Linus Torvalds

(Linus Benedict Torvalds)

Linus Torvalds
Linus Torvalds
  • Born: December 28, 1969
  • Nationality: Finnish, American
  • Profession: Software Engineer

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Linus Benedict Torvalds is a Finnish–American software engineer who is the creator, and historically, the principal developer of the Linux kernel, which became the kernel for many Linux distributions and operating systems such as Android and Chrome OS. He also created the distributed version control system Git and the diving logging and planning software Subsurface. He was honored, along with Shinya Yamanaka, with the 2012 Millennium Technology Prize by the Technology Academy Finland "in recognition of his creation of a new open source operating system for computers leading to the widely used Linux kernel". He is also the recipient of the 2014 IEEE Computer Society Computer Pioneer Award and the 2018 IEEE Masaru Ibuka Consumer Electronics Award.

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A consumer doesn't take anything away: he doesn't actually consume anything. Giving the same thing to a thousand consumers is not really any more expensive than giving it to just one.
An individual developer like me cares about writing the new code and making it as interesting and efficient as possible. But very few people want to do the testing.
Any program is only as good as it is useful.
Artists usually don't make all that much money, and they often keep their artistic hobby despite the money rather than due to it. Money, Coins & Minting
Before the commercial ventures, Linux tended to be rather hard to set up, because most of the developers were motivated mainly by their own interests.
By staying neutral, I end up being somebody that everybody can trust. Even if they don't always agree with my decisions, they know I'm not working against them. Trust
Every once in a while an issue comes up where I have to make a statement. I can't totally avoid all political issues, but I try my best to minimize them. When I do make a statement, I try to be fairly neutral.
Fairly cheap home computing was what changed my life. Life
Finnish companies tend to be very traditional, not taking many risks. Silicon Valley is completely different: people here really live on the edge.
Helsinki isn't all that bad. It's a very nice city, and it's cold really only in wintertime.
Helsinki may not be as cold as you make it out to be, but California is still a lot nicer. I don't remember the last time I couldn't walk around in shorts all day. Time
Hey, I'm a good software engineer, but I'm not exactly known for my fashion sense. White socks and sandals don't translate to 'good design sense'.
I actually think that I'm a rather optimistic and happy person; it's just that I'm not a very positive person, if you see the difference.
I do get my pizzas paid for by Linux indirectly.
I don't actually go to that many conferences. I do that a couple of times a year. Normally, I am not recognized; people don't throw their panties at me. I'm a perfectly normal person sitting in my den just doing my job.
I don't expect to go hungry if I decide to leave the University. Resume: Linux looks pretty good in many places.
I don't have any authority over Linux other than this notion that I know what I'm doing.
I don't see myself as a visionary at all.
I don't think I'm unusual in preferring my laptop to be thin and light.
I don't try to be a threat to MicroSoft, mainly because I don't really see MS as competition. Especially not Windows-the goals of Linux and Windows are simply so different.
I get the biggest enjoyment from the random and unexpected places. Linux on cellphones or refrigerators, just because it's so not what I envisioned it. Or on supercomputers.
I like to think that I've been a good manager. That fact has been very instrumental in making Linux a successful product.
I lose sleep if I end up feeling bad about something I've said. Usually that happens when I send something out without having read it over a few times, or when I call somebody names.
I never felt that the naming issue was all that important, but I was obviously wrong, judging by how many people felt. I tell people to call it just plain Linux and nothing more.
I often compare open source to science. To where science took this whole notion of developing ideas in the open and improving on other peoples' ideas and making it into what science is today and the incredible advances that we have had. And I compare that to witchcraft and alchemy, where openness was something you didn't do. Science, Mathematics, Engineering & Technology
I personally think of Linux development as being pretty non-localized, and I work with all the people entirely over e-mail - even if they happen to be working in the Portland area. Work, Workers & The Labor Force
I see myself as a technical person who chose a great project and a great way of doing that project.
I spend a lot more time than any person should have to talking with lawyers and thinking about intellectual property issues. Time
I think of myself as an engineer, not as a visionary or 'big thinker.' I don't have any lofty goals.
I think, fundamentally, open source does tend to be more stable software. It's the right way to do things.
I try to avoid long-range plans and visions - that way I can more easily deal with anything new that comes up.
I used to be interested in Windows NT, but the more I see it, the more it looks like traditional Windows with a stabler kernel. I don't find anything technically interesting there.
I very seldom worry about other systems. I concentrate pretty fully on just making Linux the best I can.
I want my office to be quiet. The loudest thing in the room - by far - should be the occasional purring of the cat.
I'd much rather have 15 people arguing about something than 15 people splitting into two camps, each side convinced it's right and not talking to the other.
If Microsoft ever does applications for Linux it means I've won.
If you start doing things because you hate others and want to screw them over, the end result is bad.
I'm a technical manager, but I don't have to take care of people. I only have to worry about technology itself. Science, Mathematics, Engineering & Technology
I'm generally a very pragmatic person: that which works, works.
I'm interested in Linux because of the technology, and Linux wasn't started as any kind of rebellion against the 'evil Microsoft empire.' Science, Mathematics, Engineering & Technology
I'm perfectly happy complaining, because it's cathartic, and I'm perfectly happy arguing with people on the Internet because arguing is my favourite pastime - not programming.
