Furthermore, we are left to wonder if Microsoft is also being fed “bullshit” patches, and if they may be less discerning than Linus regarding a proper solution.
> The whole IBRS_ALL feature to me very clearly says "Intel is not
serious about this, we'll have a ugly hack that will be so expensive
that we don't want to enable it by default, because that would look
bad in benchmarks".
> So instead they try to push the garbage down to us. And they are doing
it entirely wrong, even from a technical standpoint."
Disabling unsafe behaviour for good on current chips and removing it from future ones would be equally easy, and clearly it isn't Intel's intent.
Plausible reasons, apart from looking good in benchmarks, include ease of access for their three-letter friends and not bothering with the cost of designing safe and high performance processors.
The problem, of course, is that vendors couldn't pretend to sell systems that are worth the prices they would have quoted before all of this awfulness was exposed. That would be a problem for the vendors only. The rest of us would be better off.
Then again, I cannot see this costing much in future chips.
Most relatively complex systems that use deluxe microprocessors and could be air-gapped are accessible for convenience instead, and more extreme actually inaccessible systems are likely to use different, specialized processors.
(I am not a lawyer, this is not legal advice.)
Assume no fix is available, at least for existing processors, that doesn't result in reduced performance. What should Intel do?
- Force users to take the performance hit?
- Let users decide whether to take the performance hit in exchange for security?
Take away: it all depends on the users preferences. I am with you, in most cases, it should be about security, but I guess there are legitimate use-cases for the opposite as well.
Not every one runs a lamp stack on the intenet.
That said the default should be security. I have to opt in for "maximum performance" in the bios of my hp kit, rather than "balanced power and performance", why shouldn't I have to opt in to "faster but less secure"?
But that isn't true. Poor performance is not remotely in the same class of "very nasty surprise" that security model violations are.
I really don't see what case anyone could have against Intel if they just fixed this. Having a fix but turning it off by default seems far more dangerous from a legal perspective. Or having the processor perform far worse in reality than advertised.
Tell me where you could buy old processors in sufficient quantity today and please explain how a modern motherboard with sufficient RAM would hold such an old processor?
If that's not old enough, there's also this:
But if you want a processor without this fix, then you're in luck: from what I understand, all modern Intel processors don't have this fix yet. And they're very well supported by motherboards.
And by the time the current crop of processors becomes unavailable, I suspect newer processors will be much faster than anything currently available.
Though personally I'd be more interested in a new processor.
If that type of behavior gets branded as "pulling a VW", that is the type of thing that could destroy VW in the long term. I agree it is a great analogy though.
Very specific model - The Bug
I am reminded that Linus has experience in the CPU industry (Transmeta), so he is in a position to see both sides on this.
This was before my time and I'm sure he did much more. I only have first-hand knowledge of his work on TVM, the Transmeta x86 Virtualization which predated Intel (and AMD's) hardware support for x86 virtualization. Sadly it never productized. I suspect we couldn't find a way to monetize it.
He was already one of the best minds of x86 who hadn't seen real internals of another chip, hence why Transmeta hired him in the first place.
"And that's actually ignoring the much _worse_ issue, namely that the
whole hardware interface is literally mis-designed by morons."
Maybe you missed this line? Some classic Linus right there...
The Meltdown work at Google probably didn't begin with a rant about morons.
It's possible to construct a culture where people can air grievances and criticize others without inducing flame wars. It only works for Linus because people won't go nuclear in the response, but for rank and file engineers, especially of equal stature, if you call someone a moron in a thread, it's likely to kill productivity and create a negative testosterone ladden atmosphere of people trying to avoid being wrong, and counter attacking others.
I've worked at a lot of places where engineer got into heated shouting matches. It's is not a way to increase the probability of zeroing in on a problem, or reaching agreement faster.
Linus is valuable precisely because he occasionally d-slaps people around, waking them up, even when what he says may be factually wrong, and reminding them the at the core the tech must be sane, f people and their feelings!
Yeah, it's good to have a 1 in 1000 brilliant people being aholes because it keeps the culture balanced. We need a dose of rascality, and Linus can afford to embody it and seems to like doing it, and he's also good at fixing the consequences of his rants by being reasonable afterwards.
(If we're mature enough to accept that this can only be accepted of 1 in 1000 people or something like that, and that obviously not all people are born equal, we can move on and enjoy life.)
The first is the personal attack when he calls Intel engineers morons. That 1 little unnecessary addon is uncalled for because it's quite reasonable that there's a lot of politics going on at Intel that's interfering with the engineering work. Could be that the next chip they're taping out can't be fixed properly without delaying & impacting revenue in a way that execs won't allow. Could be that there's legal reasons whereby Intel's "fix" is desirable from a management perspective to continue their denial of a problem with their chips to win or reduce the costs of the class actions. Or it could be any number of a hundred other reasons that the public isn't privy to.
