back to article Linus Torvalds pens vintage 'f*cking' rant at kernel dev's 'utter BS'

Linux overlord Linus Torvalds has fired off an expletive-laden rant of the sort that only he seems to find acceptable. His post to the Linux Kernel mailing list takes aim at a chap named Kees Cook, who The Register believes to be a Google employee working on security for the company's Pixel phones. Cook appears to have earned …

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    1. Adam 52 Silver badge

      Decades of human factors research shows that you're wrong. If you have a loudmouth on the team then others tend not to question them even when they make huge mistakes.

      1. msknight Silver badge

        +1 to that Adam

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Can you point me to an instance of Linus making a mistake?

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Every time he opens his mouth/responds to a mailing list

          1. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

            "Every time he opens his mouth/responds to a mailing list"

            How can I explain this? I know.

            Have you ever seen a newspaper headline that said "Liner crosses Atlantic without hitting iceberg"?

        2. thosrtanner

          Yes. The way git handles renames. Every time I refactor something in a way that involves renaming of files, I cry and wish to go back to clearcase. Filenames are important metadata, despite Mr Torvalds rant on the subject.

          1. Gary Bickford

            Interesting. Mercurial handles the rename nicely ("hg rename"), but it doesn't go in and edit all the places where it's referred to. But (using PHP) the autoinclude system handles that if you use a filename that matches the pattern for the class name. The autoinclude system works out the filename from the class name. So rename the class in the source file and wherever it's invoked, rename the file, you're done. I don't use git (or C, C++) so IDK other systems.

        3. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Linus Torvalds is obviously wrong each time he despises security... and no less than at kernel level!

        4. Gerhard Mack

          "Can you point me to an instance of Linus making a mistake?"

          Yes, and I can point to a kernel dev calling him on it and him backing down.

          1. Mark 65 Silver badge

            Errr, well point to it then i.e. link please.

      3. Amos1

        Grow a pair then. Part of being an adult is not picking up and running away when others might get hurt. There are no "safe spaces" in the real world.

      4. oldcoder

        Except when they are right 80+% of the time.

        1. Adam 52 Silver badge

          "Except when they are right 80+% of the time."

          No. The landmark incident was this. Captain Veldhuyzen van Zanten had an exemplary reputation, right up until he killed lots of people.

          https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tenerife_airport_disaster

          1. Hans 1 Silver badge
            Boffin

            1. Mr. van Zanten was under a "lot" of pressure and in a hurry (I know, both are bad)

            2. He overestimated the reading skills of the Pan Am crew, that is, to recognize the letter "C" and the number "3". Had they exited at C3, as instructed by ATC, all would have been safe.

            3. The tower was not communicating using official terminology, leading to KLM "believing" they had take off clearance, although they never specifically asked for it

            4. Their fate was sealed by radio interference

            Now, he should never have taken off with the thick fog in the first place, agreed.

            You cannot blame van Zanten for everything, here ... he has his part of the blame, agreed, certainly not the whole blame.

            Linus, on the other hand, has responsibility for a kernel, NOT PEOPLE, he knows damn well what he wants and what he does not want. He has strong words for those that oppose his views, unless you can convince him, but then you need a STRONG case!

            The idiots over at systemd and Kees, here, are dead wrong. I have the impression Kees did not even read Linus' email he is replying to ... he even mentions WARN() iso WARN_ONCE(), who wants to fill the log ?

            I do not agree with everything Linus thinks, like this:

            https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bw58LZTuZjA

            But, hey, guess what, nobody is perfect, we are all entitled to our opinions, we should always question our opinions in the light of new data ...

      5. Daniel von Asmuth Bronze badge

        I am gon'na build a great kernel

        ...and make the Mexicans pay for it.

  2. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Big egos make bad code.

    No amount of defending bad code you wrote makes it good code.

    Good code is not elegant, uncommented, utilising recondite features of a compiler.

    Good code is regular, lowest common denominator stuff written in a style that everybody understands including all compilers, that has stood up to being trashed by users' idiocy until its pretty much bullet proof.

    Good code is not the creation of a genius, but of sober humble writers working long hours to create and even longer hours to debug.

    If Linus has to use a few F-bombs to get egos out of Linux, so much the better. Its a pity that they didn't work with Lennaert...

    1. wolfetone Silver badge

      Re: Big egos make bad code.

      Exactly. There have been a tonne of instances where the developers have written shit code and pushed it through to the build, only for Linus to find them and kick off about it. They're simple issues, and they're issues that a developer really should be on top of. Blaming the checker at being at fault is like me going to the shop and saying the lottery machine is wrong when it says my "winning" lottery ticket doesn't have a single number on it.

      1. DrRobert

        Re: Big egos make bad code.

        A tonne of instances? Don't you mean 1000kg ?

        1. msknight Silver badge
          Trollface

          Re: Big egos make bad code.

          Surely you mean 1.1231 great white sharks? Or 0.0222 Australian trams?

        2. wolfetone Silver badge

          Re: Big egos make bad code.

