back to article Linux kernel dev who asked Linus Torvalds to stop verbal abuse quits over verbal abuse

Sarah Sharp, the maintainer of USB 3.0 drivers in the Linux Kernel who in July 2013 urged Linux overlord Linus Torvalds to stop abusing fellow developers, has quit all Linux-related work. Sharp has revealed she quit her role on the kernel last year and backed out of Linux entirely due to the abusive commentary she asked Linus …

  1. msknight Silver badge

    If I was in Torvalds shoes, I'd be concerned. With other mobile OS's coming up, and the way we consume compute power, then Linux could lose momentum and be overtaken by something that is born in the mobile sphere and then makes the jump to desktop. Obviously ten years down the line, kind of possibility here. People like Sharp could easily start another ball rolling.

    However, that might not bother Torvalds, as I do get the impression that his baby has become something of a burden to him.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Every attempt to mobil-ify desktop OS has resulted in a train wreck. The chance of it happening the other way round is practically nil.

      They're totally different tools, despite the hilarious media narrative of the "death of the desktop", with images of smiling office workers slumped in a hallway fingering tablets.

      In 10 year, even when mobiles are embedded in your arm, or your eyeball, with induction charging though coils embedded in your arse, software will still need to be written on something strongly resembling today's desktop. I also predict nobody will start a new desktop OS kernel from scratch in the next 10 years, since there's already a bajillion man-hours in linux.

      TV and white good companies aren't in the software business, so they'll write as little software as possible, it will be the shitiest code on this earth, and probably infringe the GPL.

      1. msknight Silver badge

        @AC

        "Every attempt to mobil-ify desktop OS has resulted in a train wreck. The chance of it happening the other way round is practically nil"

        The Linux kernel has seen it go from the desktop to mobile devices. Why not the reverse? The possibility is there, because that space is where most stuff is happening in.

        And the stuff that's being thrown around in the Linux dev circles is bad enough that it's made the press; so we're not talking about micro-aggressions here. And yes, I believe that the micro aggression community needs to be put down with a healthy dose of, "You have the right to be offended, so if you happen to be so ... then f*ck off."

        It has taken many years, but governments are starting to enforce social laws in cyberspace. They are catching up, and there do exist laws about acceptable social behavior in public. We're probably not that far off seeing them catching up with precisely the kind of behavior that caused her to quit, being stamped on by ISP's in response to international/European/etc. laws.

        It's coming. It'll continue to take time, and there's plenty of people on this very board who won't like it when it happens ... but it's coming ... and downthumbing me won't stop it. Torvalds needs to get a tighter grip on the ship, IMHO, because the internet we know and love ain't going to be the same internet in ten years time.

        1. PNGuinn
          Black Helicopters

          "It has taken many years, but governments are starting to enforce social laws in cyberspace."

          That'll be the death of "Cyberspace" then. Nanny G does not know best. I'll trust Linus et al before I'll trust Gubbermints and their grubby agendas any time.

          Political correctness. The clue's in the first word, folks.

          Be afraid. be very afraid.

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: "It has taken many years, but governments are starting to enforce social laws in cyberspace."

            Political correctness, the worlds most accepted oxymoron.

            I understand Linus's desire for being blunt, the inverse of this would be passive aggressive.

            Blunt, crude & rude while hurtful, doesn't pretend to be anything but what it is. Passive aggressive is much worse.

            1. Anonymous Coward
              Anonymous Coward

              Re: "It has taken many years, but governments are starting to enforce social laws in cyberspace."

              "“The focus on technical excellence, in combination with overloaded maintainers, and people with different cultural and social norms, means that Linux kernel maintainers are often blunt, rude, or brutal to get their job done,” she writes. “Top Linux kernel developers often yell at each other in order to correct each other’s behavior.”"

              The behavior of Linus is the social norm.

              What people forget is that there are cultures and subcultures.

              Linus is part of a subculture where you have to balance doing things right and the passions of the developers.

              What you are seeing is the hardcore techie community.

              What you don't see is that after the argument, those who are shouting and are being 'rude' will go out and have a beer or two.

              There's a reason for this... Aspergers could explain some of it.

              But what is rude is not accepting this subculture and understanding it.

              And the other AC is correct. Passive aggressive is much worse. It could sabotage project and harm others. who rely on the software.

              1. zen1

                Re: "It has taken many years, but governments are starting to enforce social laws in cyberspace."

                AC's,

                When people who are absolutely passionate about a particular project or have a tremendous drive for perfection get together in confined spaces, sometimes there is friction. In very large endeavors like LINUX, friction can be almost constant. I'm not saying it's right or acceptable, but that's just the way it is. And after spending almost 30 years in an environment like this, I see where some people resort to humor or means of communications that aren't necessarily fit for use in the general public. My take on it is sometimes that's what you have to do to get your point across or your opinion brought into the forefront for team consideration.

                As I alluded to above, no, it's probably not acceptable or even civil, but in retrospect, I've done some of my best work when motivated by pure rage and spite. My advice to her would be to check your ego at the door and get some thicker skin, unless you don't completely believe in the goals you're working towards.

                1. Anonymous Coward
                  Anonymous Coward

                  Re: "It has taken many years, but governments are starting to enforce social laws in cyberspace."

                  I sort of get where people are coming from here but I dont agree with the general thrust that

                  My advice to her would be to check your ego at the door and get some thicker skin, unless you don't completely believe in the goals you're working towards.

                  The reality is, while this may work to motivate some people it will also drive away others - often very talented people who can genuinely advance the project. The reality is not everyone thrives in an aggressive, argumentative environment and they shouldn't be expected to.

                  More people will be put off by bullying behaviour than will leave a project because they cant bully people.

                  My advice to the people who feel the need to berate, bully and dominate others is that they are the ones who should check their attitude in at the door and learn to work with others if they want to be part of a team, unless you don't completely believe in the goals you are working towards.

              2. FatGerman

                Re: "It has taken many years, but governments are starting to enforce social laws in cyberspace."

                > The behavior of Linus is the social norm.

                Amongst people with no friends, yes. Anyone who spoke to me the way he speaks to people, professionally or otherwise, would get called a twat. To their face. Yes, I have done this in the workplace, to a senior, who was a twat.

                > What people forget is that there are cultures and subcultures.

                This is just another way of saying "You don't get me, I'm not a twat, you just don't understand me". To which I say, "No, you're being rude and obnoxious and there are far better, more constructive, more mature, more *respectful* ways to say what you need to say. And you'll find that if you use them people will both respect you and do what you ask. You're a twat".

                Linus's problem is that he has no respect for anybody. He's a sociopath. I don't really think we want sociopaths in responsible positions... oh.... wait...

                1. Turtle

                  Re: "It has taken many years, but governments are starting to enforce social laws in cyberspace."

                  "I don't really think we want sociopaths in responsible positions... oh.... wait..."

                  We generally don't. But for reasons too tedious to recite here, that's where many of them end up.

                2. Anonymous Coward
                  Anonymous Coward

                  Re: "It has taken many years, but governments are starting to enforce social laws in cyberspace."

                  @FatGerman - well said.

                  This is just another way of saying "You don't get me, I'm not a twat, you just don't understand me". To which I say, "No, you're being rude and obnoxious and there are far better, more constructive, more mature, more *respectful* ways to say what you need to say. And you'll find that if you use them people will both respect you and do what you ask. You're a twat".

                  This is the crux of the problem.

                  People who are twats use all kinds of justification for their twattish behaviour and frequently blame everyone else for their failures. It takes a bit of mature effort to reflect and realise "if I hadnt been such a twat people would have worked harder, helped and we'd have achieved our goals"

                  Much easier for the twats to just shout at everyone and then blame them for leaving, for being weak, for being thin skinned etc.

                  What immature twats dont realise is that at some point they will look around, be all alone and need help................

              3. DanielN

                Re: "It has taken many years, but governments are starting to enforce social laws in cyberspace."

                "What you are seeing is the hardcore techie community."

                Hardly. What we are seeing is a bunch of lax, indulgent software nerds with a broken culture.

                Hardcore techies are more like Gene Kranz's team rescuing Apollo 13: calm, polite, focused, goal oriented.

            2. raving angry loony

              Re: "It has taken many years, but governments are starting to enforce social laws in cyberspace."

              No, the inverse of blunt isn't passive aggressive. It's not one or the other. If that's all you've met in your professional career, you have my sympathy. There are many ways to express disagreement without being either a rude foul mouthed troll or a passive aggressive whatever. Such as, for instance, respectful disagreement.

          2. Paul 195

            Re: "It has taken many years, but governments are starting to enforce social laws in cyberspace."

            The phrase "political correctness" was invented by people who felt that being asked not to be racist or sexist, or rude to the disabled, or generally unpleasantly prejudicial in some other way, was some terrible infringement of their civil liberties. Having labelled what the rest of humanity might have called something like "not behaving like a socially backward git" as "political correctness" they proceeded to mock it as something ridiculous. Fortunately, the number of people determined to defend their rights to behave backward gits in public spaces is gradually shrinking.

      2. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

        "Every attempt to mobil-ify desktop OS has resulted in a train wreck."

        It's a bit more complex that that. Remember that Linux is just a kernel. Linux distros such as Fedora, Ubuntu, etc are collections of desktop userlands wrapped round that kernel. It's equally possible to wrap a mobile userland round it. Whatever your opinion of Android it would be impossible to describe its market share as a train wreck.

      3. Anonymous Coward
        FAIL

        Chrome / Apple TV + Keyboard

        That's pretty much a desktop TV.

        Shove in a word processor, the ability to print documents and a popular format and you'll have a system that will look inviting to most home users.

        The only thing stopping them? They're addicted to their touch-pads...

      4. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        with induction charging though coils embedded in your arse

        Hey, who allowed you sight of Microsoft's strategy?

      5. fidodogbreath Silver badge

        > Every attempt to mobil-ify desktop OS has resulted in a train wreck.

        Android is based on Linux. It seems to be doing OK.

      6. Wilco

        "Every attempt to mobil-ify desktop OS has resulted in a train wreck."

        Really? iOS is a mobil-ified version of OSX, and whatever your opinion of Apple, it's hard to say that iOS is a train wreck.

        All the attempts to moblify Linux (Tizen, Meego, Firefox OS) have definitely been train wrecks. Maybe Linux on mobile needs Scott Forstall. He's available ...

        1. DougS Silver badge

          "All the attempts to moblify Linux...have definitely been train wrecks"

          Uh, Android?

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      However, that might not bother Torvalds, as I do get the impression that his baby has become something of a burden to him.

      Maybe he should give it up and go and lecture on kernel design or write a book about it or something like that. That would be ironic...

    3. Quortney Fortensplibe

      YoLotD

      "...then Linux could lose momentum..."

      Linux has no momentum.

      1. MacroRodent Silver badge
        Linux

        Re: YoLotD

        Linux has no momentum.

        Not if all you see are desktop operating systems. In other areas, it is fast becoming the default OS. There are already probably far more running Linux kernel instances than Windows, but you don't see them directly, In fact, you may actually right now own several Linux-based devices without realising it.

        It is world domination all right.

        1. Dan 55 Silver badge
          Headmaster

          Re: YoLotD

          Crowbarring a Linux or Windows kernel into a mobile phone doesn't really cut the mustard though. Battery usage is still quite atrocious.

          Ah for the days of Symbian...

          1. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

            Re: YoLotD

            Is it the kernel that's the problem or the fact that people want to do stuff with it?

        2. Quortney Fortensplibe

          Re: YoLotD

          "...In fact, you may actually right now own several Linux-based devices without realising it..."

