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The Life of Linus 33

madHomer writes "There is a good article in the SJ Mercury-News that talks about Linus' life here in the US. It even includes a blurb from his father about raising him. " Interesting coverage, although once again, I think we get closer to the hero-worship complex that seems to clash with others ideals of the 'the movement'. In any case, however, an interesting read.
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The Life of Linus

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  • Oh God!, once again the zero mentality towards the inversion of meaning. Can't you see it?

    The Finns owe nothing to Russia for holding their country hostage, as a colony, in the crude sense of the word, (in fact, its only sense), for more than a hundred years.

    Beautiful, dense Karelia forrest helped them endure.

    Hint: They would have done it on a desert.
    Nations cannot be deterred.

    Plainly stated: Finland is a well founded culture. The Russians did not realize this. The Finns had made the essential bond upon becoming one, well before the Russian invasion.

    By the way, such realization does not imply the exclusion, let alone the margination, of others (read foreigners), real or accused.

    More than a few understand, appreciate and endure on both sides, thus to become one. (Mutual contribution is often decried or diparaged.)
    Not so in Finland.

    The U.S., in its present course, may not get so far as the Finns.
  • I think we get closer to the hero-worship complex that seems to clash with others ideals of the 'the movement'.

    What "other ideals" does hero worship conflict with?

    One of the big rewards that notable Open Source contributors receive is the thanks and admiration of an adoring public. What's wrong with that?

    This is Freedom, not Buddhism.

  • Right, I noticed this but I think that this was the only really obvious error. Overall, I thought the overview on Linux was pretty clueful. I think its far more important that they stated things like recent tests show windows is faster in *some* specific circumstances, and other balanced statements like that. I've seen a lot worse and on the whole I felt the article was well written and not half-bad for having been in mercurynews (maybe not the most tech-oriented pub, no?).

  • LCD (from math class) = Lowest Common Denominator

    PHB (from Dilbert) is left as an exercise for the class.

  • Blah..Blah..Blah.. Le me see, from the article I learned: a: Linus likes spas. Imagine that, coming from Finland and all.
    b: He's not in it for the money
    c: He's a computer geek
    d: His mom thinks he's special
    e: He's very busy

    I'm as big a Linux booster as the next, non-MS guy. But tell me something I don't already know

  • Linus is my hero.. well so is batman but we
    wont get into that. I dont see anything wrong
    with looking up to linus and what he has
    accomplished. If it gets on kid into programming
    or someone to contribute a line of good code to
    the kernel, then its the best this since sliced
    bread. Linus deserves a little hero worship...
    Let him enjoy his fame and good fortune.

  • This article was very refreshing in what it didn't say, rather than what it does say. It didn't rehash much of the boring mumbo-jumbo that most people have heard a million times. It gave us a small glimpse of Linus as a normal person.

    Some of Linus' musings were actually thought provoking. The fact that he felt empathy for the richest and probably most hated man in the world illuminates his character. I'm sure he knows better than anyone that Bill is probably sitting in a conference room thinking up ways to destroy Linus and Linux.

    Some of you may equate this article as hero worship. I, for one, admire Linus but do not consider him to be a personal hero. I usually look closer to home for my heroes. I merely think Linus, through his natural and unaffected disposition, won over the author. I mean, can you image Bill Gates letting his guard down long enough to slip into a sauna or hand his baby over to a journalist. Not unless Bill owned the company the journalist worked for, which is how Bill would like to model the world.
  • What I like most about it is that Linus is the revenge of the nerds writ large. If I had only known, I would have told the people who made fun of me because I was a geek, "But when I grow up, I'll be wealthy. And you'll work in the butcher department of the supermarket all your life."
  • ..doesn't sound as arrogant or insecure as I am, so he probably doesn't want any of it. But it is 'good' for the Herd(tm)'s image of Linux.....
  • by Anonymous Coward
    I heard from a friend of a friend that when Linus came to America he walked the whole way. First he healed the sick and restored sight to the blind in Europe. When he reached Portugal he walked upon the water, and when he tired of that, he parted the sea. I also heard his faithful disciple Tuxedus Penguis followed him on his quest.

    It this true?
  • I can't believe I read the whole thing! ;)

    Funny how Linus understands the proprietary software business better than many people in data centers who've been immersed in it for years. His comments about IBM's (and the seven dwarfs') historical business model was so understatedly right on the money that it ranks as the best (and shortest) description I've heard. I guess from his diametrically opposed niche he has perspective that others don't.

    All in all, an excellent slice of Linus' life story.
  • An actually well-researched bio piece. Emailing Mikke was a good touch (if a little intrusive).

    I didn't like the comment about him not answering email. While he probably ignores a lot of fan mail and requests for interviews, everyone I know who has emailed him has had a prompt response.

  • erhm .. fluff info?
    The intro, yes.
    But you haven't read the rest of it, have you?
    He DID use the phone (and got a hold of him, too! - apparently his "shields" weren't up yet then ;)
    He interviewed Linus. In person. At length. In the sauna. At home.
    Not that much fluff :)

  • by tzanger ( 1575 ) on Monday August 30, 1999 @05:12AM (#1717672) Homepage
    Then he adds, "Even if you're the best technology person at Microsoft, your goal isn't to make the best product possible.

    I see this comment from Torvalds and I have to stop and think. You know, he's right. Your goal at Microsoft is to make the company money, not make the best thing around. Sometimes the two agree, but a lot of times they don't.

    Very wise man, that Mr. Torvalds. He's got an insight that I think is lost on many people.
  • Okay, I admit I only read the first page. That was as much as I could stomach really. Where do these guys get their intro fluff? I suppose from previous articles of similar journalists.

