By Matthew Magain

Apple’s OS X “Utter Crap” According to Linux Founder

By Matthew Magain

At the linux.conf conference here in Melbourne last week, Linux founder Linus Torvalds had some harsh words for OS X:

Apple’s much-touted new operating system, OS X Leopard, is in some ways worse than Windows Vista, says the founder of the Linux open source project, Linus Torvalds.

Torvalds was in Melbourne last week for the conference and was invited to pass judgement on OS X versus Windows Vista in a wide-ranging interview.

“I don’t think they’re equally flawed — I think Leopard is a much better system,” he said. “(But) OS X in some ways is actually worse than Windows to program for. Their file system is complete and utter crap, which is scary.”

Let’s be clear, here — Linus is talking about developing for OS X, not using it. And he did have plenty of positive comments about the operating system. Any developers out there care to chime in with their experience?

  • Tony Thomson

    Fix your headline. Torvalds said the file system, not the OS, was “utter crap”. Whether accidentally or on purpose, you’re misquoting.

  • Marco

    Good way to get some hits from furious Apple fans with a deceiving headline.

  • The file system is a crucial part of the OS. How is it deceiving? Composing a title requires one to paraphrase and is a form of editing — the title stands.

  • Anonymous

    Can someone sack Magain?

    What a load of sensationalised crap!

    Torvalds in no way said OS X was crap. Maybe if you pulled your head out of your date, you’d realise that the file system is only ‘part’ of the OS. In fact, it’s a minor part as it can can be interchanged on many OS’s including OS X. As such, it’s not OS X!

    How do I filter out these articles from Site Point so I don’t get sucked in in the future?

  • How do I filter out these articles from Site Point so I don’t get sucked in in the future?

    You could start by not commenting “Anonymously”.

  • Anonymous has a point…

    Your title is pure bait…

    “”Let’s be clear, here — Linus is talking about developing for OS X, not using it”” …. you even went so far as to clarify that your misquoting.


  • I hope you guys are putting the same amount of energy laying into MacWorld, TechWorld and the newspaper I originally linked to and giving them as hard a time. Honestly.

  • nah, don’t subscribe to any of those :-d

  • So moving on, does anyone actually have any experience in programming with with the HFS+ file system to back up Linus’s sentiments, or is he just having a dig?

  • ikeo

    I’m not really an Apple fan, and I’m a big sitepoint fan, but I think the headline is misleading. sorry.

  • Anonymous

    I agree… this headline was bait. Who cares if other sites used the same misleading title – doesn’t mean you should. SitePoint should be above this. You’re just begging Apple users to come to this page for a fight (regular users, not developers), and propagating unnecessary bad vibes between fellow OS X and Linux users. In the end only SitePoint looks bad for your trouble. Peace.

  • THe headline is certainly an attention grabber, but I don’t think it’s THAT misleading.

    I am interested in this. I’m not a developer but I do ask software developers if their products are OS X compatible. Even web based products only work in Windows for various reasons. I am happy that the server software works in one environment, but to have restrictions on which environment the web client works on?

  • Anon


    I am interested in this. I’m not a developer but I do ask software developers if their products are OS X compatible. Even web based products only work in Windows for various reasons.

    Yes, bad web products that rely on out-dated technology and pander to the whims of IE. There’s no reason that developers can’t develop services aimed at the technology available to Firefox. Firefox is a common platform on both Windows and Mac and Linux. As long as they avoid any proprietary Windows plugins they can have a truly cross-platform client application.

  • BryGL

    I agree that their file system is crap. Working on both Windows and OS X systems I am sick to death of those redundant . files it litters directories with. I also think that its speed copying files across the network is terrible when compared to Windows.

  • You make this dislclaimer “Let’s be clear, here — Linus is talking about developing for OS X, not using it.”, yet have a sensationalist title for the blog post. How stupid.

  • Paraphrasing is one thing. Creating an inaccurate title to attract attention is something else entirely. How pathetic…

  • Headlines are supposed to be attention grabbing, people!

    Of course, OSX IS crap anyway :P

  • glass_designs

    Darn, I took the bait. OSX is not crappy, just not much support for it compared to windows

  • logic_earth

    Seriously people its just a title stop being so tightly wound up and defensive.

  • issesi sagawa

    I think Matthew Magain has no honour.

    Love Issesi x

  • This is funny… The title didn’t offer naked pictures of [insert your favourite celebrity] and then talked about Mac OS X. It’s right on topic, providing additional details of what the headline hinted at.

    That’s why it’s called a HEADLINE – it gets you to click to find out the details.

  • ikeo

    Its not an accurate headline and I think its beneath Sitepoint (seems like linkbait to me) … there’s no shame in admitting you’re wrong. It would help you earn your customers respect … especially mine.

  • Im done bitching about this, but I subscribe to your blogs for quality posts, of which, really, doesn’t seem to be any (to me).

    This was sad to see really… your misquoting, and saying your doing so in your post like I said above. Rather than address the fact that you know your misquoting, you just keep bitching that we are all over-reacting.

