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Linux at 25: Q&a With Linus Torvalds


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Linux creator Linus Torvalds.

Linus Torvalds looks back at the 25 years since his creation of the Linux kernel.

Credit: Ian White/Corbis

With the Linux operating system reaching its 25th anniversary this year, Linux kernel creator Linus Torvalds reflects in an interview on what the past brought about and what the future holds for Linux.

He notes Linux's transition from a personal effort to a collective one was a difficult change, but he learned it was easier to trust the various submaintainers with applying their patches, rather than applying them himself.

"Linux has almost become the default environment for prototyping new hardware or services," Torvalds says.

He blames "user inertia" on Linux's inability to significantly penetrate mainstream desktops, noting "the desktop is simply unique...in that it's very personal--you interact with it rather intimately every day if you work with computers--but also complicated in ways many other computing environments aren't."

Torvalds still sees value in the desktop market, even though the general-purpose desktop concept appears to be giving way to more specialized, simpler, and multitasking platforms.

In terms of the current state of Linux, Torvalds believes the kernel is working well, despite concerns it has become too complicated for people to understand and fix defects.

He says supporting the growing plethora of hardware is an ongoing challenge.

Torvalds' outlook for the future is "we'll do fine as long we keep track of all the small day-to-day details, and try to do the best we can."

From IEEE Spectrum
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