          I have 2 laptops running Debian and about 4 VMs running various flavours of Linux plus 1 VM running OpenBSD. I also manage a rented Debian VPS.

          My remark [and there was a clue in the acronymic "YoLotD" title] was meant to allude to Linux's continual failure to gain any momentum in one much-heralded, never-arriving direction.

          Interesting how you immediately assumed I was a Windows using idiot who 'didn't realise' I already used Linux and my comment [as are any that dare not to worship unquestioningly at the 'Altar of Linux'] was equally instantly downvoted into oblivion by the bearded herd

          —and then we accuse the Apple lot of being fanatical fanbois and Kool-aid drinkers!

          1. BitDr

            Re: YoLotD

            All you wrote was that "Linux has no momentum", which is false. Now if you had written that Linux had no momentum in the desktop then that, while also not true (there is some movement in these parts anywyay), is closer to the mark. You could also have written that Linux has momentum in NASA and the scientific community, much more so than in home-computing & small business, and that would be true.

            I neither upvoted nor downvoted your post.

          2. MacroRodent Silver badge

            Re: YoLotD

            Well, I guess I was too dense to realize you are an expert Linux user talking only about the Linux desktop not having momentum. My humble apologies. YoLotD has now been stored to the acronym database.

      2. Peter Simpson 1
        Linux

        Re: YoLotD

        Linux has no momentum.

        But Android does...

        1. Quortney Fortensplibe
          Linux

          Re: YoLotD

          "...Linux has no momentum.

          But Android does..."

          Oh yes. that 'super-secure', 'no-security-holes-at-all' crappy Java OS, which just happens to have a Liunux kernel.

          I'm surprised that, after recent scandals, anybody on Team Linux still wants to associate with Android.

          1. Quortney Fortensplibe
            Facepalm

            Re: YoLotD

            D'oh! –"Linux" kernel.

            Why do you always spot the obvious typo, just as the 10 min edit window expires!

      3. fruitoftheloon
        FAIL

        @QF: Re: YoLotD

        QF,

        There was I, finking that with a handle like that, you may understand long words like 'momentum'...

        Oh dear!

        Regards,

        Jay

      4. dhollinger

        Re: YoLotD

        "Linux has no momentum."

        What rock do you live under. Nearly the entire Internet is built off Linux.

        Android - Linux Kernel

        Cisco IOS - Based off Red Hat Enterprise Linux

        Docker/Containers - Linux-specific Technology. Unique to Linux Kernel.

        VMWare, AWS, OpenStack, Xen, KVM - all run on top of Linux. HyperV/Azure is the only Windows-based Virtual infrastructure. Even then, Microsoft's Network stack in Azure is Linux-based.

        Configuration Mgmt - All Config Mgmt systems run their "masters" on Linux.

        ALL Game/Computer Systems NOT XBOX or Windows are running either modified UNIX or Linux kernels.

    4. John Sturdy
      Boffin

      I'm pretty sure Linux has got a solid enough position that it's not likely to be displaced for a long time; the nearest direction I could see making a sensible challenge would be something that's developed with both real-time response and maximum security in mind from the ground up, rather than backfitted; and maybe a strong emphasis on keeping the footprint small, too. But I suspect people will keep patching the general-purpose project to keep it good enough in these areas to fend off newcomers.

    5. Permidion

      With other mobile OS's coming up, and the way we consume compute power, then Linux could lose momentum and be overtaken by something that is born in the mobile sphere and then makes the jump to desktop.

      Sailfish OS is linux-based, so presently it's still the other way around.

    6. Michael Habel Silver badge

      Mobile Sphere?

      So are we talking about Windows 10 again? Or Apples iOS? AFIK both Android, and Samsung's Taizen, are both LINUX!

    7. beavershoes

      Try working for chef Ramsey.

    8. I. Aproveofitspendingonspecificprojects

      > If I was in Torvalds shoes, I'd be concerned. With other mobile OS's coming up, and the way we consume computer power, then Linux could lose momentum and be overtaken by something that is born in the mobile sphere and then makes the jump to desktop. Obviously ten years down the line, kind of possibility here. People like Sharp could easily start another ball rolling.

      > However, that might not bother Torvalds, I get the impression that his baby has become something of a burden to him.

      If I was in Torvalds shoes, I'd be unconcerned. With Emotional Immaturity and over-tiredness, throwing your dummy out of the pram is a way of life. Linus could lose face/and be overtaken by maturity. That is what old age is all about, bitter regrets and self service mixed in unhealthy proportions. Obviously a ten years down the line possibility. People like Sharp could easily start another ball rolling.

      Don't worry about Torvalds, I am the same immature shit-head that he is alleged to be. I had to resign from a couple of my favourite forums recently, out of shame over my behaviour. I just had another baby and got on with it. I haven't changed all that much but at least I can edit bad stuff out of this one. It is usually too late for regrets, although apologies are always acceptable if you get the chance but the urge to be one's old self never leaves your default mode.

      1. DougS Silver badge

        What "other mobile OSes are coming up?"

        The only ones with any traction are Android and iOS. Android is Linux, iOS is Mach BSD. Windows phone or mobile or whatever they're calling now has a fraction of the market and that doesn't look to change, and Blackberry appears to be abandoning their own OS in favor of Android.

        Is there some up and coming mobile OS not based on Linux that I'm unaware of that has a chance in hell of having a double digit market share by 2020?

  2. Christian Berger Silver badge

    The problem is, usually Linus is right

    Without knowing what the issue is, there's no way to decide if that treatment was justified or not.

    Yes, the treatment is rough, but simply put there is a lot at stake here. Just like you cannot simply enter a NASA control room to have a go at steering a Mars rover, you cannot go and expect your kernel patches to be accepted without a heavy dose of scrutiny.

    It's a fact of life that most people heavily over estimate their abilities.

    I can understand Linus getting angry. He's probably like many more famous physicist being bombarded with lots of theories why Einstein was wrong, all of which could be easily disproved by putting an hour of work into it. I mean just look at the Freedesktop people who wanted to get dbus into the Kernel in a project called kdbus. Even today they won't shut up even though Linus empirically proved their point to be wrong.

    Again, I have no idea if this was justified in this case or not, but the Linux kernel simply is to important to be taken over by immature people who think that being a victim counts as qualification.

    1. Sorry that handle is already taken. Silver badge

      Re: The problem is, usually Linus is right

      I think the point is that such behaviour is unnecessary and counter-productive at best.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: The problem is, usually Linus is right

        I think the point is that such behaviour is unnecessary and counter-productive at best.

        At best? It seems to me that, "at best", such behaviour has provided the most successful operating system kernel the world has ever seen.

        "At worst", the environment might have had some minor negative impact on the technical quality of the kernel, but that hasn't stopped it from being used on everything from smartphones to supercomputers.

        I wish more FLOSS communities were so "counter-productive".

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: The problem is, usually Linus is right

          I wish more FLOSS communities were so "counter-productive".

          Imagine how much more they would have been able to achieve if they didn't spend part of their mental bandwidth dealing with abusive idiots..

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: The problem is, usually Linus is right

        "I think the point is that such behaviour is unnecessary and counter-productive at best."

        Anybody who has had to work with difficult people knows the trick is to convince them that what you want them to do was their idea in the first place. Unfortunately far too many very numerate and logical people find that concept quite beyond them.

      3. TonyJ Silver badge

        Re: The problem is, usually Linus is right

        "...Re: The problem is, usually Linus is right

        I think the point is that such behaviour is unnecessary and counter-productive at best..."

        I happen to agree. It's one thing to be honest. Even brutally so, sometimes. It's another to shout and be abusive. That's the kind of behaviour that, say on the street, wouldn't be acceptable. Less so if alcohol were involved - that latter would generally be expected to lead to arrest.

      4. Vic

        Re: The problem is, usually Linus is right

        I think the point is that such behaviour is unnecessary and counter-productive at best.

        Not necessarily. Have you *seen* systemd?

        Vic.

        1. John Hughes

          Re: The problem is, usually Linus is right

          Have you *seen* systemd?

          Yes. It's pretty good, a shitload better than the junk it replaced. What's your point?

      5. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: The problem is, usually Linus is right

        The point isn't whether Linus's behaviour is justified because he is usually right about technical issues, or not, but that some people think his behaviour is intrinsically wrong (implying that there is an intrinsically 'right' behaviour). The fact is that the Linux kernel project is his and while it remains his he can behave how he likes; he has no obligation whatsoever, to anyone else, to act in any particular way, and if that's unacceptable then you can impolitely go away.

        The people who complain about Linus's behaviour are essentially saying that they believe he has an obligation to behave in a way that suits them, but with no obligation on their part to behave in a way that suits him.

        You can like, or dislike, the way someone behaves but you can't say that it's intrinsically right or wrong; that's just personal opinion.

        1. Vic

          Re: The problem is, usually Linus is right

          The fact is that the Linux kernel project is his

          Not intrinsically so; he is merely the lead maintainer.

          Many a time, he has told people to make a fork if they don't like how he does things. He has neither right nor power to prevent such a thing occurring. The fact that no stable kernel fork has overcome his is testament to the fact that most developers seem reasonably happy with how he runs things.

          Vic.

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: The problem is, usually Linus is right

            I must reiterate that the Linux kernel project _is_ his, because he controls it, and where not directly, then through people to whom he has delegated control; the method of governance is a dictatorship (and there's nothing intrinsically wrong with a dictatorship; it just depends upon the nature of the dictator)

            However, I wouldn't necessarily go as far as to say that most developers are happy with the way that he runs things, but it seems clear that none of them want the responsibility or have the endurance to start and manage a fork of their own.

    2. MacroRodent Silver badge

      Re: The problem is, usually Linus is right

      you cannot go and expect your kernel patches to be accepted without a heavy dose of scrutiny.

      Technical criticism is one thing, and necessary. Being abusive is not. By now, the Linux developer community consists of technically excellent people with a thick skin. But they scare away technically excellent people who don't stand personal insults, which is a loss for the Linux community.

      1. Christian Berger Silver badge

        Re: The problem is, usually Linus is right

        That still leaves the question unanswered if the speech was abusive (whatever that means) or if speech can even be abusive.

        On the other hand, there's more and more people who are overly offended by things which are just normal. People are offended because opinions conflicting with their own are presented. This article here sums it up nicely:

        http://www.theatlantic.com/magazine/archive/2015/09/the-coddling-of-the-american-mind/399356/

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: The problem is, usually Linus is right

          "That still leaves the question unanswered if the speech was abusive (whatever that means) or if speech can even be abusive."

          In the law of England and Wales it certainly can, and I believe this derives from European law. The extension of the US First Amendment is so far still tuck on the other side of the Atlantic, where I hope ot stays.

        2. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

          Re: The problem is, usually Linus is right @ Christian Berger

          Thanks, Christian, an interesting read. I can't help thinking that college education has been greatly over-extended to those who can't handle it.

      2. PNGuinn

        Re: The problem is, usually Linus is right

        "Technical criticism is one thing, and necessary. Being abusive is not. By now, the Linux developer community consists of technically excellent people with a thick skin. But they scare away technically excellent people who don't stand personal insults, which is a loss for the Linux community."

        **No comment on the particular events that triggered this article.**

        BUT - How do you deal with those who want to force their own disruptive ideas into the kernal with almost religious zeal? With no consideration of the wider issues? Those who don't and won't see beyond their own blinkered world. Those who bitch and manipulate to garner publicity and support. Who are really snide political disrupters after power rather than engineers?