    Maybe we all are, but we didn’t expect SitePoint to stoop to the level everyone else plays on.

  • BryGL,

    The . files are resource forks. It’s because windows file system sucks more that they end up getting created ;)

  • Anonymous

    I don’t have any experience developing on the file system, but I do know its a pain having to deal with archives etc that originated from that file system with all the extra rubbish it adds (the dot files et al). I also have the weird problem where I work on Windows, and receive job files from a client on Mac, and every no and then, he is able to add files to my ftp server that cant be read back down again onto my Windows machines. Incompatible file names or maybe a Filezilla problem? Either way, it only happens when dealing with his stuff.

  • i think the headline is fine. good grief people…

  • Sitepoint fan

    It seems to me that these days the Sitepoint writers are spending more time with their noses buried in Marketing Manuals than man pages; this is not the first article I have found to be misleading this year.
    I suspect that is what Linus was up to as well – why would he care about resource forks?

  • Margrit

    I’m more disappointed with the comments of all the people stuck on the “inaccurate” headline. I would still like to hear from developers about the question Magain posed — what do OSX developers have to say about the OSx system — file structure or other? Alas, the headline distracted so much that I guess we won’t get much response to that.

  • steve

    well i do know that “back to my mac” sucks and never works right, so I use vnc. so Apple sucks in my book. and quickbooks sucks too. your email newsletter claiming that quickbooks is an agressive marketer, well they have to be, because as soon as people use it they hate it and they have to keep finding newbie customers who have not had the awful experience of using it, so they market like mad.

  • Aedus

    Still no HFS+ file system comments?

    Sorry Matt, looks like you’ve been drowned out by fundamentalists…

  • I would assume that very few people are developing for the HFS+ file system at Sitepoint. There seems no shortage of opinions on how to properly market, though. :) That tag line was fine. I would likely have come here to find out exactly what he was going on about, whether the tag line was longer or not. It was on topic, for certain, just not specific.

    As for the knuckleheads that want to debate the “honour” of this, you must do absolutely nothing but read Sitepoint all day long and never do a single other thing to care that much. You must also never have anything positive to say about anyone or anything. Really? He left out “file system” in an article title? Give me a break! That’s pathetic. Granted, not all of the articles are worth reading for one reason or another, but this one wasn’t even long. It had several quotes and asked a question. It’s not like they sucked you into a Dostoevsky novel only to spoil it on page 1293! Find a hobby, people!

  • “Find a hobby, people!” Hear, hear.

  • Boo Radley

    -snicker- no one’s answering the question posed because of the sensationalist headline… Something like “Developing for Apple’s OSX ‘utter crap’ says Linux Founder” would have been more forthright and grabbed about as many eyeballs ;-)

  • mcgoogles

    This is extremely misleading if you read the referenced article. Also, he was speaking to Linux geeks at a Linux conference promoting Linux, and he was prompted to comment on Mac OS X and Windows. What would you expect?

    I’ve been a Mac software engineer for 24 years (at Apple and outside of Apple), and I can’t remember a time when the file system got in the way of development. That in itself is “utter crap” and makes me think he has no clue about software development on the Mac.

    I suspect that Mr. Torvalds is still a bit chafed that Apple went with FreeBSD as a base for Mac OS X instead of Linux, (which was also considered). Still, I’m surprised that he would have made such an uninformed statement in such a public forum. Not real smart.

    And to the previous poster that claimed that a file system is basically the same as an operating system… that’s rubbish. That’s like saying the hard drive in your mp3 player is the same thing as the mp3 player. A file system is one component of an operating system, and technically it’s not even necessary. On the other hand, a file system is completely useless without an operating system to make use of it.

  • Ok so I read the title, followed on to read the article, then proceeded the scroll down in the hope to see comments from developers, instead I see a bunch of people whining about the freaking title.

    You’re all saying Magain is “stooping low” by using these titles, but you guys are the ones *still* going on about them.

    Now, as a Mac, Linux and Windows user – I am curious about what the developer point of view is on developing with/for HFS+, anyone?

  • I’m annoyed at the misleading headline too.

    Anyways, whatever. It’s interesting to know that their file system is crap I guess.

  • dejah

    It’s my understanding that back in the dark ages, Apple made the choice to use files with data AND resource forks instead of just data forks. It’s an older way of doing things and even at the time it was considered the “worse” choice. It is NOT Unix-like and not even BSD like, so I can see why Linus might consider it screwy.

    If I remember my history right (and there is very little I remember at all, so I might be wrong) Apple DID try to go to data-fork-only files when they went over to OS X. My completely uneducated guess is that they got sucked back into resource forks by legacy apps and third party developers who refuse to do things differently.

    As a long time Apple developer, I don’t see any problem developing **ON** OS X **FOR** OS X. Handling data and resource forks is pretty well transparent in my opinion since more often than not, whatever framework you are writing in handles the details. but it strikes me that developing for Apple from some other platform might be more difficult since some files require resource fork handling and some don’t. Anything that has to be done differently cross-platform causes problems.


  • o0 Tao 0o

    c’mon… face it OSX is total rubbish!

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