Linus Torvalds hates mobile phones, thinks Nokia should have gone with Android

What do Linus Torvalds and Nokia have in common? They’re both Finnish. And if you haven’t heard of Mr. Torvalds, that’s OK, but chances are you’re familiar with his work. He’s the guy who wrote Linux back in the early 1990s. Linus moved to America shortly after releasing the Linux kernel, and he’s been there ever since, though this week he’s back home to accept the Millennium Technology Prize. The Finnish business publication Taloussanomat sat down with Linus and asked him a few questions. He confessed that he hates mobile phones, however he’s currently using an Android device. The only thing he likes on his Android phone is the email experience. We’re going to assume he means Gmail. Linus also says that Nokia made a mistake by going with Microsoft’s Windows Phone, but he understands why they did it, pointing out that Stephen Elop, Nokia’s new CEO, was a former Microsoft employee. He’s also, unsurprisingly, not fond of Microsoft’s dominance in the information technology sector. According to him Windows has a large market share because people were forced to use it at work, and they’re too lazy to learn something new, so they end up buying a Windows PC.

Whether or not you agree with Linus isn’t relevant, everyone is entitled to their opinion. That being said, he isn’t the first high profile person to suggest that Nokia should have gone with Android instead of trying to prop up a platform that has low single digit market share. Now that can change of course, and we’re all eager to learn more details about Windows Phone 8, but it’s highly unlikely that Apple or Google are going to fumble things up to such a degree that Microsoft can swoop in and fix their current situation.

Stranger things have happened, so you never know.

  • ILuv

    Is Android running on Linux OS? no wonder!

    • Plast0000

      the phones are running Linux OS, android is just a package made by google

      just like WP is, it’s windows CE 6.0 with phone 7 packages

      WP8 is Windows 8 with some mods to work on phones, I use WP8.1 which is based on Windows 8.1

      IOS is a modded Mac OS X to work on phones (iPhone) and tabs (iPad)

  • Sam

    The majority of people hate his invention called “Linux” so who really cares? There is a reason why suppliers continue to shell out billions to Microsoft. Linux sucks.

    • Linux is just a kernel. What people put on top of Linux is interesting. Android, the most popular smarpthone platform on the face of the planet, is Linux based.

      And for what it’s worth, I run Ubuntu on my netbook.

      • Sam

        Android is totally flawed though. The concept of installing anti-virus software and “app killers” on a CELL PHONE is stupid. Also, the only reason why Android caught on is because no asian manufacturer knows how to make a proper proprietary OS. Android was adopted (poorly albeit) by every white-box OEM and electronics manufacturer in China and Korea, and Android copied massively expensive patents from Apple and Symbian with little R&D cost and offered it for free. Anyone who can’t afford an iPhone gets an android, and those tired of their iPhone are now getting either WP7 or Android, the latter regretting that decision  as every Android person I know switched to Blackberry or iOS after their contract finally ran out. China’s latest numbers already show how much they are sick of Android (WP is up to 7% of sales). My current Razr has force close and errors on startup, while my Lumia 800 is flaw-free for months now. Considering I do business and I dont have time for problems, and I just want a reliable smartphone with great features, iOS or WP7 is the best bet.

        • I’m not sure what you’re trying to tell me, but OK. Enjoy your Lumia!

          • Anonymous

             You know good and damn well what he was saying. But like most tech journalists, you’re just a sycophantic tool.

        • kinthiri

          Well Sam, I love your ignorance. You do not need antivirus software or task killers on Android. In fact they are detrimental to any Android platform and it is strongly recommended never to use them.

          As for your comments about stealing from Apple and Nokia… Interesting. Especially given Android was being developed by Andy Rubin long before Google bought them and long before Apple even started on their iPhone.

          Whats really interesting is that Apple hasn’t sued Google for anything in Android, instead going after manufacturers for things like “it looks like an iPhone.” And funnily enough, Nokia hasn’t sued Google for anything yet either. Instead going after HTC for things such as “They use a feature of GSM we patented but wouldn’t license.”

