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Apple Allegedly Tried to Kill Linux 12 Years Ago

Posted in Apple, GNU/Linux, Kernel at 4:45 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Apple in a nutshell

Summary: The spiritual leader of Apple is accused of trying to “kill” Linux development (money with strings attached)

ONE OF our participants, Oiaohm, says that OSDL (now merged into the Linux Foundation) pays Linus Torvalds because he received some outrageous job offers that put in jeopardy the development (or coordination of development) of Linux. Steve Jobs, the man behind the vicious attack on Android, turns out to have been behind another blow against Linux:

Apple Tried to Hire Linus Torvalds, Kill Linux

The founder of Linux was invited to Apple HQ in Cupertino by Steve Jobs at the turn of the millennium, where is was invited to join Apple and work on (what would become) OS X.

The lure? ‘Unix for the biggest user base’.

The catch? That he would have to stop development on Linux, a condition that led Torvalds to flatly refuse the offer.

Imagine: no Linux would have meant no Ubuntu, no ChromeOS, and no Android; the entire ecosystem of technology could have been dramatically changed by acceptance of this one job offer.

Thanks to the reader who brought this to our attention.

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  1. Michael said,

    March 28, 2012 at 9:14 pm


    Once again, absurd spin from Roy.

    Even if true, and it might be, that Jobs offered Linus Torvalds a job and had as a stipulation that Linus would have to stop working on a competing product, this does not mean Linux would die.

    Yes, Linus started Linux… but Linux is bigger than Linus. I wish him no harm, but if Linus were to be hit by a bus today, Linux would survive and continue to do well.

    Amazingly how little faith you have in the OSS community.

  2. NotZed said,

    March 29, 2012 at 1:31 am


    wasn’t that in the links a couple of times?

    Anyway: clearly it wouldn’t have killed linux or gnu, but the intention of jobs was clear: to slow down it’s momentum, let alone interfere with someone’s private pursuits.

    From such a sociopath who clearly believed that he single-handedly created the personal computer revolution, he probably did expect it to kill linux.

    Dr. Roy Schestowitz Reply:

    Yes, this was in the links (not the same article), but I missed the strings which were attached to the offer. Remember Microsoft and Gentoo’s founder? Gentoo never recovered.

    Michael Reply:

    “he probably did expect it to kill linux”

    Complete fantasy you made up.

    Jobs, it seems, respected Torvalds and wanted to hire him. What a horrible thing!

    I mean, really… just stupid “analysis” from you and Roy.

  3. walterbyrd said,

    March 30, 2012 at 10:02 am


    If a condition of Torvald’s employment was that Linus had to give up Linux; then it’s very unlikely Apple wanted to hire Linus just to hire him.

    Considering Apple’s shameful anti-competion history, I think it’s fair to assume that Apple was trying to kill Linux by some under-handed means.

    Getting Torvald out the picture was probably just step one.

    Michael Reply:

    If a condition of Torvald’s employment was that Linus had to give up Linux; then it’s very unlikely Apple wanted to hire Linus just to hire him.

    Given how common non-compete clauses are in contracts, where you cannot work for a competitor even *after* you leave your current employer for some time, this does not seem at all odd to me. In other words, the idea of what you find "unlikely" is not based on reason but on your own emotion.

    Considering Apple’s shameful anti-competition history, I think it’s fair to assume that Apple was trying to kill Linux by some under-handed means.

    See: you are reacting to your emotional beliefs – not to any evidence.

    Getting Torvald out the picture was probably just step one.

    More emotion-based speculation from you. I prefer to look at evidence.
    What we know – or, really, what we have reported – is that Apple was interested in hiring someone, though one of the conditions was that the employee would have to cease working on a competing product at the same time. This makes complete sense, given how presumably the employee would be doing similar work for Apple. Why pay him to develop for Apple and then allow him to *also* give this same material, or very similar material, away for free? And if it was just "similar" – based on the same ideas – then is Apple getting his best work? The employee ends up either giving up trade secrets or short changing one or both of the projects he is working for.
    And you find it odd a company would not want that… and make up all sorts of stories based around it. Just silly.

