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One the one hand, the "benevolent dictator" model has shown itself to work pretty well for Linux, compared to some major failings of the "committee" model on other projects. On the other hand, does anyone think the fact that "major" changes can be done by one person who is "just going all alpha-male" will potentially spook people? I mean, I doubt too many people here on hn have a problem with Linus' personality. I imagine most of us appreciate his sense of humor and respect him as a penultimate hacker... I'm just thinking about starched-shirt types who call the shots in big businesses -- can you imagine being an IT manager and trying to explain to your boss that after 15 years there's a new major version of the Linux kernel because "well the head guy got tired of calling it version 2."

Edit: Penultimate apparently doesn't mean what I thought it meant, so, what I meant was "...respect him as a very good hacker...".

I'm not entirely sure why you would... My boss doesn't know what kernel version we run, all he cares is that it works.

You think linus is the second best hacker?

It appears my understanding of that word was faulty. I always thought it meant something along the lines of first-rate, I didn't realize it had such a specific meaning. TIL, I suppose.

No worries, the majority of people make that mistake.


Adjective: Last but one in a series of things; second last: "the penultimate chapter of the book".

To quote Murray Walker, an F1 commentator, "they're on the penultimate second from last lap but one!"

It's free, it's open source. If you've got a problem with how Linus does things, you can always fork it.

Lots of commercial software has version numbers assigned for marketing reasons and largely independent of technical changes.

See Slackware's jump from version 4 to version 7, or more recently, Mozilla's reconfiguration of its versioning system to make the numbers more closely match Chrome and IE version numbers (where v11 and v9 are the current stable releases respectively -- Mozilla is on a measly v4). This doesn't just occur in commercial software.

For example, Windows 7 is internally Windows NT 6.2.

I don't think the 3.0 release is "just going all alpha-male" - I think it reflects the maturity of the linux kernel, and could have done some years ago with good conscience too.

That said, his Google Tech Talk on git, which turned into a rant against SVN/CVS users did lower my respect for his personal skills.

My first reaction to that talk was "wtf…". Then I tried git. And then I started to think that he might been right.

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