        There are many types of abuse. I suggest that brutal honesty in not really one of them. Maybe some of the blame lies with some of the "critics"? I said "some", twice. Did some people get that?

        Unfortuneately, for some, it's too hot in the kitchen.

        You know, it takes me back getting on for 40 years when I was in electronic instrument design. My project leader was known company wide as an awkward B******D. Trouble was, he was almost always right. I remember having a right dingdong with him over a design issue. Voices were raised, the chief engineer was looking out of his office expecting bloodshed... After several minuites he said "... Ok I'm convinced - try it...". Ron was one of the most sincere guys I ever worked with / for.

        I'm with Linus on this one.

      3. DRjhon

        Re: The problem is, usually Linus is right

        This is the true scientific method at it's finest.

        Work with the best with their rules or get out.

        If someone makes a lot of bad errors we should leave.

        Most of the guys/ladies bitching about being calm are those that are making the error causing people to get mad.

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: The problem is, usually Linus is right

      I'm with Ms. Sharp on this one. In one sense, having people be brutally forthright can be very refreshing. But it's like a cold shower, best enjoyed intermittently. If you employ it too much you get on an escalator where you have to be rougher and meaner just to say the same things. The cost of that is a loss of talent: people don't speak up because they don't want the angst of being yelled out just because their idea has not sprung fully-formed from the Godhead. Imagine you are a kernel dev. But you happen to be shy, are new, or from a culture that values face. Are you going to submit to a rude, inflammatory roasting just to get your code our there, or just quietly keep it to you and your employer? That's a loss for everyone.

      If the problem is that kernel-dev is full of people who are essentially using Linus to code review amateurish code (along the lines of people who mail professors "proofs" that perpetual motion is possible) then that simply means that there is a hole where automated testing should live - if you can't pass lint, an endian-check, fuzz testing, unit testing and so on then your patch won't even make it to kernel-devs, let alone Linus. But to be honest the people who play on kernel-devs know their stuff and so the ranting is not so much about code quality as it is about doing or not doing things Linus' way. And thus we come to the problem of ego. And isn't that the shameful secret about Linux? Linus wants to be needed. He wants to be The Man. It's time the project did not revolve around The Man.

      1. Warm Braw Silver badge

        Re: The problem is, usually Linus is right

        I think it's a wider problem. There's a great deal of clanishness in the Linux "community" and people who come from other environments or backgrounds are sometimes viewed with suspicion bordering on contempt. There's very little encouragement or support - ask questions and you're more likely to be ridiculed for your lack on knowledge than get a useful answer.

        You only need to observe the bucketloads of personal bile spilled over systemd: despite, or perhaps because of, it becoming the default init system in most major distributions, hundreds of basement-dwelling geeks are going to have a personal grude against poor old Poettering for the rest of their lives and will take every opportunity to express it in public.

        There's a serious dearth of good people working on Linux and they're not going to get more if a sizeable group behave like a bunch of football fanatics whose team can do no wrong. I've got a background in OS development and some free time, but I wouldn't even contemplate getting involved with Linux kernel work. I'm hardly a great loss, but I can't be the only one standing on the sidelines shaking his head with disbelief.

        1. BinkyTheMagicPaperclip Silver badge

          Re: The problem is, usually Linus is right

          I shouldn't feed the troll, but 'poor old Poettering'? The guy is rude and slavishly dedicated to the idea that His Idea Is Right, and damn anyone else.

          Behaving like a 'team can do no wrong' - sounds exactly like Poettering's style to me.

          I've read his responses on the mailing lists, and as soon as a reasonable point is raised that can't be easily resolved the answer is usually 'well, systemd/other product is so much faster/better, and it would take too much effort to accommodate you' (so screw you)

          Odd configuration? Well, you fix it - not us. Design works well - up until the point when it doesn't? Well, it works fine 98% of the time. Has an impact on other Unixes, especially non Linux ones? Not our problem..

          1. Christian Berger Silver badge

            Re: The problem is, usually Linus is right

            Well yes it sounds like "Poettering", if you ignore one point. Poettering usually just claims things which are quickly disproved. The Linux kernel community typically claims things and backs them with a shitload of facts and empiric studies.

            If you proove Linus wrong, he will change his opinion and admit that he was wrong, if you proove Poettering wrong he'll just ignore you. That's the difference.

            1. Anonymous Coward
              Anonymous Coward

              Re: The problem is, usually Linus is right

              Many people can change their opinion/belief/ideas about a topic, but most of those will probably not be big enough to admit that they did so because their previous opinion/belief/ideas were incorrect.

            2. John Hughes

              Re: The problem is, usually Linus is right

              Poettering usually just claims things which are quickly disproved.

              Example?

        2. AJ MacLeod

          Re: The problem is, usually Linus is right

          "despite, or perhaps because of, it becoming the default init system in most major distributions, hundreds of basement-dwelling geeks are going to have a personal grude against poor old Poettering for the rest of their lives and will take every opportunity to express it in public."

          If SystemD were his only disastrously implemented bad idea I suppose he should be cut some slack. Unfortunately however "poor old" Poettering has a considerable track record of such garbage and has shown himself to be every bit as much of a jerk as anyone else in the FOSS community. I can't think of anyone else at all who has produced such a heap of badly-implemented bad ideas, and SystemD is deliberately being made almost impossible to avoid; why wouldn't people who rely on the well proven software he's in the process of botching be infuriated by such an irritating character?

        3. A13C

          Re: The problem is, usually Linus is right

          Oh look, a name calling systemd zealot who thinks knows best because OMG SHINY!

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        @ Ann Re: The problem is, usually Linus is right

        Sorry, but I'm with Linus on this.

        Did you ever stop to wonder why this subculture exists?

        Its a balance between the passions of the developer and doing the right thing. The reason this occurs is that you have developers who don't understand the 'ego-less' programmer concept, and are not willing to understand why their position may be wrong.

        There is a shock value in the bluntness, and when you don't understand that its not personal, or rather directed at the person but at the work, you get insulted. The issue is that she doesn't understand the culture. She can leave the culture, that's her option, but the fault is in her, not the culture.

        One thing for sure.... Linus wouldn't last on Apache run projects. Too many Nancy Boys running around who use political correctness as a barrier to getting it done right.

    4. Voland's right hand Silver badge

      Re: The problem is, usually Linus is right

      He is right in this case too.

      With all due respect, "her responsibility" which is USB 3.0 continues to be fickle and quirky in Linux till today. She has allowed crap code to go in multiple times as a maintainer and is complaining that she gets flak. So while Linus is sometimes overdoing it, she is being disingenuous at best.

      1. bazza Silver badge

        Re: The problem is, usually Linus is right

        "With all due respect, "her responsibility" which is USB 3.0 continues to be fickle and quirky in Linux till today. She has allowed crap code to go in multiple times as a maintainer and is complaining that she gets flak. So while Linus is sometimes overdoing it, she is being disingenuous at best."

        Right, where to start?

        First, it was not "her responsibility", she is a volunteer. No one obliged her or paid her to do that work. Without her efforts you would not now have USB 3 in the kernel at all, you ungrateful prick. If it's too flaky for your tastes, you fix it. Can you do that? Thought not.

        Second, are you saying that personal insults amount to valid technical criticism? In that case, here's some valid technical criticism for you: you're a fuckwit.

        Third, if Linus was not happy from a technical point of view with her contributions, why would he have admitted it to the kernel? If he was unhappy he could have organised help or helped out himself maybe (afterall, Linus understands that volunteers have limited time available, that they've got lives outside of Linux, that no one actually wants to submit duff code, and that shouting at a volunteer does not magically give them 36 hours in the day. He knows that that extra effort helps fix duff code, it won't magically fix itself if one single volunteer hasn't got the resources to do the job). Or he could have excluded her code entirely from the kernel (i.e. "sacked" her) and made other arrangements for USB 3 support in Linux. He seemingly did none of these things. We can therefore conclude that from a technical point of view Linus was, overall, content with how things were.

        Perhaps you should complain about flaky code to Linus, see where that gets you?

        She's left, and given the reputation of the Linux community I can't say that I blame her at all. I'll thank her for her contribution, even if you won't.

        Thank you for your contribution, Sarah Sharp.

        Can you say that yourself? Go on, it doesn't hurt a bit.

        The community now needs to find someone willing to pick up the poisoned chalice and run with it. An atmosphere of personal abuse is no way to incentivise someone to do work, especially when a) no one is paying them, b) there is life outside the Linux kernel community, and c) they have limited time to give (all volunteers have limited resources, lives to earn and run, etc. There's not a lot to encourage anyone else to take up USB 3 in Linux. Frankly, with Linus at the top of the pile, picking up "responsibility" for any kernel module seems to promise little in the way of glowing praise, thanks, etc, and guarantees a whole lot of unpleasantness. Who'd want that?

        Perhaps another conclusion to be drawn from the presence of Sharp's USB 3 code in Linux is that Linus couldn't find anyone else willing to do it, and may now struggle to secure the unpaid, unloved labour of another volunteer. That might be the sad inevitability of this situation.

        1. Evil Graham

          Re: The problem is, usually Linus is right

          @bazza First, it was not "her responsibility", she is a volunteer. No one obliged her or paid her to do that work.

          Sarah Sharp works for Intel's open source group, so she is (was) paid for her work on the kernel.

          1. bazza Silver badge

            Re: The problem is, usually Linus is right

            Sarah Sharp works for Intel's open source group, so she is (was) paid for her work on the kernel.

            Makes no difference. Intel aren't being paid for her time either. In fact, Intel has a corporate responsibility to protect their employees from abuse, etc. If Intel decides that pouring investment into Linux is not worth the effort (ie they cannot persuade their staff to do the work in an environment Intel does not control) then they might just stop bothering. That would be very bad for Linux.

            1. Lusty Silver badge

              Re: The problem is, usually Linus is right

              "That would be very bad for Linux."

              @bazza the vast majority of Intel's business these days is only there because of Linux. Many of the devices we see couldn't exist with a non free software stack or with internally developed full stacks and so it's really in Intel's interests to fully support Linux with driver code. If they don't Linux won't suffer at all, everyone will simply use AMD or ARM or some other chip that does support their software stack.

            2. DavCrav Silver badge

              Re: The problem is, usually Linus is right

              "Makes no difference. Intel aren't being paid for her time either. In fact, Intel has a corporate responsibility to protect their employees from abuse, etc. If Intel decides that pouring investment into Linux is not worth the effort (ie they cannot persuade their staff to do the work in an environment Intel does not control) then they might just stop bothering. That would be very bad for Linux."

              1) Intel are getting paid for her time. They are getting paid in better Linux, not just her code, but every other contributor.

              2) Intel does not have a responsibility to protect her from abuse that people who are not her work colleagues and customers might dish out to her. I can call her a fuckwit on here if I want (to use previous language above) and Intel are not obligated to do one thing.

            3. Breen Whitman

              Re: The problem is, usually Linus is right

              Yes you are right.

              At the end of the day, forgetting who said what, who is employed by whom she may just choose to not place herself in an environment of gross abuse, sexist marginalization, profanity, and generally an environment where any woman would feel unsafe.

              Some will choose to put up with it for personal technical achievement. Some will choose not to.

              On another note, China has their own version of Linux. Supporting Linux is supporting the enemies of the United States.

              If things go downhill more in Syria, including the now verified involvement of China, Linux would need to be categorized as a weapon or enabler of terrorism.

              1. JustNiz

                Re: The problem is, usually Linus is right

                >> On another note, China has their own version of Linux. Supporting Linux is supporting the enemies of the United States.

                >> If things go downhill more in Syria, including the now verified involvement of China, Linux would need to be categorized as a weapon or enabler of terrorism.

