Torvalds talks about his brand new blog

Calls forum an experimental outlet

We tend to think that everybody who's anybody in the tech world has a blog, right? Well, Linus Torvalds didn't have a blog, at least not until dipping his toe into the waters with this one -- "Linus' Blog" -- which launched last Thursday.

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Linus Torvalds
There's not a lot there yet -- three posts -- and Torvalds tells me that he sees the undertaking as an experimental outlet for personal thoughts and family expressions. However, with the Torvalds name being practically synonymous with Linux, people are already beginning to take notice.

Here's the e-mail exchange we had today:

First of all, Linus, is this blogger really you? (Can't be too careful today what with Fake Steve Jobs and all)?

Yes, yes, it's me. A "fake Linus" would hopefully try to be entertaining.

What prompted the decision to finally blog?

I set it up as a trial, and to perhaps eventually really turn it into a family thing, but I'm not sure we'll actually ever post pictures of the kids (privacy etc), and I'll have to see if there's much point to it as an outlet for any "random crud" that I wouldn't post to the kernel or git mailing lists because it's just off topic.

It was literally a friend from back in the Bay Area that sent pictures of his kids by pointing at his blog, and the whole thing was a "let's try it and see" kind of thing. I just made a couple of posts about things I had been doing that weren't kernel-related but were things that I would not mind having discussed.

And is your wife on board?

So far, no. I don't know what will happen to it. I'll probably post occasionally on random things for a while and see where it goes, and ask her again in a couple of weeks.

Do you expect to write about Linux and tech world matters there as well personal thoughts? (I see you've already started.)

Well, as long as it's me writing, it's likely about something tech-related and probably linux-related, since that's what I'd do. But likely just tangentially.

Being well known and a lightning rod of sorts, I would expect that your blog will attract a following, not all of whom will be fans. How to you anticipate handling comments?

I don't expect to. If it gets to be a problem, I'd be more likely to just turn them off, but I'm neither interesting nor interested enough that I believe it's going to be all that active. After all, how much of a comment would you expect for something where I'd probably post once a week or something, and not reply to comments.

But what do I know?

In your third post you describe and share (naturally) an Internet usage tracker that's helping you maintain limits with your children. How has that been received in the Torvalds household?

Oh, the kids have been on that thing pretty much since they got the computer, it just got rewritten recently (and I decided I don't want to lose it to another disk crash). It's the least onerous of the rules we have for them ("no identifying information" and "homework first" being among the more obvious of the others).

I didn't do the tracker because they couldn't keep off, I did it because this way there doesn't need to be any whining about it on any side. We don't have to try to track it and say "OK, that's enough," and they don't have to ask for permission.

So everybody's happy - it's some clear rules, and the way it's done it doesn't really limit them from using the computer for productive things (i.e. they can write their essays, etc., on their own with no limits). 

(Update: Mere hours after our exchange, it looks as though Torvalds is going to venture into political commentary, too. Brave man. As someone who knows a thing or two about mixing political developments into a technology blog, I can tell him that it's something that not every reader will appreciate. But good for him. It's important.)

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