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Technology (Apple) Software Linux Technology

Torvalds Switches to a Mac 1162

Posted by CmdrTaco
from the he's-just-copying-me dept.
renai42 writes "Linux creator Linus Torvalds said this afternoon that he's now running an Apple Macintosh as his main desktop, mainly for work reasons, although partly simply because he's a self-described "technology whore" and got the machine for free." And yes, he is running Linux on it ;)
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Torvalds Switches to a Mac

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  • by ClickWir (166927) * on Wednesday March 09, 2005 @10:14AM (#11887899)
    Torvald's response came quickly and succinctly. "My main machine these days is a dual 2GHz G5 (aka PowerPC 970) - it's physically a regular Apple Mac, although it obviously only runs Linux, so I don't think you can call it a Mac any more ;)" he said.
    • by KZigurs (638781) on Wednesday March 09, 2005 @10:28AM (#11888052)
      Wise remark. Like it or not - apple hw, without max os x isn't a mac.

      It's just another linux machine with that horrible X thing on it. :P
      • by RevAaron (125240) <revaaron@hot m a i l.com> on Wednesday March 09, 2005 @11:13AM (#11888550) Homepage
        Wise remark. Like it or not - apple hw, without max os x isn't a mac.

        It's just another linux machine with that horrible X thing on it. :P


        Like it or not, but that isn't the case.

        Recently, I've been considering buying a new laptop. I last had an iBook G3/500, recently bequethed to my girlfriend, with me using a PDA/handheld as my main computer for the last year or so. So, thinking about getting another full laptop, I've been shopping around. But since I've had my fill of OS X, I was looking at PCs too, since I'd probably be fine on a PC running Windows or Linux. But I keep coming back to the Macs. With the quality of hardware, the size/weight factor it's hard to find a notebook of comparable price, one that isn't a big piece of junk.

        Saying that a Mac without OS X isn't a Mac just isn't true. There's more to a Mac than software. Most folks who think so have never used a Mac, not for any long period of time. Similarily, a PC running OS X isn't a Mac. Maybe an x86 machine produced by Apple could make it as one, though.
        • by lowrydr310 (830514) on Wednesday March 09, 2005 @11:33AM (#11888768)
          Is there anything better about running Linux on a PowerPC based system as opposed to an x86 system? Do people really go out and spend big bucks on Apple hardware just to run Linux?

          • by nickos (91443) on Wednesday March 09, 2005 @11:46AM (#11888922)
            Linux has always been designed for the x86 platform first and then ported to other platforms later. That said, PowerPC has a much nicer architecture than x86 (heck, almost anything is better than x86 - the only thing in the x86's favour is that commodity PCs use it). Also, if you're looking at running Linux on a laptop, PPC based machines tend to have a better battery life for their level of performance...
            • last to get ports (Score:5, Informative)

              by SethJohnson (112166) on Wednesday March 09, 2005 @04:33PM (#11892891) Homepage Journal


              It's cool that you brought up the port issue. I'll expound on my frustration with linux on PPC...

              I ran a webserver on PPC linux (SuSE) for a few years. The SuSE folks did a good job porting all the standard linux apps and packages over from x86. But as I sought to customize my server with special CGI packages that did stuff like photo galleries and log analysis, I would run into roadblocks because necessary libs weren't available in PPC rpms. Sure, I could try to compile them myself, but in most attempts at this, I'd run into all kinds of compile errors for which I have no knowledge of how to troubleshoot.

              Eventually I scrapped my PPC server and switched to an old dual Celeron x86 box running Mandrake. It was very nice to have everything readily available for my distro.

