It is rare for someone to admit their faults and do something about it. I hope this is a success for Linus Torvalds and linux.
Linux kernel firebrand Linus Torvalds has apologized for his explosive rants, and vowed to take a break from the open-source project and seek help. In a mailing list message on Sunday, Torvalds admitted his "flippant attacks in emails" to fellow Linux programmers and project contributors "have been both unprofessional and …
If there's one thing that History shows us, it's that focussed leaders who will not compromise on quality or security and who have headed revolutionary products for decades create bad products compared to teams of management graduates who understand team-building because they went on a course about it once.
So yeah, Elon. You'd better stop giving your all to working towards your dreams, or else!
" it's that focussed leaders who will not compromise on quality or security and who have headed revolutionary products for decades create bad products compared to teams of management graduates who understand team-building because they went on a course about it once."
If you look at really big projects like CERN, or mainstream car builders, Boeing or Airbus, that's pretty much correct (except that European managers tend to be much,much better trained than Anglophone ones.) Then there's the armed forces, also highly trained in management and co-operation. Part of Eisenhower's genius was applying management techniques to invading Europe.
Every project tends to need a Type A person or three to kick it off and establish the outlines. But when it becomes an essential part of a lot of people's work, it needs the skilled administrators to keep the edifice functioning. The difficulty is usually for the founder to let go, while experiencing growing frustration because there are things outside his (or her, in some cases) control. One startup I worked for, the wife of the founder demanded he take a month off in the West Indies away from the phone. It probably saved his sanity.
Unfortunately there are always people like you about, willing to worship the Type As and validate their view of the world when you should be whispering in their ear "Remember, O Caesar, that thou art mortal".
Yet it had to remove Patton because his habit of yelling at people. Just, he was one of his most skilled generals.
Maybe Clark yelled less to subordinates, but he was an arrogant too - he lost the opportunity to cut the German withdrawal because he wanted to enter Rome first, and be crowned "Caesar" there.... just his glory dreams were cut short because of D-Day two days after...
Eisenhower also made big mistakes once in France - as attacking on a too broad front - which probably prolonged the war, albeit a lot was also due to British and US generals unable to look beyond their petty career...
Elon Musk's problem is not that he won't compromise. It's that he won't delegate. Maybe he sees the two things as the same, which is a serious problem. You just can't run a company the size of his companies while micro-managing every detail on the ground; you have to learn to hire smart people and trust them to make the right calls. Otherwise you become a choke point for the whole operation, as Elon is now. While a lot of people saw him pulling all-nighters at the factory as heroic, I saw it as a serious warning sign.
"I hope this is a success for Linus Torvalds and linux."
I also hope normal service is resumed as soon as someone tries to slip some nonsense into the kernel and won't take a polite "no" for an answer. The Code of Conduct referenced includes something about accepting constructive criticism. AFAICS the outbursts have followed failures of that..
The man has taken a good hard look at the toxic way he sometimes communicates and plans on taking a break so that he can come back with a more positive and productive attitude.
I agree with him on his technical points but I'm sure over time he can learn to communicate those in a respectful and professional way.
I sort of know this behaviour - not as strong, but I get really p'd off at people who are plain and provably wrong, and really have the urge to tell them they are morons (they are, to me, at that point). Time taught me not to do this. And the whole social interaction / emotion stuff is... tough. I have some colleagues that are really good at that (and still great in what they are doing), and that sort of showed me where my skills are lacking. Self awareness is the first step to improving things. I hope.
And to those who now go "boo-hoo, he is now all PC and bowing to the pressure of $(group)":
He is not (and your ID should be 10-t for starting this "discussion"). Telling people publicly they are idiots and insulting them and their family tree is not "free speech", it is not "talking true". Your freedom stops where mine starts - and vice versa. Plus you just cannot have a civilised discussion based on facts in an environment like this.
Linus Torvalds is not going to stop complaining about bad code or admitting bad code into the kernel. He is going to be (hopefully) a bit more civilised and no longer doing an ad hominem when pointing out mistakes.
The man has taken a good hard look at the toxic way he sometimes communicates and plans on taking a break so that he can come back with a more positive and productive attitude.
I can't help but think that this may be partly why he decided to holiday in Edinburgh while the Linux kernel dev summit was happening in Canada.
Unfortunately the organisers deciding to move that to Edinburgh may have thwarted his plans for getting the break away from it all he desired and deserved.
[because fork may be taken as offensive over a noisy line] will it be the Code of Conduct Kernel, or HEBIRD for short?
FWIW, I tried to look at the link, and the meta frills were bigger than the entire document should be. Has anybody made it to the end of the thing and can tell me if it has the "assume good faith" it desperately needs?
What's wrong again with "Don't be a dick. Don't be a pussy.", other than the wording?
From my perspective, Linus only gets bent out of shape after all other methods bounce off cloth ears. Contributors get plenty of warning when they are messing up. Really. I've been contributing to the kernel for a quarter century now on and off, and have made a couple very stupid mistakes along the way. Yet I've never even been growled at. Because I figure out where I went wrong, acknowledge the issue, fix it, and move on. The only people who get yelled at NEED yelling at, IMO.
If Linus gives in to the holier-than-thou "I'm offended on the behalf of others" set (see the master/slave bullshit elsewhere), it'll be the beginning of a long, drawn-out slide into mediocrity. It is precisely his abrasive style WHERE NEEDED that has kept the kernel on track all these years.
