back to article Linux kernel's 'seat warmer' drops 4.19-rc5 with – wow – little drama

Speculation and debate still surround Linus Torvald's decision to step back from Linux kernel development for a while, but the next kernel release candidate landed with far less sturm und drang. Greg Kroah-Hartman, anointed by Torvalds to keep things rolling while the Linux supremo takes a break and gets some help, dropped …

  1. colinb

    Who are these people

    "They signed on to participate in a meritocracy with reputation rewards"

    Really?

    Isn't the stat that >90% of Linux kernel patches are from for-profit corps (your IBM, Google, Red Hat etc..)so it could well be devs with such a goal and maybe hired into the Corp but also a lot of people just doing their job.

    That will colour what they think is acceptable or not.

    1. overunder

      Re: Who are these people

      What do you mean? I'm confused as the word "with" is used, not "without". Either way, does it matter as now this topic is getting so far out of the hand that the P.R. is now attracting P.R.?

      I think they should just leave the feelings out of the whole thing and work out there problems directly with each other. Children's daycare rules are not needed. Remember that you'll have to be confident enough to confront and work out your problems directly. If you can't do that, then sadly you might actually need to go back to daycare.

      1. colinb

        Re: Who are these people

        I mean someone working for Intel who gets a Linus blast might trot to HR for a chat about people being mean to them and that has implications for a corporate sponsor.

        Someone working from home on their own time might trot to the Fridge for a beer.

        There seems to be a myth of plucky amateurs at play here, probably true for Distros but 90% untrue for the Kernel.

        1. colinb

          Re: Who are these people

          My main point is if you sup with the Devil use a long spoon.

          Corporate dominance of Linux has made this dumb CoC inevitable when it really should have had one line

          'You can and will be judged solely on your code quality' .

          Anyway popcorn at the ready for the really talented people to fork off a little baby Linux.

          1. Charlie Clark Silver badge

            Re: Who are these people

            'You can and will be judged solely on your code quality'

            This is still too subjective. There have been numerous disputes about what constitutes code quality: system d.

            Sometimes you need an (designated) adult in the room who takes the decision as to whether some thing goes in or not and the litmus test is being able to accept the decision. In the world of open source, the fork is always an option.

            1. HieronymusBloggs Silver badge

              Re: Who are these people

              "In the world of open source, the fork is always an option."

              If those shouting the most loudly about perceived abuse were capable of forking they would do it instead of shouting.

          2. oiseau
            Pint

            Re: Who are these people

            'You can and will be judged solely on your code quality' .

            Exactly ...

            +1

            Have a beer ... --->

          3. Phil Lord

            Re: Who are these people

            'You can and will be judged solely on your code quality' .

            This is just silly. There is world of things that sit around code quality that are also important.

            For example, you might have good code, but you probably need to be able to write coherent English explaining what the code is for and what it does. So you need to be able to use an email list also. So, you have a social element. Having someone easy to understand is important, of course, but someone who is easy to interact with also is a boon to a project.

            Then there are legal issues to be considered. Of course, these are rarely as serious as the issues that Hans Reiser has, but say you have a developer who routinely issues threats of violence or death to others, then this is illegal.

            And so it goes. It seems nice and simple, of course, to say "it should be all about the code". But it's simple, it's simplistic. Life is more complex than that. Whether the new CoC is a good solution I don't know. But having something a bit more serious that "be excellent to each other" seems like a good idea.

            1. P. Lee Silver badge

              Re: Who are these people

              >something a bit more serious that "be excellent to each other" seems like a good idea.

              Actually, no it isn't. It is far more inclusive and all-encompassing than the limited categories in the CoC.

              The problem with the CoC is not so much with the words but with the spirit. It betrays an obsession with feelz and a demand for ideological purity which many people find revolting. You don't need a CoC to deal with what is illegal. The CoC is a indicative of a desire to turn things which are not the law, into effective law. If you can be kicked out because you called someone "fat" despite making valuable code contributions, it indicates that that code contributions are valued less than all those listed things in the CoC: age, body size, disability, ethnicity, sex characteristics, gender identity and expression, level of experience, education, socio-economic status, nationality, personal appearance, race, religion, or sexual identity and orientation.

