Originally Published: Tuesday, 19 June 2001 Author: IRC Staff
Published to: interact_articles_irc_recap/IRC Recap Page: 1/1 - [Std View]

Chatting Just for Fun with David Diamond

Recently David Diamond and Linus Torvalds published a book called Just for Fun: The Story of an Accidental Revolutionary. We were able to have David Diamond come in and talk to us about the book and his experiences with Linus. If you missed the chat (there can't be too many people out there that didn't make it) or you just want to read the log of the event, then here it is.

<Wintersun> We're about to start the event in just a couple minutes
<Wintersun> Please don't forget to hand around after the event, as we'll be having a raffle for a copy of "Just for Fun"
<Wintersun> Okay, hi!
<Wintersun> We're going to start the event now.
<Wintersun> Welcome to a Linux.com Live! Event
<Wintersun> Today, we have David Diamond, coauthor of "Just for Fun" here to talk with us about the book.
<Wintersun> Since we have moderated the channel, please /msg lcModerator with any questions that you have and he will be glad to ask them for you.
<Wintersun> Thank you.
<Wintersun> Also, please hang around after the event and we will be raffling off a copy of "Just for Fun"
<Wintersun> lcModerator: Would you like to take it from here?
<lcModerator> Sure...
<lcModerator> diamond: would you like to give a quick introduction to yourself and the book?
<diamond> sure, i'm the lucky bastard who spent a year-plus haning out with Linus and writing about it and working together on the book Just for Fun
<diamond> actually, i use the well but it's fucked up, so i have an aol backup
<lcModerator> Questions... :)
<lcModerator> How did you connect-with/meet Linus Torvalds?
<diamond> i was assigned to write a profile of him for the sunday magazine of the san jose mercury news and we sort of hit it off
<lcModerator> what are Linus Torvalds' current plans concerning the new transmetta processor?
<diamond> don't think he can discuss them; in fact i know he can't
<lcModerator> Can you give us a little hint what the books deals about?
<diamond> the book is about linus's life so far but it goes into detail about how he started linux and his philosophy on life, technology, business, etc. it's been getting great reviews, for the most part, and has been translated into twelve languages and is getting praised for being readable and funny
<lcModerator> How easy or difficult was Linus to work with?
<starlady> ooh, trying to get david in trouble? ;)
<diamond> he was surprisingly easy. for the reporting stage of the book, i made sure we did our interviews while we also did something else, like racing cars at malibu gran prix or boogey boarding, etc.
<lcModerator> Did you get to visit other countries with Linus while writting the book? If so, which ones, and what were they like?
<diamond> i went to Finland on my own to interview his family but we just got back from promoting the book in Japan, where it is astonishingly popular, maybe because it is published by the folks who brought the world Pokemon
<lcModerator> Has Linus expressed in any way, feelings of whether he likes, or dislikes the commercialism of linux today?
<diamond> he didn't seem too upset about it--he addresses that in one of the later chapters
<lcModerator> Has Linus written anything in the book?
<diamond> yeah, he wrote a lot. some of the chapters he wrote and i added a few minor, minor things. some of them we literally wrote together, sitting down at the same computer. some of them i wrote based on interviews with him. the stuff in italics i wrote completely--my point of view of the whole process and the most recent year in Linus's life, which has been pretty important
<lcModerator> What software did you use in writing/editing the book?
<diamond> next question
<diamond> oh, sorry. when we worked at linus's house we used whatever he has on his computer; when i wrote in my office, i used my mac, which uses word
<lcModerator> Where Does Linus see the future of Linux, as far as a Mainstream OS for say Corporate enviroment. Or would he be just as happy if it remained as it is now?
<starlady> lcModerator is terribly lagged. Stand by, please.
<starlady> ok gang, I think we're gonna go to two moderators so that one person isn't completely flodded
<starlady> err, flooded
<starlady> please stand by
<diamond> sorry, having technical problems here. i think he sees it as being inevitable for a period of time, ultimately to be supplanted by what comes along next, and that people won't be worrying about operating systems at some point. he gets into that toward the end of the book
<lcModerator> Rumour has it that Linus is going to not be as involved with Kernel development, and turn it over to Alan Cox. Does this mean Linus is pretty well done as far as Hacking kernel.?
<starlady> ok gang, we're going to have another moderator join in a sec
<starlady> please do NOT resubmit your questions
<starlady> but if you have a NEW question, please submit it to lcModerator2
<starlady> and they will alternate so we cut down on lag
<lcModerator2> What is your opinion about Linux?
