Home | Blog | Software | Reviews and Features | Forum | Help | Donate | About us
topbanner_forum
  *

avatar image

Welcome, Guest. Please login or register.
Did you miss your activation email?

Login with username, password and session length
  • December 07, 2016, 08:27:03 AM
  • Proudly celebrating 10 years online.
  • Donate now to become a lifetime supporting member of the site and get a non-expiring license key for all of our programs.
  • donate

Author Topic: Linus Torvalds on what makes open software development work. (BBC interview)  (Read 935 times)

40hz

  • Supporting Member
  • Joined in 2007
  • **
  • Posts: 11,768
    • View Profile
    • Donate to Member
Fresh from flipping off nVidia, demigod Linus Torvalds, in a BBC interview, sheds some light on what he believes makes open software development work: selfishness and trust.

Quote
The success of Linux is in large part due to its open source nature. Why do you think people have been willing to give up so much time without financial reward?

In many ways, I actually think the real idea of open source is for it to allow everybody to be "selfish", not about trying to get everybody to contribute to some common good.

In other words, I do not see open source as some big goody-goody "let's all sing kumbaya around the campfire and make the world a better place". No, open source only really works if everybody is contributing for their own selfish reasons.

Now, those selfish reasons by no means need to be about "financial reward", though.

The early "selfish" reasons to do Linux tended to be centred about just the pleasure of tinkering. That was why I did it - programming was my hobby - passion, really - and learning how to control the hardware was my own selfish goal. And it turned out that I was not all that alone in that.

Quote
If you're a person who is interested in operating systems, and you see this project that does this, you don't want to get involved if you feel like your contributions would be somehow "taken advantage of", but with the GPLv2 [licence], that simply was never an issue.

The fundamental property of the GPLv2 is a very simple "tit-for-tat" model: I'll give you my improvements, if you promise to give your improvements back.

It's a fundamentally fair licence, and you don't have to worry about somebody else then coming along and taking advantage of your work.


And the thing that then seemed to surprise people, is that that notion of "fairness" actually scales very well.

Read it all here.

zridling

  • Friend of the Site
  • Charter Member
  • Joined in 2005
  • ***
  • Posts: 3,292
    • View Profile
    • Donate to Member
Scratch that itch, because it's very likely many more have a similar itch!

I remember arguing with my brother in the late 90s when Microsoft was going through its antitrust troubles in the US; he claimed that Linux was communist and should be banned because it took business away from Microsoft. Told him he better start banning everything else, from lemonade stands to from anyone building a better mousetrap. Little did he know Steve Jobs would soon come along and believe he invented every thing he ever gazed upon and spend his last decade suing everyone on the planet while benefiting from slave labor wages in developing countries.

40hz

  • Supporting Member
  • Joined in 2007
  • **
  • Posts: 11,768
    • View Profile
    • Donate to Member
I particularly liked his capsule summary of how GPL works: tit-for-tat.

I'm amazed at how many very smart people (including Ubuntu most recently) can't seem to understand that basic premise. It's painful seeing some of the verbal, legal, and philosophical hoops these people jump through trying to prove that a licensing model which embraces a very clear and logical notion of fairness (i.e. give back) somehow isn't fair at all.

 8)