  4. walterbyrd said,

    March 30, 2012 at 10:22 am


    Apple’s shameful history of anti-competitive behave is easily verifiable.

    For example, there were Apple’s scam “look and feel” lawsuits in the early 1990s. And Apple’s disgraceful behavior contines to this day with Apple’s scam lawsuits against: samsung, htc, motorola; and anybody else who dares to use Apple’s stolen “inventions.”

    Clearly hiring Linus would be an example of Apple “baby stabbing.”

    Go ahead and ignore the mountains of evidence, if it suits you.

    Michael Reply:

    Apple’s shameful history of anti-competitive behave is easily verifiable.

    So do it! But you will not.

    For example, there were Apple’s scam “look and feel” lawsuits in the early 1990s. And Apple’s disgraceful behavior contines to this day with Apple’s scam lawsuits against: samsung, htc, motorola; and anybody else who dares to use Apple’s stolen “inventions.”

    How is Apple working against those who plagiarize them related to your claim about showing them be "anti-competitive"? You changed topics from one sentence to the next… pretending they were related. What, for example, is anti-competitive about Apple wanting *fair* competition where companies do more than (mostly) just take the ideas of another company and slightly tweak them, not even showing any real understanding of why the decisions for the original product were made (such as the look and feel lawsuits). As far as Apple’s current lawsuits, I have not looked into them all, but clearly they are in the right when it comes to Samsung. This is not something where there is any reasonable debate… if there was you would have presented it by now. The evidence against Samsung is just overwhelming:

    And yet you blame Apple for *reacting* to such an obvious wrong.

    Clearly hiring Linus would be an example of Apple “baby stabbing.”

    This is what you want to beleive, even though you have no evidence. It shows your bias. I, being more open minded, accept it at face value: Apple (and it seems Jobs specifically) respected Linus Torvalds’ work and looked to hire him. One condition, of course, would be that Linus would not be able to share his work for Apple with others… as is the norm in the industry. It is also not surprising that Linus turned this down. No evidence that either the offer or the denial of it was in any way wrong or immoral.
    You and I can *create stories* to show where mayby Apple (or Jobs) or maybe Torvalds were somehow wrong. But that is all we would be doing – creating stories to further some agenda based on our own biases. I simply refuse to do that… but I tend to be a lot more open minded and have a broader understanding of the tech world than Roy and his followers. Such a narrow world view, where everything is seen through the eyes of people being against you and your "cause" (Stallman’s cult-like group) is bound to lead to the borderline paranoid viewpoint you and Roy share.

    Go ahead and ignore the mountains of evidence, if it suits you.

    Hey, I am open to whatever evidence you care to share. Do you have any? As noted above, you made a claim about something being "easily verifiable" but then immediately changed the topic. The only way one can see them as being related is to have a very, very narrow view of the world of technology where you see through open-source-only eyes. Open source is great – and the GPL IP protection license is fine… but to see the world through such a narrow lens, as you and Roy do, shows off your own lack of understanding. It does not say a single bad thing about Apple.

  5. walterbyrd said,

    April 4, 2012 at 9:49 am


    Hey, I am open to whatever evidence you care to share.

    No, you are not. As you are very well aware, I have shared mountains of evidence, several times in fact. Go back and read my previous posts.

    I am bored with your silly troll game of constantly demanding evidence, then ignoring it.


    Michael Reply:

    Of course I am open to whatever evidence you care to share… but you have none so you are going to walk away from the discussion. Frankly that is a wise decision on your part – you know you have nothing to back your claims. It is a way for you to tacitly admit you know I am right, or at least you cannot show I am wrong, while pretending to hold on to some of your view of yourself as someone who has knowledge and insight. I am not surprised by your actions at all.

    But, hey, let’s give you one last chance: your *best* defense of Samsung is….

    And your best evidence against Apple is….

    Show it! You can really show how much I am ignoring by filling in those blanks… that is if you have any evidence.

    Quick Hint: we both know you have nothing (heck, I bet I know more of the “dirt” on Apple and Jobs than you do – they are certainly not perfect!). So be it… just a fun way for me to show it and let you know I, at least, am not falling for your false claims of having evidence.

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