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Welcome to 30 Linux Kernel Developers in 30 Weeks! This is simply the first in a 30-week series in which we introduce a new Linux kernel developer every week. The Linux kernel community is unique in many ways. The people who compose it are responsible for organizing the world’s largest collaborative development project and have a huge impact on the future of business management and other technologies. The profiles I post for the rest of 2012 can help illustrate how developers do their jobs and provide important insights into how they work and what drives people.
We begin the series with none other than Linux creator Linus Torvalds. Linus is in Finland, his country of origin, for a few days to take part in the Millennium Technology Prize. Each of the 2012 Millennium Technology Prize co-winners was selected this week. Shortly before leaving, he took the time to answer these introductory questions.
What role do you play in the community and / or what subsystemsare you guided?
I maintain a top-level kernel and do not care about editing some subsystems directly; on the other hand, I sometimes deal directly with the VFS layer itself (and very rarely with some discussion of virtual machines).
Where do users live in the world? Why there?
Portland, Oregon. From “why?” Perhaps this is because it is generally much quieter and more comfortable than Silicon Valley, which we lived in a few years ago and moved here. The weather may not make it great, but I think it is a much more efficient place for children. And we can run a big house in a nice college neighborhood.
What are your favorite productivity tools in software development? What are you doing at your desk?
I actually just run one through a web browser (for emails and wasting time) and then several terminals in which I use git. With a “gitk” window to be able to display the historical Git view. Most of the time I read (and respond) to emails, combiningI eat trees and just look at the results.
Another tool that I use is the perf tool, which generates regular performance profiles for the workloads that I handle (mostly kernel builds combined with some Git workloads).
Hello. There is not enough general needs and knowledge to know that writing your own operating system is a ridiculous job. More
I like the craftsmanship and lately the technical side. The phase where it’s actually pretty social and when I scold people is, in fact, a bonus.
What have you liked the most about collaborative development sometimes (submitting stupid code, incredible performance)?
My favorite is when someone does something crazy on Linux. Stuff, many of which just don’t make sense, but are technically impressive (and even more impressive than “Did you spend many months on * this *?”).
When Cox Alan ported Linux from the 8086. Or the guy who upgraded his computer to an 8-bit microcontroller, he basically plugged into RAM and SD cardsy, and then wrote a fantastic ARM emulator for that and booted Linux (albeit slowly) on his card.
Limited launch. It doesn’t even have to be Linux – there are many open source projects out there that need help and you feel the need to learn how to get involved. And once you * understand * that user mode is a programmer, and you end up wanting to get into kernel programming, don’t try to revolutionize the kernel code – take a look at yourself to really find the problem. … Perhaps the driver for the hardware you started on isn’t working as it should, and the like.
It takes a long time to research problems, and it really helps when people see you have done something else before you focus on submitting more complex fixes.
But the most noticeable thing is “good taste.” It’s exhausting to describe, it’s just what I’m looking for face to face. The people who do what is part of “RightWay ™” – and I don’t mean what the experts say you have to obey – all the rules we havefortunately, found in many (although you should do it too) – on the other hand, I’m talking about that elusive quality associated with writing code that obviously makes sense, doing the right thing, without hiding too much behind specific or complex cases, but also without the need to be abstract and universal. “Do one thing and do things right.”
Oh, I prefer my office to be completely quiet. Listen to music when traveling with children, etc. but when I do your job, I don’t want to hear anything. No music, no noise of enthusiasts in my computers. Just silence.
In which broadcasting area or IRC channel will people be spending their time? What conferences are there?
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I do IRC or other interactive communications in real time – everything is done by email. I’ve read the general non-kernel and git mailing lists, even the ones I have in “autoarchive” mode, so I only see streams when I look for them explicitly, maybe when I’m here or when I point it out.
At conferences, this is usually just a Linux kernel summit. I have also tried to enter the LinuxConf Aus market for many yearstralia. I love it as a conference to complement your summer in Australia. Lifecycle assessment, however, is a whole bunch of things that “if it works,” probably only a year or so.
I didn’t have many other conferences that I attended, usually because they were in an interesting area, whether I might dive into the same trip or not
Thanks Linus! We’ll talk to Thomas Gleixner next week.
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