Linux at 25: Q&A With Linus Torvalds

This is a great Linus Torvalds interview. It’s all quoteable, but I found this especially interesting:

As to why the desktop is such a hard nut to crack—there are multiple reasons, but one of the big ones is simply user inertia. The desktop is simply unique in the computing world in that it’s both very personal—you interact with it rather intimately every day if you work with computers—but also complicated in ways many other computing environments aren’t.

Look at your smartphone. That’s also a fairly intimate piece of computing technology, and one that people get pretty attached to (and one where Linux, thanks to Android, is doing fairly well). The desktop is in many ways more complex, with much more legacy baggage. It’s a hard market to enter. Even more so than with a cellphone, people really have a certain set of applications and workflows that they are used to, and most people will never end up switching operating systems—the number of people who install a different OS than the one that came preinstalled with the machine is pretty low.

At the same time, I think it’s an important market, even if to some degree the whole “general-purpose desktop” seems to be fading, with more specialized, and thus simpler, platforms taking on many tasks—smartphones, tablets, and Chromebooks all being examples of things that aren’t really meant to be fully fledged general-purpose environments.

It’s all pretty great, though. Go and read the whole thing.

Linux at 25: Q&A With Linus Torvalds