They had crushed Lotus, Novell, and Netscape. Office and Windows were stable, profitable behemoths. Sure, Linus Tovalds—aka Omar Little—was a perennial annoyance, robbing Microsoft of server profits by giving away Linux for free, but he didn’t threaten the main business. For novelty’s sake, they could cut Windows with all sorts of adulterants (remember Active Desktop? Or MSN Explorer?) and users would still keep buying, at least for a while.
Fantastic interview, with a lot of great desktop Linux theorizing.
Wired had a nice piece on Linus Torvalds, the crux of which is that he’s a cool, normal guy, despite his fame and responsibilities. But two parts really caught my eye. This was the first thing that grabbed me:
Last year, Intel invited Torvalds and Tove to a pre-Oscar party in Hollywood, where he rubbed elbows with the likes of Robert Downey Jr., who didn’t know who he was, and Mad Men star Jon Hamm, who did.
I couldn’t imagine how Hamm knew Linus. I found this post from Linus about going to that Oscar party and meeting Hamm.
Hamm, to his credit, was suitably impressed by Linus, too (unless I’m missing some sarcasm).
Linus is an interesting guy. I’m glad Hollywood is finally recognizing that.
This is the second thing from the article that blew my mind:
Torvalds has never met Bill Gates, but around 2000, when he was still working at Transmeta, he met Steve Jobs. Jobs invited him to Apple’s Cupertino campus and tried to hire him. “Unix for the biggest user base: that was the pitch,” says Torvalds. The condition: He’d have to drop Linux development. “He wanted me to work at Apple doing non-Linux things,” he said. That was a non-starter for Torvalds. Besides, he hated Mac OS’s Mach kernel.
Can you imagine a world with Linus at Apple? That would have been some OS.