Horrors! Linus Torvalds calls HFS+ 'utter crap'

Horrors! Linus Torvalds calls HFS+ 'utter crap'

Summary: In an interview at Melbourne's linux.conf.au conference, Linus Torvalds called the standard file system of Mac OS X "complete and utter crap." Mac fans are only slightly outraged, pointing out that HFS+ isn't really "complete and utter crap," rather, it's just slightly crap-ish.

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Developers remain in dark about Leopard GM bug fixesIn an interview at Melbourne's linux.conf.au conference, Linus Torvalds called the standard file system of Mac OS X "complete and utter crap." Mac fans are only slightly outraged, pointing out that HFS+ isn't really "complete and utter crap," rather, it's just slightly crap-ish.

In the Sidney Morning Herald online, Nick Miller reported his Q&A interview with the originator of Linux. He asked Torvalds about the hype surrounding the releases of Windows Vista and Mac OS X Leopard.

According to Torvalds, "An o/s should never have been something that people (in general) really care about: it should be completely invisible and nobody should give a flying f*** about it except the technical people."

It's stupid - when you make a big deal about something like Vista or Leopard a lot of it is about things I don't consider to be the operating system. It's about the visual shell around it.

The fact Microsoft tied the two together so much actually caused them problems, not just the legal problems. If you manage a thousand clients, or a hundred thousand clients which is not at all unheard of, you sure as hell don't want to point and click at them. In many ways Microsoft has had to fix the design mistakes they made when they thought the graphical approach should be a very intimate part of (Windows).

To Microsoft and Apple the o/s is important as a way to control the whole environment, from a marketing and money-making standpoint, to force people to upgrade their applications, and your hardware.

When asked to choose between Leopard and Vista, Torvalds came down on the side of Leopard. Still, he said Windows was easier in some ways to program.

On the other hand, (I've found) OS X in some ways is actually worse than Windows to program for. Their file system is complete and utter crap, which is scary. I think OS X is nicer than Windows in many ways, but neither can hold a candle to my own (Linux). It's a race to second place!

Now isn't the time to go into the relative usability and niceness of Linux and Mac OS X as a desktop environment. Of course, Torvalds would find Linux better. It's his OS, after all.

At the same time, few Mac programmers would raise a ruckus about Torvalds' shots about the Mac file system. Apple keeps improving HFS+ with journaling and various new features. Still, it's long in the tooth and developers always look forward to something better.

Still, could it be that Torvalds hasn't really looked at Leopard's new file system changes for programmers? Leopard actually provides several new APIs for file system notifications. For example, a new FSEvents framework helps applications receive updates of file system changes.

If you're interested, take a look at a long discussion of Leopard's file system changes in an article by programmer John Siracusa at Ars Technica.

Topics: Windows, Apple, Hardware, Linux, Open Source, Operating Systems, Software

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  • Torvalds is just saying ....

    ... what thousands of others have stated before. It is not his fault that the file system used by Apple is still in ALPHA and a nightmare to programmers.

    All you have to do is Google the issue and you will find a lot of people complaining about HFS.
    wackoae
  • Where's...

    [url=http://blogs.zdnet.com/storage]...Robin Harris[/url] when you need him!?

    (Not that you don't know what you are talkin' 'bout David)

    Robin?...
    Robin?...
    Bueler?...
    D T Schmitz
  • Hehe, think you can ever write a story without mentioning Vista?

    Once again, here is a story that has nothing at all to do with Vista, but you just had to mention it! HFS+ might be crap but at least Linus prefers Leopard to Vista! YAY!! :)
    NonZealot
    • Hehe, think you can ever write a comment without mentioning Apple?

      :)
      Kid Icarus-21097050858087920245213802267493
    • Think you can ever write a sentence NOT bashing Apple somehow?

      sniker snort.
      Bruizer
  • Still, ya gotta love the Mac and Mac users. The Mac is gaining market

    share, and those Mac users are the most creative on the planet.

    But, being a nerd, I will stick with Linux!!
    DonnieBoy
  • now if this story was about Torvalds bashing NTFS...

    we would never hear the end of it
    killerbunny
    • The only part

      NTFS is quite possibly the only part of Windoze that might actually be an asset.

      That being said, it's nothing compared to Sun's ZFS...
      fde101
  • Heeheeeheee

    A little bitter are we Linus? I'm still trying to figure out exactly what is so grandiose about Linux.
    Kid Icarus-21097050858087920245213802267493
    • Well...