The second, & this is pure speculation on my part that this didn't happen, is that he should have followed this in an offline discussion with the engineer. This public shaming doesn't do any good & just entrenches the frontline representatives of Intel to be antagonistic with Linus rather than to be his allies. I feel like if Linus wanted to be truly effective here in impacting Intel's direction (especially given their constant need to minimize the scale & scope of this problem) he could have followed up with the engineer off-list & gone "your explanation doesn't make any sense. can you clue me in on what's the motivation behind this approach?". It saves the engineer public embarrassment, it gets him an ally within Intel & it lets him have strategic information on what is motivating Intel engineers (consider - did his finger to nVidia in any way improve relations between Linux & nVidia?). Now if he did that & the answer still wasn't OK then he's free to use his bully pulpit as he wishes, but I suspect it was just instinctive & a build up of his frustration with Intel's handling of this whole matter.
If that is really the case, then calling the engineers morons is actually very much called for!
Maybe Linus is being deliberately ambiguous about the type of moron he means.
Is this better?
All these engineers are in impossible situations trying to fix years of chips while at the same time providing a path forward for chips without these issues. You can call them morons all you want but from the little bit I've read I'm very impressed with their professionalism & knowledge and 100% do not want to be in their shoes right now.
If you had been working in a company that had been stopping you from doing your job then by definition the projection of the results of your work is "the results of my work show that I am a moron".
If you took the brightest person on earth and stopped him from communicating would that still make him "the brightest but unable to share" or would that make him "an idiot who has never learnt how to communcate his opinion"?
I am pretty sure you would pick different names for the same person depending on the situation, especially when it's more complex than a toilet conversation.
That's in fact the big summary of it all. Some people actually have families to take care of. Losing your job for most people is not an option. I personally don't care calling out bullshit, but I also don't have a wife and 3 kids. By that logic losing the job is the stupid option.
I guarantee you that both at intel and at VW people called out the crap from management, were threatened and then decided they don't care enough to risk their livelihoods.
Calling intel stupid is imho entirely justified, but your logic to me sounds weird.
That... or completely misunderstand it...
From your other comment  it sounds like it worked perfectly. The angry response first got the Intel engineer to defend their work and explain it better than they originally had, then further got others interested enough to improve it.
Its worked so far.
Purely anecdotal evidence, but in my experience the few pieces of hardware that I can generally bet they'll be fine with Linux are those branded Intel or NVidia (one may argue about the "optimus" thing, but if you want CUDA on a Linux laptop, nvidia's drivers do their job fine in the end, and this is what most Linux users will care about I guess)
Dunno the mechanics of it, but some things did work up just right about this :)
He may be technically correct in his assessment of the quality of the patches (I lack the necessary knowledge to even begin to assess it), but he does not go about explaining this in a sensible manner. He has never fostered a collaborative, inclusive atmosphere around the kernel.
If anybody at my workplace talked to a collaborator in that way they'd be in a chat with their manager minutes later, and if they persisted they'd be in a chat with HR.
For all that has been accomplished with the Linux kernel - and these achievements are huge and numerous and extremely impressive - I do wonder how much better things might have been if Linus was capable of criticising something without calling anybody a moron, swearing or throwing things.
What was in that email that needed that kind of language and tone? What could not have been said with a simple "I will not accept these patches" followed by a calm and dispassionate assessment of his issues with them? There's such an assessment in there somewhere, he's clearly thought it through, but one has to wade through the vitriol in order to get there. This is inefficient as well as hostile to contributors.
And these are people the community depends on for support, so we can run Linux on their products.
A sensible mail discussing the details of some obscure technicality doesn't make HN frontpage.
It shows how angry he is, and how he is upset with the issues. While this could be avoided in a real world scenario, I would have bet if your manager feel something strongly about, they would have went rampant as well. And this is especially in remote working, words are hard to get feeling across without putting some "adjectives" into it.
Ok he's mad. We all get mad.
I've never said someone should have been aborted, no matter how mad I get. He has, over a ... A diff.
Perhaps he has some difficulties, like some of us do. Has he ever acknowledged his attitude in any way?
> I don't know where you happen to be based, but this 'you have to be nice' seems to be very popular in the US.
> The same way we have developers and marketing people and legal people who speak different languages, I think we can have some developers who are used to—and prefer—a more confrontational style, and still also have people who don't,
> Maybe it's just because I like arguing," Torvalds added. "I'm just not a huge believer in politeness and sensitivity being preferable over bluntly letting people know your feelings. But I also understand that other people are driven away by cursing and crass language when it all gets a bit too carried away.
And before you interject, I would also assert that numbing the confrontation with "civility" also nullifies the effect.
Though being wrong and a jerk is definitely worse in a sense, personally I think that attitudes that qualify you as being a jerk only marginally help you in being honest.