              So you can't say, "oh, typical Yank!" or you can be thrown out.

              There's a lot of typical SJW stuff in there. It's mostly obsessed with sex, race and gender. Since this won't be showing up in code, it betrays a desire to control people outside of the code contributions. To punish people for wrong-think and the expression of bad thoughts. Can you express thoughts regarding illegal immigration without falling foul of this?

              Again, it isn't the really the contents that are the problem, everyone should be complying with this. The problem is its enforcement and the threat of exclusion for non-compliance. There is a reason we don't put this stuff into law - it is impossible to objectively and sensibly enforce it. Where it is put into law, it leads to ridiculous oppression and partisan behaviour.

              1. Phil Lord

                Re: Who are these people

                "It betrays an obsession with feelz and a demand for ideological purity which many people find revolting."

                Yes, but then I find lack of politeness pretty irritating also.

                "You don't need a CoC to deal with what is illegal."

                Yeah, you do. Most organisations have relatively strong policies relating to bullying and harrassment, and a mechanism with dealing with it. And they have to because if they do not they will appear complicit. Look at is this way: child abuse is illegal, but does that really mean that schools do not need to have policies for safeguarding children? Of course, this is not to say that a CoC is needed to cover all potential illegality; there is little point in saying "murdering people will be grounds for removal" because that is just silly.

                In the case of Linux, "legal" is made more complex by the multiple jurisdictions that people find themselves in, so being explicit about the project may help.

                "It's mostly obsessed with sex, race and gender."

                These are legally protected characteristics in many jurisdictions. By definition, any policy about harrassement is going to involve these characteristics.

                "Can you express thoughts regarding illegal immigration without falling foul of this?"

                That's a good question. The CoC gives you a basis for making a decision on these things, but how they are applied in practice is very important. I would hope that you could express thoughts about illegal immigration even though, I suspect, I wouldn't like those thoughts. Similarly, for instance, while I think discrimination on grounds of religion is a bad thing, I would like to be able to say that most religions make little sense.

                If it works badly, indeed, you might be excluded from saying such things. If it works well, then, perhaps linux (and other free software projects, including some I contribute to) will become a politer place to be. I am hoping it goes well.

          4. bombastic bob Silver badge
            Devil

            Re: Who are these people

            I think the first line of the CoC (one that makes the SJW's happy) is about as palatable as it could be stated without becoming irritating, preachy, nor "activist". I don't really have a problem with it. A lot of corporations have things like that in their handbook because they don't want an unfriendly work environment (or frivolous lawsuits).

            That being said, people's personal lives shouldn't be put on parade in a work context, either. If 'the religious guy' foists his religion on you, it's the same as having someone force his 'sexual identity' on you and FORCING you to refer to him with specific pronouns, even when it's grammatically INCORRECT.

            So if you must identify yourself, as a Linux contributor, with your race or sexuality [assuming its obnoxious or trolling for 'violations'], THAT should be a 'code of conduct' violation, too. But it probably won't be looked at "that way" because it's CoC [selective/subjective] "enforcement" that is the problem, not the CoC itself.

            yeah "what this SJW/Snowflake 'feels'" shouldn't be the standard. But the CoC as written, _IF_ it's interpreted with COMMON SENSE, is fine by me.

            /me considers 'bombasticbob at old.white.heterosexual.male.{mydomain.whatever}' as an e-mail address for contributing to the Linux kernel. I could do that... and yeah it IS kinda 'activist' and makes my point.

        2. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

          Re: Who are these people

          "I mean someone working for Intel who gets a Linus blast might trot to HR for a chat about people being mean to them and that has implications for a corporate sponsor."

          Someone driving a white van might get a blast from another road-user. What happens if they then go along to HR? They get told the bystander isn't an employee under control of of HR so they just have to lump it.

          As Linus doesn't work for their employer he can't write their annual review, get them fired or get their bonus withheld for poor work. All he can do is blast them. They should consider themselves lucky.

