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Linus Interviewed 407

Posted by michael
from the old-standbys dept.
a9db0 writes "There is a somewhat low-content interview with Linus here in the Seattle Times about his move to Portland. It does have a couple of Linus classic one-liners."
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Linus Interviewed

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  • by MikeCapone (693319) <skelterhell AT yahoo DOT com> on Saturday October 16, 2004 @11:02PM (#10548170) Homepage Journal
    I wonder how many votes Linus will get in this US presidential election...
  • by erick99 (743982) <homerun@gmail.com> on Saturday October 16, 2004 @11:03PM (#10548175)
    He doesn't beat around the bush about Microsoft.

    I don't think the lawsuits have necessarily made a huge direct difference, but I do think that it has made a lot more people realize that maybe Microsoft wasn't the "American Dream" after all, but just another greedy company that might be better off with some competition. And that probably has opened a few doors.

    I think Microsoft has a PR problem. Largely deservedly, I would say.

    • by Anonymous Coward

      I think Microsoft has a PR problem. Largely deservedly, I would say.

      Yes, Microsoft has a PR problem, but to call them greedy and anti-American Dream is taking things way too far. Microsoft fucking epitomizes the American Dream.

      Microsoft made billions selling licenses to great software, and created a vibrant ecosystem where everyone respects everyone elses intellectual property rights. Linux and other communist-type free software ideals threaten to destroy that ecosystem which employs so many people! T

      • by Anonymous Coward
        But microsoft did so with abusive business tactics, not with good, competitive technology.

        I love it how everyone oos and aahs about Windows two billion and five XP special extra home edition not crashing and being slightly more resistant to viruses like that was something that microsoft shouldn't have done in the late 80s/early 90s. They literally have more money than they know what to do with and yet they still produce shitty insecure software.
      • by dimator (71399) on Sunday October 17, 2004 @02:41AM (#10548909) Homepage Journal
        Imagine this wasn't an interview by the founder of Linux. Imagine (most) everyone on this forum didn't already despise Microsoft, and/or love Linux.

        Now, is Microsoft a monopolist? Before you answer, read up on your history [com.com]. Have they used this monopoly power to hurt consumers, by locking them in, by limiting choice?

        If that's the American Dream, then I maybe its time to revise the American Dream.

        By the way, from here [reference.com], an ecosystem is "a community of organisms." There isn't much of an ecosystem if one of the "organisms" has absolute power over every other one.

  • by Roofus (15591) on Saturday October 16, 2004 @11:06PM (#10548183) Homepage
    Once again, I would like to thank the article submitter (as well as the Slashdot editor) who posted this story for giving us NO background information on who this Linus guy is. Are we all expected to instantly recognize every Joe Schmoe that has an interview posted online?

    Next time, a little background info would be helpful people!
    • by Pan T. Hose (707794) on Sunday October 17, 2004 @01:25AM (#10548655) Homepage Journal

      Once again, I would like to thank the article submitter (as well as the Slashdot editor) who posted this story for giving us NO background information on who this Linus guy is.

      You're right. Let me write some basic info about Linus:

