back to article Having offended everyone else in the world, Linus Torvalds calls own lawyers a 'nasty festering disease'

Coding curmudgeon Linus Torvalds has gone off on yet another rant: this time against open-source-defending lawyers and free software activist Bradley Kuhn. On a mailing list about an upcoming Linux conference, a discussion about whether to include a session on the GPL that protects the open source operating system quickly …

  1. Anonymous Coward
    WTF?

    So, to sum up...

    Linus Torvalds calls own lawyers a 'nasty festering disease'

    "Bradley Kuhn is so incredibly full of shit that this *needs* to be stated openly ... Lawsuits destroy community. They destroy trust. They would destroy all the goodwill we've built up over the years by being nice."

    "Lawyers: poisonous to openness, poisonous to community, poisonous to projects."

    Seems fair enough to me. I'm not sure even ("his own") lawyers could (honestly) argue with any of that.

    So why the rant Reg? Haven't you ever met a lawyer?

    1. Lars Silver badge
      Linux

      Re: So, to sum up...

      I would guess that Bradley Kuhn is trying to become some sort of an important "High Priest" in the community. Having them too involved is a risk hardly worth taking, easily poisonous indeed.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: So, to sum up...

        I would guess that Bradley Kuhn is trying to become some sort of an important "High Priest" in the community. Having them too involved is a risk hardly worth taking, easily poisonous indeed.

        It's a general rule that you ought to distrust anyone who is "speaking up for you" when you haven't asked them to because it means that someone is serving their own playbook and using your name for it. If you come across someone like that you must disabuse them of that notion ASAP, preferably by formally informing them that they do not speak on your behalf, because I give you one guess who will get the blame and problems when the activities of such people go sideways.

        Yes, not your "representative" - it'll be you.

        It's an old political trick.

      2. Raumkraut

        Re: So, to sum up...

        I would guess that Bradley Kuhn is trying to become some sort of an important "High Priest" in the community. Having them too involved is a risk hardly worth taking, easily poisonous indeed.

        If you don't attempt to enforce the GPL, then you may as well have used the BSD license in the first place. Some people might be fine with that outcome (eg. permissive license proponents), but for the GPL to have any practical meaning in the real world, someone has to bring the legal actions necessary to hold to account those who breach the terms of the license.

        Whatever you might think of their personal motives (and I, having followed these issues for many years, think you're completely wrong), Bradley Kuhn and the SFC are doing the dirty, apparently thankless, job that no-one else seems to want to do.

      3. Nezumi
        Linux

        Re: So, to sum up...

        ESR and RMS where held up as high priests once. Who gives a fuck about them now? In the grand *overall* view of what Linux has accomplished, they've both done sod all.

        1. JEDIDIAH
          Mushroom

          Re: So, to sum up...

          RMS organized the creation of "the rest of it".

          His contributions are not trivial.

      4. Eddy Ito Silver badge

        Re: So, to sum up...

        I would guess that Bradley Kuhn is trying to become some sort of an important "High Priest" in the community. Having them too involved is a risk hardly worth taking, easily poisonous indeed.

        I found it funny that Mr. Kuhn isn't even a lawyer. Perhaps he is actually looking to become the next RMS.

      5. cream wobbly

        Re: So, to sum up...

        Indeed, having any person set themselves up as some kind of important "High Priest" in any community -- for example, the kernel developer community -- is a risk hardly worth taking, and as you say, poisonous.

    2. a_yank_lurker Silver badge

      Re: So, to sum up...

      So Linus thinks lawyers are scum. So did Christ and Shakespeare so he is in good company.

      1. TheFinn

        Re: So, to sum up...

        Um...I don't think Shakespeare [I]did[/I] hate lawyers, and Christ didn't want the competition...

        1. gerryg

          Re: So, to sum up...

          "The first thing we do, let's kill all the lawyers"

          Henry VI, part 2: Act 4, Scene 2

        2. Michael Dunn
          Headmaster

          Re: So, to sum up...@ The Finn

          cf Henry VI Part 2, Act 4 Scene 2

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: So, to sum up...

      So why the rant Reg? Haven't you ever met a lawyer?

      I'm not Torvalds so I'm going to say this gently: you have clearly never needed one to fight for you, and may suffer a bit from confirmation bias. It helps if you understand how they work.

      Ironically, it's not lawyers who can change the sometimes abhorrent/abusive behaviour you see (because yes, some do indeed abuse the system they're entrusted with), but politicians and judges do which is why appointing judges should be done with a lot more care than presently seems to be the case.

      If they would start clamping down on lawyers who are clearly taking the piss it could clean up the system, but sometimes they are actually the problem themselves (for once, that one lost his job). That said, the system doesn't offer that many tools for weeding out tools - maybe because (by some amazing coincidence) those who have to take the decisions are lawyers themselves (remember Tony Blair?).

      1. Dave Bell

        Re: So, to sum up...

        I expect to be dealing with a lawyer soon.

        Her family has been working with my family for generations. She knows her stuff. We meet to get specific jobs done. It's likely to be another will. It's something essentially routine.

        This instance does sound more like an outsider trying to stir trouble. It needed lawyers to make the GPL. and I have seen enough cases of tech-industry lawyers straining to understand what they are dealing with. At some point there will be a test case.

        Linus may be right about this lawyer, but if he thinks he doesn't need a lawyer at that discussion, he's dangerous too. Law and computer programming each have their own jargon, and I have certainly come across computer programmers with a strange idea of what the law says. You can see the same with other specialised areas. It is perhaps the biggest problem in politics, finding somebody who really knows what they're doing, who you can trust to give you advice.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: So, to sum up...

          Law and computer programming each have their own jargon, and I have certainly come across computer programmers with a strange idea of what the law says

          Massive upvote. In my line of work I often have to join the legal and the tech world, and both sides of the equation tend to require a bit of education about each other before communication is even possible, let alone productive. Especially the tech side is very good at talking itself into a belief that a bit of web browsing is enough to understand the law...

      2. JEDIDIAH
        Devil

        Re: So, to sum up...

        Lawyers are a reflection of their clients. They are weapons. They merely implement policy. Those policies are set by the people that hire them.

    4. 9Rune5
      Childcatcher

      Re: So, to sum up...

      "So why the rant Reg? Haven't you ever met a lawyer?"

      As a self-proclaimed MS-fanbøy, I can only echo your sentiments.

