.

I think the really _interesting_ new things are going to be things that are only beginning to show up today, but that will be commonplace in a year or two. High-bandwidth networking, live video etc. I don't know how that will change how we use computers, but it will certainly have a rather fundamental impact on operating systems.

LF: In August of last year, 1997, in Monterey California, a long standing dispute over the ownership of the Linux operating system trademark was resolved and you were assigned the ownership for the registered mark. Despite this, the GPL license allows other companies to do business selling Linux without you taking direct part (at least in just proportion) in the share of profits that must result, instead you devote actively and personally in the development of new versions and patch updates....

Linus: Yes. It should be noted that a trademark on the name "Linux" and the copyright on the code that consitutes Linux really are very separate. Right now I own both the trademark and a large portion of the copyrights, but there is nothing to say that it has to be so. In fact, I tried to get the trademark transferred to the Linux International not-for-profit organization, but it made more legal sense to transfer it to me personally, and also there were more people who apparently trusted me personally rather than a organization.

LF: ...When you are asked if this bothers you, you not only respond negatively but express your satisfaction and happiness that companies like Red Hat are introducing Linux in commercial ventures, thus contributing to develop a more polished product. What does your ego feels when it becomes known for example that Linux is selected (over Windows/NT and DEC UNIX) as the ideal OS by Digital Domain, the company that created the high-tech visual effects for the movie Titanic, or when Debian Systems develops the software for the Ham Radio satellite's communication systems?

Linus: Obviously one of the reasons that I really don't mind that people are selling Linux commercially is exactly because it _does_ make me feel good that people use the product.

So while I may not get any money from Linux, I get a huge personal satisfaction from having written something that people really enjoy using, and that people find to be the best alternative for their needs.

And at the same time, the GPL forces all future contributions to Linux to be available to everybody, which means that when a commercial company like RedHat makes a more polished Linux release, I really _do_ get something out of it. So there is quite a lot of compensation, even when that compensation isn't in the form of money.

LF: How do you feel about the GUI war going on for the Linux environment? What do you think about alternative GUIs such as the Berlin project? Do you see any problems with X?

Linus: I'm in the strange position of having concentrated very actively on the base operating system, and I really haven't even followed the projects around Linux very much. I let the user-level chips fall as they may, in the secure knowledge that whatever strange things some user level program may do, the kernel will be able to handle it.

When it comes to a GUI, one of the most important parts is that it is widely accepted, and that it is technically sound. The X Window system meets both of those requirements as far as I'm concerned, and while it obviously has a few problems they are by no means debilitating.

I think the most interesting work is going into making X look and feel nicer, rather than replacing it with something else. There are a few really nice desktop systems: fvwm95, KDE etc, and I think X is stronger for them. I don't think we have much of a problem with the GUI, but I'll wait and see what people will come up with.

LF: At this point in time, merely 6 years since the birth of Linux things are moving very rapidly. RedHat was named by Infoworld the operating system of the year; Linux is the fastest growing non-Microsoft Operating System in the world according to the IDC; and it is estimated that in 1997 somewhere between 2 million to 6 million copies of Linux were installed worldwide. Amist this cyclone of events you do not appear to remain passive watching Linux grow. Instead you seem to break physical space/time laws, showing up in multiple conferences (like your schedule appearence in North Carolina this May), your work at Transmeta (incidentally can you unveil anything to us?), the continuing development of the Linux Kernel (keeping up with email, newsgroups), taking care of the attention that from time to time the media pays you and your private life. Looking back in the past, Do you feel Linux has satisfied your initial expectations?

Linus: Linux has more than satisfied any small initial expectations I had. It's simply incredible how successful Linux has been, and how good a time I've had developing it and leading the project. It _does_ take a lot of my time, but it's time I really enjoy spending, and Linux has continued to be challenging both technically and from a managing standpoint.

I don't go to conferences quite as much as I used to: having a child and movin away from the university leaves me with less time than I had a few years ago, but I've tried to balance things out - not just spending time with Linux all the time, but having a real job and a real life at the same time. It has worked reasonably well, and while I'm fairly busy I can honestly say that I'm not at least bored ;)





Prev Contents Next



Groupthink : Two Party System as Polyarchy : Corruption of Regulators : Bureaucracies : Understanding Micromanagers and Control Freaks : Toxic Managers :   Harvard Mafia : Diplomatic Communication : Surviving a Bad Performance Review : Insufficient Retirement Funds as Immanent Problem of Neoliberal Regime : PseudoScience : Who Rules America : Neoliberalism  : The Iron Law of Oligarchy : Libertarian Philosophy


War and Peace : Skeptical Finance : John Kenneth Galbraith :Talleyrand : Oscar Wilde : Otto Von Bismarck : Keynes : George Carlin : Skeptics : Propaganda  : SE quotes : Language Design and Programming Quotes : Random IT-related quotesSomerset Maugham : Marcus Aurelius : Kurt Vonnegut : Eric Hoffer : Winston Churchill : Napoleon Bonaparte : Ambrose BierceBernard Shaw : Mark Twain Quotes


