back to article Torvalds: I want to be nice, and curse less, but it's just not in me

NVIDIA, gnomes and people working on Linux distro security – these are just some of those who’ve felt the wrath of kernel kingpin Linus Torvalds. Now the KDE team is the latest to feel the heat after the Linux founder wrote a review of the desktop environment, albeit in relatively toned down language for the Finn. “It still …

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  1. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Oh boy. He even rants about ranting.

    Perhaps he should leave the speaking bits to grown-ups.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Oh boy. He even rants about ranting.

      It's not difficult to predict that we'll be thinking that about the majority of replies you're likely to get. Unless the fanatics manage to resist the temptation in an attempt to prove me wrong. Which'd be a nice change :)

    2. Shagbag

      Agreed

      AND perhaps the media should stop idolising the guy and reporting anything and everything he says.

    3. foo_bar_baz
      Facepalm

      Re: Oh boy. He even rants about ranting.

      Precisely, except he does not. How do his answers to a bunch of students qualify as a rant?

      Speaking of grown up, is that what your factually inaccurate anonymous forum post is?

    4. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Oh boy. He even rants about ranting.

      Perhaps he should leave the speaking bits to grown-ups.

      I prefer plain language which expresses an honestly held opinion a mile over some mealy mouthed politically correct waffle which can always be claimed to mean the complete opposite when it doesn't fall well with the target audience. This is at least based on reality.

      If you want to talk about someone who needs an interface between him and the outside world, look at Stallman. The man is almost as responsible for the success of Linux as Linus is through his GNU toolset, but every time he opens his mouth he seems to come from a different planet, hence everyone sticking to Linus as the face of Linux. I suspect that Richard Stallman isn't half as socks-and-sandals raving mad as his utterances make him out to be, but he needs a spokesman a *LOT* more than Linus. It's IMHO the sole and single reason he doesn't get the credit he actually deserves.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        @AC 09:08GMT - Re: Oh boy. He even rants about ranting.

        Maybe this is because GPL is attracting way much more hate than Linux kernel ever did. Richard Stallman was the first one who saw coming the digital slavery for end-users. He stood-up against that and he got the exact number of fans as someone speaking about freedom at a slave auction.

        However, thanks to Richard Stallman Linux managed to avoid becoming the 13th BSD. It is exactly because of Mr. Stallman that we're bitching everywhere about Linux while silently and unjustly ignoring the BSD world as if it wouldn't exist at all. Strange isn't it ?

    5. Mark 65 Silver badge

      Re: Oh boy. He even rants about ranting.

      I imagine the man is a bit of a perfectionist - such people tend to get the shits when others completely fuck up their work by putting a shitty window manager on top (as an example).

    6. Gav
      Mushroom

      Re: Oh boy. He even rants about ranting.

      The thing is, he's nearly always entirely right when he does go off on one. That makes it ok, mostly.

  2. PC Paul

    Feels like a benevolent dictatorship to me...

    Do people really think that's a rant? Looks like just saying what he thinks to me.

    A 'benevolent dictator' doesn't mean someone who's nice to everybody. It means someone who does things for the good of the project. The Kernel has a long and complicated history with lots of debate around it, but there is still just the one kernel. Any other project of similar age and complexity has forked at least once by now.

    Maybe he doesn't go out of his way to be nice to people. And maybe that's not what's needed in his position, as long as he does the rest of the job well?

    1. Robert Grant Silver badge

      Re: Feels like a benevolent dictatorship to me...

      That's a lot of maybes; you sound like the end of a Scrubs episode :) What are you actually saying?

      I tend to agree with almost everyone here, actually: Linus says he doesn't have it in him, which is a bit weak-willed but probably perfectly accurate, and actually no-one would care if the tech media didn't report his every outburst. It'd be good if he actually took some time to write down a list of useful bug reports as well, assuming he doesn't yet.

    2. James Micallef Silver badge
      Thumb Up

      "just saying what he thinks"

      One of the reasons I like Finns, they call it like they see it.

      (eg Raikonnen - "Leave me alone I know what I'm doing")

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: "just saying what he thinks"

        Only in some ways... the tyre thing is critical and the driver cant tell the temperature of each tyre, thats why there are all those telemetry engineers. Hence why its a *team* event.

