The Code: Story of Linux documentary (MULTiSUB)


Let me make an analogy
between programs and recipes. A program is a lot like a recipe.
Each one is a list of steps to be- -carried out with rules for
how to tell when you’re done- -or when to go back. At
the end there’s a certain result. If you cook you probably
exchange recipes with your friends- -and you probably change recipes too. If you’ve made changes and you,
and your friends, like eating it- -then you might give them
the changed version of the recipe. Imagine a world where you
can’t change the recipe- -because somebody has gone
out of his way to make it impossible. And imagine that if you share
the recipe they will call you a pirate- -and try to put you in prison for years. I use the word “hacker” in its
correct and original sense to describe- -someone who pursues computer
programming as an artistic passion- -and who also is part of or
identifies with the hacker culture- -which is historically programmers who
produced the Internet, Linux and WWW. I guess you have to be a hacker
to understand the specific mindset- -that is to rebel against the idea that
the OS source code should be withheld. This open source attitude doesn’t mix
smoothly with the free market economy. It’s also a threat to the traditional concepts
of copyright and intellectual property. Companies like Microsoft that base
their business on closed source code- -have tactively molded
free software into an image- -of a monster of almost
McCarthian proportions. All this made up one of the strangest
success stories of the 1990’s- -epitomized by the community’s
gifted leader and invaluable icon. He planted the seed for a movement
whose ramifications continue to spread. Linus Torvalds has created a
computer system that has struck- -the whole industry with amazement. Linux – an operating system that now
runs 8 million of the world’s computers. Wired Magazine : “He is a shaman
on par with Väinämöinen- -and his operating system Linux is
the Internet’s most brilliant masterpiece”. Torvald’s decision to distribute
Linux for free and reveal- -its underlying source code
has made him a cult figure. Linus Torvalds, the computer genius
who dreams of defeating Microsoft,- -actually Bill Gates. How’s it going? There are those who say that
Linus Torvalds has achieved a- -miracle. The worker ants are constantly
in contact with each other by modems- -releasing code, encouraging
feedback on modifications- -to create the best possible
operating system in the world. San Jose, California I didn’t want anybody else to have
to go through the same thing I had- -to find something like Linux. Maybe
some other computer science student- -needs his own operating system and
he doesn’t have to start from scratch. It wasn’t a fight against the windmills.
It wasn’t Don Quixote against the world- -trying to make a better place. Come, come. Do you want food? I much prefer working with people
over email than face to face. Else you tend to get into all these
meaningless arguments and details. Over email you have to think a bit
before you send off a reply. Just because we aren’t at the same
place doesn’t mean that we aren’t- -together in a social sense. It’s like one
very, very large shared office. We even have our arguments over
the Internet in the same kind of way. This is a huge project. There’s never
been a software project that I know of- -that’s been worked on by so many
people from so many disperse places- -to put this all together. The most innovative thing about
the Linux community is not its- -source code but the social
machine that developed around it. What Linux is…?
I suppose I would say… Every computer is different,
every floppy disk drive is different- -every hard disk is different,
every video controller is different… Linux is the thing that knows how
to make all these different parts- -do the simple tasks
like “write my file to the disk” or- -“read this file off this floppy I have”,
or “draw this image on the screen”. Linux knows how to talk to
these different pieces of hardware- -to make them do the common
operations that we need computers to do. What do we mean when we say “Linux”?
Some mean the whole operating system- -on which everything that
happens in a computer weighs. Some say “Linux”, pinpointing the single
most important program – the kernel. It has to go back to the person
who started it. To the person who- -somehow used the net to create
a community of people- -who all felt that their
contributions were being valued. That ability to foster cooperation
could very well be something- -that can only come from a
person raised in a country like Finland. Helsinki, Finland 1969 – it seems to
have been such a good year. The moon landing, Woodstock, the birth
of ARPANET, that led to Internet. The first steps of UNIX, the
operating system for big computers- -and on December 28
Linus Torvalds is born. All children learn primarily
through playing. For that reason I think it was
very important for Linus to enter- -the computer world when computers
still were simple enough even for a- -10-12 year old boy to understand
what was inside this machine. In today’s world there’s so
many layers of information and- -complicated stuff between that which
is shown on the computer screen- -and that which is inside the machine.