<diamond> haven't heard anything that. honest.
<lcModerator> What is your most memorable experience in writing this book?
<diamond> as a phenomenon, i think linux is incredible. i can't speak about linux from a technical standpoint at all because i'm not very technical; i'm looking forward to getting the chance to play around with linux, however, now that the book is finished and i have the time
<diamond> most memorable experience: pulling linus out of the pacific ocean when he got a leg cramp
<lcModerator2> diamond - do you run linux yourself, if so which distribution?
<diamond> no, i don't run linux; i'm such a tecnical klutz that i don't run anything that requires brains, but i
<diamond> 'm looking forward to doing it soon
<lcModerator> You said you have spent a year-plus hanging out with Linus. Did it take you a year to gather info, was that combined with writing? And were you following Linus in his work, or just at leisure-time ?
<diamond> i didn't do anything with linus at transmeta; once or twice he showed me what he was doing with linux kernel work, just to let me know how it worked, other than that it was pure one-on-one interviews and writing
<lcModerator2> where besides the kernel is linus' heart?
<diamond> that's a wonderful question: he truly loves his family--it's right up there with linux
<lcModerator> Can we have details about the whole pacific ocean/leg cramp thing...? :)
<lcModerator2> (getting this alot) boxers or breifs?
<diamond> oh, that was mentioned in maybe the final italicized interlude in the book if you want to check it out, but basically, i wanted to introduce him to surfing but figured we should start by boogey boarding. we were enjoying riding in these nice waves when suddenly he couldn't move and just sat there in the water and complained that he had a bad leg cramp...
<diamond> some days i wear boxers, some days i wear briefs; depends what's clean. thanks for your interest.
<lcModerator> Did you enjoy writting this book? any plans on upcomming books?
<lcModerator2> besides computers what does linus enjoy doing?
<diamond> yes, i enjoyed it tremendously because we made a point of making sure we had fun and we got along very well, despite the fact that he's a technical guru and i'm a technical basket case (or maybe because of that) yes i'd like to write another book but won't until i find one that will be as enjoyable to do
<diamond> beside computers--linus now swims each morning and is taking tennis lessons with his wife
<lcModerator> What would you do differently if you could start the book over again?
<diamond> oh and he's a big zoo freak
<lcModerator2> Does Linus have any opinions on Mac OS X ?
<diamond> hhhmmm. good question. i can't think of anything.
<diamond> didn't he make those public awhile ago?
<lcModerator2> yes, they're asking for confirmation
<lcModerator> Does Linux feel that, like the media often says, he is the father of a revolution or more that he is just a paticularly successful free software programmer?
<lcModerator> er.. Linus feel :)
<diamond> he never discussed the os with me, although i think it came out after we did the book; i was just vaguely aware of some hubub about his comments which were about mach, not the mac os
<lcModerator2> Do you think was it harder to write the book without a technical background?
<diamond> i dunno. he wasn't thrilled about the book's subtitle "story of an accidntal revolutionary" but the publisher needed something to make the book sound less generic than Just for Fun (which could be about fingerpainting) and all the other subtitles were taken.
<lcModerator> What kind of music does linus listen to ?
<lcModerator2> How many computers does Linus have, and which architecture?
<diamond> no, actually it put me in a very good position to help translate the technical stuff into something that would help deliver the message of linux and open source to a non-technical audience. to that extent it was better that i'm not into programming. also, it ensured that i wasn't, like many technical folks, in awe of linus. i could say something like, "shmuck, you've got to rewrite that sentence..."
<diamond> music: Classic Rock FM 107 The Bone in San Jose, although i recently found a beethoven CD in his car, although i suspect his dad must have left it there
<diamond> don't know how many computers, nor the architecture. seem to remember one desktop computer and for awhile he had a tiny laptop but i haven't seen it lately
<lcModerator2> How is Linus handling the fame?
<diamond> mostly, okay.
<lcModerator2> care to expand?
<lcModerator> Was there any time in the writing process when there was a conflict, i.e. you wanted to include something he didn't like, or vice versa?
<diamond> sorry, deleted my whole response by accident. he wrote a whole chapter about that called Fame and Fortune (by the way, every word in that chapter is his) he says he likes being famous, but he's fortunate to be in a position where people don't recognize him on the street; i know he hates public speaking
<diamond> hhmmm. let me think about that; i remember him deleting something but i forget what it was...gimme a minute and i'll probably remember
<lcModerator2> With all the various UNIX clones, why do you think Linux has caught on so well? Do you think it has anything to do with Linus' personality ?