              At the point that this server dies, I intend to replace it with my antiquated B/W G3 450mhz box. I see more development focusing on Mac OS X PPC than linux PPC as I think there is a significantly larger userbase on Mac OS X than linux PPC. So, unlike mr Torvaldis, I'll probably run my system (server) off Mac OS X at that point. My desktop will remain Mac OS X.
              • Re:last to get ports (Score:4, Informative)

                by iamacat (583406) on Thursday March 10, 2005 @01:10PM (#11900468)
                I hate to say it, but try Gentoo. The initial setup is crazy, but this is the end of dependency problems. You get up-to-date versions of every library, not something distro maintainers neglected for a while. Then in your system configuration file you can disable support for unwanted components, like java or kde, which reduces number of dependencies or potential problems to begin with. Finally, configure can adopt a package to a far wider range of systems, versions and presence/absence of specific software than a binary package can handle.

                If you don't specifically need Linux kernel, fink might be an easier option. You get access to the same packages as gentoo without, but setup on top of OSX is trivial. You can still run your server without UI if you want. Edit /etc/ttys and replace loginwindow with getty.
        • by TheLittleJetson (669035) on Wednesday March 09, 2005 @05:21PM (#11893484)
          Saying that a Mac without OS X isn't a Mac just isn't true. There's more to a Mac than software.

          Linus' claim is correct. A Mac without OS X is not truly a Mac, as it doesn't offer the full Mac experience. However, that doesn't mean that Apple's hardware is run-of-the-mill. It's quite superb, as you've pointed out, and there are other non-mac examples of this (iPods, Airport Base Stations [I think the express is a really cool product], we've even got a few LaserWriters still in use at my work).

          I think this is one of the legitimate reasons why you SHOULD run Linux on a Mac. He's fricken Linus, man! It's hard to do what he does (work on Linux) without using Linux. He's made the choice for real, practical reasons. It frustrates me that several in the slashdot crowd want to run Linux on Apple hardware because they think there's some lame/n00b stigma attached to OS X. I've said it plenty of times before, and I'll say it again: OS X run's the majority of unixoid apps just fine. It's the best-fit for Apple hardware; the level of integration between hardware/software is going to be very difficult to reproduce with Linux, especially on a notebook. Don't make the switch unless you have stuff that needs to be done under Linux that simply CAN NOT be done under OS X...
      • by wealthychef (584778) on Wednesday March 09, 2005 @01:55PM (#11890652)
        It's just another linux machine with that horrible X thing on it. :P

        Troll-bait aside, as a Mac user running OS X at work and at home, I use X11 all the time. The only problem with OS X's windowing system, Aqua, is that it does not support remote windows. With "that horrible X thing," I can and routinely do open graphical windows spawned by applications on other machines running totally different operating systems. It is the only technology out there that does that that I have ever heard of. Even between macs, try opening iTunes on your home machine from your work machine. X11 is a useful application, not horrible at all.

    • by throughthewire (675776) on Wednesday March 09, 2005 @10:36AM (#11888153) Homepage
      although it obviously only runs Linux

      Which is a shame. Booting into OSX once in a while might give him an additional perspective.

      • by ultrabot (200914) on Wednesday March 09, 2005 @10:44AM (#11888234)
        Which is a shame. Booting into OSX once in a while might give him an additional perspective.

        He has repeatedly said that he doesn't care about userspace.

        He has also said that Mach, which is the microkernel OSX is based on, is a "piece of shit". Read "Just for Fun", his autobiography, for full details.
        • by Paradox (13555) on Wednesday March 09, 2005 @11:59AM (#11889097) Homepage Journal
          Long ago, long before most folks were using Linux, Linus got into a fight with Andrew Tanenbaum about Linux and its design as a monolithic kernel. This is one of the more famous debates of linux lore, so it doesn't hurt read it and its annotations [fluidsignal.com].

          The quick summary is that Andy Tanenbaum proclaimed Linux dead way back in '92, saying, "While I could go into a long story here about the relative merits of the two designs, suffice it to say that among the people who actually design operating systems, the debate is essentially over. Microkernels have won."

          Linus on the other hand much preferred the monolithic design of linux, for a variety of reasons. Mr. Tanenbaum even went so far as to imply that Linux wouldn't be a passing project for his class. Ironic, no?

