back to article 'Linus Torvalds is UNFIT for the WORKPLACE!' And you've given the world what, exactly?

Pirates on copyright, state surveillance and Linux – another joyous week of your comments below the line. Yup, it's Comment of the Week time. An Anonymous Coward decided to have a go at the Linux in-crowd this week, hurling a hefty brick at Linus Torvalds after the Linux daddy said "I'm not a nice person and I don't care about …

  1. WatAWorld

    How bad is Torvalds?

    He's so bad that despite all the hard work other people have put into creating and enhancing Linux regular people still prefer to spend money on Windows.

    1. gerdesj Silver badge

      Re: How bad is Torvalds?

      I think I can understand your sentiment (and share it), your delivery isn't going to set the world on fire.

      Besides, that discussion has already been done to death. Yet here I am perpetuating it ...

      I've UVd your comment just for balance and it's the weekend 8)

      1. h3

        Re: How bad is Torvalds?

        He cannot be that bad or the main companies contributing would have cooperated and forked.

        Everything is not based on merit though. (Plug Sched for example was not included when for many people it could have improved things for them).

    2. Maventi
      Pint

      Re: How bad is Torvalds?

      @WatAWorld.

      Actually, he's given us a kernel that is running on an immeasurable number of devices from embedded devices and phones right up to the majority of super computers. There are very likely far more running instances of Linux in total today than there are Windows PCs (and certainly phones).

      Add to that the doors it has opened for hobbyists to tinker and create without any restriction beyond their own imagination; some notable examples include the highly successful Raspberry Pi and smaller projects such as OpenWRT. That's something we should be very thankful for. I know I am!

      Whatever we think of Linux, there is no way we can ignore the massive impact that it has had on the entire technology world.

      Beer icon as Linus has certainly earned his share!

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Re: How bad is Torvalds?

        I just want to reply to this reply to a comment about a comment....

        > @WatAWorld.

        > Actually, he's given us a kernel that is running on an immeasurable number of devices from embedded devices and phones right up to the majority of super computers. There are very likely far more running instances of Linux in total today than there are Windows PCs (and certainly phones).

        >

        > Add to that the doors it has opened for hobbyists to tinker and create without any restriction beyond their own imagination; some notable examples include the highly successful Raspberry Pi and smaller projects such as OpenWRT. That's something we should be very thankful for. I know I am!

        > Whatever we think of Linux, there is no way we can ignore the massive impact that it has had on the entire technology world.

        > Beer icon as Linus has certainly earned his share!

        I'll drink to that!

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: How bad is Torvalds?

        The "Year of Linux on the desktop" or Linux versus Windows meme has been done to death, and it's idiotic.

        When the PC came along, nobody kept arguing that the X86 architecture had failed because it hadn't yet taken over the mainframe. Like the Android phone makers today, the Windows PC makers were too busy keeping up with the demand for the disruptive technology of the day. I have got 8 devices in my house that I definitely know are running Linux, only two of them are "PCs"

      3. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: How bad is Torvalds?

        > Add to that the doors it has opened...

        What? The Sirius Cybernetics Corporation uses Linux?

        Ahhhhhh. Glad to be of service...

        1. John H Woods Silver badge

          Re: How bad is Torvalds?

          Linus says: "Go stick your head in a pig"

        2. Chemist

          Re: How bad is Torvalds?

          "What? The Sirius Cybernetics Corporation uses Linux?"

          I think it's a fairly open secret in HHGG who Douglas thinks of as "The Sirius Cybernetic....."

          1. Lee D Silver badge

            Re: How bad is Torvalds?

            Please hand back all your TomToms and other satnav devices.

            All your CCTV DVR's.

            Most of your wireless ADSL routers, etc.

            Anything with Android written on it anywhere, smartphone or tablet - currently outselling Windows phones by ENORMOUS ratios and even iPhones but people don't like you knowing that.

            Most of the in-house networking gear in your workplace that's not purely switching stuff (e.g. Smoothwall boxes, content filters, WatchGuard firewalls, etc.)

