What should Linus Torvalds do next?

Linus Torvalds’ excellent track record is actually an album of related software projects. He made Linux for his master thesis after being fascinated by Unix architecture and trying to make something better than Minix. It became a huge collaborative project which required a good distributed source code management utility. So he made Git right after Linux became self-sustainable and left him enough free time. Now that Git is sustainable, what is next?

A system programming language

Lately our industry has seen several efforts to create a modern system programming language. From Google’s Go to Mozilla’s Rust it seems there is a need for a better system programming language than C.

I would be surprised if Linus Torvalds is totally fine with vanilla C and wouldn't change a thing. He has over two decades of experience working on successful source code (mostly C). If there is anyone who is the authority for designing a system programming language, it’s Linus Torvalds.

It makes a lot of sense. Linus Torvalds managed to make a better Unix, what stops him from making a better C? After all C was developed in close relation to Unix by the same guys who made the OS.

Popularity

Compiler, parser and optimization is not everyone’s cup of tea but someone who has made a great operating system knows a thing or two about what makes a perfect system programming language.

Coming from an unknown programmer it took a while for Linux to get traction. Git was adopted much quicker thanks to the respect that Linus Torvalds gained after Linux. Now can you imagine any resistance for his next creation?

The ultimate contribution

Finnish is one of the world’s hardest languages. Linus Torvalds speaks that plus Swedish and English. As a trilingual myself, I find it amazing that the language I use to express something actually changes my way of thinking.

Sure it’s true about programming languages too. When I write C, I think more about memory and performance than when I write Java OOP or JavaScript functional code. But how about the other way around? What if the language was designed by a genius? Wouldn't you be encouraged to think like a genius when expressing your algorithm in that language? I'm not talking Brainfuck here, just smart system programming language.

We’re talking about a mentality that threatened and reshaped one of the biggest companies in the world. It’s not just an operating system. It’s a new way to build things. Linux alone would cost $1.4 billion if developed with traditional proprietary methods, yet it’s free.

If Linus Torvalds designs a language, it’ll become popular faster than Git and certainly Linux. The academia will immediately pick up and train the next generation of problem solvers with a tool that is made by one of the best software icons alive today. Equipped with better tools programmers can solve problems more efficiently and this pushes the world forward.

A “loud” fan

In the world of software and internet, Linus Torvalds is a rock star. He’s the Elvis or Michael Jackson if you will. I’m not in a position to tell him what to do. I’m merely a loud fan asking for the next song in this awesome concert.

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Written by

Knowledge Worker, MSc Systems Engineering, Tech Lead, Web Developer

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