It’s difficult for the children of today- -to play their way to the insight
the same way Linus did. I think it was love at first
sight both for my father and for- -Linus who together were childishly
excited, both of them, to try- -the possibilities that VIC-20 offered. The place where Linus developed
Linux is no longer- -because the walls have
been torn down. Here in the corner where the couch is
is where Linus’ desktop and computer,- -that he worked on, used to be. The biggest change is that he
nowadays is a stand up-guru- -because he is used to perform in front
of an audience and he can handle them. That might not be surprising, but still
striking when compared with how- -he actually was: relatively shy and
withdrawn, and not the one who- -got in touch, but his friends were
the ones who kept in touch with him. Hello everybody out there using MINIX.
I’m doing a free operating system. Just a hobby. Won’t be big
and professional- -like “GNU” for 386 and 486
AT clones. This has been brewing since
April and is starting to get ready. I’d like any feedback on things
people like or dislike in MINIX- -as my OS resembles it somewhat.
Any suggestions are welcome- -but I won’t promise I’ll actually
implement them. [email protected] 1991 – The Soviet Union closes down. The Gulf War. The British physicist
Tim Berners-Lee- -releases a hypertext system,
calling it the “World Wide Web”. Microsoft is well on the way
for world domination. And on September 17
Linus Torvalds sends the first- -version of Linux, 0.01,
to the world, via Internet. The first responses arrive
within hours. “Linux was invented here” “University of Helsinki” We first heard whispers
in the cafeteria- An operating system was being
developed and started to spread. We learned to know Linus better. His programming skills had
already been noted here. Linus based Linux on UNIX,
because of its basic ideals. The original UNIX operating system
had been created by Ken Thompson- -and Dennis Ritchie
at AT&T’s Bell Labs in 1969. UNIX was in the beginning a
relatively free operating system- -and very popular in
the university circles. The philosophy is
based on two notions: Firstly, everything is a file. Secondly, when you build something
you write things that are for a single- -purpose but to
do that purpose well. Putting Linux on the net
was kind of natural in many ways. There were a lot of small reasons.
Like the fact that I thought it was- -a good idea to make Linux available to
others so that they could try it out- -and send comments back to me. He really had two choices.
He could make it completely free- -or he can try and charge for it. Linux would not exist if he
had tried to make profit out of it. Nobody would have bought it.
It would have been a dead end. You haven’t been here for a while.
We’ve already installed the third version… We had difficulties to fit
Linux-stuff into one computer. At first Linus didn’t want to
release Linux for free. He was thinking hard about
what kind of copyright he would use. I persuaded him to release it
under the GNU copyright. Especially, as the compiler I
used was released under the GPL- -I eventually ended
up using the GPL myself. The “GNU General Public License” (GPL)
funded by the Free Software Foundation- -in the mid 1980’s says that
if you change and modify the code- -you have to make your changes
and improvements freely available. The GPL hinders any one person
to have a monopoly- -over an important
piece of technology. I think the timing was good. Even
just a year earlier I don’t think it- -could’ve been done, and a year later
someone would’ve done something similar. The Internet hadn’t gotten
to the general population- -but it was getting very strong
in university networks. I’d done a mailing list program
in the “C” programming language- I had to expand it
and add features. Rapidly thousands of
people were interested. It was a surprise. The numbers
doubled in short intervals. It was crazy. After 1000 people
2000, the next day 4000 people. Without Internet Linux development
would’ve been like chess by mail. My name of choice was “FREAX”. Which was both “free”, “freak”
plus the “X” that you need for UNIX. I didn’t like the name FREAX.
It wasn’t very commercial… Ari Lemmke, who actually put Linux up for
FTP, thought that it really was a bad idea. He really hated the name. He
made the FTP site available and just- -called it Linux because
that was the working name. The name stuck, and Linux
is a much better name… “GEEKS” “NERDS” We have an impressive
set of geeks and nerds here. The first question from the easy category:
“How do you pronounce Linux?” Well, I pronounce Linux as “Linux”. However, the total answer
to that is if you’re Linus Torvalds- -you probably pronounce
it “Leenux”. On the other hand,- -if you come from the west
coast of the United States- -you pronounce it as “Lynix”. And Linus
said he doesn’t care how you pronounce it- -as long as you just use it! It was in July of 1991- -which was shortly after Linus had
released the 0.09 version of the kernel- -that I started playing with Linux.
