Want to read Slashdot from your mobile device? Point it at m.slashdot.org and keep reading!

 



Forgot your password?
typodupeerror
Open Source Operating Systems Linux

Linus Explains What Surprises Him After 25 Years Of Linux (linux.com) 181

Linus Torvalds appeared in a new "fireside chat" with VMware Head of Open Source Dirk Hohndel. An anonymous reader writes: Linus explained what still surprises him about Linux development. "Code that I thought was stable continually gets improved. There are things we haven't touched for many years, then someone comes along and improves them or makes bug reports in something I thought no one used. We have new hardware, new features that are developed, but after 25 years, we still have old, very basic things that people care about and still improve... Our processes have not only worked for 25 years, we still have a very strong maintainer group... And as these maintainers get older and fatter, we have new people coming in."

Linus also says he's surprised by the widespread popularity of Git. "I expected it to be limited mostly to the kernel -- as it's tailored to what we do... In certain circles, Git is more well known than Linux." And he also shares advice if you want to get started as an open source developer. "I'm not sure my example is the right thing for people to follow. There are a ton of open source projects and, if you are a beginning programmer, find something you're interested in that you can follow for more than just a few weeks... If you can be part of a community and set up patches, it's not just about the coding, but about the social aspect of open source. You make connections and improve yourself as a programmer."

Linus also says that "I really like what I'm doing. I like waking up and having a job that is technically interesting and challenging without being too stressful so I can do it for long stretches; something where I feel I am making a real difference and doing something meaningful not just for me."
This discussion has been archived. No new comments can be posted.

Linus Explains What Surprises Him After 25 Years Of Linux

Comments Filter:
  • Great guy (Score:3, Insightful)

    by 110010001000 ( 697113 ) on Saturday June 24, 2017 @06:05PM (#54683901) Homepage Journal
    Did more for computing than Gates, Ellison and Jobs combined.
    • by Anonymous Coward

      Can't work out if this is meant to be ironic or not.

      • Translation: Linux, MySQL and Android (two out of three isn't bad).
    • You really aren't giving Bill Gates credit if you really think that.

      • Re:Great guy (Score:5, Insightful)

        by phantomfive ( 622387 ) on Saturday June 24, 2017 @07:51PM (#54684301) Journal
        Yeah, Gates set computing back a decade. Good programmer, but he should have stayed in school. I know some people will ask, "Why stay in school? He made plenty of money." He should have stayed in school for the betterment of humanity.
        • Yeah, Gates set computing back a decade.

          By licensing DOS?

          • Re: (Score:1, Interesting)

            by Anonymous Coward

            >> Yeah, Gates set computing back a decade.
            > By licensing DOS?

            Pretty much.

            I mean, MS had the opportunity to make a really GREAT operating system for PCs, but they lacked the knowledge and experience to do so.

            So instead we got the 640k barrier, config.sys, interrupt conflicts, extended/expanded memory, 8.3 filenames, segmented memory...

            "It still hurts to see Microsoft struggle with problems that IBM solved in the 1960s."
              - Philip Greenspun

            • You could have purchased Xenix at the time.

              • by dbIII ( 701233 )
                I used it from one of several terminals hooked up to a 286. It worked. It's kind of strange that MS went the way they did instead of building on something solid they already had - corporate infighting or something?
                • At the time, IBM felt aware of being a 'slow' bureaucratic company, so they started a small project on the side which became the IBM PC. The person in charge had the opposite of NIH, and contracted out every part. He was widely reviled for many years as having 'ruined' IBM.
            • Re:Great guy (Score:5, Informative)

              by AndroSyn ( 89960 ) on Saturday June 24, 2017 @09:05PM (#54684585) Homepage

              So instead we got the 640k barrier, config.sys, interrupt conflicts, extended/expanded memory, 8.3 filenames, segmented memory...

              640K barrier is IBMs fault for putting the BIOS at the top of the first 1MB instead of the bottom. Interrupt conflicts, I think you can blame this on IBM too. 8.3 filenames came from CP/M.

              EMS/XMS and memory segmentation are FAR more the fault of Intel given these are CPU architecture related.

              So...that leaves config.sys(which isn't that terrible really).

               

              • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

                by Anonymous Coward

                Interrupt conflicts you get to blame on Intel.

                I think you can also blame the 1MB boundary for the BIOS on Intel as well.

                What you CAN blame on IBM was selecting the 8086 CPU instead of the Motorola 68000.

              • by Anonymous Coward

                8.3 filenames came from CP/M.