                Seriously, these comments are products of the most cluelessly fucked up thinking I've ever seen here in years of regular visiting. Well done I guess.

                1. Breen Whitman

                  Re: The problem is, usually Linus is right

                  "Well done I guess."

                  Thank you. I appreciate acknowledgement of my efforts. I do try.

                  Also: In a recent study of 80 convicted pedophiles, 40 had heard of Linux.

                  Ergo, if you use Linux they is a 50% chance you have committed gross sexual offences against children.

          2. Jim 59

            Re: The problem is, usually Linus is right

            Although I don't like the whiff of PC at the tail end of her reported statement, she has a good general point about internet behaviour. People are much ruder and more aggressive in typing than they are face to face. A bit like they are in cars.

            If Linus and this dev met face to face, their interactions would be considered, mild and polite, even if they disagreed strongly. As the world goes forward with people cooperating through their keyboards but never meeting, keyboard rage is a problem. Apart from being unpleasant, it makes people unhappy needlessly and the work also suffers.

            I can't see a solution. However, PC censorship isn't the answer.

            1. Lusty Silver badge

              Re: The problem is, usually Linus is right

              "If Linus and this dev met face to face, their interactions would be considered, mild and polite, even if they disagreed strongly. "

              LOL Linus just isn't like that. He may not act aggressively but his language isn't necessarily much different in person from what I've seen.

        2. Bronek Kozicki Silver badge

          Re: The problem is, usually Linus is right

          Without her efforts you would not now have USB 3 in the kernel at all, you ungrateful prick

          all your points are valid, but this one. There would be USB3 support in Linux implemented and maintained by someone else, that's how it works. It might be latter and perhaps in worse (or better?) shape, but one thing is for sure - it would be there, eventually.

        3. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: The problem is, usually Linus is right

          " you ungrateful prick."

          So it's ok for you to use abusive language then?

        4. Paul Shirley

          Re: The problem is, usually Linus is right

          @Bazza "First, it was not "her responsibility", she is a volunteer. No one obliged her or paid her to do that work."

          The moment she accepted the role, she accepted responsibility to do the job right. To be clear: I'm *not* accusing her of not taking the work seriously, it's just ludicrous to suggest volunteering absolves people of responsibility. The world needs less 'volunteer' timewasters.

          1. bazza Silver badge

            Re: The problem is, usually Linus is right

            @Paul Shirley,

            The moment she accepted the role, she accepted responsibility to do the job right.

            I have a problem with the use of the word "responsibility" in this discussion. Dictionary definitions are on the lines of "a duty or task one is required or expected to do" (Merriam Webster). Saying that a volunteer is responsible is not quite correct; they cannot be compelled to do the work, they can simply walk out. All you can hope for is that their contribution turns out to be beneficial.

            1. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

              Re: The problem is, usually Linus is right

              "Saying that a volunteer is responsible is not quite correct"

              As I understand it she was a sub-system maintainer. That is a responsible role. Being a volunteer does not absolve one of responsibility. My wife is a volunteer in a charity shop but she has a responsibility to put the cash into the till, not take it out.

            2. Lars Silver badge
              Linux

              Re: The problem is, usually Linus is right

              "All you can hope for is that their contribution turns out to be beneficial.". And what if it's not?.

              Do nothing about it, say nothing. I have seen and heard much worse during my 35 years as a programmer/systems analyst in the companies I worked for but those where all closed source. I would claim that people working with open source have the advantage of "bosses" who actually know what they are doing and demanding, and that is seldom the case in closed source companies. Did I ever have a boss with much any programming skills. This is not to say I like abusive "words" by anyone.

              Linus has my support all the same, not that it matters, of course.

        5. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

          Re: The problem is, usually Linus is right

          "Can you do that? Thought not."

          Pro tip: don't answer your own rhetorical questions.

        6. TonyJ Silver badge

          Re: The problem is, usually Linus is right

          Just got to your post, Bazza.

          Have an upvote.

        7. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: The problem is, usually Linus is right

          @bazza, have an upvote from me.

          The problem with an abusive style of communication is that it actually prevents collaboration and better solutions because it brings in emotions instead of reasoning, and it is a leadership issue to avoid such attitudes developing. Disagreement is no excuse for incivility, and that applies to electronic communications as much as face to face.

          I'd go further, if these people do not communicate the same way face to face then when online, they have a personality problem. That is impossible to fix other than yanking anyone offline that gets too much out of line.

        8. Vic

          Re: The problem is, usually Linus is right

          First, it was not "her responsibility", she is a volunteer. No one obliged her or paid her to do that work.

          From a feature on her,

          Where do you get your paycheck?

          I work in Intel's Open Source Technology Center,

          Vic.

        9. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          @bazza Re: The problem is, usually Linus is right

          Wrong!

          Look, she volunteered for the job, which means she has volunteered to take on the task and to step into the fire.

          So what was her motivation for taking on this task?

          (Hint: Use game theory)

          If she was ultimately naive and was truly altruistic... then she needs to get a bit of a reality check.

          More than likely she put her work on her CV and plans to gain from the experience.

          But Vorland was right. She was shite at her job.

        10. LucreLout Silver badge
          Pint

          Re: The problem is, usually Linus is right

          @bazza

          Second, are you saying that personal insults amount to valid technical criticism? In that case, here's some valid technical criticism for you: you're a fuckwit.

          ROFL. Now that's funny.

          She's left, and given the reputation of the Linux community I can't say that I blame her at all. I'll thank her for her contribution, even if you won't.

          Thank you for your contribution, Sarah Sharp.

          Yeah, thanks Sarah. I've never used Linux myself, but those who give back to the community deserve gratitude and respect for their efforts. Virtual pint for you.

          Frankly, with Linus at the top of the pile, picking up "responsibility" for any kernel module seems to promise little in the way of glowing praise, thanks, etc, and guarantees a whole lot of unpleasantness. Who'd want that?

          Not me. I have my fill of egotistical asshats here at work. I certainly don't want to waste any of my own time dealing with them. That's not a comment aimed at Linus personally, but at that modus operandi. I lose my rag, but then I'm not asking the people I lose it with to deliver stuff for me for free. And I'm aware it's not the best way to behave (hands up perfect beings) and I'm working on doing it less.

        11. FatGerman

          Re: The problem is, usually Linus is right

          > afterall, Linus understands that ... shouting at ... does not magically give them 36 hours in the day.

          Actually I've worked for multiple morons who appears to believe *exactly* that. And I wish I was being facetious.

    5. Teiwaz Silver badge
      Joke

      Re: The problem is, usually Linus is right

      "Freedesktop people who wanted to get dbus into the Kernel"

      I wish they'd expend as much effort getting the Freedesktop Specification out of draft.

    6. NP-HARD
      Joke

      Re: The problem is, usually Linus is right

      The problem is, Torvalds quoted in lowercase.

      El Reg ought to start putting him in CAPS as standard.

    7. I. Aproveofitspendingonspecificprojects

      Re: The problem is Linus

      > The problem is, usually Linus is right. Without knowing what the issue is, there's no way to decide if that treatment was justified or not.

      If a good workerette has to resign because of abuse it is a major problem. Imagine working for someone with only one way of looking at things and being an absolute tosser with it. A US General in World War Two say. Plenty of example in that including Winston Sfb Churchill.

      There you are, a trainee just out of square bashing, led to believe you are just there to guard Sunny Sunday Beach in New South Wales and then you are given to Gormless Mac^rsehole to do with as he thinks fit. The next thing you are sent up to the approaches to Australia without anything like the training or equipment and have to fight some of the best soldiery ever invented.

      How do you courteously agree to disagree. Then there was the difficulty the US Navy had in finding Submarine Commanders who could do their job without complaining all the damned time. How many submarines do you think they got through before someone wearing admiralty trousers had the guts to say "They fail in the water!" to the torpedo manufacturers?

      If Linus Trovalds has difficulty in getting inferiors to supply superior code he should have a f*ck ing rethink the stooopid 2@

    8. werdsmith Silver badge

      Re: The problem is, usually Linus is right

      Welcome to the world of Linux. Supercilious, sanctimonious, holier-than-thou preachers R Us.

      One day these self-absorbed superstars in their own world will realise that they are just Comic Book Guy from the Simpsons and the penny will drop that these ugly smelly fat bastards are the precise thing that is holding Linux back. Seriously, who in the "normal" world wants to be associated with these pigs?

  3. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Can't stand the heat

    Talk about one of the most frustrating jobs in existance !! This is bleeding edge everything with a public ready to ponce on the sllghtest error. Of course people are going to get frustrated, it's almost in the nature of the job itslef....

    I have worked for some shitty people but the ones with which I got the most done were the shittiest... I do not know why. It might also be in my own temperament...

    I have never been forced to continue under anything but my own desire and when it was time to leave I left..... No point in complaining because it wouldn't have changed anything...

    I really do not understand what this person is complaing about, she had the choice to leave, she left, where's the problem. She can always start her own business or work for someone else, that's what's good about our society....

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: I really do not understand what this person is complaing about

      Says a lot more about you than it does about her.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: I really do not understand what this person is complaing about

        "Says a lot more about you than it does about her."

        If that is the case then please enlighten me with your wisdom without spouting some Politically Correct nonsense.

        The world is not full of roses and pink cadillacs, it's a far tougher place than many would like us believe.... The school of hard knocks is not a choice if you wish to make a place for yourself.

        Look at Linus, he has managed to make an amazing system, do you really believe it would have been better if he had taken the velvet gloved approache, I very much doubt it....

        For those that don't like Linus types, they always have the choice to do their own thing, where is the problem with that...

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: If that is the case then please enlighten me with your wisdom

          without spouting some Politically Correct nonsense.

          You're a dick, un-pc enough for you?

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: If that is the case then please enlighten me with your wisdom

            "You're a dick, un-pc enough for you?"

            !!!

          2. I. Aproveofitspendingonspecificprojects

            Re: If that is the case then please enlighten me with your wisdom

            > You're a dick, un-pc enough for you?

            I think that is the answer without being the answer. "You are a dick for allowing people to abuse you and a dick for thriving on the occasional forking."

            FTFY.

            1. Anonymous Coward
              Anonymous Coward

              Re: If that is the case then please enlighten me with your wisdom

              I think that is the answer without being the answer. "You are a dick for allowing people to abuse you and a dick for thriving on the occasional forking."

              I'm too sensitive. Finding "dick" and "fork" in the same sentence creates images that will haunt me for days. I need help, clearly :)

              1. werdsmith Silver badge

                Re: If that is the case then please enlighten me with your wisdom

                Is she even complaining? She is a talented dev, and she doesn't have to put up with this shit.

                So she doesn't.

                1. sabroni Silver badge

                  Re: If that is the case then please enlighten me with your wisdom

                  Indeed. If you read the post that this article is about she comes across as perfectly sensible. She didn't like the environment she was working in so she left the project to go somewhere else. Seems reasonable. Why shouldn't she, on her own blog, explain why?

                  1. Vic

                    Re: If that is the case then please enlighten me with your wisdom

                    Indeed. If you read the post that this article is about she comes across as perfectly sensible

                    Well, I'm not going to try to claim some sort of encyclopaedic knowledge here, but from my cursory examination of the spat, she actually appears to be the perpetrator of those behaviours she finds abhorrent...

                    Vic.

        2. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: I really do not understand what this person is complaing about

          The world is not full of roses and pink cadillacs, it's a far tougher place than many would like us believe

          .. which is enough of an argument not to make it worse. I learned through experience (which, by the way, included plenty of "hard knocks") that it is FAR better to avoid hostility and personal conflict of you want to get results. Honesty, yes, but also respect for other people - a tech discussion should be kept at a level where technical arguments matter, not who can abuse the others best.