          I could've meant 1,000Kg.

          I could've meant 2,204.6lbs.

          I could've meant 1.10 short tons

          I could've meant 0.984 long tons.

          I could have also meant 1,016Kg if speaking about ton.

          I could've also meant 907Kg if speaking about ton to our North American friends.

          But, hopefully, you'll still be able to get the idea that I meant he got a metric shit ton of instances.

          1. Chronos Silver badge

            Re: Big egos make bad code.

            What's that in imperial arse-loads?

            1. wolfetone Silver badge

              Re: Big egos make bad code.

              "What's that in imperial arse-loads?"

              42.

      2. Sil

        Re: Big egos make bad code.

        No one is blaming the checker for finding real faults in others' code.

        The question is, can you check code and hold people responsible for their bad code, while being decent and not unnecessarily virulent, foul mouthed or offensive about it.

        The question is, how many good devs did Linux loose, or will never have, based on Linus' insistence on behaving like a non-educated three years old.

        1. Mark 65 Silver badge

          Re: Big egos make bad code.

          @Sil: The world already has far too many delicate little flowers in it whose parents convinced them over the years that "mummy's little soldier is special" and that they can do no wrong. I suffer this crap daily having to deal with clueless tits that just will not accept that they don't have a fucking scooby what they are doing. They are productivity detractors.

          The man is trying to get shit done and doesn't suffer fools gladly. I have no problem with this. I feel the world would be a better place if there was less tolerance of whiny little twats not more.

    2. Citizen99

      Re: Big egos make bad code.

      I remember, back in the '70s, my boss telling me the following anecdote:

      The Chairman of the Gas Board (as it then was in the UK) issued the following edict "Sack all clever programmers"

      :-D

  3. Flocke Kroes Silver badge

    Re: Counter argument

    Where is respectfulkernel.org or politelinux.net? Show me a kernel fork making constructive progress without rants and the counter argument is made.

    1. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

      Re: Counter argument

      "Show me a kernel fork making constructive progress"

      Microsoft appear to be trying it. https://www.theregister.co.uk/2017/07/31/windows_subsystem_for_linux_to_debut_in_windows_10_fall_creators_update/

      Whether it's making constructive progress is a different matter.

      "without rants"

      And as it's behind closed doors we aren't going to know.

      1. Ken Hagan Gold badge

        Re: Counter argument

        I don't think this is a kernel (fork or otherwise).

        It almost certainly is without rants, however, since MS have to pay lip service to the norms of US employment. On the other hand, they probably sack the lowest performing 5% of their team every so often, which I'd argue was an even worse way to treat your devs.

        1. katgod

          Re: Counter argument

          Ken,

          Do you think that ranting at a coder about his or her bad code will make him a better coder?

          If that works maybe you should tell teachers about your new teaching method.

          1. Mark 65 Silver badge

            Re: Counter argument

            Given the behaviour, or rather lack thereof, currently observed in classrooms and the quality of the "educated" product that eventuates I'd say teachers are the last people to talk to about what works.

            Those who can...do, those who can't...teach.

  4. jake Silver badge

    As I've said before ...

    Wouldn't YOU be fucking pissed off if a so-called "professional" tried to pass off junk as working code, and expected you to put YOUR name on it? Frankly, given some of the egregious errors I've seen on the KML, and the lengths that the owners of those errors go to justify their junk, I'd say Linus shows extreme restraint!

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: As I've said before ...

      Hmmm, well so far as I can tell all the chap has done is point out that, at the very most, there is some illogicality to the way faults are reported. He's not even written any code, this is old established code that could do with some improvement. Perhaps his only mistake was to assume that asking Torvalds for guidance would be worthwhile...

      I'm wondering just how long Linux has got left as a cohesive, foundational project. RedHat / Pottering are trying to steal it. Google must be wondering why the hell they're bothering. Intel have had staff walk away from the project.

      And then there's the more existential stuff; Rust as a language is really coming along, and the Redox OS written in Rust has made some stunning progress in a very short time. The whole idea of a kernel written in C is rapidly becoming anachronistic, not that many people realise it. Linux risks becoming a technological back water, though with a lot of momentum.

      Other fundamental stuff needs changes. Everyone acknowledges that the network stack performance is below par, and it needs to be moved out of the kernel. That's a massive architectural change that's not happening because probably no one wants to raise the topic with Torvalds.

      1. sabba

        Re: As I've said before ...

        I have no problem with the kernel being written in C. Good, and bad, code can be written in any language. I do take exception to Linus' approach to handling anything he deems to be critical of his work. That smacks of a God complex and that rarely works out well for anybody. Over the years I have heard many bullies justify their actions by saying it gets things to. The question is, does their approach cause things to get done in an expedient (fast delivery) or appropriate (robust) manner and at what cost?

        1. Mark 65 Silver badge

          Re: As I've said before ...

          I do take exception to Linus' approach to handling anything he deems to be critical of his work. That smacks of a God complex and that rarely works out well for anybody.

