Linux' Linus calls Apple's file system 'complete and utter crap,' worse than Windows

Linux' Linus calls Apple's file system 'complete and utter crap,' worse than Windows

Summary: Some days, it's just not fair. You know you're going to post something that's going to have the fanboys heads spinning. True journalistic integrity requires you light a flame and watch it burn.


Linus' image courtesy ZDNet Japan.

Some days, it's just not fair. You know you're going to post something that's going to have the fanboys heads spinning, you don't want to hurt their precious necks, but true journalistic integrity requires you light a flame and watch it burn.

This is one of those days. Apparently, Linus Torvalds, creator of Linux, just gave a speech Down Under. In it, he compared Linux with Windows and OS X. The phrase you're all going to enjoy is this one:

"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."

Thanks to the Sydney Morning Herald for the story.

Update: The curse of links sometimes gets you. I found this off a "breaking news" link from Google News just now, but didn't bother to notice the actual article was from 2008. So, well, rather than deleting the story, let's just say how far we've all come and try not to fight. Sorry, folks. Sometimes the links catch us, too! Egg. Face. Yum.

Go forth. TalkBack. Try not to hurt each other.

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


David Gewirtz, Distinguished Lecturer at CBS Interactive, is an author, U.S. policy advisor, and computer scientist. He is featured in the History Channel special The President's Book of Secrets and is a member of the National Press Club.

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  • Well...

    Linus called his own kernel bloated and shitty, I wouldn't take it to heart.
    • So-called 'complete crap' scores far more market share

      ... than any version of supposedly "superior" Linux, which is sth Linus cannot quite explain. Someone passes him an Obama tele-prompter please. Maybe that'd help Linus find a clue or two on how to spin failure as success.
      • RE: Linux' Linus calls Apple's file system 'complete and utter crap,' worse than Windows

        @LBiege he did not claim Linux was superior ... just that Apple had a bad file system (from a programmer's point of view).
      • RE: Linux' Linus calls Apple's file system 'complete and utter crap,' worse than Windows


        Actually, he was comparing it to Windows, which has way more market share than OS X. Still, just another way in which you're wrong, because market share is NOT an indication of quality.
      • RE: Linux' Linus calls Apple's file system 'complete and utter crap,' worse than Windows

        @LBiege Market share is defined as a measurement of sales, and Linux is free, so very little sales. Those that commercially 'buy' Linux are actually buying service and support plans. It makes comparing Linux to other OS difficult, but its a low number that Microsoft and Apple are happy to point to.
        Mace Moneta
      • RE: Linux' Linus calls Apple's file system 'complete and utter crap,' worse

        @LBiege <br><br>The market share of Mercedes is far smaller than that of Ford, so obviously Ford makes far superior automobiles...<br><br>What? You don't agree? How can that be...
      • RE:So-called 'complete crap' scores far more market share


        But I thought market share didn't matter to Apple fanatics, sorry, faithful.
      • Pathetic...

        @LBiege how keen of you to make it political. I find it laughable that you call out Obama for spinning success out of failure. As if this wasn't the norm in the political field. Your boy GW probably taught him everything he knows.
      • It already is a success.

        @LBiege ... Windows spends millions for marketing and getting OEM's to install it on new computers.<br><br>Anyone who closely follows Windows security realizes it is a total failure. Microsoft has money to market infections as being the norm with all it's virus, botnet and malware infections and that AV use is normal and to be expected. Online technical magazines like ZDNet are stooges to Microsoft because of the advertising dollars. Recent articles at ZDNet have attempted to paint Apple and Linux as equal to Microsoft by trying to sell them as being just as susceptible to virus infections and in need of AV. This was a failure and promulgated by their utter failure in the smartphone market. For Windows smartphone's to work, they need AV. AV has not been necessary on Apple and Android smartphones. The largest smartphone market share with millions of users does not have to use AV and does not get infected. Enter Microsoft which needs AV and it's a gigantic turn off. They managed to sell AV use to the desktop market, but can't do it for smartphones. Imagine someone getting hit with overages with a MS smartphone for sending 2,400-10,000 spam emails a day due to a botnet infection.<br><br>I've used LInux Knoppix, Freespire, BSD, Ubuntu and Mint for the last 8 years with no AV. I've never had non-standard operation or infections. But it's not just me, it's every computer I've installed it on. Windows users talk down Linux, but never have even seen or tried it. If you download the iso, you can boot from it and it will run without touching your hard drive. It's not difficult and you can see exactly how the program looks and works. Log out, remove the CD and Reboot, and you are back to Windows.<br><br>Also, if your Windows is hosed, you can use the CD to copy your files to a flash drive before re-installing.

