Linux creator Linus Torvalds is now a US citizen. On Monday, the Finland-born Torvalds revealed the news in passing with a post to the Linux kernel mailing list. "I'll test that myself (but in a bit - I need to go do voter registration and socsec update first, though - I became a US citizen last week)," he wrote. And this …
For business and tax reasons, of course
Since he's living in the country he might as well go the whole hog as it makes life a little less complicated.
Of course, many of the Japanese interned during WW2 were actually born in the U.S. and having citizenship didn't do them much good.
Could be worse, you know.
He could have been a computer pioneer and saved many lives in the UK during WW2. Didn't do Alan Turing much good, either.
At least the Japanese Americans or their descendants lived long enough for the US to apologize to them and pay them $1.6B in reparations, a good 20 years before Turing's nieces got a sorry without even a pound.
Besides, there's more valid and more current reasons to dislike the US, like TSA security theatre.
@jaitch - feh on your hatred and negativity
My family and I also came to the US for the opportunities that are only available here. I served in the US military for more than 2 decades and have been a proud (Naturalized) US citizen for more that 3 decades. My family escaped from one of the "worker's paradises" that were formerly so common on the continent because we saw that there could be no future other than the drudgery of obeying the fiats and dictates of the state and its functionaries.
Linus has chosen the course of action that will provide him and his family the freedom to pursue whatever he desires without the oppressive state leering over his shoulder and providing its "expert guidance and advice" I have been there and I have not regretted the choice. I suspect that Linus will not regret his choice either.
Linus has chosen the course of action that will provide him and his family the freedom to pursue whatever he desires without the oppressive state leering over his shoulder and providing its "expert guidance and advice"
Yeah, but won't he just be paying for the privilege? Seen the finances recently? Rather than being an "oppressive state" it is an "oppressive uber-capitalist free-for-all" where corporates take all and shit on the little man. You pays your money, you makes your choice.
Not many countries OK killing their cirizens ...
The U.S. has and the orders are currently in effect.
1) There are no tax benefits ime - in fact, the opposite. Non-US citizens can stop paying tax on worldwide income just as soon as they stop being US residents (and, if relevant, terminate their PR status). Not true for US citizens.
2) If you want to make a jingoistic point about it, there are very few countries around the world that are in a position to throw stones at the US for interning its own citizens on the basis of who they were and not what they'd done. The UK, for instance, was still doing it 25 years after the end of WW2. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Operation_Demetrius
@grumpy - on negativity
I wouldn't quite go so far as to suggest Linus "escaped" Finland, it's actually quite a nice democratic country that Newsweek recently rated as the best country in the whole world. But, the USA has indeed been good to Linus and it is appropriate he returns some of that love.
I also think people get a bit overboard with negativity about the USA. It's not like millions of people live in famine or get kidnapped from their homes or disappear without a trace or get stoned for revealing their face in public or get exploded on account of which village they came from. Like it or not, it's pretty much as good as it gets.
"Linus has chosen the course of action that will provide him and his family the freedom to pursue whatever he desires without the oppressive state leering over his shoulder and providing its "expert guidance and advice""
Umm. Finland is an oppressive state? Finland, land of ten thousand lakes? Finland, which recently was voted "best country in the world"? With its free, top-rate education, its social equality, and its clean nature? I could go on but I think you're thinking of places like Saudi Arabia or the UK. Not Finland, surely?
Linus is from Finnland
Not that oppressive :-)
In the same boat
I became a US citizen a couple of years ago - after sitting on the sidelines for years I finally became embarrassed about living and making a living from, and in, a country that I didn't fully participate in.
I disagree with both of the major political parties - I see the Democrats as too right wing for my tastes so you can probably guess what I think of the other bunch. But now I can vote in both national elections and local elections and make a small point each time I do. Also, being a US citizen is worth it just because it makes the immigrations procedures so much easier each time I return home to the US.
Finally - and this is significant - there are substantial tax implications for the family of non-US citizens who live and work in the US if the non-citizen wage earner and property owner dies. Linus is a nice guy, and he's got a wife and kids - sometimes, regardless of your own feelings, you do stuff like becoming a US citizen because you owe it to others.
The education is not free
It is paid for by taxes, not from money which appears out of nothing.
Interesting down-votes exceeed up-votes
Considering what was said is true.
Citizenship has it's limitations
I am happy to hear you escaped your birthplace, but my point is that citizenship benefits, in the U.S., are not what they are made out to be, but getting the ticket has business/tax benefits. Nothing wrong with that, America is business.
After 20 years of being what to told what to do must develop a mindset that is necessary for military order - don't think about an order, just do it. And I understand rah-rah and flag worship goes along with military service.
