Linux founder Linus Torvalds delivers a smackdown like no other

Written by Belle Beth Cooper on August 9, 2012

My name is Linus Torvalds, and I am your god.

You don’t have to be a Linux user, or even a nerd, to love Linus Torvalds. His arrogant and irreverant sense of humor draws scores of views, shares and upvotes on almost anything he says online.

He cares very little about what others think, and will publicly lambaste anyone he deems deserving. Which to be honest, appears to be most people.

From an abundant smorgasbord, we’ve chosen 14 of our favorite smackdowns from King Linus.

1. LINUS DEFENDS THE PENGUIN:

In response to negative comments about the Linux penguin logo, Linus had this to say to the ‘penguin-haters’:

Linux now has a logo thanks to the artistic talents of Larry Ewing, and one version (the “pretty” version) is included with the kernel. Some people have told me they don’t think a fat penguin really embodies the grace of Linux, which just tells me they have never seen an angry penguin charging at them in excess of 100mph.

They’d be a lot more careful about what they say if they had…

In short, at least give the penguin a fair viewing. If you still don’t like it that’s ok: that’s why I’m boss. I simply know better than you do.

2. LINUS SLAMS C++

When he received this comment about git source code:

‘Pure C as opposed to C++. No idea why. Please don’t talk about portability, it’s BS.’

Linus explained his choice thus:

*YOU* are full of bullshit.
C++ is a horrible language. It’s made more horrible by the fact that a lot of substandard programmers use it, to the point where it’s much much easier to generate total and utter crap with it…

So I’m sorry, but for something like git, where efficiency was a primary objective, the “advantages” of C++ are just a huge mistake. The fact that we also piss off people who cannot see that is just a big additional advantage.

3. LINUS MAKES GREAT CLAIMS

After saying that Mach and FreeBSD people are incompetent idiots and subsequently being Slashdotted, Linus went on to add these claims:

I also claim that Slashdot people usually are smelly and eat their boogers, and have an IQ slightly lower than my daughter’s pet hamster (that’s “hamster” without a “p” btw for any slashdot poster out there. Try to follow me, ok?).

Furthermore, I claim that anybody that hasn’t noticed by now that I’m an opinionated bastard, and that “impolite” is my middle name, is lacking a few clues.

Finally, it’s clear that I’m not only the smartest person around, I’m also incredibly good-looking, and that my infallible charm is also second only to my becoming modesty.

So there. Just to clarify.

Linus “bow down before me, you scum” Torvalds

4. LINUS VENTS ABOUT SECURITY PEOPLE:

In a Google+ post earlier this year, Linus told us all why we shouldn’t use OpenSUSE:

I don’t think I can talk about “security” people without cursing, so you might want to avert your eyes now.

I gave OpenSUSE a try, because it worked so well at install-time on the Macbook Air, but I have to say, I’ve had enough. There is no way in hell I can honestly suggest that to anybody else anymore… today Daniela calls me from school, because she can’t add the school printer without the admin password.

Whichever moron thought that it’s “good security” to require the root password for everyday things like this is mentally diseased.

So here’s a plea: if you have anything to do with security in a distro, and think that my kids (replace “my kids” with “sales people on the road” if you think your main customers are businesses) need to have the root password to access some wireless network, or to be able to print out a paper, or to change the date-and-time settings, please just kill yourself now. The world will be a better place.

5. LINUS SLAMS EMACS:

In response to an issue with git, Linus explained what the real issue was:

Gentlemen, I have found the solution to your problem.

Umm. YOUR problem.

… Your problem has nothing to do with git, and everything to do with emacs. And then you have the _gall_ to talk about “unix design” and not gumming programs together, when you yourself use the most gummed-up piece of absolute sh*t there is!

Linus

6. LINUS POINTS OUT THE CRAP IN OS X:

When asked to compare OS X Leopard and Windows Vista, Linus said Leopard was a better system overall. He didn’t let them off the hook entirely, though.

OS X in some ways is actually worse than Windows to program for. Their file system is complete and utter crap, which is scary.

 

 

7. LINUS RESPONDS TO BUG REPORTS:

Linus admitted to CIO.com that letting other people have a say means you sometimes have to admit you were wrong. He went on to explain how he makes this work:

I make it easier for me by often writing my flames something along the lines of: “You’re a complete incomplete idiot, and I’m not going to apply this patch because it’s obviously broken and is a total piece of sh*t. And here’s why…” But then at the end I’ll include:

And hey, maybe I’m just being a d*ck, and you can prove me wrong, so please explain to me why you did that horrible thing. Please? Hmm?

8. LINUS NAMES GIT

Apparently, Linus has a couple of definitions for git (depending on your mood):

“Global information tracker”: you’re in a good mood, and it actually works for you. Angels sing and light suddenly fills the room.

“Goddamn idiot truckload of sh*t”: when it breaks.

 

 

9. LINUS DISPARAGES SECURITY PEOPLE:

Although he thinks security is important, Linus made it clear in a discussion on bugs that ‘it’s no less important than everything else that is also important!’