The basic idea is that even if someone is a moron, calling them a moron isn't really.... doing much. Very little information, and a lot of rudeness. Telling them that their patch isn't mergable has more info and less raw rudeness IMO
An "inclusive atmosphere" is irrelevant. Pointless. I'd personally say it's counter-productive. There's no scenario where Torvalds' response is going to result in Intel abandoning the Linux ecosystem. The engineers at Intel can now go back to their managers and say "okay, we tried cutting corners and it didn't work."
That's a very dangerous and messed up reasoning. For a significant proportion of the population "society" is just a nasty scheme we put up with since we know not better way of not killing each other or exterminating ourselves as a species... Having to contort and torture one's personality just so you can be "socially adept" is a great pain, and when one occasionally gets away with being able not to do this it's NOT "a personality flaw".
One ought to care firstly for developing his/her personality in whichever way himself sees fit. If it doesn't fit well with society it's not a "flaw"!
(Yeah, if goes overboard and results in a team totally breaking up... even that is not a big deal! Some companies are worth breaking up into pieces. Heck, as long as people aren't literally killing each other it's still not "a flaw". Stop being insensitive and discriminating against people with other notions of relating themselves with the thinggy we call "society" and perpetuating this oppressive culture of admonishing people for being "socially inept". Maybe those people have something better to do with their lives!)
Sometimes I "have to do stuff to keep my wife happy." Once I discovered that I'm doing it because I want both her and myself to be happy, and stopped viewing it as an obligation, my life significantly improved. I learned to enjoy the ride. I think it made life a little better for the people around me, too. I learned that being petulant/sulky/edgy was not a sign of sophistication or wisdom.
Similarly, if we don't want to kill each other or exterminate ourselves as a species, then "society" doesn't have to feel so nasty. If you really do want to burn it all down, then by all means, go right ahead. At least that's authentic. But to choose to live amongst society, and still begrudge it, is insanely unhealthy. Literally.
The response is shockingly adult, given the culture Linus insists on trying to push:
What an excellent writeup, despite the tantrum Linus threw just a few replies earlier.
I'd highly recommend only reading the response and avoiding the Linus 'rant'. The rant contains no valuable information, the response is excellent and far more informative.
I'm sure I'll get downvoted though for calling Linus a baby, because somehow insulting Linus for his flaws is never ok but when Linus does it it's so cool!
Some snippets from the response:
> since the peanut gallery is paying lots of attention it's probably worth explaining it a little more for their benefit
> not just drop it quietly because poor Davey is too
scared that Linus might shout at him again
> If we can be done with the shouty part, I'd actually quite like to have a sensible discussion
None of this is adult. I'm not directly defending Linus' tone, or claiming that he's "more adult", but derogating and condescending the audience reading these public posts (1st quote), making cheap jokes about Linus' behaviour (2nd quote) and directly insulting Linus (3rd quote) is not what I would define as an "adult" response. Linus' email at least only gets angry and offensive while critiquing the code, and doesn't get personal.
> The rant contains no valuable information, the response is excellent and far more informative
Linus' "rant" informed me that Intel are setting IBRS as a default-off feature that must be asked for - offloading responsibility for security to the software. The response opens by condescending me, tells me that IBRS is expensive (we know), retpoline is performant, and the informativeness seems to stop there.
It then posits that as somehow justifying the offloading of said responsibility with the following:
> Then along came Paul with the cunning plan of "oh, indirect branches can be exploited? Screw it, let's not have any of those then", which is retpoline.
> But wait, why did I say "mostly"? Well, not everyone has a retpoline compiler yet... but OK, screw them; they need to update.
"Screw them" is the crux of his answer to Linus' concerns. Sorry, how is this in any way an adult response?
Really? The long technical explanation, with the word "shouty" is not adult? The plea for sensible discussion?
Your post isn't worth responding to beyond that. You've taken extreme liberties in your reading of his response. "Directly insulting Linus" lmfao are you fucking kidding me? You're calling "shouty" as directly insulting, when it's a response to "Fucking morons" writing "garbage" code? This is disingenuous at best if not willfully ignorant.
Cheap jokes about Linus's behavior?????
Seriously, take a step back and realize the loops you're jumping through to try to somehow justify Linus's behavior by attacking a reasoned response to it.
Linus' tone is not really defensible, but I just don't think the response compares favourably either.
And, perhaps more importantly, Linus' concerns aren't addressed and the response isn't particularly informative. dwmw2 mentions in comments here on this HN thread that he has been pushing back on Linus' concerns, but the response appears rather to defend those decisions in Intel. Perhaps I misread?
People in this thread are making the (understandable) mistake of assuming that Linus' remarks were aimed at individual engineers at Intel. But they obviously weren't: they were clearly aimed at senior management at Intel to say "we're not going to accept garbage from you."