                This argument I don't get.
                Sure, CP/M had that limitation, but there was no reason to stick to it.
                CP/M also forces file sizes to even 128 byte blocks, this is why C file streams differentiate between binary and text file streams.
                Text streams uses an end-of-file marker to indicate file end in the middle of a block.

                Removing the block size limit breaks compatibility anyway, so there is absolutely no reason to stick to 8+3.
                There are also other hacky peculiarities like the way deleted files are handled.
                And it is

              • by Lisias ( 447563 )

                So instead we got the 640k barrier, config.sys, interrupt conflicts, extended/expanded memory, 8.3 filenames, segmented memory...

                640K barrier is IBMs fault for putting the BIOS at the top of the first 1MB instead of the bottom. Interrupt conflicts, I think you can blame this on IBM too. 8.3 filenames came from CP/M.

                EMS/XMS and memory segmentation are FAR more the fault of Intel given these are CPU architecture related.

                So...that leaves config.sys(which isn't that terrible really).

                The BIOS going on top is also Digital Research's fault. CP/M used extensively the CPU's "soft IRQ" as handlers to the S.O., and so the hooks MUST stay on RAM in order to be reprogrammed as the S.O. is loaded (or relocated) and new device drivers are put to use. If you look on the 8080/Z80 home computers of the 80's that choose to put ROM in at the start of the address space (what on the long run would avoid the 640K barrier), you will also see that EVERY SINGLE ONE had died in a way or another due serious d

          • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

            by dbIII ( 701233 )
            MSDOS was a cut down CP/M clone made in a hurry - a move backwards.
        • by Anonymous Coward

          Totally agree. The harm he has done by controlling the market for quite a while with ghastly crippled and hardly developing products is difficult to overestimate.
          Most of the work I've done during my IT career with Windows consisted of spending effort to work around stupid bugs and amateurish shortcomings in various versions of Windows, that never should have been.

        • >>He made plenty of money." He should have stayed in school for the betterment of humanity.

          With all that money he made, he is indeed working towards the betterment of humanity.

        • I get what you're saying, but I kinda want to disagree. Without Microsoft, we may not actually have had the computer revolution that we had. Windows ran on anything, and software was/became abundant. That ecosystem drove interest and ubiquity.

          I don't like to give them any credit, but they really did a great deal of mostly good. Well, sorta good.

          Were there better options? Yes. Are there today? Yes. I haven't used Windows on anything but my phone, for many years. I'm not a fanboy, or anything. The landscape w

          • Re: Great guy (Score:5, Insightful)

            by phantomfive ( 622387 ) on Sunday June 25, 2017 @01:13AM (#54685239) Journal

            Without Microsoft, we may not actually have had the computer revolution that we had.

            No, we would have. And it demonstrably would have been better at many points in the history.
            If Microsoft hadn't used unfair practices (and they had to pay because of it), DrDos would have replaced Microsoft.
            If they hadn't used 'sharp' business practices, OS2/Warp would have replaced Windows. It was a much better OS.
            If they hadn't used their Monopolistic practices to keep alternative OSes off, then maybe Linux might not have won anyway, but it would have had a better chance. For comparison, we can see that Android turned out alright.

            In the 80s, everyone and their dog was writing an OS. There would have definitely been another one if Microsoft hadn't done it.

            • by KGIII ( 973947 )

              Their universal (near) OS, made it much more accepted - I do believe. Name one other alternative that had a real chance? OS2? That was technically better, but had far fewer people ever working to write applications for it. DrDOS? Sure, if we wanted to be stuck with DOS - as near as i know, they had no plans to go with a GUI.

              I dislike MS, but I'm pretty grateful they existed. We're probably gonna disagree. ;-)

              • Any OS that IBM had chosen. The crucial decision was the one to modularize the PC........so anyone could build one with generic parts. From there the OS was less important and didn't even matter until a decade later when people wanted backwards compatibility.
                • by Anonymous Coward

                  IBM did NOT go with an open architecture so that cheap clones could be made. Far from it. They published their BIOS and copyrighted it to prevent that very thing from happening.

                  Their goal was to enable third-party vendors to make expansion cards quickly and cheaply. They learned from the Apple II in that aspect.

                • by KGIII ( 973947 )

                  And that OS was?

          • Yes. Before Gates, computers were something used by Insurance Companies & Banks. Gates bought the computer to the common man.

            • Who do you think was using VisiCalc? As soon as the hardware was cheap enough for average people (and small businesses) to buy, they did. It was a drop in hardware prices.
            • Balls. Sinclair and Acorn and Commodore brought computing to the common man.