        (BTW He just got lucky because Hamilton's car failed, which is obviously par of the course.)

        1. John Robson Silver badge

          Re: "just saying what he thinks"

          "Only in some ways... the tyre thing is critical and the driver cant tell the temperature of each tyre, thats why there are all those telemetry engineers. Hence why its a *team* event."

          So did the engineer say "your rear right tyre is cooling down" - no he said "keep the tyre temps up" - that's F1 driving 101, and Kimi is a world champion.

          If he'd been reminded on a straight rather than in a corner he might have taken it better...

  3. toadwarrior

    Linus moved to america, got fat, and became a stereotype of himself as became a ultra niche celebrity.

    He is sort of like gnome and he's at version 3. We'll see if he can sort it out for version 4.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Anyone moving to America

      gets fat, don't you think ? As for the ultra niche celebrity remark, you don't know the man, mate!

  4. tkioz
    Happy

    While I don't use his product (don't really like it), I can respect him for his work, and sympathize with his problems. I myself have a bit of a temper, and it's hard to keep in check, so I can see where he coming from, it's unfortunate that he seems to given up on controlling it though, he is a very smart man and could do great(er) things if he looked into anger management.

    As for his job... well I'd say it's vital, you need people like him that focus on the big picture, otherwise you end up with all sorts of garbage all over the place, and that's not just in the world of code, it's everything...

    1. David Karla

      using his product ...

      actually, chances are that you have used his product, perhaps without even realizing it ... I'm glad he's blunt. I don't think he's any less blunt than Jobs was, but perhaps he doesn't have the reality distortion field that would let him get away with it.

      1. Nigel 11

        Re: using his product ...

        He doesn't have the power Jobs had, either. If a majority of the Linux community felt that Linus was a hinderance rather than a help, there would be nothing to stop them breaking away.

        There's a lesson there for the wider world. Dictators are bad because they can issue orders and punish those who disobey. A "benevolent dictator for life" in open-source software can only issue suggestions and justifications. Anyone and everyone is free to ignore him. In general they don't until the dictator ceases to be benevolent, because it's much harder going on the outside of the fold.

        Open-source projects are probably the closest thing to a working system of anarchy that we'll ever see.

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        "Chances are..."

        Erm, it's a dead cert that anyone who uses modern technology has used Linux, given its ubiquity in the embedded world.

        I suspect that what he meant is that he doesn't like the DIY aspect of the Linux desktop. He wants to treat his computer to work like his microwave oven: you buy your prepackaged frozen applications, pop them in, push the button, and three minutes later something pops out that's, well... good enough. Personally I prefer a gas cooktop and raw ingredients -- more work, but you end up with what you wanted.

        1. Trixr
          Boffin

          Re: "Chances are..."

          This is pretty obsolete, though. Distros like Ubuntu are pretty much using the microwave. If you want a hardcore roll-your-own distro, good on you, there are plenty out there.

          But I do get sick of techie purists wanking on about "learn to configure all the gnarly stuff under the hood, moron, before you're pure enough to lay your hands on the Holy OS". A computer - for nearly all of us - is a tool, not the sum of our lives. I personally don't like the Mac experience, because I do in fact want to have reasonably simple control of my computer, but I'm not going to bag out people who are "plug it in and use it". How many techies know how to drive, but don't have the faintest clue how to replace brake pads or do an oil change?

          For Ubuntu and Mint, etc, they're pretty much at that "plug and play" level on most consumer hardware. This means that the Linux desktop has been gaining traction with average users, thus making it a stronger OS - more users means more investment, in both money and time.

          1. Quxy
            Thumb Down

            "A computer... is a tool"

            That's hardly an argument against her point that she wants her computer to work the way she wants rather than simply run prepackaged applications! Of course her computer is a tool too.

            But for many of us El Reg readers, our computers are more like entire toolboxes than those of people who quip that a "computer is just another tool". Ours are critical to our livelihood, and for us the ability to make them work for us, the way we want, is critical too. If all you need from your computer is the ability to perform a set of tasks developed and packaged by someone else, great. But don't dismiss as "techie purists" those users who are frustrated with the appliance model of computing because it makes it so difficult to develop and adapt new tools to address new problems that need to be solved on a daily basis, any more than you would scorn a machinist who fabricates his own fixtures and cutting bits instead of buying everything from the catalogue.