          I look forward to a comparison between the Linux kernel overseen by a man with a God complex and a rival one that is "designed by committee". That never works out well.

      2. keithpeter
        Coat

        Re: As I've said before ...

        Redox...

        https://github.com/redox-os/redox/releases

        https://www.reddit.com/r/Redox/

        Looks most interesting. Getting close to self-building, and they have ported gcc so there will be some applications to run on their GUI when it is a bit more stable. My favourite quote: "I am currently struggling with getting autotools based builds to work on Redox (warning: trying to read and understand a ./configure script may cause mental illness)."

        Wondering if the focus is a GUI/desktop or server workloads, obviously shiny motivates the younger contributors but a minimal system that can sit somewhere on a network and run an application or two written in the system language could provide a niche that encourages adoption and a show-case implementation.

        The more the merrier, but I think Linux has a significant incumbent advantage over the BSDs, Illumos based OSes and new ones like this.

        Coat: 9front for the win!

      3. bombastic bob Silver badge
        Devil

        Re: As I've said before ...

        "I'm wondering just how long Linux has got left as a cohesive, foundational project"

        a long time, I'd say.

        "RedHat / Pottering are trying to steal it."

        let them try. systemd kernel? HA HA HA HA HA! that's a laugh!

        "Intel have had staff walk away from the project."

        rage-quitters should STAY 'quit'. it's likely they were unproductive anyway. My $.10.

        1. Pirate Dave
          Pirate

          Re: As I've said before ...

          "systemd kernel? HA HA HA HA HA! that's a laugh!"

          Never underestimate the power of the Dark Side...

        2. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          @bombastic bob - Re: As I've said before ...

          I wouldn't dismiss the RedHat trying to steal Linux. It is always good when you can lock-in customers and get rid of competition.

          1. fobobob

            Re: @bombastic bob - As I've said before ...

            Sounds more like a Oracle play, they pretty much stole ksplice from the industry at large.

          2. bazza Silver badge

            Re: @bombastic bob - As I've said before ...

            I wouldn't dismiss the RedHat trying to steal Linux. It is always good when you can lock-in customers and get rid of competition.

            Quite. If enough kernel devs end up being RedHat employees, they own Linux. Linus is good at driving people away from the project, leaving it vulnerable to a group with a plan and the money and the motivation to dominate the project.

            If that happened, and they then forked Linux and went their own way, everyone else has to follow. "You wanna desktop, use our fork. Use Linus's original if you want but there's no desktop for you". It's worked with systemd, it would work with the kernel too. There's simply not enough people who care enough about the specifics of the lower layer stuff to resist it. Most people just want a working system and don't give a damn if the code itself was personally blessed by Linus.

            The longer Linus keeps ranting at hardworking kernel devs, the more likely we'll end with Pottering being in charge of the only fork of Linux one can actually use.

            1. bazza Silver badge

              Re: @bombastic bob - As I've said before ...

              Ps that's an outcome that I'm not so keen on, to put it mildly...

      4. frobnicate

        Re: As I've said before ...

        The amazing progress of Redox OS includes re-writing the kernel from scratch, because existing virtual memory sub-system caused multiple memory corruptions and crashes in user land (https://www.redox-os.org/news/this-summer-in-redox-15/) that developers couldn't fix. So much for "safe" languages.

        1. bazza Silver badge

          Re: As I've said before ...

          @frobnicate,

          I think you're missing the point. Crashes are good, they're Rust's way of pointing out bugs in your code. C is nasty because unless you do something spectacular to cause a segment fault or similar, your code will run quite happily causing mayhem that you might learn abroad during development, or you might not.

          Rust itself is still evolving, but is a very good systems language. It's pretty hard to code for, because it doesn't let you get away with mistakes. That's its strength. You write junk code, you're going to be told all about it straight away.

          Unlike C, where bugs lie dormant for decades undiscovered.

          If ISO standardises Rust, it will become the language of choice for low level stuff like kernels.

          I'm a long time C programmer, I love it to bits, but Rust is the writing on the wall. The speed with which Redox has gone from nothing to a running desktop is hugely impressive. The fact that they could bash out a whole new kernel very quickly, and apparently it's pretty bomb proof already, shows that it's a language where you can concentrate on ideas instead of worrying about memory all the time.

          Large C projects like Linux will be seen as just too demanding of resources. There's a lot of people spending a lot of time chasing down problems in Linux that simply don't exist if Rust was used instead.

          1. frobnicate

            Re: As I've said before ...

            @bazza,

            Rust safety features (as well as similar features of other languages) are mostly irrelevant in the context of kernel development. They rely on the underlying model of fully separated protected address spaces. And kernel's task is to *implement* this model, so it cannot rely on this model. The bugs in the Redox where not some kind of wild pointer dereferences or use-after-free-s (these are eliminated by the language), they were perfectly legitimate memory accesses, but they still caused crashes, because the memory locations in question happen to contain page tables or DMA setup structures, etc. That is, those were not typical "segfault" kind or errors, they were logical errors, from which Rust protects no better than C. (And yes, such errors can stay dormant for years.)