And I don't even care if it was garbage. Because either it was garbage, or they failed to demonstrate to Linus that it was not garbage. Either way this is entirely Intel's fault.
I linked to a far more informative post that actually discusses a technical issue. Frankly, the response should have been what was linked on HN, not some rant.
I can't believe the irony of telling me to "chill out" with personal attacks when commenting on a rant that is majority perosnal attacks.
The issue occurs if you're not bulletproof on your position and then get too caught up on 'winning the argument' rather than solving the problem at hand.
This is why it's typically best to leave the theatrics aside unless absolutely necessary.
I'm pretty sure people aren't up in arms about Linus being a baby, but about your refusal to call out people on "subpar performance". Replace "subpar performance" with whatever you feel is an acceptable name for executing wrongly on very bad ideas.
And I feel like you might get downvoted because if there is one thing I HATE about companies, it's that people responding like this always get rewarded.
1) fuck up beyond belief (or just be assigned to a critical project and do nothing)
2) talk about the problem with everyone, without, of course, without fixing anything
3) inflict massive costs on everyone else because of the sudden urgent necessity of fixing your problem
4) get insane rewards for this
And I for one call statements such as the one from the top post here "optimism at it's finest":
> if you call someone a moron in a thread, it's likely to kill productivity and create a negative testosterone ladden atmosphere of people trying to avoid being wrong, and counter attacking others.
Unfortunately, corporate America is FULL, and I mean overloaded to the brim with people who will never admit the slightest mistake, and explode at anyone implying they made a subpar decision.
This attitude to "avoid blame" then proceeds to turn disaster into outright catastrophe. Many of these people who make some level of mistakes will see that not only can they get away with it, but aggressively attacking others for their mistakes comes with great rewards.
I have personally worked with several well known people in my field, who have climbed up the ladder this way. It isn't just that they didn't contribute, but they made great mistakes, both on the technical front (taking disastrous architectural decisions and forcing them through, despite agreement that there were very wrong), and on the financial front (doing budget allocations based on what THEY KNEW was a lost cause, and refusing to admit any fault or change course).
Once it does become clear that a disastrous mistake was made and propagated, and 90% of the budget was already spent (actually more like 150% in both cases), and none of the outcomes promised will be achieved, they then help organise a "code red", a "emergency sprint", an "extra effort", ... to "fix" things. But things are never fixed. Everyone is worse off, and will be for years.
The first few times this happens, these people are then rewarded. Promoted, in both cases. And of course, we are currently in the process of repeating one of these huge mistakes. Last time I so much as asked why this decision was made the guy very enthousiastically gave an answer, and I thought we both agreed it wasn't a good answer.
An hour later my manager asks to urgently see me.
A day later my director urgently called my manager and me to see him.
A week later we went to discuss "safety" with HR. (because of the 10 people thing, I'm sure, read on)
And yet, everybody, and I do mean everybody, knows this is a bad idea. However, having 50 people work for 1.5 years on a bad idea ... well those 50 people call it "a job", and nobody's going to be risking their career on calling this guy out any further (even if I did get 10 of them to walk into that director's office telling him that I did nothing wrong and that it's a bad idea).
But no worries ... no blame. We're still executing on that idea.
Finally, reading that thread further, it does seem like Linus's rant was a little premature & mistaken.
David really handles it well & explains in detail in what way Linus may be misunderstanding what's going on. It's hard to know if that response mollified Linus or if he still thinks it's bunk & that thread was just taken offline so that it wouldn't have the noise of useless spectators chiming in, but it seemed like Ingo was perhaps satisfied & moved the conversation back to a way to solve the Skylake problem in a maintainable & clean way without the undesirable implementation that was originally proposed (you know, the whole point of an RFC). An RFC typically means they were looking for feedback & discussion not getting yelled at, especially for things outside their control. That being said, I certainly understand how frustrated everyone is with this given the amount of work that's been put into this by everyone.
Engineering culture is fundamentally about learning from mistakes (either as a community or individually). We can't fear them & there are limits to how much you can go to prevent making them before you just get decision paralysis. For that reason mea culpas are also unproductive. You should acknowledge your actions & your role in it - if you think you behaved incorrectly then of course apologize if you want to - but the person would made mistakes is just as much a victim of their environment as others (i.e. if I threw you into their position without the benefit of hindsight, would you do necessarily do a better job?) Yes corporate America has issues (as does every human endeavour btw) but I'm not convinced that in any way has to do anything with this discussion.
> Downvote away!
You're being far over the top dramatic. It's unnecessary, your setup text did a perfectly fine job of making the argument. The two comments about downvoting detract from the substance.
Regardless, I feel it's important to point out a consistent hypocrisy I've witnessed and experienced. I think it's totally relevant and substantive.
edit: I have no desire to continue a metadiscussion on downvoting. I don't care about downvotes, the downvotes are a symptom of an entirely relevant issue; a community that has a ridiculous double standard for Linus. It was not an attempt to attract or prevent downvotes, or to discuss downvotes, or downvoting, or the culture of voting on HN.