          As for your Razr force closing, I’d say that has more to do with the crap you’ve installed on it over time than the OS itself.

          Funny how your “friends” are jumping over to Blackberry and WP7 from Android. Seems an interesting statement given both platforms are almost so low in market share as to nearly be considered within the margin of error for most surveys. WP7 has gained almost no traction, even with Nokia coming on strong, and Nokia’s Lumia series has failed so miserably as to still have Symbian phones outselling it. They’re good devices with crappy software.

          I’d also be very careful what you suggest about the Chinese market. Its pretty obvious you have no experience with that market from your comments. But to ignore most of what you say and focus on the “proprietary” comment, why would anyone want a “proprietary” OS? At least with open source platforms such as Android (and Symbian and Meego and the rest) you’re not locked in to a single vendor. You can switch easily.

          If you just want a “reliable smartphone” then I wouldn’t consider IOS or WP7 or Blackberry better than Android. I still think for reliability you cannot beat Symbian. Unfortunately its orphaned and just doesn’t have the developer market any longer.

          But please, before spouting more opinion as fact, I strongly suggest you piss off and get some schooling on your subject first. And I really recommend you stay away from anything related to Google or Android. A quick browse of your disqus history shows you’re pretty anti-Google. If you don’t like them, thats your choice. But don’t pretend to be authoratative about a subject your own bias prevents you from actually learning about properly.

          Or is that too hard?

          • Sam

            Ok bro, lets look at the facts because you want to call me ignorant. Google is being sued by patent companies that are owned by Microsoft and Nokia, look it up MR GOOGLE. Sorry, but everything you said is bullshit. I downloaded like 4 apps on my Razr before it started acting up. The Android marketplace is largely unregulated so it has a lot of horrid apps with really lax requirements. Also, WP7’s traction is now being seen as Nokia only began selling Lumias late last year. The new numbers will paint a different picture for Q1 and Q2 2012.

          • kinthiri

            I don’t know…. I really shouldn’t feed trolls, but sometimes its fun. This will be the last though. Lets use real world data to give an idea of whats happening shall we?

            First off, lets point out that the *only* lawsuit against Google regarding Android has been from Oracle, and they got resoundingly thumped on the patent issues and basically told to stop waisting everyones time on the copyright issues.

            Neither Microsoft, nor Nokia, nor Apple are directly suing Google for anything to do with Android. The closest they come to it is that all 3 are suing Motorola Mobility, which Google just bought in whole. However, the lawsuits between them all were happening prior to Google even making an offer for the company. So to say they’re suing Google is being flexible with the truth there.

            Lets look at the Lumia since you want to point that out. The Lumia 800 was announced in October 2011, and went on sale in parts of Europe in November/December of that same year.
            I agree, it is a nice device. From a hardware perspective its not bad. A bit under powered, but that is always the way with Nokia. Unfortunately this time it was also enforced by the limitations of the WP7 platform itself, and even WP7.5 “Mango” is still pretty pathetic with its hardware capabilities. There is a reason Microsoft gets final say on what devices are allowed to ship with the software.Now, we don’t have any real trending data for the devices just yet. But we do have several bits and pieces that can be useful to us.At the end of February this year Asymco released data that showed the market share of the platforms up to the end of calendar Q4 2011. Now, Lumia probably didn’t have a chance to impact that yet (even though it was available for over a month of that last quarter) so we’ll pretend that its not a good sample. But it does give a good base line to start from.However, in the same publication, they compared sales of platforms in January 2012 to the sales for the January 2011 period. WP7 was included then.What these sales figures show is that Symbian is losing huge numbers and they’re jumping to Android rather than to the WP7 Lumia devices. In fact, WP7 had such miniscule sales as to almost not register anywhere at all other than in the UK. This is understandable as Microsoft teamed up with a couple of the telco’s there to give away WP7 devices for basically nothing.You can see the charts and summary of the paper at 
   Now, more to your point about the Lumia now starting to show a good standing for the WP7 platform. Tomi Ahonen is pretty authorative when it comes to the mobile markets. Look him up to see why. Lets just say he’s been involved on the inside of the mobile market and knows more than you or I could ever hope to know from the outside. In March he posted a very thorough look at how the Lumia is performing for Nokia specifically against their own Symbian and Meego platforms. It is a very thoughtful and well studied piece that actually includes real numbers based on authorative data. I suggest you take the time to read it. Thats it. I’ll let you have the last word. But I’ll finish off by saying I think you’re full of excrement and unless you can back up your own arguments with real examples, you’re talking out of your proverbial.Have a nice life.

