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back to article Torvalds bellows: 'The GNOME PEOPLE are in TOTAL DENIAL'

Linux kernel big daddy Linus Torvalds and fellow developer Alan Cox have lashed out at claims that the culture surrounding the operating system's core prevented it from conquering the consumer PC market. The pair also slapped down folks working on the GNOME user interface - a popular package among desktop Linux users - and …

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Linux

Gnome??

I can think of much better reasons why Gnome is a pile of cack, than its API.

But then KDE isn't much better these days.. I find myself using Trinity. :(

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Re: Gnome??

I've gone even further and ditched anything that professes to be a "Desktop Environment." XFCE and Enlightenment was looked at and dismissed for carrying the same disease. My session now consists of Openbox, Tint2 and Cairo-dock. What did it for me was bloody Akonadi crapping itself every five minutes and the huge swathe of shit I had to recompile every time KDE developers so much as moved their mouses. Yeah, yeah, cclient, delete ~/.local/akonadi (or something), do you want a refund, blah blah blah, not good enough. Losing the flagship e-mail client on every point release was not good publicity. Stop this nonsense forthwith!

On that note, a huge thank you to the developers of Sylpheed and Claws for producing a decent client that works without some awful, flaky RDBMS/SQL backend.

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Re: Gnome??

Me too. Or at least, openbox with cairo-dock. I've tried tint2, but can't think of a use for it additional to those two.

The thing is, I realised that a "desktop environment" DOESN'T ACTUALLY DO ANYTHING. If you're running KDE or Gnome or XFCE, you'll have exactly the same apps running and interacting in exactly the same way as on my system.

Plus, for some time, I've felt that Gnome developers in particular have lost the plot. Like storing all configuration information in a single binary file. Fine until it gets broken, just like the Windows registry. Or implementing volume management -- a "desktop environment" has no business messing with devices and volumes. Oh, and GTK3 apps won't even "theme" themselves unless there's YET ANOTHER daemon process running to tell them to.

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Paris Hilton

Re: Gnome??

I really have no idea what the problem is here.

I have been using Linux since 2001. It works. Fedora runs just fine on my Japanese Panasonic notebook, Gnome is a pleasure to use, and I have never got any problem installing or using the programs I want. And I'm no kernel Guru – I just run the GUI package manager and click "install", couldn't bother less with what goes behind the scenes. Compare this to my (2005-2008) experience with Mac OS X and Fink / Mac ports of Linux apps, where I could count myself lucky if things were just half-broken.

It all makes me wonder what is De Icaza really so butthurt about...

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Re: Gnome??

To be fair, the default Gnome 3 environment is just shi isn't quite right – but fortunately there is a comprehensive extension library that allows the UI to be thoroughly customized to get back all those small touches we've come to like.

As for the codecs, it's true you have to jump some hops to get them on Fedora (though not on Ubuntu – it can more-or-less automatically install them, too), but overall I liked the distro enough to not turn it down on this.

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Re: Gnome??

Then...there is also the possibility that Linux has never made it big for desktop use, simply because the majority of computers users just really don't care about it.

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Re: Gnome??

Then...there is also the possibility that Linux has never made it big for desktop use, simply because the majority of computers users just really don't care about it.

As early as 2002 I read an article that claimed Linux would never get big on the desktop. The author argued that, just as Microsoft never tried to get mainframe admins to switch to Windows, but rather took advantage of a paradigm shift (from dumb terminals to desktop workstations) to rise to prominence, so would Linux dominate the next platform, whatever it turned out to be.

The "next platform" turned out to be a mix of technologies: handsets and tablets on the user-facing side, cloud-y servers on the backend, and the web sitting somewhere in between. And to a degree, Linux does thrive on it, though the dreams of unquestioned dominance have obviously been exaggerated.

So perhaps arguing "who lost the desktop" is missing the point, and we should rather be asking "how to win the mobile client"?

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Re: Gnome??

It's worth knowing that KDE3.5 is still available for OpenSuSE thru 12.1, and supported by same.

I don't know if KDE 3.5 had API instability that you describe: I never coded GUIs using KDE. However 3.5 is at least functional and it predates all the semantic desktop crap infecting KDE4.x.

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Re: Gnome??

