A three-minute explanation of why he acts like this, from Linus himself:
Today slashdot has let me down.
I second this answer. Being a programmer won't improve you. You can be as good as any doing what you do.
It is a question of honesty and of realistic expectations: If you disclose to an employer that the only reason you sought to commit a minor edit to an open source project was for him to score you more highly, not because you really wanted to do it, you'll look like dishonest (of course you may prefer to conceal the real reason but that wouldn't make you less dishonest - perhaps it will only add premeditation).
As for realistic expectations, if you think that a minor edit to an OS project will score you any points, think again: OS project contributors are really a hierarchy, and only the most committed contributors really get noticed. Listing a contribution on your CV that nobody can find let alone appreciate in context unless you'll point them to the exact URL is like saying you once threw a drop of water in the ocean. As if the ocean would care!
Don't think of making a big fuss of small things. And if you won't seek to do that, don't do small things unnecessary (and not particularly if it may take you great deal of work to get them done). Become a good user (of any database), find the job you want, and leave committing to the codebase to those who really care.
I agree, dar is definitely the way to go. You need to learn how it works but once you do it's incredible all the things you can do. What safetyinnumbers is referring to is called an isolated catalogue. See also: dar_manager.
I use AlwaysVPN and I would recommend it. They charge by GB rather than by month. If you're an occasional user that works out cheaper than most, as the bandwidth you buy from AlwaysVPN never expires.
Dishwasha, I agree, that is the way forward (and I'm glad you've actually engaged with the question instead of deriding it as others have done).