          Even so, Tanenbaum did and still does have some good points about the Mach microkernel. I can't exactly imagine Torvalds is the most impartial judge of the mach microkernel.
          • by dorto (866329) on Wednesday March 09, 2005 @01:11PM (#11889952)
            From what i remember, Mr. Tanenbaum did not say that linux is dead but rather that monolithic kernels are dead on which the then linux kernel was based. that was not completely wrong, he also provided some references to support his arguments. what Mr. Torvalds maintained through out was that he was not designing an academic operating system but a practical one and hence efficiency and other considerations were more important to him for his OS. IMHO Tanenbaum was not wrong in saying that a kernel so badly designed wouldn't have been accepted by him if Torvalds were his student(though that should not in any way discredit the effort put into creating linux). finally it was summarised that(IIRC): 1)Tanenbaum is looking from aesthetics point of view, and is correct in what he said about OS theory, a living example is his own minix 2)Torvalds has practical concerns to look into when he was making linux, so adv of monolithic kernel looked more important at that time than microkernel architecture. it cannot be said that (who)Torvalds finally won the battle as not every thing successful is necessarily well designed - microsoft windows and x86 architecture are good examples. in addition i think linux is not completely monolithic anymore and has become a lot more modular to the Mr. Tanenbaum's liking.
      • by dsginter (104154) on Wednesday March 09, 2005 @10:48AM (#11888285)
        Which is a shame. Booting into OSX once in a while might give him an additional perspective.

        Perspective on what? He works on the kernel, not the desktop. If he cared about the desktop, we wouldn't be in this mess.

        Linux on the desktop is getting real long in the tooth for me. I'm trying real hard not to boot Windows but I keep doing it day after day even though I'm wasting all of my free time trying to assemble some usable "free desktop".
        • by garcia (6573) * on Wednesday March 09, 2005 @11:05AM (#11888459) Homepage
          I'm trying real hard not to boot Windows but I keep doing it day after day even though I'm wasting all of my free time trying to assemble some usable "free desktop".

          Now, now, while Linux is definitly not "ready for the desktop" no matter how many of the zealots tell you it is, I really can't say that it "takes all available free time to assemble some usable 'free desktop'".

          Gnome and KDE handle this rather well in recent years and they come pretty standard with most distributions and even bootable CDs... Perhaps your requirements are different than others?

          Yeah, it's easier to use all that crap in Windows because you're comfortable with it and it happens to work better in most ways but it's certainly not as difficult as you make it out to be to do it in Linux.
          • by arkanes (521690) <[moc.liamg] [ta] [senakra]> on Wednesday March 09, 2005 @11:21AM (#11888637) Homepage
            Now, now, while Linux is definitly not "ready for the desktop" no matter how many of the zealots tell you it is

            See, this is bullcrap. It's always been bullcrap. What people mean is that it's not ready for *them*, which isn't nearly the same thing. The desktop experience on linux is far better than Windows 3.1, for example. It's better than Win95. It's better, for certain values of better, than OS 9. In fact, the Linux desktop has a lot of advantages over WinXP and OS X, although they do have a polish advantage. The Linux desktop is perfectly usable, no matter your level of technical sophistication. People get upset because they're skilled with Windows and can correct problems there, but don't want to learn the same skills under Linux.

            • by coaxial (28297) on Wednesday March 09, 2005 @04:24PM (#11892729) Homepage
              Linux isn't for the desktop and never will be until the driver issue is settled. When I bought my digital camera, I had patch the kernel in order for it to be recognized. It was a trivial patch, granted, but still I shouldn't have to do that.

              As far as learning new skills to correct problems under linux, that's a bit of a canard. Linux problems tend to be a lot more arcane than problems under other oses. Patch the kernel. Edit /etc/foo restart init.d. That is bullshit.