            I spent (<counts with fingers...>) about 10 years doing kernel programming for multiple operating systems and I can say that chasing pointer errors definitely wasn't anywhere close to the top problems.

      5. oldcoder

        Re: As I've said before ...

        I don't think Linus would object to the network code moving out of the kernel...

        As long as it works, and has equal performance, and doesn't change the userspace interface.

        He might even give a sigh of relief at not having to put up with it anymore.

        1. Alan Brown Silver badge

          Re: As I've said before ...

          "As long as it works, and has equal performance, and doesn't change the userspace interface."

          Linus isn't the only one who'd heave a sigh of relief. Some of those decisions made a long time ago when we were younger, more foolish and had less grey hair seem less smart with 20+ years of hindsight. kernel NFS in particular must die.

    2. Fruit and Nutcase Silver badge
      Coat

      Re: As I've said before ...

      I've come across "professional" programmers that makes amateurs look good, in fact, very good.

      1. Gary Bickford

        Re: As I've said before ...

        "Some people have 20 years of experience. Others have one year of experience 20 times."

  5. Will Godfrey Silver badge
    Unhappy

    I think I'd be less than delighted

    A supposed professional doesn't accept that his own code generates a false positive and dumps everything. Yet the lead developer who's reputation is then being questioned is expected to act 'reasonable'.

    Too many snowflakes around these days.

    1. bombastic bob Silver badge
      Thumb Up

      Re: I think I'd be less than delighted

      "Too many snowflakes around these days."

      You, sir, deserve, MANY THUMBS UP for THAT one!

      /me takes a FLAMETHROWER to the snowflakes. Look, a puddle!

      1. Jamie Jones Silver badge
        Boffin

        Re: I think I'd be less than delighted

        You do know that it's a proven fact that usage of any of the following words/phrases in their "PC" / political context indicates a lower IQ, and the tendency to follow the leader, sheep-like?

        snowflake, triggered, libtard, "safe space", SJW (as currently used), "fake news"... and more...

        Further studies show that users of such phrases are unaware that whilst using them shows up their stupidity, they ironically think it makes them look clever. Unable to think for themselves, they cling onto whatever "facts" are explained to them with single syllable words.

        Typically paranoid, and easily scared, give them a " bogeyman" to fear, and they are even easier to control. However, protagonists in this field have urged caution, as it is very easy for such brainwashed people to have views even their own side thinks absurd, such as the government is out to get them, and there could virtually be terrorists hiding under the bed, and that their penis is abnormally small (though this latter point is usually true)

        1. dbtx Bronze badge
          FAIL

          "proven fact" and "studies show"

          are also on the shitlist. Just sayin'.

          1. Jamie Jones Silver badge
            Facepalm

            Re: "proven fact" and "studies show"

            Errr. Both you guys.. That was sorta the idea

            1. dbtx Bronze badge
              Coat

              Then... use a different icon, maybe? Instead of the one that suggests you take yourself seriously and so should we?

        2. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: I think I'd be less than delighted

          @Jamie Jones: Dude, you're sounding like a condescending twat.

  6. david 12 Bronze badge

    >that only he seems to find acceptable.<

    I take that to mean "that no editor would find acceptable", and I take that to mean "in published print, although it would be normal in some newsrooms"

    As such, it's a perfectly reasonable (though strangely ignorant) opinion of a journalist.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: >that only he seems to find acceptable.<

      "I take that to mean..."

      You are adding a qualification where none is needed; this just confuses things.

      Every time El Reg's APAC editor posts an article about the way Linus manages the LKML the majority of the comments here support Linus. In view of this, when El Reg's APAC editor claims that Linus works in a way "that only he seems to find acceptable" he [EL Reg's APAC editor] knows it to be untrue; it's just click-baiting.

      Personally, I'd sooner work with someone who is straight and honest than someone who resorts to misrepresenting the facts in order to pursue a personal vendetta.

      1. Mark 65 Silver badge

        Re: >that only he seems to find acceptable.<

        @LeeE: Do you think there may be a denied pull request in there somewhere?

  7. John Smith 19 Gold badge
    Unhappy

    Remeber folks this is only news because it happens quite rarely

    I think it's good someone is using a code checking tool.

    But if Torvalds is right then like all tools its output must be read with care.

    I'm guessing he's usually right.

  8. This post has been deleted by a moderator

    1. Hans 1 Silver badge

      Every time I see or hear anything that the penguin wrangler comes out with

      Only because you are not subscribed to the kernel list.

      On this very issue:

      kernel test robot detected something.

      Torvalds (Wed, 19 Jul 2017 21:04:25 -0700):

      1. warns about usage of BUG() and BUG_ON(): BUG() and BUG_ON() are not acceptable debugging things. They kill the machine. They make for bad debugging. He also writes that you should use WARN_ONCE() instead.

