Scuttlebutt: Torvalds Thinks OS X Is Crap
Subject:   We Really Don't Know What Torvalds Said, But ...
Date:   2001-04-16 10:30:06
From:   derrick

Here's a thoughtful letter that I received that raises some good points -- Derrick

One problem with this story, as one of the other posters noted, is
that we really don't know what Torvalds said. We know what was reported
by someone who doesn't give us the context of the statement nor indeed
the full quotation. When the book's published then we'll know the truth.

What I want to know and what may prove interesting in the long term is
whether Torvalds is altogether against microkernel architecture in favor
of his monolithic approach. If you read the usenet postings between him
and Andy Tanenbaum
( from the
early '90s, Torvalds is willing to admit some of the charges levelled
against his monolithic approach are true and states that microkernels
are "nicer" (whatever that really means). In response to Tanenbaum's
arguments for micro vs. monolithic Torvalds responds:

"True, linux is monolithic, and I agree that microkernels are nicer.
With a less argumentative subject, I'd probably have agreed with most of
what you said. From a theoretical (and aesthetical) standpoint linux
looses. If the GNU kernel had been ready last spring, I'd not have
bothered to even start my project: the fact is that it wasn't and still
isn't. Linux wins heavily on points of being available now."

(In that short paragraph with it's concluding statement Torvalds wrote
everything anyone needs to read to know why then and now Linux has been
successful.) What I hope to discover from his book is 1) is it Mach in
particular he thinks is crap or does he also implicate all microkernels,
and 2) if he thinks all microkernels are crap, when and how did he come
to this conclusion.

Is Torvalds' pronouncement the death knell for OS X? No! I've been
using Macs for 10 years going back 20 years for Apple computers in
general. I like the new OS and believe over the next year we'll see it
solidified by Apple and the Macintosh community. I have some gripes,
especially about performance. But like it's cousin FreeBSD, I find it
robust with a fit and finish I can appreciate and enjoy. As for OS X
being crap, that won't be determined based on early-days speed and
graphics issues nor in academic discussions touting monolithic vs.
microkernel architectures. Apple will solve the performance issues and
we'll see better graphics drivers for Quartz. We'll know whether Mac OS
X is crap when we know whether Apple and the Macintosh community can
produce the critical mass of desktop applications and systems support
necessary for the average user to work productively without becoming a

Finally, I think the headline of your piece is misleading and
inflammatory. The article from Yahoo UK certainly leads one to believe
that, but IMHO you shouldn't propagate crap.

Thanks for the article and the MacDev forum and the great publications
your company produces.


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  1. We Really Don't Know What Torvalds Said, But ...
    2001-04-19 19:21:55  pyrrho [View]

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