I brought up downvotes as an example of the underlying issue. Clearly I did a poor job of that as it's led to a number of unrelated comments. I apologize for the clutter that a one-off comment on hypocrisy has caused.
> "Please don't comment about the voting on comments. It never does any good, and it makes boring reading."
That includes votes you're expecting. It distracts from the substance of what you're trying to say.
If you're concerned or thinking about downvotes when you're composing your comment, rethink how you can phrase it: if you think you're "speaking truth to power", "saying what must be said", or "pointing out hypocrisy", or something similar, you're already starting from a position of antagonism, real or imagined. People aren't going to respond to that well. Figure out — or at least attempt to find — a way to express what you're trying to get across in a way that'll be actually heard and understood by those you're trying to reach. What's actually going to make a difference?
If you think that they can't be reached or it's not worth the effort to try to do so, it's likely not worth the effort to comment at all. Given that you are participating on HN, please do make the effort. After all, that's one of the features HN members value: good, quality, constructive discussion.
If your argument has merit, it can stand alone. Responding to an avalanche of downvotes after the fact is the only thing I've seen on HN that makes sense. For example to try to counter a perception (eg if you think your argument is being taken incorrectly, or challenging the downvoters to discuss why they're downvoting; that can draw out more substance to a conversation).
Funny, I didn’t see that in your ten day long comment history.
I dream of working on something where the criticism is so honest. Where I don’t have to read between the lines to understand how big of a deal a person considers an issue. Pussyfooting to lessen the blow benefits no one in the long run.
I often end up running my code reviews by other people first to make sure they’re gentle enough because I know people are overly sensitive/attached to their work. It’s a stupid dance and such a waste of everyone’s time. If we could just be honest with each other we could build great things.
I single handledly blame this culture of being nice instead of honest on the total undeniable loss of software qualified across the industry.
It’s never going to be nice to hear.
In lessening the blow you lose the message. You lose the true meaning. You lie.
I'm sure you can imagine equally accurate ways to reject code contributions; it doesn't really take any creativity. When you say that the "true meaning" is lost, what you're really saying is the true meaning was to make the contributor feel bad. If you want to defend that, go ahead, but that intent needs to be out in the open, not hidden behind the plausible deniability of words.
Without the vitriol you solve only the most immediate problem, when the true intention of calling something g garbage is to prevent many future problems. You learn nothing from being politely shoed off.
If the person you are criticising doesn't give any kind of shit, then your vitriol will make them feel bad and dislike you, but it isn't going to improve their code quality, because they still don't care. (And if they answer to you directly, they are likely less motivated to do well next time now that you have acted like a prick)
If the person is not able to discern the difference between good and bad code, then it is useful to them if you can explain what it is that you are mad about when reviewing the code, but again in this case, vitriol without understanding just makes you seem like an arsehole to work with.
Note, this can't be some abstract equivalence between "feel bad" and "know you made a mistake," because if that's what you meant, then we're back to the vitriol being unnecessary.
I for one can't remember a single lesson from school, yet I can still recall some of the stuff I learned and apply it, despite nobody yelling at me for doing it wrong at some point.
Being upfront and honest about stuff is all nice and good but when I give a code review or get one, I find it far better to constructively discuss stuff and not yell at people or insult them for whatever reason. Linus did not even ask why it was done that way, he did not have all the info. Would you prefer being instulted for doing something the "wrong" way, eventhough you had a perfectly good reason for doing it that way? Even if you knew it was "wrong" but there just isn't a good solution and you are just trying to fix the problem at hand?
Being torn into and being called a moron, useless, pathetic, etc. leaves deep trauma that will bleed into other areas of your life. Even if you're tough and think you've brushed it off.
The idea that we're duty-bound to inflict emotional cruelty on people when we think they've made a mistake is probably the cause of most of the suffering we see in the world.
You can tell someone that their code is very bad and make sure they get it, without trying to twist the thumbscrews and make sure that they feel rotten to their very core.
- this code is bad
- you should reassess your skills and values
that lead you to believe this was good
- your worldview may be flawed, look into that
- don’t do this again
- you should probably feel bad too, to attach
emotion to strengthen your memories of this
to make this a learning experience
Maybe someone is not trying. Maybe you're wasting your breath then. Maybe someone is trying, but has an incomplete world view. Ok great, now you've pissed them off instead of saying what's wrong.
Just say what's wrong with the code! That's what actually matters. Not that you think it's garbage.
Funnily the first core value is focus on the user. Almost no one there ever cares or thinks from the perspective of the user in decision making. Users are incidental to the things that happen there.
Let Linus swear a little and suddenly those roles are entirely reversed? Really?