On the other hand, devs could get "time outs" instead of being yelled at. They could have "do overs" when they break something. Every dev should get a trophy. Yeah, that's it. Treat the developers like a bunch of spoiled rotten children, I'm sure that'll make things all better.
I don't think the argument is that Linux needs to stop telling people off: It's that he needs to do it in a less aggressive/abusive/bullying manner. I can't think of any environment where being so abusive to your subordinates is allowed.
One wonders how many folks who consider Linus a "bully" have actually worked alongside him on the kernel for any length of time ... and how many are simply reacting to what they think they know as "fact" based on a couple of cases reported here at ElReg and other places, primarily as click-bait.
Speaking from experience, he starts with private email, asking something along the lines of "Are you sure you want to do ::that::? Because ::this:: will result, which isn't good". It's only after the idiot ignores the hint, takes it public, and then continues after getting a gentle smack or five, that the full blown bollocking commences.
And it only happens a couple times per year. You lot seem to think it's a daily (or hourly) occurrence. It ain't. Because most folks on the KML are both smart and reasonable, and NOT prima-donnas. The Poetterings and Sievers of the world are (thankfully) few and far between.
Frankly, I think Linus has shown incredible restraint, given the extremely large herd of cats that he is trying to keep in the worm can beyond the open stable door ...
See, that seems like a much more reasonable approach, and if he was doing that when he moved to a more public forum as well I don't think anyone would have an issue with it. I think I'd agree he isn't actually a bully, but he does seem to have a temper which gives him a bad name and discourages people from contributing to the kernel in case they set him off
+1, but, IMHO, you can achieve the same results more dispassionately.
"Your code is inadequate, badly designed, has repeatedly caused problems and we will not accept your contributions anymore"
(feel feel to prefix with, "Dear Mr. Poettering,".)
If you add a few F-bombs, even if they are well-justified, that detracts from the message. "Oh, yeah, Joe, he's always a bit colorful, ain't he?". The polite version is a more effective professional-level torpedo, because it is all about the code and the person delivering it, not about the gatekeeper's conduct. Note that it is not even "only about the code", but also about the person's work. As it should in egregious cases.
In the case of Poettering, Linus has never hidden his dislike of P's contributions but has still not managed to keep it from creeping into, and coupling (tech-wise) heavily with much of Linux. Perhaps a more stick-to-the-point approach, less liable to be brushed off as temperamental, might have kept systemd in its place (i.e. limited to being a _humble_ service manager). I don't know. I do know even Linus' uncompromising position did not avoid this regrettable outcome.
The new CoC is pretty short and quite fluff-free. It would be refreshing to see something like it replace many other projects' tedious CoC.
However, I do wonder one particular line of the CoC, under the examples section:
"Trolling, insulting/derogatory comments, and personal or political attacks"
"insulting/deregatory" seem well-aimed at Linus' occasional outbursts and liable to whack him if he steps out of line again. I wonder if we, as Kremlin-watchers of old, can infer a palace coup.
Linus is probably among the top dozen or so people that have achieved major technical changes in the last 20 years. He's shown, with git, that he isn't a one trick pony and can truly innovate. I hope that he can take this gentle remonstration, remain intransigent when needed while remaining polite and continue his excellent work.
If he gets sidelined, then I fear we've lost more than we've gained, despite the kernel contributors' right to be treated in a civil manner.
"Even if he does that, he still needs to do it in a less aggressive manner."
If I made a stupid mistake and someone punched me in the face I'd consider it aggressive. A bit of swearing? Not so much.
It sounds to me like Linus is feeling burned out.
"I can't think of any environment where being so abusive to your subordinates is allowed."
But can you also think of any other product on such a scale developed in that way? From TFA "10,000 developers from more than 1,200 organizations worldwide" all of whom are self-selected and over whom Linus has none of the conventional managerial options: he doesn't hire or fire (although he does have the option of refusing patches which isn't quite the same thing). He doesn't write annual reviews, recommend or withhold raises or promotions or award bonuses.
One has to conclude that having held that process together over so many years to produce a successful product he might be doing something right.
One has to conclude that having held that process together over so many years to produce a successful product he might be doing something right.
One can to the right thing the wrong way. I'm not sure the ends justify the means, even in Linux kernel-land. I mean, why not simply state, "Your fix is not going into the kernel, period.", as opposed to a 15-paragraph rant with f-bombs and s-bombs and a paragraph on the back of each one to be used against them in a court of law?
Yup. Telling someone "no" is what matters. Unloading all his personal angst onto them in the form of profanity may make him feel better, but it's not going to result in better code. "The beatings will continue until morale improves" rarely works as a management strategy.
"One can to the right thing the wrong way. I'm not sure the ends justify the means, even in Linux kernel-land. I mean, why not simply state, "Your fix is not going into the kernel, period.", as opposed to a 15-paragraph rant with f-bombs and s-bombs and a paragraph on the back of each one to be used against them in a court of law?"
AFAIK, there's only ONE justification for going into a tirade: because they just won't take NO for an answer. And even then there's the risk of getting into a shouting match. At least with online there's no chance of it immediately escalating to fisticuffs which is what usually happens in a shouting match between two parties who each believe he/she is in the right.
>I don't think the argument is that Linux needs to stop telling people off: It's that he needs to do it in a less aggressive/abusive/bullying manner.