I'm sitting in my home office wearing a bathrobe. The same way I'm not going to start wearing ties, I'm also not going to buy into the fake politeness, the lying, the office politics and backstabbing, the passive aggressiveness, and the buzzwords. Politics, Politicians & Political Campaigning & Fund Raising
In many cases, the user interface to a program is the most important part for a commercial company: whether the programs works correctly or not seems to be secondary.
In many ways, I am very happy about the whole Linux commercial market because the commercial market is doing all these things that I have absolutely zero interest in doing myself.
In my opinion MS is a lot better at making money than it is at making good operating systems. Money, Coins & Minting
In open source, we feel strongly that to really do something well, you have to get a lot of people involved.
In real open source, you have the right to control your own destiny.
Intelligence is the ability to avoid doing work, yet getting the work done. Work, Workers & The Labor Force
It's a personality trait: from the very beginning, I knew what I was concentrating on. I'm only doing the kernel - I always found everything around it to be completely boring.
I've actually found the image of Silicon Valley as a hotbed of money-grubbing tech people to be pretty false, but maybe that's because the people I hang out with are all really engineers.
I've been employed by the University of Helsinki, and they've been perfectly happy to keep me employed and doing Linux.
I've been very happy with the commercial Linux CD-ROM vendors linux Red Hat.
I've felt strongly that the advantage of Linux is that it doesn't have a niche or any special market, but that different individuals and companies end up pushing it in the direction they want, and as such you end up with something that is pretty balanced across the board.
I've never regretted not making Linux shareware: I really don't like the pay for use binary shareware programs.
Linux has definitely made a lot of sense even in a purely materialistic sense.
Making Linux GPL'd was definitely the best thing I ever did.
Microsoft isn't evil, they just make really crappy operating systems. Science, Mathematics, Engineering & Technology
Most good programmers do programming not because they expect to get paid or get adulation by the public, but because it is fun to program.
My name is Linus, and I am your God. Religion & God
Non-technical questions sometimes don't have an answer at all.
No-one has ever called me a cool dude. I'm somewhere between geek and normal.
Once you start thinking more about where you want to be than about making the best product, you're screwed.
Part of doing Linux was that I had to communicate a lot more instead of just being a geek in front of a computer.
People enjoy the interaction on the Internet, and the feeling of belonging to a group that does something interesting: that's how some software projects are born.
Programmers are in the enviable position of not only getting to do what they want to, but because the end result is so important they get paid to do it. There are other professions like that, but not that many.
See, you not only have to be a good coder to create a system like Linux, you have to be a sneaky bastard too.
Shareware tends to combine the worst of commercial software with the worst of free software. Science, Mathematics, Engineering & Technology
Software is like sex: it's better when it's free.
Software patents, in particular, are very ripe for abuse. The whole system encourages big corporations getting thousands and thousands of patents. Individuals almost never get them.
That's what makes Linux so good: you put in something, and that effort multiplies. It's a positive feedback cycle.
The cyberspace earnings I get from Linux come in the format of having a Network of people that know me and trust me, and that I can depend on in return. Trust
The economics of the security world are all horribly, horribly nasty and are largely based on fear, intimidation and blackmail.
The fame and reputation part came later, and never was much of a motivator, although it did enable me to work without feeling guilty about neglecting my studies. Work, Workers & The Labor Force
The Linux philosophy is 'Laugh in the face of danger'. Oops. Wrong One. 'Do it yourself'. Yes, that's it. Science, Mathematics, Engineering & Technology
The memory management on the PowerPC can be used to frighten small children.
The thing I love about diving is the flowing feeling. I like a sport where the whole point is to move as little as humanly possible so your air supply will last longer. That's my kind of sport. Where the amount of effort spent is absolutely minimal. Love, Romance, Marriage & Sex ;Sports & Athletics
The thing with Linux is that the developers themselves are actually customers too: that has always been an important part of Linux.
There are lots of Linux users who don't care how the kernel works, but only want to use it. That is a tribute to how good Linux is.
There were open source projects and free software before Linux was there. Linux in many ways is one of the more visible and one of the bigger technical projects in this area, and it changed how people looked at it because Linux took both the practical and ideological approach.
There's innovation in Linux. There are some really good technical features that I'm proud of. There are capabilities in Linux that aren't in other operating systems.
To be a nemesis, you have to actively try to destroy something, don't you? Really, I'm not out to destroy Microsoft. That will just be a completely unintentional side effect.
To be honest, the fact that people trust you gives you a lot of power over people. Having another person's trust is more powerful than all other management techniques put together. Trust ;Power
Turtles are very stable and have been around forever. But they have problems adapting. When humans came along, turtles came under serious threat. Biodiversity is good, and I think it is good in technology as well. Science, Mathematics, Engineering & Technology
What commercialism has brought into Linux has been the incentive to make a good distribution that is easy to use and that has all the packaging issues worked out.
What I find most interesting is how people really have taken Linux and used it in ways and attributes and motivations that I never felt.
When it comes to software, I much prefer free software, because I have very seldom seen a program that has worked well enough for my needs, and having sources available can be a life-saver.
When you say 'I wrote a program that crashed Windows,' people just stare at you blankly and say 'Hey, I got those with the system, for free.'
You won't get sued for anticompetitive behavior.