Citizenship is a two-way street: obligations and privileges. Citizenship by birth should be inviolate - both ways - whereas naturalisation (immigration) is conditional - citizens by birth don't have to swear allegiance, delayed pioneers have to.
I travel widely and know that there are places with some better features than those of the U.S. of A. When those citizens were deprived of their property and effectively jailed because of their ancestry the then government broke the covenant ALL those born in the US are ENTITLED to by virtue of The Constitution. This was governmental racism.
If you can't depend on your country, what is there to protect you?
P.S. I carry a U.S. passport.
....Aaaand that's why they're not in politics...
...or in marketing, either - as closely as marketing and politics do intermingle, on practical and conceptual levels.
Microsoft, for instance, is certainly one of the most politically correct companies around. Granted, they take some hand in fashioning their own political correctness, but that's what you get when you're teamed with perhaps the most famous millionaire known in popular culture, these days - political clout. Hopefully they'll be responsible with it, as a company.
If such completely off-the-wall comments by Linux supporters would lead to there becoming a clear intersection of politics into Linux development, I'm afraid that the big software-hippy party may well run into some hard times.
I'm just sayin', let's all try to be more responsible about our political statements, before that ever comes to a crux, and before it serves to erode existing grounds for Linux support.
Finland and WWII
When it comes to Finland and the last little pan-european adventure the Allies don't have an awful lot to be proud about.
Weren't they on the other side? You know 'the one with Italy and the guys in the Hugo Boss suits?
Finland weren't on the Axis side
Finland was attacked by the USSR in 1939. They ended up as co-belligerents of Germany because they were both fighting the same enemy, not because they were allied to them. A bit like US/UK and the USSR.
Britain declared war on Finland, Hungary and Romania on 5 December 1941, following the signing of the Tri-partite Pact and Finland's alliance with Germany.
Making that the only time in history (IIRC) that one Democracy has declared war on another.
Drama Queen Much?
The U.S. is the most oppressive state? Really? So far the U.S. has no officially state-sanctioned religion by which people can be and are punished (like Iran), no CCTV cameras installed every 30 meters (like in the U.K.), no commonly accepted political assassinations (like in Russia), no government sanctioned program designed to forcibly purify the nation's racial homogeneity (like Israel), no government limitations on starting a church or rushed trials involving death sentences (like in China)...the list could go on forever.
I get that Linus's disciples are rabidly anti-establishment, but do the more rabid specimens really believe the trash they talk?
I guess they outsource most things:
No need to officially sanction a religion when you can use Fox news to whip a fervour about a community centre several blocks away from a place where somepeople once died.
No need to have CCTV cameras when you have the world's biggest evesdropper listening in to all your citizens conversations and you can track people via satelitte.
No need for racial homogenity when you only let your kids marry each other. Have you ever been to Alabama, talk about paddling in the shallow end of the gene pool.
As for lack of a trial perhaps you think extraordinary rendition is a great example of jurisprudence, maybe ask Abu Omar what he things of that view?
Racial segregation into the 1960s - persecution of blacks to this day by the police
Free education but no free healthcare for children
Comparing the US to Iran, Israel, China and Russia is easy (and I get why, someone made the absurd comment it was the most opressive state). Compare it to Finland and Norway.
Also, though not in Law, in practice the US is run by Christian and Jewish interest groups. The CIA has assasinated people and, via proxy, the US can get Israel to carry out deeds it would not want to be seen to be doing (watch what happens with Iran).
Where did this "Really?" thing come from?
It's even more inane than "whatever".
US as oppressive state: id cards; can shag at 18 or less but need to be 21 to drink alcohol; death penalty; ALL cops carry guns; claims to have no state-sanctioned religion although "under god" is part of it's pledge; only two political parties.
The "most oppressive" state is obviously a bit much but it always amazes me harshly US citizens are treated.
Lets not forget...
The only nation to use WMDs of the nuclear variety on another nation's civilians - TWICE!
No assassinations? What are predator drones doing then?
Bringing up a nation of people blind to the truth... never mind I am sure American Gladiators is on TV, watch that and shut up.
Wrong there by a fair bit...
"no government sanctioned program designed to forcibly purify the nation's racial homogeneity (like Israel)"
If Israel decided to do away with its minority groups, there would have been none by now. I've served in the IDF (obvious reason for AC with all the hatred), been to the territories and can definitely say you are wrong. My grandfather didn't survive WWII just so I could do what the Nazi's tried to do to him.
As for "purify the nation's racial homogeneity" and the US, just one word: Indians.