That's my take on it too.
> I can't think of any environment where being so abusive to your subordinates is allowed.
Oooohhh, I know lots of places where that has been the case. My last two employers for a start. It does not end well.
Jake, I think I can identify with what you're saying.
The other side you need to look at is how you feel and act in your own niche. Where you're in charge and taking contributions from others. Some good, some dodgy, and some bloomin' impossible to evaluate. And differing attitudes from the contributors, with attitudes having no correlation with quality. When someone's quality is suspect and their attitude insistent, you might feel the need to put them down, right?
Now for most of us, our own God niche is small, and the amount of contributions coming our way is manageable. Linus, by contrast, is God in a very big world. That's a lot of pressure to deal with. Perhaps he does sometimes deliver put-downs beyond where they're well-deserved?
@jake: This. A thousand times this. The last thing we need is some touchy-feely commune with yurts, natural fibres and tofu-based nutritional snacks where nothing gets done but ever so politely and ecologically.
While I do feel that profanity should be more seasoning than sauce, the result of cooking without seasoning isn't exactly something you'd want to eat.
Re your last paragraph. Garrett himself is not immune to some pretty strong rants, including passive-aggressive (that I wouldn't like to be on the wrong side of) and in-your-face SJW. But following his blog (which I do via Planet Debian) is worth it for the good stuff that, for me, clearly outweighs the bad.
Birds of a feather there?
Is that before or after GIMP gets a rename?
(Though I'm still waiting on an open source JS project for applying filters to social network based in Shoreditch called wankr or some such...)
As for swearing... Linus is on the same level as my manager. You very quickly learn to be good enough not to induce his ire. So I'm farely nonplussed by it.
Still, it's worth remembering that Git was absolutely written in anger. Linux was developed using BitKeeper as the version control system until the sudden announcement that all versions of BitKeeper would now have to be paid for. Days later Linus released the first version of Git.
He has later claimed that it was a light-hearted bit of self-deprecation and, like Linux, it is named after him. I don't believe him.
He, he, it's a bit more involved than that. I don't recall seeing whether Linus thought the kernel community had acted in good faith or not, but he's the one who had advocated Bitkeeper so he worked out an alternative.
and, yes, this article was written before git came out.
As I recall, the main target of Linus's anger at the time was Andrew Tridgell, for coming out with the reverse-engineered BK client that provoked BK's owner to withdraw the free-beer client license for kernel devs. If git was named for any one person at that time it was probably Tridge.
However, the very swift appearance of git in the wake of BK's move did make me wonder whether Linus had already been working towards dumping BK for some time, having tacitly acknowledged the complaints from many around him about the risks of adopting it in the first place.
Seriously people? (the whiny ones, that is). I had to do exactly the same thing as Linus a few months ago. The only difference is I'm not famous, so no-one noticed. And it had nothing to do with what other people thought of me: I don't even have a peer group to pressure me. I simply noticed one day that the real me had some rather jarring disparities with the me-as-I-imagine-myself and had to take a long moment to correct my reality back towards my self-image.
Although describing even minor mistakes with crackling vituperation does seem a bit on the er, emotional side.
I wish more developer leads had the vision and balls to stick to it instead of asking to implement a new technology every 6 months instead of having a strategy.
Keep the steel Linus, just moderate the language a bit!
"just moderate the language a bit!"
Why moderate the language? There can't really be words that make folk blush or collapse into an offended heap once past 12 years old?
By all means don't make it personal - but if you're of working age and a swear word makes you blue screen, maybe it's time to pass your job onto a grown-up.
"By all means don't make it personal - but if you're of working age and a swear word makes you blue screen, maybe it's time to pass your job onto a grown-up."
I once worked for a US corp where public swearing by exempt staff was likely to be a career terminating experience. Cultures vary. Implying that this is a matter of being grown up or not is, simply, unhelpful - and wrong.
"Although describing even minor mistakes with crackling vituperation does seem a bit on the er, emotional side."
As has been pointed out here a number of times the vituperation only comes in the most egregious situations where the developer hasn't responded to more gentle persuasion. Oddly enough neither el Reg nor anyone else posts regular articles on the lines of "Linus politely rejects a patch". Or maybe not oddly because it would quickly get boring.
Umm, Mr Williams? The very El Reg article you have linked this to says that a) it was the summit organising committee and not Linus that changed the location, and that b) it was done *in spite of* Linus's suggestion to go ahead without him.
Isn't it the worst thing when you just want a holiday to get away from it all but they still won't leave you alone?
I guess he realised he was just a step away from a Musk-style meltdown after the travelling circus announced it was following him and decided that if he wasn't going to be allowed a holiday then outside help would be the best way to manage the pressure he's under. Lucky him, at least he's got that option.
It also strikes me as a very American solution, you ask for holiday but we'll still badger you anyway because we don't actually know what a holiday is, but a shrink is wonderful and we'll let you have some time off for that. All he needed to do was turn off the phone and see a bunch of castles and some scenery in Scotland and come back refreshed.
Well that's depressing. I'm with the author of: https://medium.com/@infiltrator7n/deconstructing-coraline-ada-ehmke-s-contributor-covenant-and-why-it-s-foolish-801e1564afe4 on why these CoCs are a load of unnecessary drama. Linus... don't do it. Continue being as brutal as needed when it comes to your opinion of other peoples code. The kernel would be a real mess by now if you didn't care as much as you do about the quality.
these CoCs are a load of unnecessary drama
Perhaps they serve a useful purpose. Give the idiots something to argue incessantly, while the rest of us get on with our work.
