What would happen to Linux if Linus died?
Linus Torvalds has been the face and voice of Linux for many years now. But what would happen if Linus died? Well Linus himself thinks that Linux would survive just fine without him, and that may come as a relief to those who have wondered about Linux after Linus.
Ashlee Vance reports for Blooberg:
The conversation, combined with Linus Torvalds’s aggression behind the wheel, makes this sunny afternoon drive suddenly feel all too serious. Torvalds—the grand ruler of all geeks—does not drive like a geek. He plasters his foot to the pedal of a yellow Mercedes convertible with its “DAD OF 3” license plate as we rip around a corner on a Portland, Ore., freeway. My body smears across the passenger door. “There is no concrete plan of action if I die,” Torvalds yells to me over the wind and the traffic. “But that would have been a bigger deal 10 or 15 years ago. People would have panicked. Now I think they’d work everything out in a couple of months.”
It’s a morbid but important discussion. Torvalds released the Linux operating system from his college dorm room in Finland in 1991. Since then, the software has taken over the world. Huge swaths of the Internet—including the servers of Google, Amazon.com, and Facebook—run on Linux. More than a billion Android smartphones and tablets run on Linux, as do billions upon billions of everything from appliances and medical devices right on up to cars and rockets. While Linux is open-source, which allows people to change it as they please, Torvalds remains the lone official arbiter of the software, guiding how Linux evolves. When it comes to the software that runs just about everything, Torvalds is The Decider.
Linux redditors reacted to the article about the mortality of Linus:
Pizzaiolo: "For some reason I think Stallman will be a bigger loss to the free software movement than Torvalds will be for kernel development :("
Send-me-to-hell: "I'm pretty sure if RMS died of a heart attack tomorrow he would be too stubborn to admit it."
Mini_market: "Nor allow non-free software defibrillator to revive his heart."
Regeya: "He wouldn't even be close to the first Free Software developer to die in an accident. People should take this...seriously. "
Knaekce: "Linus could get run over by a bus. The Linux Foundation should at least have a plan how to continue without him, such a huge project as the Linux kernel should not depend that much on a single person."
Riotingpacifist: "He could easily be replaced, much of the work is done by core maintainers anyway. I mean development would slow down as linux would lose it's dictator in favour of committees, but given the value and driving force behind linux, the linux foundation would certainly keep all the big contributors playing."
Kiipa: "It's a question that I bet a lot of people would like to be answered. Most of us who use Linux aren't contributing/involved with the project - we just use the product - so we wouldn't necessarily know how the project is managed."
IMBJR: "Why does this subject keep reappearing? It seems like there's an obsession out there that keeps bubbling up."
Oversized_hoodie: "Every time Linus takes a vacation, another news publication does a story about what would happen if he disappeared."