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January 14, 2008

Linux community doesn’t exist, says Torvalds

by @ 5:02 pm. Filed under General Linux, Linux News

As it turns out, the Linux community doesn’t exist. Linus Torvalds himself revealed this fact in an interview with Jim Zemlin, Executive Director of the Free Software Foundation. Linus actually said a number of thought-provoking things.

Here’s the bit about his comments on the Linux community:

Jim Zemlin: So, let’s talk a little bit about community, then, from this aspect of trust and I’d like to start by asking you a question about the term community itself. People throw the term community – you know, “Don’t do that. It will upset the ‘community'” or “The ‘community’ doesn’t accept this particular practice.'”

What – how do you define community? I mean, what is the way you look at that?

Linus Torvalds: I actually – I try to avoid using the word community because it’s misleading in so many ways. It’s misleading in the sense there is no one community; it’s everybody tends to have their own issues that they care about and they may – may or may not have anything to do with another person who’s ostensibly in the same community.

So, one misleading thing is thinking that people kind of share ideals and goals and that’s not true. It’s quite often the case that people have completely different goals; you have commercial vendors who have their very clear commercial goals and you have individuals that in the open source, so-called community, you often find individuals who really don’t like commercial entities, especially not the big ones. So, quite often the goals are very different.

And the other thing is, community tends to also be – become a – not just to see it as one entity, but you also see people as being inside and outside and that used to be especially – I think most companies have slowly started to learn, but it used to be a huge issues where companies kind of were talking about “How do we interact with the community?”

And there the community ended up being some external entity when the real answer always ends up being you don’t interact with the community, you just act as a member of this non-existent community. You really – you don’t interact with it, you are part of it.

It’s a beautiful thing when you have a group of people who are bound not by money or legal contract, but by trust. This seemed to be a common thread throughout the interview as well. For example:

Jim Zemlin: So in many ways, participating in a meaningful way in the development process is a lot about having trusted relationships?

Linus Torvalds: Right.

Jim Zemlin: Including the different participants?

Linus Torvalds: Right. It doesn’t matter at all who you work for pretty much because nobody really cares and there might be some politics going on but in the end what happens is people know – they’ve seen other people do work over the last months or years, in some cases decades, and they know that, “Okay, I can trust this person. When he sends me a patch, it’s probably the right thing to do even if I don’t understand quite why” and you kind of build up this network.

And because it is self-organizing, it means that usually it evolves as time goes on. So, people might start out being not very central, but as more and more they show they’re good at a certain area, they kind of gather more and more trust and get more and more connection and become more central without really having a – without there being in place any way to make them central in a kind of official way.

Read the entire interview here.

World-class Linux desktop wallpapers, part two

by @ 6:50 am. Filed under freebies, General Linux, humor, wallpapers

As promised, installment deux of the world-wide number one award-winning Linux desktop wallpaper series. This time, revealing the secret acronym used to name the current M$ operating system. Click for the 1600×1200 version. Resize to fit as necessary. Go Linux.

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