          If you cannot hold a discussion without lowering yourself to insult and invective you are in effect admitting you have any decent facts to bring to the discussion. You're also admitting you have such a weak personality you cannot honestly admit to that and live with it, which is commonly known as being a prick (with apologies to the ladies in the audience, but I don't believe in calling a spade a horticultural soil moving implement).

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: I really do not understand what this person is complaing about

            If you cannot hold a discussion without lowering yourself to insult and invective you are in effect admitting you have any decent facts to bring to the discussion

            If you cannot hold a discussion without lowering yourself to insult and invective you are in effect admitting you don't have any decent facts to bring to the discussion.

            Apologies for the confusion, and I can't even blame auto-incorrect for it...

        3. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: enlighten me with your wisdom

          Ok. You can't understand why someone doesn't like someone else's behaviour. This shows you lack empathy, the ability to imagine how other people are feeling. This leaves you isolated in a world full of people who behave in ways you can't understand, they seem upset when you explain what idiots they are, they don't want to talk to you despite the fact you know you're brilliant and they seem to enjoy each others company whilst avoiding yours. This means that you'll never manage to achieve as much as you could because you can only collaborate with others who lack empathy like you, instead of the full range of people available. You write this off because most people are clearly inferior to you, but deep down inside you know full well that actually it's you that has the problem. Rather than act on this you just lash out at the world and all the stupid emotional people in it. If only people were more like your beloved computers...

          Is that clearer?

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: enlighten me with your wisdom

            "Is that clearer?"

            A little bit but not much....Unfortunately you appear to have gone to extremes where there are none...

            Linus lashes out at people, at the same time he is obviously very emotional, so in which position would you put him.. He is a shouty, sometimes very unliked person and yet manages to get things done, which kinda contradicts your argument.

            Publically calling someone a Dick : remind us what it is you wanted to say about abusive, obnoxious people.

  4. ATeal

    2 things

    1) There are other pictures of Linus, seriously. 1) There are other pictures of Linus, seriously.

    2) I once got a 30 day ban from SO for calling someone a tard and telling them to RTFM (because it was in the manual, I checked that first so I don't look like a tard) so "be nice" policies can go to far, however having read some of the stuff (recent stuff) there just now I can sort of see her point. I don't want to get offended for people but I can't imagine they're like "lol you called me a [redacted] [censored] [censored] - thanks for including me you [censored]" and taking it in good faith, especially at first.

    I also watched a GCC talk once and the guy who wrote the inliner once made it to aggressive (so large binaries resulted) and he has to get there first with "Linus once called me a [horrible name, fucker or fucking something IIRC]" before someone else mentioned it. He didn't look like "Ah, good times" were the kind of memories these were. This GCC thing predates the policy but you see my point.

    1. sabroni Silver badge

      Re: I once got a 30 day ban from SO for calling someone a tard

      Good. You're supposed to post helpful stuff on there. "It's here in the manual" is helpful, "You're a tard for not looking in the manual" isn't.

      1. LDS Silver badge

        Re: I once got a 30 day ban from SO for calling someone a tard

        I left SO when it was flooded by people who believe it is a replacement for manuals, tutorials and the online help system. Being a beginner is OK, being someone too lazy to look for easy to find info is not.

        Being polite with them is useless. They won't in exchange, and they are usually the selfish arrogant type, and if you allow them, they will soon become the majority...

        Some people listen and you can easily discuss issues with. Other won't, and you can only enforce things the hard way. When you're in charge, and issues are your responsibility externally, you can't always be polite - unless you like to take the blame (and whatever comes with it) for someone's else known mistakes - as Seneca said, "errare humanum est, perserverare diabolicum"

        1. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

          Re: I once got a 30 day ban from SO for calling someone a tard

          Manuals, tutorials and online help systems are sometimes badly written. A forum request might not necessarily be a request for what TFM says but for an explanation of what it means.

          1. GrumpenKraut Silver badge
            Mushroom

            Re: I once got a 30 day ban from SO for calling someone a tard

            I suppose the post you are answering to is about people who flatly refuse to learn, don't make any attempt to solve the problem, and keep asking the same things over and over. These people create noise, waste everybody's time, and tend to make actual contributors leave. To hell with them!

            The above is true for every community project, real life or on the interwebs.

            Swearing may not be the right response but is IMHO very understandable. Ignoring the time wasters seems better, but at some point one needs to "help" them to leave.

        2. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: I once got a 30 day ban from SO for calling someone a tard

          Being polite with them is useless. They won't in exchange

          I consider decent behaviour an indication of good upbringing and social values, not something that requires reciprocation. I also reserve the right to step aside from that upbringing when the situation warrants it, but the answer to incivility is not incivility - it is to remain civil and let the contrast do its job.

          Having said that, I would agree with you and with the lady departing that there is no argument for suffering people with personality disorders. If someone chooses to behave like a 4 year old on a sugar diet I reserve the right to choose not to listen to it, I have better things to do with my time and yes, I'm one of the few that will seek to help a newcomer. I happen to remember that I was once one too, and I consider helping someone else a way to repay that kindness.

          Yes, I'm old. Clearly those are not modern values, sorry.

        3. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: I once got a 30 day ban from SO for calling someone a tard

          errare humanum est, perserverare diabolicum

          To err is human, to make people look up Latin is diabolical? :)

  5. Gene Cash Silver badge

    /. dug up some interesting dirt

    The first comment details where she starts swearing at Torvalds & co because of some jokes between Linus and Greg KH.

    http://linux.slashdot.org/comments.pl?sid=8123533&cid=50664697

    So it looks like a case of pot calling the kettle black.

    1. Old Handle
      Thumb Up

      5 Interesting

      I had mixed feelings on this story from the beginning, but after that background, I'm getting the distinct impression she's one of those people who just loves at get offended. All else being equal I would prefer not to work with foul-mouthed aggressive types, but the perpetually offended are worse, both in terms of my personal annoyance level, and in how much disruption they cause.

    2. Craigness

      Re: /. dug up some interesting dirt

      So she's abusive and supports abusers (block bot and Adria Richards). Exactly what I would have expected to see. Women In Tech (TM) are toxic, but women in tech are cool.

      1. sabroni Silver badge

        Re: /. dug up some interesting dirt

        No, she said that "You may need to learn to shout at people." was "*fucking* uncool". That's not interesting dirt, it's a perfectly reasonable statement.

        1. Vic

          Re: /. dug up some interesting dirt

          No, she said that "You may need to learn to shout at people." was "*fucking* uncool". That's not interesting dirt, it's a perfectly reasonable statement.

          No, I don't think so. It would appear to be an escalation of the situation.

          If you don't like people being told they need to shout[1], starting to swear at them is inappropriate.

          Vic.

          [1] Even if you do take that bit entirely out of context. In the original context, it was merely a jokey way of telling Greg KH that he needed to be more willing to reject code he didn't like, rather than fixing it himself every time...

  6. Quortney Fortensplibe

    Comments Which Were Borderline Sexist and Homophobic

    Silly girl. Forgot to play the "Racist" card too.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Comments Which Were Borderline Sexist and Homophobic

      LOL - upvote for trying to throw some extra fuel on the fire :).

  7. pewpie
    WTF?

    I believe I am being emotionally honest when I say: What a fuckin pussy.

    Seriously though - this makes zero sense and if the guy/gal is some kind of fundamentalist then tbh the project is better off without them anyway.

    1. stanimir

      Couple years back she was quote saying (and she got decent publicity)[2]:

      Not *fucking* cool. Violence, whether it be physical intimidation, verbal threats or verbal abuse is not acceptable. Keep it professional on the mailing lists.[0]

      On the mailing list she was the 1st to drop the effing bomb and her reaction was about some joke about a guy being intimidatingly big.

      On the same list (a week earlier) there she goes again: Bullshit. I've seen you be polite, and explain to clueless maintainers...[1]

      Obviously she got her own agenda and preferences but reminds pot/kettle and all.

      Also reminds me the notorious: curse is the language programmers are very fluent at and she makes no exception, not Linus league, though.

      [0]: http://lkml.org/lkml/2013/7/23/107

      [1]: http://lkml.org/lkml/2013/7/15/427

      [2]: http://arstechnica.com/information-technology/2013/07/linus-torvalds-defends-his-right-to-shame-linux-kernel-developers/

    2. John 110

      "... if the guy/gal is some kind of fundamentalist ..."

      And here I was just thinking how refreshing it was for somebody to NOT be fundamentalist about their reasons for leaving a project.

  8. Gene Cash Silver badge

    I prefer honesty

    I really prefer someone to say "oh jesus ***** hopping **** on a **** horse, that's some truly shitty code" when it is.

    Because then when they go "ok, that's some decent code, we'll take that" then it MEANS something.

    I grew up in one of those stupid grade schools where you got trophies because the teachers liked you, not because you did well, and after years of being a "D" student I got a trophy because I scored high in some meaningless "color the random bubble" test. I was so embarrassed to collect that cheap piece of marble-substitute with an aluminum plaque on front and a plastic star on top that hadn't even had all the casting flash removed.

    She sounds like she actually believed those trophies were for real. Sad.

    1. SolidSquid

      Re: I prefer honesty

      That's not really what she's complaining about though, she actually praises the technical standards, her complaint is the lack of respect between the kernel managers and the people contributing code. Rather than "oh jesus ***** hopping *** on a *** horse, that's some truly shitty code", which you said yourself is a personal preference, you could instead point out "X and y don't work, there's bugs in Z and you haven't followed the style guide". It's a hell of a lot more useful than just calling it shitty code, and means that people who are contributing the code are going to know a) what's wrong and b) what standard they're expected to meet with the code, both of which they can then go and fix. It isn't a choice limited to "allow broken code into the code base" or "curse out anyone who's code you find a bug in", you can turn down code without getting personal

      1. DropBear Silver badge
        Devil

        Re: I prefer honesty

        " It's a hell of a lot more useful than just calling it shitty code"

        Oh HELL no. That does convey "this is not good". What that doesn't convey at all is the very important message "this was supposed to be much better than that, you fucked up, get your damn shit straight because THIS IS NOT OK!"

  9. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Sarah would have been no better off in the commercial sector, Steve Jobs had an acid tongue and when someone at Microsoft shouted "duck" they didn't mean look at the pretty mallard; Bill Gates didn't suffer fools lightly either.

    At Oracle you just disappear and become a missing person never to be seen again.

    It's a bruising world out there, thick hides needed.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      As I understand it Sarah IS in the commercial sector in her day job, and doing just fine there.

    2. Sir Runcible Spoon Silver badge

      Abusive Managers

      I once suffered under an abusive manager - seemed to think that abusing his position of authority was effective at getting work done when all it actually achieved was raise the amount of perceived work done.

      After one particularly vile diatribe in a meeting (not aimed at me personally but it seriously offended my fine, thin-skinned, sensibilities) I stopped the guy in mid flow and told him exactly what I thought of him using his own kind of language - things that I'd heard people say about him etc. - if anything it was probably worse than what he had been doing.

      He was completely gob-smacked for about 10 seconds then just laughed. He never did it again to me or to anyone in my immediate vicinity, but he still did it.

      Some people just like to provoke others because they see strength in different ways, and standing up to them shows you have strength (in their eyes) and this actually earns their respect in a twisted kind of way.

      The hard part is responding in such a way as to avoid constant abuse, but not to devolve your own sense of self at the same time.