<diamond> i definitely think Linus's role had a lot to do with it; he's worked heard to make sure everyone trusts him
<lcModerator2> A number of people look up to Linus; who does he look up to?
<diamond> other than me? he's mentioned albert einstein
<lcModerator> What audience is the book aimed at? Is it maily of interest to Linux users, or do you feel it has a wider appeal?
<diamond> darn it, i did the inadvertant erase thing again. no, i definitely wanted this to have as broad an appeal as possible for the simple reason that the more i learned about linux and open source the more i thought it was important for the message to be delivered to an extremely wide audience
<lcModerator2> Are Linus' daughters following in his footsteps; has he gotten them involved in computers, particularly Linux?
<diamond> no, he hasn't gotten them into computers yet; the oldest one is 4 1/2 and she's more interested in dolls than electronics so far
<lcModerator2> Does linus have any visions for the future of Linux and especially about free software?
* jedigeek is gone - out!
<diamond> he's spoken in general terms about linux getting bigger and smaller--going into more powerful systems and embedded systems
<lcModerator> As far as you know, what moment of linux's development was most important to or enjoyed by Linus?
<diamond> i remember him telling me how much he enjoyed it the first time an outsider made a contribution, and the first time he wrote something to accomodate the needs of an outsider (page to disk?) and the when they finally got networking capabilities
<lcModerator2> Being that Linus grew up in Finland, did he find the transition to working and living in the USA hard? What made him decide to come here?
<diamond> he came here because he got a great job at the company he found to be doing the most interesting work, and also because he truly enjoys the climate
<lcModerator> Where does Linus think he would like to work after Transmeta?
<diamond> oh, i don't think he had any problems with making the transition
<diamond> he's been asked that before and can't see anybody doing anything more interesting that what they're doing
<lcModerator> Does Linus have that kind of, mad professor from back to the future thing about him, or was he the kind of guy you could ignore in a crowd?
<diamond> defintely he's one of those you-could-ignore-him-in-a-crowd types
<lcModerator2> Did Linus ever run anything other than Linux while you were around?
<diamond> no
* starlady is away: late for class
<lcModerator> Did Linus find it hard adapting to a corporate structure, and the demands it places. Linux was really just a hobby he could work on whenever he wanted before.
<diamond> no, he didn't have trouble adopting to a corporate environment. remember, the guy had been in the army. but i know he didn't particularly enjoy, and wasn't very good at, being a manager himelf within a corporate structure
<lcModerator> What does Linus think about RMS and the Free Software Movement? Also what his opinion of the GNU/Hurd OS?
<diamond> he talks about the former in his book--how RMS is vastly important but also linus talks about how he has problems with anyone who thinks everything should be GPL'd instead of leaving it up to the inventor. don't remember him giving his opinion on GNU/Hurd
<lcModerator2> What was Linus' opinion of all the Transmeta hype and secrecy before the company went public?
<diamond> he didn't say whether he thought it was a good thing or a bad thing but he certinly kept his mouth shut
<lcModerator> -> What was linus's job in the army?
<diamond> he was a fire coordinator--in charge of making sure his five men knew where to shoot
<lcModerator2> Does Linus play any video games? Which?
<diamond> i should know this; he has a japanese version of playstation 2 and the last thing he did during our trip there the other week was to pick up some games for it. i didn't pay attention to which games he bought, but i know the japanese publisher gave him the shooting pool game, which he played a bit while we were there
<lcModerator> Whats his opinion of computers becoming a wearble device, and when does he see it becoming a usefull reality. As in integration of wearable computers, with wireless/satelitte technology
<diamond> that's one thing we never discussed; how can anybody be opposed to it
<lcModerator2> How does Linus feel about the (mis)pronunciation of the words Linus and Linux?
<diamond> he isn't bothered by people saying LIE-nus as opposed to LEE-nus, in fact I've heard him introduce himself as LIE-nus. Nobody mispronounced Linux when I was around.
<lcModerator> What does Linus think about KDE and GNOME, and about Linux in the desktop generally. Does he use one desktop enviroment ?
<diamond> sorry, don't know the answers
<lcModerator> How much time in a day linus spend developing his kernel?
<lcModerator> and how much time per day on computers ;)
<diamond> i think it varies greatly, depending on the demands and what else is going on
<diamond> ditto
<lcModerator> What does linus think of the BSD's?
