Linus Torvalds supports Apple computers

New biography reveals a dislike for Mach microkernel but Linus says he's always had a soft spot for Macs

Linus Torvalds, creator of the Linux operating system, says he is keen to smooth relations with Apple fans, having caused a storm with off-the-cuff remarks made in his new autobiography about the core of the company's flagship OS X.

In his forthcoming autobiography Just for Fun: the story of an accidental Revolutionary, Torvalds criticises the architecture of the Mach microkernel, which carries out the very basic operations at the heart of the Apple OS X, claiming that it has become far too complicated.

The high-profile programmer and poster boy for the open source movement, however, says it is not his intention to start a holy war between Apple fans and Linux enthusiasts and is keen to stress that he likes Apple computers.

"I'm actually fairly impressed by the fact that Apple seems poised to do their second major technology change, and do it reasonably painlessly," Torvalds told ZDNet in an email interview.

OS X marks a significant change in direction for Apple. It is an entirely new operating system, built from the ground up. Although the first version comes without support for certain peripherals, many reviews are positive about OS X and, in particular, compliment its ability to interoperate with legacy software.

"Even when I dislike Mach, I have to give credit where credit is due," Torvalds says. "According to most reviews OS X is not necessarily completely ready for public consumption yet, but there's no question there's some serious engineering behind the thing."

The old Mac OS was introduced in 1984. OS X was released last month but most major applications have not yet been tailored for it, and it doesn't include support for some core features such as CD writing and DVD playback. This is reflected in the fact that it will not come pre-installed until the summer.

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