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Linus Torvalds (Computer Scientist)

There are literally several levels of SCO being wrong. And even if we were to live in that alternate universe where SCO would be right, they'd still be wrong.
Linus Torvalds universe
Some people have told me they don't think a fat penguin really embodies the grace of Linux, which just tells me they have never seen an angry penguin charging at them in excess of 100 mph …
Linus Torvalds people
I'm doing a (free) operating system (just a hobby, won't be big and professional like gnu) for 386(486) AT clones.
Linus Torvalds free
Do you pine for the nice days of minix-1.1, when men were men and wrote their own device drivers? […] I can (well, almost) hear you asking yourselves "why?". Hurd will be out in a year (or two, or next month, who knows), and I've already got minix.
Linus Torvalds men
Your job is being a professor and researcher: That's one hell of a good excuse for some of the brain-damages of .
Linus Torvalds good
is for people who cannot write new programs.
Linus Torvalds people
Well, with a subject like this, I'm afraid I'll have to reply. Apologies to minix-users who have heard enough about linux anyway. I'd like to be able to just "ignore the bait", but … time for some serious flamefesting!
Linus Torvalds time
Well, I probably won't get too good grades even without you: I had an argument (completely unrelated – not even pertaining to OS's) with the person here at the university that teaches OS design. I wonder when I'll learn :)
Linus Torvalds men
No. That's it. The cool name, that is. We worked very hard on creating a name that would appeal to the majority of people, and it certainly paid off: thousands of people are using linux just to be able to say "OS/2? Hah. I've got Linux. What a cool name". 386BSD made the mistake of putting a lot of numbers and weird abbreviations into the name, and is scaring away a lot of people just because it sounds too technical.
Linus Torvalds people
When you say, "I wrote a program that crashed ," people just stare at you blankly and say, "Hey, I got those with the system, for free."
Linus Torvalds people
If you need more than 3 levels of indentation, you're screwed anyway, and should fix your program.
Linus Torvalds you
You know you're brilliant, but maybe you'd like to understand what you did 2 weeks from now.
Linus Torvalds you
Antyping into would never make a good program.
Linus Torvalds good
It's a bird … it's a plane … no, it's KernelMan, faster than a speeding bullet, to your rescue. Doing new kernel versions in under 5 seconds flat …
Linus Torvalds you
The main reason there are no raw devices [in Linux] is that I personally think that raw devices are a stupid idea.
Linus Torvalds reason
Some people have told me they don't think a fat penguin really embodies the grace of Linux, which just tells me they have never seen an angry penguin charging at them in excess of 100 mph. They'd be a lot more careful about what they say if they had.
Linus Torvalds people
Only wimps use tape backup: real men just upload their important stuff on , and let the rest of the world mirror it ;)
Linus Torvalds men
If you still don't like it, that's OK: that's why I'm boss. I simply know better than you do.
Linus Torvalds you
…the Linux philosophy is "laugh in the face of danger". Oops. Wrong one. "Do it yourself". That's it.
Linus Torvalds philosophy
See, you not only have to be a good coder to create a system like Linux, you have to be a sneaky bastard too ;-)
Linus Torvalds good
Making Linux GPL'd was definitely the best thing I ever did.
Linus Torvalds best
(In answer to the question: In the extreme case, if it was just you doing all the code, and the rest of the world quietly used it, would it make sense to give it away free? Unless you're particularly grateful for other free things you've got off the Net, would the answer be No?":)
Linus Torvalds art
I don't necessarily think so. It might be true in certain niche areas, but almost any project will give a developer that "feel good" feeling when he has users and he feels he is doing something worthwhile. I really don't think you need all that much "quid pro quo" in programming - most of the good programmers do programming not because they expect to get paid or get adulation by the public, but because it is fun to program.
Linus Torvalds good
"Regression testing"? What's that? If it compiles, it is good; if it boots up, it is perfect.
Linus Torvalds good
I'd like to say that I knew this would happen, that it's all part of the plan for world domination.
Linus Torvalds art
Note that nobody reads every post in linux-kernel. In fact, nobody who expects to have time left over to actually do any real kernel work will read even half. Except , but he's actually not human, but about a thousand gnomes working in under-ground caves in Swansea. None of the individual gnomes read all the postings either, they just work together really well.
Linus Torvalds time
Talk is cheap. Show me the code.