    2. bombastic bob Silver badge
      Linux

      Re: Who are these people

      nothing wrong with 'for profit'. they can typically afford to have engineers develop new code for the Linux kernel, and THEN contribute back to the base. If it benefits everyone, "good job" I say.

  2. Giovani Tapini

    Seat Warmer?

    Better than being a "seat moistener from sector 7g"

    As above I would have thought the corporate "values" would leak through somehow.

    Formal or not, the "meritocracy" can call themselves what they like, but if they squabble in public it wont really matter if they have a formal code or not. The impression given will still be the same.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Seat Warmer?

      The supporters of the CoC have been squabbling just as childishly. After all, they're all linux kernel devs.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Seat Warmer?

      >Better than being a "seat moistener from sector 7g"

      What? No comment about the Tom Jones release?

  3. james_smith

    ... open-source luminary Eric S Raymond ...

    That's not how you spell "lunatic".

    1. Charlie Clark Silver badge

      I'm not a fan of him personally but I am prepared to listen to his arguments.

  4. SVV Silver badge

    Inclusiveness demands tolerance

    Did Eric S Raymond spot a unicorn on his lawn last night? I thought obnoxious bigotry was more his thing, so when did he become Mr Peace, Love and Understanding?

    1. Alan W. Rateliff, II
      Alert

      Re: Inclusiveness demands tolerance

      Indeed, but as the third leg of the post-modernist triad, "inclusiveness" demands enforcement via intolerance.

      I am disappointed this article does not delve deeper into the new Code of Conduct and the fallout which has accompanied its implementation, let alone completely ignoring the "killswitch" post to the LKML. There are a number of videos popping up on YouTube which go into debate and what is actually happening behind the scenes, including the ousting of contributors for comments or behavior deemed as bad from many years prior. I strongly suggest people go check them out.

      If the new CoCs are allowed to continue as they are, if you want to be a dev of any kind you had better keep your nose clean from the time you enter the world, not just the on-line world, by being Supreme Being "inclusive" and "tolerant" or they will look for your indiscretions, they will find all your posts, and they will kill your career, summarily tossing you into the Shitlord Abyss.

      1. boltar Silver badge

        Re: Inclusiveness demands tolerance

        "If the new CoCs are allowed to continue as they are, if you want to be a dev of any kind you had better keep your nose clean from the time you enter the world,"

        It really won't matter in the long term. These virtue signalling cock wombles and their whole victimhood mentality will eventually drag the politically correct west to its knees whether it be IT or any other white or blue collar sphere because there's no one with a backbone to stand up to them and call them out.

        Meanwhile China will just happily keep on ignoring even basic human rights when it suits it , never mind the concocted pixie dust and unicorns BS that eminates from the student level "rights" discussions we have today , which means they will ultimately triumph. And when that happens the safe space kiddies will have a lot more to worry about than someone calling them names in a social media posting.

        1. Charlie Clark Silver badge

          Re: Inclusiveness demands tolerance

          These virtue signalling cock wombles and their whole victimhood mentality will eventually drag the politically correct west to its knees

          Why does it always have to be so apocalyptic? I agree that slacktivist slogans generally achieve nothing and are a distraction, but I don't really think it's fair to think of them as the proof of decadance. The West is facing challenging, most notably demography, but China has its own problems in that area.

          Hashtags don't put food on the table, a roof over your head and your kids in school.

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: Inclusiveness demands tolerance

            >Why does it always have to be so apocalyptic?

            Because this represents the rot in our society and it is spreading far beyond outlandish universities in California.

            >I agree that slacktivist slogans generally achieve nothing and are a distraction, but I don't really think it's fair to think of them as the proof of decadance.

            OK, what does it take then? Facts are rejected, thoroughness is dismissed as "wall of text tl;dr" and emotions trumps it all. Deciding statements are loaded with "I feel that..." and "In my opinion..." but you have to look elsewhere to find references to facts. And the classic "As everyone already knows..." does not count.

            >The West is facing challenging, most notably demography, but China has its own problems in that area.

