July 2, 2015

Interview with Linus Torvalds on Slashdot

Last Thursday you had a chance to ask Linus Torvalds about programming, hardware, and all things Linux. You can read his answers to those questions below. If you'd like to see what he had to say the last time we sat down with him, you can do so here.

Productivity 
by DoofusOfDeath

You've somehow managed to originate two insanely useful pieces of software: Linux, and Git. Do you think there's anything in your work habits, your approach to choosing projects, etc., that have helped you achieve that level of productivity? Or is it just the traditional combination of talent, effort, and luck? 

Linus: I'm sure it's pretty much always that "talent, effort and luck". I'll leave it to others to debate how much of each...

I'd love to point out some magical work habit that makes it all happen, but I doubt there really is any. Especially as the work habits I had wrt the kernel and Git have been so different.

With Git, I think it was a lot about coming at a problem with fresh eyes (not having ever really bought into the traditional SCM mindset), and really trying to think about the issues, and spending a fair amount of time thinking about what the real problems were and what I wanted the design to be. And then the initial self-hosting code took about a day to write (ok, that was "self-hosting" in only the weakest sense, but still).

And with Linux, obviously, things were very different - the big designs came from the outside, and it took half a year to host itself, and it hadn't even started out as a kernel to begin with. Clearly not a lot of thinking ahead and planning involved ;). So very different circumstances indeed.

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