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Linus Torvalds
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Attended University of Helsinki
Lives in Portland, OR


Linus Torvalds

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Ever wonder about the habits of kernel developers? Who is a night-owl, and who has a 9-5 job? Who has kids?

Never fear, you can just ask 'git' (let's see how badly G+ screws up the formatting here - there seems to be no "block quote" formatting thing):

    git log --merges --committer=Torvalds --pretty="%cd" v3.19.. |
        cut -d' ' -f4 | cut -d: -f1 |
        sort -n |
        uniq -c

and there it is.

Now, look out a bit: my merge history says that I'm more active in the mornings, then take a breather around noon (recently that's my swimming) and then come back in the afternoon.

But if you skip the "--merges", it looks very different, and it looks like I do most of my commits in the afternoon, then take a break for dinner, and come back after 9pm.

Why? My non-merge commits are hugely skewed by the patch-bombs from Andrew, which seem to happen in the afternoon. While a fair amount of my merge activity in the morning is because of all the pull requests that came in overnight from other parts of the globe.

Also note that the best statistics really depend on committer times, since author dates are often skewed by who forwards the emails and where in that sequence people added a date to it. So I wouldn't trust author dates to show the authorship dates as much - they might instead be showing the email patterns of people in the chain.

I'm sure you could make something cute with gnuplot and show different patterns of the top developers.

And if you're a developer and don't want the world to see how you seldom get up before noon, you might want to be aware of just how much these things can tell people about your work habits.. Although among sw people, I suspect the "not up before noon" is a badge of honor (as well as a indication that you don't have kids ;)

[ Edited to replace the sed-script with the 'cut' lines that G+ formatting won't eat ]
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Tros mimi
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Linus Torvalds

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I love (I have already mentioned it before as the reason I often don't have to get out of my ratty bathrobe for weeks at a time), but christ people, you just really screwed up.

I got a defective remote control for my steam shower (yeah, yeah, I understand that my Finnish citizenship is in danger by admitting this, but I have to say I almost prefer the steam shower over the real - albeit electric - sauna we also have).

So I returned it, with a nice write-up about what was wrong with it both inside and outside the box. Just to make sure that people realized it doesn't actually work. But I still wanted the remote (so that I can start the steam and let it heat up for a while before actually going into the shower) so I just asked Amazon to replace it.

The replacement came today. It was an opened box, which made me a bit nervous. I hooked it up, and it showed the same broken behavior as the previous unit. Hmm.

I hadn't actually marked the box any way, or written up serial numbers, and I'd returned the previous unit in pristine condition, but I had changed the battery in the remote unit as part of my "let's make sure it really is broken before I send it back" routine.

Yeah, the "replacement" unit had my replacement battery in it (and the same unglued magnet in the battery compartment, but maybe they just use bad glue and that's not unusual). And I'm pretty sure it's my replacement - since we don't throw batteries in the garbage, I could actually find the old CR2032, just to double-check that my IKEA-sourced replacement was different from the ones they use in the original.

Now,, I understand that people probably return things as "broken" all the time because they are morons, and they bought the wrong thing and it's just easier to say "it's broken" than "I'm a f*cking moron" on the return slip.

So I can understand that you try to send the allegedly broken merchandise to the next customer, because it's a numbers game, and it's probably a good idea to just double-check. Really, I understand. I'd do the same thing. We're all morons. I get it.

But sending it back to the same customer? Yeah, that's not so smart. I guess most of the stuff you work with is high-volume enough that there is no point in tracking this thing (what are the odds?), but clearly when you only had one in stock, you might want to re-think your strategy.
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+胡小柯 he's not poor .. ha ha
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Linus Torvalds

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Never ask an expert for advice.

As I'm sure surprises nobody at all, I'm a gadget person. And while it shouldn't surprise anybody, but maybe does, I also end up cooking dinner for the family quite often. Put the two together, and what do you get? 