Linus Torvalds
I'm a bastard. I have absolutely no clue why people can ever think otherwise. Yet they do. People think I'm a nice guy, and the fact is that I'm a scheming, conniving bastard who doesn't care for any hurt feelings or lost hours of work, if it just results in what I consider to be a better system. And I'm not just saying that. I'm really not a very nice person. I can say "I don't care" with a straight face, and really mean it.
Linus Torvalds people
To kind of explain what Linux is, you have to explain what an operating system is. And the thing about an operating system is that you're never ever supposed to see it. Because nobody really uses an operating system; people use programs on their computer. And the only mission in life of an operating system is to help those programs run. So an operating system never does anything on its own; it's only waiting for the programs to ask for certain resources, or ask for a certain file on the disk, or ask to connect to the outside world. And then the operating system steps in and tries to make it easy for people to write programs.
Linus Torvalds life
In short: just say NO TO DRUGS, and maybe you won't end up like thepeople.
Linus Torvalds people
Yeah. And as Linus once said: most numerical problems today in pure CPU cycles are actually 3D games. … It's not "incorrect" to say that you want the result faster, even if that result doesn't match your theoretical models.
Linus Torvalds problems
Once you realize that documentation should be laughed at, peed upon, put on fire, and just ridiculed in general, THEN, and only then, have you reached the level where you can safely read it and try to use it to actually implement a driver.
Linus Torvalds men
Personally, I'm not interested in making device drivers look like user-level. They aren't, they shouldn't be, and microkernels are just stupid.
Linus Torvalds person
I allege thatis full of it.
Linus Torvalds
Those that can, do. Those that can't, complain.
Linus Torvalds
Really, I'm not out to destroy Microsoft. That will just be a completely unintentional side effect.
Linus Torvalds will
Modern PCs are horrible.is a complete design disaster in every way. But we're kind of stuck with it. If any Intel people are listening to this and you had anything to do with ACPI, shoot yourself now, before you reproduce.
Linus Torvalds people
They are smoking crack.
Linus Torvalds
The NIH syndrome () is a disease.
Linus Torvalds sea
Anybody who tells me I can't use a program because it's not open source, go suck on . I'm not interested. 99% of that I run tends to be open source, but that's my choice, dammit.
Linus Torvalds choice
Nobody should start to undertake a large project. You start with a small trivial project, and you should never expect it to get large. If you do, you'll just overdesign and generally think it is more important than it likely is at that stage. Or worse, you might be scared away by the sheer size of the work you envision. So start small, and think about the details. Don't think about some big picture and fancy design. If it doesn't solve some fairly immediate need, it's almost certainly over-designed. And don't expect people to jump in and help you. That's not how these things work. You need to get something half-way useful first, and then others will say "hey, that almost works for me", and they'll get involved in the project.
Linus Torvalds art
Co-written with David Diamond.
Linus Torvalds wit
My name is Linus Torvalds and I am your god.
Linus Torvalds god
My personal opinion of Mach is not very high. Frankly, it's a piece of crap. It contains all the design mistakes you can make, and even managed to make up a few of its own.
Linus Torvalds man
You see. I don't think any new thoughts. I think thoughts that other people have thought, and I rearrange them. But Sara, she thinks thoughts that never were before.
Linus Torvalds people
Most days I wake up thinking I'm the luckiest bastard alive.
Linus Torvalds thinking
I'm personally convinced that computer science has a lot in common with physics. Both are about how the world works at a rather fundamental level. The difference, of course, is that while in physics you're supposed to figure out how the world is made up, in computer science you create the world. Within the confines of the computer, you're the creator. You get to ultimately control everything that happens. If you're good enough, you can be God. On a small scale.
Linus Torvalds science
A lot of people still like Solaris, but I'm in active competition with them, and so I hope they die.
Linus Torvalds hope
2.6.: still a stable kernel, but accept bigger changes leading up to it (timeframe: a month or two). 2..x: aim for big changes that may destabilize the kernel for several releases (timeframe: a year or two) .x.x: Linus went crazy, broke absolutely everything, and rewrote the kernel to be a microkernel using a special message-passing version of Visual Basic. (timeframe: "we expect that he will be released from the mental institution in a decade or two").
Linus Torvalds time
Which mindset is right? Mine, of course. People who disagree with me are by definition crazy. (Until I change my mind, when they can suddenly become upstanding citizens. I'm flexible, and not black-and-white.)
Linus Torvalds change
It was such a relief to program in user mode for a change. Not having to care about the small stuff is wonderful.