      Linus Torvalds (born December 28, 1969) began the development of Linux, an operating system kernel, and today acts as the project coordinator. Inspired by the teaching system Minix (developed by Andrew Tanenbaum), he felt the need for a capable UNIX operating system that he could run on his home PC. Torvalds did the original development of the Linux kernel primarily in his own time and on his equipment. Torvalds was born in Helsinki, the capital of Finland, as the son of Nils and Anna Torvalds. Both of his parents were campus radicals at the University of Helsinki in the 1960s, his father a Communist who in the mid-1970s spent a year studying in Moscow. This caused embarrassment to Linus at the time since other children would tease him about his father's politics. His family belongs to the Swedish-speaking minority (roughly 6% of Finland's population). Torvalds was named after Linus Pauling. He attended the University of Helsinki from 1988 to 1996, graduating with a masters degree in computer science. Torvalds lived for many years in San Jose, California with his wife Tove (six-time Finnish national Karate champion), whom he first met in fall 1993, his cat Randi (short for Mithrandir, the Elvish name for Gandalf, a wizard in The Lord of the Rings), and his three daughters Patricia Miranda (born December 5, 1996), Daniela Yolanda (born April 16, 1998) and Celeste Amanda (born November 20, 2000). In June 2004, Linus purchased a home in Beaverton, Oregon and enrolled his children in school in that area. He worked for Transmeta Corporation from February 1997 until June 2003, and is now seconded to the Open Source Development Labs, a Beaverton, Oregon based software consortium. Linus and his family recently moved to Portland, Oregon in an effort to be closer to his employer. His personal mascot is a penguin nicknamed Tux, widely adopted by the Linux community as the mascot of Linux. Linus's law, a tenet inspired by Linus and coined by Eric S. Raymond in his paper The Cathedral and the Bazaar, is: "Given enough eyeballs, all bugs are shallow." A deep bug is one which is hard to find, and with many people looking for it, the hope (and so far most experience) is that no bug will be deep. Both men share an open source philosophy, which has been in part (and implicitly) based on this belief. Linus Torvalds Unlike many open source "evangelists", Torvalds keeps a low profile and generally refuses to comment on competing software products, such as Microsoft's commercially dominant Windows operating system. He is neutral enough to even have been criticized by the GNU project, specifically for having worked on proprietary software with Transmeta and for his use and alleged advocacy of Bitkeeper. Nevertheless, Torvalds has occasionally reacted with strong statements to what has been widely perceived as anti-Linux (and anti open source) FUD from proprietary software vendors like Microsoft or SCO. For example, in one e-mail reaction to statements by Microsoft Senior-VP Craig Mundie, who criticized open source software for being non innovative and destructive to intellectual property, Torvalds wrote: "I wonder if Mundie has ever heard of Sir Isaac Newton? He's not only famous for having set the foundations for classical mechanics (and the original theory of gravitation, which is what most people remember, along with the apple tree story), but he is also famous for how he acknowledged the achievement: If I have been able to see further, it was only because I stood on the shoulders of giants ... I'd rather listen to Newton than to Mundie. He may have been dead for almost three hundred years, but despit

  • Highlights (Score:5, Informative)

    by shirai (42309) * on Saturday October 16, 2004 @11:07PM (#10548187) Homepage
    For those who don't want to RTFA, here are some highlights from Linus:

    • Now, many of the volunteers end up getting paid, and maybe they can't be called "volunteers" any more if somebody ends up being silly enough to pay them for something they'd have done for free anyway.

    • In real open source, you have the right to control your own destiny. When you play with it, mommy isn't going to tell you what you can and can not do, and not going to take your toy away from you when she thinks you are done. You're an adult, and you can make your own choices. That is when you get engaged.

    • I don't think the lawsuits have necessarily made a huge direct difference, but I do think that it has made a lot more people realize that maybe Microsoft wasn't the "American Dream" after all, but just another greedy company that might be better off with some competition.

    • Q. How can Linux avoid the security problems that have affected Windows?

      A. Better design and actually caring about them. Having the guts to really fixing fundamental design mistakes, rather than trying to work around them.
  • More detail (Score:5, Informative)

    by erick99 (743982) <homerun@gmail.com> on Saturday October 16, 2004 @11:14PM (#10548217)
    Here is an article [nwsource.com] with more detail about Torvald's move to Portland.
  • Low content? Huh? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Saturday October 16, 2004 @11:14PM (#10548218)

    ...but I'm very happy doing it, and I feel I do something meaningful. What more can I ask for?

    May we all realize this much some day.


    Is there any way an AC can mod Linus + gajillion Insightful for that quote? If so, allow me.

  • by SSonnentag (203358) on Saturday October 16, 2004 @11:16PM (#10548226) Homepage
    Every time I read one of Linus' interviews I come away with the same impression...Linus sound like a really great guy! He sounds down-to-earth and practical. He doesn't sound greedy, manipulative or controlling. He sounds friendly and seems to have a great sense of humor. Basically, Linus sounds like a reverse image of Microsoft. Go Linu[s|x]!!!
    • >I come away with the same impression...Linus sound like a really great guy

      Or a really great sales person.

      I doubt that its wise to judge a person solely on interviews you've read or else you would think that everyone in Hollywood is a wonderful, fantastic human being dedicated to their art.
    • Yep. But, you see, he never realised what a hurricane he'd unleashed on the world. It was just
      a guy (like any one of us) trying to solve a problem. Just that he was at exactly the right point
      in history and spatially to start that hurricane.

      Linus as a butterfly. I sort of like that.

    • The really weird thing is he's actually nicer in person than he sounds in interviews. Or maybe it isn't weird; most normal people come off a little stiffer/less friendly in interviews. Maybe what is weird is that there are so few people who manage to do what they want, don't sell out, and mostly don't care how other people feel about it, that we have no baseline for our expectations when one of them "makes it big".

