Linus Is A Fake!

Every true Linux geek knows that Linus Torvalds is our fearless leader, the developer-in-chief, keeper of the stable tree and decider of what will be. But according to the Linux Foundation, what you see may not be what you get.

In a post to his Linux Foundation blog, Executive Director Jim Zemlin announced last week that, playing on the popularity of FakeSteveJobs, the Foundation unleashed a social media blitz around four anonymous individuals know as the Fake Linus Torvalds — or Fakes Linus Torvalds, or Fake Linuses Torvalds, or something.

Beginning last week, and continuing through Linus' keynote address at LinuxCon, the FLTs — which sounds like a developer sandwich — and will be tweeting and denting from the Foundation's accounts as though they were the man himself. Next week, FLT fans will have the opportunity to vote for their favorite fraudster. Among the tweets and dents already out there are:

#flt2: "Hit sauna w/ B. Gates & shocked to see "I heart Linux" tattooed on his left buttock. Getting mine removed el pronto. Copycat."

#flt4: I heard a rumor that #flt1 punched a penguin yesterday. Not an act you would want to support, right? Just sayin.

#flt3: Is Twitter running on Minix or something? Why the hell is it down so often?

#flt1: Confession: I keep a photo of Mark Shuttleworth above my desk, and it makes me kind of hot.

The whole of the FLTs body of work can be found on Twitter and — there are also hashtags for each of the FLTs, to review only their tweets/dents.

The FLT phenomenon will reach its climax at LinuxCon, when the four responsible individuals will be unveiled, immediately after the conclusion of the Linux Kernel Roundtable with the real Linus. The one selected as the fan favorite will be presented with the "coveted Silver Penguin" — which appears to be a penguin-shaped cocktail shaker, something we here at Linux Journal can certainly get behind.

In order to excite — or terrify, depending on the viewer — potential FLT fans, the Foundation has prepared a parody of Eminem's The Real Slim Shady entitled Will the Real Linus Torvalds please stand up? "Biographies" of the four fakes are also available from the LF's Fake Linus Torvalds page, while Zemlin has challenged the community to ferret out the FLT's identities: "I suspect a few identities to be scooped before we get to Portland. I challenge you to be the spoiler!"

All the fun, including bios, links to the individual FLTs tweets, and of course, the above-mentioned video can be found on the Fake Linus Torvalds page at the Linux Foundation.


Justin Ryan is a Contributing Editor for Linux Journal.


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How to identify the Real Linus Torvalds...

Anonymous's picture

There are many ways to identify the Real Linus Torvalds...

1. The Real can handwrite the first 25 lines of the Linux 2.4 kernel.
2. The Real can list how many times his kernel failed before it became Linux.
3. The Real can talk about his first meeting with his father-in-law before he got married.
4. Handwrite Source Code... The real one has a Swedish style.

And there are more ways.

I agree with rms

Marz's picture

I agree with rms. He seems to be totally indifferent to the free software community's agenda. Thanks for creating the Kernel and making it available under the GPL but that's about all the thanks Linus will get from me. I respect RMS way more than I do Linus. RMS's Free Software Foundation has written more code and apps than the kernel developers. I personally don't see any usefulness in a well-coded kernel if the apps aren't there to serve me on the CLI. Gnu apps/utilities are the most complete set I've yet to see. Geers to the Hurds.


Anonymous's picture

"Every true Linux geek knows that Linus Torvalds is our fearless leader, the developer-in-chief, keeper of the stable tree and decider of what will be."

Actually Richard Stallman has contributed more than Linus, and actually developed more useful software than Linus. And the GNU Project has developed the majority of software used in "Linux." So this claim is true that they think such things, but the claim is false, that he actually is the "developer-in-chief" and more so "our fearless leader" again, Stallman has fought for our freedoms, while Linus thinks that political issues should be kept to yourself, Linus hasn't ever stuck-up for the freedoms of the operating system.

One FTL to go...

David Lane's picture

Hold the mayo...

David Lane, KG4GIY is a member of Linux Journal's Editorial Advisory Panel and the Control Op for Linux Journal's Virtual Ham Shack

That's as may be. True open

fest3er8's picture

That's as may be. True open source fashion would have two of the four merge into one FLT soon enough. And before the unveiling, there should be another merger. And a fork. So expect to find three FLTs at the end.


Josh's picture

In true Linux fashion, there couldn't be just one good FLT, there had to be four mediocre forks.