There is no separating out corporate culture from the fact that it is a corporation. FOSS is not a for profit corporation. Expecting it to function like one is not reasonable. Trying to impose corporate culture as the standard for FOSS is not only not reasonable, it is counterproductive.
If you want corporate software, cool. But if you want FOSS to exist at all, there has to be a fundamental acceptance of the fact that it will have a different culture and a different process.
I will add that his cussing spree here is in response to a for profit corporation trying to shit all over his project. But, hey, must be totes okay for them to shit on it since they didn't use any cuss words or raise their voice.
There is your so called corporate etiquette right there.
Positive team environment and corporate culture are not inextricably linked. They may overlap depending on the corporation in question, but they are not one in the same. This should be obvious since you can have a positive team environment on teams where no corporation is involved (e.g., hobby projects). Clearly the suggestion that FOSS should have a positive team environment cannot be the same as the suggestion that FOSS should have a corporate culture.
Think about how your logic would look flipped around. If leads at Google were encouraged to slap people down when they disagree with their suggestions, then you'd have to suddenly argue that Linus should change his tune because otherwise he'd be fostering a corporate culture, and FOSS must have a different culture than that.
Clearly that, too, would be a non sequitur.
As for the rest of what you said, I think you know no one is suggesting anything of the sort. There's no reason to straw man here.
A. Linus doesn't do this very often. Most of the time, he is perfectly well mannered. But we don't hear about that. We only hear about these incidents.
B. Most of his work conversations occur on the public record. So anyone can get hold of it when he gets riled. When a CEO gets riled, that is much more likely to occur privately and get covered up.
C. He created Linux for free. It is his passion. It shouldn't be surprising that he feels strongly about it when it is threatened.
D. A corporation is trying to fuck his project over, no doubt for personal financial gain. In my book, that is a vastly bigger offense than a little swearing. Etiquette that focuses on polite words and excuses more serious offenses is not a good thing. If corporate culture were really the better answer here, then Linus' tirade would have never happened because Intel would not be trying to crap all over Linux to begin with.
So I find it incomprehensible that anyone would suggest that the solution here is for Linus to operate more like BigCo. He is a guardian of a public good. He is defending it from corporate greed. The lack of moral responsibility of a large corporation is the very reason he is cussing. Expecting him to be more like them amounts to asking him to sell us all out for money and the sake of saving face in public rather than taking a stand on our behalf.
The real focus of this discussion should not be the language Linus used. It should be "What the hell, Intel?" But I am not seeing that focus.
And I can tell you why I am not seeing it: Because no one is surprised or shocked that a corporation would do something so terrible. In fact, we expect it. So we don't bother to try to hold corporations to a moral standard.
Instead, we expect people like Linus to meet a moral standard because he consistently does. Then we give him hell when that isn't an easy thing to do in this shitty world.
The real solution to this problem is to be pissed at Intel, not lecturing Linus that he needs to behave better, just like corporations do. A corporation is the root cause of this issue.
That isn't a straw man. It is the crux of the problem here.
See the bashcoder thread for a more hardnose analysis of this article, Torvalds and Intel: https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=16202539
Simply calling something garbage doesn't elicit change, our political system is the perfect example of that. It creates polarization which, due to human nature, makes can make people less motivated to work with you.
There's no even any evidence Intel did anything wrong. For decades, the market demanded performance, and VM based cloud computing was created long after speculative execution became an industry wide (not just Intel) optimization. The way we use CPUs has changed, our OSes have changed, the threat model has changed, and the sophistication of attacks has changed.
Future CPUs need to be designed from the ground up with modern cloud computing in mind and that's going to take 2 years at least given industry cycles. What do we do in the meantime with our current silicon is the question. Intel seems like they're trying to do the right think by handling failures in retpoline to offer full protection.
But maybe the conspiracies are right, but when has an accusation of some conspiratorial behavior ever been solved by people yelling and screaming moron and garbage?
It's just not the right way to perform an investigation IMHO.
I’m not defending Linus per se, but he do have a really unique position and it’s probably not easy to be in that position and AFAIKT it works. Maybe if it would have been someone else the world would look, most probably, rather different.
It’s really easy to criticize, but frankly none of us knows how it is to be in his situation and I guess he has to deal with his fair share of trolls, morons and energy thieves.
This is not to say that Linus’ behavior is a good model for “how engineers should generally behave”. It just isn’t, and anyone behaving this way in a company should almost certainly be fired. I think he’d probably agree, to boot. But I could be wrong about that.
P.S. I hope I don’t come across with disagreeing with you about any of what you think tech “should” be. I totally agree with you.
Instead they lost face and now I and many other privacy concerned users can never trust Firefox ever again.
I will try to be more straightforward.
You've stated that Linus has a unique role, and that he has to be this way or he'll lose the kernel/ essentially be worse at his job.
You've provided no examples or evidence (and I asked).
