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Linux Creator Linus Torvalds Declined to Join Apple

By - Source: Wired | B 71 comments

What if you had received a job offer from Steve Jobs to work at Apple? Would you have accepted it if it came with the condition to abandon your passion and find a new one at Apple?

I take a guess and predict that many of us mortals would have taken a chance. Linux Torvalds did not, according to a Wired article. Apparently, Torvalds received a personal job offer from Steve Jobs more than a decade ago. He was offered to work on Unix for MacOS, but the offer came with the condition that he would have to drop all work on Linux.

“Unix for the biggest user base: that was the pitch,” Torvalds told Wired. “He wanted me to work at Apple doing non-Linux things. ... I said no.”

Perhaps, the offer was not enticing enough anyway and most obviously pitched to the wrong person. In 2000 when the conversation reportedly happened, there was no iPod, there was no iPhone and no iPad. Instead, Apple had a Bondi Blue iMac and was prepared for the release of Mac OS X (March 2001), which is based on technologies by NeXT. Torvalds was not a fan of Mac OS and it may have been an easy decision at the time - all open source ideals aside - to decline any job.

According to the Wired article, Torvalds and Jobs were not so different because of their attention to detail and they probably would have made a good fit from that perspective. However, both had very different views on the computer industry and given their passion, a work relationship would most likely not have lasted. There are those who say that Torvalds was dumb not to accept Jobs offer, but in that case, you would have to ask the question: Would Jobs have accepted a job offer at the Linux Foundation with the condition to give up everything Apple?

Discuss
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Top Comments
  • 35 Hide
    ultra619 , March 22, 2012 11:06 AM
    This guy is a BOSS!
  • 31 Hide
    outlw6669 , March 22, 2012 11:07 AM
    Smart choice.
    In ten years when Apple has collapsed, Linux will still be going strong...
  • 30 Hide
    spleenbegone , March 22, 2012 11:23 AM
    This doesn't seem like that big of deal. Anyone who is really passionate about something won't give it up for a job if they don't have to.

    How many Tom's readers would give up computers for a job?
Other Comments
  • 35 Hide
    ultra619 , March 22, 2012 11:06 AM
    This guy is a BOSS!
  • 31 Hide
    outlw6669 , March 22, 2012 11:07 AM
    Smart choice.
    In ten years when Apple has collapsed, Linux will still be going strong...
  • 30 Hide
    spleenbegone , March 22, 2012 11:23 AM
    This doesn't seem like that big of deal. Anyone who is really passionate about something won't give it up for a job if they don't have to.

    How many Tom's readers would give up computers for a job?
  • 27 Hide
    Anonymous , March 22, 2012 11:26 AM
    Good decision by Linus!
  • 27 Hide
    spp85 , March 22, 2012 11:27 AM
    Those who live based on their heart will say a bold NO because it compromises our character, passion and natural talents that we have and no one had the right to challenge or deny those. Those who live based on following commands from mind may say Yes.
  • 18 Hide
    alvine , March 22, 2012 11:36 AM
    ^ and you're saying its bad because of your noobish experience with linux?
  • 25 Hide
    mobrocket , March 22, 2012 11:37 AM
    Cryogenic"In ten years when Apple has collapsed, Linux will still be going as bad as ever..."There, fixed that for you!


    cryogenic u have no concept of linux and how much its used
  • 21 Hide
    Anonymous , March 22, 2012 11:37 AM
    Yeah Cryo, its not like every web server in the universe is already running on Mac... oh wait, thats Linux its running on.

    Grow up you 12 year old ipad amazed kid.
  • 19 Hide
    Parrdacc , March 22, 2012 11:38 AM
    I would have turned down Apple simply cause I just do not really care for them. Don't get me wrong I do believe Steve Jobs was one of the greats and Apple does come up with really good products and ideas; its just the way they do business that ruins it all for me. When it comes to the way they conduct business, in some ways, they are worse then even M$.
  • 20 Hide
    Anonymous , March 22, 2012 11:42 AM
    lol cryogenic dont be such a noob, unix is BOSS OS... It's purpose is to work, to run servers. to have a system that does not fail.
    you can take a linux server configure it and come back after 3 years, it will still run like it did when you left.

    do that with microsoft, and when you come back there will be crash logs etc...
  • 10 Hide
    Parrdacc , March 22, 2012 11:44 AM
    Cryogenic"In ten years when Apple has collapsed, Linux will still be going as bad as ever..."There, fixed that for you!


    Clearly, you seem to lack understanding of such a statement. Either way Apple will still collapse. As for the the Linux part well others have and I am sure will continue to take that one and set it straight.
  • 23 Hide
    eddieroolz , March 22, 2012 12:08 PM
    Steve Jobs asked the wrong person, period. Linus is driven by passion. Asking him to drop Linux is just ridiculous.
  • 15 Hide
    warezme , March 22, 2012 12:15 PM
    Linus doesn't need Apple. This guy has real smarts not a drop out wanna be like Jobs was. Would you want to work for someone like that? Jobs got lucky by just being around the right people at the right time and faking his way in. Linus has an estimated net worth of around 150Mil so I would say he is doing just fine thank you.
  • 13 Hide
    DjEaZy , March 22, 2012 12:15 PM
    ... interesting... android is linux based... hell, all non-apple and non-MS is linux based... will be interesting...
  • 8 Hide
    tidex , March 22, 2012 12:18 PM
    It's LINUS Torvals
  • 9 Hide
    tidex , March 22, 2012 12:19 PM
    of course, I have to make a typo while pointing out a typo...
  • 13 Hide
    hoof_hearted , March 22, 2012 12:28 PM
    This is synonymous with selling your soul to Satan
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