If the hot air is filling your developer forum, you may want to exercise a little diplomacy. Give them a new forum, and make it clear that's where Really Important Things happen. Or create your own new forum, with a name that makes it look a bit too specialist for them.
Although treating each other well is a great thing to do, CoCs have been abused over and over again both with and without intention.
We need strong gatekeepers to the Linux kernel, because bugs in it can habe terrible consequences. Considering we currently have an oversupply of people who want to program in "Open Source" projects with most of them not yet being good enough for kernel code, we already see a presure of bad code getting into the kernel.
The man's behaviour, over the years, has been appalling by normal standards.
But since he's in a reasonably safe place, society wise, being neither a politician nor a businessman (as such), maybe his behaviour is just something that has to be accepted. You don't have to work alongside him. But that's like seeing the development world as a kind of digital Wild West.
The above comments that say in effect "if you get abused it's your own fault" can only apply if abuse is at least proportionate. And. If too many good programmers choose not to work alongside him, then he is damaging the project. Also if people argue, as they would out in the rest of the world, that no abuse is appropriate ( as would I) then that has to be taken into account too.
The danger is that otherwise you get into the "If you don't want to sleep with the producer don't go into acting" kind of argument.
more than a few folks have questioned whether or not flipping his lid and launching, in their opinion, abusive tirades is the best way to encourage programmers to join the effort and foster good engineering.
Good programmers would realise the pressures which build and simply ignore all frustrated rantings and just wait for SMARTR ACTivity [that which Torvalds is now undertaking] to kick in and appear.
And just in case you still don't yet know ...... SMARTR Mentored Analysis Reporting Titanic Research Advanced Cyber Treatment is where IT is All at Nowadays? :-)
Linux has become too big. If he were amongst coders only, this wouldn't even be an issue. I'm used to language far worse than that. It's not a problem when you know that those people don't mean you any harm. It's even funny quite often.
I haven't met that many 'faint-hearted' programmers. I wouldn't know even one who would get aggressive, if you insulted his mother. They can see the wink in there. That's how it should be.
But ... this is different now. Linux has grown. You have to deal with 'certain polished personalities' now. Good luck Linus!
Well yes, but Linux being big, in terms of LoC is one of the reason we need a good gatekeeper.
Every line of code is dangerous. Therefore we need to weigh the benefits against the problems. Inexperienced programmers often underestimate the problems and overestimate the benefits of new code.
It's in a way like in a surgery room, you don't want to many unqualified people in there.
There's no contradiction between that and what I'm saying. The tone in which he rejects code will not be particularly relevant. Besides, I'm more worried about all those people who smuggle in back doors professionally. The monolithic core and the innumerable drivers are almost an invitation to do so.
...catch someone on the wrong foot in a moment of weakness (such as that whole conference snafu), actually more or less at fault for something, then throw your entire little black book of personal grievances at them together with whatever agenda you may feel like pushing to get them to cave and feel like they've been doing something horribly wrong. Just make sure to fully harness that delicious, delicious guilt and look as righteous as you can while attacking your victim as savagely as possible, so as to not ruin the illusion.
You may have fallen but you shall not be forgotten, Linus. And all the fucking perkeleen vittupää in the world are welcome to go suck raw eggs, through a very thin straw (substitute at your discretion with whatever you reckon I'm actually thinking of).
analysing and assessing code for quaility and fitness for purpose; to be accepted into the production codebase.
There's more to it of course. The reviewer usually knows the capability and experience of the coder and this has to be taken into account. The review can also act as a learning experience for both parties.
Although I have enjoyed Linus Torvalds rants I feel he does not use his programming talents to the full in his reviewing of submitted code. Critque the code, suggest improvements, help the coder understand your reasoning for any perceived 'poor coding'.
Keep calm and carry on coding Linus. :-)
If you spoke to people at work the way he does you'd get fired.
If you spoke to people in the pub the way he does, you'd get your nose broken.
Why is he so special?
If he Aspergers to such an extent that he truly cannot empathise with other humans, then he shouldn't be doing the job he is doing.
Does he treat his wife the way he treats his developers?
What about his children?
Why should anyone have to put up with such behaviour?
"Why should anyone have to put up with such behaviour?"
They don't have to put up with it. If they don't like it, then off they can fuck.
What is the problem here? He doesn't pay them, he isn't running a business, he's not a politician. He's a guy with a really large computer package to maintain, and you are sending him shit code. Hand-crafting an e-mail that tells you your code is shit and you must be shit for submitting it at this stage, while making sure not to offend your delicate sensibilities, takes a lot longer than writing "Your code is shit. Sort it out or get bent." And he doesn't have the time to run after other people's feelings.
"That's what's called libertarianism by fascists."
It's his Linux. If you don't like it, you have three options:
1) Fork it;
2) Fuck off;
3) Moan incessantly on social media and lead a hate campaign to try to force him to resign for the sake of his own health.
Which one is the intolerant, illiberal one, do you think?
If he's free to yell at people, other people are free to ask him not to because they think it's hurting a project they care about. He's also free to tell them to take a hike, and they're free to stop contributing or make their own fork. But there's nothing inherently wrong with saying, "Hey, dude, take it down a notch."
