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CNN Shows The Linus Interview

David A. Utter
Staff Writer
Published: 2006-05-19

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The Linux operating system has reshaped the technology industry greatly over the past decade, but creator Linus Torvalds still comes across as just another techie who enjoys working on code.

Silicon Graphics is in bankruptcy, Sun Microsystems trades in the single digits, and Microsoft sees countless potential customers set up a web server on an ancient machine with Linux instead of buying a Windows license to do so.

Linux has had the same impact on the world of technology that the last ice age had on dinosaurs and other life forms. Only the strongest survived, and few have emerged unchanged by its arrival.

It all started with a Finnish student who wanted to experiment with operating systems, and ended up unleashing a revolution in the computing world. Torvalds is as far away from attention seeking as the Earth is from the Moon, though unlike most limelight seekers actually deserves such attention.

Who would want that anyway, when the computer beckons? That's what makes the CNN interview so surprising. Even though he's known globally to techs everywhere, Torvalds usually declines such invitations to chat on camera.

No complaints here that he accepted CNN's invite. He provides quite a few quotable quotes, which we'll reproduce here.

On the Evil Empire in Redmond: "At least from the developers' standpoint, nobody does it because they hate Microsoft. None of the people I work with do it for that reason. They do it because they love doing what they do."

On penguins: "I felt that Linux wanted and needed a very nice kind of friendly mascot to kind of offset some of the geekiness and the hard technology….And everybody likes penguins, so I actually decided I want a penguin as my mascot. I want it to be cuddly, I want it to be a plush toy kind of penguin and I could do that myself."

On wealth: "Well I got rich enough. This isn't bad. It wasn't what I was interested in. 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."

And he establishes himself as the hero for people forced to go to meetings with overpaid network managers and evil backstabbing co-workers: "For example I long ago decided I will never go to meetings again because I think face to face meetings are the biggest waste of time you can ever have.

I think most people who work at offices must share my opinion on meetings. Nothing ever gets done. When things get done, you usually have someone come into your office to talk about it. But a lot of the time the real work gets done by people sitting, especially in programming, alone in front of their computers doing what they do best."

In case you're new to the party, Linux.com provides a primer on the whole phenomenon.

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About the Author:
David Utter is a staff writer for WebProNews covering technology and business.

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