Heard about it on, I think, Usenet. Downloaded it from Finland,
started playing with it- -and thought it was really neat! At that point there was very
limited trans-Atlantic Internet bandwidth- -so it was very painful to down-
load all these packages from Finland. And so I decided: “Well, we
need to do something about this”- -and I used my personal workstation,
“TSX-11.mit.edu”- -and I set up a mirror archive of all the
kernel sources on my private workstation. And that was the first US
Linux FTP site that came into existence. The first time I got Linux was I
downloaded the floppy images for Linux- -and in the Penn State University computer lab
I installed it on one of their machines. They subsequently kicked me
out of the computer lab that day- -but that was my
first experience with Linux. Very early in 1992 suddenly
I didn’t know everybody anymore. That it was no longer
me and a couple of friends. It was me and a couple of
hundred people who I had no idea- -where they were, what they
did with the system, and who they are. And that was a big step. University of Helsinki The 1.0 release in 1994 was certainly
important and it meant a lot to me- -just because there
was a lot of work behind it. It was certainly a landmark to
commercial use of Linux. It was really hard to use
Linux commercially before 1.0. Welcome to Linux operating
system 1.0 press conference. Why is this kind of UNIX-like
system done at all – -especially at the University of Helsinki? Because there exists, also
for PC, UNIX operating systems – -but they are very expensive. For example,
DOS costs about 200 marks. UNIX costs 20 000 marks. It’s pretty much for a student to pay. Try going to a computer
shop and ask for SCU-Unix. They will look at you
as if you were mad. In fact, it is easier
to write it yourself! The development
process of Linux is odd. It’s not a hierarchy, but everyone
is free to suggest changes to the code. There’s one person who leads, makes the
big decisions, and chooses the best ideas: Linus – “the benevolent dictator”. Everyone knew that someone
had to be the head of this work group- -and Linus was the natural head,
given that he did the original core Linux- -kernel and Linus was someone
who was a very, very good leader. He’s someone who’s actually quite humble. He doesn’t try to take credit
for something he doesn’t do. You want to have hundreds, thousands
of people working on the kernel- -at the same time. But you
don’t want to have all these people- -stepping on
each other’s toes all the time- -because that way most of
the time will be spent on resolving- -conflicts between people and
you just have flame wars all the time. I used to think that there was this
hierarchy where I was at the top- -and they were my lieutenants- -and I don’t think it’s that way
anymore. It’s more like a web of trust- -where I have people I trust,
and they have people they trust. Well, there are lots of things
that motivate developers! There’s artistic pride, the satisfaction that
you get from doing good craftsman-like- -work. There’s the
idealist feeling of being part of- -something larger
and more important than you are. There’s a desire to help
the world and see that solutions happen. In the absence of monetary rewards
most people, most of the time,- -are playing for a kind of
reputation reward among their peers. One strength of
the Linux development world- -is that practically every software
author can be contacted directly by email. Ted Ts’o was crucial in
the spread of Linux in the United States. To be fair, it’s very easy to say: “If we were in charge
we wouldn’t do these things”. But then again, we’re not getting
all these email messages saying: “Please, let me add this new feature!” So I don’t know what I would
actually do if I were really in charge. Dave Miller is a
maintainer who reviews changes- -that developers
want to make in the kernel. He is like a funnel between
the contributors and “the king” Linus. The way that we work is…
You can talk all day about a great idea- -or a solution
to a problem, or something that- -you think is an interesting feature
for Linux to have but you gotta- -show us something concrete.
