Linus Torvalds to developers: To succeed, make it personal

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“It’s not that Linux was new from a technical standpoint. It was new because it was done differently,” says Linus Torvalds in his interview with the IEEE Computer Society. “Linux made it clear how well open source works, not just from a technical standpoint, but also from a business, commercial, and community standpoint.”

Torvalds, winner of the Society’s 2014 Computer Pioneer Award, discusses his past and his future in a video interview, and he expounds on the philosophy that got him where he is today. He says the most important goal for programmers is “finding something you’re really interested in so that you continue to tinker with it and get really good.” And he eschews the notion of a long-term road map not just for personal growth — better to follow what you truly enjoy than to be dogmatic about a career plan — but for technology as well. “The five-year plan doesn’t work in technology,” he notes, “because nobody has a great view of what’s coming up.”

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