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Red Herring杂志采访Linux创始人linus 日 期：2006-08-23 作者：red herring 来自：http://www.redherring.com/Article.aspx?a=18011&hed= Exclusive+Q%26A%3A+Linus+Torvalds§or=Industries&subsector=Computing
Linux creator says ‘influx of money’ is helping his 15-year-old creation grow up nicely.August 21, 2006 Print Issue
If open source were a religion, Linus Torvalds, the Finnish engineer who wrote the core of the operating system that would become Linux, would be its prophet.
In 1991, Mr. Torvalds created the kernel, or core software, that would eventually be adopted by millions of computer users and lay the foundation for a vibrant open-source community.
Fifteen years later, Mr. Torvalds, after whom the Linux system is named, wears his crown lightly. He lives in Portland, Oregon, out of Silicon Valley’s spotlight, and has often expressed his dislike for the cult-like worship by open-source enthusiasts.
Three years ago, Mr. Torvalds, 37, joined the Open Source Development Lab, a consortium that promotes the adoption of Linux, where he now oversees development of the system.
In an email interview with Red Herring, Mr. Torvalds says the increasing focus of venture capitalists and large companies on open source can only be good for a community that, until now, was on the fringes of the commercial realm.
‘Open source has already overcome the biggest challenge—of acceptance and perception.’
Open Source Development Lab
Q: Open source has suddenly become hot among venture capitalists. How will all this money affect the open-source community?
A: Well, one thing is that people no longer automatically think you can’t make money as an open-source programmer. There is so much value in open source that it’s actually very valuable to be known as an open-source developer. The influx of money also seems to have shored up some of the traditional weak points of open source, all the “boring work” that obviously also needs to be done like validation, [quality assurance], documentation, and support. At the same time, the open-source licenses tend to be designed to keep everybody honest, meaning there is a good balance between technology and money. So I think it’s been very much a situation where everybody wins. That’s one reason why open source has become pretty enthusiastically supported by commercial interests that perhaps were a bit nervous about it at first.
Q: Do you think companies like IBM and Red Hat will help to increase the reach of open source, or do you fear that the spirit of the movement will be hijacked by corporations?
A: Oh, there were people who feared that several years ago, but what the commercial companies brought was not a hijacking of the spirit of the movement, just more strength, and perhaps a bit of a balance to it. Now, some people will argue that “balance” is bad, but those people tend to be more in the “crazy fringe,” and Linux in particular was never in that camp. I’ve always been a pragmatic person, and I think one of the successes of Linux has been that pragmatic social side: software development with some social ideals, but without being unrealistic or overly aggressive about it.
Q: What do you think is in store for Linux over the next five years?
A: You’re asking the wrong person. I have very consciously tried to just concentrate on the technical side, partly because that’s where my interest is, and partly because I think the rest will follow. I don’t think five-year planned economies work, and I don’t think it works when you do software design, either. Linux development has always been a kind of open market, where the development direction gets set by customer demand, together with obviously a lot of what I simply call good taste—the avoidance of things that are obviously going to be problematic in the long run.
Q: What are the challenges that the open-source movement now faces?
A: Open source has already overcome the biggest challenge—of acceptance and perception. From a purely technical standpoint, the open-source methodology is simply superior—modern software is simply too complicated to be done in hiding—but for a long time people seemed to think it was a strange and counterintuitive way of doing things. That’s largely over. Now, the success of open source has obviously brought some new issues, like the nuisance of legal challenges.
In the bigger picture, the non-technical roadblocks are what would worry me most. Bad patents—and software patents really are horribly bad, it’s essentially exclusive rights to a thought—obviously have the potential to be a much nastier problem. The good news is obviously they aren’t just a problem to open source, and a lot of the tech industry seems to have woken up to that.