Right. A kitchen filled with random gizmos. Some more successful than others. The breadmaker? Not one of my shining moments. The shave ice maker, though? Quite popular.


The newest addition to the kitchen is a sous vide cooker. That's some serious chef stuff (which I am not - I cook food, but the children complain - until I remind them that they could do it themselves - that we don't really do a lot of different dishes).

But hey, the new Anova was really quite cheap and is dead easy to use. And unlike a lot of kitchen gadgets it also has the advantage of being rather small, so if/when it ends up not being one of the useful gadgets, it hides quite well in a cupboard. Because you know how some other gadgets sit there in the open, publicly shaming you every day and going "Remember me? You could do something awesome with me?"


So I made some steaks with them, and I was really very happy. I really like good meat, but I'm not great at it, and it often doesn't fit our schedule: the kids are off doing something, and Daniela in particular often comes home fairly late from gymnastics, so either she eats separately or I have to get the timing just right etc. 

And it turns out that this really gets to be a no-brainer with sous vide. Daniela not home yet? No problem. Leave one of the steaks in the water bath, it's two minutes to sear it whenever she gets home. 

But I'm smart (NOT!), and remembered that +Jim Zemlin was talking about sous vide back before sous vide was cool. He's quite hipster like that. So I thought I'd ask him for suggestions. 

Which gets us back to the beginning. Never ask an expert for advice.

Because now I feel like a complete redneck. I'm the trailer trash of sous vide. Jim sent me suggestions that made my eyes water. And when I explained that was wasn't quite what I had in mind, he toned it down and sent me a simple recipe, talking to me in baby-talk. It still had more ingredients than most things I make, and that was just for the rub.

Now the pressure is on.  I'll have to go out get a vacuum sealer, instead of just using zip-lock bags like some kind of caveman. I think I could hear Jim shudder over email when I described my white trash sous vide setup.

I really hope the vacuum sealer won't look at me accusingly. "Think of all the awesome things you could do with me".

I will have to buy a small one.
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Interesting. I just did my weekly "spam inspection" (ok, I lie: I try to do it weekly, but sometimes I just delete it all without having the energy to look through it).

And either spammers are using snippets of technical emails (I've seen that), and that is breaking the gmail bayesian filters for real technical emails, or Google really has something against +Mark Brown

Mark, what did you do to piss off gmail so much? I had an unusually big set of emails marked as spam in general, but I think you single-handedly were about two thirds of that.

And as far as I can tell, it's not because you're trying to sell me ED solutions or trying to fix my tinnitus. 

I understand why gmail doesn't give the kind of itemized scores that spamassassin traditionally uses, but it does make it hard to figure out exactly why gmail hates some posts (and clearly some people).
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I think it's somewhat wanted by Google that it's hard to debug - else spammers would test their stuff on their accounts, and get an accurate report on how to trick the spam detection. 

I guess Google could display more information, but this might harm the system as a whole. So it's a lose-lose situation. 
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I'm either a genius or a moron. I can't quite decide which. I guess time will tell.

I obviously work in front of the computer the whole day, and it's not healthy. I tried the zombie shuffling desk, but after a couple months of walking, I got plantar fasciitis and had to take a break. And while I was proud of doing it while I did it and knew I needed to, it was never really something I enjoyed doing.

In fact, I've never found an activity that I like doing. I know people who run, and get that "runner's high", and they try to explain that I must be doing things wrong. 

The one exception is swimming. I actually like swimming, and while I'm only slightly faster than a snail (yes, I googled "worlds fastest snail" just to make sure - I can take on any snail and win, dammit), I actually like it. And there's a pool just a mile and a half away from my house.

But parking there is just not worth the hassle, and while I've tried biking there, when I did that I noticed that I just absolutely dreaded the ride back. There was no way I was going to enjoy swimming for an hour without constantly knowing that after I'm done, I then have to bike back in our hilly neighborhood.