If I have to write code to extend a desktop GUI so that it can do normal things like 'Shutdown' then I must conclude that the GUI is incomplete or ill-designed.

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Re: Gnome??

SG: I've tried tint2, but can't think of a use for it additional to those two.

OpenDesktop compliant notification area is one of the reasons I use it and, even then, it's in autohide mode. I use Pidgin a lot and having it iconify to the notification area saves desktop space. I could use Openbox's dock, but it's a bit ugly and doesn't play well with Twinview, which I need to allow me to have gschem and a datasheet in front of me at the same time without having to wear out Alt and Tab. It also gives you a twinview screen specific taskbar which C-D doesn't. Also indispensable is Tilda, having got very used to Yakuake on the F10 key when using KDE.

SG: Plus, for some time, I've felt that Gnome developers in particular have lost the plot. Like storing all configuration information in a single binary file. Fine until it gets broken, just like the Windows registry.

Those who will not learn from Windows are doomed to repeat its mistakes. The other problem I've found with all DEs is dependency on a particular ABI, annoying when you use a kernel and userland other than GNU/Linux as I do, which you touched upon with volume management. Solid in KDE takes this one step further into the realms of madness.

The UI should provide just enough to get work done, manage windows, interface with the underlying OS and then stay the hell out of the way. DEs are increasingly forgetting this prime directive.

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Re: Gnome??

X: To be fair, the default Gnome 3 environment is just shi isn't quite right

The phrase you're looking for is "not quite fully in possession of a set of buttocks," a situation endemic in many projects where form trumps function.

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Pint

Re: Gnome??

Then...there is also the possibility that Linux has never made it big for desktop use, simply because the majority of computers users just really don't care about it.

... which is not an indictment of Linux, of course ... most of those users have never heard of it, either.

Indeed, there is no reason why the average end user should care about the OS he uses. He probably bought a PC to surf the web, to use EMail, maybe to play a few games ... he probably uses the bundled OS because it's the one that was bundled. It's the path of least resistence (and also probably the only OS that runs his games). He might develop an interest in Linux if he heard that he might have saved the cost of a few beers by running that instead of buying Windows, but he'll lose interest when he hears that it can't run $GAME (or should that be %GAME%?).

I use Linux most of the time -- Gnome on this desktop and KDE on my laptop (for historical reasons) -- and (a licensed copy of) Windows in a VM when I have to. That setup works for me ... but I don't expect every user to have the same requirements or interests as I have. Linux is certainly ready for the desktop, but most desktops are already running something else.

Beer, because this sort of discussion is better held down the pub.

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Re: Gnome??

linux doesnt work for the average user because

the learning curve is too steep, Too much expertise required, Hardware incompatibility, doesnt JUST WORK right out of the box on any sytem you can name. Expertise from one flavor does not transfer over to another... What works in one version does not work in another, 9 or 10 (ive lost count) different install methods. (none of which are compatible) Lack of Corporate use. No cross platform uniformity. The list goes on and on.

For home use it is to much of a bother for anything other than hobbyist use. it offers choice and freedom to punters who cant decide chicken, pork, fish or steak for dinner let alone something intricate like how they want thier computer desktop to look.

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Torvalds is turning out to be

a tool of almost Stallmanesque proportion.

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Trollface

Re: Torvalds is turning out to be

Toe-jam anyone?

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Re: Torvalds is turning out to be

Modded down firstly for an unsupported personal attack on Linus Torvalds. Secondly for using as a basis for that attack a comparison to someone who has almost certainly contributed a lot more to the Free Software movement than you ever have or ever will (all those lovely GNU tools Stallman had a hand in and all the promotion work he has done and his instrumental role in the origins of GPL). And finally for the presumed spur to your comment being this article about Linus criticizing Migel De Icaza when the latter has in many ways been a problem in the Free Software movement. For example, Miguel started Mono which is a .NET implementation for Linux and, the more popular it becomes, the more Linux is inherently placed on a backfoot by those who control the standard - Microsoft. Miguel also endorsed MS' OOXML document format. Ironically, I'm actually fine with OOXML on Windows, but I have doubts that it should be promoted as a standard in the Linux world, as Miguel has done. Particularly as at the time, it wasn't the actual implementable standard of OOXML that exists today, but the buggy unimplementable one that was initially rushed through ISO.