Linus Torvalds change
I chose 1000 originally partly as a way to make sure that people that assumed HZ was 100 would get a swift kick in the pants.
Linus Torvalds art
I'm always right. This time I'm just even more right than usual.
Linus Torvalds time
The fact thatwas designed by a group of monkeys high on LSD, and is some of the worst designs in the industry obviously makes running it at any point pretty damn ugly.
Linus Torvalds running
I personally just encourage people to switch to KDE. This "users are idiots, and are confused by functionality" mentality of Gnome is a disease. If you think your users are idiots, only idiots will use it. I don't use Gnome, because in striving to be simple, it has long since reached the point where it simply doesn't do what I need it to do. Please, just tell people to use KDE.
Linus Torvalds people
For example, the GPLv2 in no way limits your use of the software. If you're a mad scientist, you can use GPLv2'd software for your evil plans to take over the world ("Sharks with lasers on their heads!!"), and the GPLv2 just says that you have to give source code back. And that's OK by me. I like sharks with lasers. I just want the mad scientists of the world to pay me back in kind. I made source code available to them, they have to make their changes to it available to me. After that, they can fry me with their shark-mounted lasers all they want.
Linus Torvalds war
I claim that Mach people (and apparently FreeBSD) are incompetent idiots.
Linus Torvalds people
I like colorized diffs, but let's face it, those particular color choices will make most people decide to pick out their eyes with a fondue fork. And that's not good. Digging in your eye-sockets with a fondue fork is strictly considered to be bad for your health, and seven out of nine optometrists are dead set against the practice. So in order to avoid a lot of blind git users, please apply this patch.
Linus Torvalds art
…git actually has a simple design, with stable and reasonably well-documented data structures. In fact, I'm a huge proponent of designing your code around the data, rather than the other way around, and I think it's one of the reasons git has been fairly successful […] I will, in fact, claim that the difference between a bad programmer and a good one is whether he considers his code or his data structures more important. Bad programmers worry about the code. Good programmers worry about data structures and their relationships.
Linus Torvalds success
EFI is this other Intel brain-damage (the first one being ).
Linus Torvalds age
… even if thedidn't depend on Linux code (and as far as I know, it does, but since I think they have their design heads firmly up their *sses anyway with that whole microkernel thing, I've never felt it was worth my time even looking at their code), I don't believe a religiously motivated development community can ever generate as good code except by pure chance.
Linus Torvalds time
I'm a huge believer in(not in the sense that "it happened" – anybody who doesn't believe that is either uninformed or crazy, but in the sense "the processes of evolution are really fundamental, and should probably be at least thought about in pretty much any context").
Linus Torvalds men
probably hates me.
Linus Torvalds hate
It's one of those rare "perfect" kernels. So if it doesn't happen to compile with your config (or it does compile, but then does unspeakable acts of perversion with your pet dachshund), you can rest easy knowing that it's all your own damn fault, and you should just fix your evil ways.
Linus Torvalds evil
Gcc is crap.
Linus Torvalds
Friends don't let friends use [gcc] "-W".
Linus Torvalds friends
I think people can generally trust me, but they can trust me exactly because they know they don't have to.
Linus Torvalds people
Nobody actually creates perfect code the first time around, except me. But there's only one of me.
Linus Torvalds time
If you have ever done any security work – and it did not involve the concept of "network of trust" – it wasn't security work, it was – masturbation. I don't know what you were doing. But trust me, it's the only way you can do security, it's the only way you can do development.
Linus Torvalds work
So the whole "We have a list and we're not telling you" should tell you something. Don't you think that if Microsoft actually had some really foolproof patent, they'd just tell us and go, "nyaah, nyaah, nyaah!"?
Linus Torvalds ya
You try to claim that thecauses "More developers", and that, my idiotic penpal, is just crazy talk that you made up.
Linus Torvalds you
I don't ask for money. I don't ask for sexual favors. I don't ask for access to the hardware you design and sell. I just ask for the thing I gave you: source code that I can use myself.
Linus Torvalds war
Controlling a laser with Linux is crazy, but everyone in this room is crazy in his own way. So if you want to use Linux to control an industrial welding laser, I have no problem with your using PREEMPT_RT.
Linus Torvalds sin
Is "I hope you all die a painful death" too strong?
Linus Torvalds hope
is a horrible language. It's made more horrible by the fact that a lot of substandard programmers use it, to the point where it's much much easier to generate total and utter crap with it.
