Linus did not intend for linux to grow to the size it did. In fact, he did not think it would ever exist outside of his own computer — at first. Then this “personal project” became so much more. It grew. And with this growth came a wide range of growing pains.
He had some technical growing pains. In order for linux to continue to grow it had to be marketable. One aspect of making it marketable was resolving bugs. Linus had to spend a ton of time squashing bugs. Lots of users meant lots of people to find bugs, and linus had to fix them as they were reported. This was essentially a full time job. This took away time from what he really wanted to to — build new features. In expanding the user base of linux, Linus also had to port it so that it could work on different machines. Linus faced these and other growing pains when developing Linux.
Along with these technical growing pains there was a whole slue of other non-technical growing pains. He had some legal growing pains. They encountered trouble with the trademarking of Linux. Linus could not be bothered with such uninteresting work though, so he delegated this work to others. Linus also had the issue that he was no equipt with the skills to be the leader of this linux movement. Specifically, he did not like public speaking.
Linus has some opinions about sleep, work life balance, family life etc. He thinks we should all sleep a bunch because a well rested mind is more productive. He thinks that working in pursuit of a raise or more money is evil. He thinks we should all leave our work at work and be a family man. I don’t mind any of these options but I feel like Linus thinks he’s the fucking buddah of work life balance.
Linus differed from tech leaders like Steve Jobs and Bill Joy. He met Steve Jobs and they were just different humans. Jobs was concerned with the business side of things and Linus with the technical. Linus did not like that there was closed source software built on top of the Mac’s Kernel. Bill Joy wanted to slow technological advancements because he thought they were evil. Linus did not agree with this. He thought technological advancements improved society.
Linus dealt with success well. Linus is decent guy not driven by money. The success of Linux for Linus is defined by the quality of the software he able to produce, not the amount of money it generates. I think that Linus’ success in this endeavor is pretty inspiring — it is proof of the powers of hackers in the bazaar. A guy with an itch and a brain turned a passion project into an incredible, widely used operating system. This is a testament to the power of an individual with an itch, and powers of hackers in the bazaar.