Abhay Rana aka Nemo

What if Linus Torvalds designed Google+

Google’s announced its next big thing, Google+ to take on Facebook left people wondering if the next version would be called Google++. Inspite of all the great work that Vic Gundotra has put into Google+, it still lacks something. The creator of linux, Linus Torvalds. Google+ is as-of-now the social network for tech-geeks who are part of a field trial experiment(monkeys!) on the site. Google+ is still halfway geek, and in my imagination it would have been the ultimate geek power tool if it had been designed by Linus. Unfortunately, he is busy developing the linux kernel (10 million lines, 2% being his), and we would have to suffice with these thoughts:

  • Open Source : Google+ would be open sourced. Anyone could run Google+ on their own servers, and use it to create their own Social Network
  • Command Line : The default Google+ client would run natively on linux/unix but would be ported later to Windows using cygwin.
  • Difficulty-of-use : Gone are the click and point days. You’d be required to have absolute mastery over at least 5 different commands before you can even post a single item to your feed.
  • Full Control : You will have full control over whatever you post. You can make 4 changes, stage them, take them back, commit 2 of them, edit a post, and recommit before pushing it to the server. However all of this will be stored.
  • Git Backend : Both the client and the server will use git as its backend to store history, revisions, links, and circles.
  • Circles : would be called trees. And you can tag your trees to take a snapshot of your friends lists at a time.
  • Branching : would allow you to create multiple versions of your profile. The default version will be called master, while you can continue your secret development in alpha, staging, beta branches. Circles will automatically be associated with branches and auto-post items.
  • Merging : will allow for collaborative posts.
  • After 12 years of development, Google+ will reach version 2.1
  • No deletions : Everything in history has an importance. You are allowed to use rebase to rewrite history. Beware: use cautiously. Incorrect usage may lead to painfull scenarios.
  • A mascot(direwolf ?) would be found for Google+ (probably after it bit Linus in an aquarium)
  • Facebook would spend $421m fighting Google+
  • The manual of Google+ would be a labryinth of switches amd command line arguments for all the features that it came with. A user would be expected to read through the entire manual, or at least the first one-third, before being able to do something of use with the service.
  • To block a user, you must enter his id in an ignore file
  • 3 years hence, the next big thing would be ghub offering a farm-like service to create, host, and customize your own google+ servers.

Note: Based on the history of linux, and the usability of git.


The famous announcement of Linux Kernel on the comp.os.minix mailing list is well-known. Slightly re-written, this is how Linus might have announced Google+.

>From: torvalds@klaava.Helsinki.FI (Linus Benedict Torvalds)  
>Newsgroups: web.social.facebook  
>Subject: What would you like to see most in facebook  
>Summary: small poll for my new social network  
>Message-ID: <2011Jun28.205708.9541@klaava.Helsinki.FI>  
>Date: 28 Jun 11 20:57:08 GMT  
>Organization: Google  

>Hello everybody out there using facebook -

>I’m doing a (free) social network (just a hobby, won’t be big and professional like facebook). This has been brewing since dec, and is starting to get ready. I’d like any feedback on things people like/dislike in facebook, as my site resembles it somewhat (same layout of the news feed and comments(due to practical reasons) among other things).

>I’ve currently ported feed(1.08), comments(2.1), photos(3.14), and likes(1.40), and things seem to work. This implies that I’ll get something practical within a few months, and I’d like to know what features most people would want. Any suggestions are welcome, but I won’t promise I’ll implement them :-)

>Linus (torvalds@kruuna.helsinki.fi)

>PS. Yes – it’s free of any facebook code, and it has pipelined js. It is NOT protable (uses google accounts), and it probably never will support anything other than Google App Engine, as that’s all I have :-(.

Tags: WeBlog iFest 2011, humour, linux, linus

Published on July 07, 2011 in google+,humour