back to article Linux kernel is getting more reliable, says Linus Torvalds. Plus: What do you need to do to be him?

Linux inventor (and chief maintainer) Linus Torvalds says that the kernel is getting more reliable, and he is not anxious about it being used in safety-critical systems. Torvalds, being interviewed on stage at the Open Source Summit in Lyon yesterday, told onlookers: "I don't do speeches any more." The Finnish-American …

  1. pavel.petrman Silver badge

    I'm grateful we have Linus and his doings. The man seems unwilling to sell his soul to the devil, a rare occurrence.

    1. Giovani Tapini

      The Devil, of course, continues to maintain a safe distance...

      I agree though, that the ability to say "no" has been seriously eroded in many projects I have seen over recent times. This has often led to complete failure due to unmanageable interlocking complexity, and complete unsustainability of services.

      Keep up the good work.

      1. Ima Ballsy

        Such As ......?

        Oh, yeah the bastard son of Hades called systemd .....

        1. John G Imrie

          Re: Such As ......?

          I'm sorry but having had words with Satan and his Minions he has disavowed any and all contact with the designers of systemd and has released the following statement.

          There are somethings that not even Hell will stoop to. We may be evil, but we do have standards to uphold.

          Yours Beelzebub p.p. Satan

  2. Pascal Monett Silver badge
    Thumb Up

    An exceptional mind

    Simply because he wanted to see if the (at the time) latest Intel CPU could do proper semaphore stuff and other things, this kid (at the time) kickstarted an entire industry that now has a firm majority of all the servers in the world under its reign.

    No, he didn't write all of it and yes, it took a lot of people a lot of time to get to this point, but he was the pebble that started the landslide and he is still the God-Emperor, The One Who Decides. And thank God he does.

    I don't think we'll be seeing ads in Linux any time soon.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: An exceptional mind

      " kickstarted an entire industry"

      Well not entirely. Certainly Linux has been the primary force in OSS in the last 2 decades but don't forget the contributions GNU has made (since without them Linux would just be a kernel of academic interest perhaps but little else) along with loads of other unrelated OSS too. Also don't forget all the people who worked on Unix back in the day both paid and - in the case of BSD and Minix - mostly not. Without them Linux wouldn't exist at all (perhaps it would be LinVMS? ;). Shoulders of giants etc.

    2. jeffdyer

      Re: An exceptional mind

      Not quite an "entire industry". Maybe a branch.

  3. amanfromMars 1 Silver badge

    Global Operating Devices Chatter ...... on NEUKlearer HyperRadioProACTive IT

    the kind of bugs we tend to find are the random, crazy user bugs, where somebody does something that nobody even thought would be remotely sane."

    Is it a bug whenever a non random not crazy user does something that everyone thinks is insane? And/Or is it Advanced IntelAIgent Systems Penetrations Testing with AI Trojans/Remote Access Titans?

    For if they don't think it so will relevant future facts prove all to be reasonably sane but seriously misundereducated and misdirected.

    And if that is by any premeditated global admin systems design, I sure as hell wouldn't like to held responsible for providing drive and drivers for that right abortion of a program and project. ...... if for Keeping the Masses Serially Misinformed.

    1. Bite my finger

      Re: Global Operating Devices Chatter ...... on NEUKlearer HyperRadioProACTive IT

      "And/Or is it Advanced IntelAIgent Systems Penetrations Testing with AI Trojans/Remote Access Titans?"

      Any algorithm tasked with simulating human lack of sanity had better be pretty damned IntelAIgent.

  4. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Either that's an extremely unflattering photo, or it looks as though Linus may perhaps have been eating a few too many over-hearty American-sized meals recently. I genuinely didn't recognise him there, and he suddenly looks a lot older. We do all get older, unfortunately, but to ensure that we all continue to get older as gracefully and as slowly as we can, we need to look out for ourselves and keep an eye on what we eat and make sure that we get enough exercise. I'll be the first to admit that I don't always follow that advice as well as I should myself, but it's meant with the best of intentions hoping that he stays healthy and happy.

    1. Wellyboot Silver badge

      His body has switched to comfort mode now he's approaching 50, many of us here have arrived at that point (and stayed for the beer).

      I think he's good for a few more decades yet!

    2. Tom 7 Silver badge

      He lives in the US - not many people look healthy over there any more at his age!

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        I have mentioned before that going to the grocery store, and seeing the state of the local population, makes me feel sick. "You're looking good" is more and more fausse grâce to the foie gras set.