            All your Raspberry Pi's.

            Most of the world's webservers, cloud servers, etc.

            Almost all your "smart" devices like GPS trackers, fitness watches, ANPR, etc.

            You don't want Linux on your desktop? Fine, but vast amounts of the world collapse without it, and it's actually running your ISP, almost certainly running your webhost, etc. Sure, there are alternatives that you could use instead but that's hardly the point.

            This is like saying that Rayleigh have cornered the push-bike market, but Rolls Royce are a disaster because despite being in (and world leaders of) the automobile market, the aircraft market, the shipping market, generator markets, etc. they don't have a Rolls Royce bike that's as popular as Rayleigh.

            1. Anonymous Coward
              Anonymous Coward

              Surely you mean Raleigh?

              Anonymong from Rayleigh, Esse4x.

            2. This post has been deleted by its author

              1. sisk Silver badge

                Re: How bad is Torvalds?

                No, Torvalds is that bad because he's really just a mean, anti-social SOB. And what's more he doesn't try to hide it. This is far from the first time he's come out and told the world what a jerk he is.

                Do I think he'd get fired for bullying in the workplace? Most places yes. Certainly in my office he'd have been shown the door years ago. But here's the rub: the Linux community has always been a meritocracy wherein people skills count for exactly squat. With it being a meritocracy most of the big names are skilled programmers, and skilled programmers with charisma and people skills have always been in short supply.

                1. Alan Brown Silver badge

                  Re: How bad is Torvalds?

                  "Certainly in my office he'd have been shown the door years ago"

                  And your company would have been that much less competitive for doing it - presumably you'll be travelling in the B Ark.

                  1. sisk Silver badge

                    Re: How bad is Torvalds?

                    And your company would have been that much less competitive for doing it

                    We're a school district. Our only competition is a couple Catholic schools.

            3. Anonymous Coward
              Anonymous Coward

              Re: How bad is Torvalds?

              Pretty sure iOS is a derivative of BSD Unix not Linux.

            4. Christopher E. Stith

              Re: How bad is Torvalds?

              Upvoted you, but there's one niggle. Not all Raspberry Pi systems run Linux. RISC OS, NetBSD, Plan 9, Minix, and maybe a few others sometimes make an appearance, and that's a good thing. Certainly Linux distros both full-ish and stripped down (like OpenELEC) are the most popular.

    3. Ben Tasker Silver badge

      Re: How bad is Torvalds?

      Regular people may prefer to spend money on Windows, but from what I hear, Fox News is also quite popular in the US.

      Popularity is a terrible measure of quality.

      Although, I've personally never understood why some people were so bothered about Desktop dominance. As long as I can run what I choose, frankly you're free to run MSDOS if that's what you prefer.

      1. Def Silver badge
        Coat

        Re: How bad is Torvalds?

        Actually, he's given us a kernel that is running on an immeasurable number of devices from embedded devices and phones right up to the majority of super computers. There are very likely far more running instances of Linux in total today than there are Windows PCs (and certainly phones).

        Popularity is a terrible measure of quality.

        Quite.

      2. Charles 9 Silver badge

        Re: How bad is Torvalds?

        "Although, I've personally never understood why some people were so bothered about Desktop dominance. As long as I can run what I choose, frankly you're free to run MSDOS if that's what you prefer."

        Actually, IIRC, MS-DOS doesn't like modern hardware. And as for desktop dominance, consider the games market. Even with Valve's recent push, 8 or 9 out of every 10 games that comes out ignores Linux. About half are Windows-only. And then there are all those other pieces of productivity software the average person needs once in a while (like tax preparation software) but isn't available for Linux (sure there's the Web, but only if your tax situation is relatively simple). So the question of desktop dominance goes to the "chicken and egg" problem of desktop Linux. People won't go there if their software doesn't work on it, but software developers won't code for Linux without sufficient consumer market presence.

        1. atheist
          IT Angle

          Re: How bad is Torvalds?

