Torvalds calls flexibility the 'biggest strength' of Linux
Linux leader shines when discussing why he believes the open-source operating system is better than Microsoft's Windows.
I made this same point over the weekend in a post or three. But when it comes from Linus Torvalds, it means more.
When asked in an InformationWeek Q&A how Linux compares with Windows, Torvalds didn't go into a marketing discussion of Feature Y over Feature X. Instead, he discussed the strength of Linux's process/approach over Windows' "We are Microsoft--trust us to be your god" approach:
I think the real strength of Linux is not in any particular area, but in the flexibility. For example, you mention virtualization, and in some ways that's a really excellent example, because it's not only an example of something where Linux is a fairly strong player, but more tellingly, it's an example where there are actually many different approaches, and there is no one-size-fits-all "One True Virtualization" model....
...I mention that as a strong point of open source! Why? Because it actually is a great example of what open source results in: one person's (or company's) particular interests don't end up being dominant. The fact that I personally think that virtualization isn't all that exciting means next to nothing.
This is actually the biggest strength of Linux. When you buy an OS from Microsoft, not only you can't fix it, but it has had years of being skewed by one single entity's sense of the market. It doesn't matter how competent Microsoft -- or any individual company--is, it's going to reflect that fact. In contrast, look at where Linux is used. Everything from cell phones and other small embedded computers that people wouldn't even think of as computers, to the bulk of the biggest machines on the supercomputer Top-500 list. That is flexibility. And it stems directly from the fact that anybody who is interested can participate in the development, and no single entity ends up being in control of where it all goes.
And what does that then lead to? Linux ends up being very good at a lot of different things, and rather well-rounded in general.
Bingo. If you think Microsoft has a god-like ability to know anything and everything about the market and about how you want to do computing, buy everything from it. Slavishly follow it.
But if you think that your fellow adopters of technology might be more attuned to the market in some cases, buy into a process (called open source) that tunes itself to disparate needs at disparate times. You are not locked into any one vendor's view of the future, or your place in it.
With open source, you help to create the future. That's a very comforting place to be.