Show me a piece of code that does that. Something that’s tangible that I can
test myself so I can try it out and I can- -think about what it is. Instead of just
talking abstractly about a topic all day. Alan Cox, a “renaissance hacker”
is the closest collaborator to Linus. His right hand man. “What is Alan doing…
The other side of the story” To me code has more in common
with i.e. poetry or some kinds of writing. The beauty of it is in the structure,
in putting ideas across one at a time- -in a clear way. So a good piece of code you read
without comments and it’s immediately- -obvious why it’s been written, how
it’s elegant. So you’re looking for code- -which is both clean and elegant. But also
doesn’t rely on clever programming tricks,- -doesn’t make assumptions
which may not be true in the future. Because the last thing we want to do
is having much code in the Linux kernel- -which requires large
amounts of effort to keep it working. We want code which will just
continue to work, and work forever. Having led the Linux project
for five years in Helsinki- -Linus was recruited to
Silicon Valley, California. He wanted to see the other side
of the world, the world of commerce,- -not just the academic side. “Edward Helmore talks to Linus Torvalds,
Silicon Valley’s brightest new star” You’re quite an un-orthodox figure in
the Silicon Valley world. What do they make of you there? You’re not taking their
crazy commercial part, if you like. “TRANSMETA” Linus started to work for
a company called “Transmeta”- A little Linux company,
but a mysterious business- -that didn’t want to tell,
for many years, what it was up to. And paradoxically a
closed source code company. The deal was that Linus could
still concentrate on developing Linux. I have been forced into trying
to be a poster boy for Linux- -and actually the whole
open source community at large,- -even though I wasn’t even
the person who started open source. There’s no single person that
represents the whole story- -and there’s no single starting point.
I mean, it’s like the bamboo: You don’t know where
it starts or where it ends. I don’t think that this movement
is actually new at all. It’s been around for a long time. Even in the 1970’s, the whole
attitude that we had around UNIX- -even though technically
it wasn’t open source, it wasn’t free,- -because you did need to
go get this license from AT&T. Since that was not an issue
generally, you could share things freely. When you run a program, typically
you run the executable form- -which is a series of numbers and
nobody can make any sense of them. Only a computer can understand them.
That’s what they’re for. Those numbers are the form of a program
that the computer can understand. For humans to figure out what they
mean is very hard. When we write software- -we write it as source code, and it
looks sort of like algebra. That’s the form- -that you can
understand if you’re a programmer. To help you figure out there
are usually lots and lots of comments- -which are explanations that are put into
the source code to help other people- -figure out why the
program is written the way it is. If you get just the executables, which is
what Microsoft will probably give you- -even if you had the freedom to make
changes you could never figure out- -what changes to make.
It’s too hard! For the freedom to change the
software to be practical, and usable,- -you gotta have the source code. If you really look at the project…
As I said, Linus developed the kernel- -but I think that the most
interesting part here is really- -Richard Stallman began the movement. Have you heard
of Richard Stallman? He wanted everyone to have the rights
to use the software, to copy the software- -without breaking any laws.
To make changes, distribute them,- -enhance the software. He wanted to
give people rights! When he decided to overthrow corrupt
American capitalism in the IT industry- -he quit his job
and continued coding. Join us now
and share the software MIT,
Camebridge, Massachusetts You’ll be free,
hackers, you’ll be free I tend to think of things in terms
of justice, freedom and ethics. I announced the idea
in November 1983- -but it was in Januari 1984
that I quit my job at MIT- -to start developing
a free operating system- -to which I gave
the name “GNU”. This is “GNU General Public License”
and of course the kernel is under GPL… “Free software”, I should explain,
refers to freedom, not price. It’s unfortunate that the word “free”,
in english, is ambiguous- -it has a number
of different meanings. One of them means “zero price”,
but another meaning is “freedom”. So think of “free speech”,
not “free beer”. There’s a similarity between
the folk process where a poem- -or a song or a story
can get refined and reshaped- -by one teller or singer
after another- -and the way
free software gets improved. You’ll often find cases where a free
program is being developed now by- -a group of people who
include none of the original developers. In 1991 we had almost finished
the GNU system. Our goal was to make an OS, like
UNIX, but entirely free software. This complete operating system
required many different components- By 1991 we had
almost all of those components. Many of them we had written,
and many others we had found- -somebody else had written it for
his own purposes but it did the job. And so we pressed it
into service as a part of GNU. One major component was still missing:
the component called the “kernel”. So it was very useful
that Linus Torvalds wrote a kernel. At that point, combining his kernel,
Linux, with the larger GNU system- -produced a complete
runnable system that- -you could actually
put onto your PC and run. So once Linux was developed
the GNU system in effect was completed! It began to catch on in
popularity, but at the same time- -an unfortunate thing happened.