In your opinion, Linus must be this way, it is "just required" by his unique position. We have this totally unknowable position that you, for no apparent reason, assume is best suited to people who insult others publicly. And because this position is unique we can't compare him to others, by nature of the position.
You have essentially placed Linus in a position where you could basically justify anything. "Oh, well, it's a very unique role - you just have to be xyz for this sort of work".
The thing is, Linus's position may be unique, but it has a lot in common with lots of positions we have a good handle on. There are lots of open source leaders out there, lots of people who manage codebases, write code, etc. Maybe not exactly all of those things in exactly the same way, but we have plenty of similar positions.
I do not imagine a community so vehemently defending members of those positions who act like Linus. By your own admission this is a bad model for others in the same exact industry with similar roles - you even say they should be fired for acting the way he does.
So I guess my question is; what unique aspect of Linus's role makes him so different from everyone else with incredibly similar roles? What evidence is there that, against everything we know about positions like the one he fills, acting the way he does is the right way for his role?
Does he owe you anything? Are you co-workers? Are you in his employ? It´s FOSS. If you don´t like it, walk away. The Linux kernel is his creation, his baby, and he runs the show. You don´t like his behavior? You don´t like his attitude? Fork the code, make your own mailinglist, get a bunch of people to submit patches, and knock yourself out.
I get that he is a "public figure in tech" and all that, but he owes you nothing - I failed to read the memo where he declared to act as a figurehead for proper behavior, or where he agreed to be an example or anything like that.
I work at one of those "major tech companies", and I can assure you that people call things garbage with regularly.
I would recommend reading this response.
Here are some great excerpts:
That's why my initial idea, as implemented in this RFC patchset, was to
stick with IBRS on Skylake, and use retpoline everywhere else. I'll
give you "garbage patches", but they weren't being "just mindlessly
sent around". If we're going to drop IBRS support and accept the
caveats, then let's do it as a conscious decision having seen what it
would look like, not just drop it quietly because poor Davey is too
scared that Linus might shout at him again. :)
If we can be done with the shouty part, I'd actually quite like to have
a sensible discussion about when, if ever, we do IBPB on context switch
(ptraceability and dumpable have both been suggested) and when, if
ever, we set STIPB in userspace.
Those seem relevant to the thread. That said - it's really a good read for a technical overview of the issues and patches.
Possibly, but I don't think that arguments, even heated ones, aren't without benefits that may not be otherwise obtainable. Arguments require passion and commitment, you have to care about something to get heated over it face-to-face and when you, as an adult, get upset over something you are putting your reputation on the line to some extent. This motivates some people.
This provokes an interesting question-does googles desire for a very... harmonious work environment have any relationship with their reputation for project ADD?
For me, one of the more difficult type of engineers to work with aren't people low in tech skills or other traditional lacking, but engineers who can't deal with failings generated by other people, in a rational and civilised manner.
Anyone building anything of modicum importance is going to fail. Moreover, failures can be institutional, i.e any process or lack of process, which significantly increases the chances of failure. These have to be dealt with at an institutional level. If the failure is personal, I.e caused by traits specific to the person, can it be resolved by having a better feedback loop. Many reasons to be angry but very few to express it in a confrontational manner. I have many brilliant friends I wouldn’t work with for the above reason.
I've worked at a lot of places with different cultures. You don't need "Google culture" to not work with assholes.
> I've worked at a lot of places where engineer got into heated shouting matches. It's is not a way to increase the probability of zeroing in on a problem, or reaching agreement faster.
That hasn't been my experience. A boss at a previous job and I often had heated discussions about technologies and direction. It worked for us. We came to great solutions that neither of us started advocating. Years after I left, we are still good friends.
One lady we worked with started keeping a nerf gun on her desk if we got too close to her while arguing. This was the problem for me.
It wasn't good for us to fall back on raised voices to accomplish discussion. It accomplished the goals, but it did it in a way that was bad for our psyche. Even if we are both willing participants in that, we were effecting others who were both not willing participants AND unwilling to speak up because we were both her senior.
So I say fuck that. There is a way to say what needs to be said without being an asshole or spending time trying to make it politically correct. You just have to say the core of what you are trying to say, without the asshole flair attached to it.
"So somebody isn't telling the truth here. Somebody is pushing complete garbage for unclear reasons" - maybe the patches are bad. Or maybe there is an undisclosed vulnerability (like https://skyfallattack.com/ ?) that needs this "garbage" to mitigate it, and no-one got Linus properly in the loop. If it's the latter, all this shouting and cursing about "They do things that do not make sense" has likely attracted the attention of people interested in such things...
Linus' initial response to patch 9 appears to be missing from the mailing list, so it's not even clear to me he intended it to be made public.
Where is the sea of noise you think justifies this?
Here we go.
>> All Linus needs to do is say something like
And all you need to do is be that nice and be as brilliant as Linus is.
