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F & F


Dictatorship Over Cats
posted by mpawlo on Wednesday August 18, @09:03AM
from the linus-the-headliner dept.
Open Source Business Week has just published a lengthy interview with Linus Torvalds on the 'dictatorship' over Linux and other issues. Torvalds is quoted as stating:

'I am a dictator, but it's the right kind of dictatorship. I can't really do anything that screws people over. The benevolence is built in. I can't be nasty. If my baser instincts took hold, they wouldn't trust me, and they wouldn't work with me anymore. I'm not so much a leader, I'm more of a shepherd. Now all the kernel developers will read that and say, "He's comparing us to sheep." It's more like herding cats.'

Read the article in Business Week.

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    Dictatorship Over Cats | Login/Create an Account | Top | 4 comments | Search Discussion
    The Fine Print: The following comments are owned by whoever posted them. We are not responsible for them in any way.
    Cat herding (Score:1)
    by alien on Wednesday August 18, @11:58AM (#1571)
    User #868 Info
    Wow, Linus is one with the concept of cat herding. I guess I can't consider that to be "my" concept anymore and have to classify it as a Jungian archetype or something.

    For those who don't quite get "cat herding", imagine a group of cats, each with distinct personalities, quirks, and varying levels of refusal to cooperate with each other. Now, try to get them to work towards a goal. That is cat herding. Its not an effort at effective dictatorship as much as it is an effort to keep a highly volatile group from flying apart at the seams ;)

    The friendly dictator (Score:1)
    by Merc on Friday August 20, @11:28AM (#1599)
    User #1066 Info
    Software patents concern me. I worry about some greedy companies -- possibly failing ones, trying to make trouble and abusing the system. Software patents, in particular, are very ripe for abuse. The whole system encourages big corporations getting thousands and thousands of patents. Individuals almost never get them.

    Section 8, clause 8 of the US constitution says:

    To promote the Progress of Science and useful Arts, by securing for limited Times to Authors and Inventors the exclusive Right to their respective Writings and Discoveries;

    The aim here is clear -- to promote the progress of science and useful arts by protecting authors and inventors. I wonder how the people who wrote that document would feel about the situation today. Virtually no individual inventors, almost all patents granted to large, rich companies who force their employees to assign all their intellectual property. Patents not being used to protect an invention being brought to market, but to wait until an invention is brought to market, then pounce, hoping to extort money.

    I like the fact that Linus freely admits to being a dictator. Because of brainwashing in school and beyond, many people see Democracy as the only right way to run things. If cats don't respond to herding well, imagine how poorly they would respond to voting. Besides, Linus sees that the most important quality that a leader can have is the trust of those he's leading:

    To be honest, the fact that people trust you gives you a lot of power over people. Having another person's trust is more powerful than all other management techniques put together.

    It's also interesting that he sees "open source" development as simply being a facet of the scientific method:

    I think the method is the scientific method. The open-source people use it for software. So, engineering and science are all about the open-source method. It's mainly about knowledge and information. You can spread it without losing it yourself. Groklaw.net is the open-source mentality applied to legal research. There are encyclopedias -- a collection of a lot of information that's neutral. One project on the Web is Wikipedia.
    obligatory Cat Herding link (Score:0)
    by Anonymous Coward on Friday August 20, @10:06PM (#1607)
    EDS' Cat Herding commercial [easycall.net]
    Has to be some Hegemony (Score:1)
    by thebaron on Tuesday August 24, @06:51AM (#1613)
    User #1032 Info | http://www.web-law.org/
    Linux is still no real threat to Windows - but is gaining on that goal. For it to be effective, there has to be some hegemony - Torvalds is it.
    See ROiWeb [roiweb.biz] for more.The Baron

    Humanity has the stars in its future, and that future is too important to be lost under the burden of juvenile folly and ignorant superstition. - Isaac Asimov

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