The people who were using- -the GNU system didn’t
realize it was the GNU system. So they began calling the
whole combination “Linux”- -and that confusion spread. As a result, it’s very hard
for us in the GNU project- -to call the user’s attention
to the ethical and political issues. Hoarders can
get piles of money That is true, hackers,
that is true But they cannot
help their neighbor That’s not good, hackers,
that’s not good Most computer science in the USA comes
traditionally from military background- -and defense spending. Perhaps it isn’t any more quirky that
nowadays the “free software” movement- -finds room both for
Richard Stallman and libertarian ideals. Many saw free software also
as a new way of making money- -and needed a less radical concept. Enter: open source. “I want you to be an
open source developer” We looked at the history
of advocacy in what at the time was- -still mostly called the “free software”
movement and we concluded- -that it hadn’t worked! That in fact the rhetoric and the tactics
used by Richard Stallman and the- -Free Software Foundation had left us
worse off than we were when we started. The term “open source” doesn’t
really imply the political issues- -like it used to and the
“free software” term still does. There’s now a second movement,
the “open source” movement- -where they consider
only the practical benefits. They refuse, and I mean
that literally… they carefully avoid- -the issues of principle, freedom, ethics
and making a good society to live in. That kind of language is
implicitly threatening to people- -whose day-to-day concerns are: “how
do I increase my shareholder value?”,- -“how do I keep
control over my business?” How do I address my
actual down-to-earth problems? When you walk into their offices and say
“you should use all open source for your- -business because sharing is good
and hoarding is evil” – it doesn’t work! I am not against business.
I don’t believe in abolishing business. I do business myself. But I believe
business should not dominate all of life. The rules of society should not
be chosen primarily to please business. Early in 1998 the majority usage in
the community went from “free software”- -to “open source” in six weeks flat.
In the late spring or early summer of 1998. That told me that there had been huge
pent-up demand in the community- -for a way of explaining what we
were doing that was more effective. The whole attitude in the
trade press and the investor community- -completely turned around! The same people who had spent years
sneering dismissively at “free software”- -and talking about
sandal-wearing freaks with long hair… Those very same people within a year
were falling all over themselves to write- -laudatory articles about the wonders
of open source and peer review. -and this is really funny
because it was the same software- -and in most
cases the same people! “Robin Hood of the nerds” “Martin Luther, meet Linus Torvalds” Linux happened without
the help of people with deep pockets- -or even despite the help. How can we keep from destroying the
magic by pouring all this money into Linux? When Linux started
to become commercialized- -people said: “oh well, we’d like to
keep it as our own little project”. “Nobody should be
making any money off it”. Well, in the real world people make
money off things. The US is a capitalistic- -society and
Europe is a capitalistic society. In order for
companies to start using Linux- -they wanna have somebody sitting
there, who can give them support,- -who can sell them the hardware. And these people who sell this hardware
and support are going to make money. Not everyone
of us is a hacker. Actually, very few of us would take the
effort to download Linux from the net. Even fewer will tackle with the
code itself in order to improve it. Though, Linux was
hard to use, customers valued strongly- -its reliability
and open source code. There was an opportunity
for companies with new visions. “Red Hat” For Red Hat, it wasn’t
important that we ship a better- -operating system than
Microsoft’s or Sun Microsystems’- It becomes really important
that we ship an operating system- -that solves a problem for our
customers that they cannot solve- -using the traditional
proprietary “binary only” software. We were recognizing
what we were doing was we were- -building technology
and then giving it away! So we said: “Well, how do
you make money doing this?” Of course, we would go to California,
to Silicon Valley, and everyone said: “Well, you cannot make
money in the software business- -by giving your technology away”. We would come back and talk to our
customers and we realized the only thing- -that kept our customers loyal
was that we did give away our technology. For the very first time they had control
over the technology they’re using. The real value in most software products
is the active maintainence down the line- -the continuing support
relationship between the vendor and you. That’s what gives software
fundamentally the characteristics of- -the service industry rather
than the manufacturing industry. Linux is flourishing in the
Internet server appliance area. But because there has not been an
easy-to-use software for home users- -it has only a small
margin of the desktop market. The GNOME project, with its
graphical interface tries to fill that gap. But hacker elitism
still seems to follow Linux. Do you see who’s here?