Security people are often the black-and-white kind of people that I can’t stand.

I think the OpenBSD crowd is a bunch of masturbating monkeys, in that they make such a big deal about concentrating on security to the point where they pretty much admit that nothing else matters to them.

10. LINUS TOUTS A NEW RELEASE OF LINUX:

When offering a a new kernel for download, Linus explained to users just how good it was:

It’s one of those rare “perfect” kernels. So if it doesn’t happen to compile with your config (or it does compile, but then does unspeakable acts of perversion with your pet dachshund), you can rest easy knowing that it’s all your own d*mn fault, and you should just fix your evil ways.

 

11. LINUS CALLS OUT THE GNOME DEVS:

In reply to a comment from Gnome saying they’re focused on developing for ‘users who are smart,’ Linus called the devs on their excuses:

Gnome seems to be developed by interface nazis, where consistently the excuse for not doing something is not “it’s too complicated to do,” but “it would confuse users”.

 

12. LINUS BERATES SCO

When SCO claimed to have intellectual rights to Linux files, Linus told BusinessWeek just how wrong SCO was:

SCO doesn’t own the copyright on the files they are talking about – the University of California at Berkeley does. But even if they did, the Linux files weren’t even copied in the first place. And even if they had been copied, no copyright notices would have been removed, since they didn’t exist in the original. There are literally several levels of SCO being wrong. And even if we were to live in that alternate universe where SCO would be right, they’d still be wrong.

13. LINUS LASHES OUT AT THE COMPETITION:

As Sun Microsystems’ Solaris system fell into steady decline, Linus was often quoted regarding his distaste for Solaris:

A lot of people still like Solaris, but I’m in active competition with them, and so I hope they die.

 

 

14. LINUS MAKES A CALL ON COLORIZED DIFFS

Any programmer knows that Linus is king for a reason – he makes calls that need to be made, for the good of the product. There’s no stuffing around, no long-winded explanations; just “this is what we’re going to do.”

In true Linus fashion, when discussing the implementation of colorized diffs, he put the needs (and health) of git users first:

I like colorized diffs, but let’s face it, those particular color choices
will make most people decide to pick out their eyes with a fondue fork.

And that’s not good. Digging in your eye-sockets with a fondue fork is
strictly considered to be bad for your health, and seven out of nine
optometrists are dead set against the practice.

So in order to avoid a lot of blind git users, please apply this patch…

Know a better Linus quote? Share it in the comments.

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About the Author

Belle Beth Cooper

Belle has spent the past four years as a freelance writer and social media consultant. She has written for The Next Web, Desktop Magazine and Social Media Examiner. Belle now spends her days wielding a pencil as Attendly's Head of Content.

14 Comments

  1. August 9, 2012 at 4:32 pm
  2. August 9, 2012 at 6:33 pm

    “Nvidia, Fu*k You”
    –EPIC Tolwards

  3. August 9, 2012 at 6:42 pm

    “Nvidia, f**k you!”
    :D

    • August 12, 2012 at 2:16 am

      I like Linus. He speaks honestly and has a great sense of humor. He has a lot of common sense when it comes to how to design things.

  4. August 11, 2012 at 9:06 pm

    Linux is just epic.
    I like the way he express himself and explain things.

  5. August 11, 2012 at 9:56 pm

    I just love Linus. We seem to share the same sense of, ummm, diplomacy.

  6. August 12, 2012 at 6:13 am

    …And the best one is: “nVidia, F*** you”

  7. October 1, 2012 at 8:26 am

    Other quotes:
    – When you say “I wrote a program that crashed Windows,” people just stare at you blankly and say “Hey, I got those with the system, for free.”
    – Hoping the problem magically goes away by ignoring it is the “microsoft approach to programming” and should never be allowed.
    – Software is like Sex, it’s better when it’s free!

  8. October 9, 2012 at 4:16 am

    Fuck you Nvidia!

  9. October 17, 2012 at 1:15 am

    “I know it’s offending, but I like to offend people. because I think, people who get offended should be offended!”

  10. January 17, 2013 at 12:03 am

    <3 LINUX

  11. March 1, 2013 at 3:55 am

    I dislike Bill Gates evil Microsoft empire, I didn’t like Steve Jobs much either.
    Was (was being the the operative)a big fan of Linux
    (even before it had a GUI)until I read all of this tirade (especially the nonsense about C++, I code in C, C++ and assembly).
    As for quote:
    “Finally, it’s clear that I’m not only the smartest person around, I’m also incredibly good-looking, and that my infallible charm is also second only to my becoming modesty.”
    A few well placed blows to the head ought to fix all of your problems then, Linus you insufferably arrogant TWAT !

    • Belle Beth Cooper
      March 1, 2013 at 8:54 am

      The funny thing is, Linus doesn’t care if people think he’s arrogant anyway!

  12. May 3, 2013 at 9:46 pm

    “Subversion has been the most pointless project ever started… Subversion used to say, ‘CVS done right.’ With that slogan there is nowhere you can go. There is no way to do CVS right.”
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4XpnKHJAok8

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