Linux Creator Linus Torvalds Was Asked By Steve Jobs To Help Build OS X In 2000

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The Father of Linux, Linus Torvalds, could also have been the godfather of OS X
The Father of Linux, Linus Torvalds, could also have been the godfather of OS X

Built upon the DNA of NeXT OS, OS X is already one of the most well known Unix-based operating systems, but it could have been supercharged if the father of Linux, Linus Torvalds, had accepted a job offer from Steve Jobs back in 2000.

Describing Torvalds as the Steve Jobs of engineers for his ability to look at “potentially competing solutions and cut through the bullshit and say, no this is the right one to choose” even if it “means he’s a dick sometimes,” Wired’s Enterprise blog shares this intriguing story.

Torvalds has never met Bill Gates, but around 2000, when he was still working at Transmeta, he met Steve Jobs. Jobs invited him to Apple’s Cupertino campus and tried to hire him. “Unix for the biggest user base: that was the pitch,” says Torvalds. The condition: He’d have to drop Linux development. “He wanted me to work at Apple doing non-Linux things,” he said. That was a non-starter for Torvalds. Besides, he hated Mac OS’s Mach kernel.

Of course, just a year later, Apple released OS X, the next version of their Mac operating system that is still in use today. It seems pretty clear in hindsight that Jobs wanted Linus to head the OS X team, but if there’s one thing Torvalds is, it’s idealistic. Imagine what OS X might be today if he had joined, though!