It’s a penguin! -It’s Tux, actually…
-Hi, Tux! When Linus Torvalds makes
millionaires and billionaires- Bill Gates’ hair turns grey… Microsoft has a very traditional model: They make closed source code,
they put it on a CD, they sell that. They take on all the
burden of development themselves. Everything goes back through them. Once you’re in that business
it’s very hard to change your culture. It’s very hard to change your business
to one where you cooperate. It’s easier to make money
off closed source products- -if you don’t need, or
you have the huge market share. So, for example, Microsoft
does not have a huge incentive- -to open source
their code right now. And it would probably cut
into their profits, so I don’t think- -they’re gonna do it,
or at least not willingly. There’s algorithms that you
may in fact want to keep proprietary. For example, I know of certain
compression algorithms that companies- -have put a lot of work into.
For things like streaming media. And they don’t want people
to know how they do that – -because it’s exactly how they
do that that’s the value of the product. Fighting between Linus,
who’s the leader of Linux, and- -Bill Gates who’s the leader of Microsoft. It becomes
really personal. Next, for our bizarre question:
“Whose lips are these?” As an answer:
Bill Gates’ lips telling another lie… The acceptance of Linux has
been helped enormously by the fact- -that people have known that
Linux exists through the news. The “David versus Goliath” story helped
there, but I don’t think it’s particularly true. “Microsoft’s Ballmer
claims Linux is communism” -You are a socialist…? -That’s one of the labels
that people put on me. -Is that true? It’s not a secret that I was a
left wing radical in the late 1960’s. Students’ UN organization was
behind most demonstrations. My personal belief system is
more one of personal honour. I don’t care what anybody else does…
I want to do what I feel is right. Linus keeps a very strict
distance to politics. I think he suffered slightly
in his earliest childhood- -as his father was so active politically. It is also about
having a social conscience- -and if you call that socialism
then, yeah, I guess I’m socialist… He is radical within a very restricted
area, where he sets the limits himself. He is very reluctant
to take part in fuzzy political discourse- -and there’s the difference
between the pragmatist- -who wants to work with concrete
stuff and not let the steam- -go out through his ears,
like we used to do in the 1960’s. This is a community. You can take
but you must give back! I am very pleased to
announce to you today- -the winner of this year’s
IDG/Linus Torvalds award is: Debian. It’s good that the Linux community has
been fairly positive towards new things,- -including the commercial aspects. Hi, I’m from Brazil, and
I’d like to know what can we do- -to bring you to Brazil in May next year? -Hey, are you coming to the
VA party wednesday night? -I will almost certainly
be there, yes. But I need to go now… -I’m hearing that you’re going shooting?
-You come with us, man! -Nooo… A lot of communities worry that these big
enterprises, these big commercial vendors- -are not going to be able to
give back to the community. The thing is that people expect other
people to be nice and take care of things- -and I don’t think that is true,
and I don’t think that it should be true- -and I think that the power of Linux
is that even if nobody else helps you- -an inch of the way, you
still have your own copy of Linux- -and you still have your own
power to do whatever you want… I want to avoid the politics of Linux. I want to be somebody that everybody
agrees is a nice guy and he doesn’t bite! -One last question?
-Sure! -I’m from India. Do you get a lot of developers
from India contributing to the kernel? Not that many. What is the message that you would like
to give them so that you get more of them. I think one of the
problems is just infrastructure. They don’t even necessarily have Internet
access, or have very slow access. I think that people are maybe not used
to do this collaboration on the Internet. They’re kind of nervous, right? Any message you wanna give them to
motivate them to get more developers? I don’t know what the issues are in
India, but there are going to be issues. Like local issues that
Indians want to be able to do things- -that the American
continent doesn’t care about at all. And I think that’s really
motivational when somebody says: “Hey, I can solve this!
