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Linus Torvalds
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Attended University of Helsinki
Lives in Portland, OR


Linus Torvalds

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Today is the 25th anniversary of the Linux-0.01 release, I do believe.

Normally the anniversary is counted from the announcement email (August 25), because that was the actual public statement of intent. The 0.01 code drop happened a couple of weeks later, and wasn't publicly announced.
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hello , can you contact saitek for create support with keyboard v7.
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Linus Torvalds

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So four weeks ago I posted asking for input on a new laptop. As evidenced by my scaling factor rant, I now have one, and it's in the process of getting set up.

Before I mention which laptop I got, let me just re-iterate the things I personally care about, and what I don't particularly care about. Because my choice of laptop is obviously tied very much to that, and often what I care about may not be relevant to much anybody else.

First off: I don't use my laptop as a desktop replacement, and I only travel for a small handful of events each year. So for me, the laptop is a fairly specialized thing that doesn't get daily (or even weekly) use, so the main criteria are not some kind of "average daily use", but very much "travel use".

Which is why I end up caring a lot about it being fairly small and light, because I may end up carrying it around all day at a conference. I also want it to have a good screen, because by now I'm just used to it at my main desktop, and I want my text to be legible but small.

What I don't tend to care about is touch-screens, because my fingers are big and clumsy compared to the text I'm looking at (I also can't handle the smudges: maybe I just have particularly oily fingers, but I really don't want to touch that screen).

I also don't care deeply about some "all day battery life", because quite frankly, I can't recall the last time I didn't have access to power. I might not want to bother to plug it in for some quick check, but it's just not a big overwhelming issue. By the time battery life is in "more than a couple of hours", I just don't care very much any more.

So I see laptop reviews that say "do the HD screen instead of the QHD+ one, because you can't see the pixels anyway, and it is better for battery life", and I just go "who is this crazy joker?". That's not who I am.

And no, it's not just a phase.

I do want a reasonably powerful CPU, because when I'm traveling I still build the kernel a lot. I don't do my normal full "make allmodconfig" build between each pull request like I do at home, but I'd like to do it more often than I did with my previous laptop, which is actually (along with the screen) the main reason I wanted to upgrade.

So: good screen, but fairly small and light is primary. With as much CPU power that is reasonable within those primary concerns.

End result: I now have a Dell XPS13. In fact, I've set up two of them in the last month, one for Daniela that went off to college, and the second one now for myself.

The first one was the standard XPS13 that I opened up and replaced the wireless in. It wasn't too painful, but it was a bit annoying to have to do it. The Broadcom wireless really wasn't an option - you can google for it and see even the Windows users complaining about it. But I had a time limit for Daniela going off to school, and I could get a standard XPS13 and a new intel 8260 wireless module right away. And it also acted as my "let's test this out and see" machine.

The one I have now is the "Developer Edition" version that didn't need any surgery to just work.

Anyway, the good news is that there really were a lot of fairly reasonable machines out there now, and the XPS13 was by no means the only possible choice. My thin-and-light kind of requirements used to mean that I had to compromise a lot just a few years ago, but that's no longer the case.

Right now the XPS13 stands out due to the thin bezel, which really does maximize the screen size for the size of machine. That was really what made me pick it for Daniela in the first place. It just ends up hitting my two primary goals very well: small and portable, but with the biggest screen you can cram into that size.

But the Lenovo X1 Carbon got lots of votes, and it looks good too (and a matte screen really is better). The Samsung 9 Spin looked very classy, and if it wasn't for the bezel it might have been my first choice.

Daniela actually liked the HP spectre 13 x360, which I found interesting just because it comes in two versions: butt-ugly and good looking. It was interesting just how much the color choice matters. I thought the all-silver one was the ugliest thing around, while the exact same laptop in brown-with-gold-accents is actually fairly good-looking (and that was what Daniela liked about it too). But I guess that''s very personal.

The Lenovo Yoga 900 still looks like a good choice, and that's what I sent off my older daughter to college with last year. There's apparently a 910 coming out with thinner bezels, so the XPS13 isn't going to be the only kid on the block.

Anyway, there we go. So far the XPS13 looks like a very solid machine, as long as you get the intel wireless module to go with it (and it looks like the next generation should come with good wireless by default).

I haven't used the new laptop enough to really give a review yet, but I'll comment here if anything comes up.
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+Orjan Sinclair Thanks for the tip. As a private laptop I might consider it. But at work we're sort of "locked in" with Dell for better and worse. Not that I mind really. Managing too many diffrent models is a pain in the long run. Especially with limited IT resources.
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Linus Torvalds

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Why didn't they have costumes like this when I was a kid?
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All the locals were singularly unimpressed and looking at the silly tourists that were taking pictures of the iguana.