That you call Linus a "tool" for arguing with Miguel, that you catch someone who (even if you don't like him) has done way more for Free Software than you probably ever will and that you provide no support for your personal attack at all... yep - downvote for you.

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Re: Torvalds is turning out to be

Linus makes some entirely valid points and usually they're driven by pragmatism. I think GNOME 3 is a great UI but it's not hard to find areas where it's made a wrong decision and needs to rectify it in its next iteration.

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done way more for Free Software than you probably ever will

Great argument. It's going to make the Reg forums a bit empty when only people of similar stature can comment on a story.

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Meh

Can you even into programming?

> It's going to make the Reg forums a bit empty

At least we will be spared from glimpsing inane comments by Alan Bourke and merry companions.

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Re: Can you even into programming?

comment all you want, but stupidity will be treated harshly.

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Re: Torvalds is turning out to be

Sorry - did I dare espouse a personal opinion out of line with Linux orthodoxy.

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Mushroom

Re: Torvalds is turning out to be

"Sorry - did I dare espouse a personal opinion out of line with Linux orthodoxy."

No, it wasn't that. The problem was that you couldn't be bothered to explain why you think LT is "a tool" so your post came across as lazy and really only an attempt to get a cheap laugh. Furthermore, trying to dismiss your critics as being dogmatic just makes you look like a tool - ironically enough.

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Mushroom

Re: Torvalds is turning out to be

"all those lovely GNU tools Stallman had a hand in and all the promotion work he has done and his instrumental role in the origins of GPL"

Linus is a good guy, but Stallman really seems to go out of his way to be disliked by everyone even in the open source community. His views are extreme and as a person he doesn't come across as someone I'd really want to hang out with. Yes , he's done a LOT of good work for open source , but personally I'd prefer it if he'd stay in the basement writing good code rather then being a spokesperson for the OOS community since IMO he does more harm than good.

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Linux

Re: Torvalds is turning out to be

"Yes , he's done a LOT of good work for open source "

Nope, as far as most things are considered he IS free software, RMS is averse to open source as you would know if you have ever read any of his articles.

Yes, he is dogmatic, intolerant and can seem a bit obsessed but especially in the early days that's exactly what was needed and is needed today to help see off the chancers and free loaders who just want to take something and put a proprietary label on it and hopefully make lots of money. SCO being a very stark example.

The work that RMS has done gives you, me and everyone else an alternative to the offerings of Microsoft and Apple. That's really something to be thankful for.

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Meh

Linux orthodoxy??

> did I dare espouse a personal opinion

No, you just trolled like a /b/-tard on the very second post.

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Re: done way more for Free Software than you probably ever will

"Great argument. It's going to make the Reg forums a bit empty when only people of similar stature can comment on a story."

Commenting is fine. But personal attacks from the peanut gallery are something else. If a person says 2+2 = 4. then they're right whoever they are. That's called a supported argument. But if someone launches personal attacks and juvenile name calling against two people who have done orders of magnitude more for the community than they ever have, then it's right to ask them who they think they are to be doing so, because they certainly didn't provide any supportive reasons for the abuse. When I criticises Miguel, I at least provided solid reasoning behind it and I certainly limited my critique to his particular actions, rather than making personal attacks and name calling.

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Windows

@h4rm0ny

Although I upvoted you because I agree; personal attacks should be left out of a good discussion, I do want to raise the awareness that personal attacks are also something used by Torvalds himself sometimes.

Lets take his criticism over the interface: "And I can get panel settings and enable auto-hide so that I don't need to look at that butt-ugly thing that has clearly been designed by some goth teenager that thinks that black is cool.". Or the simple fact that Mr. Torvalds considers the whole interface an 'unholy mess' "I have yet to meet anybody who likes the unholy mess that is gnome-3.".

Or what about: "If you think your users are idiots, only idiots will use it.".

I think some of that goes pretty border line too here and there. I mean; I can see why someone doesn't like Gnome, but to start attacking the whole interface and its developers merely because you don't like it seems a bit far fetched to me as well.

For example; I dislike Windows 8, I hate its new touch interface, but you won't see me state something that its developers or designers are idiots or dumb teenagers or such. What I /would/ state is that I think they were so obsessed with touch they forgot all about the desktop. But that's something completely different.

