Does Linus Run Linux Mint?

by Susan Linton - Aug. 10, 2011Comments (16)

linux Last week we discovered that Linus Torvalds has dumped the GNOME desktop for Xfce. Now today we find that he has dumped Fedora for Linux Mint.

It was known for several years that Linus ran Fedora, he had stated so in interviews. He told Caitlyn Martin, "I've used different distributions over the years. Right now I happen to use Fedora 9 on most of the computers I have, which really boils down to the fact that Fedora had fairly good support for PowerPC back when I used that, so I grew used to it. But I actually don't care too much about the distribution, as long as it makes it easy to install and keep reasonably up-to-date. I care about the kernel and a few programs, and the set of programs I really care about is actually fairly small."

Earlier he mentioned some of the other distributions he has used. In 2007 he told, "So right now I happen to run Fedora on my machines. Before Fedora had PowerPC support, I ran YDL for a while, and before that I had SuSE. Funnily enough, the only distributions I tend to refuse to touch are the "technical" ones, so I've never run Debian, because as far as I'm concerned, the whole and only point of a distribution is to make it easy to install." He even took a swipe at Gentoo or LFS I think when he added, "so Debian or one of the "compile everything by hand" ones simply weren't interesting to me."

Linux reiterated that sentiment on Debian to Benjamin Humphrey earlier this year. He said, "I always felt that Debian was a pointless exercise because to me, the point of a distribution is to make everything easy." Although in this interview he was asked about Ubuntu. About Ubuntu Linus said, "I've always had a few problems [with Ubuntu.] It's not very friendly to kernel developers, and I just end up giving up. I think that Ubuntu has done a really, really good job making Linux available to a wider and different audience, the kind of audience that comes from a Windows and Apple background."

But like most folks I guess, I just thought Linus must still be using Fedora. That was until today when Marcel Gagné, well known author and columnist, said in post on desktop preferences that Linus now uses Linux Mint. I did not find confirmation of this anywhere else, but Gagné is well respected and has access to the upper echelon of Linux and Open Source Software. We know Mint comes in a Xfce edition, but is Mint more friendly to Linux developers than Ubuntu?  It appears so.

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He should try Pinguy OS.

1 Votes

Linux Mint also comes in a Linux Mind Debian Edition. Works pretty nice too.

1 Votes

Since the article doesn't say, I'd be interested to know if Linus is using Ubuntu based Mint or the Debian Based rolling release Xfce version. used the Debian based version and found it solid and reliable.

1 Votes

torvalds was using fedora to promote red hat's product, because red hat made him rich way back when they gave him free stock when red hat listed in the stock market. it would be ungrateful of him to stop running fedora.

but if he's running mint, that means he's running debian. via ubuntu or not, i don't care, it's both mint and ubuntu are debian with some customizations.

0 Votes

My choice is (and always has been) Debian (Stable branch).

Rock solid !


0 Votes

As a Mint developer and maintainer, this puts quite a large smile on my face. :)

0 Votes

I'm wouldn't be surprised to hear he moved to Mint. It's far and away my favorite distro(especially 10). I know it's based on Debian, but it is WAY easier to use. My biggest pet peeve about debian is the difficulty installing proprietary video drivers. Why after all these years has Debian not ported Jockey or some similar tool to assist users in installing these drivers?

0 Votes

Correct me if I'm wrong, but isn't Linux Mint XFCE now exclusively debian based? Don't get me wrong, it is the easiest debian based Xfce distro I've seen and it has a very heavy dose of Gnome 2 thrown in, but still.

0 Votes

Thanks to Linux Mint Debian Edition I can finally use a pretty desktop with Debian testing beneath it ! I always wanted to use Debian testing as my main distro, but installing everything from scratch and without having a polished desktop was always a wall for me.

0 Votes

Yeah, why diss Ubuntu and Debian? Debian is Ubuntu stripped down to basics, while Ubuntu is Debian made easy. Mint is Ubuntu made easy. Maybe Linus is OS challenged, and can only use rpm distros.

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@istok.. Not sure if you have met Linus, but promoting anything because of any kind of commercial interest isn't something he known for.

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the only 2 distros I found out to be reliable over the years are arch with kde and opsnsuse with kde.

i am though somewhat surprised to hear Linus uses distros like fedora or mint.

0 Votes

I wonder what problem(s) Fedora1[0-5] presented with?! for a purported switch to Mint (10)! Could it be the overweight desktops, Xorg or generally "Butterfly" Fedora with it's "ephemeral" versioning.....which biased me towards (Debian) Mint.

0 Votes

They made a Mint 9 XFCE based on ubuntu as well. I use lubuntu with xfce installed and built it as an alternative to Mint which is now it's own distro...

As a developer, Ubuntu has a few things that annoy me. A lot. But the resulting distro has a enormous user base that simply can not be ignored, so you fix the annoyances and roll it out to my clients.

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One of my readers kindly informed me of your article and its mention of me. My sincere thanks for the plug and the quote, but I should clarify a few things. First, my comment about Linux Mint was from Steven J. Vaughn-Nichols' article on ZdNet about a posting by Linus in response to a Google+ posting by RedHat engineer Dave Jones where Dave was mentioning some minor kernel changes . . . see how deep this gets? Anyhow, Linus joined in and suggested that while they were busy making changes, maybe they should fork GNOME as well.

Perhaps the biggest problem with this chain of "Marcel said that Steven said that Dave said that Linus said" is that I stumbled over a metaphorical rock and landed flat on my journalistic face. It turns out that Steven, not Linus, is the one who claims to be running Linux Mint. Since Steven's pronouncement was just above his quote of Linus' reply to . . . etc, etc, I mistakenly read it as Linus runs Mint.

So, I walk away with egg on my face, a mea culpa, and a renewed level of respect for the power of the Internet and its ecosystem of writers to rapidly promote an error. Unfortunately, in this case, it was mine.

Thanks again, Susan. I'm sorry for misleading you.

Oh, and I still don't like Unity. [ insert appropriate smiley here ]

-- Marcel

0 Votes

he still uses fedora

he submitted a bug , which got fixed by just updating the system (he wanted better 3D rendering for etracer)

0 Votes
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