          • Anonymous

            I thought you might know something about what you were talking about till you said Nokia Lumias are “good devices with crappy software”.

            Nobody who has used a lumia thinks that, even the critics. And I’ve switched my main phone from an iPhone 4 to the Lumia 710. Is it perfect. No. Am I missing a handful of apps that aren’t in the W7 marketplace? Yes.

            But does it do everything it has going for it right? I have to say yes.Nokia Drive, Nokia Transport, Nokia Music are all FREE.
            Plus apps that adhere to the Metro interface have no free comparison on either Android or iOS.

            I like you advice on bias and being authoritative. Please take it. 

          • I’m a critic, and Windows Phone is not an operating system I’d recommend.

          • Anonymous

            Stefan – Could I ask the primary reasons why? I know the disadvantages of iOS and Android by now having used a few phones, but perhaps internal bias and the fact I’m using Wp7 right now don’t allow me to be critical enough of the platform. 

            But I would honestly like to know if the reasons match up to my experiences.Thanks.

          • Speaking as someone who owned a Nexus One for a year, and an iPhone 4 for a year and a half, the two weeks Nokia gave me with a Nokia Lumia 800 was nothing but an exercise in frustation. The browser isn’t very good, the apps aren’t very good, the multitasking is broken, battery life isn’t as good as iOS, I could go on and on.

            Am I looking forward to Windows Phone 8? Absolutely! I want to see a competitive third platform, but WP 7.5 isn’t it in my eyes.

          • Anonymous

            Fair enough. I agree with some of those points It’s clear the platform has potential, Microsoft just has to execute it right, which I believe they will based on their success in other markets and products over the years.

            Battery life is fine for me. But the previous lumia 710 I had definitely had a problem, draning the battery in as little as 9 hours. The battery wasn’t at fault here, as I transferred the old battery to the new phone…

            The poor apps are down to the developers porting badly apps. Metro apps at least look great.

            Web browsing is a little rubbish. But gets one thing right. Address bar at the BOTTOM of the screen. Having it at the top makes no ergonomic sense. 

          • Anonymous

             I guarantee you the asshat hasn’t spent five minutes with a Windows Phone.

          • Anonymous

             You’re an idiot. You’re also complete full of shit. So do me a favor and shut up.

          • Anonymous

            Fortunately, nobody gives a shit what a fanboy tool like you thinks. You’re just another dumbass Microsoft hating sycophant.

            As a former Android user, there’s no way in hell I’d recommend it. It’s ugly, unintuitive, laggy, fragmented, and malware ridden. 99% of it’s apps are also shit. The entire OS is a mess.

          • kinthiri

            Let me clarify that the software I was referring to is the platform, the OS, the WP7 software itself. Not the apps running on top of it.

            I’m sorry, I thought that was self evident given the topic of the discussion.

          • Anonymous

            I may have expanded a little onto apps. But what I say carries over to the OS. What exactly is so crappy about it. It’s working well enough for me. The People Hub for instance is something no other phone does as well. Android has a fragmented implementation among the different manufacturers that corrupts and adds all manner of tags to my carefully curated contacts. iOS contact management is something from the stone ages. Not social aspects at all.

          • Dimitris Abrazis

             No multicore support which means phones with no HD video or screens. Limitation to the multitasking. Non customizable super ugly interface. Way to many effects making it slowing down users profuctivity.

  • Anonymous

    so what!!

  • Anonymous

    What happened to the article you wrote where you state: “Because Seton is a private University, they have no problem raping your wallet.
    And because they’re also a Roman Catholic University, they’ll also have no
    problem raping your son.”

Back to top ▴