Every interview with Linus Torvalds is well worth a read. The latest is Linus Torvalds – Part I. My favorite Q&A is:
Jim Zemlin: You’ve often been quoted as saying, ‘Linux is just fun,’ and that’s what really motivates you to do this.
Linus Torvalds: Right.
Jim Zemlin: Do you see Linux, the development of Linux as something of a greater cause?
Linus Torvalds: No. No, not to me; I mean, to other people it is. I mean, it’s actually one of the things I found to be interesting is how people use Linux in ways that I didn’t start out designing it for and sometimes use it for things that I really don’t care about personally that much.
And all the usage where people use Linux for third world countries and helping humanity, some people think that’s why I got into it and, no, that’s not why I got into it and the credit should go to projects like OLPC that use Linux to try to better the world in a bigger picture.
To me it’s being – I think it’s very interesting and, I mean, when I say it’s – what drives, motivates me is the fun part. I mean, part of being fun is that it should be difficult enough to not be trivial. So, fun doesn’t mean that it’s frivolous; it just means it’s interesting and exciting.
But at the end of the day, the only thing that matters is actual code and the technology itself and the people who are not willing to step up and write that code, they can comment on it and they can say it should be done this way or that way or they won’t, but in the end their voice doesn’t matter. The only thing that matters is code.
Right on, Linus! I couldn’t agree more, as I most recently noted in the post XO Axiom #3: Open-source is all about fun.
I applied this maxim most recently this past Sunday when I met with the Bolgar brothers, Josh and Zander, to begin their instruction in using the XO and learning the Python programming language. I started out by saying:
“The XO is based on open-source, and open-source is all about fun. If you aren’t having fun then something is wrong and we need to stop and fix it, including if I give you something to do that you don’t find to be fun.
Thing is, if it’s not fun then you might stop doing it, so we MUST keep it fun. If we can do that then everything else will take care of itself.
By the way, I took along XO-Tux and my two XO T-shirts. The boys are now the guardian of XO-Tux, and their father Robert reports that TUX is seated near the fireplace alongside Shrek. He reports they had a lot of fun this past Sunday, so things are looking good.