Or whatever it is.
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+Linus Torvalds Looks like a REALLY bad case of goiter. :D
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Visiting Patricia in San Francisco, and shamelessly raiding the github store.

I'm not going to be one of those cold tourists. 
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That's lovely.
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It's interesting how people can recreate the dinosaur skin details etc.

At the same time, my inner five-year-old is severely disappointed in just what that silly thing looks like. If you don't want to see the whole thing, just go to 6:19. This is not the majestic creature I remember growing up thinking dinosaurs were.
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+Warren Turkal Nice!
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Setting up my new laptop. Am once again reminded that the crazy UI people continue to think that "DPI" is something meaningful. No it is not. The number of pixels matters. Not the DPI.

The new laptop has the same resolution as my desktop, but apparently because the laptop screen is smaller, gnome seems to decide on its own that I need an automatic scaling factor of 2, which blows up all the stupid things (window decorations, icons etc) to a ridiculous degree.

And obviously none of this is documented anywhere, nor are there any sane settings to edit it. Because "settings confuse people". So instead, you have to do this:

gsettings set org.gnome.desktop.interface scaling-factor 1

because unlike having some UI in the gnome settings center, that confuses nobody.

What the hell is wrong with UI people? What insane person thought that it's a good idea to say "oh, you have a 13.3" QHD+ display, let's make it act completely different from your 28" QHD+ desktop display and waste all that precious screen real estate with stupid window borders and big fonts in your title bars?"

And especially if you have some heuristic tunable that makes random UI decisions for people, give me a simple setting in the control center that says "no, I really know better than you do".

But no.

Writing a G+ rant just to remind myself for next time this insanity happens.
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Over the last few months, I've emailed a number people complaining about how their smtp setup was buggy, and as a result their emails lacked the DKIM signatures that the originating domain required them to have.

Gmail seems to have started actually checking DKIM signing (when DMARC records indicated it was required) earlier this year, and since almost nobody else seems to even bother checking it, there were a number of people who just didn't have the configuration right for DKIM signing. They generally didn't even realize that their email was marked as spam for some of us as a result.

It still happens (I sent out another email about bad smtp server configuration yesterday), but what used to be a fairly common problem is actually getting much better.

But as the lack of DKIM signing has became less common, what I noticed happening is that occasionally (very very occasionally), I'd get an email that was properly signed by DKIM, but then failed the hash verification. There was no obvious pattern to it.

I finally figured out the pattern a few days ago: the kernel mailing list would rewrite quoted-printable emails by removing the QP and turning it into 8BIT. As a result, the DKIM body hash would no longer verify.

Since mailers generally only use quoted-printable when they have 8-bit content, and DKIM signing is fairly unusual to begin with, most emails by far would never trigger the problem. So only when you had the combination of a source host that required DKIM and an email that contained non-US-ASCII characters (usually due to a name, since we seldom have that in patches or discussion on lkml) would it get marked as spam.

David just applied a patch of mine to zmailer that hopefully fixes it for good (by disabling the QP rewriting if a DKIM signature was present).

Fingers crossed - I had no sane way to actually test the patch, so it might not actually work. The problem was unusual enough that it usually only triggered every few days.

If you send kernel mailing list emails from a, or address (those are the main ones I've noticed have mandatory DKIM signing), you could try adding 8-bit characters in there just to test.

If you have nothing else, just add this to your signature:

"The majestik møøse is one of the mäni interesting furry animals in Sweden"

and let's see if all your emails get marked as spam or the untested patch actually works.
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+Luật Hoàng He uses Fedora
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Finally thinking of replacing my old Sony Vaio Pro 11. It has worked fine for almost three years, but there are better laptops out there now..

Since I build kernels on this thing, it needs to be a real Core i5 or i7, but my target weight is still around 1kg/2lbs. And I want a real keyboard, not some kind of silly convertible tablet.

I'm ok with 8GB/256GB of RAM/SSD. I've lived with 4GB when on the road for several years, I don't want to do that any more, but I also don't need huge amounts of RAM. I compile the kernel, I don't run big VM's or other odd things.

I've looked at the Asus UX305UA, and it looks almost perfect, except the QHD+ panel seems to be impossible to actually buy. And while a backlit keyboard isn't an absolute must, it is very much in the "good to have" category (unlike, say, a touchscreen, which is a complete waste of money for me).

