Torvalds stays out of MS debate

Absence of Malice

Linus Torvalds, the founder and creator of the Linux operating system, has admitted that he would be stuck for words if he ever found himself standing eye to eye with Bill Gates. It's not that he hates the man, far from it in fact, but rather that he simply wouldn't know what to say, he told the BBC's ClickOnline this week.

Clearly a professional sort, Torvalds has no wish to become embroiled in the ongoing war of words that is currently raging between the Linux community and Microsoft. He says he took up the Linux project when he found a lack of features in the operating systems he was using at the time. There's no motivation from the Beast of Redmond behind his work either. As he tells the BBC, there's no point undertaking a project out of malice as it usually ends in bad results.

Having said that, however, he does rather enjoy the fact that he has become the anti-Microsoft poster child. The fact that he has become the one beacon of hope for a whole generation of unhappy Microsoft users adds to the concept of fun that, he believes, dominates his work. And he does have other interests too. He recently had a child, Patricia Miranda Torvalds, and says he's more likely to be having a children's party than entertaining programmers.

Will Linux ever topple Microsoft? Torvalds doesn't think so. He notes that, despite the fact the world+dog moans about the shortfalls of Microsoft's operating system, they will all install and use the systems. They don't care about computing, which he says is the reason for this ignorance. Worse still, they don't like change. And who can blame them, if they're a large organisation, when converting to Linux could cost them millions.

Torvalds does think that Linux will have a good contribution towards the downfall of the Microsoft dominated desktop, but not the company itself. He notes that Microsoft won't be disappearing from view in the short term that's for certain. But Linux may well help persuade the legions of computer users that there is a viable alternative to the bloated OS.

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