      Lawyers are very high on my list, right next to licensed real-estate agents. What list? The one D. Adams mentioned in the guide. First ones against the wall when the revolution came and all that. Marketing people are of course #1 on the list.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: So, to sum up...

        As a self-proclaimed MS-fanbøy, I can only echo your sentiments.

        Jolly nice of you to exclude yourself from the start from People Who Have A Clue™ - using MS products is sometimes not a matter of choice for all sorts of circumstances, but being a fanboy is - there is no feasible excuse for that one, that's a personal mistake choice.

        And yes, in that context I can well imagine a hate for lawyers - with all the court cases Microsoft has lost, they cannot not be a fan. The only positive thing the legal world has done for Microsoft was SCO vs Linux and hanging to FAT patents.

      2. AlbertH

        Re: So, to sum up...

        Marketing people are of course #1 on the list.

        No - just above them should be "Project Managers". They are overpaid worthless parasites. They are the wasps of the engineering world - they have no reason to exist.

        1. Natalie Gritpants

          Re: So, to sum up...

          Wasps taught humans how to make cheap paper, they get a free ride forever for that.

        2. h4rm0ny

          Re: So, to sum up...

          >>No - just above them should be "Project Managers". They are overpaid worthless parasites. They are the wasps of the engineering world - they have no reason to exist."

          Yes, because you do developers really want to spend all your time in meetings with upper management discussing timescales and explaining features, organizing project plans and coordinating releases with Operations and a dozen other things rather than focus on your coding. What's that - you don't? Then who do you think will do all that?

      3. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: So, to sum up...

        As a self-proclaimed MS-fanbøy... First ones against the wall when the revolution came and all that. Marketing people are of course #1 on the list.

        So RICHTO/Vogon gets on your tits too?

        Strangely comforting!

    5. Unicornpiss Silver badge
      Thumb Up

      Re: So, to sum up...

      Well, the man may be a bit abrasive to people that don't share his implicit views, but reading the context of his comments, I can't say I really disagree with much of what he's said or his reactions. You do have to take some of it tongue in cheek and understand that I doubt he really meant a painful death for ARM engineers, but simply for them to stop doing something particularly idiotic that makes life miserable for coders. We've all muttered "fucking morons" or similar when reading a choice helpdesk ticket, discovering some particular anal fissure of code, or some other WTF implementation in hardware or software that is impossible to fathom, it's just most of us keep our feelings to ourselves to keep our friendships, jobs, and professional relations more or less intact. With his position, he can apparently afford to turn off his filter. That doesn't mean he'd be a lot of fun to work under for some.

      This dedication to quality and not bowing to marketing input on things is why Linux (in general) is the most usable and least aggravating operating system these days, admittedly IMHO.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: So, to sum up...

        We've all muttered "fucking morons" or similar when reading a choice helpdesk ticket, discovering some particular anal fissure of code, or some other WTF implementation in hardware or software that is impossible to fathom, it's just most of us keep our feelings to ourselves to keep our friendships, jobs, and professional relations more or less intact. With his position, he can apparently afford to turn off his filter. That doesn't mean he'd be a lot of fun to work under for some.

        That's the price of fame, you can't just go public on anything that comes up in your head, not in the least because it means you're an inconsiderate, asocial f*ckwit.

        However, even in that context I'd be less forgiving because (a) if that is your (apparently continuous) internal dialogue, you really need help and (b) it means you have zero consideration for the feeling of others which happens to deprive you of a route and the goodwill to improve matters, which is potentially more brain dead than the original issue.

        I've worked with people who made mistakes that took a while to undo (and led to some very firm discussions, but I have those behind closed doors, not in public), but by taking the time to guide them through those and work out where they went wrong they learned. And improved.

        Praise in public, discuss in private, debate with care.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: So, to sum up...

          "That's the price of fame, you can't just go public on anything that comes up in your head, not in the least because it means you're an inconsiderate, asocial f*ckwit."

          I've never got the impression that Linus Torvalds has ever sought fame - in fact, I've got the impression that he doesn't give a fsck about it or, indeed, those people who delight in calling him out about over what he says because he isn't behaving the way that they and you want him to behave. Well tough shit - neither he, nor anyone else, exists purely for your benefit and neither does he or anyone else have to conform to your standards. Stop whinging and get over it.

          1. JEDIDIAH
            Devil

            Re: So, to sum up...

            "It's my party, and I will swear if I want to..."

    6. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: So, to sum up...

      "So why the rant Reg?"

      Gone from 'Biting the hand that feeds IT' to simply 'Stirring the [sh]IT', knowing it'll upset some folk, please others, keeping the the old mill turning.

      1. NinjasFTW

        Re: So, to sum up...

        yeah,

        attention grabbing but misleading headline, check

        half the article then converted into a hatchet job, check

        obvious author bias, check.

        basic click bait article designed to stir the pot. Pretty poor from El'Reg

    7. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: So, to sum up...

      Not acting now against blatant violations of the GPL could cost the Linux community dearly in the future, where it may actually want to take a company to court.

      Because its opponent will show that in the past, the foundation willingly let some corporations violate the GPL and never ensured compliance to it.

    8. naive

      Re: So, to sum up...

      Linus for president.

    9. HAL-9000

      Re: So, to sum up...

      Couldn't agree more, the more I read the more I had to agree. Perhaps the register could clarify how (very) potentially loosing a GLP test case could benefit anyone except those scummy, blood sucking lawyers. I'm listening

  2. Notas Badoff

    Barbs?

    _Where_ lawyers often get their hooks into you tends to make one really rather testy. As do certain 'contributers' who end up commenting more than contributing. Sweet words can yet be nasty.

  3. Donkey Molestor X

    I wonder if he has the same scorn of the lawyers that IBM gamefully paid for to fight off SCO. Nobody in the Linux business would have a pot to piss in if they hadn't had their own 800-lb. gorilla to save them that time.

    I would love it if Intel, Red Hat, and everyone else that pays kernel devs to put up with his abuse just forked the kernel and let Linus break his toys and kick and cry by himself in his playpen.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      > I would love it if Intel, Red Hat, and everyone else that pays kernel devs to put up with his abuse just forked the kernel

      Effectively Red Hat and Oracle have both done that. They publish their own version of the kernel as a tarball, with their own patches mixed into it, rather than broken out into separate patches / bug fixes / improvements. This is to make it difficult for their modifications to be lifted out and re-used.