"Will no one think of the chillllllllldren?"
Can you please point out all the children actively working on the kernel, and getting treated like the chattel they obviously are by Linus? No? Then what the fuck are you babbling about?
"Why should anyone have to put up with such behaviour?"
Nobody has to. It's not obligatory. No arm twisting or other coercion is involved. Get this: they actually choose to participate, of their own free will. And they can come and go as they see fit. If you don't like it, that's OK, nobody asked you to join in on the fun anyway.
Hope this helps, have a nice day.
(Does the word "perspective" even exist anymore? That's rhetorical.)
@ForthIsNotDead that's a pretty intolerant view you have there.
Aspergers is a mental condition and is not something you can choose to do or not do. It's like any other disability except is not visible. What you are suggesting is akin to demanding those lazy wheelchair users just get up and walk. They aren't lazy, they just can't walk.
If he truly does have Aspergers then I'll be surprised if what he's trying to do will make a real long term difference. The issue isn't just acting differently it's perceiving the world differently. As an Aspie myself (I have a diagnosis) I've been in many situations where people I trust are telling me I'm in the wrong yet when I review all the facts I still don't see an issue. Linus is likely the same, as he said in the note that he's gone for years sometimes without reading the situation the way others do. His reactions are perfectly reasonable for his perception of the situation, and that's the part that's almost impossible to fix.
He will ALWAYS see these people as incompetent morons. Some of them probably are. Others just aren't communicating in a way that an Aspie can understand.
"If you spoke to people at work the way he does you'd get fired."
Not if you have a diagnosis, that would be illegal in most countries as disability discrimination. More likely your company would have to help you in day to day life, for instance by providing a mentor to discuss reactions before responding. We can recognise inflammatory wording, so it's possible to train ourselves to get a third party perspective before hitting send. Of course, just because we can spot it, doesn't mean we think we need another opinion - another issue!
Not if you have a diagnosis, that would be illegal in most countries as disability discrimination.
One interesting question that's starting to come up for employers is "if you have an employee with Asperger's that's stalking another employee, which wins, the right to not be fired for a disability or the right to not have a hostile work environment?"
I've faced this issue in my own personal life, with people who make my life difficult by stalking me and my friends but that I know are doing it because of mental illness, not malice. At what point is it OK to close the door?
"If you spoke to people at work the way he does you'd get fired."
In a lot of cases the person being sworn at would have been fired for incompetence or a disruptive attitude long before Linus' outburst in any conventional workplace. It's almost like context isn't a thing, judging by many of the comments here.
Indeed. Poettering is far worse. I've seen him "kicking down" another coder during a presentation, while holding a beer bottle in his hand and feeling like god. He was mean in way that was meant to hurt, lacking every substance. Linus is in no way like that.
Nothing is so hard as to change our own behavior at middle age. It's taken me decades to move past some of the sharper uses of my tongue, and I still f$ck up routinely, but I'm a more effective engineer when I have self control.
Where it gets difficult is when something happens that requires the strongest possible condemnation, and when working with former NCOs who speak entirely in acronyms and curses...
Given his reputation as a stickler for quality, devs would actually do their best quality work when submitting things that Linus will see.
When they don't they get shouted at.
I really can't see the problem. Some people devs really do need shouting at, or to be kept away from critical things like kernel code until they learn to think about what they are doing.
There are way too many devs, some of them incredibly talented, who head immediately for the keyboard and start hammering away instead of taking a careful look at issues and thinking about solutions and what issues those might cause.
As for his use of language, the guy is Finnish, those guys can really swear!
My opinion is it's possible to tell someone they wrote bad code without going on to tear them down as a person.
Linus needs to come to terms with the big shadow he casts. Him telling someone "no" now carries more emotional weight than telling them "fuck you" did two decades ago, because he's looked up to. He doesn't need to resort to profanity. He's bigger than that now.
He may not be as rich as Bill G (who was reportedly also v. foul mouthed at times), but should have as much or more respect.
The only thing he should have done imo is to have a named 'understudy' in place a couple of years ago.
You need something like that- after all he could (literally) have fallen under a bus etc and on a project like this you cannot really just stop while the new person learns the ropes.
Hope the new person understands that.
>"The only thing he should have done imo is to have a named 'understudy' in place a couple of years ago."
Linus has made it very clear that is not Linux and that kernel development would run on if/when he is ever run over by that bus. I do not know who the understudy is/would be but there is a management process in place.
There should be no interrupting the Kernel development though I just the next RC release might be delayed a bit or... Linux just take a few days off and a morning or two to see a counselor or something.
Linus has always rulled with an iron fist and to be fair, the critisism is usually waranted, and some on the reciving end have even admitted, bit harsh, but i deserved it.
Oh and since when has linus been bothered with security? He has reserved special places in hell for it on several ocasions.
His two priorities are clean code, that runs, no BS, no fluf.
FUCK YOU, Snow Wombat and co. Some of my best friends are rainbow-haired and your kind of prejudice and persecution is still rife in society. Opinions like yours need to be kept out of sight. Since you like Linus so much the way he used to be, I am sure that you will take this flame in the spirit it is given.
"Prejudice and persecution of people with rainbow-colored hair ? Really ? Is that a thing now ?"
Well, prejudice and persecution of red-headed men, yes. Orange-haired men are on the giving end of the prejudice and persecution at the moment. Not sure about yellow-haired people, and so on down the list.