      2. fixes a small issue (array of chars iso char)

      A week later, Kees comes into the thread and complains that BUG() does not work properly. He apparently is happy with killing a machine in case of an issue ... this, among other things, causes Torvalds to blow a fuse.

      It is much easier to troubleshoot a machine that does not crash when an error occurs.

      https://lkml.org/lkml/2017/7/19/1425

      @El'Reg, for the second time (at least), PLEASE QUOTE THE WHOLE THREAD!

      1. wallaby

        Hmm....

        seems that calling the penguin wrangler gets my post deleted..... Looks like he has allies in low places.

  9. Lee D Silver badge

    The tone of the article isn't at all judgemental, Reg.

    The LKML is far from a workplace. It's a public forum.

    Linus isn't employed, as such, so he's not working and not in a workplace.

    And idiocy like this attracts comments like that even in my workplace. Sure, they won't appear on any HR complaint because you make sure they are issued to the right people - like he did here as the response was precisely "fair enough"!

    How to cook the article to make Linus the villain again, because he swears a bit. I'm much more concerned about a president who thinks it's appropriate to tweet about nuclear proliferation, tick off China, threaten his staff with the sack etc. than someone saying "This is rubbish, change it".

    This BUG() - the article doesn't say it - just kills your machine stone-dead with no way to continue. Sure, it's in debug code, but you DO NOT WANT your machine to just die if it hits a problem. You want at least a way to bail out, an error, and a way to get back to a debugger and test again rather then "Oh well, I have almost no information on what happened, I'll just reboot and hope it never happens again despite the fact I'm supposed to be doing these people a favour and testing their code for them".

    And it's picked up by an automated bot, in a commit whose description is "add the option of fortified string.h functions". Things shouldn't bring an entire machine to a grinding half because someone added an option and didn't test it properly (and, reading between the lines, decided not to error-handle, but just to "warn" in the log, then BUG() which kills the machine).

    This type of thing might be acceptable in an internal project while testing, it shouldn't be pushed to a kernel where others are trying to get work done (even if that work is debugging that exact problem!).

    1. sabba

      There are ways and means. Linus is a throwback to the bad old days when IT was king. He needs to learn some social skills.

      1. Arthur the cat Silver badge

        Linus is a throwback to the bad old days when IT was king.

        Personally I think Linus is actually a performance art collective.

      2. Alan Brown Silver badge

        "He needs to learn some social skills."

        He's got plenty of social skills. The harsh reality is that being "nice" and using "soothing" language simply results in clues bouncing off the clueless.

        Adding a few barbs tends to make them stick.

      3. Hans 1 Silver badge
        Paris Hilton

        He needs to learn some social skills.

        He is leaning social skills:

        https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iYWzMvlj2RQ

  10. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    is it never possible that Linus is wrong? Does he never say BS?

    1. Bronek Kozicki Silver badge

      It is possible that Linus is wrong, he openly admits such possibility from time to time (although examples are hard to find).

      The problem here is not not whether or not Linus is wrong, it is "how do we get a problem debugged if user machine got killed rather than diagnose it". There very likely is actual bug there, but in the context of actually running Linux kernel with bugs, it is not acceptable for Linux to kill the user machine rather than diagnose it. He's been ranting about it for years, so not surprised at all when he blows the fuse.

    2. Alan Brown Silver badge

      "is it never possible that Linus is wrong? Does he never say BS?"

      He gets things wrong regularly - and admits it, and sometimes calls himself evil names in public for it.

  11. Chronos Silver badge

    Google

    I'm wondering how relevant is the fact that this comes from the Googleplex. Very is my guess. As far as I can tell, Linus sees the checker halting the machine with a BUG() where a WARN_ON and continue would be more appropriate. That trips my tinfoil hat into thinking Google prefer the machine to stop rather than allowing a potential root vector (Android, given that they've expressed a recent interest in taking back control of their OS) whereas Linus wants bug reports and meaningful information which require the machine to still be in a somewhat accessible state rather than limiting the user's access to her own bloody hardware.

    In this instance, Linus is bang on the money.

    1. John Smith 19 Gold badge
      WTF?

      "the checker halting the machine with a BUG()..a WARN_ON and continue..more appropriate."

      BUG() sounds like something you'd use on a live production server that you wanted to die, before it got infected with something.

      But that's not a development environment.

      I'd be pretty p**sed trying to diagnose a (supposed) OS fault with no context, no idea what (if any) apps were running, memory map etc.

      And of course a completely wiped machine, once it reboots.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Pint

      Re: Google

      Mad props to Linux for telling those Google kids to get off his fucking lawn.

      I too am sick and tired of corporate dweebs shitting up open source projects with their Java-esque assembly-line mentalities, their PC safe-space victim complexes, and last but not least their world domination agendas.

  12. allthecoolshortnamesweretaken

    "Linux overlord Linus Torvalds has fired off an expletive-laden rant of the sort that only he seems to find acceptable."

    Simon - just speak for yourself, mmmhkay?