I know, a mile and a half is nothing, but several years ago I did it a few times and just stopped.  It wasn't going to happen. I wanted to swim, not ride my bike.

My trial solution right now? To try to get in shape (or rather, not get in worse shape)? 

An electric bike.

So yeah. My solution to try to get in shape is to get a bike that I don't need to pedal.

That's really some "special" genius right there.
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+1 for swimming
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The Eurovision contest isn't until May, but Finland is already getting into the news.  As usual, it's not because anybody thinks Finland will win (after all, they changed the voting rules after the one time Finland did win), but because the Finnish entry is a bit unusual.

As always.

I enjoyed(*) watching some of the other historical Finnish entrants.

(*) And by "enjoyed" I obviously mean "cringed". 
Finnish punk band Pertti Kurikan Nimipäivät will represent the country in this year’s competition. They’re the latest in a fine tradition of off-beat entrants from the Nordic state that’s come last nine times since 1961
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+Lucy Collins what are you talking about? people at eurovision?
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Linus Torvalds

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Any watch geeks out there?

I'm looking for a replacement for my Skagen 817LBXC that I really liked, but the ceramic band ended up being too brittle.

My simple requirements are apparently a bit too simple for most watches:

 - Last forever (years). No winding. Something like Citizen's Eco-Drive is great, but I guess I can get a battery changed if it only happens every three years or so.

 - Thin, with a good metal band and buckle. We're talking 5-8mm case thickness.

 - Tasteful and "not shiny". So no polished stainless steel. But darkened steel, or just matte titanium, or whatever.

 - Show the time. Legibly. Nothing else matters.

An example of something that comes so close that it almost hurts is the Citizen "Stiletto". Except for that last point. The whole "black on black" thing is too cool for me, but more importantly, it means that the watch doesn't actually work as a watch

That thing would be beautiful with bright orange (or green) arms. They'd be an interesting accent on a beautiful watch, and would make it actually work as a watch. But no. Some emo designer person decided that black-on-black is too cool for words.

Anybody? And I'm serious about the "thin and tasteful". Minimalistic. Tell the time, don't play games.

It can't be that hard, can it? But I'm not having much luck finding anything.
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Had 2 eco-drives, for much longer than 3 years without battery changes.

Citizen Men's BL8000-54L Eco-Drive is the first similar watch I found on Amazon that's similar to the last one I had. Excellent watch, if it wasn't for daylight saving I'd never have to adjust it...
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Congratulations all around.

Congratulations to Daniela, who placed second over-all in her gymnastics group (level 9 Sr) at the Oregon State Optional Championships last weekend.

Congratulations to Patricia, who no longer needs to worry about whether she got accepted to college, and instead has to worry about which college to go to. Cornell? Johns Hopkins? Duke? RPI? Smith? Vanderbilt?

And congratulations to me.  I have now been swimming for an hour every weekday for the last six weeks. That's 30h in the water, about 45-50 laps per hour. If I did my math right, that's about 40 miles of swimming (or "controlled not-drowning" as I like to call it when I splash around).
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I assume you've got a coach? It is important to know how and when to exhale, which is trickier than inhaling. Twisting your body also do not help. Doing separate exercises (swim with your arms or legs only) helps for better coordination when combining them later on, etc.
If you are persistent one day i may invite you to swim the Bosphorus marathon. :P
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Another update on my Ubiquiti UniFi network, since I today noticed another device that wouldn't connect to it..

The UniFi UAP's in zero-handoff mode apparently only does 802.11gn. Which sounded OK to me, since it's 2015, and who would be crazy enough to do 802.11b in this day and age? That's just so "last century" after all. I'm a gadget guy, I don't do old hardware.

And for a while there, I thought I had no problems. The kernel slow authentication packets patch got merged and is getting backported to stable, and all our devices seemed happy.