            China can and will dispose of its problems with supreme brutality. Many of my Chinese friends had friends that were gunned down in 1989.

            >Hashtags don't put food on the table, a roof over your head and your kids in school.

            Indeed.

            1. Charlie Clark Silver badge

              Re: Inclusiveness demands tolerance

              China can and will dispose of its problems with supreme brutality.

              It can't machine gun babies into existence!

              By comparing the two (slacktivism and political-economic systems) you weaken the argument. Attack slacktivism and the codes of conduct for the value-signalling for the tokenism they are.

              1. Anonymous Coward
                Anonymous Coward

                Re: Inclusiveness demands tolerance

                >It can't machine gun babies into existence!

                They don't have to. The one child policy is changed and the demographics is in any case not a problem to those that hold the power.

                >By comparing the two (slacktivism and political-economic systems) you weaken the argument.

                How?

                >Attack slacktivism and the codes of conduct for the value-signalling for the tokenism they are.

                I took it one level further towards the root cause: the need for instant low effort gratification.

          2. HieronymusBloggs Silver badge

            Re: Inclusiveness demands tolerance

            "Hashtags don't put food on the table, a roof over your head and your kids in school."

            No, but they could prevent you from being able to do those things.

          3. Alan W. Rateliff, II

            Re: Inclusiveness demands tolerance

            Why does it always have to be so apocalyptic? I agree that slacktivist slogans generally achieve nothing and are a distraction, but I don't really think it's fair to think of them as the proof of decadance.

            Because it is not just slogans and distractions anymore. While the social justice crowds are not large enough in numbers to exert social pressure, they are loud and obnoxious enough and have established themselves in positions of consequence so what they do is now disruptive and destructive.

            Hashtags don't put food on the table, a roof over your head and your kids in school.

            No, but "fairness" would dictate everyone else take care of those aspects and more.

            If we do not put our collective foot down now we will continue to lose ground as more people, companies, and politicians are intimidated by the scenes, tantrums, and violence.

        2. Orv Silver badge

          Re: Inclusiveness demands tolerance

          Meanwhile China will just happily keep on ignoring even basic human rights when it suits it , never mind the concocted pixie dust and unicorns BS that eminates from the student level "rights" discussions we have today , which means they will ultimately triumph.

          You remind me of Heinlein, who was convinced that WWIII would inevitably happen and the US would lose, because our naïve moral constraints would stop us from pushing the button while those immoral Soviets would go ahead and do it.

          I think that the US economy can survive us treating each other like human beings. Yes, even women.

          For that matter, California, which this thread cites as the epicenter of this so-called "rot," has had economic growth that's twice the national average over the last several years. Clearly it's not as crippling as all that.

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: Inclusiveness demands tolerance

            >You remind me of Heinlein, who was convinced that WWIII would inevitably happen and the US would lose, because our naïve moral constraints would stop us from pushing the button while those immoral Soviets would go ahead and do it.

            I think we should be glad the Soviet union expired. Shooting down KAL 007 demonstrated beyond doubt that the Soviet had no moral inhibitions. Also remember the purges under Stalin, the terror under Beria and much, much more.

            Still, in many ways we are in WWIII, the war on terror. It is global. And it costs us billions each year, just check the budget for Dept,. of Homeland Security. War is never cheap.

            >I think that the US economy can survive us treating each other like human beings. Yes, even women.

            Sure. Unfortunately many western countries treats the population as suspects to be put under mass surveillance. That too is a tangible result on the war on terror.

            >For that matter, California, which this thread cites as the epicenter of this so-called "rot," has had economic growth that's twice the national average over the last several years. Clearly it's not as crippling as all that.

            There is no contradiction here. Rome was magnificent during the rot, Germany looked dominant in tech and military, Greece was the centre of culture towards the end. But all came to an end that surprised those that had been in the centre of it, people who one would have thought should have been the first to see what would came. They never did.

            The rot always grows, society holds on longer than one would expect. And then it all falls down.

            1. Orv Silver badge

              Re: Inclusiveness demands tolerance

              I think we should be glad the Soviet union expired. Shooting down KAL 007 demonstrated beyond doubt that the Soviet had no moral inhibitions. Also remember the purges under Stalin, the terror under Beria and much, much more.