  5. nematoad Silver badge
    FAIL

    And this is what?

    "You can make your desktop look almost as good as it did two years [a]go."

    And they call this progress?

    Bah.

    1. Tim Parker

      Re: And this is what?

      ""You can make your desktop look almost as good as it did two years [a]go.

      And they call this progress?"

      Ummm no, they call it sarcasm.

  6. John Smith 19 Gold badge
    Coat

    So the new paradign for successful project management is the same as motor racing.

    If you want to win, hire a Finn.

    Time to be gone.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      If you want to win, hire a Finn.

      Applause. I must tell my Finnish friend this one.. :)

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Pint

      Re: So the new paradign for successful project management is the same as motor racing.

      If you want to win, hire a Finn.

      Just remember to hde the booze.

      1. Nigel 11
        Pint

        Re: So the new paradign for successful project management is the same as motor racing.

        If you want to win, hire a Finn.

        Just remember to hde the booze.

        Or relocate your Finn well South of the Arctic circle. (Which Linus has done for himself).

      2. Piro Silver badge
        Pint

        Re: So the new paradign for successful project management is the same as motor racing.

        Unless you want to win at a drinking competition.

      3. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        @Chris Wareham - Re: So the new paradign for successful project managemen...

        Speaking about the booze, are you putting them on par on this matter with the Irish people ?

      4. John Smith 19 Gold badge
        Happy

        Re: So the new paradign for successful project management is the same as motor racing.

        "Just remember to hde the booze."

        I'd always thought the claimed Scandinavian wide fondness for a tipple was a bit of an UL.

        Then again I've heard reports of Norwegians coming in off the ferry from Bergen to be quite "happy." on their arrival in Blighty.

    3. Dazed and Confused

      Re: So the new paradign for successful project management is the same as motor racing.

      Or as the manager of Porsche's team once said

      Nice guys don't win races

    4. James 47

      Re: So the new paradign for successful project management is the same as motor racing.

      I hope Nokia take this advice on baord.

      Hang on a minute...

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: So the new paradign for successful project management is the same as motor racing.

        "I hope Nokia take this advice on baord.

        Hang on a minute..."

        Nokia CEO is a Canadian...

  7. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Keep straight talking, Linus

    If you have a strong opinion, swear. If you don't like something, shout. If it's wrong complain. If you're happy, clap your hands.

    The last thing we need is more wishy-washy mealy-mouthed around-the-houses wittering. And yes, I held this opinion even before being subjected to however many weeks of the inescapable USAian election coverage.

    1. Irongut Silver badge

      Re: Keep straight talking, Linus

      Inescapable USAian election coverage?

      Perfectly escapable, just don't watch / read it. I've seen none of it.

  8. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    KDE is open source you can change it to suit your own needs?

    So if it's wrong, alter it. Simples.

    1. Chris Rowland

      What this means is that the only people you are expecting to use KDE are the people who are expert programmers who have the time and interest to learn how the code works so they can modify it.

  9. Chemist

    I would like to point out ...

    ..that regardless of what is said on the subject ( and given I don't know what Linus had configured on his daughter's laptop ) that you DON'T need to use root password to access a WiFi point with OpenSUSE

    The usual install for networking on OpenSUSE defaults to the 'old' network system but can be changed to use Network Manager which is what is needed for easy access to WiFi roaming. The only time the root password is needed is to make this switch - from then on all WiFi networks only require their usual authorizations.

    I have set up 7 or 8 in the last few years of which 4 are current. I travel extensively with laptop or netbook and never have a problem with WiFi

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: I would like to point out ...

      Before commenting on something you know nothing about, why don't you try reading about it?

      https://plus.google.com/+LinusTorvalds/posts/1vyfmNCYpi5

      1. This post has been deleted by its author

      2. Chemist

        Re: I would like to point out ...

        "https://plus.google.com/+LinusTorvalds/posts/1vyfmNCYpi5"

        I've read it before -- it makes no difference to me , I'm writing THIS on a laptop that doesn't need a root password for WiFi - I don't know what Linus was doing but I do know that root is not needed - Network Manager runs as root automatically from startup - for that matter it handles my 3G dongles the same way.

        "Before commenting on something you know nothing about" - that's just a stupid comment - I obviously know something about this to have so many machines using it that I've set up.

