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Tech industry innovation is bullshit

by on17 February 2017

Torvalds wades into management speak

Open sauce's Mr Sweary Linus Torvalds has waded into tech companies who keep banging on about innovation.

Swearing at the Open Source Leadership Summit, Torvalds said he really hates the technology industry's celebration of innovation. He thinks it is smug, self-congratulatory, and self-serving.

"The innovation the industry talks about so much is bullshit. Anybody can innovate. Don't do this big 'think different'... screw that. It's meaningless. Ninety-nine percent of it is get the work done."

Torvalds said that innovation hype was not where the real work is – it is in the details. He subscribes to the view that successful projects are 99 percent perspiration, and one percent innovation.

To be fair, Torvalds’s approach works a lot better than the management bollocks which crosses our desk. Companies that usually declare the loudest that they are the most innovative are usually those stealing other people’s ideas.

Torvalds has been working on Linux for 25 years and one of the constant issues he had is people stepping on each other's toes, said Torvalds.

"So, for all of that history what we've done is organize the code, organize the flow of code, [and] organize our maintainership so the pain point – which is people disagreeing about a piece of code – basically goes away."

Technology plays an obvious role but process is at least as important, according to Torvalds.

He said that Linux was a social project. "It's about technology and the technology is what makes people able to agree on issues, because... there's usually a fairly clear right and wrong."

"It's almost boring how well our process works. All the stressful times for me have been about process. They haven't been about code. Process problems are a pain in the ass. You never, ever want to have process problems.”

Last modified on 17 February 2017
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