News that Apple CEO Steve Jobs has had an operation to remove a cancerous tumour has caused a strong emotional reaction in the Mac community.

Apple has been swamped with messages of sympathy. Spokesman Steve Dowling said: "We've been getting a lot of good wishes, and we're grateful to receive them."

Macworld US online editor Jim Dalrymple told Wired: "The news of his cancer shocked the community. The outpouring of emotion to Steve and his family was so genuine, you could feel the concern from every person. I can't remember another event affecting so many people this way in the Mac community."

The people's CEO

Varen Swaab, a consultant and Web developer from Washington, has created a Dear Steve Web site in an attempt to collect messages of goodwill. "If you love, respect, admire or care about Steve you can make your feelings known here," the site says.

Swaab intends to print all the messages and deliver them to Apple's California HQ before Jobs returns to work in October. He told Wired: "The quality of the messages and obvious sincerity displayed has been more than I expected. I'm very gratified to have such a response so early, and it's only been a couple of hours."