In the mind of Linus Torvalds

Linus Torvalds is one of the most influential persons in the world of technology; his brain child, Linux, runs practically everything, from your smart phone, servers, even the controls for CERN.

So when a man like that gives an interview, people stop and notice. He gave a very interesting one to Business Insider, talking about lots of subjects. Here’s a teaser:

Torvalds continues development on Linux to this day in his role at the non-profit Linux Foundation, and he was kind enough to answer some of our questions via email this week. He’s an outspoken guy with well-informed opinions on everything from intellectual property law to computer science education. Here are the main takeaways from our conversation, and the full interview appears below that.

  • He’s quite happy with how far Linux has come. “I think programming is fun, and the community around the kernel is great, but a project has to be relevant too.”
  • The patent system is fundamentally flawed. “There are tons of honest people who are trying their best to do what they really think is right, and not all patents are crap. But the systemic incentives are just out of whack, both on the patent application/granting side and on the litigation side.”
  • No regrets over making Linux open source. “Me trying to make a business around Linux would have been a total disaster. It would have made it impossible to get the kind of community around Linux that we have, and that was so instrumental in making Linux what it is today.”
  • Torvalds family gear is largely Linux-based. “We’re a Linux household, surprise surprise. The computers I have may have originally come with Windows or OS X pre-installed, but for some odd reason they all run Linux in the end.”
  • Computer programming is not for everyone. “I think it’s reasonably specialized, and nobody really expects most people to have to do it. It’s not like knowing how to read and write and do basic math.”

You can read the rest of the interview over at Business Insider.

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