Linux father rates offspring's growth

Linus Torvalds, the father of Linux, has shared his views on the operating system's market, wireless opportunities and other matters Linux, at the LinuxWorld Conference and Expo at San Jose this week.

Torvalds confirmed rumours that Sony plans to put Linux on its PlayStation consoles. Torvalds has no control over which companies develop applications for Linux, but he says he's happy about Sony's decision.

"My own reaction when I heard the rumour was, 'Yes!'" he says.

Torvalds himself is currently developing the wireless side of Linux-based on his own interests rather than user demand.

"Wires are a pain in the neck," Torvalds says. "Whether anyone wants wireless, I don't care. Right now I'm wiring, or unwiring my house for a wireless network."

Torvalds says Linux supporters will continue to focus on the core market -- primarily midsize to large businesses. He doesn't expect the community to branch out into the home-office and small-business arena unless a developer wants to create a distribution for that market.

As far as the ongoing Microsoft vs Linux feud, Torvalds observes that it's difficult to break into a market dominated by a single operating system.

"No amount of money makes it easier," he says. "IBM tried hard and didn't get squat. Money doesn't matter; it's just painful (for users) to switch."

While he was cryptic about plans for Linux's upcoming 3.0 kernel, Torvalds did say that it will have a longer development period than the previous 2.2 release. And he's leaving quality control on Linux applications up to the application developers.

"I'm taking a pragmatic approach. I only concern myself with my own quality assurance," he says. "With open development, everyone's looking over each other's shoulders. It's not bug-free just because it's running on Linux. When a bug happens, I assure you it's an application, not Linux. I believe (Linux) will be stable."

Torvalds adds that Linux users are quick to point out bugs in the OS.

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