For Linux Anniversary: The Best Quotes of Linus Torvalds: Source Code, Money And Most Important Things

For Linux Anniversary: The Best Quotes of Linus Torvalds: Source Code, Money And Most Important Things
Linus Torvalds

For Linux Anniversary: The Best Quotes of Linus Torvalds: Source Code, Money And Most Important Things

Today Linus Torvalds doesn't need any promotion anymore - he's the popular programmer, charismatic leader in Linux community and cult figure in IT. Yes, Linus has no such popularity like a Bill Gates and Steve Jobs - his work achievements look not so big and flashy without Microsoft's and Apple's PR managers.
The success of Linux today can't be impossible without his technical and managerial talents and strong vision. Linus also has their personal belief and can say it outright and boldly. In this post we want to recall the best of his citations from 90s to now. If you can remember a better quote(s) - feel free to write it below.

Sex, money, hardware and source code

I don't ask for money. I don't ask for sexual favors. I don't ask for
access to the hardware you design and sell. I just ask for the thing I
gave you: source code that I can use myself.

About Hurd

In short: just say NO TO DRUGS, and maybe you won't end up like the Hurd people.

To NVidia

Nvidia has been one of the worst trouble spots we’ve had with hardware manufacturers. And that’s really sad because Nvidia tries to sell chips, a lot of chips, into the Android market. And Nvidia has been the single worst company we’ve ever dealt with. So, NVidia, f*ck you!

About EFI

EFI is this other Intel brain-damage (the first one being ACPI).

To hardware vendors

Is "I hope you all die a painful death" too strong?


About Mach and FreeBSD

My personal opinion of Mach is not very high. Frankly, it's a piece of crap. It contains all the design mistakes you can make, and even managed to make up a few of its own.

I claim that Mach people (and apparently FreeBSD) are incompetent idiots.

About Microsoft

Really, I'm not out to destroy Microsoft. That will just be a completely unintentional side effect.

Microsoft isn't evil, they just make really crappy operating systems.

In my opinion MS is a lot better at making money than it is at making good operating systems.

About Microsoft's patents for Linux

So the whole "We have a list and we're not telling you" should tell you something. Don't you think that if Microsoft actually had some really foolproof patent, they'd just tell us and go, "nyaah, nyaah, nyaah!"?

About SCO

I allege that SCO is full of it.

There are literally several levels of SCO being wrong. And even if we were to live in that alternate universe where SCO would be right, they'd still be wrong.

To Andrew Tanenbaum

Your job is being a professor and researcher: That's one hell of a good excuse for some of the brain-damages of Minix.

Software is like a sex

Software is like sex; it's better when it's free.


Fat penguin is danger

Some people have told me they don't think a fat penguin really embodies the grace of Linux, which just tells me they have never seen an angry penguin charging at them in excess of 100 mph. They'd be a lot more careful about what they say if they had.

The Linux philosophy

...the Linux philosophy is "laugh in the face of danger". Oops. Wrong one. "Do it yourself". That's it.

Good coder must be a sneaky bastard

See, you not only have to be a good coder to create a system like
Linux, you have to be a sneaky bastard too ;-)

About GPL

Making Linux GPL'd was definitely the best thing I ever did.


About RMS (Richard Mattew Stallman)

Anybody who tells me I can't use a program because it's not open source, go suck on rms. I'm not interested. 99% of that I run tends to be open source, but that's my choice, dammit.

About Emacs

Your problem has nothing to do with git, and everything to do with emacs. And then you have the ^all to talk about ― unix design and not gumming programs together, when you yourself use the most gummed-up piece of absolute shit there is!

About fun and how to be a good programmer

It might be true in certain niche areas, but almost any project will give a developer that "feel good" feeling when he has users and he feels he is doing something worthwhile. I really don't think you need all that much "quid pro quo" in programming - most of the good programmers do programming not because they expect to get paid or get adulation by the public, but because it is fun to program.


About money

Artists usually don't make all that much money, and they often keep their artistic hobby despite the money rather than due to it.

