An Interview with Linus Torvalds

So what's going on with Linux and Linus these days? There are a lot of people who are asking, with yet another delay of Microsoft's Vista. Linux could emerge a victor in this voracious vindication for valor with the votive that there is value in the virtues of running Linux. That being said, you may call him Linus... and this was our interView:

Will: Did you ever expect Linux to get as popular as it did?

Linus: Obviously not. Nobody did.

In fact, I have this theory that if you put your expectations high and set lofty goals, you'll just fail. You'll worry about all the things you need to get done, and you'll be discouraged by how much work there is left to do.

So the way I worked (and still work) is to just worry about "today". No huge expectations, just doing whatever makes sense at the time, and enjoy doing it.

Will: Having used myself many different distros of Linux including SuSE, Red Hat, Mandriva, etc... Do you have a personal favorite mainstream distro?

Linus: I used to actively make sure I used several different ones, just to not be biased. So I had a RH box and a SuSE one, and switched between them, for example. At some point I decided it doesn't really matter any more: the market is big enough that nobody cares what I do, so just for simplicity I ended up doing just one distribution so that my different machines looked as similar as possible.

Of course, the "one distribution" has changed over time. It used to be SuSE, then when I switched to PowerPC it was YellowDog, then when Fedora did a PPC version I switched to that (so that I could have the same thing on my G5 desktop and my regular x86 laptop).

So right now it happens to be FC5. Whether that is "favourite" or not, I'm not sure. It's more of a random choice.

Will: I remember the toils of getting iBrowse to work on my Amiga, and many years has since past, What's your favorite Web-Browser?

Linus: Konqueror was my browser of choice for several years, because it had anti-aliasing early and none of the others did that well. These days they all do more than I tend to need, so I've ended up using konqueror mostly as a file manager, and for actual web browsing I use Firefox just because it's everywhere.

Will: Wife wants to know... what's your favorite geek gadget?

Umm. I'm actually so spoiled that when I go to most electronics stores, I'm not drooling after any gadgets there, since I have better gadgets at home - often stuff that hasn't been released yet ;

Which kind of makes me jaded.

I don't know if it counts as a "gadget", but I drool after the Canon 5D (it's a full-frame DSLR camera, in case you're not into that kind of fetish). I just can't see myself blowing that much money on something that in the end - for me - is just a total toy.

Will: Virtualization is all the buzz in computing today. With companies opening up to alternative OS's running on their hardware, do you think Linux will have a significant role in emerging technologies such as replacement of closed source software?

Linus: I think you already see it. I think that very much for emerging technologies, the flexibility of open source ends up being a big deal. Think TiVo in the DVR space, and now apparently the PS3 in gaming. Places where people do some custom thing of their own, but need a real OS for the flexibility.

Now, whether virtualization will be such a huge market, we'll see.

Will: And with that our Linux hero disappears off into the Internet sifting through hundreds of e-mails a day, cranking out the next latest and greatest kernel called... Linux.

Show Comments