“Apple’s much-touted new operating system, OS X Leopard, is in some ways worse than Windows Vista, says the founder of the Linux open source project, Linus Torvalds,” Nick Miller reports for The Sydney Morning Herald. “Torvalds was in Melbourne last week for the linux.conf.au conference and was invited to pass judgement on OS X versus Windows Vista in a wide-ranging interview.”

“‘I don’t think they’re equally flawed – I think Leopard is a much better system,’ he said. ‘(But) OS X in some ways is actually worse than Windows to program for. Their file system is complete and utter crap, which is scary,'” Miller reports.

Miller reports, “He poured scorn on the modern trend to treat a new version or update of an operating system as a cause for major celebration and marketing. ‘An operating system should be completely invisible,’ he said. ‘To Microsoft and Apple (it is) a way to control the whole environment … to force people to upgrade their applications and hardware.'”

Full article here.

[Thanks to MacDailyNews Reader “bioness” for the heads up.]

MacDailyNews Take: Apple is methodically making their move to ZFS. Filesystem changes must be carefully considered for platforms with large user bases – which is something that Torvalds has absolutely no experience with on the desktop. The fact is, the performance of Linux on the desktop is, to turn a phrase, “complete and utter crap.” In January 2008, Net Applications’ measure of operating system usage share online put Linux at 0.67%. Ouch, just 0.67%, after all of these years! Apple’s Mac OS X, even with its filesystem that so concerns Linus, but which also happens to work perfectly well for users, stands at 7.57%, more than 11 times that of Linux. In fact, Apple’s iPhone and iPod touch already hold 0.17%. Apple’s Wi-Fi mobile devices will likely surpass Linux on the desktop this year. Linux users, and Torvalds himself, should give up the ghost. Linux on the desktop is a pipe dream. (Linux in the server room is a totally different story.)

As for an operating system being completely invisible, Mac OS X does a much better job of getting out of the user’s way than Windows or the various Linux flavors, which, from what we’ve seen, all seem hell-bent on making ugly clones of the Windows UI failure in what seems to be some desperate attempt to keep the delusional fantasy of Linux on the desktop alive.

Hey, brother, we didn’t ask for a war, but we’re well-prepared to fight, if you insist.

Apple has shareholders and employees and infrastructure. It’s a company, not a commune. To criticize them for charging for their work is disingenuous and/or naive. Obviously, if Mr. Torvalds has proven anything, it’s that you can’t get world class user interfaces from disorganized, disconnected, and unfunded ragtag bands of volunteers. The money Apple makes goes into perfecting the experience for the end user. Linux has so much to learn in the area of UI – the most important area for people who use computers, by the way – that it’s impossible to quantify. Even Windows is better.

Mr. Torvalds won’t like to hear this (and perhaps that’s why he’s lashing out), but, usage figures prove that, of the roughly 10% who are informed about what they are buying, almost all of us would rather pay for Mac OS X than have Linux for free on the desktop.

Now, all of that said, in a way we do kinda sorta agree with Torvalds on this general concept: The perfect world has no place for the very flawed Windows, the “choice” of the uninformed.

Our perfect world? Mac OS X on desktops, notebooks, and mobile devices (in the hands of users) and Mac OS X Server and/or Linux in the server room.

[UPDATE: 2:56pm EST: Attempted to clarify in the Take that most Mac users have made an informed choice (so have Linux users), while most Windows users have not (or they wouldn’t be using Windows, they’d be using Macs). Read any random bunch of independent OS reviews and Apple Mac is the clear choice. Much more than software lock-in, Windows depends on ignorance to survive (and even thrive) today.]