Linus Torvalds interview: 'All my daughter wanted for Christmas was a polymerase chain reaction machine'

By Graeme Burton
04 Jan 2013 View Comments
linus-torvalds

Q. Your influence has been acclaimed in the pages of Time, Business Week and other major publications; you also had the asteroid 9793 Torvalds named after you. Which of these by-products of success are you most puzzled or amused by?

Further reading

Of all the incidental things that have come with Linux and fame, the one I think I enjoy the most is not so much any particular issue, but the larger thing: just the opportunities that have made it possible to experience many things I wouldn't otherwise have ever been invited to or been able to do.

For example, I never really wanted to write a book, but I have to say, the whole experience of writing one with David Diamond was very enjoyable. It's not likely something I'd do again, but it was an opportunity that came to me through this all, and it was fun and different. And I've been able to travel a fair bit, and got to go places I wouldn't have been to otherwise.

So it's the experiences I think that I enjoy the most. The fact that I can say that I spent 15 very uncomfortable minutes with a flower in my mouth, looking into the sun while trying not to go blind, because the particular professional photographer wanted to get a particular "look". Or being invited to the President's Castle Ball for Finnish Independence Day (unless you grew up in Finland, you probably don't understand how that's both boring and special). Or being at an Oscars pre-party, watching my wife annoy Warren Beatty.

None of those things have anything directly to do with Linux, but all of them are kind of random things I've been able to do thanks to Linux. Yes, I spend much of my life in a ratty bathrobe, but I do get to take the occasional break from those things too.

Linus Torvald was in conversation with Technology Academy Finland, the body that awards the Millennium Technology Prize, which he won last year.

This is the final part of a three-part interview. 

Part one: From VIC-20 to Raspberry Pi

Part two: Linus Torvalds on Linux and the future of computing

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