      Maybe the weird thing is that all the class A1 jerks that never manage to do anything usef

  • by ImaLamer (260199) <john.lamarNO@SPAMgmail.com> on Saturday October 16, 2004 @11:17PM (#10548228) Homepage Journal
    Under the slashdot story which points to a Linus Torvalds interview there is an advertisement for Windows 2003 server and it's telling me that it's 17% cheaper to run!
  • by schnitzi (243781) on Saturday October 16, 2004 @11:22PM (#10548246) Homepage
    > Linus Torvalds (pronounced LEE-nus)

    Hmm, does that mean Linux should be pronounced LEE-nux?
    • Re:Proneenciation? (Score:5, Insightful)

      by MBCook (132727) <foobarsoft@foobarsoft.com> on Saturday October 16, 2004 @11:32PM (#10548272) Homepage
      I've heard it pronounced all three ways (lin-ux, leye-nux, lee-nux). Linus says he doesn't really care. But there is a soundbyte somewhere on the net (it used to be the test sound when you installed a soundcard under Linux) that was Linus saying "My name is Leenus Torvald and I pronouse Leenux... Leenux." (or something like that). So yes, in theory, it probably should be Lee-nux.

      That said, people in the US have been brainwashed to pronouce the name "leye-nus" for over 50 years by the comic strip "Peanuts". I never knew there WAS any other way to pronouce that name until after I got into Linux and heard Linus pronounce his name.

      I assume most Finnish people pronounce it the way he does.

      It's just based on how you pronouce the name "Linus" by default.

      • Re:Proneenciation? (Score:2, Interesting)

        by Anonymous Coward
        It's just based on how you pronouce the name "Linus" by default.
        I doubt it.

        I think most Americans (incuding myself) pronounce Linus the "Peanuts" way. "L[eye]nus"

        But most Americans tend to pronounce Linux with the soft english "i" as in "in".

        Though discussion about proper Linux pronounciation is rendered moot by his own stance that he doesn't give a shit how anyone pronounces it.
        • Yeah, I thought about that. I think it's because we find it easier to say "lin-ux" than "leye-nux", the first "sounds more natural". People tend to go for a short vowel. I've only run across one person in the last few years who calls it "leye-nux". Everyone else calls it one of the other two (with the majority going with "lin-ux", since I'm in the US).

          But if you see the name Linus an "Leenus", then you naturally go to "leenux".

      • Look in linux/kernel/SillySounds on your favorite kernel mirror for a file called english.au (or swedish.au if you prefer). If you don't have a favorite kernel mirror, you can just Google it [google.com].

        (Not posting any direct links so nobody gets slashdotted.)
    • Re:Proneenciation? (Score:4, Informative)

      by bcrowell (177657) on Saturday October 16, 2004 @11:35PM (#10548288) Homepage
      Yes, but but when I said it that way, people laughed at me. There's an audio clip floating around the net, with Linus saying, "This is Linus Torvalds, and I pronounce it Leenooks" (rhyming with "books").
    • Re:Proneenciation? (Score:5, Informative)

      by JambisJubilee (784493) on Saturday October 16, 2004 @11:38PM (#10548295)
      From Linus himself: http://www.paul.sladen.org/pronunciation/ [sladen.org]
  • by boredMDer (640516) <pmohr+slashdot@boredmder.com> on Saturday October 16, 2004 @11:33PM (#10548277)
    ...whether or not he frequents Slashdot.

    Seems important to me, anyway :-)
  • Actually. Linus had to move to Portland in order to get closer to Redmond. Only in the place it was forged can he destroy the One OS, and liberate the free peoples from the shadow of the Dark Lord...

  • by crucini (98210) on Saturday October 16, 2004 @11:53PM (#10548346)
    Q. How can Linux avoid the security problems that have affected Windows?

    A. Better design and actually caring about them. Having the guts to really fixing fundamental design mistakes, rather than trying to work around them.

    Some folks still think that *nix is inherently virus proof because anything a mere user runs couldn't touch the really important stuff in /bin. I think most Unix programmers understand by now that the really important stuff is under $HOME; what's under /bin is easily replaceable. There are many pathways for effective viruses on Linux - the biggest obstacle to viruses is the lack of standardization.

    Maybe Linus is saying that as viruses start attacking Linux, he's willing to radically rethink permissions. GRsecurity and SElinux point in that direction, but wouldn't work for a normal user. Could there be a future Linux kernel that prevents an image library exploit from modifying your .bashrc?
    • Some folks still think that *nix is inherently virus proof because anything a mere user runs couldn't touch the really important stuff in /bin.

