back to article Linus Torvalds' lifestyle tips for hackers: Be like me, work in a bathrobe, no showers before noon

Linux Lord Linus Torvalds has offered some lifestyle advice for hackers, suggesting they adopt his admittedly-unglamorous lifestyle but also his ethos of working on things that matter. In an on-stage interview with Linux Foundation founder and executive director Jim Zemlin at the Open Source summit in Los Angeles on Monday, …

  1. Voland's right hand Silver badge

    I found it does not quite work

    I cannot get properly settled to work until I get my bathrobe off. Sure, I prefer working in the same ripped jeans or shorts I use for DIY, but not a bathrobe.

    The shower thing is spot on - mine is after I have expended my useful brain charge and had my afternoon 3 mile run with the daughter. By that time USA has woken up and has started scheduling meetings so that nicely coincides with me being freshly shaven and with a new shirt when the video-conferences kick in.

    The privileges of working from home I guess :)

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: I found it does not quite work

      I lost it after the first sentence - I couldn't go on...

    2. Bill M

      Works for me

      I am still in dressing gown at nearly midday in the UK. Albeit surfing the web on sites like the Register. Maybe I'll get dressed at lunchtime and maybe do some work, work - maybe not, it is really hard to tell this early in the day.

      ps. I avoid having a web cam so do tele-conferences as an unshaven, semi naked slob. If I am going to talk shit I find it more compatible if I look like shit.

      1. I am the liquor

        Re: Works for me

        Dilbert had a great solution to this video conferencing problem:

        http://dilbert.com/strip/1994-06-07

  2. wallaby

    One word springs to mind

    Well not true, many do

    but (no euphemism intended) C**K springs to the forefront.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: One word springs to mind

      You have no idea what you are dealing with, when it comes to "programmers" (we called ourselves "hackers" in my days -and that has nothing to do with breaking into systems). Anyone who showers and shaves, even occasionally, is to be praised!

      1. hmv

        Re: One word springs to mind

        What is this showering you speak of?

        Does it involve standing out in the rain or something?

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: One word springs to mind

          @hmv usually involves somebody standing over you and pis..... oh wait, no that is the other type of shower, and the missus told me not to tell anybody.

          1. anonymous boring coward Silver badge

            Re: One word springs to mind

            "usually involves somebody standing over you and pis"

            I think that's called a "Trump-shower"?

          2. Brewster's Angle Grinder Silver badge

            Re: One word springs to mind

            "usually involves somebody standing over you and pis....."

            That's the pee-er to pee-er version.

        2. hplasm Silver badge
          Boffin

          Re: One word springs to mind

          "What is this showering you speak of?

          Does it involve standing out in the rain or something?"

          Think of it as a bath, but in torrent form, if that helps?

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: One word springs to mind

            Think of it as a bath, but in torrent form, if that helps?

            Would that be the peer to peer version?

            1. chivo243 Silver badge
              Coat

              Re: One word springs to mind

              @AC

              peer to peer would be this... or is that pee'er to pee'er?

              @hmv usually involves somebody standing over you and pis..... oh wait, no that is the other type of shower, and the missus told me not to tell anybody.

            2. jgarbo

              Re: One word springs to mind

              Only If she or he agrees.

          2. Simon Harris Silver badge
            Coat

            Re: One word springs to mind

            "Does it involve standing out in the rain or something?"

            That's the cloud based version.

        3. Tom 64
          Windows

          Re: One word springs to mind

          Hmm, a shower you say? I think I lost one of those in my beard in the 1980's

        4. Chemist

          Re: One word springs to mind

          "Does it involve standing out in the rain or something?"

          Fresh from a walk I can tell you it just involves being British !

        5. jgarbo

          Re: One word springs to mind

          You obviously live alone. Or your zoo mates are tolerant.

        6. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: What is this showering you speak of?

          Iz sumthink the wimmins do ven a baby iss about to be born.

    2. Tronald Dump

      Re: One word springs to mind

      well, presumably he gives that a good soaping too.