    3. James Hughes 1

      Body shaming on El Reg, who would have thought it.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        He can take it. He's a big guy.

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        (Original AC here)

        I'm sorry, my comments certainly weren't intended as body shaming, just an observation that suddenly Linus looks a lot older in the photo (he's always looked relatively youthful before). As I said, we do all get older, and it takes us by surprise (myself included) when we do.

    4. Pirate Dave Silver badge

      Yeah, I looked and thought "Where's Linus, and why is Bill Maher in this photo?"

  5. This post has been deleted by its author

  6. Fruit and Nutcase Silver badge

    AI Linus?

    "I read email. I write email. I do no coding at all any more. Much of the code I write I actually write inside my mail reader," he said.

    "In the end my job is to say no. ..."

    Anyone used the Linux Kernel mailing list with emails to him and his responses to them to create an "AI Linus"? Without the coding aspect, the task for the AI model is surely less complex?

    it may even come in useful for him when he wants to take his family on vacation, to say, Edinburgh.

  7. ColonelDare

    A plain simple...

    Thank you, Linus. Much respect!

  8. Stuart Halliday

    An Orchestra needs an Conductor.

    The World's largest Orchestra needs an exceptional Conductor. They have it.

    1. Fruit and Nutcase Silver badge

      In that case, would Linus Torvalds be Andre Previn to Lennart Poettering's Eric Morecombe? (During the time when Linus was not a fan of systemd)

      1. ghp

        Is he a fan now?

        "safety critical systems tend to do one thing and one thing only".

      2. stiine Silver badge

        I don't know who Eric Morecombe is. Is he a self-aggrandizing jackass of strictly, limited ability?

        1. Fruit and Nutcase Silver badge

          Here is an edited version of the relevant comedy sketch.

          "All the right notes, not necessarily in the right order!"

        2. Anonymal coward

          How sweet - a *young* person....

          1. E net

            "Young" Now there's a euphemism.

        3. paulll

          Pretty much, yes he was.

      3. Dazed and Confused

        Surely Linus' comment

        the kind of bugs we tend to find are the random, crazy user bugs, where somebody does something that nobody even thought would be remotely sane.

        covers systemd

  9. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Shane from Australia says "love ya Linus, you're one of my hero's". Thankyou SO much for Linux.

  10. Is It Me

    Both he and Dirk are actively working on a open source project called SubSurface, which didn't get a mention in the article at all.

  11. DrXym Silver badge

    Pragmatism vs Idealism

    Thank goodness for Linus. He produced an functioning kernel in rapid time and provided the impetus for people to improve and expand on it - new architectures, networking, file systems etc. This is pragmatism in action.

    And the reason he did this was because he was annoyed by the glacial pace of development in the Hurd project. Hurd was all politics and doing things "right" which may explain why 29 years later Hurd still hasn't seen a 1.0 release.

    1. A.P. Veening Silver badge

      Re: Pragmatism vs Idealism

      which may explain why 29 years later Hurd still hasn't seen a 1.0 release.

      Much more important is that nearly everybody competent and involved in Hurd decamped to Linux, usually on rather short notice.

  12. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    it looks like Ballmer has been on here downvoting

  13. John Smith 19 Gold badge
    Thumb Up

    which would suggest they are a CMM5 shop without the formal certification.

    Since the key things are

    1)Find the bug

    2)Find why it got through our development filters

    3)Update our filters

    4)Check the rest of the code base for any other with this pattern.

    It would seem they are engaged in this process unconsciously

    He actually seems a fairly modest and quiet guy most of the time.

    Except when someone suggests something breathtakingly idiotic.....


    A tough job but someone's got to do it

    Outside the kernel, Linux has great advantages by enabling many to experiment and customise applications and implementations.

    Inside the kernel and it's critical to limit the possible damage caused by too many cooks. To stop the loudest idiot in the room you need someone to be louder up the front with a megaphone. Other open software project leaders have crumbled under the weight of communication, expectations and too many loud idiots. I would like to know if there is anyone else ready for any succession plan? Can anyone replace Linus?

    I congratulate Linus for surviving this long and keeping the project curtailed into the finely groomed animal it is today. Linux may have not replaced Windows as the default desktop/notebook OS but Linux is still on more devices. Smart phones are mostly android based and now outnumber desktops/notebooks. Now it's all about app portability (eg. web based) and cloud hosted services (mostly Linux).

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