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Linus Torvalds answers 10 goofy questions

How well does Linus answer odd questions? With aplomb.

(LinuxWorld) — Have you ever wanted to get to know Linus Torvalds a little better? To see behind that clever, mild-mannered public demeanor of his and observe the real man? But if you're like me, you're usually too short of the cash/time required to go on the Linux Lunacy Geek Cruise and meet him up-close and personal.

Never fear, my dweebs. Here are ten questions that Doc Searls, Phil Hughes and the rest of the gang really wanted answered on that cruise but were afraid to ask.

Thanks to these probing questions and Torvalds' illuminating responses — questions that touch on everything from the next release of the kernel to Linus's household chores — you can begin to see the real man behind the mask, just as clearly as if you were going mano-a-mano against him for a Guinness on the shuffleboard deck.

A few words of warning: I decided to ask Linus the ten silliest questions I could imagine. For those of you who know me well enough to know how silly I can be, that should be all the warning you need. For the rest of you, I can only say this: PROCEED WITH CAUTION.

I recommend that you put down and stand away from your coffee mug or can of Jolt. Don't try to type code or write an e-mail while you're reading. Torvalds, as always, was a great sport about fielding the questions. All except one, which was just too strange even for him.

SUBHEAD2: 1) Once world domination is achieved, what will your official title be?

Torvalds: I've been called many things, and I think on the whole it will be either "Emperor Penguin" or "Pinhead". We will see.

SUBHEAD2: 2) Does Linux run on Red Hat?

Torvalds: That's just too strange a question.

SUBHEAD2: 3) Did you decide to call the next release 2.6 because point-oh releases have more bugs?

Torvalds: No, it's because there's an ancient Sumerian prophecy based on numerology that seems to imply that the moon would explode if we called it 3.0.

We're not really sure whether we decoded the clay tablets correctly, but on the whole we felt it was better to be safe than sorry.

SUBHEAD2: 4) If kernel hackers are like sous chefs, are you the Executive Sous Chef?

Torvalds: I think I'm the bartender. At least it feels like that sometimes, with a lot of people coming to tell me their sorrows.

SUBHEAD2: 5) People say Linux is ugly. How does that make you feel?

Torvalds: They'll be the first against the wall when the revolution comes. Let's see just how ugly they think it is when they have a few bulletholes in them.

SUBHEAD2: 6) If Linux is so great, how come it has a higher TCO than Windows?

Torvalds: By the phrasing of that question, I can only assume that by TCO you mean the "Totally Cool Operation" value as opposed to it's more common technical meaning. And quite frankly, nobody knows why, but clearly it is so. Using Linux just makes you Totally Cool (admittedly mostly in a geeky kind of way, but hey, if it's cheerleaders you want, you would be in a rock band, right?)

SUBHEAD2: 7) Are you smarter than Bill Gates?

Torvalds: Bill who?

SUBHEAD2: 8) I read that your wife is proficient in karate. Is that why you help with the kids?

Torvalds: Yes.

SUBHEAD2: 9) I've heard that Linux causes cancer. How many hours a week can it safely be used?

Torvalds: That's a filthy lie. Besides, it was only in rats and has not been reproduced in humans.

SUBHEAD2: 10) If you played the Linux version of UT2003, what name would you use?

Torvalds: I think I'd be "lame duck."

More Stories By Joe Barr

Joe Barr is a freelance journalist covering Linux, open source and network security. His 'Version Control' column has been a regular feature of Linux.SYS-CON.com since its inception. As far as we know, he is the only living journalist whose works have appeared both in phrack, the legendary underground zine, and IBM Personal Systems Magazine.

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