      The bonus was that I earned a lot of respect from the other managers and ended up with the guys job in the end - it seems he went too far with the CEO one day because he couldn't help himself and got caught up with his own hype.

      1. Teiwaz Silver badge

        Re: Abusive Managers

        Sounds a bit playground to me...

        "Some people just like to provoke others because they see strength in different ways, and standing up to them shows you have strength."

        I came to a similar conclusion about abusive behaviour at school. It was only when I stopped being ignoring or avoiding the abusive little scrotums and laid into them a bit that I got any respect.

        I only wish it was a lesson I learnt earlier in life. School and family were no help at all. It was far from the best way to deal with the situation, but when your young you sometimes just don't know there are any options at all other than put up with it or try to maim your oppressors.

        Come to think of it, interpersonal communication should be on the syllabus, it's clearly not built into the species as well as we think.

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Abusive Managers

        I'm working with people who never finish their work, write dreadful code - the less they can, and just wait for someone else to finish, fix, and improve their work out of desperation for an upcoming release.

        They can do that because those in charge of product management and HR don't care because after all the releases are ready and customer satisfied enough - thereby, to avoid any "issue" with unions and the like, they pretend everything is OK. They don't get the slightest reprimand, so why should they start to work really? Asking them politely to finish their tasks in time, and with good quality? They reply politely "sure, no problem...." - and then keep on as they like.

        Just I have people who are stealing their salary, and others who are working more than they should because others are exploiting them. The environment is becoming dreadful, someone left - and they weren't of course those doing little bad work. Others have enough, but are too worried to express what they think. But the stress is taking a toll on them.

        I have enough too, and I started to express what I think loud and clear... sorry, you can't exploit me beyond a threshold... and I'm usually a guy very willingly to help, explain and share knowledge.

        1. Sir Runcible Spoon Silver badge

          Re: Abusive Managers

          @AC Your health is worth more than any job - the writing is on the wall and you know what you have to do.

          It's a bit like swimming in an unheated pool - get in quickly and get moving and you will feel ok soon enough. Get yourself another job, your heart will thank you.

        2. FatGerman

          Re: Abusive Managers

          @AC I know exactly how you feel. Get out. Don't think about it, don't question it, just get out. And If the next job is just as bad, then change your career completely. It's nowhere near as scary or difficult as it seems from where you are now. I did it, and I have never regretted it for one second.

  10. J J Carter Silver badge
    Linux

    Get the teas in, pet!

  11. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    From a user

    to also quote from Bill and Ted - "party on dudes"

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: to quote from Bill and Ted

      Grow the fuck up. What sort of a dick puts "Be excellent to each other" in a code of conduct? That's about as meaningful as "Don't be evil".....

      1. Teiwaz Silver badge
        Thumb Up

        Re: to quote from Bill and Ted

        "What sort of a dick puts "Be excellent to each other" in a code of conduct?"

        Probably the sort of 'dick' who was at an impressionable age (i.e 14-19 between '87 and '91) when the movie in question was first released, and has fond memories of it despite it and them both aging badly.

        End of Bogus ruined it for me, Primus were more life changing than the awfully corny plastic rock they ended up being...

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: to quote from Bill and Ted

          The kind of person who is likely a technical genius and has spear headed an entire operating system and community over the last 20 odd years.

        2. Wilseus

          Re: to quote from Bill and Ted

          "Primus were more life changing than the awfully corny plastic rock they ended up being..."

          I'm a big fan of many kinds of alternative rock, but I've never really "got" Primus, none of their stuff I have heard has done anything for me.

        3. Craigness

          Re: to quote from Bill and Ted

          It's better than github's "be excellent to each other but if they're white you don't have to be" code of conduct.

      2. Fibbles

        Re: to quote from Bill and Ted

        One of the most successful technologists on the planet?

  12. jake Silver badge

    It's called "hospital humor"

    Suggestion to Sharp: Watch M*A*S*H, start to finish. The Movie through the final farewell. Then volunteer in a real ER for a week or three, or a 24-hour Vet clinic that does late-night "HBC"[0] cases.

    Blowing off steam is important in any high-stress environment. It happens everywhere, you can't get away from it. Usually it's just amongst peers who grok. Unfortunately, the kernel mailing list is available to anybody, most of whom don't understand this simple truth.

    Me, I shrug it off if I don't see the humor. Throwing a hissy-fit is pointless.

    [0] "Hit By Car"

    1. Sir Runcible Spoon Silver badge
      Trollface

      Re: It's called "hospital humor"

      There are two types of blowing off steam (abuse) here, see if you can spot the difference..

      [1] "Fuck me, this code you wrote is a pile of shite. What were you doing when you wrote this, grooming your dog or something? Take this piece of crap, shove it up your arse and come back when you've done something useful we can use!"

      [2]"You fucking tool, I can't think why I bothered to get a skinny-arsed fuckwit like you involved in writing code - a fucking monkey could code better than you. Get out of my sight you stupid twat and come back when you're not on the blob!"

      Both are unpleasant, but I would see [1] as blowing off steam and [2] as personal abuse.

      1. jake Silver badge

        @Sir Runcible Spoon (was: Re: It's called "hospital humor")

        Both of your examples are ad homenem.

        I didn't invite you into my my mailing list, you fuckwit, you volunteered.

        1. Sir Runcible Spoon Silver badge
          Coat

          Re: @Sir Runcible Spoon (was: It's called "hospital humor")

          I did volunteer, and it was probably fuckwitted of me too, but although both of my examples are abusive and 'ad homenem[sic]' I thought there was a difference.

          [1] Aimed the abuse at the work the person was doing, it didn't call the other person names (although the bit about the dog grooming came close ;) )

          [2] Clearly called the person names

          I will admit to writing them quickly so may have blurred the lines a little bit, but I'm almost certain you were aware of the difference and just took the opportunity to try and put me down.

          Well, it worked, I am off for a good cry and a hug followed by a large cup of hot chocolate. My day is ruined. I hope you feel happy now.

          1. jake Silver badge

            Re: @Sir Runcible Spoon (was: It's called "hospital humor")

            "ad homenem[sic]"

            Left-right dyslexia. Deal with it. I do.

            "blurred the lines a little bit"

            A LITTLE BIT? Enjoy your cry. It won't help.

            1. Sir Runcible Spoon Silver badge
              Happy

              Re: @Sir Runcible Spoon (was: It's called "hospital humor")

              ooh - look at Mr Grumpy..you just need a good tickle, that will sort you out (and there was me thinking you were just being ironic).

              Go on, crack a smile you old bugger :)

              1. Anonymous Coward
                Anonymous Coward

                Re: @Sir Runcible Spoon (was: It's called "hospital humor")

                Hey, Sir Runcible, here's a better example for Jake.

                1. Jake is a obnoxious little cunt, who seems to think he knows everything but actually knows fuck all about anything. He's says he done everything, but has been shit at everything. His only relief is to post his utter fucktardiness on the Reg comments section, because his life is a shallow mess and it makes him feel bigger. Unlike his cock which is the size of a baby's little finger.

                2. There is no two.

                Note, I haven't commented on his code quality at all. But it's shit.

      2. Craigness

        Re: It's called "hospital humor"

        Nobody would deny that it's possible to be mean on the internet. Problem is, it was Sarah herself that was mean, rude and wrong.

        http://linux.slashdot.org/comments.pl?sid=8123533&cid=50664697

  13. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    At some point I might resign from my job

    ...although I like it right now. But if I do, what I won't do is then write a bleating self-centered passive-aggressive blog post post about it because "it's important the Internet knows about my pain". Why didn't she just email Torvalds and get on with her life?

    And some of the commentators are just as laughably self-centred as she is: "As the father of three smart, motivated Daughters, thank you also for being a voice for change" wrote one of them - well thanks for reproducing and thanks especially taking the time to let us know about how clever your offspring are.

    1. richard?

      Re: At some point I might resign from my job

      But your job is paid - the only thing she received for the Linux work was kudos and publicity.

      So when she quit, she followed the same pattern. Much as Torvalds does himself - don't say much, but if necessary say it in a way to get maximum exposure.

      1. Fibbles

        Re: At some point I might resign from my job

        She was paid by Intel to work on the kernel.

      2. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

        Re: At some point I might resign from my job

        "Much as Torvalds does himself - don't say much, but if necessary say it in a way to get maximum exposure."

        If you read even a little of the kernel mailing list you'll find that he has a lot to say only a tiny proportion of which makes the headlines.

  14. wolfetone Silver badge

    Once I wrote and recorded a song and put it on MySpace - it's still there - and a few people liked it, a few people didn't. A few people commented along the lines of "er this is f**king sh*t you f**king gay" etc etc. The feedback was hurtful, and I never released a song again. Fast forward 10 years, some bloke called Ed Sheeran is doing the same stuff I was doing 10 years ago and everyone's kissing his arse, but that's by the by.

    Anyway, feedback is feedback and the choice of language is neither here nor there. The problem comes from how the feedback is read, understood and accepted. Like the person who drops the F bomb could be incredibly stressed out or frustrated with something, the person reading the comment could be particularly fragile that moment (like I was with my music).

    Thing is, coarse language is a part of language, so it's only right it should be used.

    1. sabroni Silver badge

      re: coarse language is a part of language, so it's only right it should be used.

      That's some quality logic right there.

      1. MassiveBob

        Re: re: coarse language is a part of language, so it's only right it should be used.

        coarse code is a part of code, so it's only right it should be used.

    2. SolidSquid

      Just cause someone is stressed or frustrated, doesn't mean they should be taking it out on other people, and doesn't mean the person they take it out on should be expected to just take it quietly. Ironically I'd say your example shows exactly the problem with this approach, how many good programmers have gone through the equivalent of what you did with your music and abandoned making contributions? How many more people could have been contributing solid code and improving the Linux kernal, or improving other open source projects, but aren't because they got abuse when they tried to?

    3. Yugguy

      Creme Brulee?

      It's a shit business.

  15. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    "Thing is, coarse language is a part of language, so it's only right it should be used."

    Therefore Trident is part of our military equipment, so we should use it to bomb Syria.

  16. This post has been deleted by its author

  17. DropBear Silver badge
    FAIL

    "I finally realized that I could no longer contribute to a community where I..."

    That's an awful lot of "I"s in that paragraph. Good riddance taking your fragile ego to be pampered somewhere else lady, and don't let the door hit you on the way out.

    1. James Hughes 1

      Hmm, the number of I's seems to be appropriate for the sentence. What's your point?

  18. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    ITT

    Lots of folks with opinions who likely aren't even important or good enough to receive this kind of abuse.

    1. Teiwaz Silver badge
      Devil

      Re: ITT

      > "aren't even important or good enough to receive this kind of abuse."

      Reminds me of the jail scene from 'Life of Brian'

      "You lucky, lucky b*st*rd. I dream of being spat at in the face"

  19. Mario Becroft
    Meh

    It runs both ways

    Having met Linus personally and witnessed him bear the brunt of an emotional outburst with utmost civility and grace... I can say there is more to the man than what some of you see.

    Some of his quotes are taken out of context, e.g. "I don't care about you" was couched in a context that did not represent a personal attack.

    I think he has acknowledged that he could work on his communications style, but to him integrity of the kernel development process always comes first. A position I can respect if not always agree with fully.

  20. Paul Smith

    Pretty simple really

    Abusive is about the person and not what they did. It is never useful or productive.

    She's a pussy - abusive because it is about her. He's a 'tard - abusive because it is about him. She's lovely - potentially abusive because it is about her even though it could be considered complimentary. It really is getting very close to 'she is a great fuck' which is clearly abusive.

