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Torvalds: main impact of MS trial psychological

And he doesn't have much in common with Bill...

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During a predictably banal interview of Linus Torvalds on Radio Wall Street yesterday - where the interviewer clearly hoped for some tips about how to turn Linux into a pot of gold for investors - our hero had a couple of interesting things to say about the Microsoft case.

Torvalds said that "the major impact is psychological" and that "Microsoft is no longer the American dream. People see Microsoft as a fairly nasty company."

He added that he didn't follow Microsoft much, and had never met Bill Gates. Asked if he had any particular questions he would want to put to Gates, he said: "We don't have that much in common. There could be an embarrassing silence" but if they met, "I'd ask him out for lunch because of the absurdity of it all."

Looking back, he suggested that "Nobody in their right mind would start something like Linux", but fortunately the project had moved away from just sitting in front of the computer, eating and sleeping to a much more active social life.

Torvalds said he didn't see the moves towards embracing Linux as being very sudden, as the interviewer evidently thought, but he did find IBM's backing to be "encouraging". Asked about the opportunities for Linux, he observed that the "in-your-face" desktop market was difficult to enter, prices were high, and people didn't want to switch. IBM's putting Linux on notebooks showed how Linux was moving to the desktop market. But in the embedded and server markets, there was less concern about what operating system was used.

As for Linux and wireless, Torvalds said there were "no problems - the infrastructure is fine" and managed a small commercial for Crusoe in the mobile market because of the low power requirement. He said he'd joined Transmeta three and a half years ago because the opportunity was completely different.

The disappointment for Radio Wall Street was that although Torvalds didn't exactly say he didn't like Wall Street ("I'm a technology guy"), he offered no advice to investors, merely noting that Linux "changes how things are done", and suggested that investors "follow the market". ®

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