I wonder how much of the ire Linus attracts when he goes in to a sweary rant is down to jealously?
We've all been confronted by a colleague's terrible code (and vice versa). Very few of us are ever in a position to stop them, let alone comment on it candidly.
Being able to say that a patch is "f'ing awful" or such is simply not something we'd be able to do and keep our jobs. But we so, so wish we could.
Not because we want to belittle our colleagues, but because the code being reviewed is so, so awful it needs to be sworn at. Calling it "f'ing awful" is just a descriptive label. It's not a personal thing against the author of the code.
And on that level, is it better for the code to be "awful" or "f'ing awful" ?
And in an ideal world, the author would join in the laughter - "Yes, it is f'ing awful, I don't know what I was thinking!"