      1. TrevorH

        > Effectively Red Hat and Oracle have both done that. They publish their own version of the kernel as a tarball

        Haha. Not sure if that's meant to be a joke since the main reason that Redhat produce a monolithic patch of their modifications to the kernel is to stop Oracle from hijacking their work.

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Publishes its own kernel?

        The Red Hat (that's two words folks) mantra is "upstream first."

        The RHEL kernel is whatever version it claims to be, plus 500 (or whatever the real number is) patches of fixes back-ported from Linus's tree. Red Hat's policy is that No fix – I repeat – no fix is in the RHEL kernel unless it has been accepted into the upstream source. That aside, I'd be amazed if any of the major enterprise distributions aren't doing exactly the same thing.

        Red Hat loves Linus, warts and all[1]. AFAIK the notion that Red Hat would fork the kernel and leave Linus behind – just because he's an asshole – is absurd.

        [1] Which is kinda sad IMO. I personally think that Red Hat should take a more progressive role in calming Bigus Dickus down and getting him to act more professionally. I personally don't think his behavior reflects well on him or anyone who associates with him. (Guilt by association?) By ignoring his boorish behavior Red Hat is effectively condoning it. Considering how progressive Red Hat is in other areas this one is disappointing.

        1. Steve Davies 3 Silver badge

          Re: Publishes its own kernel?

          What you propose is exactly the last thing that RedHat should do.

          There are more than enough people in the Linux world who actually hate RH and all that it stands for.

          They take the side of 'How dare RH make money from FOSS' and all that.

          I actually applaud RH for making a very successful business from FOSS. They contribute lots back in to the Linux world but the haters seem to ignore that little fact. This especially relates to the kernel.

          RH do play by the GPL and all their GPL'd code is downloadable.

          If RH were to put a leash on Linus then the uproad would be heard around the world.

          Linus is his own man and long may it remain.

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: Publishes its own kernel?

            RedHat knows they can't leash Linus, so they've done the next best thing: caged him behind systemd.

          2. Dan 55 Silver badge

            Re: Publishes its own kernel?

            RH haven't put a leash on Linus, they've just foisted systemd onto the world instead.

            1. Anonymous Coward
              Anonymous Coward

              Re: Publishes its own kernel?

              Talk about synchronicity...

    2. oldcoder

      There was a BIG difference for the lawyers...

      The IBM lawyers were not presuming to defend Linux. They were defending IBM against the baseless attack of SCO.

      Kuhn was/is just trying to drum up lawsuits.

      Eben Moglen has a different approach. Instead of lawsuits he works with both the developers and the "accused" to eliminate the lawsuit - which is damaging to both parties in a lawsuit.

      1. Bernardo Sviso

        And if the GPL violator doesn't care to be "educated" nor to bring themselves into compliance with the license? What then?

    3. Lusty Silver badge

      "I wonder if he has the same scorn of the lawyers that IBM gamefully paid for to fight off SCO"

      Yes, probably. Linus was never trying to take over the world. His agenda was/is different and the project would have survived regardless of the outcome in that case.

  4. moiety

    And so? Don't get on his lawn unless you know what you're doing, is what I take away from this. With the added benefit of easy column inches for journalists. I especially liked: "insult you, your mother, and your deceased pet hamster". Class.

  5. Will Godfrey Silver badge
    Meh

    So?

    Once again, I'm reminded of a quote I read very many years ago:

    "It is futile to expect ordinary behaviour from extraordinary people"

    Like him or not, I don't think there is much doubt that Linus is far from ordinary!

    1. Donkey Molestor X

      Re: So?

      counterpoint: ken and dmr built Unix, the very system he has made a mere clone of, and they managed to build it without being assholes.

      counterpoint the 2nd: Eldon Hall, Margaret Hamilton, et al. working on the AGC weren't fucking assholes and nevertheless the Apollo missions were wildly successful.

      assholery is neither a necessary, nor sufficient condition for genius. Linus will be bypassed when more people see through the bullshit and understand that Linux succeeds despite him and not because of him.

      Oh... mention to him how he wouldn't have anything around the kernel without the FSF and watch him blow steam out of his ears. That can be fun.

      1. Grunchy

        Re: So?

        Good counterpoint - except Linux is much more successful than Unix.

        1. Captain DaFt

          Re: So?

          "except Linux is much more successful than Unix."

          And the reason? Because all the Unix vendors were perpetually engaged at throwing sueballs at one another. By the time it was sorted out (and probably the reason it was), Linux had taken its place in most of the market.

          Point scored for Linus there.

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: So?

        Oh... mention to him how he wouldn't have anything around the kernel without the FSF and watch him blow steam out of his ears. That can be fun.

        I like to do the reverse with Stallman who is far further removed from the real world than Torvalds. You can start gently by just calling Linux "Linux" and not "GNU Linux" and work your way up to the fact that the Hurd doesn't seem all that lively compared to Torvald's kernel - by that point he'll either stomp off or his beard will catch fire. This is the short version, of course, if you have time you could insert a firm conviction that the BSD license is better than even the LGPL, just to lengthen the path to self-ignition..

      3. oldcoder

        Re: So?

        Actually not.

        There were so many forks of UNIX that it devolved. Now there are three varieties of BSD, and a few dozen varieties of UNIX (one for each vendor), and none of the kernels are all that cross compatible. Just try taking a driver from AIX and add it to a Mac OS/X.... Not a chance. Try taking a driver from Solaris and add it to AIX or OS/X (or even any of the BSD systems)... not a chance.

        Contrast that with Linux. A hundred or so distributions - yet the linux kernel is cross compatible with all of them.

      4. FrankAlphaXII Silver badge

        Re: So?

        >>and they managed to build it without being assholes

        You know why? They had the American Theft & Thoughtlessness Corporation's (not that newfangled pseudo-"at&t", which is BellSouth and SBC running the show, I'm talking about the real AT&T that exists in a closet in New Jersey despite rumors to the contrary) department full of lawyers to be assholes for them.

        And they were, USL v. BSDi kind of proves that. USL was a wholly owned part of AT&T Corporation.

        Ken and Dennis may have been nice people to work around and deal with, they certainly seem to be that way, but it was in spite of who actually owned what they were doing that was the case.

    2. Teiwaz Silver badge

      Re: So?

      'There's a fine line between genius and madness' is another similar sentiment.

      These sweary Linus rants have popped up in Linux news occasionally since the beginning, we never see the background messages or much of the provocation behind them.