        Linux Mint 11 download

        Windows and some burners don't natively burn .iso's. A free download is available called Active ISO burner 2 available at:

        People can't accurately comment about Linux unless they have at least tried it. It's worth the effort and don't even think about using AV. :)
      • Apple is crap

        When I got my first Windows machine, it was totally intuitive and needed no manuals, etc. Everyone I know who uses Apple are constantly stopping into the Apple store to solve absurd problems. I find Apple trying so hard to avoid words and directiions by just using icons and pictures that it is a mess to use. I'll take Windows any day over Apple.
      • as far as market share goes...

        I don't think it's a mystery to anyone why Linux isn't big for non-developers. A lot of users think the computer is a magical box and don't want to know what's inside it, so they prefer OS's that camouflage everything with easy icons and install routines. (And if it wasn't so easy to access the terminal in OSX, I'd agree with Linus.)
    • -.-

      I think you need to qualify that... By bloated he means the code base. However you don't need to compile everything the kernel has to offer and make _your_ kernel bloated.

      I have have a kernel I compiled for my audio workstation that weighs in at 3.9mb, and that has the drivers compiled in (as opposed to loaded as modules).

      Windows kernel is pretty slim now, but it loads zillions of modules so the memory footprint is actually still huge.
      • Windows Memory Footprint Growing Larger!

        That's exactly the point about the differences between the 3 major Operating Systems. Don't like the Memory Footprint of Windows? Sorry you have no power to do anything about that or even work at the kernel level on any Proprietary OS's like Windows, OS-X or iOS. But being able to get inside the kernel is only part of the problem many people find frustrating about the Competing Proprietary Operating Systems on both mobiles and desktops.

        For instance, take Android Linux; uses same kernel now that the Linux Desktops use. Why is it so popular to the point that it's now on over 300 Million devices... basically in just two years (around 10 million prior to 2010). Why did Mobile Linux Explode while Linux Desktops haven't? Because Mobiles have the added benefit of Carrier and Hardware maker Support and Desktop Linux never has!

        So Linux due to Android Linux's popularity are growing greater market share for the Linux Open Source Platform than Desktops ever dreamed of. It's also gaining market share at a faster rate than all Desktop OS's in their history combined. Even faster than Apple's OS-X neutered and fragmented derivative iOS. So what if Apple would have instead kept the OS-X kernel in tact for iOS and allowed Manufacturers and Carriers to "Roll Your Own" like you and Android did? It'd be a whole different ball game in Operating Systems today!

        Apple's Garden Walled environment would have been impossible, but iOS might have been a 10 times bigger market than even Android by now. So the trend in mobiles has really been set now... in Linux's favor in the mobile World. Thanks in part to the fact that everybody in Android is FREE to PLAY! .......Unlike their proprietary competitors that are still trying to control and cram their users into Garden Walled environments with far less FREEDOM and CUSTOMIZATION.... available to their Users!!! :DDD

        Linux is far from dead now that the World through Android has discovered what us Linux Users have known all along. FREEDOM RULES! ....especially when you don't have just one proprietary JUNK "File System" like Apple and Windows to choose from!!!
    • RE: Ford makes far superior automobiles...

      "The market share of Mercedes is far smaller than that of Ford, so obviously Ford makes far superior automobiles...

      "What? You don't agree? How can that be..."

