Linus Torvalds discusses Linux, Rust and the open source community after 30 years

Linus Torvalds discusses Linux, Rust and the open source community after 30 years

In an afternoon keynote session, Torvalds took the stage in the ballroom of the Hyatt Regency Seattle for a half-hour of questions from Dirk Hohndel, an early Linux developer (now the chief open source officer and vice president at VMware).

The yearly check-in with Linux creator Linus Torvalds took place this week at the Open Source Summit North America, which was held in Seattle this year (as well as virtually).


  • The theme of community seemed to keep coming up — notably about what that community has ultimately taught Linus Torvalds.

  • The ceremony began with a birthday cake being ceremoniously brought to Torvalds to commemorate Linux’s 30th anniversary, which drew a round of applause from the audience. Hohndel went on to say that he was wishing “all of the kernel developers — it really is a community as well” 30th birthday wishes.

He added, “I am eternally grateful for two other people for having more taste than I did.”But then Torvalds remembered he’d expected to move on to the next new and interesting project, leaving Linux behind in a state where “it’s kind of done. It’s not quite usable. But it’s done enough that it’s not interesting anymore.

It started with Torvalds’ memories of the first precious hours of the operating system’s release. While he’d intended to call his newly-minted operating system Freax, “I had already been told that the FTP site that I put it on, that I did not maintain, had a directory called Linux. So I had actually changed the name in the kernel main make file to be Linux at that point.”

“That was clearly then what open source changed. Because suddenly this project — that I probably would’ve left behind, if it was only up to me — I started getting questions about, and eventually patches — that just kept the motivation going. And here we are 30 years later, and it’s still what keeps the motivation going.

“Because as far as I’m concerned, it’s been done for 29 of those 30 years, and every single feature ever since has been about things that other people needed or wanted or were interested in.”