As for myself I don't care either way since my desktop sits on Windows 7. Even so; I can see why someone would be ubercritical towards Torvalds after having read all that.

Speaking of which; why do most people speak of Torvalds posts as "public Google+ posts" while you can't even read them without a Google+ account? Doesn't look very public to me.

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Re: Torvalds is turning out to be

"The work that RMS has done gives you, me and everyone else an alternative to the offerings of Microsoft and Apple. That's really something to be thankful for."

Well actually not really - its the work Linus has done. Left to RMS we'd have a load of tools and nothing of interest to run them on unless Plan 9 actually ever saw the light of day (yeah, right!). Linus was the catalyst , not RMS.

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Re: Torvalds is turning out to be

Plan 9 has been out for years- you're thinking of the GNU Hurd.

It's quite possible that if Linux had never existed, more developers might have spent time on the Hurd instead. So one could *possibly* make the case that Hurd was a victim of Linux's success and that if the latter had never existed, Hurd *might* have come further by now.

Whether it would still have come anywhere near as far as Linux, or represented the breakthrough of free software as Linux did is more open to question (ironically, given that it was Stallman who started the Free Software movement!)

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Anonymous Coward

Re: done way more for Free Software than you probably ever will

"If a person says 2+2 = 4. then they're right whoever they are."

To be very picky and whizz off at a tangent: Without further qualification, your argument holds true only if we, the readers, make certain assumptions about your statement. For example '11' can be divisible by 2, it all depends on the qualification attached to a statement. So, 2 + 2 does not always have to equate to 4, but, it might do :)

Sorry, couldn't resist :)

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Re: Torvalds is turning out to be --@boltar

> but Stallman really seems to go out of his way to be disliked by everyone even in the open source community

I do not think that you understand. RMS has always been anti-open source (Bruce Perens definition) as being an attempt to weaken Free Software (FSI/Richard Stallman definition).

Linus claims to be pragmatic in such matters. He uses software policies, methods and the GPL2 licence because he believes them to be best suited to producing the best practical (i.e. do-able) kernel.

I believe here has been, and continues to be a need for both GNU/Richard Stallman an Linux/Linus.

The bulk of the linux kernel is concerned with hardware drivers. These all have FSI compliant licences and are maintained by the kernel developers. The intra-kernel bindings can and do change. It should be of no consequence outside the kernel team. What the proprietary world (and/including Miguel) have clamoured for is the ability to insert closed source driver code into the kernel without the need to keep up with changes (improvements) made (at a hectic pace) by the kernel developers. Linus and friends regard the introduction of closed source as "tainting" the kernel. As they make supporting the users impossible or very difficult "binary blobs" are resisted.

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Re: Torvalds is turning out to be

"Plan 9 has been out for years- you're thinking of the GNU Hurd."

Yep , I stand corrected. My point still stands though.

"if Linux had never existed, more developers might have spent time on the Hurd instead"

Maybe, but I doubt it. If linux had never existed I suspect the *BSDs would be the benificiary, not vapourware like Hurd which doesn't seem to interest many people anyway and in that case GNU would have even less influence since the BSDs tend to roll their own tools.

Somewhere in a parallel universe FreeBSD rules the open source roost. :o)

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Anonymous Coward

Re: done way more for Free Software than you probably ever will

Indeed, 2+2 = 11 in trinary (base 3) and 10 in quadrenary (base 4)

2+2 = 4 only in number systems of base 5 and over (octal, decimal, hexedecimal etc)

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Re: done way more for Free Software than you probably ever will

[broadcast Eclear, sent 1346767942.5]

xGSV Slightly Perturbed

oBOFH Reg Readers

2 + 2 = 10.

In base 4. I'M FINE.

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Linux

Re: Torvalds is turning out to be

If Linus had never been born, the GNU tools would still be very useful on other commercial Unixen.

Free Software doesn't begin and end with Linux.

The kernel is a key bit but it doesn't make the rest of the OS irrelevant.

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Linux

Re: Torvalds is turning out to be --@boltar

Stallman doesn't go out of his way to be disliked.

What he actually does is to NOT go out of his way to be liked.

He has his position and his reasons and he sticks to that.