        1. Chemist

          Re: I would like to point out ...

          So I assume all you other OpenSUSE people are having to use root password to connect to WiFi - is that right ? Am I the only one that doesn't ?

          Or are the downvoters actually the ones who know nothing.

  10. Peter Simpson 1
    Thumb Up

    Linus, Jobs, Ballmer

    Linus would be the most fun at a party, and a more interesting neighbor.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Linus, Jobs, Ballmer

      I don't imagine Jobs would be particularly great at a party, these days...

      1. Gob Smacked
        Headmaster

        Re: Linus, Jobs, Ballmer

        Hmm, if he'd arrive at the party in all his resurrected Shinyness, wouldn't it be a Dead Man's Party (tm) by definition ?

  11. Paul Hayes 1

    nowt wrong with a bit of constructive criticism

    He has a blunt way of saying things which can also be construed as being rude sometimes but can anyone honestly say that the things he says are wrong?

    Gnome3 was stupid to start with, requiring a user to enter a root password to add a printer or join a wireless network is daft.

    Without his relentless fighting against poorly implemented code the Linux kernel would surely be far, far worse than it is now. If all these companies were allowed to merge code designed to suit their own needs and no one else's, Linux would probably be no more than a museum piece by now.

    Anyone here saying they don't use Linux, you are using it right now by looking at this website which is hosted on a GNU/Linux system!

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: nowt wrong with a bit of constructive criticism

      The question doesn't seem to be whether he's right or wrong, just whether he's being a dick. As for your "You're using Linux right now" argument, and all the others saying similar things, please try to grasp the context when people say they don't use Linux. Showing a weak understanding of the language or deliberately ignoring what's being said to try to make a point is not a victory.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      FAIL

      Re: nowt wrong with a bit of constructive criticism

      I have less and less tolerance for big swinging dick developers. Their talent is wonderful to behold but real life on Planet Earth requires a modicum of social skills. And sooner or later you will run into a problem: the uber-developer will make a call that everyone is too cowed to point out is a terrible idea.

  12. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Here's to blunt, direct and honest

    That's why I like the Dutch too. No BS, straight talk. More, please.

  13. Connor
    Linux

    I agree with pretty much all his rants....

    It is great that despite his abilities and obvious genius, he still gets annoyed with the same general day-to-day stuff as the rest of us. I don't see it as ranting, but sticking up for the average end user who, when they complain, are invariably told they don't know what they are doing or 'If you don't like it, learn to program and fix it yourself...', no one ever says that to Mr. Torvalds. His complaints carry weight in an OS where the end user's complaints are generally ignored.

    "You can make your desktop look almost as good as it did two years go." Classic line. The end users complained throughout Gnome 3/Unity development but only when Mr. Torvalds complains does something get done.

    You never saw Gates, Jobs et al empathising with the users in the same way. Mr. Torvalds is the reason that I continue to use Linux despite the problems.

    1. Lars Silver badge
      Linux

      Re: I agree with pretty much all his rants....

      Linus has done well, and I am not surprised that Jobs wanted to employ him. Good luck Linus, just tell it like you feel it.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: I agree with pretty much all his rants....

      It might be an idea to put the "Mr." before other peoples' names too. As a courtesy, since you're doing it for one person. As it is, your post just looks like sad hero worship and undermines your credibility.

  14. TechW

    Self Control

    "I’m sorry - I tried, it’s just not in me"

    Oh please, what a cop out. What is he, 2 years old that he can't control himself. Hey Torvalds, how about stopping and thinking first before speaking!

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Self Control

      You should practice that too.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Self Control

        Cool. The old "I know you are but what am I?" argument. Always a winner. Well done.

  15. Chris Rowland

    The problem seems to me that when someone as influential as Linus is rude and abusive, using profanity and personal attacks instead of rational discussion, it tends to set the tone of the whole community.

  16. Baudwalk
    Pirate

    Hakkaa päälle!!!

    The post is required, and must contain letters.

  17. Arch3r
    Pint

    EXT4

    Id have liked Linus's take on the recent EXT4 debacle , although it was minimal , it gives the proprietry OS fan boys more ammunition. Maybe the filesystem dude was one of the 15 trusted kernel contributers whose code he didnt doublecheck ? having said that #Linux4Life #Archlinux

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