This article argues that Linux is a "cause" for programmers to get behind. Thus Torvalds can get more creativity out of his programmers than Gates can out of his, who are somewhat stifled by corporate bureaucracy.
Designing software may be such a cause. A lot of people are passionate about creating an alternative to Windows. In some cases, the desire to see Windows' dominant position threatened is its own passion. As a 21-year-old living at home, Torvalds created Linux in 1991 in Finland. He offered it for free to the world and made the source code available to anyone who wanted to alter it — as long as the tinkerer was willing to make the new additions available to the public as well. The result is a product embraced with religious fervor by the geek community and even penetrating the mainstream, running servers and other hardware.
Yet the rivalry is defined by more than motivation and incentives. Does Torvalds or Gates have more resources at his disposal? Gates, right? But that answer assumes that money is the most important asset. Even if money trumps idealism as a motivator, Torvalds has a bigger team — the millions who use Linux and continue to tinker with it. Potentially, he has more brainpower on his team.
Definitely an interesting take on the competition between these two operating systems. I've often wondered if the programmers at Microsoft get fired up about Windows, or if it is just the stock options (which they don't have any more).