“If you meet Linus Torvalds, he comes off as a mild-mannered, down-to-earth Finnish-American. He lives with his wife Tove, three kids, a cat, a dog, a snake, a goldfish, a bunny and a pet rat in a comfortable 6,000 square foot home just north of Portland’s tony Lake Oswego neighborhood. The house is yellow — his favorite color — and so’s the Mercedes,” Robert McMillan reports for Wired.

“But he’s not really like any of his neighbors. He drives his Mercedes fast, slamming the car into gear and flooring it. There’s no coaxing, no hesitation. Either the hammer is down, or the car is at rest,” McMillan reports. “And he has an abnormal number of stuffed penguins on his mantle.”

McMillan reports, “Red Hat can thank Linus for reaching $1 billion in annual revenue. And Linus can thank Red Hat for his yellow house in Portland. Prior to its initial public offering in 1999, Red Hat gave Torvalds what turned out to be about $1 million in stock. But Torvalds says that it was his only big Linux payout. Stock that he was awarded from Transmeta and another Linux startup, VA Systems, wasn’t worth very much by the time he was allowed to sell it.”

“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,” McMillan reports. “‘I said no,’ Torvalds remembers.”

Read more in the full article here.

MacDailyNews Take: Costly decision. Not quite Ron Wayne-esque, but very costly nonetheless.