          The vast majority of desktop pcs can boot to MS-DOS. Only yesterday I was reaching for a USB floppy drive

          1. Charles 9 Silver badge

            Re: How bad is Torvalds?

            "The vast majority of desktop pcs can boot to MS-DOS. Only yesterday I was reaching for a USB floppy drive"

            But what are you going to do beyond that? Trust me; I've tried. Most hard drives aren't formatted FAT16 anymore (about the only format MS-DOS will be able to see). DOS TSR drivers to support other filesystems and bus architectures? Don't count on it. Just about everything these days depends on a flat memory model which isn't built into MS-DOS. And 64-bit computing on an OS that's 16-bit? (rolls eyes).

            About the only way to run MS-DOS in any practical manner these days is by virtual machine.

            And there's still the unanswered chicken-and-egg issue of consumer-oriented non-mobile-friendly software.

            1. AndrueC Silver badge
              Boffin

              Re: How bad is Torvalds?

              And there's still the unanswered chicken-and-egg issue of consumer-oriented non-mobile-friendly software.

              Yes but I think the poster was addressing the statement that:

              Actually, IIRC, MS-DOS doesn't like modern hardware.

              I suppose it depends what is meant by 'doesn't like' as I dare say there are any number of peripherals for which MSDOS device drivers don't exist. MSDOS v7 supports FAT32 and LBA so that means they can handle filesystems up to 16TB so would be fine with most HDDs. If by some miracle/perversion someone(*) is still using MSDOS for something I'd be pretty confident that a brand new off the shelf PC would still do what they want.

              It makes me cringe a bit to think of someone doing that but I'm pretty sure all PCs are still compatible with MSDOS.

              (*)Actually I do know someone still using it. They use it in a forensic/data recovery environment. That's because it gives better control over the hardware. There's no 'interfering' kernel to get in the way.

              1. Solmyr ibn Wali Barad

                Re: How bad is Torvalds?

                "MSDOS v7 supports FAT32 and LBA"

                Including 48-bit LBA? [evil grin]

                1. AndrueC Silver badge
                  Boffin

                  Re: How bad is Torvalds?

                  Including 48-bit LBA? [evil grin]

                  Lol, I don't know. It's been a while since I had much to do with low-level disk access. I used to write data recovery software for a living. Our DOS imager would have no problems with it as the default mode was via int 13h and it knew about the extensions. It also it had a 'no BIOS' mode and just twiddled the old task file registers so that could be a fall back in some cases where the BIOS didn't support a drive properly.

                  Lot of water under the bridge now. From C++ under MSDOS to C# under Windows. 25 years of programming - and still going :)

                  1. Solmyr ibn Wali Barad
                    Pint

                    Re: How bad is Torvalds?

                    Thing is, 32-bit LBA can handle disk sizes up to 137 GB, assuming 512-byte sectors. Newer disks are usually larger, and some use 4096-byte sectors. So any old DOS will stumble. Except for the newer versions of FreeDOS.

                    Cheers!

        2. Alan Brown Silver badge

          Re: How bad is Torvalds?

          "Even with Valve's recent push, 8 or 9 out of every 10 games that comes out ignores Linux. About half are Windows-only."

          If you look across all the markets, most games are Android only, or at best Android + ios

        3. Dan Paul

          Re: How bad is Torvalds?

          Exactly, except that 8 out of ten games today aren't even available for WINDOWS, only for consoles. The games use analogy is tired and out of date.

          However, the productivity and communication software argument for Windows vs Linux is quite valid.

          No developer will write tax software and support it for Linux because it's not PROFITABLE.

          MS-DOS hasn't been a valid OS option since Windows XP came out. That was the last time they could even co-exist, as you said DOS doesn't like modern hardware. No one even writes DOS drivers anymore, (if they are sane). Try to come up with a working DOS system today. It won't be easy.

          I just tossed seven contractor bags of old disks, books, ram and hardware I held on to. Not much reason to hold onto a zip drive when I have a USB3 500Gb hard drive. You couldn't read that USB3 drive under DOS even if you tried. Don't even ask about compatability with the Radeon Video card with 4 Gig ram. Maybe you could find an out of date generic driver, maybe.