              I am not a fucking sysadmin. I do not enjoy fucking sysadmining. Trying to find out out why I have to manually load a module to get USB to work is not my idea of fun. I don't get my rocks off by screwing around with XF86Configs for a week only to get an image that almost fills the screen, and is almost straight across, and just has a little bit of white and black vertical lines in along the top and left edges. When I shove in my USB mouse, I want it to not only be recognized and made usable, but I want all 7 buttons to work damn it. For 10 years I've run linux as my primary OS, and not once in those 10 years has all my hardware worked.

              Even if the driver issue is resolved. You then have to deal with the "community". Buggy software that if you ever say anything bad about it, you'll be shouted down as a heratic that should learn some respect for getting something for free. Releasing subpar software doesn't mean you're infallible, it just means you have a hobby. Then if the sofware ever gets to a usable state, the software will be rewritten "the right way" and the bug cycle starts all over again.

              I like unix. I'm comfortable in unix. Unix let's me do my work, but these claims of linux apologists saying "Just wait! It will get better! Linux on the desktop is just around the corner! Linux is just a easy as windows! Linux is easy to install, it's windows that's difficult!" (That install line, is my all time favorite.) are getting old. I've heard them all before. Hell, I even used to spout that tripe. Then I grew up.
          • by killmenow (184444) on Wednesday March 09, 2005 @11:32AM (#11888760)
            Now, now, while Linux is definitly not "ready for the desktop" no matter how many of the zealots tell you it is...
            While I usually agree with your posts, garcia, I have to take issue with this. My new laptop has been running Fedora Core since I got it in October. Wiped XP and never used it again. "Ready for the desktop" depends significantly on "whose desktop" we're discussing.

            It's been ready for mine for some time. Anything I might "need" Windows for (with the sole exception of certain games) runs fine through Wine and/or VMWare.

            I realize your comment was an overall defense of Linux usability...but I get just as tired of hearing "Linux isn't ready for the desktop" as I assume you do of "Linux is teh r0x0r!"

            For most basic day to day use (e-mail, web browsing, typing up a letter and printing it) Linux is a fine desktop environment needing little tweaking (or at least no more than XP) and has next to zero learning curve as many environments are specifically designed to mimic Windows as faithfully as possible (unfortunately, as some would argue). For many desktop environments (mine in particular) it's superior. For others, it's sub-optimal to be kind.

            The simple fact is, "ready for the desktop" is a misnomer and is no more meaningful than any other ridiculous invented memes foisted onto our consciousness by people (usually pundits, analysts, and journalists) who have little, if any, idea what they're talking about.
      • Which is a shame. Booting into OSX once in a while might give him an additional perspective.

        True... it'd give him some excellent perspective on just how much Linux rocks. OSX has a great GUI, but the underlying OS has a fairly poor scheduler, disk accesses seem terribly slow and the VM systems tends to thrash really hard when you push it.

        With regard to what Linus cares about, Linux isn't just a decent OS, it's a superior OS, better than Darwin, better than Windows NT and better in some ways even than

    • by skingers6894 (816110) on Wednesday March 09, 2005 @10:38AM (#11888181)
      The thing about Apple is that they put just as much effort into their hardware as their software. If you buy a Mac and ditch OSX in favor of Linux, they have still made a sale of exactly the same value. If a bunch of Linux users started buying Macs to run Linux because Linus does (even though he got his for free!) I'm pretty sure they'd be happy with that.
    • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday March 09, 2005 @10:39AM (#11888189)
      "The memory management on the PowerPC can be used to frighten small children."
  • Big Deal (Score:5, Funny)

    by tsmithnj (738472) on Wednesday March 09, 2005 @10:15AM (#11887906)
    My carpenter switched from a 15" hammer to a 16" hammer. It's just a tool fer Chrissakes....
    • Re:Big Deal (Score:5, Funny)

      by Stevyn (691306) on Wednesday March 09, 2005 @10:29AM (#11888071)
      Yeah, but to people here, it's like Jesus was that carpenter switching from a 15" hammer to a 16" hammer. I don't think this is particularly newsworthy. If I got a free Mac one day, I'd sure as hell use it.
  • Wow (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Quasar1999 (520073) on Wednesday March 09, 2005 @10:15AM (#11887911) Journal
    that's great... why do I care? Seriously, I sometimes write code for windows apps, while running FreeBSD... who cares... sometimes you just happen to be in a different environment... it doesn't mean you've abandoned the other one.
    • Re:Wow (Score:3, Insightful)

