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Quotes of the day: Linus Torvalds

Published Saturday, December 27, 2014 @ 8:56 PM EST
Dec 27 2014

Linus Benedict Torvalds (b. December 28, 1969) is a Finnish American software engineer, who was the principal force behind the development of Linux, the most popular kernel for operating systems. (Click here for full Wikipedia article)


A project has to sit inside one person's head.

Any revolution that goes on for too long is by definition a failure. The idea is to become the establishment.

Crying that it's an application bug is like crying over the speed of light: you should deal with reality, not what you wish reality was.

Everyone says that working together is good. But somewhere, in their dark, little minds, they say, 'I want to do this alone. I want to make millions.'

I have an ego the size of a small planet.

I like offending people, because I think people who get offended should be offended.

I'm not a visionary- to me, a guy standing in the middle of the road looks like road kill.

I'm personally convinced that computer science has a lot in common with physics. Both are about how the world works at a rather fundamental level. The difference, of course, is that while in physics you're supposed to figure out how the world is made up, in computer science you create the world. Within the confines of the computer, you're the creator. You get to ultimately control everything that happens. If you're good enough, you can be God. On a small scale.

If you think your users are idiots, only idiots will use it.

Intelligence is the ability to avoid doing work, yet getting the work done.

Obsessing about things is important, and things really do matter, but if you can't let go of them, you'll end up crazy.

On the internet nobody can hear you being subtle.

Only wimps use tape backup: real men just upload their important stuff on ftp, and let the rest of the world mirror it.

People who disagree with me are by definition crazy.

Portability is for people who cannot write new programs.

Software evolves. It isn't designed. The only question is how strictly you control the evolution, and how open you are to external sources of mutations.

Standards are paper. I use paper to wipe my butt every day. That's how much that paper is worth.

Talk is cheap. Show me the code.

The fact is, there aren't just two sides to any issue, there's almost always a range of responses, and 'it depends' is almost always the right answer in any big question.

Theory and practice sometimes clash. And when that happens, theory loses. Every single time.

Those that can, do. Those that can't, complain.

Toto, I don't think we're talking white-socks-and-sandals any more.

When you say 'I wrote a program that crashed Windows,' people just stare at you blankly and say, 'Hey, I got those with the system for free.'

XML is crap. Really. There are no excuses. XML is nasty to parse for humans, and it's a disaster to parse even for computers. There's just no reason for that horrible crap to exist.


(December 28 is also the birthday of John von Neumann and Woodrow Wilson.)

Categories: Linus Torvalds, Quotes of the day

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Quotes of the day: Norman Schwarzkopf

Published Saturday, December 27, 2014 @ 6:31 AM EST
Dec 27 2014

H. Norman Schwarzkopf, Jr. (August 22, 1934 - December 27, 2012) was a United States Army general. While serving as Commander-in- Chief, United States Central Command, he led all coalition forces in the Persian Gulf War. (Click here for full Wikipedia article)


Any soldier worth his salt should be antiwar. And still, there are things worth fighting for.

Do what is right, not what you think the high headquarters wants or what you think will make you look good.

Generals aren't in the business of commenting on the correctness or incorrectness of the President's decisions. Anybody who thinks he should be able to do that ought to be fired on the spot.

Going to war without France is like going hunting without an accordion.

I don't consider myself dovish and I certainly don't consider myself hawkish. Maybe I would describe myself as owlish- that is, wise enough to understand that you want to do everything possible to avoid war; that once you're committed to war then be ferocious enough to do whatever is necessary to get it over with as quickly as possible in victory.

I get angry at a principle, not a person.

I hate war. Absolutely, I hate war.

It's nice to feel that you have a purpose.

Leadership is a potent combination of strategy and character. But if you must be without one, be without the strategy.

The more you sweat in peace, the less you bleed in war.

The truth of the matter is that you always know the right thing to do. The hard part is doing it.

True courage is being afraid, and going ahead and doing your job.

War's a profanity because, let's face it, you've got two opposing sides trying to settle their differences by killing as many of each other as they can.

When placed in command, take charge.

You learn far more from negative leadership than from positive leadership. Because you learn how not to do it. And, therefore, you learn how to do it.


(December 27 is also the birthday of Oscar Levant, Sarah Vowell, and Marlene Dietrich.)

Categories: Norman Schwarzkopf, Quotes of the day

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