      He's got a point about Lawyering up over problems, sometimes its akin to getting your neighbour locked up for letting his dog crap on your lawn when it could be sorted out amicably.

      1. Raumkraut

        Re: So?

        These sweary Linus rants have popped up in Linux news occasionally since the beginning, we never see the background messages or much of the provocation behind them.

        He's got a point about Lawyering up over problems, sometimes its akin to getting your neighbour locked up for letting his dog crap on your lawn when it could be sorted out amicably.

        It's the same thing though: You don't hear about the GPL infringements which are wrapped up amicably, because publicising it is generally not in the interests of either party, and not really interesting enough to make the news. So you only hear about those that don't cooperate, and miss out on the background messages and provocation, and assume that the lawyers have gone straight to the courts.

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: So?

        He's got a point about Lawyering up over problems, sometimes its akin to getting your neighbour locked up for letting his dog crap on your lawn when it could be sorted out amicably.

        Maybe, but Linus' approach to negotiation seems to be pre-disposed to heading straight for the lawyer: few negotiations end well if you start with calling the other party names..

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: So?

      "It is futile to expect ordinary behaviour from extraordinary people"

      It's mono-directional, though. I know plenty of weird-behaving assholes where their behaviour never lead them to surpass just being f*cking annoying. They never progressed to certified geniuses, they just remained certified only. Probably the most famous example of that is currently residing in a London Ecuadorian embassy.

      Personally I think that what goes in kernel dev, should stay in kernel dev..

  6. Gene Cash Silver badge
    Thumb Up

    Wholeheartedly agree with Torvalds

    Kay Sievers *IS* a "f*cking prima donna" and the faster Lennart Poettering GTFOs, the better.

    And a "20% error rate for spam detection" IS pretty broken, and worth beating the gmail people with a stick.

    The rest of the examples are of the same cloth.

    The problem with a lot of people is that if you DON'T say something like "look b*tches, do your sh*t right" then they completely ignore you.

    1. This post has been deleted by its author

    2. Alan Brown Silver badge

      Re: Wholeheartedly agree with Torvalds

      > The problem with a lot of people is that if you DON'T say something like "look b*tches, do your sh*t right" then they completely ignore you.

      And in all the cases I've seen Linus blow up, it was specifically BECAUSE being nice got ignored.

      Journos love to rag on Linus because when he blows he doesn't hold back but the thing is that the people responsible invariably deserve every bit of the rant they get.

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Wholeheartedly agree with Torvalds

      Lennart's work is already destroying Linux from the inside by running everything and the kitchen sink in PID1. Soon you'll need to reboot if you change screen fonts because of some damned systemd POS.

      Maybe before he started screwing over the Linux init systems he should have finished PulseAudio and not left it as the broken crap it is.

  7. Lee D Silver badge

    My saying:

    People who don't swear scare the c**p out of me.

    Now, there's a time and a place, but we all do it.

    At least half of those comments (and that's all you could find over, what, nearly 20 years of mailing lists?) are obviously in jest. The others he's deadly serious. It's s*** code and people aren't even testing and then pushing to him for the stable branches? He's correct there.

    But, you know what, he doesn't need to be nice. I'm not nice. My boss isn't nice if something that shouldn't have happened ends up on his desk. Why should you be?

    I work in an exclusive private school. Obviously, in front of the kids, nothing gets sworn. But in the staffroom, in meetings, even among staff when the kids aren't around... hell of a lot of swearing. It's normal and human. It's not even sexist - the women do it as much as the men. It's not ageist - the old ladies in the office join in with the new recruits. Everybody swears.

    Now add: absolutely no "management" to answer to. Now add that people take your opinion as gospel because you're a skilled engineer who was placed on the pedestal by others. Now add that you're not in a corporate setting (hence, no fecking lawyers), don't care about the corporate setting, have escaped the corporate setting. And, like hell would I be any politer than Linus in these instances.

    Honestly, I meet people all the time who are infinitely more obnoxious, infinitely more poisonous, infinitely more disruptive, infinitely more dishonest and - like lawyers - they all "speak nicely" of everyone in public. Of course they do. That's how they work. It doesn't mean they're any better than the guy that just calls you "moronic" when you're being a moron. In fact, it's usually the opposite.

    Some of the worst people I've ever dealt with in my life, I've never heard swear and they'd probably have you before some HR panel if you did it to them.

    Some of the best people I've ever dealt with in my life regularly refer to themselves, myself and other colleagues are four-letter-words of the worst kind.

    There's a correlation there. It's about speaking your mind.

    1. Baldy50

      I'd be mister angry too, 25 years of giving so much and does any PC manufacturer or any PC sales outfit have a machine on display for sale boasting Linux's merits? NO!

      Fine modify the code for all your smart phones and tablets, use server editions to run your businesses successfully.

      If half of the machines sold with Windows and Mac OS's installed on it were sold with a Linux distro on it instead, just how much revenue would have been put back into developing new software and into the Linux kernel itself?

      Congratulations Mr Torvald you have created the wheel but the people selling the carts with two poles dragging along the ground give us a good commission so f off. We're putting it around that the horses go mad at those spinney things and you'll lose all that your transporting when they bolt!

      Can't decide who would go first though and would have to flip a coin Lawyers/politicians, heads/tails, tails/heads?

      1. oldcoder

        Is there a difference between lawyers and politicians? :-)

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Big Brother

          The sheer scale of their hubris? :-(

        2. captain veg

          Re: Is there a difference between lawyers and politicians

          Yes. The ones who are good at law stick with it. The pay's better. The less talented ones go in to politics.

          -A.

          1. m0rt Silver badge

            Re: Is there a difference between lawyers and politicians

            Politicians are cheaper.

    2. Grunchy

      I never ever swear, but I have my own reasons.

      The thing about sweeping generalizations is that they're practically always wrong, because there are always exceptions. Not always, always: you & I would probably agree that all fish are slimey. I mean, they just soak all day in that ocean water! Fish are always all wet :)

      1. moiety

        Sometimes they're in breadcrumbs, he said helpfully.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Thumb Up

          I like the ones in breadcrumbs the most :o)

        2. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

          Or batter

  8. Version 1.0 Silver badge

    Shakespeare had it in a nutshell

    ''The first thing we do, let's kill all the lawyers,'' - Henry VI.