      by dleifelohcs (777508) *
      But of course if he decided to go to Windows you would all have a fit.
      • Re:Wow (Score:4, Insightful)

        by tehshen (794722) <tehshen@gmail.com> on Wednesday March 09, 2005 @10:35AM (#11888144)
        But of course if he decided to go to Windows you would all have a fit.

        Firstly he is only switching hardware to one of these [apple.com] not OS (as is mentioned in the summary now).

        Secondly, he is showing how Linux is portable. The PPC versions run just as well as x86. So now people can say "But how do you know it works on Mac platforms?"

        Thirdly, there are no tangible reasons to go to Windows, and it's hard to see how he could benefit.
  • by tabkey12 (851759) on Wednesday March 09, 2005 @10:15AM (#11887915) Homepage
    for a long time now - thought it was obvious he was using a G5.

    Always good to see another boost to the PPC64 platform though...

  • So what. (Score:3, Informative)

    by BibelBiber (557179) on Wednesday March 09, 2005 @10:16AM (#11887919)
    I got a mac too. So what? It runs Linux just as fine as on any other mashine.
  • by BoomerSooner (308737) on Wednesday March 09, 2005 @10:16AM (#11887922) Homepage Journal
    This has been known for a while. [slashdot.org] Read it and he discusses why he runs PPC instead of x86, just to have a different view on kernel development. Plus it's not like he runs OS X or something.
  • Hey (Score:5, Funny)

    by Lostie (772712) on Wednesday March 09, 2005 @10:16AM (#11887924)
    It should be pointed out that he is certainly not using Mac OSX - but Linux's PPC port (of course). Don't worry - *BSD is still dying. ;-)
  • by Zapdos (70654) on Wednesday March 09, 2005 @10:17AM (#11887930)
    He is using linux on mac hardware that was given to him. Wouldn't you?

  • by Overzeetop (214511) on Wednesday March 09, 2005 @10:17AM (#11887932) Journal
    Cost of hardware (he got it for free) and cost o software (he writes his own).

    Hey, I'd take it too, given that kind of deal!
  • by buckhead_buddy (186384) on Wednesday March 09, 2005 @10:18AM (#11887944)
    While I think this has no real significance in terms of kernel development, I think it may go a long way in promoting the cross-platform, fashionable traits of Linux.

    Some of my previous employers think of Linux (unfairly) as nothing more than a DOS knock-off. I'd love to see their jaws drop when they read about this. (Perhaps Vogue might do a fashion shoot with Linux on a Mac Mini?)
  • by PureCreditor (300490) on Wednesday March 09, 2005 @10:19AM (#11887953)
    Torvalds is showing 2 things :

    a) Linux on PPC is at least as good as on any x86 CPU.

    b) Apple hardware is desired over your Average Joe's box from Dell or HP.
    • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday March 09, 2005 @10:31AM (#11888090)
      > b) Apple hardware is desired over your Average Joe's box from Dell or HP.

      Rather, free hardware is desired over your average hardware you pay for.
      1. Torvalds is showing 2 things :

      I read it more like apathy as opposed to making a point about PPC or x86 let alone Apple, Dell, or HP.

      Hardware doesn't matter. That's the only important point. Hardware provides the ability to run software. That's it. Speed, capacity, and reliability are features. With Linux, compatability is no longer a big deal. While apple makes some very nice systems (I put them in the top tier), they are not the only ones making nice systems.

  • by Kokuyo (549451) on Wednesday March 09, 2005 @10:19AM (#11887961) Journal
    Well at least Linus Torvalds has understood that computers are just tools which should do what they are expected to do: Help us get our work done.