      Actually, depending on what your criterion is, Ford DOES make far superior automobiles. Yes, how can that be? Simple. Not everyone wants to pay a very high price for way more car than they really need. High purchase price is only the beginning. You have to pay to maintain that fancy German over-engineering. There is nothing wrong with a Ford if it fits your needs and there's nothing wrong with any of these OSs if they fit your needs either. Fanboys are always trying to make it a religion but the truth is than not one OS fits all purposes. BTW, I do not own either a Ford or a Mercedes. :-) Nice that we all have choices.
      • A personal criterion does not change the quality of the vehicle...

        or the computer. It only changes the popularity.

        Ford, while being one of the most popular brands in the world, is not necessarily (or in reality) the best. There are far better cars out there that cost in the same ball park as far as price but don't have the same following. I, for one, hate Ford vehicles even though I own one. Conversely, Windows, while being currently the most popular OS in the world, is not necessarily the best; there are better OSes out there that cost less.

        The difference really is in exposure, not quality. Ford as a brand is well-known world wide. No other single brand has the same kind of world exposure in the same price range. GM for instance, as a brand, is relatively unknown. GM is known for its many, many divisions which are regional in scope even though many products now cross regions--primarily by cross-branding them once they reach the second region. What may be a Holden in Australia could be a Chevrolet in the US (and is). A Ford is a Ford is a Ford, though different regions may have different models.

        Computers are different though--whether you talk hardware or software. Microsoft got its huge head start when it tied itself to IBM's apron strings. Quite literally the IBM name dragged Microsoft into the enterprise rather than MS getting in there through any sales efforts of its own. By the time the enterprise even realized there were other OS contenders for the workplace, IBM had lost all control of the PC platform which ultimately gave Microsoft, as the OS, full control. The enterprise could no longer easily change platforms and the wide variety of PC manufacturers drove the cost of hardware down to almost bare minimums. Accountants couldn't recognize the benefits of adopting a more expensive hardware platform that needed less upkeep compared to the low up-front cost of the already established platform. In the '80s and again in the '90s Apple proved the ROI for going Apple would be significantly less expensive in the long term, but accountants of the day insisted on short-term savings. Effectively they lived up to the adage of "Penny Wise, Pound Foolish." It's one reason why big corporations consider their IT departments their single largest earnings loss.

        You speak of Fancy German over-engineering and yet you seem to forget that the Mercedes 'S' class has led the world in developing technologies that are standard equipment in almost all cars today. Well, just like Mercedes, Apple has led the world in developing technologies that are now standard equipment in almost all computers today--even if they didn't necessarily invent those technologies.

        I, for one, don't like the idea of going back to the dealership on any kind of a regular basis for repairs. With Ford (and Windows computers) I've been forced to do that far more than I like. Sure, I can and do my own repairs on Windows computers--hardware and software--but I hate the time and the effort I have to waste in doing so. With my Mac (I don't own a Mercedes) it simply "just works" for me. Sure, I get the occasional hiccup; I just re-boot it and it's back to normal. The hardware keeps running and running and running... (sorry, beginning to sound like an Energizer?? bunny). I've not needed to trade it in and I've not spent a single penny on it over and above the initial price paid. I've never been able to say that for any Ford (Windows PC) I've owned.

        So no, Ford (Windows) is not necessarily superior--simply cheaper and thus more popular.
  • Like three years ago?

    The SMH article dates Feb 2008. Did it surface just now?
    • RE: Linux' Linus calls Apple's file system 'complete and utter crap,' worse than Windows


      LoL, it talks about Vista and Leopard.
      • Apple sucks

        I've used Vista without problem for four years and would take any Windows OS over any Apple OS.
    • RE: Linux' Linus calls Apple's file system 'complete and utter crap,' worse than Windows

      @cyberkallen@... Sadly, I just found it today off a current news post. But it's old. Sigh.
      David Gewirtz
      • On low level, Linus' concerns about HFS might be accurate, however, ...

        @David Gewirtz: ... programmers do not do low-level file system management -- Apple provides all kinds of APIs for that, including the latest ones about "versions", "autosave" and others.

        So this is Linus' purely technological/architectural view. Obviously, moving to ZFS would bring to OS X a lot of architectural beauty, but Apple had to drop this project for complicated reasons.