Not that I think Linus is a paragon of virtue, or that his behavior is exemplary or anything. It's just un-nerving when someone suddenly changes their behavior with what appears to be no warning. Sudden dramatic personality changes are usually the result of something bad happening to them, and despite never having met the man, I'm rather fond of Linus. He's done a lot for us all, one way or another.
In my experience people who yell at other people all the time do it because they like yelling at people. "Bad coding", "poor customer service", "failing to hand in homework", whatever, the ostensible reason for yelling at people is just fluff and cover to "justify" the real business at hand which its... yelling at people. They are a breed apart for sure.
I'm inclined to agree. You'll get down-voted, because everyone thinks Linux is really great (and it most certainly is) and conflate liking Linus with liking Linux.
To me, it's perfectly possible for Linux to be really really awesome, and its creator to be a fucking massive cock of the most hideous proportions.
The guy's a massive dick.
Linux is cool though.
I've watched quite a lot of his lectures, and he reminds me a little of celebrities. You know, famous actors or pop stars, who have become used to being looked up to by sycophants and have actually come to believe that their own shit doesn't stink.
To be fair, I wouldn't put him in the same category as the out-and-out divas that we see in the pop world, but I get a sense of it. The star-struck sycophancy is there for all to see in the Q&A parts of the various lectures.
Still, he's better than Stallman. With Stallman, EVERYONE thinks he's a dick, except for Stallman himself. At least with Linus, some people genuinely believe he's a great guy.
Whatever, I guess. Some people think I'm a great guy. Some people think I'm a dick.
I am, of course, a dick.
Does any of it matter?
Doctor Syntax: "That [sycophancy] would be coming from others not him wouldn't it?"
Yes, sure. But my point is, when everyone looks up to you, when nobody takes you to task for a particular thing you say, when nobody flat out comes out and says "No, you're wrong", then you start to believe that you're right all the time, and that everybody agrees with you. But in reality, you're often completely wrong, but no one wants to contradict you because THEY want you to like THEM. That's sycophancy.
Here's an example (just over a minute long) where Linus professes Java to be a "horrible language", and the interviewer, instead of asking him why, asks him for his autograph. Sigh.
When you don't question somebody on their opinions, you de-facto validate them in the mind of the person proffering the opinions.
Furthermore, when you look at the mailing lists, you'll see that when Linus rejects some code or something or other, he'll often start out quite amiably, and only when questioned will he explode into a tirade of sociopathic abuse. How dare His Word be questioned. It's the classic symptom of believing that your own shit doesn't stink. There may also be some burn-out in the mix, the dude's been working his ass off, herding cats for years. I say take some time off with the wife and kids; make love with your wife, cook with her, talk to her, build a tree-house with the kids, and get some perspective.
"Is your defense of Linus based on extensive observation of him, or just your angry emotions reacting to his detractors?"
I made the point in an earlier posts that business as usual doesn't make headlines. We thus get a reaction based not on business as usual but from the exceptions.
Having spent a good many years dealing with some members of the human race at the worst I've learned not to judge the general by the worst exceptions.
We're not judging the general here, but the specific - Linus' apology for his own bad behaviour. Many here are saying Linus is wrong in his apology and was right in his previous behaviour. You placed your self among them by questioning disapproval of Linus' rants with a questionable accusation of your own.
This type of comments exactly identifies the "rainbow" people, who probably never got screamed at by their drill sergeant for doing something dumb that would get others killed in combat.
Kernel programming is like combat, where a single mistake may kill others. But I guess that is something people giving this type of qualification to a great man will be incapable to understand.
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You've eluded to one thing that should be thought of:
State sanctioned hacking
Now if you are in the security world it is not unreasonable to suspect that code commits to open source projects could be intentionally designed to allow certain hacking techniques to be successful. Now Linus is arguably one of the best coders out there (especially where code meets the hardware) and I am thankful that he is guarding this code.
Look to a government paying someone's tuition is pennies if he agrees to integrate this "code" to his commit for this debt to disappear. To this poor programmer with flexible morals, they would easily do this for much less than tuition but hey, this is the world we live in, and welcome.
We live in much less certain times especially when it come to technology, there are things going on that most people have a hard time accepting is happening and the country you are living in is probably one of the worst perpetrator of this.
Like many have mentioned, this outburst does not happen without many warnings before hand. His approach is truly needed, he just needs to learn how to make it not personal that is all call what you see as shit, not the person who wrote it, unless they have a habit of doing so on a regular basis. At that point have-at-him, they've earned it and hopefully the shame keeps them from doing so in the future. But we often forget what sociopathy or psychopathy really mean, they don't feel shame or any guilt at all they will not understand why. They will continue and as some have mentioned they should be given a time out and ignored from future contributions until they understand they can't play games, this is real life with real consequences.
Ridiculous culture war nonsense going on in this thread. It started with "rainbow haired" name calling, and progressed in a few short pages to all-out homocidal rage, typified by this from steelpillow:
"FUCK YOU, Snow Wombat and co. Some of my best friends are rainbow-haired and your kind of prejudice and persecution is still rife in society. Opinions like yours need to be kept out of sight. Since you like Linus so much the way he used to be, I am sure that you will take this flame in the spirit it is given."
The culture wars in the US have been cranked up to 11, with LGBTQ people (the ones "rainbow" references usually refer to) having legitimate reasons to fear for their well-being. Being under that stress day and night, checking the headlines to see if your group's going to be the one having their passports yanked next, that makes people edgy.