Paris, because she's not the only one who can make stupid remarks about issues she never bothered to look up.
Apparently you forgot
Do the math. Thousands of US and for that matter Japanese were save by avoiding an invasion of the Japanese Mainland. Further, The horrific nature of the bombings has kept our nation from repeating the act. An arguably justifiable opportunity to use the nuke on China during the Korean War (not a Police Action contrary to what we labeled it) was shot down and a General fired for attempting to push use of Nukes in combat again.
Would you rather a Predator drone took out a few Al Queda/Taliban, or the firebombing of Dresden? One or a small handfull versus an entire city/village?
Our forces go out of the way to minize casualties, and still can't win with the likes of you.
drama queen much
However, they do kidnap other countries citzens, send them to other cpuntires to be tortured and then hold them in off-shore prisons, on US-controlled but not owned territory in order to deny them constitutional protections and then try them in military tribunals for alledged crimes they did not commit on US soil.
When will people understand that to have constitutional rights and protections in the USA, you must FIRST be a CITIZEN of the USA. Without being a citizen you have no rights aforded to you by our constitution at all, none, zip, nada.
Enemy combatants captured on the battlefield can hardly be classified as having been kidnapped. They're lucky to still be alive to be prosecuted, regardless of the location. Furthermore, if you dont want the USA in your back yard kickin your asses, keep your terrorists at home. It's a very simple concept.
As far as Linus is concerned, I say, Welcome aboard.
Congratulations to Mr. Torvalds
One person made an incredibly insightful statement - a man of this world, who could have selected anyplace in this world to become a citizen of, chose the United States, amid its many flaws and faults. They are right, that does say something. I wish nothing but the best for Mr. Torvalds and his family.
On the other hand...
... he may just have taken a house there because that is where he spends most of his working time and the rest just sort of followed.
work -> house -> family - kid's schools -> citizenship.
Let's see where he chooses to retire to shall we?
Just better hope he doesn't ...
Call anyone a prick or there'll be hell to pay.
Of course he can...
Call the President anything he wants, he's a citizen now and has the right to do so. He also has the right to bear the responsibility for his words/actions, especially if he threatens the President.
Torvalds is egotistical backstabber and a sellout
So what is his legacy... He took GNU operating system, made crappy kernel and named whole thing after himself. Then when original founder of GNU (Richard Stallman) complained and proposed to call the thing GNU/Linux, Torvalds ridiculed him. Linux is just a kernel, GNU is operating system with user-land parts like GNU Compiler Collection (GCC), GNU C Library (glibc), and GNU Network Object Model Environment (GNOME). All that is started by Richard Stallman in 1983, and you don't see anything called Stalmanix.
Also, Torvalds contribution to Linux kernel is negligible, and he takes all the credits. Real hackers like Alan Cox, Andrew Morton and others, deserve kernel to be named affecter them. Torvalds deserve nothing.
What else is Torvalds known for? He forced hackers to use proprietary BitKeeper. When he made a mess, he stared writing open source replacement for BitKeeper, and named it again, after himself: git. Now he gets credits for git, but in fact it was crap. He just started writing it, and people fixed his spaghetti code and made it what is today.
If 2006, he thrown FUD on GPLv3 and refused to even talk about switching Linux to it. That is very stupid and Microsoft is now exploiting his stupidity by shaking down big Linux users and extorting royalties for unnamed and probably non-existent patents. GPLv3 is designed to prohibit such extortion, to prohibit paying anything that looks like royalty on Free Software. Why Torvalds rejected GPLv3 ? Maybe because he got money from IBM, since they have a lot of patents and they want to reserve right to troll open source projects. They already lost right to sue since they are contributor, maybe they want to troll like Microsoft. But more likely that Torvalds was too stupid to make copyright assingment policy which would aggregate copyrights to some non-profit entity like FSF or SFLC. This way, all contributors must be tracked down. If he did due diligence, Linux kernel would be GPLv3 now, like GCC and rest of GNU is.
Then in 2009 he said that people who hate Microsoft are sick. Never mind that Microsoft is out to kill Linux. Never mind Microsoft is trying to tax Linux. (See Amazon, Samsung, Salesforce, HTC and Novell deals). We should love Microsoft because Torvalds said so. And he said so because he got money from them.
So I am not surprised that he now betrayed his country too. He already stabbed everyone in the back.
He also shagged your wife?
A troll undeniably...
You can't deny a single thing he said there was true.
Torvalds stands on the shoulders of giants.
GNU/Hurd is the way forward!
Did you mean what that quote implies?
"Torvalds stands on the shoulders of giants."
