23 June 2006

The Geek God Who Didn't Matter

Some nicely provocative journalism from Business 2.0. Alongside the dull and entirely predictable list of "50 people who matter" is the infinitely more interesting "10 people who don't matter". And who should we find amongst them but that nice Mr. Torvalds.

And in a way, it's true. As I wrote in Rebel Code five years ago:

Linus is unique because he was able to serve as a focal point for ... advances to come together to create a complete methodology that is now central to the continuing success of the open source movement and that offers the first plausible alternative to the current - and creaking model of software development. But Linus is also replaceable because of this methodology, which allows programming and architectural decisions to be relegated to specialised circles of experts; and thanks to this methodology even his leadership style - that of power wielded in subservience to the user base - can be distributed more widely.

2 comments:

chris smith said...

>But Linus is also replaceable because of this methodology

By somebody of equal or greater leadership ability.
The raging fallacy of b-school-think, IHMO, is that leadership and creativity are generalizable.

glyn moody said...

Certainly of equal ability to provide the right kind of leadership - that is, to work the open source model. Traditional CEO leadership wouldn't work, no matter how good a leader.