Linus Torvalds to developers: To succeed, make it personal

In an interview with the IEEE Computer Society, the Linux founder lays out the philosophy behind his and his OS's success

"It's not that Linux was new from a technical standpoint. It was new because it was done differently," says Linus Torvalds in his interview with the IEEE Computer Society. "Linux made it clear how well open source works, not just from a technical standpoint, but also from a business, commercial, and community standpoint."

Torvalds, winner of the Society's 2014 Computer Pioneer Award, discusses his past and his future in the above video, and he expounds on the philosophy that got him where he is today. He says the most important goal for programmers is "finding something you're really interested in so that you continue to tinker with it and get really good." And he eschews the notion of a long-term road map not just for personal growth -- better to follow what you truly enjoy than to be dogmatic about a career plan -- but for technology as well. "The five-year plan doesn't work in technology," he notes, "because nobody has a great view of what's coming up."

"The philosophy is not to look for big questions to be solved," he says. "I want to solve problems, but I want to solve my problems. I don't want to go looking for other people's problems to solve." Thanks to the nature of open source, a solution to your own problem can be taken and repurposed all sorts of ways. Torvalds cites Git as an example of finding a solution to an immediate problem and having that solution spin off into its own thing. It wasn't planned to go that way, but it works because it evolved naturally.

This story, "Linus Torvalds to developers: To succeed, make it personal," was originally published at InfoWorld.com. Keep up with the latest tech videos with the InfoTube blog. For the latest developments in business technology news, follow InfoWorld.com on Twitter.

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