The Wisdom of Linus Torvalds: Community Isn’t Free.

The man behind Linux and Git shares his thoughts and philosophy on life, work, management, collaboration and the need for quiet computers.

Source: The wisdom of Linus Torvalds


I think that for online communities this bit of wisdom is critical

The tipping point of open source

The big point for me really was not when it was becoming huge, it was when it was becoming little. The big point for me was not being alone and having ten, maybe 100 people being involved. That was a big point. Then everything else was very gradual. Going from 100 people to a million people is not a big deal, to me. Well maybe it is if you want to sell your result, it’s a huge deal, don’t get me wrong. But if you’re interested in the technology and you’re interested in the project, the big part was getting the community. Then the community grew gradually, and there’s actually not a single point where I went like, “Wow that just took off,” because it, I mean, it took a long time, relatively.

We have already done the heavy lifting, the big part. Communities like CLMOOC have to keep working at their communities if they want them to survive.  You can’t just have a G+ space and expect that just by calling it a community that it will survive.  There has been some activity of late there and that is good, there has been some continual activity in some of the FB spaces, but we need curators and facilitators who are willing to do some ‘managing and connecting’ on a regular basis. Perhaps not big projects, just regular presence.  Seeding, always be seeding.

Alec Baldwin saying,
ABC. Always be CLMOOCing.



2 thoughts on “The Wisdom of Linus Torvalds: Community Isn’t Free.

  1. It’s that ongoing managing and facilitating that is essential…and sometimes exhausting as you feel like you are talking to yourself, or as a colleague described it, “hollering into a hole.” I’m thinking about this a lot as it pertains to work in our local writing project–in both virtual and face-to-face spaces. Leaderless can’t mean that no one is paying attention, someone has to take responsibility to stirring things up, spinning a plate or two, pushing the ball…

    Thanks for sharing your thinking, Terry!


    1. You are one of the fine folk who have been consistent in adding value especially with Silent Sunday in particular and photos in general. And, yes, it does feel like pushing a river sometimes. I am the worst at this, but the very least I can do is to tell myself and others–we can contribute more. It is not a condemnation to do so, it is an exhortation. We have already done, as Torvalds says, “become little”. If we expect this little thing to become something more and better on its own, well…in this universe of distraction it will drown. We need to tend CLMOOC with our own attention, however small and imperfect as that might be. Thanks for watering my little postage stamp of the world with your attention.

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