      Not to sound smug or arrogant, but to me the grandiose thing about Linux is that it can run on mainframes (oh, and on down to crappy wee PC's). To me that's just gorgeous.

      I'd be more interested in Mac/OS X however if Apple tossed a few boffins at it to see if OS X could be tweaked to run on a mainframe, especially with a bit of ZFS tossed into the mix. Ah well, I guess I'll have to satisfy myself with pondering IBM's new twist on building a system that has the capability to *ahem* run the entire Internet on it.
      ego.sum.stig
      • Why would OS X not run on mainframes?

        Really. It's roots ran on HP, Sun, Custom hardware, PPC, ARM, Intel and three different
        hardware architectures from Apple.

        It really does not sounds too hardware locked to me. There would be a bit of
        standard hardware specific stuff bit in all, it should be straight forward to get it
        working on about any computer with the capacity to do it.
        Bruizer
        • Well...

          I guess the reason for OS X not running on a mainframe is that no one has done it (as far as I know). Although and probalbly more importantly I guess Apple just isn't interested in OS X running outside their spec'd hardware. That'd be my pick as the main reason.

          Mind you, it is also possible that with OS X Server (which I know little about) that it would not be a doddle to make it play well with a mainframe. Now that was a clumsy sentence.
          ego.sum.stig
  • It's a major world city.

    Sydney is spelled Sydney not Sidney.
    robshelby
    • On that note....

      Is it true that more New Zealanders live in Sydney than in the majority of New Zealand cities? I'm asking because I am suspicious of that assertion made by an Australian of my acquaintance a few moons ago.
      ego.sum.stig
    • Not if you're in Ohio ;) . . .

      <Snicker>. . . Sorry, couldn't resist.


      I'll go back to my Catnap, now . . . errr, Job, yeah, that's what I meant!!!
      JLHenry
  • Linus is just mad...

    ...because he doesn't have the clout and following that Jobs and Woz have.

    Hey, Linus, hear that? It's the world's smallest violin and it's playing a sad sad song just for you.

    (Why else would he say that Linux is better, when it too has it's own short-comings?)
    nix_hed
  • Torvalds speaks the truth.

    An OS is just an OS. Very few people care what powers their cell
    phones, digital cameras, ATMs, MP3 players, etc as long as they
    WORK! All this hype about Windows, OSX, Unix, Linux is just that.
    HYPE!
    kd5auq
  • HFS+ actually is rather bad...

    As much as I love OS X (not even on Leapord yet), having looked at the technical design of HFS+, it is kind of sad actually. Some of the internal data structures are not particularly efficient and do not hold up to specs compared to some of the more modern filesystems out there.

    I'd love to see Apple switch to Sun's ZFS or even to SGI's XFS if that's as far as they'd go... considering Apple's involvement with the creative pro / digital media crowd, XFS would probably be a good second choice due to its ability to handle huge files so efficiently. HFS+ is an improvement to HFS, but neither one was really designed for the large files that video production (among other things) requires.


    That being said, what difference does it make in terms of programming? All of these details are essentially hidden in the interface provided by the OS. Very little of this should ever impact the majority of software; only some of the low-level utilities would ever even care what the filesystem was.

    As to Linux being easier to program... as to *windoze* being easier to program... what rock is Linus living under? Try actually using Cocoa for a while... even if it is built on a language based on that pathetic C language, the framework is *so* good it more than makes up for it!

    I'd still prefer most of my low-level code in Ada, of course, but for creating the basic graphical interfaces and some simpler code... Cocoa's tough to beat.

    It's even better than most of the RAD tools that I've seen, for many types of programs.
    fde101
  • RE: Horrors! Linus Torvalds calls HFS 'utter crap'

    It's a pity the even Linus misses the fact
    that Linux isn't an OS - it's a kernel
    with stuff stuck under and around it - that's
    why they are called "distributions". If you
    want a real OSS OS, you'd need to be discussing
    one of the BSD's. But then where would the fun
    be in that given the Linux = Linus' ego; which
    by all accounts is HUGE!
    bizzy_izzy2020
  • RE: Horrors! Linus Torvalds calls HFS 'utter crap'

    I mean, OS X 10.5 is now a dumbed-down version of BSD. I mean, I'm not a huge fan of the Mac file system either (ever tried to do something with moving files in the command line? royal pain in the arse), but it is officially UNIX now, as it's POSIX compliant. Just get rid of Aqua. :-)
    hgais