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Torvalds unplugged

Which commercial company is doing the most for Linux?

I have such a hard time judging that. Most of them tend to be in fairly

different markets. I think that there is a lot of power in just numbers.

That's what made Windows such an attractive platform. It wasn't Microsoft.

It was the fact that there were hundreds - thousands of companies

supporting it. I think that it would be wrong to single out any Linux


Today most of the IT companies are embracing Linux. Are they giving

back enough to the community?

People expect other people to be nice and take care of things. I don't

think that it's true and I don't think it should be. The power of Linux is

that even if nobody else helps you an inch of the way, then you still have

your copy of Linux, you still have the power to do whatever you want.

That's important. In that sense, even if a commercial company were to give

back nothing at all, it would not be a loss for Linux. Even with a

company like Dell which doesn't do any Linux development, just the fact

that they are there, supporting Linux, helps. Just the PR value of it is

great. Also as Michael [Dell] mentioned, it's fairly important to have

big hardware manufacturers that are known to support you. Dell and IBM

have been very good at causing other hardware manufacturers to make sure

they have drivers for Linux. So I'm fairly positive.

Do you see the growth of Linux in the enterprise, home pc's or in the

non-PC market?

I don't know. As a Transmeta person, I can say the non-pc market. The

advantage of PC's is that they're standard and they're really cheap to

make because they're standard. Maybe a new standard is coming up. Anybody

who is interested in any emerging technology these days, they tend to

actually look at Linux first because it's so easy to adopt. Maybe we'll

all leave small big traces in the sand.

Did you pick Debian personally for the $25,000 IDG/Linus Torvalds

Community Award which was presented to Debian at the LinuxWorld Conference

& Expo?

I'm allowed to be involved in the discussions. But in practice I don't

want to get involved. It's been a fairly conscious decision. Partly

because of laziness, but partly just because I want to avoid the politics

of Linux. I want to be somebody who everybody agrees is a nice guy and

doesn't butt in. So I've actually let IDG do it, who've so far been doing