Four primary principles of success of Linux

Jim Zemlin at TEDx: What We’ve Learned from Linus Torvalds article tells that Linux Foundation Executive Director Jim Zemlin was recently invited to speak at TEDx about what the technology industry has learned from Linux, and specifically its creator Linus Torvalds, and how some of those lessons can be applied to a variety of efforts and projects. Check out the 18-minute talk here:

He attributes the success of Linux during his talk to four primary principles:

Don’t Dream Big
Give It All Away

Don’t Have a Plan
Don’t Be Nice

Jim Zemlin at TEDx: What We’ve Learned from Linus Torvalds article should be required reading and talk video watching for all engineers, and–most importantly–engineering and technical managers at ALL levels.

Linus Torvalds and the entire Linux community have created more value than anyone could have imagined in a little bit more than 20 years. Linux today is estimated to be worth more than $10B. Linux and other open source software have created many business opportunities.


  1. centos says:

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  2. Tomi Engdahl says:

    Addressable markets for high-end phones

    There were about 5.2bn adults on earth at the end of 2012. Of those, around 3.2bn had mobile SIMs, though not necessarily phones

    Within that, roughly 1.1bn had ‘smartphones’ at the end of 2012, of which around 900m ran either the iOS or Android versions of Unix. (As an aside, it is pretty striking that almost a fifth of the earth’s adult population has a Unix box in their pocket.)

  3. Tomi says:

    Why talent for tech is different than skill

    Taming technology is sometimes more art than science, but the difference can sometimes be hard to discern

    Wherever you are in IT, you’ve probably come across colleagues who were extremely skilled at their jobs — system administrators who can bend a zsh shell to their every whim, or developers who can write lengthy functions that compile without a whimper the first time. You’ve probably also come across colleagues who were extremely talented — who could instantly visualize a new infrastructure addition and sketch it out to extreme detail on a whiteboard while they assembled it in their head, for example, or who could devise a new, elegant UI without breaking a sweat.

    The truly gifted among us exhibit both of those traits, but most fall into one category or another. There is a difference between skill and talent. Such is true in many vocations, of course, but IT can present a stark contrast between the two.

  4. Tomi says:

    The coming push for open source everything

    When we can no longer trust proprietary hardware or software, open source becomes the only option

    With the news about PRISM and other clandestine data-vacuuming operations in place all over the world, it’s clear there’s a problem. It’s not just about hoovering up information from millions of people — it’s the vast number of devices that can no longer be trusted for use in business and government. When the code running anywhere along a data path is not open source, there’s a chance it’s doing something you can’t know about and potentially transmitting data to someone who shouldn’t have it. That possibility should serve to upset even nontechnical executives, to say nothing about governments all over the world.

    Open source closes the backdoors
    With open source, the veil is already lifted, and an army of developers inspects the code all the time. The potential for hidden backdoors is dramatically reduced. But that doesn’t really matter if you go deep enough.

    Sure, you can install pfSense on a server and know it’s not backdoored, but what about the hardware within the server itself? What about the TCP offloading code in the NICs? Or the BIOS? It could contain a nefarious element that you simply can’t trust — unless, of course, all that code were open source as well.


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