by Swapnil Bhartiya

Linus Torvalds rides in fighter jets for relaxation (and 4 other facts about the father of Linux)

Jul 20, 2015
LinuxOpen SourceOperating Systems

It's a bird. It's a plane. It's Linus Torvalds

In a recent Google+ post, Linus Torvalds wrote: “Not many people know this about me, but in between kernel pulls I relax by doing fighter jet rides.”

The Linux Foundation released some ‘not-so-exciting’ footage of his flight and some images that displayed the name Linus Torvalds on the fuselage.

Here are some other interesting facts about the father of Linux.

The Linux command center is a modest office

Linux may be the largest shared technology in the world, but Linus remains one of the most modest people I know. Linus has a very modest office too. Recently he did a walkthrough of his office for The Linux Foundation.

Check out the video below.

He dives

During an interview in 2011, he told me that Scuba Diving is his only hobby outside computers. From what I have learned, he and his buddy Dirk Hohndel, Chief Linux and Open Source Technologist at Intel, find places to dive near conferences organized by the Linux Foundation; there are rumors that the foundation organizes conferences around diving locations.

It’s impossible that Linus gets into a hobby and no one benefits from it. When he started diving he realized there were no good divelog programs for Linux. So he wrote one and called it SubSurface. It’s an open source project he wrote in collaboration with Hohndel in 2011.  Despite his philosophical differences with FSF, Linus released the source code under GNU GPLv2, which he believes is a great licence.

He wrote Git

SubSurface is not the only project Torvalds has written outside of the kernel. After getting frustrated with other software version control systems, Torvalds authored the most popular and widely used distributed revision control system: Git.

Today almost everyone — including Google, Facebook, LinkedIn, Android, Twitter and even Microsoft — are using Git to manage their open source codebase.

He rants

While he was busy flying in a figher jet, the Gmail team ‘screwed’ something up. Google recently introduced a new anti-spam feature that was supposed to keep users’ inboxes clean. But Linus was not impressed. He found many legit emails had been marked as spam and sent to the spam folder. He ranted on his G+ post, “Out of around 3000 spam threads, I had to mark 1190 threads as “not spam”. So the numbers actually got worse: about 30% of my spam-box wasn’t actually spam. It started around 1pm on Monday, July 13th. The problem really is that clear, that I can tell pretty much when it started.”

[ Also on ITworld: 11 technologies that tick off Linus Torvalds ]

There isn’t any official response from the Gmail team, but Linus is not the only one affected by this change. Many users are reporting problems with Gmail’s spam filter.

I commented on Torvalds’ G+ thread that Google should buy him a fighter jet to keep him distracted, a comment that received so many pluses that I really think Google should considering it. Without Linus there wouldn’t be any Android, Chrome OS or such efficient Google server farms. A jet seems like a small price to pay to keep him relaxed.