A certain type of herd follower misinterprets this as being anti-social.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Torvalds is turning out to be --@boltar

Ah - the old "You don't like things I do/agree with me, so you're a follower" argument. A bit hypocritical, given how often Linux zealots use it. You really aren't the free,original thinkers you seem to believe you are, you know ...

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@Eadon Re: Torvalds is turning out to be

You've got a little something brown on your nose you need to wipe off...

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rms and Linus has a bad habit

They say things today, they get flames by these "funny people" and years later, people say "oh they were right but did you hear (whatever weird unrelated thing) rms did in conference?"

Check the feedback rms got when he warned about Mono. Damn thing caused serious harm to core/ community of Debian via a stupid note taking application.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Torvalds is turning out to be

No - Torvalds is far from an engineering god - he took a huge pile of great work from other people and called it after himself.

But you are right - he hasn't got a soul to sell.

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Re: Torvalds is turning out to be

If you promote free software and live a poor man life with a CV a lot of Redmond/ Cupertino/ Armonk guys can only dream about, you have to be a little bit "extreme".

Do you think "free software" is just software? They want the information to be free. If you think he has extreme views, you haven't seen anything yet.

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Re: Torvalds is turning out to be

The technology today does not yet require plan 9. A super computer uses plan9 (IBM one) since it provides its needs better than Unix V1.

Plan 9 is one of things we will hear more once chip tech catches up. I bet either Apple or google will be the first ones.

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Re: Torvalds is turning out to be

I disagree with your opinion not out of an adherence to orthodoxy, but because Stallman started and guided GNU. Without GNU we would not have open source. I care not if he is sometimes opinionated, I prefer not to throw stones.

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Trollface

Re: done way more for Free Software than you probably ever will

Obviously you are using Emacs and have forgotten the command codes!

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Torvalds is turning out to be

I was about to say, Plan 9 was research done at AT&T Bell Labs and then Lucent after AT&T spun Bell Labs off, Lucent's pretty far from GNU philosophically. If AT&T would have still had the telecommunications monopoly and all of their capital from before the breakup until the late 1990's maybe it would have truly gone somewhere but it probably wouldn't have been open source.

GNU/Hurd as they insist on calling it just sucks. I honestly think that if the RMS/FSF/GNU alphabet soup really cared about being disruptive towards Linux, they would have tried a little harder or would currently be trying harder, instead the Linux Kernel was/is there, the work was done for them, and it worked for them. Why cause disruption as long as your Gods and Masters dictate the philosophy of the Status Quo, right?

If you're narrow minded enough to only care about Linus or RMS as far as being community leaders goes then Stallman's obviously a real dick (If you ever want a laugh read his email message about the requirements for his speaking engagements in the voice of Jim Parsons portraying Dr. Sheldon Cooper for instance), and he has to be to fill his role. He's a Full-time unrelenting zealot. He's like a Free Software St. John the Baptist, world+dog thinks he's batshit crazy, I mean come on, The man don't even use a web browser nor open any doors with RFID keyed locks. But he has his followers and some of them actually care about everything he espouses.

Linus Torvalds is an Engineer. Do you guys actually know software engineers? The big thinkers? They're hard people to work for if they're any good. Linus is good at what he does obviously, so you draw your own conclusions. Ive never met the man, only read what he has to say, and he comes across as a "take no shit" engineer that doesn't like a bunch of unnecessary garbage. And if I was a Software Engineer with a minimalist philosophy Id be pretty pissed at Gnome after Gnome 3 came out and switch to Xfce myself. I wouldnt engage in a pissing contest with the development staff working on Gnome publicly, but you'd better bet your ass Id do it privately if I was that upset, which I wouldn't be. Thats the only real mistake here.

I use KDE, I was pretty angry with KDE 4 as were a bunch of other people but I got used to it, I actually like it even though I don't use alot of the new stuff. But It does what I want, and I can switch to whatever else I want. Its really not that hard to change a desktop environment, at least not on Fedora.

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Mushroom

Re: done way more for Free Software than you probably ever will

What comment on the story?

The reference made was to someone who attacked one of the subjects of the story.

There was no comment referring to the story itself. No references to statements people made, no explanation of what torvalds said in relation to the story to back up the opinion. Not even an "OMG your grammar suxxor" which would at least be expressing an opinion about the story itself.

it was more of an off-topic rant than a comment on the story.

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