    I find all those OS and Hardware flamewars silly. Not that I expect them to stop now but that man sure gained some respect in my book.
  • by jtwJGuevara (749094) on Wednesday March 09, 2005 @10:21AM (#11887978)
    But seriously, let's not turn this into the E! network for geeks. I really personally don't care what hardware platform Linus uses or whether he buys his underwear from thinkgeek.com just so long as he continues doing a smashing job maintaining kernel development.
  • by kunwon1 (795332) <dave.j.moore@gmail.com> on Wednesday March 09, 2005 @10:21AM (#11887980) Homepage
    Rats who jump from sinking ships, because somehow, they just instinctively KNOW that it's sinking?









    Just kidding. For GODS SAKE I was just kidding. I swear.
    • Have you ever heard about rats who jump from sinking ships, because somehow, they just instinctively KNOW that it's sinking?

      Yeah... the kind of rats that say "Damn, the ship is sinking and we're all gonna die if we stay here. Let's jump ship and drown before it sinks!"

  • single-handedly (Score:5, Insightful)

    by millwall (622730) on Wednesday March 09, 2005 @10:23AM (#11887997)
    "[...] the man who has single-handedly revolutionised the use of Unix on the x86 platform"

    Oh, I thought there were several people involved in Linux? Didn't know Linus created it "single-handedly".

    Thanks for pointing that out to me, ZDNet!
  • by Jay Maynard (54798) on Wednesday March 09, 2005 @10:23AM (#11887998) Homepage
    The dual G5 is a neat box, and having gotten it for free, it's hard to argue with his choice.

    Personally, though, I don't see a lot of point in running Mac hardware and not running Mac OS X. The OS is what makes the system so insanely great.
    • by PureCreditor (300490) on Wednesday March 09, 2005 @12:18PM (#11889292)
      > Personally, though, I don't see a lot of point in running Mac hardware and not running Mac OS X. The OS is what makes the system so insanely great.

      The Apple Powerbook is steps ahead of comparable offerings from the PC world, from a purely hardware perspective. We're not comparing GLOPS here. We're talking the light weight, strong brushed anodized aluminum, glowing keyboard, Firewire 800, Bluetooth 2.

      I'd run Linux on Powerbook over an Inspiron any day of the week.
  • by Psykechan (255694) on Wednesday March 09, 2005 @10:27AM (#11888044)
    Why should it really matter what platform he's using? Is everyone worried that there is going to be an end to the x86 version or something?

    Linux is portable. It shouldn't matter if the main man behind it is running it on a PC, a Mac, an Amiga, a PS2, or a toaster. This should be seen as a good thing.
    • by Yaztromo (655250) <yaztromo AT mac DOT com> on Wednesday March 09, 2005 @10:48AM (#11888281) Homepage Journal
      Why should it really matter what platform he's using? Is everyone worried that there is going to be an end to the x86 version or something?

      Anyone who worrries that x86 support is going to end anytime soon is just silly. Thankfully, I don't see anyone claiming that anywhere. The sky is hardly falling.

      But that doesn't mean it doesn't matter somewhere. Personally, I'm hoping that by having the "father of Linux" running Macintosh hardware that more attention will be made to PPC ports, incorporating more capabilities of the hardware, and bringing some of the distros more on par with their x86 cousins.

      Are you aware that it's only been within the past few months that there have been some fixes for sleep support on Apple laptops? I'm running a PowerBook here myself, but until more recently couldn't even consider running Linux on it, as if I did I couldn't put the system to sleep (and expect it to wake back up, at least). The built-in AirPort Extreme wireless adapter is likewise unsupported.

      Having Mr. Torvalds running on Macintosh hardware may help illuminate these issues, and get a push going to get Apple to open up their specs a bit more, or at the very least attract more Open Source developers to the cause. Personally, while I run OS X as my main desktop environment on my PowerBook, I wouldn't mind seeing PPC Linux on-par with x86 Linux when it comes to hardware compatibility. It's close, but there is room for improvement.