    That code is f*cking shit - robust but not abusive because it is not about the person. The kernel group considers abusive behaviour acceptable and that is why I and a great many people I know have no interest in participating. If you want to call my code shit. That is fine, but you had better be able to defend your position. If you want to call me shit, you can fuck off.

  21. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Good news

    Natual selection is at least still alive in some areas of human existence. Maybe someone will fork Polite Linux and we'll see whch evolves and which dies.

  22. BlindProgrammer

    Nobody has the right to avoid offence

    It's childish in the extreme to suggest anybody has some kind of concrete never to be offended by anything they read either online or anywhere else. Sure we have rules about how to communicate, both specifically laid down in black and white, like in the workplace, and by unspoken cultural rules. But constantly striving to remove all sources of offence from every scrap of media is a dangerous and stupid expectation. Sure Linus and the other devs are sometimes rude and aggressive, just like the world

    1. sysconfig

      Re: Nobody has the right to avoid offence

      How did you come up with that headline? Of course she can choose not to expose herself any longer to abusive behaviour by certain people, which is exactly what she did.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Nobody has the right to avoid offence

      Again I have to point out - US law does not yet apply to the rest of the world, and if you try and apply its overreach of the First Amendment in many other countries you may get convicted of assault or worse (in Saudi, they might hang you and then chop your head off.)

      In the UK we do actually have the legal right not to be subjected to offensive (threatening or intimidating behaviour) behaviour. De minimis non curat lex applies, but the courts will consider the power relation (i.e. it is more of an offence if a superior verbally abuses an inferior.)

      I realise that this is a US case and US law applies, but your blanket statement would probably be disagreed with by far more people in the world than agreed with it.

  23. Rick Giles
    Trollface

    Do you think....

    He told her to go fork her own version?

  24. lukewarmdog
    Mushroom

    all moot

    I wouldn't work somewhere where people were abusive to me about my work. Not even if they paid me. On my way out I'd drag HR and the lawyers in to it.

    To assume someone should accept that in a voluntary position is just fooling yourself that they'll stay.

    And to anyone saying she is being a bit thin-skinned, it really doesn't matter, the law matters and when it catches up, which it will, she'll be a thin skinned volunteer with the law on her side. She walked away, she isn't the one to worry about. The one to worry about is the person who is collecting a dossier of all those abusive emails with an eye on suing you and taking your business off you when the law does catch up.

    1. Tom 7 Silver badge

      Re: all moot

      Now that is some serious abuse - the manipulation thing at the end.

      The most abusive person I have ever met never swore, never used physical or verbal violence but made Nurse Ratched look like an angel. When confronted he would produce reams of documentation of minor infarctions by others - largely imagined but enough real to give it credence. To call him a seriously fucking evil tosser would be a complement.

      Much prefer a bit of verbal abuse with a sorry later (if deserved). Overdone PC ishness is a bit like overcleanliness - leads to intellectual asthma and is not healthy.

      1. Craigness

        Re: all moot

        > When confronted he would produce reams of documentation of minor infarctions by others

        Microaggressions! For when you're not being victimised but it would be convenient if you were.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: all moot

      Personally, I'm with you re "I wouldn't work somewhere where people were abusive to me about my work" but "On my way out I'd drag HR and the lawyers in to it" is just being resentful i.e. expressing a desire to hurt someone out of spite. That's small.

      As to the legal aspects to which you allude; do you really think that opinions that are disagreeable to _you_ should be illegal? Or is it just the choice of words; would "I believe that you're profoundly wrong" be legal, and "You're a Belgian" be illegal? Same opinion, different words.

      (No offence intended towards Belgians - it's a H2G2 ref)

  25. Frumious Bandersnatch Silver badge

    So is this all about a clash of personalities?

    Or is this genuinely about improving the culture of kernel development so that it attracts and retains more high-quality volunteers?

    Not being privy to what really goes on in kernel dev circles or what has gone on before between these two, I can't really say for sure. All I can say is that it seems that this is more about personalities and egos than the other option.

    Remembering the great George Carlin, I'd compare Linus to Joe Pesci. To quote: "he looks like a guy who can get things done. Joe Pesci doesn't fuck around. In fact, Joe Pesci came through on a couple of things that God was having trouble with."

    Basically, with Linus, you know what you're getting. It's not his job to make you a fulfilled and happy person. At worst, that attitude shows when he berates someone in public for what he thinks is sloppy work. Is that excessive? I don't know, but on the whole I think he's "harsh but fair".

    Sarah Sharp, on the other hand, is pretty much an unknown quantity. She seems to be quitting on some sort of principle, that the inner circle of kernel developers "spew whatever vile words they needed" to "maintain radical emotional honesty". I don't know what's so bad about "radical emotional honesty" (whatever that's supposed to mean), but whatever her real reason, she's painting it as her struggle to make things better for everyone.

    Honestly, though, I don't buy that. I really think that what's playing out here is a sort of power struggle. I think that Sarah wants to be on top, but that job is taken. She wants recognition and validation of her ego, but instead of admitting that (and also that this particular job simply can't fulfil her in the way she wants), she just hides behind the passive-aggressive strategy of claiming that she's doing it for everyone, so that the kernel devs won't be mean to anyone.

    So I don't know her and maybe I'm judging her to harshly, but I'm only basing this on what she has said. She's not complaining that anyone is bullying her personally or making snide comments behind her back. On the face of it, she does claim to be doing what she's doing for other people. I'm not unsympathetic to her role as a crusader against some institutionalised "bad behaviour" (been there), but I'm siding more with Joe Pesci on this one and I think that she could do with a touch more (not less) "radical emotional honesty."

    1. Donkey Molestor X

      Re: So is this all about a clash of personalities?

      > So is this all about a clash of personalities?

      I searched for movie Joe Pesci's commits in github but I couldn't find any. He might have seemed successful because he's typecast in movies as a certain type of personality. Those particular personality traits didn't do his characters any good in the end in "Goodfellas" or "Casino", quite the opposite really.

    2. Vic

      Re: So is this all about a clash of personalities?

      Sarah Sharp, on the other hand, is pretty much an unknown quantity

      Not any more.

      Prior to this, you'd probably only know of her if you'd had USB3 dealings in Linux. But now she's made this big bold statement, people have been looking into her. And it's not gone well...

      Vic.

  26. Frumious Bandersnatch Silver badge

    another analogy comes to mind

    Back in the early days of the "sudden enlightenment" schools of Zen, it wasn't uncommon for a master to whack a student over the head, resulting in the student finally "getting it". I guess these days we might talk about a metaphorical "clue stick", though modern sensibilities simply wouldn't condone the actions of the master at all. Does that make it wrong, though?

  27. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Margaret Heffernan did an excellent TED talk on the value of social capital in creative businesses, and in that mentioned that it's when you have high social capital that people become more open and honest and then you get the best results.

    That kind of environment can be difficult for a new person or certain personality types to handle, but overall I think it's a good thing.

    The Reg comments are a similarly blunt environment, and I like them for it. It's so _refreshing_ not to have to mince words.

  28. Robert 31

    Why is it so hard to demarcate (in both the giving and receiving) technical from personal criticism? Are we babies here?

    1. James Hughes 1

      Seems to me that a lot of people commenting here are doing exactly that.

      From my reading., she is not worried about being told off for technical issues, but for the more personal insults that are accompanying them.

      I don't like being slagged for bad code, but will go away and fix it (if I think it needs doing!), but a raft of personal insults? No way am I (or anyone else) should stand for that.

  29. PiltdownMan

    Torvalds is a dinosaur (personally)

    I've had idiot bosses who are so lame, their only recourse was to shout at staff. VERY unprofessional.

    I've had bad bosses shout at me before now, I just laughed in their face and walked out.

    It amounts to bullying. NO ONE has the right to bully me!!!

    Torvalds is a clearly a BAD manager, and has been promoted beyond his capabilities. Stick him back in a locked room so that he can carry on working his Linuxy magic, but have no contact with real people.

    1. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

      Re: Torvalds is a dinosaur (personally)

      "Torvalds is a clearly a BAD manager, and has been promoted beyond his capabilities."

      Did you forget the joke icon? It's his abilities that have put him where he is. The similarity between "Linus" and "Linux" isn't a coincidence.

      But the consequence is that the culture of the project is what he makes it. If you don't accept the culture don't be part of the project.

      1. James Hughes 1

        Re: Torvalds is a dinosaur (personally)

        I think he probably is a bad manager.

        One can only wonder how far the kernel would have come had he been a good manager, considering how well it has succeeded even given the current shenanigans.

        1. WatAWorld

          Re: Torvalds is a dinosaur (personally)

          If Torvalds would have been any good as a manager or human being Linux would have 65% market share and Windows would have 1.6% market share, instead of vice versa.

          The best thing Torvalds could do for Linux and the industry is to step back to the roll of technical architect or some other such job title.

        2. Craigness

          Re: Torvalds is a dinosaur (personally)

          > One can only wonder...

          The product would be awful but the mailing lists would be a welcoming, inclusive hugbox with puppies and ball pits.

          > Linux would have 65% market share...

          That's down to the marketing and the UI of the desktop environment. Blame GNOME and Debian, not Linus.

  30. Esme

    Whilst I'm not in favour of overly 'politically correct' anything, I don't think that there's any justification for needlesly aggressive behaviour in work situations. I'm pretty sure that a great many folk around the world work in high-stress jobs either continuosly or intermittently (mine is intermittently so), and given that most companies have strict rules about not being abusive to colleagues, it seems a fair bet that most people manage to handle those jobs without abusing their colleagues. As someone above pointed out, it's perfectly possible to be honest and blunt about coworkers work whilst remaining reasonably polite.

    As for Linus - I only see what gets reported in places like El Reg and Linux Format. Some of those reports have made me wince about as hard as reading of what Steve Ballmer did when he was top dog at MS. I wouldn't want to work alongside people talking like that even if I had the skills (which I absolutely do not have) to contribute to Linux . Which is a shame. Mind you, at least Linus is a damned good coder, by all reports, which is more than could be said for Mr Balmer.

  31. bell

    At some point there is more to your contribution than your code

    It seems to me that the issue here is not only (or even mainly) about how developers are treated on the kernel developer community. It is about maintainers and reviewers being told how to treat others. Many people find it easy to tolerate watching people yell "You're an arsehole!" at each other. There are fewer, but still a significant number, who can cope with being told "You're an arsehole!" from time to time. It's a lot harder not to take it personally when you're told "Be an arsehole or fuck off!". No matter what we feel about the relationship between our code and our selves, how we interact with other people is very intrinsically us.

    The approach which many senior or long serving maintainers have found works for them ranges from abrupt through aggressive to ad hominem. The attitude seems to have gone from "It works for us, it will also work for you." to "If it's not working for you, it's because you aren't sufficiently like us.". So when claims are made (including by commentards above) that the USB 3.0 project wasn't producing as good a result as it could the criticism very quickly falls very personally on the maintainer.

  32. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Don't let the door hit you on the way out Sarah.

    I'm not surprised by this from what I've seen of Sarah's blog etc.

    She kept making out that everyone owed her a massive pat on the back for being paid by Intel for the USB3 sub-system doesn't work very well. She kept making out like she should some revered figure within the "Linux kernel team" but wasn't clued in enough to realise that A: there isn't really a team, there are just a bunch of people working on bits they care about or (as in Sarah's case) are paid to work on and Linus sometimes trusts people enough to make them gate keepers for an area he doesn't have time for or care enough about, B: If there was such a team continually making out that Linus (the guy at the top of the pile) was bad at his handling of people that he got constantly let down by was bad or in SJW language "toxic", "triggering", "twitter gave me PTSD" wouldn't help her chances of ranking up.

