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Linus Torvalds outs himself as US citizen

Stranger in a strange land

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Linux creator Linus Torvalds is now a US citizen.

On Monday, the Finland-born Torvalds revealed the news in passing with a post to the Linux kernel mailing list. "I'll test that myself (but in a bit - I need to go do voter registration and socsec update first, though - I became a US citizen last week)," he wrote.

And this caused much chatter among the open source zealots. "His name ends in US ... natch!" wrote one poster.

"Yeah, congratulations Linus on becoming a citizen of a brainwashed (and brainwashing) nation, which is being blindly led (and leading) us to the third world war," said another.

"The fact of him willfully pledging allegiance to the by far most oppressive state on this planet (compared to most US citizens he actually has a choice) is a matter of non-trivial moral and symbolic significance - by crossing that border, he lends implicit support to the state in general, and invariably to the history of its recent decisions and developments," said a third.

Torvalds has long lived with his family in Portland, Oregon, but in the past, he has shown a certain lack of interest in obtaining his US citizenship. "Yeah, yeah, we should probably have done the citizenship thing a long time ago, since we've been here long enough (and two of the kids are US citizens by virtue of being born here)," he said in a 2008 blog post.

"But anybody who has had dealings with the INS will likely want to avoid any more of them, and maybe things have gotten better with a new name and changes, but nothing has really made me feel like I really need that paperwork headache again."

He did admit to feeling a certain remorse over his inability to vote, but this was eclipsed by a stronger feeling. "So I'm a stranger in a strange land, and seldom more so than when voting season is upon us," he said in 2008. "But being reminded about not being able to vote is actually the much smaller thing: much more than that, election season reminds you about what an odd place the US is." ®

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