      (And for the record, while OS X is my day-to-day OS for getting work done, I do keeep an Ubuntu PPC live CD in my laptop bag for those times when I want/need to run Linux, and have several Intel-based Linux boxes which I routinely access through the PowerBook).

      Yaz.

  • by gelfling (6534) on Wednesday March 09, 2005 @10:35AM (#11888137) Homepage Journal
    Concerned geeks need to know.
  • endian (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Megane (129182) on Wednesday March 09, 2005 @10:35AM (#11888139) Homepage
    This is good for people who run big-endian architectures like PPC. That way, endianness bugs get caught sooner rather than later. It also means PPC support in general will benefit, because if something breaks for Linus, you can expect it will get fixed (or dropped) pretty quickly.
  • This is *SO* old (Score:4, Informative)

    by Scott Laird (2043) on Wednesday March 09, 2005 @10:44AM (#11888239) Homepage
    Sheesh, he's been using the G5 for over a year now. [scottstuff.net]
  • by Panaflex (13191) <convivialdingo.yahoo@com> on Wednesday March 09, 2005 @10:56AM (#11888360)
    I'm writing to share a tragic little story.

    I have a PC that my sister and I used to use for our operating system development. One night, I was writing a new memory manager on it, when all of a sudden it went berserk, the screen started flashing, and the whole VI session just disappeared. All of it. And it was a good memory manager! I had to cram and rewrite it really quickly. Needless to say, my rushed memory manager wasn't nearly as good, and I blame that PC for the crap I got.

    I'm happy to report that my sister and I now share an Apple Dual G5 that we got for free! It's a lot nicer to work on than my old PC was, it hasn't let me down once, and my memory managers have all been really good.

    Thanks, Apple.

    Linux Thorvalds
  • Why? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by acb (2797) on Wednesday March 09, 2005 @11:03AM (#11888431) Homepage
    What's the point of running Linux on a Mac? Good quality commodity hardware can make a Linux box at least as good and more cost-effective; and on Mac hardware, MacOS X has advantages over Linux (it's more stable for one, and will run MacOS software). Buying a Mac and getting rid of the OS seems like buying an expensive sports car and replacing the engine with one from a family sedan.

    This is coming from someone who owns and uses a Mac laptop (running OSX) and a Linux-based desktop PC.
  • by Brento (26177) * <brentoNO@SPAMbrentozar.com> on Wednesday March 09, 2005 @11:10AM (#11888520) Homepage
    Somebody ship this man a free Windows PocketPC phone and see whether he's a high-class technology escort, or a low-down crack technology whore.
  • by Cyn (50070) <<gro.nyc> <ta> <nyc>> on Wednesday March 09, 2005 @11:12AM (#11888530) Homepage
    He could have just started using CherryOS for his testing! I hear it's really great - and the main developer is brilliant, he churned it all out himself in just four months!
  • by IGnatius T Foobar (4328) on Wednesday March 09, 2005 @11:21AM (#11888634) Homepage Journal
    There's one HUGE important point to all this, and it has nothing to do with fashion, nothing to do with conspiracy, nothing to do with elitism.

    It completely prevents the merging of kernel patches that malfunction on non-x86 platforms.

    Sure, these would get ironed out eventually, but if someone were to inadvertently do something x86-specific, it would immediately break on Linus's computer. That's a pretty darn good guarantee that the kernel is going to remain architecture-independent all the time, rather than only after cross-platform QA has been recently performed.
  • by zogger (617870) on Wednesday March 09, 2005 @11:47AM (#11888937) Homepage Journal
    How many times have people been chided for saying "Linux" when referring to a Linux Operating system? They get lectured "linux is only the kernel" blah blah blah

    Well, here ya go, time to STFU about that

    "Torvald's response came quickly and succinctly. "My main machine these days is a dual 2GHz G5 (aka PowerPC 970) - it's physically a regular Apple Mac, although it obviously only runs Linux, so I don't think you can call it a Mac any more ;)" he said."

