If Windows is so crap, why isn't Linux doing better?

6th Feb 2008 | 15:09

If Windows is so crap, why isn't Linux doing better?

Linux founder Linus Torvalds lays into his chief OS rivals

In an amazing display of spirited self-interest, Linux founder Linus Torvalds has laid into both Mac OS X 10.5 Leopard and Windows Vista, with Vista coming out slightly worse overall.

Here's what Torvalds had to say during at Q&A with the Sydney Morning Herald at the linux.conf.au conference in Melbourne last week:

"I don't think they're utterly flawed - I think Leopard is a much better system," Torvalds said. But then he added: "OS X is in some ways actually worse than Windows to program for. Their file system is complete and utter crap, which is scary."

Torvalds is, of course, referring to HFS+, the file system Apple has been using since the introduction of Mac OS 8.1 in 1998. But here's the killer:

"I think [Mac] OS X is nicer than Windows in many ways, but neither can hold a candle to my own [Linux]. It's a race for second."

Well he would say that, wouldn't he?

Linux vs Mac OS X vs Vista

The problem for Torvalds is that Linux barely registers when it comes to market share. According to the latest statistics from Net Applications, Windows marketshare shrunk slightly between December 2007 and January 2008, with 91.46 per cent market share (down 0.36 per cent). Mac OS X picked up the biggest rise, going up from 7.31 per cent to 7.57 per cent (a record high), while Linux only rose from 0.63 per cent to 0.67 per cent.

This suggests more Windows users are jumping over to Mac OS X than Linux. When asked by the Linux Foundation why users weren't migrating en masse to his OS Torvalds responded:

"If you act differently from Windows, even if you act in some ways better, it doesn't matter; better is worse if it's different," he is quoted as saying in Wired.

The question is: do you think Torvalds is right, or is he howling into the wind? Let us know.

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