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Title    Linus Torvalds: 'I'm Not a Programmer Anymore'
Date    Wednesday October 30 2019, @11:07AM
Author    martyb
Topic   
from the programming...people dept.
https://soylentnews.org/article.pl?sid=19/10/30/0445213

upstart writes:

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.


Original Submission

Links

  1. "upstart" - https://soylentnews.org/~upstart/
  2. "Linus Torvalds: 'I'm not a programmer anymore'" - https://www.zdnet.com/article/linus-torvalds-im-not-a-programmer-anymore/
  3. "Open Source Summit Europe" - https://events19.linuxfoundation.org/events/open-source-summit-europe-2019/
  4. "VMware" - https://www.vmware.com/
  5. "Original Submission" - https://soylentnews.org/submit.pl?op=viewsub&subid=37160

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