      What people need to realize is that permissions can always be changed; even if you set the immutable bit, you can still unset it. What properly designed and implemented permissions do is make it hard enough to do any damage that script kiddies won't be able to find cheat-sheets for virus writing. Only those that can work it out for themselves will be able to writ

    • Eh? The kernel very definitely should mind it's own business! (Even on a non microkernel architecture the kernel's responsibilities shouldn't be to be a nanny). Linux *is* mostly based on a classic UNIX architecture and hence exploits can still happen if admins are dumb enough not to grok security - UNIX has a discretionary security policy (you get to be as stupid as you are), whereas what you're asking for is a mandatory security policy (we won't let you do anything without sacrificing goats to our deity).
    • by dustman (34626) <dleary@@@ttlc...net> on Sunday October 17, 2004 @01:15AM (#10548626)
      Some folks still think that *nix is inherently virus proof because anything a mere user runs couldn't touch the really important stuff in /bin. I think most Unix programmers understand by now that the really important stuff is under $HOME; what's under /bin is easily replaceable.

      I think you are dismissing things too easily. The fact that the stuff under /bin is easily replaceable is exactly what makes unix "inherently virus proof".

      The stuff stored under $HOME is mostly data, not executable (except for scripts, which are easy to doublecheck). If I find out I have been hacked or virused, I just shrug, tar up /home, reinstall my stuff, and carefully restore /home. On a computer where I am the only user (a fair comparison, if it's one person's primary workstation), that will only take maybe an hour of my attention if I'm really paranoid about checking all the scripts.

      Viruses aren't a problem because they can only hit stuff in /bin if there's a security problem (which are much rarer than the windows world), and even if they do, it's easy to restore /bin. They can hit $HOME, but by its nature $HOME is not a good target.
      • I think you are still viewing the problem from an old Unix viewpoint of hacking, not viruses. Maybe the point of the virus was to forward itself to your friends, pretending to be you. Maybe its point was to use your computer as a spam relay for 30 minutes. Maybe the virus will find all your original content (word processing documents, HTML, GIMP files, etc) and insert spam into them. Therefore the ability to restore /bin is not very relevant.
    • by Tony-A (29931) on Sunday October 17, 2004 @01:56AM (#10548744)
      Maybe Linus is saying that as viruses start attacking Linux, he's willing to radically rethink

      Correct at that point. It's not just permissions or any other one thing. When you have to react you try to get at the root of the problem as much as possible.

      One advantage of Unix is that it is inherently multi-user. If it's just me on the computer, why should I be limited to just one identity? Seems I should be able to run a browser under its own identity and if it catches viruses and whatever, all it can mess up is itself. Adds a wee bit of a hassle in that I have an extra step anytime I want to lift something out of the browser, but has the distinct advantage that I'm in control, not the browser.

      When Linux gets attacked, you get responses from several levels. You do not have to wait for official patches. If the official sources are still asleep you'll find something at least marginally effective on Slashdot. Some of the early stuff may do more damage than good, but in the heat of battle you are considerably better off if you can choose your own optimum in the space between "must do something now" and "best to wait for the official patch". The situation may resemble the Keystone Kops, but it is effective and there is a high probability that at the end something does actually get fixed instead of some kinda-sorta workaround.

      Some folks still think that *nix is inherently virus proof
      Technically, *nix is vulnerable, but there will be enough response and effective enough response that the malware won't get much of anywhere. A simple count of vulnerabilities is a poor indicator of the success of exploiting those vulnerabilities.
    • Some folks still think that *nix is inherently virus proof because anything a mere user runs couldn't touch the really important stuff in /bin.

      No, UNIX is inherently virus-resistent because it was developed in a multiuser environment where you did things like having professors keeping exam results on the same computers that students had accounts on. You had to, it was too expensive to have separate computers for every group that might have a reason to compromise another's security. At Berkeley, it was fai
  • Quote (Score:4, Funny)

    by xgamer04 (248962) <xgamer04@noSpAM.yahoo.com> on Saturday October 16, 2004 @11:59PM (#10548368)

    Definitely the best line:

    Q. Why did you choose to live in Portland, and what's your impression so far of the Northwest? One person told me you moved there because it looks like Finland. Is that true?


    A. Well, the Northwest is certainly more like Finland in the sense that California is not like Finland.

    and I don't know why, but it made me laugh.
  • Minnesota (Score:4, Interesting)

    by SuperQ (431) * on Sunday October 17, 2004 @12:01AM (#10548374) Homepage
    Being from Finland, Linus would be very at home in Minnesota, the land and trees (yes.. wood, finland's major national resouce) are very much alike. There are a lot of fins here as well, many who still speak Finnish (although Linus is a sweed-fin)

    Having visited Finland for a couple weeks in January, (including a trip up to lapland), their winters are somewhat more mild than Minnesota. The temperature in Pello was about 2C higher than MN at the time.. Pello is about 30km north of the arctic circle if I remember correctly. Minneapolis is about as far north as Paris is.
    • There are a lot of fins here as well, many who still speak Finnish (although Linus is a sweed-fin)

      Just for reference someone from Finnland is a Finn. A fish has fins.