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Simon speaks for others too

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        "Simon speaks for others too"

        You could always withdraw your services as a kernel developer if it upsets you that much. Linus isn't an employer, after all.

      2. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

        "Simon speaks for others too"

        But does he speak for Linux devs?

    2. GrumpenKraut Silver badge

      With these articles (apart from the obvious click-baitery) I smell a case of difference in European/USAian conversation style. For me (note my handle) it seemed always strange how super-duper-extra polite the US style is. I have worked in a company that transited to US ownership. Let's just say a LOT had to be learned on both sides...

      The wording Linus uses may be totally verboten from the US perspective (@left-pondians: IS IT?). It just isn't from the European perspective.

      1. DropBear Silver badge

        You mean all that "SIR yes SIR!" bullshit...? Thanks but no thanks, they can keep it...

        1. GrumpenKraut Silver badge

          > ...that "SIR yes SIR!" bullshit...?

          No, rather that in a working environment, when somebody screws up beyond what you thought possible, you still have to say something like "I am not quite satisfied with ..." instead of "Now that was a monumental fuck-up. Just fix it.".

          I much prefer the latter wording. Honesty over sugar-coating, any time.

          1. Lotaresco

            ""I am not quite satisfied with ..." instead of "Now that was a monumental fuck-up. Just fix it.".

            I asked on a previous project which f*cknugget thought that the design was fit for purpose. It turned out to be the CEO who had been a developer once, long ago. He thought he'd done something clever by "taking charge" and demanding that the development team do things his way[1]. He was in the room at the time. He was furious and told HR to get rid of me.

            There followed the amusing "He's not employed by us, he's a contractor" which turned into "Then terminate his contract" and ended with, "We can't do that, the customer insists that he remains on the team." Ha bloody hah!

            [1] Transmitting lots of sensitive personal data unencrypted because it saved having to build a new web service. A real Talk Talk moment.

      2. Alan Brown Silver badge

        "For me (note my handle) it seemed always strange how super-duper-extra polite the US style is. "

        It's about what you might expect when the person being criticised may turn out to be a special snowflake with poor self control, impulse issues and a concealed handgun.

  13. David Nash Silver badge
    Meh

    Why is this news?

    Seems to me that it's nearly as common as "Trump sends controversial tweet"

  14. DropBear Silver badge
    Alert

    Dear Author, you seem to have a problem with Linus's attitude towards bad coding. I don't. None whatsoever.

  15. handleoclast Silver badge

    I don't mind being sworn at

    When I've done something stupid. Which is often.

    What I object to is being sworn at when I've not done something stupid. Which is infrequent (both me not doing something stupid and somebody swearing at me when I haven't done anything stupid).

    Having just read Linus's full post, Kees' full response, and gained a little of the background that led up to those from comments here, I have to say that the original article is somewhat misleading. Not only do many people here think that Linus's response was warranted, Kees himself also seemed to think so. So stating that only Linus finds such rants unacceptable is incorrect.

    Commentard Hans 1 suggests Simon should quote the whole thread. But that would require all of the posts that led up to it, not just the final two; a link to the thread is sufficient. However, I get the impression that Simon didn't read enough of the thread to summarize those two posts adequately, or if he read it then he didn't understand it.

    1. GrumpenKraut Silver badge
      Boffin

      Re: I don't mind being sworn at

      > I have to say that the original article is somewhat misleading.

      It doesn't take long to do that for each such article. You'll come to the same conclusion every single time.

      Correction in your comment: "unacceptable" should be "acceptable".

    2. dmacleo

      Re: I don't mind being sworn at

      that was my take, admittedly this stuff is not something I am well versed in though.

  16. Alistair Silver badge
    Windows

    LinusLKML Rant Notification Tool

    Simple bot that watches LKML and generates ElReg article when "Linus" entries contain "ranty words"

    I've been in IT for damn near 30 years. In the last few I've taken to making statements that would have been considered exceptionally pissy in the past. I don't tend to use swearysweary, but I have had cases where I itemize clearly where the problem lies and what needs to happen to fix it. Such that I have been bellowed at by a couple of not yet C suite types that were trying to get there. Point in fact, I'm still around and they are not. I am not above or below swearing. And I'm not about to get all twisted up about it.

    Simon; get over it. If every email that LT spat out that criticised code was loaded with personal insults, and invective aimed at crippling the target's self esteem, or even every 10th email, you *might* have something other than a grain of truth to work to death. As it is the ratios are far too low to be concerned about.

    At least he doesn't misdirect attention on critical issues by tweeting outrageous statements at 2:30am that raise non-issues.

  17. SomeoneInDelaware

    One of these days, the man is going to stroke out.

  18. Starace
    Flame

    Linus' biggest mistake

    If only he'd accepted that a microkernel-like approach was better than the monolithic one he wouldn't be stuck with arguments about the endless updates to all the cruft that shouldn't be in a kernel in the first place...