        4. Christopher E. Stith

          Re: How bad is Torvalds?

          Well, if your tax solution is too complex it should matter more what your accountant's computer runs.

      3. sabroni Silver badge

        Re: Popularity is a terrible measure of quality.

        Innit! Just look at all the upvotes on this thread....

    4. Chemist

      Re: How bad is Torvalds?

      "regular people still prefer to spend money on Windows."

      Regular people don't as a rule have much choice in the matter

    5. sltech
      Windows

      Re: How bad is Torvalds?

      How diplomatic and pleasant Mr. Torvalds is, in the final analysis, irrelevant.

      I've run every major distro of Linux. I'll stipulate that it's an excellent OS and superior to Windows in security. However, even Ubuntu does minimal hand-holding for you. If you're willing to exert a bit of extra effort and do some learning, Linux is perfect. MS has made Windows (flawed as it is) with a lot of hand-holding for non-IT people. That's why most people run it.

      When Ubuntu (or the next super popular distro) offers the degree of hand-holding that Windows does, it might become much more widely adopted. Before you flame me, note I DID stipulate it's an excellent OS and superior to Windows in security.

    6. Christopher E. Stith

      Re: How bad is Torvalds?

      Regular people don't spend money on Windows. They spend money on hardware that comes with Windows or OS X.

  2. Alan Denman

    He is right though, too many cooks does make for shite

    If only he could have say to some of the zillions of messy contributors 'you are fired'.

    Many an open source project does somewhat get out of hand. His Linux kernel is one of the few exceptions hanging in there quite well.

    1. Hans 1 Silver badge

      Re: He is right though, too many cooks does make for shite

      @ Alan Denman

      Go read the "Cathedral and the Bazaar", yes, there is a PDF for free on the intertubes and yes, O'Reilly has published the book, no, it is not 100% gospel, however, pretty insightful ... if you ask me.

      1. Alan Denman

        Green for O'Reilly

        Way back, I quickly learnt to avoid buying O'Reilly.

        I found that, too often, their books were full of irrelevant padding.

        1. Tom 38 Silver badge

          Re: Green for O'Reilly

          Way back, I quickly learnt to avoid buying O'Reilly.

          I found that, too often, their books were full of irrelevant padding.

          Without words..

          How do you know anything if you don't read O'Reilly?

          Sure, there are some duds (I'd avoid "UML in a nutshell"), but in general they are just awesome - and in some cases, irreplaceable. If you did apache module programming with apache 1.3, and you didn't have O'Reilly's "Writing Apache Modules With Perl and C", then you were missing the only documentation of APR that existed for 1.3.

          Compared to other publishers, O'Reilly are a by-word for quality. I remember one "book" from Packt that consisted 1/3rd poorly written project diary and 2/3rd (mostly machine generated) Java. It did not teach me XSLT.

    2. AndrueC Silver badge
      Thumb Up

      Re: He is right though, too many cooks does make for shite

      Ah yes, I 'got out' of data recovery just about when the first 4k sector drives were coming onto the market. Our software would have handled it because we didn't hardcode block sizes. Good job too - we once had to do an AS400 recovery and those used 528 byte sectors IIRC. I think we also saw some 1024 byte sector sizes but I don't know where they came from.

      Some of the last stuff I wrote was for Windows. The joys of SPTI. Lordy that was a right PITA from what I remember.

      1. Solmyr ibn Wali Barad
        Pint

        Re: He is right though, too many cooks does make for shite

        Heh, sounds like you've had lots of fun. I'm positively jealous. Have one more!

        Good thing about standards is that there are so many to choose from. Like those sector sizes - 512, 520, 522, 524, 528, 1024, 2048, 4096 and maybe more. Lots of possibilities to get bitten by faulty assumptions.

  3. I Am Spartacus

    Excession

    That is all.

    1. Grade%

      Re: Excession

      R.I.P. Ian.