    1. Paul Smith
      Mushroom

      Re: Don't let the door hit you on the way out Sarah.

      And there in lies the problem.

      Instead of just saying that you think the USB3 sub-system should be better, you are making personal attacks on a person it is safe to assume you have never met.

      If you really think the USB3 sub-system should be better then it currently is, then why don't you fuck off and make it better then it currently is?

  33. Christian Berger Silver badge

    Let's look at what are facts here.

    She didn't specify what in particular pissed her off. That's a bit of a shame since it leaves things open to speculation, but it's obviously her right.

    Her note can be read here:

    http://sarah.thesharps.us/2015/10/05/closing-a-door/

    Some Slashdot commenter has tries to find the cause of it:

    http://linux.slashdot.org/comments.pl?sid=8123533&cid=50664697

    Apparently there was some bit of bantering discussing that people need to learn to say "no" to Patches, and that sometimes it might be necessary to "yell at people".

    She apparently interpreted this as violence, which I personally find way overblown.

    According to her website, Mrs Sharps has "been running Linux since 2003, and I’ve been a Linux kernel developer since 2006". So that's 12 years of Linux experience, no information on how long she's programming was given. Now unless she is a genius, which I cannot rule out, that's not a lot of time to learn how to develop software. I've been writing software professionally since 1997 and I'm slowly starting to write something that could be considered semi-good. So it's very likely that her code just may not have been very good. Most people write absolutely shitty code in their first decades of programming.

    The Linux Kernel is one of the most important software projects of this world, maybe not _the_ most important one, but certainly among the top 100. It is vital that this development happens in a rather safe environment. Any change needs to be considered carefully so nothing sub standard gets into the kernel. In a way it's like an operation room at a hospital. Though you may look into some through a window, you may not enter it unless you are medical personnel.

    Now imagine how a doctor would react if you were walking into the room during an operation with the expressed intent of messing around with the patient? It would seem very likely that most doctors would certainly get you kicked out, certainly by making one of the assistants push you out. When something greater is at danger, you are allowed to be rude.

    Linux faces a new problem. While in the past, not having enough programmers may have been a problem, we now have lots of people who want to write both user space and kernel code. In principle that wouldn't be bad. However just like children, developers need to have spaces where they can learn and fail. In my time this used to be Turbo Pascal and Delphi, where you wrote lots of shitty software. This is where the mountain of really bad legacy 1990s software comes from. Today that proving grounds are mostly apps, but unfortunately also the Linux user space. Just like in the 1990s it was not seen as a good idea to let those people loose at writing kernels or banking software, it's now probably not a good idea to simply let everybody mess with the mainline kernel or other important software projects. You need experienced people there. People who have learned from others.

  34. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Like Linus an Linux, dislike abuse

    Linus is a good guy. He should consider leading here by

    1) Apologizing regardless of the level of perceived abuse (even if there was none in reality);

    2) State that professional abuse is never to be tolerated and that all communication must be polite and respectful.

    People can agree to disagree and leave it at that.

    People have a tendency to be disrespectful on the internet and it detracts from the problem at hand.

  35. Henry Wertz 1 Gold badge

    It's fine...

    I think everything worked out OK. She can ask others to tone it down, but can't expect that everyone else must accommodate her apparent squeamishness about swearing. They didn't. She went on to work on some project that matches her collaboration style better.

    To those of you who seriously think everyone else should change -- that's a load of crap. Some people are uncomfortable with the swearing and blunt assessments. But, others are equally uncomfortable being expected to curb their tongue, be nice and understanding and respect others feelings at all times and... I can't even finish the sentence, it's so syrupy it's damn near making me sick.

    Really, there's plenty of projects so both types can have something to work on without trying to force other's behavior.

    1. zen1
      Coat

      Re: It's fine...

      "Some people are uncomfortable with the swearing and blunt assessments"

      Fuck em...

      KIDDING!!!! Getting my hat & coat

    2. Craigness

      Re: It's fine...

      "her apparent squeamishness about swearing" was not apparent in the thread where she entered the conversation by mischaracterising what was going on in the conversation as "violence" and complaining the behaviour was "Not *fucking* cool," which was apparently the first f-bomb in the thread.

      http://linux.slashdot.org/comments.pl?sid=8123533&cid=50664697

      To her credit, she didn't "seriously think everyone else should change" at this point:

      > Yeah, just try yelling at me about this. I'll roar right back, louder

      Linus...that MONSTER...ignored the abuse and praised her fortitude. What an awful manager!

      > Come to the dark side, Sarah. We have cookies.

      https://lkml.org/lkml/2013/7/15/374

  36. A13C

    Sarah Sharp and her ilk can go manipulate people to the depths of SJW PC hell.

    Hopefully they can drag Poettering with them too.

  37. zen1

    questionable

    three sides to every story, side a, side b and the truth. All of my experience in dealing with the UNIX development community is that they take serious pride in the end products they deliver, AND take whatever internal steps necessary to ensure all those involved offer the same level of output. Some may find those mechanisms distasteful or off-putting.

    Conversely, I followed the link to her web page and read her statement, in her own words. While I have never personally dealt with the likes of Linus or some of the more senior stake holders, I do realize their commitment and what they are both personally and professionally risking. Furthermore, her experience was communicated to the rest of the world through a set of subjective proper/improper observations.

    Abuse, as I've been always taught, is a form of neglect and/or torture, which is not normally something done to someone who's respected, be it professionally or personally. It sounds like she just didn't have much experience dealing with blunt people who may just have a caustic method communicating, especially while debating. And after reading through the groups she's been affiliated with, I'm wondering if she's not more of a quiet genius type who was never exposed to other types of genius, who simply didn't have any tact or social graces? Don't get me wrong, I'm not trying to trivialize her, her contribution to the project or her belief system, but, based on a little more of what I know about the situation, she just needs to realize that not everybody deals with conflict resolution the same way and maybe drop the histrionics.

  38. WatAWorld

    Torvalds is so abusive most companies wouldn't use Linux even when it was the only free OS.

    Torvalds is so abusive most companies and people wouldn't use Linux even when it was the only free OS.

    According to Netmarketshare.com Linus has not had more than 1.33% of the market in the past year.

    Linux has only 1/4 of the market share of the very expensive Mac OS.

    It is pathetic.

    And this is not because Linux is a bad OS; it is because the Linux organization treats people horribly.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Torvalds is so abusive most companies wouldn't use Linux even when it was the only free OS.

      Linux on the desktop is now 1.73% according to Net Applications (Sept 2015)

      Linux on Mobile is now 55%.

      Linux on internet servers is 63%.

      Linux on supercomputers is 99%.

      Torvalds abuse may be inappropriate, but that doesn't mean anyone in business will not use the product. He is just the inventor of an open source product and the integration lead. He can step down at any time.

      I think he should apologize and lead by saying workplace abuse is not to be tolerated.

      1. stanimir

        Re: Torvalds is so abusive most companies wouldn't use Linux even when it was the only free OS.

        You forgot tellies and routers which virtually -all- run linux as of now.

  39. DougS Silver badge

    Probably not going to help increase the tiny percentage of female kernel contributors

    I know for many techies this is sort of a "who cares, we want whoever is best and don't care whether they are male or female" but if the best in some cases is female but they can't abide by the boys-club environment then it is Linux that loses.

    1. Craigness

      Re: Probably not going to help increase the tiny percentage of female kernel contributors

      Linux would lose more if the SJW movement starts attacking the men, claiming women are oppressed, and demanding equal representation in commits. Just having women come in and demand Linux development become a more female space would be detrimental, because the way they make a space female is to institute "harassment policies" which are always used to harass people in the dominant race and gender groups when they refuse to bow to further demands.

  40. WatAWorld

    There are a lot of students posting here who think the workplace is like a Hollywood movie

    There are a lot of students posting here who think the workplace is like a Hollywood movie.

    No reputable workplace would keep a developer on, let alone a manager, let alone an executive, who throws out personal attacks and personal abuse even once the way Torvalds does on a monthly basis.

    The workplace is not like a Hollywood movie. We don't get mad, loose our heads, throw public tantrums, and insult people personally when they mess up.

    We focus on the issue and the problem, not the person.

    What you've seen in Hollywood movies and TV shows -- it isn't acceptable behaviour in first world offices, shops, military bases, etc.

  41. Ian Joyner

    Computers first - people last

    Alas this kind of attitude comes from those who put computers first and people last. I have frequently had arguments with so-called 'engineers' who want to squeeze the last CPU cycle out of a system, but will make a system more inconvenient for people to use to save cycles.

    Why we must keep stating the philosophy that computers are just tools for people to use, not the domain of hobbyists, hackers, and nerds.

    1. GrumpenKraut Silver badge

      Re: Computers first - people last

      The kernel of an(y) O/S is a prime example where every cycle counts. I have witnessed very many examples of behavior in the industry ("professional" as you say) that were infinitely more unkind than Linus ever was.

  42. msxx

    Sarcastaball

    I'm sorry to see this developer go but F/LOSS has never been a place of pink bunnies jumping around happily while playing with purple butterflies; you have to grow a thick skin (or rather thick leather) to be an active member of it, but even that it isn't as near as bad place as Sharp pretends it is. Maybe she's not aware how difficult life is everywhere.

    I'm not saying that it is okay to be jerk - nobody like pricks for sure - but rather that there are a lot of jerks in the community from which we can learn a lot so: deal with that, you can get offense and continue living in ignorance or learn how these people work and fetch the best out of them.

    Rather than being an unpleasing 'politically correct' place I suspect that the Kernel community is driven like a martial arts dojo - AND IT'S GREAT IT'S MANAGED THAT WAY because it's the only way to level up instead down leaving close to zero space for bullshit and stupidity.

  43. WalterCool

    Fuck off, we all software engineers are in the same way and is our way to produce quality. The main idea of being into a community is the no formalities, everyone hates to be polite when your work is hard, serious and complex, is so easy as say "you don't have the time and patience" for that.

    I can understand very well the Linus situation and I can imagine a lot of guys also understand his mind, you are a good expert developer who receive a lot of shit code daily... noone can be polite with a job like that, is too stressful already your work to mind your words.

    So hell no, she is an ass about ther comentary, a self created victim, Linus is rough with his commentaries, but never takes things personal because he just don't care who are you, lol, I have kinda similar way to see the world, just because you don't have time for that. As a good professional he reviews your code and evaluate it in his way, but never personal

  44. PAT MCCLUNG

    Good riddance.

  45. JustNiz

    Torvalds is an arrogant dick, but apparently thats what it takes to get things done right these days.

  46. Ropewash

    This work is shit.

    I once knew a boss who would yell exactly that as he threw all your freshly machined parts into the scrap bin. Was it pleasant? No. Did you make a lot of shitty parts afterwards? No.

    An out-of-tolerance part IS useless shit and sometimes it's a lot easier to just say that than to try and explain why you can't accept out-of-spec parts to people who should already know better.

    I'll assume this is likely the same in kernel dev.

  47. meadowlark
    Devil

    Opposite and Unequal Reaction.

    Re "You have the right to be offended and I have the right to 'effing' well offend you." This could one day lead to some undiagnosed dangerous psychopath saying "Well you just have, and although you're totally unaware of this, in my (deranged) book, I have the right, which I'm now going to exercise, to put you in a wheelchair for the rest of your life, and with a serious brain injury to boot."

    Such things don't happen often, but they have been known.

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