Newton said of himself, that if he had seen further than other men, it was because he stood on the shoulders of giants. It's true of virtualy all progress, probably ever since someone first mastered fire or manufactured a stone tool.
I very much doubt Linus would deny it. Nevertheless, it was Linus started this ball rolling, and it's turned out to be a pretty darned important ball.
Linus has published his own justifications for GPL V2 vs V3. They're well argued. There's the pragmatic one, that it would be just too hard to track down every contributor and get them to agree to re-license under GPL V3. Or, to re-write all the code that couldn't be reassigned. And the philosophical one. Linus doesn't agree with the GPL V3, he prefers BSD-type licenses.
Sorry, Nigel 11 but you are wrong... mostly.
Torvalds didn't start ball roiling. Stallman did. Torvalds never expressed that he like BSD licenses over GPL. He said the opposite: He don't want to go into relicensing because someone might propose BSD license and people might relicense majority of the work under BSD, allowing chunks of code to go into proprietary systems.
And mess with Linux copyrights is because Torvalds hates Richard Stallman so much that he didn't took his advice and asked all contributors to aggregate copyright to non-profit foundation. That would both ease GPL enforcing and ease switching to new versions of GPL.
On the other hand, Stallman's GCC and GNU project are all assigned to FSF are have switched to GPLv3 easily. And those tools get GPL enforced by SFLC successfully while there are chunks of Linux kernel in proprietary ESX, and nobody is sure if copyright holder permitted that because they can't track him. That can't happen with GNU projects like GCC or glibc.
That is all because Torvald's sloppiness. He didn't bother to do it himself, and he saw Stallman as a threat to his kingdom (while Torvalds is in fact invader, he re-branded GNU to Linux) so he didn't want to assign Linux kernel to FSF. It is just Torvald's petty ego that made problems. He wanted whole thing to be called Linux, and GNU project to be forgotten. And he is willing to do anything for that. Even make problems for everyone and let Microsoft extort money from Linux users by exploiting loophole in GPLv2. He don't want to fix his own mess, instead he bashes GPLv3 and makes excuse how he don't like it. While in reality, everyone who likes GPLv2 will love GPLv3. It is along the same lines, just modernized.
There is only practical issue: mess that Linus Torvalds created and that is hard to fix. But everybody should fix his own mess.
Newton said it in a self-deprecating way. He wasn't completely self-obsessed unlike the subject of this entire article.
The original poster of this thread is right on the the money.
Torvalds did a little bit of work, most of which has been rewritten properly and yet, it's still called "Linux". Many, many people have contributed much more than Torvalds himself but barely get a mention.
It's all one big ego trip.
Linux was invented by an American!
Maybe he moved to the US for the weather.
Look, he gave up cold winters for "liquid sunshine". If he stops by I'll show him the sauna in my parents house (it is in the wine country of California). My dad wanted one from the times he spent in Finland in the late 60's early 70's.
Every country has its faults, I guess the english ones have the fewest (in general). Then again, maybe Linus wants lower taxes, and became a citizen to vote about it.
I hope he'll have the american flag on display everywhere
although he'll have missed out on singing the national anthem every day
I suspect it's, better the devil you know
And filing in your tax returns and sorting out life's other payements, are all a darn sight easier if you only have to worry about sending the info to one organisation.
If he lives there...
... with his family. It must be a right pain in the arse every time he has to fill in an form and it gets to the bit about 'If not a US citizen you will need to fill in additional 20 page form xyz'.
Surely choosing to live there is the big thing. Citizenship is just a no-brainer after that.
.. and wants to continue to live there ..
Becoming a US citizen is simple prudence for people with property and family here, kind of like locking the front door when you leave the house. It wasn't always so, but since 2001 very large numbers of long-term legal residents (myself included) have gone through the tedious and expensive process as a matter of self defense.
Since he's living and working in the US anyway, this is a sensible way of avoiding all sorts of problems. As an expat myself, I empathise with the pragmatism.
Those who are trying to read ideological or political messages into Mr Torvalds' decision need to get a grip - or try living abroad for a decade themselves.
P.S.: For the record... I'm not a penguin fan.
"I served in the US military for more than 2 decades and have been a proud (Naturalized) US citizen for more that 3 decades."
Rather like the changes which have occurred to the word 'gay' over the last few decades, we seem now to be seeing a linguistic shift in the word 'proud', which is adopting the meanings 'smug' and 'complacent', with overtones of 'we're always right, we rule the universe, and don't you forget it.' (There must be a more succinct word or phrase for this...)
How "Gay" now means "bad" as in a poor performance or poor showing. At least, that's the impression I get from my teenage kids and their friends...
Mine's the one with the morphing lexicon in the pocket...