    'Tis a fine sentiment to be sure but realistically Robert Bolt nails the case much better in "A Man for all Seasons" - "This country is planted thick with laws, from coast to coast, Man's laws, not God's! And if you cut them down, and you're just the man to do it, do you really think you could stand upright in the winds that would blow then? Yes, I'd give the Devil benefit of law, for my own safety's sake!"

    But what have we come to when we consider casual blog quotes as gospel?

  9. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

    OTOH, Linus has put together a team that has put together an OS kernel that runs on everything from a mobile phone or a Pi Zero to the top N of the world's supercomputers. And Kieren?

    OTOH again, not all his ideas have been great:

    He's excoriated RDBMS developers for preferring to deal with raw disk rather than go through the file system. The reason they do this, of course is that plus or minus any buffering in smart interface boards or the drives themselves, they know that when a write call returns the data's on disk. As a sometime DBA that's the way I liked by database engines to work. Eventually, as available memory grew he realised that file system writes could be buffered a long time and the data was at risk if the machine failed in the interim. It provoked a comment about "what moron did that". One might reasonably have asked what moron allowed it in the kernel.

    I also had an experience with Linux on a Cyrix board filling the log with messages to the effect that that particular processor didn't support speed throttling. Googling for the error message brought up a comment by Linus that the worst that could happen would that it would write that particular error message in the log. Yes it did. About once every second.

    1. JEDIDIAH
      Mushroom

      Let the adults speak...

      As an actual, experienced, full time, production DBA, I hate the idea of depending on the database vendor for disk access code. It's a layer of obfuscation and something outside the scope of what ANY of the database vendors are actually good at. It completely breaks the Unix idea of well functioning, limited, highly specialized tools. It also ensures that the host of tools that can be employed against a regular file system are now WORTHLESS.

      It's also going to be a terrible bother for the shallow end of the talent pool (which is the vast majority).

      I would only deal with an RDBMS disk access layer if I absolutely had no choice.

      1. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

        Re: Let the adults speak...

        "I would only deal with an RDBMS disk access layer if I absolutely had no choice."

        Just curious, but which engine?

  10. Grunchy

    I too don't like lawyers - on principle!

    Robert J. Ringer, in numerous of his books, even calls them "LegalMan!" as they swoop in to kill deals and claim hefty fees.

    If you really need a lawyer, it's great that they are around - but they are relevant much less often than you'd think.

    1. 9Rune5

      If you really need a lawyer, it's great that they are around - but they are relevant much less often than you'd think.

      My last encounter with a member of that specie was when I had left my previous employer. I was not sure if I had received all that I was entitled to and thus sought outside council.

      Somebody recommended me a lawyer specializing on labor law and in the end he sent my former employer a letter. They replied basically saying "no, Rune is not entitled to anything more". Of course, he did not register their reply at first, so it wasn't until after he had poked them again that he realized his mistake.

      _Then_ he told me he wasn't sure and that he would look up the relevant laws and get back to me. That was more than seven years ago and I still haven't heard back from him.

      The case wasn't a big deal for me. I just wanted some advice. If I had known that the authority on this kind of question was my former employer, I would have simply asked them directly myself.

      Oh well, next time I have hopefully learned my lesson: Never involve a lawyer. What a waste of time and money. And what a waste of oxygen. I truly believe the world would be a better place without such leaches.

    2. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

      "I too don't like lawyers - on principle!"

      What principle would that be?

      One of the principles in which I believe is that enunciated in Magna Carta: that we should be protected from arbitrary treatment by due process of law. It's something I've said here a number of times when we find TPTB getting above themselves with surveillance and the like. I don't recollect any cotrary arguments here. If we are to have due process of law than we need people to operate that process. They're called lawyers.

  11. Updraft102 Silver badge

    I agree... Mr. Torvalds seems like a thoroughly unpleasant individual. He's said similar things about himself. But in my limited knowledge of Linux, it looks to me like he's also right most of the time (maybe all of these examples; I lack the knowledge to say for sure), even if he puts, ahem, quite a sharp point on his criticism.

    He's not the first visionary to be accused of being a b*stard to work with. I don't think I would want to work with him, but I am glad some people do.

    1. GrumpenKraut Silver badge

      > Mr. Torvalds seems like a thoroughly unpleasant individual.

      No, absolutely, positively not. With every "Linus rants, again!" article I read through most of the threads in question. In some instances I truly marvel at how civilized his words are when I consider the fuck-up he addresses.

      Present article: Linus does argue in detail and the percentage of ranting is rather vanishing. Both sides have their points, but I do understand that Linus is unhappy about people telling him what to do with his project.

  12. Long John Brass Silver badge
    Unhappy

    Linus is GOD

    And I wish I could be more like him

    The number of times I have wished I had the leeway to tell other parts of $ORG I work in to pull their fucking heads out their arses and do their fucking jobs ....

    These $diots are the reason we can't have nice things as a species.

    But; I have a mortgage, bills to pay etc .... So I play nice, and things slowly keep getting worse

    Because the shit flinging monkeys outnumber me :(

  13. 4d3fect

    Too much coffee, man.

  14. a_yank_lurker Silver badge

    Shysters

    All too often, shysters are looking for an easy big money case. Apparently, they think suing over infringement of the GPL will make them rich. My suspicion is Linus would rather the suit target just obey the GPL and be done with it - the amicable clean up the dog crap analogy above. Instead these shysters would do more good if the bothered to go after Slurp for their rather dodgy, if not sometimes criminal practices but they would rather go after someone for what is likely a paper shuffling error.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Shysters

      > All too often, shysters are looking for an easy big money case. Apparently, they think suing over infringement of the GPL will make them rich.

      Wow. Seriously, if anyone actually thought there was big money in GPL infringement cases, you would see thousands of lawyers crawling all over it.

      But no, what we actually see instead is a single, under-staffed, over-worked, *non-profit organisation* DOING IT PRO-BONO!

  15. Captain DaFt

    Linus Torvalds is abrasive

    And in other news, water is wet.

    However;

    A. When he's abrasive, there's usually a damned good reason.

    B. I'd rather have someone vent at me, then tell me how to fix it when I'm wrong, than smile in my face and stab me in the back without giving me a clue.

    So, although I'd probably end up calling him a cunt twice a week, I wouldn't mind working for him, because I'd always know exactly where I stand.

  16. quxinot

    I think I'd much rather have a little vitriol from my OS's leader than ... well. Contrast any of the things that Nadella says.