              My point is that the solution was not to give up our own morals (although our hands weren't clean either -- e.g., Iran Air 655.) I don't think we need to give up on social progress and political debate in order to compete with China, nor would I want to live somewhere where that was the strategy.

              1. onefang Silver badge
                Unhappy

                Re: Inclusiveness demands tolerance

                "I don't think we need to give up on social progress"

                I think we gave up on social progress long ago. For far too long it's been - lets keep kicking those horrible scum that are poor, give whatever help we can to those deprived people with too much money, and change our Prime Minister again coz reasons. I can't recall the last time those in charge said "Hey, lets make a good change, coz it's the right thing to do to make the world a better place for all". At least not in my country.

          2. Alan W. Rateliff, II

            Re: Inclusiveness demands tolerance

            For that matter, California, which this thread cites as the epicenter of this so-called "rot," has had economic growth that's twice the national average over the last several years. Clearly it's not as crippling as all that.

            Yet California carries at least $1T and rising state debt, holds at least $1T in "unfunded liabilities" such as pensions, has a massive and increasing poverty and homeless problem, massively increasing cost of living including the highest debt-to-income ratio in the country and a housing market which is steadily pricing people out, among other failings.

            I would not point to California any more than I would point to Venezuela as a success story.

            1. Orv Silver badge

              Re: Inclusiveness demands tolerance

              California is also huge. Its debt *per capita* is not all that high -- it comes in at half of Alaska's, a ruby-red state often cited as a conservative-libertarian utopia. No argument on housing, although that's a problem pretty much everywhere -- generally speaking housing policy in the US is aimed at making sure people make money off their houses, instead of ensuring everyone has one. I didn't say the place was perfect, just that it hasn't exactly turned into the kind of disaster conservatives always claim it will.

              Parallels to Venezuela don't make much sense unless the rest of the US plans to institute economic sanctions against California. The main lesson of Venezuela is when the US makes a political decision that it wants your economy to tank, it's gonna tank.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Inclusiveness demands tolerance

      >Did Eric S Raymond spot a unicorn on his lawn last night?

      I checked his blog. There is no treatise on Choosing the Right Ammunition for Gunning down Unicorns. So I guess he did see any.

      1. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

        Re: Inclusiveness demands tolerance

        I checked his blog. There is no treatise on Choosing the Right Ammunition for Gunning down Unicorns.

        I don't play DnD - can only virgins shoot unicorns?

    3. bombastic bob Silver badge
      Unhappy

      Re: Inclusiveness demands tolerance

      well, if you haven't been paying attention, it's often the case that those who demand "inclusiveness" and "tolerance" only apply it to what THEY agree with. Yes, they're often HYPOCRITES. They insist on 'rainbow' CoC's defining every possibility, demand others treat whatever behavior they list as 'normal', and seek to PUNISH those who are NOT in agreement with them on any of these *kinds* of things.

      TRUE tolerance acknowledges that people will do things that you disagree with. It means you tolerate them and treat them with the same respect, NOT "accomodate" nor "embrace" whatever they do.

      And you KNOW they wouldn't "accomodate" nor "embrace" your DISAGREEMENT. Because the people doing "that kind of thing" are ACTIVISTS, NOT satisfied until they _CHANGE_ you. By force. (which IS the problem)

      (if you can be tolerant of a bigot, without namecalling nor pejoratives ending in "-phobe", you're tolerant. Otherwise, not so much)

      1. RyokuMas Silver badge
        Trollface

        Re: Inclusiveness demands tolerance

        "And you KNOW they wouldn't "accomodate" nor "embrace" your DISAGREEMENT. Because the people doing "that kind of thing" are ACTIVISTS, NOT satisfied until they _CHANGE_ you. By force. (which IS the problem)"

        So next time we read anything about ".Not", "Win-10-nic", "UGLY FLATSO UI", etc., etc...