<diamond> we never got into great detail on that
<lcModerator2> Does Linus have a mob of fans around his house?
<diamond> no; he lives in a gated community
<lcModerator> How does Linus take out his frustration when something isn't working, does he start yelling, cusring, throwing things, etc ?
<diamond> good question: when it happened with my computer, he basically dove into the process of tring to figure out what was going wrong and then fix it
<lcModerator2> What is Tove's (Linus' wife) opinion of Linux and Linus' work?
<diamond> i suspect she thinks it's great
<lcModerator2> Spill it; does Linus have any bad habbits?
<diamond> yeah, he doesn't always respond to email
<lcModerator> does Linus and his wife/children ever speak in a language other than English, maybe around the house?
<diamond> yeah, they speak Swedish to each other and to the kids
<lcModerator2> Although Linux is distributed free, has Linus made any money off of it?
<diamond> back to the bad habits question, does eating lots of fast food count?
<diamond> no, he hasn't made money off of Linux but some of the Linux companies have given him stock options, as if he were an employee, from which he has done okay
<lcModerator> Whats his favorite fast food ?
<lcModerator2> Does Linus enjoy the politics surrounding Linux and Open Source?
<diamond> i dunno, but he goes to mcdonalds and seems to prefer it over the in-and-out burger i once took him to. the guy is a fanatic for spicy tuna roll sushi
<lcModerator2> Does Linus have any geeky gadgets using the Crusoe processor or running Linux?
<diamond> no
<diamond> the "no" answer referred to the politics question.
<diamond> i'm blanking on the gadgets question; i've seen some but forget what they are
<lcModerator2> Does Linus have a favorite distribution? Which does he run?
<diamond> no, i know he uses one at work and a different one at home
<lcModerator> Does Linus enjoy any cultural-type events? concerts? museums?
<diamond> he hasn't mentioned doing either in the past year or so
<lcModerator2> How does Linus take the corporate interests in Linux from companies like IBM and SGI?
<diamond> i think he takes it as a compliment
<lcModerator> Did you get a chance to Interview Tove for the book at all? or is it primarily on just Linus himself. And was that Linus' choice to not involve his family with the book?
<diamond> no, his famly was way involved. i spent a lot of time with all of them. for example, we all went camping (with my family and some friends), I drove from San Jose to LA with them; there's a bit in the book where i interview tove about her role in the choice of a penquin as the linux mascot
<lcModerator2> Which window manager/desktop environment does Linus use?
<lcModerator> The upcoming 2.5 kernel series will have much more contribution from existing companies like IBM and SGI. Is Linus worried that they may get heavy-handed about their contributions' importance, threatening a fork in the extreme case?
<diamond> that didn't come up as a big concern
<lcModerator> Besides working ON linux, what does Linus use linux for at home?
<diamond> everything, i suspect
<lcModerator2> Which portion of the Biography did Linus feel was most important to tell?
<diamond> I think the part where he describes how much he hates it when people try to impose their opinions, religions, etc. on others
<lcModerator> Where does Linus see the future of Linux. Mainly a server OS, or Desktop, a combination of both, or does he have no preference?
<diamond> i think he sees it as a "sky's the limit" situation
<lcModerator2> Did Linus express any opions towards Microsoft?
<diamond> it's throughout the book
<lcModerator> Does Linux have wireless networking at his house? any X10 stuff (wireless appliance/light/thermostat control)?
<diamond> not sure
<lcModerator> How does Linus enjoy spending his "down time"? web sites or tv, specific sites/shows?
<diamond> downtime is spent with kids, shooting pool in his house, going to the pool; don't know about specific sites but i know he likes jay leno
<lcModerator2> Is there any particualr thing Linus would like to see in Linux that's currently lacking?
<diamond> can't answer
<lcModerator> What does Linus think about colleges, specifically about CS courses ?
<diamond> didn't say one way or another; i know he prefers the finnish system of education, in which university education is basically free of charge.
<lcModerator2> Who do you think had the most impact on Linus' life?
<diamond> tove
<lcModerator> Was it hard for Linus to start trusting other people like Alan Cox with most of the coding burden in the kernel? Does he ever wish he spent more time actually coding instead of architecting the kernel these days?
<diamond> don't know
<lcModerator2> How long is the book, and have you written any others?