    1. GrumpenKraut Silver badge
      Pint

      Re: Linus' biggest mistake

      The 1990s called: they want their "microkernel is better" back.

      Anyway, beer o'clock. -------->

      1. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

        Re: Linus' biggest mistake

        "The 1990s called: they want their "microkernel is better" back."

        Yup but you've got to admit that Starace was right. If he'd gone for a microkernel he wouldn't be stuck with arguments with contributors about anything at all.

        1. nijam

          Re: Linus' biggest mistake

          > ...he wouldn't be stuck with arguments with contributors about anything at all.

          He wouldn't even be stuck with contributors at all. Or an operating system kernel, for that matter.

          1. bobajob12
            Trollface

            Re: Linus' biggest mistake

            Don't know what you mean. HURD is almost ready!

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Trollface

      Re: Linus' biggest mistake

      Nobody's forcing anyone to use Linux. I believe MacOS has a microkernel if that's important to you.

      1. FrankAlphaXII

        Re: Linus' biggest mistake

        Its bastardized Mach, which they call XNU. And its also not a microkernel.

    3. bobajob12

      Re: Linus' biggest mistake

      Professor Tanenbaum, is that you?

  19. Holtsmark

    I personally believe that the author of this article could not care less about whether Mr. Torvalds should swear or not. The thread got him yet another article written, and by adding some criticism of Mr. Torvalds, we commentares spend hours debating the issue (which equals even more advertisements seen by those without ad-blockers). An otherwise utterly boring kernel development thread is so turned into cash. An obvious win-win situation that ensures that we will continue to see articles of this type for years to come.

    1. PNGuinn
      Headmaster

      commentares

      Commentares???

      That's so totally not pc. Totally unacceptable, antisocial and obscenely abusive TBH.

      FYI the correct term on here is Commentards.

      There's probably an appropriate elReg unit for us lurking somewhere. Probably involving perfectly smooth badgers paws or some such.

      1. jake Silver badge

        Re: commentares

        Back all the way off, PNGuinn. It was clearly a simple typo.

  20. fishman

    Yearly rant?

    I'll assume that every time Linus uses foul language a Reg reporter gets to write an article. I'm too lazy to fact check, but it seems to me these "Linus Rants" occur once every year or two. Considering the hundreds of issues that come up with the Linux kernel development over that time period, it probably shows restraint by Linus.

    1. jake Silver badge

      Re: Yearly rant?

      Every time Linus uses foul language, a cub reporter gets his/er wings?

  21. anoncow

    Sorry, Linus is right

    From time to time Linus shoots his mouth off in a way that is totally inappropriate. This is not one of those times. Technically, Linus is exactly correct. He could have posted without swearing and that would be nice, but there's no burning issue, this time. So: "it's a f*cking disgrace that you are in denial about the fact that it's the *checking* that is broken, not the code, and are making excuses for shit". Right. Pinpoint accurate but better without the swear words. Good for you, for tilting at that windmill.

  22. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Torvalds, you're a jerk!

    What have you ever done for computing anyway?

    Oh, wait... as you were, then...

  23. Jonathan 27 Bronze badge

    Linux Torvalds is lucky his employment is set up the way it is. I don't think there are many organizations that would tolerate an employee constantly publicly berating people online.

    1. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

      " I don't think there are many organizations that would tolerate an employee constantly publicly berating people online."

      Just reflect a moment what would happen in an ordinary organisation.

      Torvalds would do one or more of the following:

      - Write programmers' annual reviews

      - Conduct recruitment interviews of programmers

      - Recommend programmers for dismissal

      - Recommend programmers for promotion

      - Recommend programmers for pay rises

      He has none of these conventional management aids to maintain quality. All he has is the ability to accept or reject code and to comment on it. By that means he is able to manage a team orders of magnitude greater than by use of such conventional management aids which leads to the further point that in such an organisation:

      - He would have no time to do any real work.

      Or to put it another way: how would you manage the Linux project (and remember before you reply that a lot of work is already delegated to the likes of Greg Kroah-Hartman).

    2. Lotaresco
      Mushroom

      " I don't think there are many organizations that would tolerate an employee constantly publicly berating people online."

      My company positively encourages the berating of people making fatuous points on-line[1]. I won't do it here because El Reg staffers are sensitive souls who don't like to see idiots being told to consider sex and travel, no matter how much the idiot may deserve it.

      [1] The boss is a great bloke, too.

  24. People's Poet

    Cunts

    Whether Torvalds is right or not doesn't make him any less of a cunt. Jobs was a cunt too, it seems that if you're brilliant at something some people think it's ok to act all cunty. I"m just waiting for someone to lamp him and really hope it gets filmed on someone's phone, hopefully a Windows phone at that!

    1. nijam

      Re: Cunts

      > it seems that if you're brilliant at something some people think it's ok to act all cunty

      It seems that if you're brilliant, some people like to assume you're all cunty.

      FTFY

  25. Herby Silver badge

    Maybe...

    Linus is a BOFH in disguise?

    Lacking a cattle prod, and only words to motivate, he rants on.

