The mind behind linux

In January 2016 Linus Torvalds did an interview at a TED conference. Torvalds is the creater of the Linux kernel, which is at the core of every Linux distribution used in the word today. His kernel is free and open source and so are many of the Linux distributions that use it. He collaborates with thousands of developers around the world to continue developing and maintaining the Linux kernel, although he stated he mainly works alone and deals with collaboraters via email and his GIT collaboration software. This was a very interesting view into his workflow and his philosophy in general.

Linus likes to work in a very minimal and quiet workspace, this is it:

Not what you would expect from someone who created the kernel likely being used by your phone and certainly being used by several of the servers between your web browser and this blog. He says one of the most important things for his workspace is that his computer be completely silent.

Linux did not start out as a large collaborative effort. Torvalds describes it as a project he started to meet his own needs, and then he shared it to ask for comments. When he started getting ideas from other people he started to realize the potential of turning linux into an open source collaborative project. Giving it away is likely the reason Linux has become so important today even though the average person likely doesn’t have a clue they are using it.

I find open source software development to be very interesting and inspiring. I’m still relatively new to linux and the open source development model, but I’m finding that it fits in perfectly with my own personal philosphy of co-operation towards goals that aren’t profit-motivated. Linus Torvalds is a millionare not because he got some patents and cornered a market, but because the people who were able to monetize his creation felt they needed to show their gratidute. His humility and work ethic are pretty amazing.

I’d love to see Linux distributions start to be more common in desktop computers and laptops. The user interfaces are getting much more user friendly, and the software is often on par with closed source software like Microsoft Office. With all of the cloud-based options for your software needs it could start to be a viable alternative to Windows desktops for some businesses.