I can make my own version of Linux- -and it will be better
for me as an Indian or whatever person”. And that’s how you should be motivated,
and whatever I say you should not care! Thank you very much! -You come down to India next time…
-I will try to… Do you want to take a
picture for a Dutch magazine? Are you planning on
coming to the Netherlands? The real value of Linux may be some-
where else than knocking Microsoft out. Linux was designed to run on a cheap
hardware and to solve common problems. If you are poor it is a
real alternative, free of charge. The Linux project started
in Europe and the United States. But now, free software
allows it to find ever more- -new programmers
from new sources- -from regions where
computing is still in its infancy. Beijing, China China is behind the developed
countries in the IT industry. The gap is big and
we try to catch up as fast we can. During this we have to borrow
from other countries’ experiences. We put a great importance
on the operating system. We did some
development work based on UNIX- Due to tight market control
we were not able to succeed. Linux provides us
with a very good opportunity -and a base to learn
from advanced technology. “The Chinese Red Army
delighted with Linux” I think that this is the greatest
transfer of wealth we may have ever seen- -between the industrialized
rich north, and put Europe and- -the United States together
in that, and the third world! It’s the open source. I think this is
important to many people. I like philosophy, and I like to analyze
matters from a philosophic perspective. The open source is in
accordance with the spirit of science- -the free and unrestricted
access to information. Nothing should be hidden.
That’s my first impression of Linux. The spirit could be
expanded to other fields. I never feel that this
only applies in the computer field. You have one of the most privileged
classes in capitalism: programmers! They can make so much
money from working as programmers- -that they have the time
to devote to their own hobbies. Programmers like Alan Cox,
they could name their price! Here are these people who
are at the top of the heap, and through- -the structure of transfer of intellectual
property they’ve come up with,- -they’re transferring that wealth. It is socialism in action,
even if the libertarians- -are horrified
whenever that is mentioned. Open source projects have been
compared to the way science is created. Science in itself
doesn’t make money- The wealth comes as
the result of applications. For the open source
hackers developing Linux- -has traditionally been a science-
like voluntary project. A hobby. Eventually, the best
Linux hackers were enlisted. In 1999, during the dot-com boom,
some of the Linux companies went public. Wall Street announced record-
breaking value for Linux stock. Of course it didn’t last,
but for a period of time- -some Linux hackers
were filthy rich – on paper. Just about everyone who
was a core developer before- -all this whoopla about people
making money doing Linux- -have kept to their
values in taking these jobs. Most of the ones I keep in contact with,
have a very crucial position and are- -pretty much doing all of the Linux work
they were doing before they had the job- -with the same levels of freedom, as well.
I still got changes from people every day- -I still submitted them to Linus, the
same way I always did before the IPO. Some of us are driving nicer cars than
beforehand. That’s the only difference. Maybe we’re eating
a little bit more sushi. There are some people who got lucky,
joined the right company at the right time. Managed to participate in the IPO
lottery and there are some people who- -got millions of dollars, and there are
some people who got billions of dollars! Did those people actually contribute more
to the company than those other people? In some cases they just
happened to contribute the right- -amount of investment
money at the right time. I think that’s a generic problem that’s
not unique to the open source community. I don’t know if we actually
have a good solution for that. Part of what I like about
Silicon Valley is just that it’s so dynamic,- -and you can do anything here. And even the money-grabbing
approach. Even if it’s slightly tasteless- -especially when you come from Europe,
it’s a really good motivational factor. It’s a really good way
of getting things done. Has it changed me?
I assume so. I’m not the same
person I was when I moved- -but I don’t think it’s made me all that
more money-conscious than I used to be. 2001 – Imagined by Stanley Kubrick. In the most ambitious and
grotesque PR stunt in history- -suicide hijackers blitz America
with far-reaching consequences. IT recession
affects also open source. No longer does Linus have to act
in public all the time as an enlightened- -philosopher ruler, harassed by the media.
With the coolness of Linux still intact- -the phenomenon
disappears into gadgets. Invisible pieces of technology for
households and entertainment industry. Gradually, many of us turn into
Linux users when the code infiltrates- -our clocks, toasters
and mobile phones. As for bigger ideals, it could be one of the
greatest missed opportunities of our times- -if free software
liberated nothing but code. There’s no question that
development of technology- -is just going to make
Linux obsolete at some point. The question is just:
“How long will it take?” Will it be in 5 years, or
15 years or will it be 50 years? I think one of the powers of
open source is that in 50 years- -the next operating system
that’s the best at the time- -will be able to take advantage
of the source base that Linux had. The source code itself is
going to be the memory of Linux- -and people can always
use that as a kind of blueprint. But there’s more in that.
There’s also the intangible issues- -about why things
were designed a certain way. I think those are out
there even if I weren’t out there… The Code – Story of Linux ©2001

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