Steve Jobs' Job Offer Wasn't Good Enough for Linus Torvalds

by Ostatic Staff - Mar. 23, 2012

Wired recently did an interview with none other than Linus Torvalds in which Torvalds expounds on a number of topics, including being a father of three kids and attending a party alongside Robert Downey Jr. (who didn't know who he was). In the interview, Torvalds also notes that a little over 10 years ago, Steve Jobs offered him a job at Apple, which he turned down. Both the details on the job and Torvalds' response are interesting.

The Wired interview notes:

"...Around 2000, when he was still working at Transmeta, [Linus] 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."

Essentially, Jobs wanted Torvalds to work on the Unix kernel that the Mac OS has always been based on. However, Jobs' stipulation was that Torvalds would not be able to work on Linux in tandem. For that reason, and because Torvalds apparently doesn't like the Mach kernel in the Mac OS, he declined the job offer.

Make no mistake, Torvalds has not had a problem working for other companies that make proprietary technology. As noted above, he worked for years at Transmeta, a CPU company, for example (he now works for The Linux Founadation). But it's still good to see that not even large sums of money can sway Torvalds' dedication away from pure open source pursuits.

The Wired interview is definitely worth reading, and even includes a reference to Torvalds being "a dick sometimes," (which is said in a kind way). Plus, you get to see Torvalds' license plate, which says "Dad of 3."