We have collected some of the best quotes from three of the most influential people in the history of operating systems: Steve Jobs (Apple), Linus Torvalds (Linux) and Bill Gates (Microsoft).
Some of these quotes may surprise you, especially the older ones. For your convenience, we have put the quotes in chronological order.
(We have to wonder if we will have left the same trail of quotes a couple of decades from now when Pingdom rules the world (cough)…)
Let’s start with the man who co-founded Apple in 1976, left the company in 1985, then came back and saved the day in 1997.
What a computer is to me is the most remarkable tool that we have ever come up with. It’s the equivalent of a bicycle for our minds.
1994, while he was obviously not working at Apple:
If I were running Apple, I would milk the Macintosh for all it’s worth — and get busy on the next great thing. The PC wars are over. Done. Microsoft won a long time ago.
1996, on Bill Gates:
I wish him the best, I really do. I just think he and Microsoft are a bit narrow. He’d be a broader guy if he had dropped acid once or gone off to an ashram when he was younger.
1997, on Apple products:
The products suck! There’s no sex in them anymore!
2003, a modest comment on the iPod and iTunes:
It will go down in history as a turning point for the music industry. This is landmark stuff. I can’t overestimate it!
2006, on Microsoft:
Our friends up north spend over five billion dollars on research and development and all they seem to do is copy Google and Apple.
2007, on his $1 annual salary:
I make fifty cents for showing up … and the other 50 cents is based on my performance.
Now on to the man who co-founded Microsoft in 1975 and later became the richest man in the world.
There’s nobody getting rich writing software that I know of.
We will never make a 32-bit operating system.
The next generation of interesting software will be done on the Macintosh, not the IBM PC.
I believe OS/2 is destined to be the most important operating system, and possibly program, of all time.
If people had understood how patents would be granted when most of today’s ideas were invented, and had taken out patents, the industry would be at a complete standstill today.
The Internet? We are not interested in it.
There are no significant bugs in our released software that any significant number of users want fixed.
1996, on the oft-quoted “640K ought to be enough for anybody.”
I’ve said some stupid things and some wrong things, but not that. No one involved in computers would ever say that a certain amount of memory is enough for all time… I keep bumping into that silly quotation attributed to me that says 640K of memory is enough.
Microsoft looks at new ideas, they don’t evaluate whether the idea will move the industry forward, they ask, ‘how will it help us sell more copies of Windows?’
1998, memo to the Office product group:
One thing we have got to change in our strategy – allowing Office documents to be rendered very well by other people’s browsers is one of the most destructive things we could do to the company. We have to stop putting any effort into this and make sure that Office documents very well depends on PROPRIETARY IE capabilities.
Microsoft has had clear competitors in the past. It’s a good thing we have museums to document that.
Spam will be a thing of the past in two years’ time.
Finally, the man who in 1991 started to work on what would become Linux.
I’m doing a (free) operating system (just a hobby, won’t be big and professional like gnu) for 386(486) AT clones.
Some people have told me they don’t think a fat penguin really embodies the grace of Linux, which just tells me they have never seen an angry penguin charging at them in excess of 100mph. They’d be a lot more careful about what they say if they had.
My name is Linus Torvalds and I am your god.
Do you pine for the days when men were men and wrote their own device drivers?
Really, I’m not out to destroy Microsoft. That will just be a completely unintentional side effect.
Talk is cheap. Show me the code.
Which mindset is right? Mine, of course. People who disagree with me are by definition crazy. (Until I change my mind, when they can suddenly become upstanding citizens. I’m flexible, and not black-and-white.)
I have an ego the size of a small planet.
Security people are often the black-and-white kind of people that I can’t stand. I think the OpenBSD crowd is a bunch of masturbating monkeys, in that they make such a big deal about concentrating on security to the point where they pretty much admit that nothing else matters to them.
Quotes found on Wikiquote.org.