Linus Torvalds decries the cult of personality in technology

In today's open source roundup: Linus hammers the cult of personality in technology. Plus: Open source and security, and "Game of Thrones" author George R.R. Martin endorses Linux

Linus Torvalds has never been shy about expressing his opinions. The Huffington Post recently did an interview with him where he shared his thoughts about what's happening in technology right now, the cult of personality surrounding technology leaders, Google versus Microsoft, and even religion and politics.

According to Huffington Post:

Torvalds: I wouldn't say it makes me angry, but if there's something distasteful in the tech market, it's the glorification of the most visible "leaders".

That very much includes me, btw. I think the whole "cult of personality" is pretty disturbing, and I hate how people take me and what I say too seriously. The same goes for Jobs, Ellison, Gates, you name it. I wish more people thought for themselves, and realized that the technology actually flows from all those random anonymous great engineers that are all around.

I understand that people want and need a focus, and that it doesn't just happen in technology either (hey, I sure hope it happens less in technology than it happens in the entertainment industry ;), but it's still a bit sad.

More at Huffington Post
Linux Torvalds Interview
Image credit: Muy Linux

It was great (and also somewhat ironic) to see Linus speaking out against the cult of personality in technology, and also to see him credit engineers instead. The media tends to focus on personalities far too often while blithely ignoring the people who actually make the technology work, day in and day out.

Open source and security

ZDNet has an editorial that argues in favor of open source as the best model for security, despite the Heartbleed bug that got so much media attention recently.

According to ZDNet:

You see, while Heartbleed was open source's worse security hour, it was an exceptional case. Outside of Apple and Microsoft, everyone, and I mean pretty much everyone, has already decided that open source is how they'll develop and secure their software. Google, Facebook, Yahoo, Wikipedia, Twitter, Amazon, you know all of Alexa's top ten Websites in the world, rely on open-source software every day of the year.

They do it because Eric S. Raymond was right when he wrote in the essay that got open source started, "The Cathedral and the Bazaar," that "Given enough eyeballs, all bugs are shallow."

The problem with Heartbleed was that no one—no, not even the NSA—looked at the code. The failure wasn't with the open-source method, it was that no one bothered to apply it to OpenSSL.

More at ZDNet

The folks that don't like open source used Heartbleed adroitly to try to attack the open source model. I barked about this in a column a while back called "The Heartbleed drama queens" and what I said still stands. Heartbleed was a small speed bump on the open source road, and it won't have much - if any - real effect on the long term prospects of open source software.

George R.R. Martin endorses Linux

The author of the "Game of Thrones" books has endorsed Linux, but not for the reasons you'd expect. Ha. Okay, he didn't actually endorse Linux but the image was too funny not to include.

More at Google+
George RR Martin Endorses Linux

What's your take on all this? Tell me in the comments below.

The opinions expressed by the author do not necessarily reflect the views of ITworld.

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