              I was writing process control software for our research/lab in 1983 on my own ZX Spectrum, AD/DA converter and Microdrives.

              That was about the time PC-DOS 2.0 was released - the IBM PC, if you could find one, cost as much as 20x as much, with one crummy 360k floppy.

              So don't talk kak.

          • Without Microsoft, we may not actually have had the computer revolution that we had. Windows ran on anything

            Microsoft wasn't the only chicken in the race. IBM were originally intending to buy CP/M from Digital Research.

            That's not to say the Gary Kildall couldn't have been as much of an asshat as Gates, or even worse ...

        • You don't know that...

          You GUESS THAT...

          But you don't KNOW that... you're assuming that all would be right with the world otherwise, you could be completely wrong...

          We'll never know of course... but the outcome could have been worse, not better... Rainbows and unicorns were not waiting on the other end of IBM without Gates...

          • Yeah, you're right, we don't know how things would have changed if things were different.

            But I DO know that Microsoft has inflicted quite a bit of pain on me, and I resent them greatly for it. For example, if I gave you a swift kick in the balls, you would resent me greatly for it. Even if I told you the alternative might have been worse.
            • If the other option was being shot, then I might ask you to kick me again...

        • It takes a special kind of person to be a ruthless capitalist. Would more schooling have changed his competitive (or anti-competitive) tendencies?

        • I know its cool to hate on Bill Gates but really he's neither a bad guy, neither a bad CEO and he did advance computing in more ways than you can probably think of.
          Certainly Linus did a lot too and certainly had more focus on solely computing - but both of them were also right-time-right-place. I know countless people who wrote their own kernels, some much more advanced than Linux (even Microsoft wrote OSes much more advanced than either Linux or Windows 10). But neither at the right time or the right place

          • I know its cool to hate on Bill Gates but really he's neither a bad guy, neither a bad CEO

            Sure.

            he did advance computing in more ways than you can probably think of.

            No lol.

      • You are giving Gates far, far, far too much credit if you believe that. Gates did almost nothing to make the industry better, and created wreckage that is still harming it today. But, hey, he used illegal and immoral tactics to get rich so it is all good, right?
    • linus. good work dude.
    • by Anonymous Coward

      REMEMBER THE MURDER OF IAN MURDOCH, creator of Debian Linux and leading member of the Free Software community, killed Christmas 2015 by the notoriously corrupt San Francisco police department.

    • by Subm ( 79417 )

      > Did more for computing than Gates, Ellison and Jobs combined.

      But less than Stallman, on whose foundation he built.

      • 100% correct. I should have mentioned that. Linus and RMS have done incredible things.
      • Linus would have and could have written his own user space tools. Stallman helped to be sure, but he was not a necessity, EXCEPT that the GPL was critical. He didn't write it, but his advocacy was surely important.
    • An adult would respect the contributions of all parts of the industry: hardware, software, businessmen, designers...
  • by JoeyRox ( 2711699 ) on Saturday June 24, 2017 @06:16PM (#54683963)
    Good to see the nicer, less-abusive side of Linus.
  • by Nutria ( 679911 ) on Saturday June 24, 2017 @06:31PM (#54684019)

    a week without dupes on /.

  • by Anonymous Coward

    he's still clutching that blanket.

  • Do anyone know who is responsible for pulling funding to the SFLC at Linux Foundation/VMware after the Germany VMware GPL enforcement lawsuit? Was Paul Maritz involved for example?

  • I am thankful for the contributions of Linus and so many in the open source movement.
  • a cast of thousands of presumably talented software engineers spending enormous amounts of time and energy recreating what was done circa 1972.

    it's ridiculous and frankly utterly unbelievable.

    no advances in basic computer science, no fundamental change to the way operating systems interact with hardware, software, network, nor the users; instead, we have a version of unix with better sound drivers. pathetic security model, broken trust model, scaling problems, you name it, but don't worry someone will be a

    • by Anonymous Coward

      Professor Tanenbaum, is that you?

    • 9fans? :)
    • by Bengie ( 1121981 )
      git didn't create any new CS but it was the first of its kind and infinitely better than the competition. git is the only VCS that I found intuitive to use.
  • When I saw 'less' being updated two days ago on Mint I was quite amused.
    • So was I, but I guess that's what Linus means when he says that even funny little old, seemingly insignificant parts, of GNU/Linux keep getting tweaked.

      I'd rather have that than two behemoth updates a year that always break something in obscure ways.

      So it goes . . .

Do not use the blue keys on this terminal.

Working...