Linus Torvalds: 'free' OS X Mavericks is no threat to Linux

Finland (Linus Torvalds from Finland speaks after being awarded the 2012 Millennium Technology Prize in Helsinki, Finland Wednes

After yesterday's surprise announcement of the free upgrade to OS X Mavericks, some Twitter wags and industry pundits assumed that the free OS would be a danger to the continued existence of Linux. Speaking at LinuxCon Europe today in Edinburgh, Scotland, Linux creator Linus Torvalds was quick to point out that there's no threat to the open-source operating system.

As Torvalds noted, while Mavericks is free, it's far from open source. While OS X Mavericks is pretty well tied to Apple hardware for the best possible compatibility (although one can create a hackintosh quite easily), Linux has been ported to just about every possible combination of hardware by an active and dedicated developer community. Whether running on server hardware or a single-board Raspberry Pi, Linux is a scalable and robust operating system.

Several commenters on the original PCWorld post brought up the fact that OS X really isn't free, being included only in the cost of the somewhat expensive hardware that it runs on. In addition, OS X Mavericks won't run on older Mac hardware, while a Linux distribution can be found to run on just about any PC hardware in existence.

Torvalds said it most succintly when he exclaimed that, "The fact that Apple gives the OS away is highly irrelevant. I don't think that it impacts Linux at all."