Linus Torvalds Revealing Video, Beyond the Nvidia Finger

Linus Torvalds, the powerhouse behind the Linux kernel, is frustrated by a lack of support from chipmaker Nvidia. And during his videotaped presentation at Aalto University, he gave Nvidia the finger.

And, of course, Nvidia’s response was fairly predictable. They said they would stick with “Nvidia common code” to provide the most consistent GPU experience to customers, regardless of platform or operating system. Most people realize that it’s solely up to the company on how they want to run their development and support efforts. The market will sort it all out, anyway.

More to Torvalds Video than the “Finger”

Linux news outlets and blogs gave the matter moderate air-time and the students, in attendance, just seemed to take the short episode in stride. Torvalds himself acknowledged that it’s just the way Nvidia works and then moved onto other topics.

But the big story is that the hour-long video outlines a fascinating view into the reasons Torvalds acts a certain way and why he makes the decisions he does. He lives up to his candid and blunt reputation, while still managing to be quite humble and pragmatic.

Linux enthusiasts will find many, many great tidbits of insight on why Linux developed a certain way. I was happy to see Torvalds favorably comment on the role of commercial influence as Linux matured. Basically, he said that Linux wouldn’t be where it is today, without all the commercial partners. I think watching the video is time well spent for anybody interested in Linux.

I have to admit, without the questionable gesture, I never would have learned some really cool things about Torvalds and Linux. If you want to see Torvalds’ response to the Nvidia question, it happens around the 48 minute mark into the video.

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