    I really enjoyed the statement that it was pointless to send Linus an email cause he gets 200+ daily and doesn't respond. Nice fallacy actually, and I'm certain that if a poll hasn't been done it should. I usually use email to communicate more frequently than I use the phone. Just so much easier. Takes less time than a phone conversation would.

    I digress, and just ask any journalists who use /. as a gauge of what their readers think, please don't use your colleagues articles for fluff info. Go to the official web page of whomever you're canonizing for the day and get the real story. Use email and the phone, both work within our subset of society. And consider target audiences fairly, yes many of these "tech sites" are run for the LCD of techies and PHBs (amazingly enough, the LCD = PHB for that). But, I'm going to jump out into the middle of the fire here and say that I'd be impressed if my PHB knew the real story behind Linuz or any of the Open Source news that he reads.

  • Sounds like something that the Monty Python crew might put together.

    I can see it now, with "Always look on the bright side of code" for a theme song playing in the background, young Linus ventures forth into the world to herd penguins.

    Along the way, he has many misadventures, one of which results in Microsoft Centurions forcing him to write a complete Linux kernel on the walls of their Redmond facility - in correct Hungarian notation.

    He is eventually killed on live television, by being crucified on a podium during his keynote at an industry trade-show, as the music fades out.

    "He's pining for the fjords!"
  • by Per Abrahamsen ( 1397 ) on Monday August 30, 1999 @12:11PM (#1717675) Homepage
    The gist of the article was the opposite, getting rich wasn't that important, or really a meassure of success. I think it come from growing up in a Nordic country will a working wellfare system. When being poor isn't that bad (being poor doesn't mean you will starve at an old age, lack proper health care, or be unable to afford a good education for your kids), getting rich is no longer so all important.
  • Really? That's what I told 'em. They weren't very impressed, and I doubt they have the memory or reflective tendencies to think about it now. They'll probably all end up voting Republican to "reduce the tax load on working families," thereby reducing my tax load and increasing theirs.


    Beer recipe: free! #Source
    Cold pints: $2 #Product

  • Those who don't get the Merc might not realize that this wasn't a story buried in some tech section somewhere, but rather the cover story of the Sunday magazine portion of the paper (local equivalent of Parade, but much better - how could it not be?) Imagine my surprise at opening my Sunday paper and finding Linus' smiling, hot-tubbed mug.

    As such, this was an article for the masses; the Slashdot crowd was definitely not the intended audience. Not everyone in San Jose is a software nerd, you know. Just more than average.

    Apart from the obvious Apache == Linux version mistake, I thought it was a decent, interesting article. It was great to hear Linus bitch about the outrageous cost of housing, when I have the same problem.

    People who call this sort of thing hero worship might be right, but I'd suggest that anyone looking for a hero could do much worse. Linus hasn't gained fame on the backs of others, hasn't said one thing publicly and done another privately, in short, he hasn't aspired to fortune or fame. The guy's got his priorities straight - love your family, do what you love to do, and let the rest fall where it falls. How refreshing.

  • What's LCD? What's PHB?

    Paint me green and call me newbie.
  • He also fasted the whole time. Please get your facts straight before posting these stories! ;-)
  • I enjoyed the article too, and agree completely that Linus makes a good role model. He seems to be a genuinely nice guy and refreshingly unaffected by all this fame.

    What worries me is that sometimes the American media can't seem to co-exist with a non-traditional hero very well. They'll pick, and research, and probe, until they find a weakness, then blow it completely out of proportion.

    I suspect being well liked by the media, *and not a threat to the power structure* is about as invulnerable as you can get to this effect. His concentration on technical matters rather than open source politics is very smart in this context.

    I just hope that Linus can tolerate the kind of pressure and scrutiny most politicians and celebrities have to endure. I admire him, and I thank him, but I don't necessarily envy him.
  • What's wrong with hero worship? Linus gives us an ideal and an inspiration. He shows that it can be done, where it means achieving the grand vision of Stallman in a commercially viable, sustainable way. He is hard-working, humerous, and gracious and deferential to his fellow contributors. He stands as a model of modesty for successfuly hackers. If I had kids, I would want them to choose a role model like Linus.

    Beer recipe: free! #Source
    Cold pints: $2 #Product

  • " giving people a free ride."

    I don't want to deride Linus' contributions, but he's generally been credited for creating an OS by plugging a kernel into GNU. True, that was the one thing sorely lacking in GNU, but GNU is much more without Linux than Linux is without GNU.

    Linus and others are credited for being visionary and ascetic. In truth these people are following the Way of the FSF, and they shouldn't forget it.

    The quicker people are shilled away from the core philosophies of the FSF, the quicker we'll lose what made GNU/Linux special.
  • It's called an intro, and it's an obligatory part of good journalism. I think it does a good job of explaining the basics. Even better, it captures the importance of the GNU tools and GNU philosophy, giving up the props, which not many articles bother to do.

    Intros are good. Hopefully, not everyone who reads this article will be a Linux illuminatus like you or me. Hopefully, it will combine with other recent mainstream press exposure to make a few people experiment with GNU-Linux systems and enjoy their liberating influence. How can this be bad?

    Beer recipe: free! #Source
    Cold pints: $2 #Product

  • "Linus explains that the techno-savvy is the result of two things: electronic know-how developed as part of post-World War II reparations the nation delivered to Russia, and an extremely homogeneous population which easily adopts new technology."

    I don't understand the relationship between Russia and Finland's techno-savvy. Could someone explain? Did Finland pay reparations to Russia? (Why?) Did the Finnish pay in electronic gadgets?

"If it's not loud, it doesn't work!" -- Blank Reg, from "Max Headroom"