Linus Torvalds needs to shut up about Apple

Summary:The Internet is a cold, cruel place that holds onto your words forever. Be careful of what you say, to whom you say it and the date on any article that you quote.

Linus after a right hook from Steve Jobs.

Linus after a right hook from Steve Jobs.

More than three years later and poor Linus still gets grief over $#!^ he said. In part, thanks to David Gewirtz's post that time forgot referring to Linus' comments regarding Apple's filesystem. The post made me start thinking (always a dangerous thing to do) and I came up with the notion that Linus Torvalds needs to shut up about Apple. He should probably stick to kernel programming. Or, use his powers to take jabs at Microsoft. But, Apple is off limits, even to Linus. And, before you raise your hackles, I'm a Linux guy but I have to draw the line at pointless Apple jabs--even ones that are three years old.

First of all, Apple's filesystem is not 'complete and utter crap.' It's built on 25-year old technology that's stood the test of time, through multiple OS versions and a change in hardware technology culminating in a now UNIX-based architecture. Mac OS X is an amalgam of FreeBSD and NeXT. Its HFS+ filesystem isn't ext4 but it has its own features that are pretty darn good.

HFS+ Features

  • Maximum number of files per filesystem: Four billion.
  • Supports volume sizes to 8EiB.
  • Supports file sizes to 8EiB.
  • Journaling.
  • UNIX file permissions and ACLs.
  • Transparent Compression.
  • Transparent Encryption.
  • UNIX filesystem layout.

Ext4 Features
  • Maximum number of files per filesystem: Four billion.
  • Supports volume sizes to 1EiB.
  • Supports file sizes to 16TiB.
  • Journaling.
  • UNIX file permissions and ACLs.
  • No Transparent Compression.
  • No Transparent Encryption.
  • UNIX filesystem layout.

So, you see, by comparison on some significant metrics, HFS+ is comparable to or superior to ext4. I do find it considerable overkill on the part of both that these filesystems can address more disk space than is currently available on the entire planet. As an illustration, if you could magnetically format the Moon (1 Lunabyte (LB)) and find a USB cable long enough to reach it, you could use the Moon to store your illegally downloaded MP3s, movies and porn--for everyone on Earth.
Why did Linus make such an incredibly crazy statement? Jet lag? Hangover? iPhone malfunction?

Whatever the reason, I'm sure that he'd like to retract it--especially now that multiple people have brought it back into the spotlight. Namely, David Gewirtz.

I have no beef with Apple or Linus. I'm just saying that making such comments to the Press is a very bad idea. Whether printed, recorded or blogged, those words will stay with you forever. Especially with guys like David Gewirtz around.

The only things that I ever want to hear Linus Torvalds say:

  • Ken, you want another beer? (Like he, or anyone, ever has to ask).
  • Ken, I loved your latest article/book/post/artwork/beer selection.
  • The new stable kernel is available.
  • I'm giving Ken Hess a million tax free dollars.
  • Hello, this is Linus Torvalds and I pronounce Linux as Linux.

Related Tales:

Topics: Apple

About

Kenneth 'Ken' Hess is a full-time Windows and Linux system administrator with 20 years of experience with Mac, Linux, UNIX, and Windows systems in large multi-data center environments.

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