  3. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    "Torvalds later invited hackers to adopt his lifestyle in two ways, first explaining that while coding a kernel in his bathrobe is far from glamorous he derives immense satisfaction from the many uses to which Linux is put. That makes his job fun, an outcome he feels is more likely to be attainable when working in technology than in other fields."

    Sat here in the office working for a company I have come to hate, working in a profession I've come to dislike to the point it's painful to drag my sorry arse to work every day, I can't agree more with this paragraph.

    I remember the days when I first got in to web development and I loved it. Everything was new, it was fresh, the iPhone was just about to be released and the mobile internet was going to explode! Now what? Stuck in a company with loose morals who long for Victorian employment laws and regulations who give you absolutely fuck all back in return. No benefits, just the benefit of working there.

    Still, it could be worse. I could be in Florida under an umbrella.

    AC for obvious reasons.

    1. anonymous boring coward Silver badge

      "AC for obvious reasons."

      Working for ElReg then?

    2. disgustedoftunbridgewells Silver badge

      Either leave or stop moaning.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Mushroom

        "Either leave or stop moaning."

        So says someone without a mortgage and kids.

        Some of us would love to change jobs for something more meaningful, but the £20K pay drop would reult in everyone being on the streets.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          "So says someone without a mortgage and kids.

          Some of us would love to change jobs for something more meaningful, but the £20K pay drop would reult in everyone being on the streets."

          OP here.

          That's exactly the situation, except I don't have children. I replaced them with debt which I couldn't avoid. So I'm having to pay off the debt first before I even dream of moving/leaving. But moving/leaving I will be, as soon as I'm comfortable enough financially to do so.

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Why AC?

      You're sat next to me and I feel the same way.

  4. frank ly Silver badge

    hmmm

    Walks around in a bathrobe. Wants to recruit people before they go to the dark side. Works with some kind of arcane and almost mystic knowledge. Who does that remind you of?

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: hmmm

      Yogurt?

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: hmmm

      local government?

    3. ecofeco Silver badge

      Re: hmmm

      Krusty the Clown?

  5. jake Silver badge

    Personally, I shower AFTER work.

    I prefer to go to bed clean.

    1. Lysenko

      Re: Personally, I shower AFTER work.

      ... or after meeting with S&M (Sales and Marketing) or Livestock Control (HR). Either leave you feeling dirty.

    2. Nick Kew Silver badge

      Re: Personally, I shower AFTER work.

      Likewise. Only ever shower earlier if I've been doing something that particularly demands it. Like gardening.

      Happy to say I'm in pyjamas right now. And but for the fact that I have to go out in a few minutes, I'd still be in them at lunchtime.

      The key trick is to have some kind of clothes convenient, and be able to pull them on in a few seconds if someone appears at the door. Like the lady who came to read the electricity meter at about 8:20 yesterday morning.

      1. Lysenko

        Re: pull them on in a few seconds if someone appears at the door...

        Shalwar Kameez or Kurta solves that problem. Essentially the same as pyjamas but no-one is going to (dare) look askance if you choose to walk to the shops wearing the same clothes you slept in.

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Personally, I shower AFTER work.

      Yeah this is the way to go. My hair takes a lot of maintenance and I value sleeping in in the mornings too much to deal with that just before work.

      1. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

        Re: Personally, I shower AFTER work.

        My hair takes a lot of maintenance

        mine seems to have been downsized

    4. hplasm Silver badge
      Happy

      Re: Personally, I shower AFTER work.

      "I prefer to go to bed clean."

      ...and then get dirty!

  6. Pete 2 Silver badge

    The money motive

    > “Sometimes I get the feeling these smart people are doing bad things, but I wish they were on our side because they are so smart and they could help us.”

    The problem is that writing code is "fun". It is easy to get people to do that.

    Testing for faults, exploits and problems is boring. It is hard to get volunteers and amateurs to do that

    Debuggering code is difficult. It is very difficult to get people who are "giving" their time to do that.

    The main motivation, therefore, to look for problems is so that you can exploit them. That exploitation might be peer-recognition: "Look at me. I'm so clever. I found some holes in your system". Or they might be monetary: "Pssst! wanna buy a zero-day" or it could be anarchistic: "Let's use this to break things"

    And this is the biggest weakness of much FOSS stuff - not just Linux. If people have the choice to to "fun" things, they will. But you cannot coerce them to do the boring stuff.

