Linux Creator Linus Torvalds Declined to Join Apple
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?