Today we talked about the odd WiFi scale we have, and I told Tove that it's not syncing because it's still trying to connect to the old network that I got rid of. Obviously I then had to fix that. And the damn thing just wouldn't connect to the new one.

Some googling seemed to show that I needed to enable legacy device support on the UniFi AP's. Which also meant that I had to disable ZH. Arghh

Oh well. The system seems to work OK now, and in the meantime I've grown to appreciate the ability to manage multiple AP's as a group, despite the oddish Java controller setup. So I'm off zero handoff, but still using the UniFi APs.

A bit of a bummer, but getting rid of the stupid WiFi scale was apparently not an option.
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Just found this out, looks like +Nicola von Thadden was as well
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Congratulations are in order to the Google Lollipop Calendar team. 

This is the team that thought that it was a good idea to introduce the "google calendar week" - that special five-day week that starts at random points in the old-fashioned 7-day calendar.

Because that is the kind of bold experimentation we want for our calendars. Look at Julius Caesar - with the introduction of the julian calendar he really put his stamp on history, and guaranteed that his name still lives on, two thousand years later.

The Lollipop Calendar team dreamed big, and wanted to play in the same league.  Bold move, team! Stupid, but bold.

But then the drugs wore off, and finally somebody seems to have realized that the whole point of a calendaring application is actually to be useful in a world where you interact with all those odd old-fashioned people who still think that a week has a boring seven days.

Guys, you looked immensely stupid there for a while. But today I got a calendar update, and the weeks are seven days again, and pinch-to-zoom works again.

I congratulate you on getting off the bad drugs, and not looking quite as f*cking stupid as you did there for several months.
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+Steven Azari Shut up asshole
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Patricia is a senior in HS, and her last trimester is about to begin. 

And for the second year in a row, she's teaching the XV class. This time they're building arduino-based robot cars.
Inspiring and educating the next generation of computer scientists and engineers. Exploratory Ventures is a class taught at Riverdale High School by high school students. This project-based course allows students to learn a wide variety of skills and immediately apply them.
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C.est tres bien mister torvalds
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Lazyweb update..

I've got a couple of days of actual results now, so maybe people want to get some early feedback on my attempt to get a virtual wireless network that looks like a single AP to clients, while having multiple APs to get better coverage.

So the reason I'm doing this is that we have this kind of rambling house, with my office above the garage, and just having a single AP has never worked very well for it. I've tried several different setups with multiple AP's, but they just haven't worked all that wonderfully. I ended up having reasonable behavior with having identical APs, but I still find that clients connect to the wrong one, and other clients get confused by having the same SSID with multiple APs and just connect to the first one they see.

And I appreciate the comments from people, but when looking at prices and availability, it was really a no-brainer. The Ubiquiti single-band UAP runs at about $60 a pop, so you can buy a three-pack off Amazon for $180. The other "commercial grade" APs that do this seem to be in the $800 range. For a single AP.

So with that no-brainer, I now have a UniFi zero-handoff network  at home. And as people told me, you really don't need to run the Java controller thing except for setup. Which isn't that big of a deal.

It all seems to work fairly well, except for the fact that the UniFi APs are apparently quite picky at authentication time, and really don't like clients that optimistically connect using authentication packets at high data rates. Which the Linux 802.11 layer does by default. 

So I'm blaming the UniFi AP for being fairly fragile at connection time. Tssk, tssk.

I have a patch to make Linux just connect at slower rates, and that makes it work well. That patch is almost certainly a good idea in general, and some drivers (like the intel iwlwifi one) already did it on their own because apparently driver writers had found other picky APs.

So I hope/expect it will be merged by the networking people soonish, but it is a black mark against the UniFi AP.

That said, $60 vs $800? Yeah, I think I can live with it.
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Creator of Linux and git
  • University of Helsinki
Basic Information
SW Engineer
  • Linux Foundation
    SW Engineer, present
  • OSDL
  • Transmeta Corp
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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.
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