    1. Dan 55 Silver badge
      Happy

      Re: The money motive

      Upvoted for "debuggering".

      1. ecofeco Silver badge

        Re: The money motive

        debuggering

        Definite up vote.

    2. Louis Schreurs BEng

      Re: The money motive

      Debuggering from now on should be the default term.

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: The money motive

      We a re more a hardware/networking shop. We have a wonderful similar term of "unf*cking".

      I do like debuggering as well though.

    4. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: The money motive

      "Debuggering code is difficult. It is very difficult to get people who are "giving" their time to do that."

      Very true this. End of the 90s, I was top notch to debuger things in C and some other languages ... Used to even spot mistakes that would compile differently and therefore give different results on different systems ...

      The Irony is, the then Paris area market thought that only lowly paid juniors should do coding and therefore I had the same salary for years ... No raise.

      I then quit development entirely to become a highly paid consultant ...

      I'd like to think I'll retire and start debugering again :) Would be cool.

  7. Dan 55 Silver badge
    Trollface

    Operating systems are like their owners

    So, unlike Linus, Theo will be clean and presentable, no bloat, and he probably goes jogging at 6am too.

  8. Michael Hoffmann
    Meh

    Last time I tried to work in a bathrobe...

    ... they wouldn't even let me on the train to the office! <ba-ching-boom>

    As for showering: if I don't get my morning coffee and shower I'm not even functional. Never mind smell.

    Blessed be working for a company that has a very generous WFH policy. I swear my boss is in the office less than I am! But even then it's stumble to the coffee maker, curse for the millionth time that you need coffee to be conscious enough to make coffee, zombie-walk to the bathroom for the 3 S's. Go on Mr Hyde, come out Dr Jekyll.

    You could say I am NOT a morning person.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Last time I tried to work in a bathrobe...

      @ Michael Hoffmann

      I consider myself a "morning person" because I wake up between 5 and 6 most mornings; but, I'm still barely functional until I've got several coffees into me and had a shower.

    2. Steve the Cynic Silver badge

      Re: Last time I tried to work in a bathrobe...

      "curse for the millionth time that you need coffee to be conscious enough to make coffee"

      Do what I do: I have a filter-coffee machine with a Thermos jug for the coffee. Run that the night before, and leave one mug's worth in the jug. In the morning, pour it and nuke it for 30 seconds or so to get the temperature back up.

      1. Tom 7 Silver badge

        Re: Last time I tried to work in a bathrobe...

        Do what I do - dont drink coffee - its a drug so it wakes your up a bit and then takes you down. You're much better off without it, it takes a while but apart from saving £30 or £40 a day that some of my friends seem to spend when out and about you actually get a lot more done in the long run.

        1. Robert Grant

          Re: Last time I tried to work in a bathrobe...

          I'm enjoying not drinking coffee til about 10:30 in the morning, after natural highs have tailed off and I want an actual boost.

      2. Kane Silver badge
        Unhappy

        Re: Last time I tried to work in a bathrobe...

        "In the morning, pour it and nuke it for 30 seconds or so to get the temperature back up."

        Bloody travesty.

      3. Kernel

        Re: Last time I tried to work in a bathrobe...

        "pour it and nuke it for 30 seconds or so to get the temperature back up."

        I don't know what you're making there, but it sure as hell doesn't qualify as coffee!

    3. ecofeco Silver badge

      Re: Last time I tried to work in a bathrobe...

      Uhm coffee maker with timer?

      That's my process.

  9. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Bathrobes are for cissies, work naked.

    1. hplasm Silver badge
      Happy

      Bathrobes are for cissies, work naked.

      Don't flick the soldering iron.

      1. Simon Harris Silver badge
        Unhappy

        Re: Bathrobes are for cissies, work naked.

        Ouch - done that before building models in my bathrobe.

        1. Nolveys Silver badge

          Re: Bathrobes are for cissies, work naked.

          Ouch - done that before building models in my bathrobe.

          You've got to build them outside your bathrobe and move them in when you are done.