      2. Orv Silver badge

        Re: Inclusiveness demands tolerance

        TRUE tolerance acknowledges that people will do things that you disagree with. It means you tolerate them and treat them with the same respect...

        I see no reason I should treat people with respect when their beliefs center around them not extending any respect to me.

  5. heyrick Silver badge

    "The threatened "killswitch revolt", in which programmers withdraw their licence for the kernel to use their code"

    Given that it's GPL if it's in the kernel, they could surely only withdraw licence for future versions, rather than retrospectively removing the right to use current versions?

    1. Bob Ajob

      GPL v2 versus GPL v3

      Regarding GPL for future versions - I think the challenge is exactly that though i.e. removing major parts of future kernel releases by claiming copyright of your previous contributions and rescinding use of your code without permission so it is NO LONGER covered by GPL version 2. They cannot use code that is rescinded in future so that basically halts a lot of development until completely alternative code is redeveloped to cover the missing bits. Maybe a good time to move the Linux kernel to GPL v3 which explicitly removes the option to rescind contributions but unsure that is possible to apply retrospectively.

      1. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

        Re: GPL v2 versus GPL v3

        "Maybe a good time to move the Linux kernel to GPL v3 which explicitly removes the option to rescind contributions but unsure that is possible to apply retrospectively."

        That would require getting confirmation from all contributors, including those you can't find and from the executors of those who no longer exist.

        1. Phil Lord

          Re: GPL v2 versus GPL v3

          "That would require getting confirmation from all contributors, including those you can't find and from the executors of those who no longer exist."

          It doesn't actually. It requires agreement from the owners of the code which is currently in the kernel. So contributors whose code has been written out over the years are not relevant. And the number of owners is smaller than the number of contributors, since everyone working for RedHat or equivalent counts as one.

        2. DougS Silver badge

          Going GPLv3

          That would require getting confirmation from all contributors, including those you can't find and from the executors of those who no longer exist.

          They aren't relevant if you are worried about a "kill switch revolt", since those you can't find probably won't even know what is going on that they may want to revolt again, and those who are dead aren't likely to have their executors revolt on their behalf.

          Though I really question whether a kill switch revolt would be possible at all under GPLv2. Once you've given permission for a certain blob of code to be used and copied freely into other GPLv2 code I don't see how you can revoke that permission. Furthermore, if you were developing a GPLv2 application and found some code covered under GPLv2 on the net that you want to incorporate into it, how the heck are you supposed to know if one of its contributors has later revoked permission?

          I just don't see what legal basis there could be for this - you hold the copyright, but by contributing and allowing its inclusion to a GPLv2 work you've granted a license to use that code under GPLv2. You still hold the copyright, and could turn around and sell the rights to use that code for $1 million to Microsoft or whoever for some closed source product, which is a second license. You can't later revoke the GPLv2 license any more than you could revoke the license you granted to Microsoft (even if you paid them back the $1 million)

      2. bombastic bob Silver badge

        Re: GPL v2 versus GPL v3

        uh, no. you can't suddently GPLv3 what you've contributed. here's why:

        a) the version you contributed was covered by the GPLv2 at the time you contributed it;

        b) once it has been incorporated it's part of another work covered by GPLv2; Keep in mind that the GPL allows you to do a 'derived work' based on the original, so long as it's covered by GPLv2.

        c) any future changes you make are still yours, but it's no longer "the covered work", including the new license [if that's the only change].

        "retroactive license changes" can NOT be enforced. They were not 'agreed to'. It's like changing a contract by tearing up the old one and handing a new one to the other party, and saying "this is the new contract, you are in violation of it, and I'm suing you."

        And, if the only reason for revoking a work is a petty disagreement over a 'code of conduct', you'll be laughed out of any courtroom. The judge will most likely tell you "if you do not like the new code of conduct, you do not have to participate in that activity any more." But any work you've already submitted is, of course, already submitted. And you did it under the OLD code of conduct, which you may have implicitly agreed to...

        Anyway, I'd say "go ahead, @#$%'ers TEST THIS IN COURT and see what happens". I doubt any GPL-related claims would fly, and if they *DID* it will *KILL* open source software.

