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Wired: The Peacemaker

Jun 17, 2003, 16:00 (9 Talkback[s])
(Other stories by David Diamond)

"It's no accident that Linus Torvalds has been calling the shots for Linux longer than most world leaders have been in power. In the 12 years since he uploaded his operating system and became de facto master of the open source universe, the 33-year-old programmer has endured waves of attacks from developer zealots seeking to hijack open source to further their own agendas--toppling Microsoft, fighting the music industry, stopping the commercialization of open source software. Through it all, Torvalds has maintained a Zen-like ability to defuse political opposition and saved Linux from being either co-opted or abandoned. Torvalds, who holds down a day job as a software engineer at chipmaker Transmeta, told Wired how he keeps the peace.

"WIRED: The open source community has all manner of rabid devotees. What's your strategy for keeping these forces at bay?

"TORVALDS: My basic strategy has always been to not care too much. It actually ends up working wonders--avoiding confrontation by just walking away. The thing is, I don't usually feel as deeply about some of the issues they feel strongly about, and that makes it easier just to ignore the politics--and as a result, the political consequences. That also allows me to concentrate on the things I do enjoy, namely the technical discussions..."

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