<diamond> it's between 200-300 pages, but extremely easy to read; yeah, i've written three others
<lcModerator> did Tove ever want Linus to learn any martial arts? Does Tove still do any martial arts stuff? How does Linus feel about it?
<diamond> tove hasn't mentioned wanting linus to do martial arts; i know she hasn't done it for seven years; don't know whether linus feels anything about it, pro or con.
<lcModerator2> Did Linus try to convert you over to Linux durring the year you spent with him?
<diamond> yes, he mentioned it a few times, but during the year-plus we did the book i was extremely busy--i had a full-time job, too--so i suspect he figured i didn't have the extra time to devote to learning a new os. i did buy a copy of linux for dummies and intended to install it but the version was for a pc and my wife was using the pc...
<lcModerator> Does he have a Tux on top of his computer?
<diamond> don't think there's one on top of the computer itself but they're all over the place at his house
<lcModerator2> Does Linus get a flat fee for the biography? percentage? both? Does he see the book as a money-making opperunity? Is he considering writting any others?
<lcModerator> How many computers are in Linus' house ?
<diamond> don't think he's doing this for the money; i know he was motivated because he wasn't happy with an unauthorized book that was written about him in finland. he knew someone would write a book about him and decided it made more sense to do it than not to be part of it. also, i think he saw it as an excuse to have some fun. we had such a great time when we worked on the magazine profile it made sense to just go ahead and do a book
<diamond> don't know the computer answer
<lcModerator> and the last question... (the draw for the book will be following)
<lcModerator> Does Linus visit linux.com? :)
<diamond> i honestly don't know but can't imagine he wouldn't
<Wintersun> Okay, I would really like to thank David for coming out and visiting us.
<Wintersun> You've been great
<diamond> thanks, i enjoyed it
<Wintersun> Okay, time for the raffle...
<Wintersun> <Wintersun> And the winner is... Snafu!
<Wintersun> Snafu: If you could please /msg me your actual name and address so that we can send you the book.
<Wintersun> Again, thanks everyone for coming out and thanks for the great questions!
<reliant> cool chat
<JALH> whee
<stone> Snafu: Lucky bastard! :)
<hyperpod> where is snafu?
<JALH> ;(((
<Wintersun> Snafu: Are you there?
<InnerFIRE> lol
<Rias> snafu is dead idle
<caligula> haha
<LiquidPC> snafu is dead
<reliant> actually had 2 of my questions answered. :)
<Rias> Wintersun: : idle : 2 hours 51 mins 35 secs (signon: Thu Jun 14 19:02:27 2001)
<JALH> I'll have it if he doesn't
<Rias> =]
<InnerFIRE> : idle : 2 hours 52 mins 50 secs (signon: Thu Jun 14 13:02:27 2001)
<harwoodr> did Linus ever get his green card?
<XEpsilon> man ...
<dc0e> snafu is a logging bot
<lcModerator> hahahah
<stone> I had about 9 questions answered! yay!
<XEpsilon> can you say rigged?
<reliant> LOL
<LiquidPC> diamond: you did a good job man
<seed> damn it was close. I almost got the book.
<XEpsilon> =P
<vsync> laaaame
<caligula> I got like 4 questions
<Wintersun> Okay, time to raffle it off to someone else, then...
<Rias> hey it's not trivia!
<stone> seed: Me too!
<sn4fu> _i_ am Snafu!
<horton> me! me!
<caligula> how did they do the raffle?
<Rias> hahahj
<vsync> :)
<horton> hahaha
<miro> lol
<JALH> heh
<gekko> me
<caligula> how do you decide?
<binarygod> lol
<InnerFIRE> heh
<gekko> :)
<Rias> vsync: ^5
<JALH> hey binarygod
<Wintersun> <lcModerator> arghh
<lcModerator> :)
<Wintersun> And the Winner is... amblin
<Wintersun> amblin: are you here?
* Wintersun sighs
<Wintersun> another idle...
-reliant- Just have everyone in the channel /notice you and draw from the people that notice you
<lcModerator> We can't even GIVE away stuff.
<lcModerator> hehe
<Wintersun> Okay, _once more_
-Haesslich- I think there must be a problem, I can't even see the two you've raffled it off to :^)
<Wintersun> Synopsis: you here?
<Wintersun> Ah!
<lcModerator> :)
<Wintersun> Amblin has /msg'ed me!
<lcModerator> hmmm
<Wintersun> Congratulations to amblin!
<lcModerator> :)
<amblin> ?
<amblin> haha i won