2010-04-12

All You Tech Legends, Get Off My Lawn

Here’s why i should read more, or at least should read more thoroughly — i just discovered this morning that Linus Torvalds is younger than i am.

This is particularly embarrassing as i’m supposedly kind of a computer guy. As such, i know about Linux. I can talk about Linux without soundly exceedingly stupid. I actually run Linux from time to time, just for the sheer thrill of doing so. (Current installation: Ubuntu 9.10 running under VMWare Fusion.)

I’ve probably read a gazillion things on, about, or by Linus Torvalds on the web over the years. However, the web (or at least my experience of the web) tends to be about glossing, picking out interesting snippets, cataloguing only whatever information is most useful in the moment, then moving on. And as a result, i’d never had reason or cause to note how old Linus Torvalds is or (inexplicable as it might seem) to see a picture of him. And so in my head, i had made him a next-generation contemporary of Dennis Ritchie and all those old-school guys, and imagined him a kind of curmudgeonly 55-year-old Scandavian academic type with a black sweater and a pipe. Ingmar Bergman running Pico or something.

Then i caught this tech-blog snippet this morning, which was accompanied by a portrait of the artist as a young man that sent me straight to Wikipedia. Linus Torvalds is forty years old and has already changed the world, inspiring me once again to ask the question “What the fuck have i done with my life?”