    Also seems like Linus is frequently corect, so that's hard not to like.

  17. Crazy Operations Guy

    Easy to get rid of the lawyers

    Just release the Linux Kernel under the BSD license. Its near impossible to violate the BSD license, so you won't need the lawyers anymore.

    1. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

      Re: Easy to get rid of the lawyers

      "Just release the Linux Kernel under the BSD license."

      Easier said than done. There are contributions by thousands of contributors in there. You'd have to find and get the agreement of every single one, including the heirs of those who are now dead.

      Maybe not enough thought was given to the license in the first place but that's too late now.

      1. Vic

        Re: Easy to get rid of the lawyers

        Maybe not enough thought was given to the license in the first place

        On the contrary - this is exactly the situation that was desired.

        This way, no-one can "take over" the kernel and turn it proprietary.

        Vic.

        1. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

          Re: Easy to get rid of the lawyers

          "This way, no-one can "take over" the kernel and turn it proprietary."

          Nobody could take over the kernel and turn it proprietary if it were under a BSD licence either. What they could do would be to take a fork of the kernel and add their proprietary changes to it. That could be done with one of the BSD kernels at any time. The BSD devs are obviously quite aware of that and must be cool with the idea. It's their work and their call as to how its licenced.

          Of course as the proprietary fork drifted further away from the original it would become more difficult to apply any patches from the public version so the devs of the proprietary fork would have to assume full responsibility for maintaining it.

          But the notion that only the GPL preserves open source code from being taken proprietary seems to be a common misconception.

    2. oldcoder

      Re: Easy to get rid of the lawyers

      Open season for attacks - like getting sued for code already in the project but claimed by another party.

      Or have you forgotten the BSD/UNIX lawsuits?

    3. Brian Scott

      Re: Easy to get rid of the lawyers

      I think that Linus thought the GPL was just like BSD. He now seems to defend the rights of business to use Linux any way they want, without interference from lawyers. That's the BSD model that he probably saw earlier in life.

      Mind you, there are probably ways that you could move Linux to a BSD license if they really wanted to but why bother. There are plenty of good operating systems out there with a BSD license on them already.

      If Linus really believed in the GPL (perpetually free software) he wouldn't be keeping the whole shooting match licensed under the very outdated and full of holes GPLv2. The GPLv3 does a much better job in the 21st century and other projects have easily migrated to it. Blame the contributors perhaps (contributions under GPLv2, blah, blah, blah)? No, I think that's just a nice scape-goat for keeping it all as BSD like as he can get it.

      Remember that it was Linus (I presume) who dropped the 'and later versions' clause from the licensing clause on Linux and created the whole license mess that people are now fighting over. I can't help but think if he had talked to some good lawyers way back then, the world would be much simpler now.

  18. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    I'm mixed about this..

    What good are rules (such as a license) when you don't enforce them? I think that the statement about companies abusing the GPL isn't all that far off to be honest. And I can also understand why they would prefer this topic to be addressed at a Linux conference. After all the GPL and Linux are pretty much interwoven so to speak. So with that in mind I don't think the request is as ridiculous as Linus makes it sound.

    Especially if you look at the way the US legal system works: when a precedence is set then that can be used for future cases.

    Of course I do agree with the statement that lawsuits do more harm than good. True. But what good are rules if you don't plan to follow up on them?

    Either way, when it comes to the GPL then I think Stallman is a much better suited candidate to decide if this topic should be addressed or not (instead of Kuhn).

    1. GrumpenKraut Silver badge

      Re: I'm mixed about this..

      > What good are rules (such as a license) when you don't enforce them?

      From what I read in the thread(s) of the mailing list: Linus does want to enforce them, but without using lawyers.

      He goes into great detail why he thinks it's a bad idea. He definitely has more than just one point and he most definitely talks out of experience.

      1. JEDIDIAH
        Linux

        Re: I'm mixed about this..

        > From what I read in the thread(s) of the mailing list: Linus does want to enforce them, but without using lawyers.

        That's like using nothing more than harsh language against a Dalek.

        1. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

          Re: I'm mixed about this..

          "That's like using nothing more than harsh language against a Dalek."

          It's worth reading what Linus (and Greg who he quotes) actually says about this.

    2. Lars Silver badge
      Linux

      Re: I'm mixed about this..

      I wonder, did you actually read the link to linuxfoundation. Anyway it's obvious nor Stallman or Kuhn have any say on who talks at that meeting. But you are right, one should indeed "look at the way the US legal system works". (written with a slight hint of sarcasm).

  19. Jamie Jones Silver badge
    Coat

    More importantly than that....

    What a weird and ugly earring he's wearing...

    1. Fruit and Nutcase Silver badge

      Re: More importantly than that....

      Lapel microphones seem to have gone out of fashion

      1. moiety

        Re: More importantly than that....

        Took me a while to work out it was a headset too...looks at first glance like he's got some sort of Eddie Izzard dangly earring thing going on.

  20. J J Carter Silver badge
    Trollface

    It's True!

    Linux kernel politics are so vicious because the stakes are so small

    1. HieronymusBloggs Silver badge

      Re: It's True!

      "Linux kernel politics are so vicious..."

      Are they vicious though? A list of grumpy comments taken completely out of context is a lazy way of making it seem so, but it doesn't convince me.

      1. GrumpenKraut Silver badge

        Re: It's True!

        Just ignore that Troll. See his comment history and observe that this exact posting has appeared several times by now. Same for other idiotic and out of context remarks. Never any meaningful reply from that idiot, either. He really should get the Eadon treatment.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Trollface

          Re: It's True!

          Just ignore that Troll. See his comment history and observe that this exact posting has appeared several times by now. Same for other idiotic and out of context remarks. Never any meaningful reply from that idiot, either. He really should get the Eadon treatment.

          At least he bothers to properly identify himself ------->

          Don't understand why anyone wastes their time replying at him though. Just feed him the downvote he's after and move along Shirley.

    2. oldcoder

      Re: It's True!

      "the stakes are so small"????

      With 90% of all phones

      With 95+% of all supercomputers

      Majority of embedded computers (toys, drones, TVs, routers, ...)

      Not small at ALL.

  21. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

    A couple of points.