        Amazingly being 'legally tricky' like this isn't the way the law works. If it were, there'd be no standard at all. but hey I look at what various scheisters are trying to get away with in the public eye ALL of the time, like using accusations to ruin someone's reputation/life, being tried in the press, all because of trickery and unsubstatiated 3rd party rumors. A lot of companies and organizations will pay a settlement to shut these idiots up. If you can't, you SHOULD fight them, set a precedent, and make THEM pay the cost. being an asshat like that should have a PENALTY associated with it.

        IANAL but I've had to deal with this kind of crap before. I fought it and kept the wolves at bay until it no longer mattered. Also hurt THEM a bit, too [cost them money, laughed at that a lot, except my bill was higher].

    2. Ken Hagan Gold badge

      "they could surely only withdraw licence for future versions"

      Uh? Copyright law might be even more insane than I feared, then. If I give you money for a thing and then years later decide that I don't want the thing anymore, my right to say "I changed my mind, give me my money back." is, shall we say, severely limited. Likewise, if I give code to a large collaborative effort for some reputational benefit and then decide years later that I've changed my mind, then at best I would expect to have to return all those years of good reputation.

      I'm not sure if that is actually possible, in which case they simply cannot revoke their permission, but perhaps all Linux desktops could display a list of offenders names and mugshots (instead of wallpaper) for a period equal to the age of their contribution at the time of its withdrawal, underneath a banner heading saying "These people are selfish scumbags.".

      1. PaulFrederick

        People who promote Cods of Conduct are just your run of the mill garden variety scumbags. They deserve every thrashing they can be given too.

    3. Anonymous C0ward

      If someone withdraws their contribution, then:

      * If the maintainers don't take down all tarballs of previous versions containing any of that code, they are still redistributing the withdrawn code, with a GPL2+ notice attached.

      * If the maintainers don't either take down the git repo, or painstakingly reconstruct history without that person and then force push, they are still redistributing the withdrawn code, with a GPL2+ notice attached. (Reverting wouldn't be enough, it's still in the history.)

      Either of these could be pretty disastrous if taken to the extreme, but it's obvious the withdrawn code would no longer be in the current release. Have RMS or ESR (or indeed Linus) made any comment on what the right to withdraw means in the context of a publicly accessible git repo?

  6. Dan 55 Silver badge

    Gamify it

    They signed on to participate in a meritocracy with reputation rewards, and they think that is being taken way from them. It is perfectly consistent to be pro-tolerance and pro-inclusion while believing this subculture ought to be all about producing good code without regard to who is offended by the process.

    Lose points for bad code, no insulting necessary.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Gamify it

      "Quis custodiet ipsos custodes"

      Who will conduct the code for the coders ?

    2. stiine

      Re: Gamify it

      And when you reach -20, we shoot you. Is that ok with you, too?

      And can we start L.P. off at -18?

  7. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Another relevant link for further reading

    Regarding the killswitch controversy -

    https://lulz.com/linux-devs-threaten-killswitch-coc-controversy-1252/

  8. malfeasance

    The road to hell...

    is paved with good intentions is probably the epithet that springs to mind; or if we can go straight for a godwin-esque reference, that poem by that pastor niemuller?

    The western world is quite male, pale and stale (I only fit 2 of that criteria); and from a purely objective and rational standpoint, what some of the code-of-conduct stuffs tries to do is quite worthy. But then as soon as people get involved it gets into a right old mess of prejudice and bias and we end up giving airtime/attention to the loudest shoutiest peopl.

    If the GPLv2 developer consent killswitch does apply; then surely the answer is to fork RC4 *right now* (however that needs to be done); and then you have a copy that you're free to have "people who are now persona-non-grata" contribute to it. You can probably even merge the mainline kernel yourself w/o too much trouble[1].

    [1] - If you can't then should you even be worrying about the CoC; there's not an awful lot you can do. You'll just have to trust that the kernel remains "good enough" even with the thought police on every corner.

  9. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

    Is a killswitch possible?