I don't like that it's come to this either, but I understand it. Some jokes just aren't funny anymore.
Why he loses his temper sometimes
Imagine you're in charge of a very large codebase, with contributions from all over
You get some bad code and you write the following e.mail to him/her
Thank you for the code submission of 20-09-18.
However in attempting to integrate your code with the rest, one or 2 failures became apparent.
1. you exceeded your memory bounds
2. you exceded your stack allocation
Please resubmit your code with the 2 above flaws corrected
The head honcho
After 250 of these on a monday morning, number 251 lands in your e.mail
And without a moments thought you write back
"FOR FUCKS SAKE WILL YOU PEOPLE IMPLEMENT SOME FUCKING BOUNDS CHECKING!!!"
And number 251 replies with "Whaaaaaaaaaa he hurt my feelings"
I've had to put up with 20+ years of truly awful Dewelopers doing the needful badly - it's lucky there's thousands of miles between us because I would be doing time by now if some of them were in the same room as me - lies and deceit don't even begin to cover some of the problems I've faced – and they blatantly, unashamedly lie – it’s a cultural thing. Cheaper? Yeah right. Not after their crap code has been rewritten 10 times before it works. Yeah, there’s a handful of good-un’s but boy-o-boy do you have to wade through the crap to find them. Still, as long as the knobs at the top get their bonuses for “saving” money – all’s good eh?
The disk light comes on and stays on permanently. All mouse and keyboard interactions stop working, so alt-sysrq RIESUB doesn't work and you generally end up having to manually power down resulting in orphaned nodes when rebooting.
It has been a problem for 20 years.
When is someone going to <expletive deleted> fix it?
I found on systems I managed that turning off memory overcommit helped, but your mileage may vary.
Normally malloc() always succeeds on Linux, whether there's enough memory to handle the request or not. Turning off overcommit causes it to return NULL if there isn't enough memory, as God intended. ;) Most processes don't trap this very well (because malloc() always succeeds, right?) and will crash, but the system will stay up.
Libc malloc should never return NULL until you have exceeded the heap size of your process. This could happen in x86 32bit world where the malloc/process space is around 3GB ; libc malloc should sleep infinitely until a memory page is made available via virtual memory reclaim steps. An 64b process would behave the same, although the process address space is match larger. What really causes system hangs in the kernel's inability to alloc vmalloc space; that is when system calls start failing and Out of Memory process starts killing off random memory hogs.
Hmph. I like my Linus feisty & cantankerous.
He held up the Penguin in 92 or 93, here in Australia, and made it the once and future symbol of Linux, because it was small and wild and feisty and cantankerous. It looked cute, but it had serious attitude. I need a Linux kernel project maintainer who sounds cute but has serious attitude. Don't mess with us or we'll page fault you.
A Linus who admits that he's grumpy and makes public promises that he is "seeking help" is not the Linus I've followed for nearly 30 years.
A proper wild Linus would type (in caps) "Who said I was grumpy old fart? Fkcu you and fkcu them and fkcu the whores you rode in on!" I don't want a Linus who's humble and agreeable. That's not the animal I've followed for so long.
I think it's Spectre that's done it. He never apologised to anyone until the waft & the weft of his world went funny. A man should be able to trust his CPU.....
Yes Torvalds needs a break, but not for what many think. The project can't afford to lose the man to a heart attack.
I retired from IT after 40 years of development and project mgt. When I screwed up I got my a$$ royally chewed up. IT is not a business that runs on unicorns and rainbows. Its dog it dog the higher up you go. Torvalds chews on a few people? Get used to it.
It will get worse. When IT was confined to numbers, checks and invoices it was all fixable. Just a bug. But IT is now well on the way to interfacing with the physical. Bugs could get people killed. That is bugs are quickly becoming the basis for legal torts. There will be no margin for error. Don't be surprised some day when the equivalent of a PE stamp is required to release critical software components.
I truly believe programming makes you mad. ....kraftdinner
You might like to realise, kraftdinner, not all programmers are the same and created equal, for some are immune and protected from certain vices and weaknesses/crashing overloads and exploitable vulnerabilities. And there is mad and there is bad with one being intolerably insane and as much a clear and present danger to themselves as to everything/anyone else.
No, Mr Mars, we're all quite mad. I present the posters in this thread as evidence that some are madder than others. There seems to be a sizable group that equates programming with other manly pursuits such as Warrior! and Predator! and Hunter! Pasty faced neck beards with overlarge sugared and caffeinated bellies lit by sleazy blue monitor light in dark rooms. We're over compensating for not being outside running in the jungle killing things with our bare teeth and sharp hands, and sacrificing virgins. Real men do not program kernels - they crunch them with their mighty teeth! We're all very sad. We write magnificent words in forums like we're Terminators, but look like Wally from Dilbert except more ineffectual. A mob of angry penguin nerds is a beautiful thing to behold. See!, See them waddle!
I truly believe programming makes you mad.
I'm as sane as the previous occupant of my seat who got himself sectioned for wearing his underpants on his head and sticking 2 pencils up his nose.
My boss told me "I'm not falling for that one again... get back to work"
<<currently thinking about unbolting the robots from the floor and programming them to drag themselves towards the manglement offices.....
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Hats off to your initial idea.