    Firstly, imagine you're the leader of a project with a project team of thousands of participants - it varies a bit as people come and go. You don't, either personally or on behalf of a company employ any of them. They're volunteered, wither in their own right or by the companies who do employ them. You don't select them. You don't hire or fire them. You don't do their annual appraisals. You can't give them pay rises or bonuses. You can't have a word with their line managers. In short you have absolutely none of the normal management resources you'd have in a company. How would you manage that situation?

    Secondly, although for most of my career bad language wouldn't have been part of normal office life. Towards the end however there were a few sweary youngsters and maybe not so youngsters showing up in development teams. Similar folk also show up here. Is this the norm for people of his generation in development shops now? I don't know, maybe someone out there can tell me. But if it is then you need to remember that what goes onto the public mailing list is the conversation between developers that would normally be verbal within the office. Where the work is distributed over the world the mailing list replaces the air that would carry sound waves in the office.

  22. Robigus
    Thumb Up

    They way of the playground has much to commend it.

    Re: outspoken Torvalds; supplying context reduces headline impact.

    Re: GPL violators; I'm with Linus; why not just call out the offenders and let everyone know they're twats? No need for lawyers - the world now knows they're untrustworthy twats.

    Publish your emails calling them out.

    Karma restored. Cheap too; no need for endless meetings with lawyers and ideological SFC egocentrists.

    1. NotBob
      Thumb Down

      Re: They way of the playground has much to commend it.

      That gets very expensive very quickly when they lawyer up. After all, you haven't proven they're doing anything...

  23. JeffyPoooh Silver badge
    Pint

    "...a grumpy old man..."

    He's just 46.

    That's far too young to be an 'old man', and it's too old to be a funny foul-mouth teenager.

    That's why the Linus Rants don't work.

    Stylistically, a fail.

  24. Johnny Canuck

    lawyers a 'nasty festering disease'

    Well...

  25. thx1138v2

    My favorite lawyer, when asked why she was so ball busting aggressive towards EVERYTHING, replied, "I tried being nice once. Didn't like it."

    Maybe Linus should meet her.

    1. JEDIDIAH
      Mushroom

      "nice" lawyers

      Lawyers have to deal with nasty shits that think they are above the law and can get away with breaking contracts and crippling people. They exist because people are scum and courts are less harmful than duels and rampaging vigilante mobs. They have to be jackasses because they are dealing with jackasses. If you're nice, people will eat you alive. Clients will take advantage and corporations will walk all over you.

  26. Unicornpiss Silver badge
    Meh

    No one likes lawyers.. except when they're on your side (or if you are one)

    I have supported Lawyers in the past (in the field-support, not bread line sense), and I never expected to find much to like about them. I would not want to be a lawyer. The whole profession and the legal system in general (worldwide) makes me want to take a shower in antiseptic in a cabin far from civilization. But the lawyers I have dealt with (for the most part) are intelligent people that are reasonable to deal with. They understand delays. (look at the legal system) They don't mind if you hedge a bit. (look at their profession) They are just seeking the path through the maze, ethics aside, to accomplish what their clients are paying for. (and possibly fatten their own wallets, this is true) Earn their trust and they will be straight with you. In these regards, their profession is an intellectual exercise similar to most IT jobs. And like any job, there are some practised old hands that know how to get things done without wreaking havoc, and there are some twats that have no concept or care of others. And of course every shade of color in between.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: No one likes lawyers.. except when they're on your side (or if you are one)

      Quite. It is the profession, not that person, that is so wholly derisible. There are, of course, some decent individuals within the industry but they're still lawyers and even they will duly fuck-you-over if someone cares to pay them to do so. As is their job. However it seems to be the most incompetent, avaricious, and/or outright sociopathic practitioners who make the most noise... and I think it's that astonishing combination of equally repugnant personality and profession that's so utterly, spleen witheringly, abhorrent.

      I feel sick.

  27. Howard Hanek Bronze badge
    Childcatcher

    Suffering Side Effects

    .....Linus is suffering from a case of too many body piercings left to fester.....

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Suffering Side Effects

      You're thinking of Chris-chan

  28. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    "They would destroy all the goodwill...

    ...we've built up over the years by being nice, you twat"

  29. Anonymous C0ward

    Linus ftw

    All these crybabies need to call a fscking waaaaahmbulance.

  30. JEDIDIAH
    Linux

    Are you kidding?

    Are you kidding? EVERYONE hates lawyers. Ragging on lawyers is more like an attempt by Linus to pander to the masses.

  31. Boris the Cockroach Silver badge
    Devil

    This makes me

    want to learn C just so I can contribute some badly written code to the linux kernel and get my very own personal Linus insult

    Sounds like a challenge that does.... lets see if we can code a webpage that will do Linus insults in response to a txt input

  32. itzman
    Linux

    The problem I have

    Is that every single instance quoted in the text seems to me to be entirely justified.

  33. Bob 18

    Why GPL?

    If Linus doesn't care about enforcing the GPL, maybe he should have chosen a different license. Unfortunately, too late for that now --- not after 25 year of contributions by thousands of people under the expectation that this is a GPL project. Grow up...

  34. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    For the defendant

    Linus is right on this one, just as he has been in each of the examples cited. As others have said, his method of delivery is harsh because that's the only way to get the attention of some people. Or because he was having a bad day.

    I was a trial lawyer for 12 years and gave it up for a second career in system administration. In many ways Linus made my escape from litigation hell possible. I share his disdain for sorting out IP issues in court. There are much better community driven options available that may not make some people famous or rich, but will in the end keep the community moving forward -- even with systemd.

    1. Will Godfrey Silver badge
      Coat

      Re: For the defendant

      I was with you until that very last word.

      Now I need a stiff drink and a lie down in a darkened room.

  35. Aynon Yuser

    Sounds like Lunis needs to be knocked down a notch.

    His belief that he is some kind of God for helping design Unix, is exempt from treating people like human beings, that we all need to worship him and that he does not need to evolve his personality to include respecting others, he's lucky I don't work with him. His nerd body would hit the floor fast and hard like a dead sack of potatoes.

    If I can't teach him respect, someone else should step up to the plate and "teach him".

    1. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

      "Sounds like Lunis"

      Does anyone remember nuxi?

  36. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

    I wonder if some of the commentards have read the actual article or just the misleading summary in the subtitle. The article quotes him as saying "I personally think this arguing for lawyering has become a nasty festering disease". It's quite clear that not only is it "his lawyer" that's his target as per the summary it's not even any lawyer, it's an argument.

