Linus Torvalds Takes Aim at Proprietary Tech, and Apple

by Ostatic Staff - Nov. 18, 2011

Linux creator Linus Torvalds spoke at the LinuxCon Brazil event this week, and had some choice words for makers of proprietary technology, especially Apple and Microsoft. Mashable picked up this dig from Linus at these tech giants, regarding the much discussed secure boot feature that Microsoft is backing, which could lock Linux out of Windows 8 PCs: "“Technologies that lock things down tend to lose in the end. People want freedom and markets want freedom.” Torvalds compared secure boot to Apple's use of Digital Rights Management (DRM) technology. Notably, Torvalds had a decidedly anti-Apple stance in the comments.

Many times here  on OStatic, we've taken note of the fact that many fans of Linux and open source technology are also fans of Apple's products. Perhaps this correlation dates back to the Apple of old, but something about Apple's iconoclastic attitude fits well with open source mindsets.

These days, though, Apple has long since soared past Microsoft in market capitalization terms, and Apple is a tech giant that even Linus Torvalds feels fully comfortable trashing. The Cult of Mac blog picked up on Torvalds' anti-Apple comments at LinuxCon Brazil, and also picked up this quote from Davi Pires, with the Brazilian Ministry of Justice:

"When it comes to Apple, which does not allow people to use a different cable to connect your iPhone to your computer, it is hard to believe that the company refuses to meet a Brazilian law."

(Brazil has recently squared off with Apple over policies on iTunes.) Apple co-founder Steve Jobs delivered a defense of the company's tendency to deliver proprietary tools in Walter Isaacson's biography of him. He told Isaacson that "people are busy" and don't want to be bothered with incompatible products and products that don't just seamlessly work. “They’re busy doing whatever they do best," Jobs said "and they want us to do what we do best. Their lives are crowded; they have other things to do than think about how to integrate their computers and devices.”

It seems that that explanation is not good enough for Linus Torvalds.