  4. Epobirs

    They just don't get it. The job is benevolent dictator, with the emphasis on dictator. If you cannot deal with an environment that deals solely in ability to deliver, go somewhere else. There are numerous company jobs downstream of where the kernel work happens that can afford to worry about each others' feelings.

    If you want things to progress without the core code base being under the thumb of a single corporation, it has to be this way. Leaders lead.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Also people who can't hang go and write init systems.

  5. Henry Wertz 1 Gold badge

    "At least with professional software you (usually) get updates at a predictable cadence and can plan the patches. Seems Mr Torvalds would rather have us firehose the damned things and that just won't happen."

    Umm, sitting on patches to release them once a month is actually a DISavantage, blackhats then know they can start heavily exploiting a flaw (the day after "Patch Tuesday" in Microsoft's case) and have about 4 weeks where NOBODY has patched the flaw (since the patch is not even available.) You can slow down your patch deployment schedule as much as you want (really, I won't tell!), just because Linux distros get patches immediately does not prevent you from rolling them once a month or even less frequently if you really want to.

    As for Linus being unfit for the workplace -- this is nonsense. Have you heard the stories of Steve Jobs berating people, and Balmer even throwing chairs? Not that I endorse this behavior, but not everyone is required to be a bland yes-man. Some people have a passion for the job they are in, and a view of what "The One True Way" should be for their work. Imagine the mess Linux would be in if Torvalds just meekly said "Yes" to every idea, good and bad, that people wanted to put into the kernel?

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      @Henry Wertz 1

      "Imagine the mess Linux would be in if Torvalds just meekly said "Yes" to every idea, good and bad, that people wanted to put into the kernel?"

      I spent years trying to accommodate a boss who wanted to put every possible customer request into the software, and I reckon life would have been better if I had done a Torvalds to him.

      One of my supervisors at U was a behavioural psychologist who had done research into management techniques. His view was that at the end of the day, when nothing else has worked, and the thing to be achieved is important, sometimes the only way to get the desired result is to threaten physical violence.

      1. Alan Brown Silver badge

        Re: @Henry Wertz 1

        "His view was that at the end of the day, when nothing else has worked, and the thing to be achieved is important, sometimes the only way to get the desired result is to threaten physical violence."

        If only that could be done more often. I get the urge to slam UI designers' faces into a desk at least 20 times per day.

    2. Handy Plough

      The thing is, dickishness is zero sum. It matters not one jot how much of a dick Jobs was or Ballmer is, Torvalds is still a dick, one that is often fucking stupid. Monolithic kernels in 2015? To quote the man himself; "argh! The stupid, it burns!" Fuckwit.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Oh so that's the reason Linux isn't as popular on the desktop as Windows, because it's monolithic? Right, ok. What a showstopper. If only it was modular...

        1. Charles 9 Silver badge

          " If only it was modular..."

          Oh, wait...

          many modern PC kernels are modular (both the NT and Linux kernels are modular). Some things are shunted to user space for security while others (like graphics) are kept in kernel space for performance reasons. The complaint should be which parts should be where.

          1. Tom 38 Silver badge

            Just because a kernel is modular does not mean it is not monolithic. Linux is a modular kernel, but it is also a monolithic kernel. You can load a driver for your TV tuner, but it is loaded in to kernel space - ergo, monolithic.

            NT is a modular kernel, but it is not a monolithic kernel (its a hybrid, like OS X).

            It gets blurred a bit in Linux, where things like the sound system are partially user-mode daemons if you use a sound daemon like esd or pulseaudio. However, the sound daemon will use kernel mode drivers (ALSA) to communicate with the sound hardware; a true microkernel would provide a mechanism for communicating with (almost) any device, with the device specific bits happening in user mode and not kernel mode.

            To go back to the TV tuner example, Linux provides a whole raft of TV tuner drivers. They all run in kernel space. BSD doesn't provide any TV tuner drivers, but provides a kernel mode character driver that can be used to communicate with USB devices. The Linux drivers are then run entirely in user space, communicating using this simple kernel driver. Performance + inability for a TV card to oops your system.