  37. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Even if Linus is as impatient, imperious, and hostile as he is made out to be here, I can't fault his characterization of lawyers.

  38. Alan Bourke

    Linux is a fucking bell end crybaby

    end of.

    1. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

      Re: Linux is a fucking bell end crybaby

      There's nothing like a good reasoned argument and ....

  39. This post has been deleted by its author

  40. Guus Leeuw

    Tips and corrections

    Dear Sir,

    "Comparing Mallon to Kuhn may seem like a bit of a stretch"... Yes indeed, as Torvalds was actually comparing Kuhn to Mallon... But heyho, not knowing English never stopped anybody from writing at TheRegister...

    Stone Editor rant, you've all seen it before - I won't repeat it.

    Oh, and when will TheRegister put up a page for this type corrections? Why do I need to start another application to send a correction to TheRegister? Crowd-documenting, me hole!? Get a stone editor.

    Regards,

    Guus

  41. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    You forgot what he thinks of nvidia. He's probably right (again).

  42. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    "Linux is a cancer." - Steve Ballmer

    I have no problems with most of what Linus Torvalds says. Finland has the best education system in the world, so from his perspective the rest of the world is indeed stupid by comparison.

    The difference between Linus and a regular asshole like Ballmer is that Linus puts his money where his mouth is, and in doing so he has roundly kicked the shit out of Microsoft in web infrastructure and mobile devices.

    Respect the man's actions, even if you don't respect his tone.

  43. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    To achieve things...

    ...you need to occasionally push, shout and be frustrated.

    The opposite of frustration is not caring. If you have never gotten frustrated, you have probably never really done anything. If you never try to achieve anything, you'll never be frustrated.

  44. andersenep

    All you whiners crying about how mean Linus is, and that Red Hat, developers, et al shouldn't put up with his potty mouth, should go start your own fork. It's his project, let him run it how he likes. If you think that most people who actually contribute something to Linux are like you, and poop their pants whenever someone raises their voice, well...they should all be lining up behind you. It hasn't happened for a good reason.

  45. Sitch

    Heh

    No matter, I like Kernel Torvalds

  46. Hunkah

    I've met Linus Torvalds

    I've met Linus Torvalds. He's a nice guy.

    The real issue here is that everyone is way to fragile anymore. People can't handle criticism. Obviously ya'll weren't spanked as a child... poor things... all those raw feelings and confusing emotions. Really, you need your asses kicked.

    You're blaming Linus for being passionate about something HE CREATED. He doesn't put up with stupidity. Especially when it comes to his life-long project. How many of you have sworn at someone cutting you off in traffic? Did you get upset? Yeah, I thought so. Well the same rule applies here. Linus cares about his life's work. He cares about what he does and doesn't want stupidity added to his project.

    If you think for one second, you wouldn't get mad at someone kicking your sand castle down, you're a LIAR. Oh, and if anyone has a problem with this comment, you can kiss my ass.

  47. Matt Bryant Silver badge
    Stop

    "Having offended everyone else in the world...."

    Well, personally, I don't remember ever being insulted by Linus. I do recall often being very grateful for his work, and sometimes amused by his rants, but never insulted.

  48. kars1997

    Apparently, he's not even a good coder

    If you're going to rant at people for their comment style, at least don't make mistakes in the actual rant where you're telling people how to do it:

    [quote="Linus Torvalds"]

    In other words, these three models are good:

    (a)

    /* This is a comment *./

    [/quote]

    http://lkml.iu.edu/hypermail/linux/kernel/1607.1/00627.html

    What happened there? Was he so angry he was just mashing the keys in the wrong order?

  49. tytso

    To be clear --- SFC are *not* Linus's lawyers. They aren't even the lawyers for most of the copyright owners of Linux.

    1. diodesign (Written by Reg staff) Silver badge

      Re: tytso

      Sure - we meant as in the lawyers in his community. It's just a bit hard to fit it all in a headline.

      C.

      1. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

        Re: tytso

        "we meant as in the lawyers in his community"

        And even that isn't what you quote him as saying.

  50. SomeoneInDelaware

    Linus just needs a little housebreaking. At gunpoint.

    Or a little "wall-to-wall counseling".

    1. ecofeco Silver badge

      It appears someone does, but I don't think it's Linus.

  51. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Which is it?

    Did he actually call his lawyers a "nasty festering disease", or as the quote in the fine article says : "I personally think this arguing for lawyering has become a nasty festering disease".

    Which is it? Is it my problem with comprehension or El Reg's?

  52. ecofeco Silver badge

    Well he's right you know

    Everyone hates lawyers until they need one...

    ...and then they hate them even more.

    My experience is that they are essentially useless and costly. The times I've needed a lawyer I could not afford one. No help there. The 2 times I could afford one, they didn't do anything for me that I could not do, and eventually did, for myself.

    I have yet to meet a lawyer who has provided me with any benefit, whatsoever.

  53. John Savard Silver badge

    Lawyers

    The legal system has serious problems, which is why there are so many lawyer jokes. But many lawyers are good people, doing the best they can in the system as it is.

    But it's hard to see how justice for the accused, for example, could be achieved if we did away with what seems to be the source of the problem: the adversarial nature of the legal system.

    It would be nice if the judge and the lawyers in the courtroom were all working together to find the truth, the way scientists do it, but in the real world that is known to be horrifically open to abuse.

    1. Ben Liddicott

      Re: Lawyers

      The way scientists do it is also adversarial.

      Scientists are not disinterested, they have an enormous amount riding on their theories, far more than mere money. As such they can't be relied upon to find the holes in their own evidence.

      That's why you need other scientists with competing theories to pick holes.

      Darwinian processes are the only known processes to produce knowledge.

  54. PaulFrederick

    Suck it up buttercup

    FLOSS is a hardball world.

  55. Adrian Midgley 1

    He has a point, and the quote is subtly different from the story

    and headline.

  56. doke

    lawyers scare deveopers into leaving projects

    Linus is right about the BusyBox GPL lawsuit. Bringing in lawyers scared the developers into leaving. That ended up hurting everyone.

    Programmers usually don't understand or trust lawyers. There have been too many stories about people losing everything. The developers don't want to be caught in the splash zone, so they abandon the project. It can take years to recover.

  57. dmacleo

    read the whole thing not just the snippets

    well worth your time, shows a huge advocacy for community policing too.

    a very interesting thread.

    OTOH I wish they were forum based I have issues reading mailing lists in that format.

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