I ran across this blog post this evening, and just couldn’t help but share. Apparently the father of Linux, a very well-known celebrity in our little circle, attended a Hollywood Oscar party and found himself feeling like a geek out of water (or code?). Linus Torvalds and his wife, Tove, were invited to the Night Before Oscar party and found themselves among the likes of David Spade, Mila Kunis, and Natalie Portman among others. If you’re saying “who?,” you’re not alone… Linus was too. Linus and Tove had to Google to verify the names of many they saw. Linus reports they made a couple of faux pas, asking Warren Beatty twice who he was, but they survived the night.
We probably won’t be invited again. But we have pictures for the kids, to prove to them that their parents are cool people.
This phenomenon seems like an obvious situation. Of course, who would know what Linus Torvalds looks like? Well, a lot of Linux geeks sure would. And why would Linus, a man with a lot of other important and complex things on his mind, care about the hottest Hollywood celebrities? Answer: He wouldn’t.
But the real sad part to me is that really more people should recognize the likeness of Linus Torvalds just as they recognize Bill Gates, Warren Buffet or Donald Trump. Surely, the software Linus has created is important to the manufacturing of goods, trading of stocks, and creation of animated masterpieces like “How to Train Your Dragon.” But because Linux is open source, Linus sits in the office over his garage (a step up from his basement lair) in his tattered bathrobe, not in his New York City penthouse or Seattle mansion. And because of this, we all can use and contribute to this great software and make it the great tool that it is. No platform lock-in or outrageous licensing fees to deal with, just good, efficient software to get things done.
I think a comment on Linus’s blog post would be a good way to let him know that we would recognize and adore him, and let his kids know that he’s definitely “cool.”