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Linus Torvalds Will Answer Your Questions 460

Posted by samzenpus
from the ask-away dept.
Linus Torvalds was (and still is) the primary force behind the development of the Linux kernel, and since you are reading Slashdot, you already knew that. Mr. Torvalds has agreed to answer any questions you may have about the direction of software, his thoughts on politics, winning the Millenial Technology Prize, or anything else. Ask as many questions as you'd like, but please keep them to one per post. We'll send the best to Linus, and post his answers when we get them back. Remember to keep an eye out for the rest of our upcoming special interviews this month.
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Linus Torvalds Will Answer Your Questions

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  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday October 08, 2012 @12:47PM (#41586937)

    What is his stance on the subject today and why did he allow them in the first place? When will he kick them out?

  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday October 08, 2012 @12:50PM (#41586987)

    I would hope he is wise enough to understand that without exclusivity over distribution of the forked kernel, there is little to no advantage in violating GPL. We can take the fork and do the same, and distribute it as we see fit. Without copyright, there is no 'closed'. It's all open. Everything would become public domain, which is the best of all possibilities.

  • by serviscope_minor (664417) on Monday October 08, 2012 @12:53PM (#41587075) Journal

    In 2007 you made some rather polarizing remarks about C++.

    If by polarising, you mean astonishingly ignorant and chock-full of logival fallacies, then sure, polarising.

    See http://warp.povusers.org/OpenLetters/ResponseToTorvalds.html [povusers.org] for an excellent picking apart of some very silly remarks by Torvalds.

    don't get me wrong: I loce Linux, the kernel is excellent and Torvalds is a great engineer and a much better C programmer than me. However, his knowledge of C++ seems to centre around 25 year old information, FUD, bigotry and some very odd opinions about C programmers.

  • by Kjella (173770) on Monday October 08, 2012 @12:57PM (#41587141) Homepage

    You want Linus to do a book project?

  • Re:Frustrations (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Alter_3d (948458) on Monday October 08, 2012 @12:57PM (#41587157)

    What frustrates you most in the GNU/Linux ecosystem?

    I can answer that for him.

    People who insist on using the name GNU/Linux
    Naming controversy wars!!

  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday October 08, 2012 @01:11PM (#41587375)

    He was absolutely, 100% right on this. The number of people who write "good" C++ (if you can get people to agree on what that means, which you can't) is very, very small. The number of unqualified people writing bad C++ is huge and vastly outnumbers the good code out there, and I can tell you that it's frustrating to work with the code bases that these people produce.

    This is probably true of every language, and there is also a lot of bad C out there. But writing your code in C with a sane set of styles and conventions is a good shibboleth to keep those people out. (Like the troll in the thread you linked to.) As a simpler language C is also easier to audit and spot bad practices in.

    With C++ it is far too easy for bad programmers to build crappy, memory-inefficient abstractions that have no place in a project like a kernel. In practice this is what most people do. I suppose there's nothing wrong with that per se - even if they don't pass my snobbery test such a programmer can still come up with workable solutions that people are happy to use. But I'd be happier if those folks were more honest with themselves and just used Java or C# exclusively, because they are using none of what C++ can do well.

  • Windows 8 (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday October 08, 2012 @01:21PM (#41587531)

    What are your opinions on Window 8? Have you tried it?

    Windows 8 has a "fast boot" feature: AFAIK on shutdown it closes all userland apps and hibernates just the kernel + drivers (which has a small memory footprint and is fast written to disk). On boot the kernel is loaded from the hibernation image, the drivers initialize all the devices and userland boots normally. This makes Windows 8 to boot in just 2 seconds with a SSD (and I think the UEFI also bypasses the system checks).

    New motherboards like "Asus Crosshair Formula V - Z [asus.com]" include a hardware switch to enable "fast boot".
    Are there plans to include such mechanism in Linux?

    Also, what are your thoughts on UEFI in general?

  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday October 08, 2012 @02:06PM (#41588269)

    This is remarkably stupid. Your argument about return values is literally the same thing in C. Your program is just as prone to crash if you return garbage instead of a char pointer. You just hid that by using an int instead, which could also crash if you use the int somewhere where its validity is important. C or C++, you should just use -Wall -Wfatal-errors.

    For the record, Linus was obviously performing his usual exaggeration routine to get his point across, just like "NVIDIA... Fuck you" and several other remarks that make him notorious.

  • by betterunixthanunix (980855) on Monday October 08, 2012 @02:20PM (#41588475)

    Your program is just as prone to crash if you return garbage instead of a char pointer

    Unless you discard the return value. For example:

    char * f(void){
    if(some_condition) return "Some string";
    }

    /* ... */
    if(some_condition) printf("%s\n", f());
    else f();

    Sure, this is horrible code, but it won't crash. The equivalent C++ code will crash whenever some_condition is false, because it still expects to have an object to destroy.

    you should just use -Wall -Wfatal-errors.

    1. If everyone should use that, then those should be in the standard.
    2. That is "folklore" -- it is not standardized, it is just something every C++ programmer is "supposed to know."

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