Shame it's gone the same way as all commercial O/S
Everyone has fed the baby on high carbs now you find you have a obese child that is emotionally out of control.
Like many parents you thought you where doing the right thing.
Stop feeding it.
Move on man, get a life.
yo, arseholes, there wouldn't be a need for a CoC if you weren't going around making people feel uncomfortable.
lets get this straight, this isn't about bad developers. or dumb developers. this is about Linus recognising that his language and behaviour were inappropriate and unproductive. that's seperate to whether bad developers deserve it or dont.
there're ways of interracting with people that doesn't resort to name calling. It's good that Linus recognised that. sounds like some of the commenters on here could do with recognising that too.
This is BS. Linus is the only reason that Linux has prospered. He won't tolerate bad/stupid programming/programmers/people. The PC police have gotten their little pointless feelings hurt... F'Them...
If I was Linus I'd flip them the bird and go write a new OS and only give it to folks that have a GD clue.
To quote the immortal Forest Gump.... "Stupid is as Stupid does...".
RE "If I was Linus I'd flip them the bird and go write a new OS and only give it to folks that have a GD clue."
So that's about 5 people huh? How do I get certified for this unique and exclusive club of elite people with clues? Damn! Wheres my clue? How am I supposed to be a cool dude if I can't find my clue? I've still got my towel (I'm sitting on it : It stops my bare bum messing the chair) - Does that count?
I'm sorry I'm such a tall and cruel mountain where your bones may bleach on my flanks. Yeah no that doesn't happen. Yet climbers still assault the mountain every year. Never apologize! Then the cretins smell blood in the water and attack. If Linus didn't blow his stack there would be people that don't get the message. There are people that thick. They have extremely thin skin though. When Linus flips out on people they should just say, Thank you sir. May I have another?
Look! Look! Here we go again! Proving my point made above that kernel programming is manly and magnificent like mountains and warriors and eating raw meat! Uncompromising death and terror and merciless kaos, showing no mercy for the meek and hopeless, and the pathetically clueless. Look at the size of that programmers libido! How on earth did you end up with a cuddly penguin as your mascot?
People should take a cue from Trump and quit apologizing. Linus, we like you the way you are. Your rants are likely completely justified. As a God in the industry you are likely just so far superior that the peons beneath you and those working for other companies simply pale in comparison. Keep in mind however that this is why you are where you are. No need to apologize. You don't need help. Keep ranting. I for one find it refreshing and amusing simultaneously that your passion for perfection causes these explosions.
I'm not sure Trump's management style has really been shown to provide good results. He's driven six companies into bankruptcy and, on the whole, has gotten a worse return on his money than if he'd passively invested it. Good talent leaves both his companies and his administration on a regular basis.
The "yell at people, never apologize, make everyone cower in fear of you" attitude may win elections but doesn't actually work that well as a business strategy. You rarely see it in CEOs today. Boards of directors rarely care about political correctness, but they do care about returns.
speaking almost entirely as an observer of the linux community and consumer of its product rather than producer (I pushed a few driver changes upstream about 5 yrs ago) and having spent 32 happy years pushing -ix systems and code on them around - if I say that a piece of code (my own or someone else's) is broken, then that's not because I don't like the author or have constipation that day. It's because I can show the concrete ways in which it's broken, i.e. fails in some functional way. If I say that a piece of code (mine or someone else's) has bad style, then that's different than broken and we can agree to disagree. Up to a point: if the style is bad enough, it may well fail to function, particularly as re: maintainability. The same goes for poor but not explicitly broken design, failing extensibility or integration.
The very fabric of our computing lives anno 2018 exists because of the rigor of the -ix community - the current one and the ones that preceded it. That includes an insistence on objective fact, as opposed to all views being nothing more than equally valid opinions. And objective fact being prioritized over social dynamics, including both power hierachies based on fiat assignment of power, and people's personal agendas, whether those are about not being offended when their professional capabilities are shown to be lacking, or placing self-aggrandizement and advancement ahead of technical merit and selling content of dubious quality via propaganda and politicking.
If this new set of social rules ("code of conduct") is instrumentalized to end or even dilute this ethos, then the Linux community will stop being a guarantor of technical quality in computing, as it currently is (and yes, we are all fallible and pursue perfection while knowing that we can never do more than approach it asymptotically... individually and as a community. nevertheless...).
That ethos will however not end until its last practicing proponent leaves the stage. I suggest that there's a fair number of us, and we're not leaving anytime soon.
(footnote/coda: it is always remarkable how the dynamics of human existence, both subjective relativistic social phenomena, as well as substantive questions of objective functional merit, reflect basic processes in the natural world, notably in the realm of natural selection. This is about evolutionary success or failure. My resources are not available to be wasted on failed paths; I work hard to identify those as well as better ones. I propose that as a reasonable daily working approach... If someone is offended because that involves questioning the quality of their work product, that's happened plenty of times to me, so maybe they should get around more. Find something else to bind their ego and self-worth to, and meanwhile in their professional life, try to learn from the experience and fail less the next time.)
Without Linux there would not have been the Internet as we know it today. Many have cursed you over its GPL license, because then conventional business plans become impossible. IT Sharks during the Millennium bubble took down or have taken over many good and reputable software companies, where then only 2 or 3 years later all was vanished including these IT Sharks themselves. You and Linux are still here today, which is a blessing. Don't get mad, your code has the largest installed platform base in the Universe.