      Makes you wonder if the fact that penguins are the main birds with fins, if this is a pun about Linus's nationality...
    • by argent (18001)
      Linus would be very at home in Minnesota

      A lot of people from that part of the world seem to be.

      I'd love to hear Garrison Keillor interview Linus.

      So long as they didn't get into some kind of understated irony competition, of course. I don't think space-time could take it, you'd end up in some kind of conversational singularity.
  • by ayn0r (771846) on Sunday October 17, 2004 @12:40AM (#10548510)
    From TFA: "I think Microsoft has a PR problem. Largely deservedly, I would say."

    They don't need good PR, because they're focusing on other solutions instead. [bbspot.com]

  • by Inspector Lopez (466767) on Sunday October 17, 2004 @01:17AM (#10548633) Journal
    Linus has moved to Portland, OR, which is a fine thing, and as others have noted, that puts him amusingly close to Redmond, WA.

    I believe that this may provide a possible explanation for the recent eruption of a volcano (Mt. St. Helens) fairly close to the midpoint between Bill and Linus.
  • Give-aways (Score:3, Funny)

    by delco (559517) on Sunday October 17, 2004 @01:44AM (#10548709)
    ...Linux on cellphones or refrigerators, just because it's so not what I envisioned it. Or on supercomputers.

    I've heard that when celebrities mention they like things like Pepsi or Nike during TV interviews, they receive huge amounts of products from the manufacturers as a sort of thanks for the unsolicited and valuable publicity.

    Gunning for a new toy Linus?
  • by Baldrson (78598) on Sunday October 17, 2004 @01:49AM (#10548722) Homepage Journal
    Actually the first monetary contribution ever sent to Linus for Linux was from a guy who now lives near Portland [outlander.com] and /. carried an article he wrote recently: The Jobs Crunch [slashdot.org].
  • Sadly, no. (Score:4, Insightful)

    by sfled (231432) <sfled AT yahoo DOT com> on Sunday October 17, 2004 @02:22AM (#10548845) Journal
    I found the [Microsoft] "Getthe facts" [marketing] campaign pretty amusing, myself. I think people can make up their own minds about the facts.

    This is a mistake that the talented and intelligent often make. Many people cannot make up their own minds about the facts. It's a bell-curve distribution; at one end are the people who have the intelligence and character to weigh the facts and cut through the bullshit, at the other are the ones who believe the MacDonalds healthy fast-food ads.

    Of course, I could be wrong. I frequently am.

  • by adaminnj (712407) on Sunday October 17, 2004 @02:25AM (#10548859)
    I can't remember exactly but some time between 95 and 97 I was installing Linux and I was a true newbie to *nix back then. I had some major prob with the install and I wrought Linus a rather scathing Email. A few weeks later I got the best bitch slap of my life.

    I wish I saved that Email is was so elegant and worded so perfectly that I became a Linux / Linus Zealot (it was not a nice responce from Linus).

    This interview just reminds me that I need to be more Linus like in my day to day life (I'm a bit hot tempered) and really think when I talk, or act Email, or post to /..
  • by syylk (538519) on Sunday October 17, 2004 @05:57AM (#10549337) Homepage
    Linux has been named after Linus Torvalds.

    Linus Torvalds has been named after Linus Carl Pauling.

    Now, besides pronunciation issues (you should ask Pauling's family how they called their late wonderboy!), it's enlightening to observe:

    Linus Carl Pauling (LCP) is the only man who won two Nobel prizes in two totally unrelated fields: chemistry (1954 - discoveries on chemical bond's nature) and peace (1962 - battle to ban nuclear experiments). He also won the Lenin prize and the Gandhi prize.

    LCP died in San Francisco in 1994. The same year Linus released Linux 1.0.

    LCP directed (since 1936) the "Gates and Crellin" labs, in Pasadena, CA. Not too distant from where Linus first went working in US (Transmeta). And the name of the labs... Ah, the irony.

    LCP was born in... yep, you got that... Portland, OR, 1901. Where our kernel benevolent dictator lives right now.

    Isn't Karma doing wonders? :)
  • by sootman (158191) on Sunday October 17, 2004 @11:19AM (#10550184) Homepage Journal
    From TFA: "Linus Torvalds [pronounced LEE-nus]..."

    1) wow. I never would've guessed that's how you say 'Torvalds'. Those wacky Finns...

    2) So that makes him "LI-nus LEE-nus"?

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