Friday, February 01, 2008

Linux kernel creator hates cellphones, doesn't carry one

Computerworld recently caught up with Linus Torvalds, creator of the Linux kernel, at Linux.conf.au, an annual Free and Open Source Software conference held in Australia.
Other than the usual "what's next for Linux" type of questions, writer Andrew Hendry uncovered this gem: Linus Torvalds hates cellphones, and doesn't carry one.
Hendry was probably stunned when he found out, because what he had actually asked was:
"Do you have Linux on your mobile phone?"
To which Torvalds replied:
"I don't even have a mobile phone! I hate phones in general because I'm the kind of person that when I work I want to concentrate on my work and if somebody calls me that completely destroys my concentration. I hate phones because they just disturb you, and mobile phones are even worse because you have them with you all the time, so I don't do mobile phones at all."
Actually, Torvalds does own a cellphone, but only because it was "one of the early Linux mobile phones" which he got for free, and he does not carry it around or switch it on.
I'm sure most of you can appreciate the irony of an ├╝ber geek god who does not carry a cellphone. A bigger irony than say, a tech journalist who really hated cellphones and only bought his first cellphone last year (*Ahem).
Anyway, I couldn't have said it better myself. Mr. Torvalds, I applaud you for resisting what most be constant pressure from your family, friends, co-workers, et al for you to get a cellphone.


This Boston Globe article from 2005 explored "tech refuseniks":
Giving up on gadgets: 'Tech refuseniks' junk their cellphones, handhelds
And, from last year, a posting on The Wired Blog (of all places) titled "Ten Reasons To Throw Away Your Cellphone". Meanwhile, MCMC stats indicated that cellphone penetration in Malaysia was 80.8% in Q3 last year, while another research firm said global cellphone penetration hit the 50% mark (or 3.3 billion people) in November last year. It's probably higher now.

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