About motivation

The fame and reputation part came later, and never was much of a motivator, although it did enable me to work without feeling guilty about neglecting my studies.

About hate

If you start doing things because you hate others and want to screw them over, the end result is bad.

C++ it's a crap and sucks

In fact, in Linux we did try C++ once already, back in 1992.
It sucks. Trust me - writing kernel code in C++ is a BLOODY STUPID IDEA.
The fact is, C++ compilers are not trustworthy. They were even worse in 1992, but some fundamental facts haven't changed:

  • the whole C++ exception handling thing is fundamentally broken. It's especially broken for kernels.
  • any compiler or language that likes to hide things like memory allocations behind your back just isn't a good choice for a kernel.
  • you can write object-oriented code (useful for filesystems etc) in C, without the crap that is C++.
    In general, I'd say that anybody who designs his kernel modules for C++ is either
    a) looking for problems
    b) a C++ bigot that can't see what he is writing is really just C anyway
    c) was given an assignment in CS class to do so.
    Feel free to make up (d).

About open source and proprietary software

Me, I just don't care about proprietary software. It's not "evil" or "immoral," it just doesn't matter. I think that Open Source can do better, and I'm willing to put my money where my mouth is by working on Open Source, but it's not a crusade – it's just a superior way of working together and generating code.
It's superior because it's a lot more fun and because it makes cooperation much easier (no silly NDA's or artificial barriers to innovation like in a proprietary setting), and I think Open Source is the right thing to do the same way I believe science is better than alchemy. Like science, Open Source allows people to build on a solid base of previous knowledge, without some silly hiding.
But I don't think you need to think that alchemy is "evil." It's just pointless because you can obviously never do as well in a closed environment as you can with open scientific methods.

Standards and reality

Standards are paper. I use paper to wipe my butt every day. That's how much that paper is worth. Reality is what matters.

About testing

"Regression testing"? What's that? If it compiles, it is good; if it boots up, it is perfect.

About laptops

I really hate big laptops. I can't understand people who lug around 15" (or 17"!) monsters. The right weight for a laptop is 1kg, no more.

World domination

I'd like to say that I knew this would happen, that it's all part of
the plan for world domination.

Talk is cheap. Show me the code.

Linus Torvalds - "bastard"

I'm a bastard. I have absolutely no clue why people can ever think otherwise. Yet they do. People think I'm a nice guy, and the fact is that I'm a scheming, conniving bastard who doesn't care for any hurt feelings or lost hours of work, if it just results in what I consider to be a better system. And I'm not just saying that. I'm really not a very nice person. I can say "I don't care" with a straight face, and really mean it.

I'm an egotistical bastard, and I name all my projects after myself. First Linux, now git.

I am your god (joke at Linux Expo)

My name is Linus Torvalds and I am your god.

Tooth Fairy and Santa Claus - real fathers of Linux

OK, I admit it. I was just a front-man for the real fathers of Linux,
the Tooth Fairy and Santa Claus.

I'm always right

I'm always right. This time I'm just even more right than usual.

How to do better in Christmas

Now, most of you are probably going to be totally bored out of your minds on Christmas day, and here's the perfect distraction. Test 2.6.15-rc7. All the stores will be closed, and there's really nothing better to do in between meals.

Mental masturbation

It's what I call "mental masturbation", when you engage is some pointless intellectual exercise that has no possible meaning.

Live forever

Every time I see some piece of medical research saying that caffeine is good for you, I high-five myself. Because I'm going to live forever.

About XML

XML is crap. Really. There are no excuses. XML is nasty to parse for humans, and it's a disaster to parse even for computers. There's just no reason for that horrible crap to exist.

About Shift key

Whoever came up with "hold the shift key for eight seconds to turn on 'your keyboard is buggered' mode" should be shot.

Linus - good manager

I like to think that I've been a good manager. That fact has been very instrumental in making Linux a successful product.

About good programs

Any program is only as good as it is useful.

About focus on creating

Once you start thinking more about where you want to be than about making the best product, you're screwed.

About sentiments

I'm not sentimental. Good riddance.

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