Father of Linux Linus Torvalds Becomes US Citizen

Linus Torvalds, who will forever be known as the father of Linux, is set to become an American citizen.

The Finland-born programmer in the past has never expressed much enthusiasm for obtaining citizenship, despite living in the U.S. for at least a dozen years now and currently residing in Portland, Oregon with his family.

It seems the main thing that's driving Torvalds to grab that extra passport is so that he can play a part in the voting system. Without being a citizen, he's unable to vote – and that's one thing that he's always craved.

In a blog post he wrote almost two years ago, he said, "So I'm a stranger in a strange land, and seldom more so than when voting season is upon us.

"Most of the rest of the time I can kind of ignore it. … But being reminded about not being able to vote is actually the much smaller thing: much more than that, election season reminds you about what an odd place the US is."

Torvalds continued, "That's when you also notice that the whole US voting system is apparently expressly designed to be polarizing (winner-take-all electoral system etc). To somebody from Finland, that looks like a rather obvious and fundamental design flaw. In Finland, government is quite commonly a quilt-work of different parties, and the "rainbow coalition" of many many parties working together was the norm for a long time. And it seems to result in much more civilized political behaviour.

"So you couple a polarizing voting system with a campaign that has to make simplified black-and-white statements, and what do you get? Ugly, is what you get.

"Most of the time I really like living in the US. But voting season sometimes makes you wonder."

With his criticism out of the way, he's ready to take part and help make a difference. He clearly understands that every vote matters, and he's taking action. In a message to a mailing list, he revealed that he was undergoing voter registration and socsec updates, now that he's a U.S. citizen.

(Source: The Register.)

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    Top Comments
  • He's right.

    Political discourse in America is polarized and polemic without parallel in the free world. I never saw this as a result of the election system, but maybe he's right there too.
    16
  • The electoral college had its day, but we live in the day and age where computers can account for every vote.
    15
  • Couldn't you find a better picture than "Fat guy in Speedos"
    I trying to eat here!
    13
  • Other Comments
  • He's right.

    Political discourse in America is polarized and polemic without parallel in the free world. I never saw this as a result of the election system, but maybe he's right there too.
    16
  • Quote:
    So you couple a polarizing voting system with a campaign that has to make simplified black-and-white statements, and what do you get?

    Err, either a white President or a black President?
    -21
  • The electoral college had its day, but we live in the day and age where computers can account for every vote.
    15