    If the inventor of it can call the operating system "Linux", then I say that means it's officially "cool" to use the term "Linux" to in fact refer to Joe Blow's "LinuxOS". We;ve more or less dropped saying GNU in front of it, so let's just drop the pedantic grammar fascist lecturing about the difference between a Kernel and the OS.

    Now the other issue. He doesn't care about userland space. You know, I think this is a serious problem. Think about this long and hard for awhile. Then rethink about it.

    Maybe it's time someone with ultimate say so DID care? Just maybe that might be a good idea seeing as how it's 2005 and not 1995? Look on the shelf at the retail level, how much "Linux" do you see? Perhaps time for some groups to think about forking the kernel and having the forked maintainer dictators actually *care* about userland? Get some much needed standards going? Evolution is not static.
  • by johnrpenner (40054) on Wednesday March 09, 2005 @11:58AM (#11889091) Homepage

    i think the biggest thing about this is that it legitimizes
    the mac hardware for linux advocates - which have been
    traditionally x86 biased. it legitimizes linux as
    multi-platform more than anything else could have done.

    j.

  • by dduck (10970) on Wednesday March 09, 2005 @01:43PM (#11890466) Homepage
    Can't wait to see his story posted at the Apple "Switch - Share Your Story" [apple.com] page :D

    Tell us your story
    "Well, I found the need for a dual CPU big-endian computer with 64 bit addressing on which to test patches for the Linux kernel, so I got this Power Mac G5, wiped OS-X..."

  • by leandrod (17766) <l.dutras@org> on Wednesday March 09, 2005 @02:09PM (#11890879) Homepage Journal
    It is funny but disheartening to see how even Slashdot editors can't remember yesterday... before Intel (or HP or Compaq, you name 'em) killed the Alpha, Linus was given a four-way Alpha workstation he used for quite some time, I think it was two or three years until x86 hardware took over in performance (over his three-years old system!) or Alpha was seen as a dead end or whatever.

    So he's just doing the same, this time with a platform not so fancy but with a safer future.

    It means an easier life for us Linuxers on PPC, but we were already blessed with great hackers both on the kernel and in other parts; for example the leader(s?) of the Debian X Strike Force are Linux on PPC users.

    Now what would be great is if proprietary vendors start porting their stuff... every day I miss things like j2re plugin for Mozilla, a Flash player, Adobe Acrobat and NX. Granted there are alternatives and clones, but gcjwebplugin still crashes Epiphany and ain't Java 2 level yet, swf_player is only playback, no interaction and takes way too much CPU, Evince doesn't do PDF forms and X.Fast (LBX) simply can't work in POTS dial-up situations where NX shines.
  • My Theory (Score:4, Interesting)

    by mihalis (28146) on Wednesday March 09, 2005 @02:12PM (#11890920) Homepage

    Having a dual-proc PowerPC with G5 (PPC 970) processors will increase the chances that Linus will think about performance issues for such hardware. The 970 has a longer pipeline than the G4, for example, so it's possible to leave quite a bit of performance on the table with code that stalls the pipeline a lot.

    If Linus' insights on this for Linux can help the OS X people even find 1% better performance for any publically quoted benchmark, it will have paid for itself many times over.

    This is just a SWAG (simple wild-assed guess).

  • by theolein (316044) on Wednesday March 09, 2005 @02:43PM (#11891330) Journal
    Why, for the love of all that's holy, should anyone care what computer Linus uses to do his work? If he uses a Sun, Mac, PC or even a PDA, does it matter as long as what he produces works?

    I think the simple matter is that Macs are generally appealing, and that those who like them tend to evangelise a lot and those who don't have some fear that x86 is not good enough, or somethiing to that extent.
  • by melted (227442) on Wednesday March 09, 2005 @03:20PM (#11891832) Homepage
    Then ripped out all the leather, wood trimmings, chrome plated parts, etc. and replaced it all with treadplate stainless steel. Seats would be covered with sandpaper, and there would be no steering wheel. Real men don't need steering wheels anyway, they can drive from the console.

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