    Sorry, I just read the BOFH episode, as I was out of computer range for the last 3 weekends.

    1. dmacleo

      Re: Maybe...

      as I was out of computer range for the last 3 weekends.

      *******************

      oh my god!!

      are you ok???

  26. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Twat

    If I worked with someone who spoke to me like that, he'd get it back ten times worse. Every time. And no, I wouldn't shut up.

    But then, I am a massive twat.

    1. Lotaresco

      Re: Twat

      "If I worked with someone who spoke to me like that, he'd get it back ten times worse. Every time. And no, I wouldn't shut up."

      No, like every other keyboard warrior you'd sit there and squirm, snowflake. Because every hard man on line is pathetic in RL.

  27. fobobob

    Linus has been in the trenches of this war (perhaps having accidentally started it) for some 26 years, I'm sure he's seen some shit.

  28. a pressbutton

    Linus knows what he is doing

    - He is trying to raise the cost of stupidity.

    Kernal contributors do not get paid. I don't think you can sack them.

    Linus only has so much time. This is the bottleneck.

    If getting sweary about one bit of arrant stupidity once every M months stops N others being stupid to him and wasting his time - even if it puts off some other possible contributors - this is a net gain.

    1. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

      Re: Linus knows what he is doing

      "Kernael contributors do not get paid."

      I think most of them do by their regular employers. However Linus does not have any influence over that and, as you say, he doesn't get to sack them either.

      This is surely a unique situation and I doubt that any of those who come here to advise us of how he's doing it wrong would have the first idea of how to manage it, I know I certainly wouldn't but at least I know that.

      Possibly the entire secret of Linux's success isn't the original code that attracted a mass of contributors but the fact that Linus himself turned out to have the ability to manage it and that the occasional rant is part of that ability.

  29. Number6

    Someone ought to do a run of teeshirts: "I got savaged by Linus" for devs to wear. You only get one if you've been on the receiving end (whether justified or not) of one of these outbursts.

    1. Lotaresco
      Childcatcher

      "Someone ought to do a run of teeshirts: "I got savaged by Linus" for devs to wear. You only get one if you've been on the receiving end (whether justified or not) of one of these outbursts."

      Linus Torvalds ate my hamster.

  30. martinusher Silver badge

    The trick to project management

    One of the most important tricks to team management is to stop behaving like you know it all and can do it all -- even if it is true. If you are having problems with team members not getting things right or doing things properly it could be because they're useless/lazy/stupid wastes of space but its also quite likely that you're not getting across what needs doing and why.

    Programmers can be a tricky bunch to work with (one software manager described it as "herding cats") but it comes with the territory. Ranting and abuse is counter productive and it really cuts no ice that you were the inventor, the great source of information and ideas, the fountainhead or whatever. If this particular problem is so obvious then it should be a relatively simple matter to demonstrate what the problem is and what potential fixes could be.

    1. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

      Re: The trick to project management

      So, if the trick to project management is as you describe it, how do you account for the success of this project?

  31. razorfishsl

    He is 100% correct.

    We currently have 3 servers running linux that just stop, usually about the end of the month and always on an "o'clock" , jobs have been moved about and yet no job appears to coincide with the times the servers stop.

    Take an exact bit image and moe it to a PC and it works reliably, put it back on a server and the errors come out.

    There is nothing in any log, the system just STOPS dead, only a power cycle can restart it.

    If idiots are allowed to just handle errors anyway they want then way more situations like this will occur, you may as well just use windows.

    Fine, he may not be the most diplomatic, charismatic person on the planet and sometimes he's a complete twat, but look how far linux has come and what the whole planet has gained from that.

    Take linux out of the equation and look at the shit we would have been left with.

    In any equation it is rarely one-sided perfection.

  32. E 2

    I have no problem with Linus' logic.

  33. J J Carter Silver badge
    Linux

    Uh-oh

    Many eyes, one potty mouth!

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Uh-oh

      I wish this forum allowed users to block viewing of posts by selected retards.

      1. Will Godfrey Silver badge
        Meh

        Re: Uh-oh

        Doesn't work.

        If someone replies, and quotes part of the original, you've no idea where it came from or what the context is.

        If they don't prune the original, you get all of the post you didn't want to see.

        If you block the entire thread, you then miss the extremely good comment someone else makes after 'n' lines of thread drift.

        1. a pressbutton

          Re: Uh-oh

          Does work

          I need to explain Godfreys(*) law to you (I invented Godfrey's law)

          Lots of people read everything in t' internet - even the c*** bits.

          There may be a great idea in there.

          Some of those people will restate that idea later on and claim it as their own.

          (* I call it Godfrey's law - you may know it as something else)

          1. Lotaresco

            Re: Uh-oh

            "I need to explain Godfreys(*) law to you (I invented Godfrey's law)"

            Godfrey's Law is: "any transmission by a service provider of a defamatory posting constitutes a publication under defamation law". It dates from 1997. You'll have to find another name.

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