The XPS13 always comes up, but Dell continues to destroy that laptop with the stupid "Dell Wireless", which is just a nasty OEM Broadcom solution. Yes, I'm aware of the developer edition, and yes, I'm aware that I can just fix it by switching out the wireless card myself.

But the developer edition doesn't actually have - or it is very well hidden - the "add to cart" on (which negates the whole "look, Dell is a good guy, buy it!" argument) , and the "but you can switch it out" argument still doesn't fix the fact that I feel bad about buying crap. Sue me.

Dell, please get rid of the crappy "DW" wireless entirely. Or at least allow me to pick a good replacement at build time. Because as-is, your laptop choices look just nasty.

The Lenovo Yoga 900 still looks fairly good, but there are definitely quality assurance concerns when looking at all the reviews.

Suggestions? But please, keep the weight issue and the CPU requirements in mind - they aren't negotiable. If it's even a hair over 3lbs or has a Core-m CPU in it, just shut up about it and don't look like a fool. Ok?

Update: if you search for "xps13" and "linux" on, you get the old Developer Edition one. Which they don't sell any more. Changing the search terms to "ubuntu" instead of "linux" gets you the new one that they sell.

And on the xps13 page, the developer edition doesn't show up at all, because it's apparently a whole different SKU. Lovely. Anyway, I did finally find where Dell actually sells it, but for a while I thought they had stopped it entirely.
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If you really want to be down around 2 lbs then the Samsung Notebook 9 13-inch is pretty unique. And price seems reasonable. It's 0.8 lbs lighter than the lightest XPS 13.

Too bad you're still stuck with only dual core on these "U" CPUs. The XPS 15 is a huge performance upgrade and not too much larger. I don't know of anything else that comes close let alone have the quad core. I suppose the dual core is adequate.

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Nature or nurture?

In a recent scientific experiment I uncovered data that may indicate that the dreaded "blurry fish butt syndrome" may have a genetic component.

I gave Daniela my GoPro for a recent dive, and she showed all the symptoms.

Hmm. More research needed.
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+Peter Barrett A tuxedo would do the trick, as long as he liked fish. :)
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The Dream of the 90's is alive in Portland University.

Ahh, the joys of sending your kid off to college. In particular, the unbridled joy of college tuition offices.

You'd think it was enough that they want to have lots of money. No, they want to make it inconvenient too.

I just had to install Adobe acrobat reader because somebody is still using the absolutely insane Adobe-only crazy "secure" pdf (hah - If you make me install Adobe plugins, I really don't think you should talk about security).

And it's not like they don't know it's problematic. They have a big FAQ about how you have to do magic things on just about any OS and browser combination to be able to read that insane format. So they are clearly getting a lot of questions about it.

But instead of just fixing the broken format to be a modern standard pdf, let's just inconvenience the people who pay for it all, shall we?

After having used acroread to turn the illegible pdf mess into postscript, and then used ps2pdf to turn it back into actually legible pdf again, the file also shrinks from 879kB to 121kB.

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+Linus Torvalds try working with Government Grants.

I got my wife's non-profit grant applications set up with LaTeX - making beautiful documents, automated so we can archive and reuse sections etc.

Lately we've been seeing endless requirements of submitting in Word and Excel formats.

In other words, to gain access to public grant funds, we have to work in Microsoft office on windows. Great signal to send to a group of organizations like non-profits who is always turning every cent to meet their budgets...


* Greetings from a fellow Lake Oswego Scandinavian btw.

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I even found a few of the creatures Dirk took photos of.

As I said on the trip - it's not that I don't have a camera with me under-water. I have both a camera and somebody to press the button for me.
A few favorite pictures from our recent dive trip to Palau. 7 days on the Ocean Hunter I. 31 dives. More than 33 hours under water...
An amazing trip.
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+Kaushik Mitra Yes. My opensource hero, as well.
And honest?
FUCK you, Nvidia! 
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Creator of Linux and git
  • University of Helsinki
Basic Information
SW Engineer
  • Linux Foundation
    SW Engineer, present
  • OSDL
  • Transmeta Corp
Map of the places this user has livedMap of the places this user has livedMap of the places this user has lived
Portland, OR
Helsinki, Finland - Bay Area, CA
I've been to Fish 'n fins twice now, once during off-season (June), and once during high season (November). Very professional. They clearly get very crowded during high season, but seem to successfully juggle having multiple boats out. Good diving, good people.
Public - 2 years ago
reviewed 2 years ago
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