Feeds

Everyone can and should learn to code? RUBBISH, says Torvalds

Some people won't 'have the aptitude,' Linux creator claims

Top 5 reasons to deploy VMware with Tegile

Outspoken Linux creator Linus Torvalds has taken issue with the oft-repeated assertion that in today's world everybody should learn computer programming, saying he just doesn't believe in it.

In an interview with Business Insider over the weekend, the Linux kernel king said that even though he grew up with computers and he enjoys "tinkering with them," not everyone will be the same.

"I actually don't believe that everybody should necessarily try to learn to code," Torvalds said. "I think it's reasonably specialized, and nobody really expects most people to have to do it. It's not like knowing how to read and write and do basic math."

In this, he differs with folks like Rohan Silva (among others) – who, as chairman of the UK government's "Year of Code" initiative, has championed using public funds to promote the idea that "getting to know code is really important" and that "not just rocket scientists" should learn programming.

Torvalds – who also developed the Git source code management system, which powers GitHub – is known for his high standards when it comes to code contributions. He has occasionally even lashed out at other developers with profanity-filled rants in public forums when he thinks their work seems amateurish.

Last year, he even threatened kernel developers that if they didn't shape up their acts he would be forced to "come up with new ways to insult you, your mother, and your deceased pet hamster."

Despite his objections to cramming coding down people's throats, however, the fiery Finn said that he felt making basic programming education available in a more relaxed way is still valuable.

"That said, I think people should have some way of getting exposure to it, just so that people who find that they enjoy it and have the aptitude know about the possibility," Torvalds said. "Not because everybody will want to or need to learn, but just because it is a great vocation, and there may well be lots of people who never realized that they might actually like telling computers what to do." ®

Bootnote

Never one to resist an opportunity to share his views, Torvalds also used his Business Insider interview to rail against patents and the US patent system in particular, as he has done many times in the past. Linux has a long history of being forced to defend itself against patent shenanigans, particularly from Microsoft, which only recently seems to have softened its position on the OS and free/open source software in general.

"How do I love patents? Let me count the ways," Torvalds said on Saturday, adding that the patent system exists today is "all bullshit, sane people know it's bullshit."

Providing a secure and efficient Helpdesk

More from The Register

next story
Preview redux: Microsoft ships new Windows 10 build with 7,000 changes
Latest bleeding-edge bits borrow Action Center from Windows Phone
Google opens Inbox – email for people too thick to handle email
Print this article out and give it to someone tech-y if you get stuck
Microsoft promises Windows 10 will mean two-factor auth for all
Sneak peek at security features Redmond's baking into new OS
UNIX greybeards threaten Debian fork over systemd plan
'Veteran Unix Admins' fear desktop emphasis is betraying open source
Google+ goes TITSUP. But WHO knew? How long? Anyone ... Hello ...
Wobbly Gmail, Contacts, Calendar on the other hand ...
DEATH by PowerPoint: Microsoft warns of 0-day attack hidden in slides
Might put out patch in update, might chuck it out sooner
Redmond top man Satya Nadella: 'Microsoft LOVES Linux'
Open-source 'love' fairly runneth over at cloud event
prev story

Whitepapers

Cloud and hybrid-cloud data protection for VMware
Learn how quick and easy it is to configure backups and perform restores for VMware environments.
A strategic approach to identity relationship management
ForgeRock commissioned Forrester to evaluate companies’ IAM practices and requirements when it comes to customer-facing scenarios versus employee-facing ones.
High Performance for All
While HPC is not new, it has traditionally been seen as a specialist area – is it now geared up to meet more mainstream requirements?
Three 1TB solid state scorchers up for grabs
Big SSDs can be expensive but think big and think free because you could be the lucky winner of one of three 1TB Samsung SSD 840 EVO drives that we’re giving away worth over £300 apiece.
Security for virtualized datacentres
Legacy security solutions are inefficient due to the architectural differences between physical and virtual environments.