Linus Torvalds language
is in that inconvenient spot where it doesn't help make things simple enough to be truly usable for prototyping or simple GUI programming, and yet isn't the lean system programming language that C is that actively encourages you to use simple and direct constructs.
Linus Torvalds courage
I'm an egotistical bastard, and I name all my projects after myself. First Linux, now git.
Linus Torvalds self
Me, I just don't care about proprietary software. It's not "evil" or "immoral," it just doesn't matter. I think that Open Source can do better, and I'm willing to put my money where my mouth is by working on Open Source, but it's not a crusade – it's just a superior way of working together and generating code.
Linus Torvalds war
It's superior because it's a lot more fun and because it makes cooperation much easier (no silly NDA's or artificial barriers to innovation like in a proprietary setting), and I think Open Source is the right thing to do the same way I believe science is better than alchemy. Like science, Open Source allows people to build on a solid base of previous knowledge, without some silly hiding.
Linus Torvalds knowledge
But I don't think you need to think that alchemy is "evil." It's just pointless because you can obviously never do as well in a closed environment as you can with open scientific methods.
Linus Torvalds men
I have an ego the size of a small planet.
Linus Torvalds ego
It has nothing to do with dinosaurs. Good taste doesn't go out of style
Linus Torvalds wit
Your problem has nothing to do with , and everything to do with . And then you have the gall to talk about "Unix design" and not gumming programs together, when you yourself use the most gummed-up piece of absolute sh*t there is!
Linus Torvalds self
The fact is, there aren't just two sides to any issue, there's almost always a range of responses, and "it depends" is almost always the right answer in any big question.
Linus Torvalds right
Real quality means making sure that people are proud of the code they write, that they're involved and taking it personally.
Linus Torvalds people
Security people are often the black-and-white kind of people that I can't stand. I think the OpenBSD crowd is a bunch of masturbating monkeys, in that they make such a big deal about concentrating on security to the point where they pretty much admit that nothing else matters to them.
Linus Torvalds people
It's what I call "mental masturbation", when you engage is some pointless intellectual exercise that has no possible meaning.
Linus Torvalds men
Sometimes "pi = 3.14" is (a) infinitely faster than the "correct" answer and (b) the difference between the "correct" and the "wrong" answer is meaningless. And this is why I get upset when somebody dismisses performance issues based on "correctness". The thing is, some specious value of "correctness" is often irrelevant because it doesn't matter. While performance almost always matters. And I absolutely detest the fact that people so often dismiss performance concerns so readily.
Linus Torvalds time
I thinkis a much better system [than Windows Vista] … but OS X in some ways is actually worse than Windows to program for. Their file system is complete and utter crap, which is scary.
Linus Torvalds think
And what's the Internet without the rick-roll?
Linus Torvalds wit
Crying that it's an application bug is like crying over the speed of light: you should deal with reality, not what you wish reality was. Theory and practice sometimes clash. And when that happens, theory loses. Every single time.
Linus Torvalds time
The thing that has always disturbed me about O_DIRECT is that the whole interface is just stupid, and was probably designed by a deranged monkey on some serious mind-controlling substances. [*] [*] In other words, it's an Oracleism.
Linus Torvalds words
I may make jokes about Microsoft at times, but at the same time, I think the Microsoft hatred is a disease.
Linus Torvalds time
There are "extremists" in the free software world, but that's one major reason why I don't call what I do "free software" any more. I don't want to be associated with the people for whom it's about exclusion and hatred.
Linus Torvalds war
Your code is shit.. your argument is shit.
Linus Torvalds men
Standards are paper. I use paper to wipe my butt every day. That's how much that paper is worth.
Linus Torvalds day
Every time I see some piece of medical research saying that caffeine is good for you, I high-five myself. Because I'm going to live forever.
Linus Torvalds time
Toto, I don't think we're talking white-socks-and-sandals any more.
Linus Torvalds think
Why don't we write code that just works? Or absent a "just works" set of patches, why don't we revert to code that has years of testing? This kind of "I broke things, so now I will jiggle things randomly until they unbreak" is not acceptable. [...] Don't just make random changes. There really are only two acceptable models of development: "think and analyze" or "years and years of testing on thousands of machines". Those two really do work.
Linus Torvalds change
We're not masturbating around with some research project. We never were. Even when Linux was young, the whole and only point was to make a *usable* system. It's why it's not some crazy drug-induced microkernel or other random crazy thing.
Linus Torvalds random

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