    From the GPLv2:

    1. You may copy and distribute verbatim copies of the Program's source code as you receive it....

    2. You may modify your copy or copies of the Program or any portion of it, thus forming a work based on the Program, and copy and distribute such modifications or work under the terms of Section 1...

    AFAICS any contributor's code has been copied and incorporated into a derivative work as per these two sections. Having granted the permission to copy and modify it's difficult to see how any contributor's code can be ungranted. Although the license doesn't include any provision for forbidding this it certainly doesn;t make a provision for allowing it either. The nearest thing is

    8. If the distribution and/or use of the Program is restricted in certain countries...the original copyright holder who places the Program under this License may add an explicit geographical distribution limitation...

    which isn't the same thing.

    1. Ken Hagan Gold badge

      Re: Is a killswitch possible?

      I'm inclined to agree. The fact that the GPL3 makes it explicit doesn't mean it wasn't there already.

      It is conceivable that Linus, as the person to whom all such contributions are given to incorporate into Linux, might not be covered by the second person pronoun "you" in the GPL, since he is the one giving away that particular derivative work. However, the GPL grants the right to use, copy and modify the entire Linux kernel to literally every other human being in existence. Furthermore, since this is pretty much the Whole Fucking Point of the GPL, it is legally inconceivable that any contributor might not have intended this gift when they made their contribution.

    2. bombastic bob Silver badge
      Pint

      Re: Is a killswitch possible?

      oh, you and your facts and quotes directly from the GPLv2.

      heh (oh by the way, good job!)

  10. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

    "Wow - little drama". So, as the man said, it's a normal release. Things are getting bad when el Reg has to headline the normal.

  11. Vince 1
    Linux

    While usually I'm all for the irreverent stuff that goes on here, I do want to say the register's click-baity "Linus is a horrible swearing machine" articles have been a major factor in anti-Linus push. And if Linux is permanently destroyed because of this you bear some responsibility. Yes, Linux has problems, but it seems a bit much to gloat about this whole situation.

    1. diodesign (Written by Reg staff) Silver badge

      "if Linux is permanently destroyed because of this"

      Newsflash: It won't.

      C.

      1. bombastic bob Silver badge
        Devil

        Re: "if Linux is permanently destroyed because of this"

        ack - Linus will survive too, as will his profanity. he just won't say it where people can hear him.

  12. Walter Bishop Silver badge
    Facepalm

    Torvalds' code of conduct?

    Examples of behavior that contributes to creating a positive environment include: Using welcoming and inclusive language

    The only kind of ‘inclusive language’ I want to see is better Source Code language, otherwise "SHUT THE FUCK UP" :]

  13. cdrcat
    Linux

    Groklaw wrote about this a decade ago

    http://www.groklaw.net/article.php?story=2006062204552163

    "No. One can't retroactively revoke licenses previously granted, unless the license terms allow you to do so. The most you can do is stop granting new licenses."

    Of course that is just one legal opinion in one country.

    1. Ken Hagan Gold badge

      Re: Groklaw wrote about this a decade ago

      "Of course that is just one legal opinion in one country."

      Excellent link. Thanks. It is notable that the argument turns on the issue of the public good, since the historic justification for granting any IP rights at all is that society grants these to creatives in exchange for a net benefit to society from created works, so any interpretation of IP law that acts contrary to the public interest is questionable. It may be a badly framed law and the interpretation may be true to the letter of it, but it cannot be assumed that it was the intention of the lawmakers when they wrote it.

      1. Claptrap314 Bronze badge
        Unhappy

        Re: Groklaw wrote about this a decade ago

        "but it cannot be assumed that it was the intention of the lawmakers when they wrote it.".

        Sadly, it appears that I need to introduce you to the Mickey Mouse bill...

  14. Wobbly World

    Let history be their teacher...

    As I see it if there has to be a CoC they could do no worst than follow J. R. "Bob" Dobbs (A self professed global village idiot) who first appeared in the original SubGenius publication, SubGenius Pamphlet #1 (a.k.a. "The World Ends Tomorrow and You May Die") (1979).

    https://en.m.wikiquote.org/wiki/J._R._%22Bob%22_Dobbs

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