          1. ecofeco Silver badge

            Re: Bathrobes are for cissies, work naked.

            Damn Novleys, I actually spit my beer.

  10. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    He's full of it

    I don't know if Torvalds even has a drivers license, but he' s not convincing me that when someone lifts his 100K Benz with state-of-the-art alarm system his reaction would be 'what a clever and interesting person, I would like to meet him/her'.

    When someone steams your property, intellectually or otherwise. it sucks. Ad you don't want to hire them, because there are always newer, cleverer and more interesting people trying to nick your stuff.

    1. Version 1.0 Silver badge

      Re: He's full of it

      This is Linus you're talking about - criticize him when you get close to doing 1/10th of what he's done. I think that you work in the way that works for you - the important thing is that you do something you enjoy. And if you can't enjoy the stuff that brings the money in, have something else that you enjoy more.

      It's 5AM here, coffee's on and I'm off to work in an hour.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: He's full of it

      Are you in sales?

    3. anonymous boring coward Silver badge

      Re: He's full of it

      "When someone steams your property, intellectually or otherwise. it sucks. "

      What about shirts?

  11. This post has been deleted by a moderator

  12. Simon Harris Silver badge

    Working from home.

    "while coding a kernel in his bathrobe is far from glamorous he derives immense satisfaction from the many uses to which Linux is put."

    For some reason, putting those two ideas together reminded me of the Mitchell and Webb 'Working From Home' sketch.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=co_DNpTMKXk (possibly NSFW... unless you're working from home)

    1. hplasm Silver badge
      Linux

      Re: Working from home.

      ""while coding a kernel in his bathrobe..."

      Linus: First, install the kernel in your bathrobe...

  13. Neil Barnes Silver badge
    Linux

    The important question is:

    Is it yet the year of the bathrobe?

  14. anthonyhegedus Silver badge

    What a pretentious little twat!

    1. anonymous boring coward Silver badge

      Oh, the irony!

  15. amanfromMars 1 Silver badge

    Linux Foundation Rocks to Roll with Memes that EnLiven ...... WeKidU2Not

    He therefore encouraged anyone looking for a career to pursue technology, but said he wants to make a special effort to recruit those who work on the dark side of tech.

    Where does one sign up? For this enables Genuine Key Players ……. delivering the Edge that drivers and supplies Every Advantage.

    amanfromMars 1 Mon 11 Sep 20:05 ….. still chatting on https://forums.theregister.co.uk/forum/1/2017/09/11/lord_sugar_phubbed_in_peers_debate_on_digital/

    Re: Re: An Alien Alienating Option for Far Forward Thinking Futures Marketeers with Derivative Memes

    Deep .... and for Dark Web Mastery too, Semtex451?

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    1. ecofeco Silver badge

      Re: Linux Foundation Rocks to Roll with Memes that EnLiven ...... WeKidU2Not

      I've missed you MFM.

  16. Voyna i Mor Silver badge

    Umberto Eco

    In one of his books he talks about the significance of monk's robes versus military uniforms. Basically robes allow free movement and encourage freedom of thought while military uniforms make you constantly aware of them and so encourage discipline rather than independence.

    The bathrobe as a modern version of the monastic habit?

    1. amanfromMars 1 Silver badge

      Re: Umberto Eco ...... Umberto Ego in an IT Id .... BetaTesting AI SuperEGOS

      Toga'd up, springs to mind, in Ye Olde Roman Catholic Attire/Guise, Voyna i Mor. Ancient secrets never die and disappear, they evolve and expand into Greater IntelAIgent Games Networks with Powerful Codes to XSSXXXX.

      That's not to say that anyone imagines themselves imperial, but if the toga fits then its AI Caesar for the day and 0days.

    2. ecofeco Silver badge

      Re: Umberto Eco

      Too loose and no structure. Too tight and no freedom.

  17. bexley

    shirt and tie

    I know a guy that can´t work properly unless he is wearing a pressed shirt and tie.

    I pity him.

    My problem is that If i get to 3pm and am still not dressed or showered, I start thinking, well, there is not much point it washing or dressing now, i´ll do it tomorrow.

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