            1. Charles 9 Silver badge

              "To go back to the TV tuner example, Linux provides a whole raft of TV tuner drivers. They all run in kernel space. BSD doesn't provide any TV tuner drivers, but provides a kernel mode character driver that can be used to communicate with USB devices. The Linux drivers are then run entirely in user space, communicating using this simple kernel driver. Performance + inability for a TV card to oops your system."

              And while that may suffice for stuff like TV tuners, high-performance devices like 3D graphics and high-throughput (GBit+/sec) networking tend to need to be in kernel space due to the severe performance penalties involved in context switching. I've heard work on hybrid dual-space drivers but I haven't seen their application in graphics and certain other performance-intensive applications.

      2. Alan Brown Silver badge

        "The thing is, dickishness is zero sum"

        Linus may get abusive, but I've never seen him do it when it wasn't utterly deserved.

        People need to be called out and shamed. he's just as quick to praise stuff.

  6. Steve Davies 3 Silver badge

    Compiling Kernels?

    The last time I built a custom kernel was around 10 years ago.

    Sure, I can still do it if I wanted but I really don't have to these days.

    Personally, I still prefer the RSX-11S Sysgen Process. Now that was a custom kernel.

    (ok, the RT-11 one was just as good)

  7. Purple-Stater

    Boffin?

    It's more of a (UK) cultural slang isn't it? In any case, I find free- and commen-tard to be much more reprehensible. Boffin is kinda fun.

  8. Orionds

    Sometimes ...

    it takes a dictator to get things done.

    Here are some:

    Napoleon: The French Revolution had got out of hand and blood was flowing in the streets with the Reign of Terror. The government was on the verge of collapse under another counter-revolution until they brought the "little corporal" in - aka Napoleon (shades of Steve Jobs?). He eventually made himself dictator but he not only restored order but also a sense of pride among the French people as well as putting into place law and order (the Code Napoleon), an education system par excellence, to name a couple.

    General MacArthur: He rebuilt Japan after the WWII to the point that the Japanese learnt to love baseball, jazz and insisted on American teachers to help them learn English with an American accent.

    General Patton: He drove his men and earned the nickname: "Blood and Guts". Yet, if he had not come in, the Allies may have had a much harder time on their march to Berlin.

    These men were unrelenting in their drive and authority but it was these qualities that got things done and not stray from a unified goal. Were all their decisions perfect? Course not. Were they criticized? Frequently.

    If Torvalds was a Mr. Nice Guy who said "yes" to everything, Linux would be very much fractured and nowhere near what it is today - from the tiniest devices to 95% or more of the super computers used. All these embrace Linux - from the hobbyist to multinational corporations and governments world-wide. This global vote of confidence would likely have never been given if not for Torvalds.

    Yes, history has shown that sometimes it does need a d***head to get things done, if not perfectly, at least in a unified direction.

    1. Charles 9 Silver badge

      Re: Sometimes ...

      Perhaps going even further back. Wasn't that at least one of Machiavelli's arguments in The Prince in favor of autocracy: that sometimes, you just have to take the direct approach?

  9. localzuk

    Funny

    People complain about Linus and his personality, but seem to forget how successful he is and his management has been. As far as I can tell, the Linux kernel hasn't been forked by upset contributors to a different project, and gained the same level of use as the original... Why? The whole point of open source is that if you don't like something, you're free to grab the code and do it your way instead.

    The reason is simple - he might be rude, but he gets the job done.

  10. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Upvote Article Button?

    > (there isn't one and although there was one in the past, it ain't coming back)

    Fine by me. Now how about that downvote article button? :-)

  11. The Vociferous Time Waster
    Trollface

    Every time

    You guys fall for this nonsense debate every time. You even get all meta and argue about if you are having the debate.

POST COMMENT House rules

Not a member of The Register? Create a new account here.

  • Enter your comment

  • Add an icon

Anonymous cowards cannot choose their icon

Biting the hand that feeds IT © 1998–2019