Vol 25, No.12 (December, 2013) Rational Fools vs. Efficient Crooks The efficient markets hypothesis : Political Skeptic Bulletin, 2013 : Unemployment Bulletin, 2010 :  Vol 23, No.10 (October, 2011) An observation about corporate security departments : Slightly Skeptical Euromaydan Chronicles, June 2014 : Greenspan legacy bulletin, 2008 : Vol 25, No.10 (October, 2013) Cryptolocker Trojan (Win32/Crilock.A) : Vol 25, No.08 (August, 2013) Cloud providers as intelligence collection hubs : Financial Humor Bulletin, 2010 : Inequality Bulletin, 2009 : Financial Humor Bulletin, 2008 : Copyleft Problems Bulletin, 2004 : Financial Humor Bulletin, 2011 : Energy Bulletin, 2010 : Malware Protection Bulletin, 2010 : Vol 26, No.1 (January, 2013) Object-Oriented Cult : Political Skeptic Bulletin, 2011 : Vol 23, No.11 (November, 2011) Softpanorama classification of sysadmin horror stories : Vol 25, No.05 (May, 2013) Corporate bullshit as a communication method  : Vol 25, No.06 (June, 2013) A Note on the Relationship of Brooks Law and Conway Law


Fifty glorious years (1950-2000): the triumph of the US computer engineering : Donald Knuth : TAoCP and its Influence of Computer Science : Richard Stallman : Linus Torvalds  : Larry Wall  : John K. Ousterhout : CTSS : Multix OS Unix History : Unix shell history : VI editor : History of pipes concept : Solaris : MS DOSProgramming Languages History : PL/1 : Simula 67 : C : History of GCC developmentScripting Languages : Perl history   : OS History : Mail : DNS : SSH : CPU Instruction Sets : SPARC systems 1987-2006 : Norton Commander : Norton Utilities : Norton Ghost : Frontpage history : Malware Defense History : GNU Screen : OSS early history

Classic books:

The Peter Principle : Parkinson Law : 1984 : The Mythical Man-MonthHow to Solve It by George Polya : The Art of Computer Programming : The Elements of Programming Style : The Unix Hater’s Handbook : The Jargon file : The True Believer : Programming Pearls : The Good Soldier Svejk : The Power Elite

Most popular humor pages:

Manifest of the Softpanorama IT Slacker Society : Ten Commandments of the IT Slackers Society : Computer Humor Collection : BSD Logo Story : The Cuckoo's Egg : IT Slang : C++ Humor : ARE YOU A BBS ADDICT? : The Perl Purity Test : Object oriented programmers of all nations : Financial Humor : Financial Humor Bulletin, 2008 : Financial Humor Bulletin, 2010 : The Most Comprehensive Collection of Editor-related Humor : Programming Language Humor : Goldman Sachs related humor : Greenspan humor : C Humor : Scripting Humor : Real Programmers Humor : Web Humor : GPL-related Humor : OFM Humor : Politically Incorrect Humor : IDS Humor : "Linux Sucks" Humor : Russian Musical Humor : Best Russian Programmer Humor : Microsoft plans to buy Catholic Church : Richard Stallman Related Humor : Admin Humor : Perl-related Humor : Linus Torvalds Related humor : PseudoScience Related Humor : Networking Humor : Shell Humor : Financial Humor Bulletin, 2011 : Financial Humor Bulletin, 2012 : Financial Humor Bulletin, 2013 : Java Humor : Software Engineering Humor : Sun Solaris Related Humor : Education Humor : IBM Humor : Assembler-related Humor : VIM Humor : Computer Viruses Humor : Bright tomorrow is rescheduled to a day after tomorrow : Classic Computer Humor

The Last but not Least Technology is dominated by two types of people: those who understand what they do not manage and those who manage what they do not understand ~Archibald Putt. Ph.D

Copyright © 1996-2021 by Softpanorama Society. was initially created as a service to the (now defunct) UN Sustainable Development Networking Programme (SDNP) without any remuneration. This document is an industrial compilation designed and created exclusively for educational use and is distributed under the Softpanorama Content License. Original materials copyright belong to respective owners. Quotes are made for educational purposes only in compliance with the fair use doctrine.

FAIR USE NOTICE This site contains copyrighted material the use of which has not always been specifically authorized by the copyright owner. We are making such material available to advance understanding of computer science, IT technology, economic, scientific, and social issues. We believe this constitutes a 'fair use' of any such copyrighted material as provided by section 107 of the US Copyright Law according to which such material can be distributed without profit exclusively for research and educational purposes.

This is a Spartan WHYFF (We Help You For Free) site written by people for whom English is not a native language. Grammar and spelling errors should be expected. The site contain some broken links as it develops like a living tree...

You can use PayPal to to buy a cup of coffee for authors of this site


The statements, views and opinions presented on this web page are those of the author (or referenced source) and are not endorsed by, nor do they necessarily reflect, the opinions of the Softpanorama society. We do not warrant the correctness of the information provided or its fitness for any purpose. The site uses AdSense so you need to be aware of Google privacy policy. You you do not want to be tracked by Google please disable Javascript for this site. This site is perfectly usable without Javascript.

Last modified: March 12, 2019