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Torvalds switches to Apple

Linux figure says his main desktop is no longer an x86 machine. He wanted to "check out the other side."

Linux creator Linus Torvalds is now running an Apple Macintosh as his main desktop, largely for work reasons but also because he's not one to pass up a bargain.

Torvalds, who initially created Linux for the Intel x86 platform, revealed to the Linux Kernel Mailing List in February during a discussion on kernel size reduction that his main desktop machine no longer featured an x86 processor. Hence, Torvalds said, a patch specific to the x86 platform that he was submitting to the list for consideration was totally untested.

ZDNet Australia was intrigued by this remark and sought to question Torvalds on why the man who helped revolutionize the use of Unix on the x86 platform would move away from it, and where he had moved to.

Torvald's response came quickly and succinctly. "My main machine these days is a dual 2GHz G5 (aka PowerPC 970)--it's physically a regular Apple Mac, although it obviously only runs Linux, so I don't think you can call it a Mac any more ;)" he wrote.

"As to the why...Part of it is simply that I wanted to try something else, and I felt like there were enough people testing the x86 side that it certainly didn't need me. Part of it is that I personally believe there are two main architectures out there: Power and x86-64 are what _I_ think are the two most relevant ones, and I decided that I had to at least check the other side of it out seriously if I really believed that," he wrote.

But the kernel guru sought to stop any potential accusations of favoritism in their tracks: "And don't read anything really deep into that--Linux supports 20+ architectures, and the fact that I personally think that two of them are more likely to be the most relevant really doesn't mean all that much. It's just a personal quirk of mine."

As it turns out, this key figure behind the Linux insurgency is probably not all that different from any other technology enthusiast.

"Oh, and part of it is that I got the machine for free," said Torvalds. "I'm really a technology whore."

He did not specify who provided the computer.

Renai LeMay of ZDNet Australia reported from Sydney.