Wednesday, November 18, 2009

365: At Sea

I am chirping with happiness like I imagine happy herrings do because I have been reading about Linus Torvalds** so I can write him up for the Finland book's Famous People section.I always put off writing this section till the very last minute because while it's fun to meet the amazing people from any country, it's quite hard to sum up their accomplishments, especially if I don't understand them. Writing about authors, for instance, is easy enough for me; writing about computer whizzes is not.

I can't explain very well what it means that Torvalds, when he was 21, created the Linux kernel--the heart of the Linux operating system.
But I totally get his "open source" practice: Torvalds shared Linux online for free and invited people to help improve and develop it.

Open source is basically my life philosophy--so far as I can see, it's how art and science and spirit and love work best. Perhaps counter-intuitively, even economic systems benefit from this gift-giving practice. And it's something I love about open blogging too: you let your stuff swim free in the open sea. I smile to see that Torvalds blogs on blogspot.

Lucikly the first post I read was a funny one (he's got that quirky Moomin thing going) about him marveling at getting a free music CD in a box of Indian food, and not the one about him writing code, which includes sentences such as this one:
"And once I get rid of libcrypt from openssl, I get rid of two silly runtime loadable libraries that git no longer needs."
Though--how weird--I actually have a clue what that means!

Now to write up Sibelius. Explaining music in words is even harder than explaining science.

Doesn't the young Torvalds here look a little like a ... herring?
** Links to Salon article "Martin Luther, Meet Linus Torvalds":
"Nobody likes to be exploited.

Whenever an abusive power elite monopolizes one of life's essentials and offers it at ever-greater expense, people eventually get around to weighing that price against the cost of producing it themselves. And whether that essential is salvation or operating system source code, when the scales tip, people will find a way."


ArtSparker said...

He looks a bit like The Joker too...

Rudyinparis said...

He does look like a herring! Uncanny! Like the photo of you, as well. Nonwithstanding your un-herring like appearance.

Rudyinparis said...

That's *I* like the photo of you, as well. Not "He looks like a herring! Like you!" But I believe you probably understood that!

Fresca said...

"Why so serious"...

RUDY: You'd never know I am a sometimes-proofreader from the hideous mistakes I let pass in my own comments and e-mails.