12 Comments

  1. Wesam Alalem

    Thank you for sharing.

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  2. Amadeu

    “Every single project that I’ve ever done has been for something I needed.” We should think like him in this regard :)

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  3. Alec

    An important reason for the long term success of the Linux project has been how Linus Torvalds has kept the VC at bay mainly by keeping them at a distance with a total of only about $100 million in net worth (not measured in billions, a factor of 10 or more poorer than other similar tech founders). The Linux foundation appears to have been co-opted by its corporate sponsors like some other well-known foundations as individuals are no longer eligible for membership in the board of directors:

    Members of the foundation’s board of directors are elected by corporate members (higher-paying members electing more directors). Membership was also open to individuals (enabling them to collectively elect two directors and individually run for one of those two seats) until January 2016, when those provisions were eliminated. Individuals can now only be “supporters”.

    Still, Linus Torvalds is a great example of principled open source leadership and how to retain the independence/freedom of your project.

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  4. EJOweb

    Thanks for sharing Sarah. I’m impressed by how much he has influenced software development. Linux ánd git… Respect!

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  5. Josh Pollock

    Thanks for sharing. This is a Great video.
    I especially liked the part, around 13 minutes in, when he talked about community — the value of different skill sets and how a shared goal allows us to work with people we don’t always like.

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  6. Omaar Osmaan

    Doh! What Linus told on the interview regarding how he embraced “open source” out of practically, kind of my story, too- although I was not fortunate enough to had great people around me back in early days.

    Still I think there are two kind of people in open-source world, one to take ideology or whatever of it, another just for practical reason.

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  7. Jeffrey

    I like Linux, but please forgive my ignorance, how do we measure the success of Linux?

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    • Peter Cralen

      Simply just that almost every server on the Earth runs on Linux.

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    • Tago

      ISS runs on Linux (Debian).

      https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Space_station

      ;)

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    • Tada Burke

      @jeffrey You need to know the value of what you’re measuring against, and WHY that value is relevant, or else the success of something is infinitely moot. “Success” is always subjective. Most people equate success to financial wealth. Many people equate success to acceptance amongst peers. But to me, “success,” holds value against SELF-prosperity by the determination of overcoming obstacles, e.g. risks/rewards. So as far as Linux, the OS has reached great success :)

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  8. Jeffr0

    I didn’t realize Linux is a 25 year old project. I thought it was younger than that. I loved the part where Torvalds says the following:

    Without doing the whole open source and really letting go thing, Linux would never have been what it is

    It reminds me of commercial WordPress plugin and theme authors who want to hold on instead of letting go and embracing the GPL and open source.

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    • Alec

      GPL is great Jeff, but being willing to release the core of one’s code as GPL is a different proposition than giving away all of your code. As we are both aware, GPL is a two-edged sword. Unrestricted GPL licensing lost Jigowatt a two year investment in Jigoshop when Woo poached their top two developers with zero compensation.

      Woo on the other hand was able to make Automattic pay richly for the same team and the rights to the name and customer base just a few years later. So GPL seems to work well for bigger companies (within a respective IT space) now and less well for smaller shops (Jigowatt). GPL probably still works for sole-proprietor as the poaching company has to make an offer to the founder (as s/he’s the principal coder).

      GPL means that the dominant player in the space (Automattic) can offer Microsoft terms to anyone in their ecosphere. For those who remember those terms were “sell to us or we will clone you and destroy you”. There was a large anti-trust war over Microsoft’s tactics. GPL was in part a defensive reaction to Microsoft and Oracle (and even Apple) business practices of the walled garden and/or excellent software becoming abandonware. In many ways, clever contemporary businessmen have managed to subvert the intent of GPL and the GPL has become an even more dangerous capitalist weapon than proprietary software.

      Software ownership and business issues are complex. I’m just suggesting that the GPL is not the blanket panacea which it’s being presented. Even the deeper motivations of GPL proponents may not always be noble. I remember well a time when WordPress was about creating great free solutions. Revenue was supposed to come out of implementing the solutions and not the shared code. WordPress was supposed to put an end to expensive proprietary solutions. Now just the code updates for a halfway capable WooCommerce shop will set you back $1000 or $2000 annually, unless you buy from one of the GPL warehouses. As you so eloquently described, the backend admin of WordPress has become a minefield of advertising and self-promotion.

      This isn’t shareware. This isn’t free software distribution. It’s something else entirely. The GPL alone hasn’t saved us from the tragedy of the commons.

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