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posted by martyb on Wednesday October 30 2019, @11:07AM   Printer-friendly
from the programming...people dept.

Submitted via IRC for soylent_blue

Linus Torvalds: 'I'm not a programmer anymore'

Linus Torvalds, Linux's creator, doesn't make speeches anymore. But, what he does do, and he did again at Open Source Summit Europe in Lyon France is have public conversations with his friend Dirk Hohndel, VMware's Chief Open Source Officer. In this keynote discussion, Torvalds revealed that he doesn't think he's a programmer anymore.

So what does the person everyone thinks of as a programmer's programmer do instead? Torvalds explained:

I don't know coding at all anymore. Most of the code I write is in my e-mails. So somebody sends me a patch ... I [reply with] pseudo code. I'm so used to editing patches now I sometimes edit patches and send out the patch without having ever tested it. I literally wrote it in the mail and say, 'I think this is how it should be done,' but this is what I do, I am not a programmer.

So, Hohndel asked, "What is your job?" Torvalds replied, "I read and write a lot of email. My job really is, in the end, is to say 'no.' Somebody has to say 'no' to [this patch or that pull request]. And because developers know that if they do something that I'll say 'no' to, they do a better job of writing the code."

Torvalds continued, "Sometimes the code changes are so obvious that no messages [are] really required, but that is very very rare." To help your code pass muster with Torvalds it helps to ''explain why the code does something and why some change is needed because that in turn helps the managerial side of the equation, where if you can explain your code to me, I will trust the code."

In short, these days Torvalds is a code manager and maintainer, not a developer. That's fine with him: "I see one of my primary goals to be very responsive when people send me patches. I want to be like, I say yes or no within a day or two. During a merge, the day or two may stretch into a week, but I want to be there all the time as a maintainer."

That's what code maintainers should do.


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  • (Score: 2) by deimtee on Thursday October 31 2019, @12:45PM (1 child)

    by deimtee (3272) on Thursday October 31 2019, @12:45PM (#914089) Journal

    Get a few friends together, start up the Project Masters Institute and issue your own certifications.

    Now, for testing : Ask her for a sandwich.
    - If it's a good sandwich, make her a Project Management Professional
    - If it's a crappy sandwich make her a Project Management Consultant
    - If she gets the kids to make it, make her a Manager of Project Management Professionals.
    - If you get a beer with it, make her Supreme Master of Project Management
    - If you don't get a sandwich, make her an MBA.

    --
    If you cough while drinking cheap red wine it really cleans out your sinuses.
    Starting Score:    1  point
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    Total Score:   2  
  • (Score: 2) by krishnoid on Thursday October 31 2019, @07:33PM

    by krishnoid (1156) on Thursday October 31 2019, @07:33PM (#914296)

    What if you get a burrito or a hot dog?