A profile of Linus Torvalds, the founder of Linux, on Wired.com reveals how back when Mac OS was just starting out, Steve Jobs made him a job offer to come and work at Apple. He refused as it meant he would have to stop his Linux work, but things could have been a lot different had he accepted.
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.
“I said no,” Torvalds remembers.
Had Torvalds accepted the offer, almost everything would be different today. All you have to do is think how many web servers run Linux to realise that a huge number of websites would not exist today. Torvalds definitely did the right thing, even though it would have been awesome to see two great minds working together.