Oh, it's harder to be that smart than it is to be that nice? Maybe consider that for people as highly gifted as Linus, it actually isn't.
What you take for granted as normal behavior isn't always normal to others, especially those at the outliers of skill and intelligence.
If a specific individual is unable to communicate without that, that's a totally different matter - being able to accommodate a wide church of people is a crucial diversity matter.
Would it have been clearer if I had said "All someone in a project leadership position needs to say ..." ? I'm arguing against that the notion that this approach is necessary, not that it shouldn't be accommodated.
As sundvor already pointed out, Linus's cursing works. He uses it for emphasis, to bring attention to bear where it's needed. Being polite would likely be less effective.
> If a specific individual is unable to communicate without that, that's a totally different matter - being able to accommodate a wide church of people is a crucial diversity matter.
So shouldn't you be OK with Linus cursing?
I disagree here too, though. Cursing is a choice, not a disability.
If, say, a firm fires someone for failing to maintain a civil tongue, I'd hardly call that a diversity problem. It could be quite reasonable, depending on the firm.
> I'm arguing against that the notion that this approach is necessary, not that it shouldn't be accommodated
Define 'necessary'. Would the kernel implode if Linus were more polite? Of course not, but I still agree with sundvor that Linus uses it as an effective tool. He's not just an angry child with poor impulse control.
That is because there is no other copy of Linus. There's plenty of other lesser software developers who can't do a tenth of what Linus did in his life.
I'd argue that in fact, there is circumstantial evidence that brilliant computer programmers can get work done without occasionally making those they interact with miserable: that evidence is the fact that most brilliant computer programmers get work done without occasionally making those they interact with miserable. There is nothing that requires Linus to make strong points by jumping and down and screaming. That's an affection he deliberately chooses.
There's a strong notion through this whole comment thread of "if he didn't do that, nobody would listen to him," which is absolute nonsense. People don't listen to him because of these kinds of outbursts, they listen to him because he's Linus Torvalds. They listen to him in spite of these kinds of outbursts.
Check the title of the thread you're in, and how many comments it has. People absolutely listen to him when he has these outbursts. It's usually a solid indicator there's something worth getting outraged about.
I am guessing you don't read the Linux mailing list if you think Linus goes off like this regularly. Maybe you're confusing it with the OpenBSD list and Theo.
Linus' comments like this make the news because of the content. If he did this all the time - frequently, as you posit - it wouldn't make the news all that often, as it would be normal. Linus isn't a guy who flies off the handle with regularity.
I think we do when communicating with some people. It's all a matter of context. To 99.99% of people being brash is just going to be a hindrance. For some however it's required for them to see what their actions are not up to standard.
That's my 2c's anyway. I've never had a situation (within the tech industry) where I've needed to be so on the nose as Linus, but a couple of times I've got close after repeatedly telling one person their actions were VERY wrong and risked doing the whole entire team damage.
Anything that speaks for all of us is bullshit, so both of you are offtopic. Anybody who pretends to speak for what "we need" is a charlatan. You don't need to address what one person says their preference for universal organization is. Don't feed the trolls.
Maybe less. Probably not more ....
Sure there is. You would rather have Linus in your life who yells at people than not. Linus being an asshole is something you have to deal with to get access to his intelligence. I suggest you make peace with this understanding, as it applies to far more people than Linus.
And having my cake and eating it too in every scenario would be great. That's not how things work all the time. It's up to you to deal with it, not Linus to change. He's the scarce resource. He has the leverage. You're just someone on the Internet mad.
I've found this quote by Neil Gaiman to be applicable to more than just Freelancing:
> You get work however you get work, but people keep working in a freelance world (and more and more of todays world is freelance), because their work is good, because they are easy to get along with and because they deliver the work on time. And you don’t even need all three! Two out of three is fine. People will tolerate how unpleasant you are if your work is good and you deliver it on time. People will forgive the lateness of your work if it is good and they like you. And you don’t have to be as good as everyone else if you’re on time and it’s always a pleasure to hear from you
Equating harsh even personally offensive language to "abuse" is the biggest disagreement here.
Many people, myself included, prescribe to axiom of "sticks and stones will break my bones but words can never hurt me" I understand that the current generation believes that feels are the most important thing ever...
I reject the idea that a person has the right not be offended, and I reject the idea that words on a linux mailing list are abuse
Abuse is not offense, offense is not abuse.
(Look for meaning 3)
Look for 'verbal abuse'.
World where people are fired from their jobs because they tell a joke someone finds offensive, I world where you are just one twit or one overheard conversation away from the outrage mob ruining your life..
In fact, the idea that you’re even bringing up such minor language at such a time really disappoints me.
Would I be correct in assuming that the majority of commenters here are from the US? (Not trying to throw shade on you Americans, just that you do tend to get needlessly flustered about swearing)
Sometimes this is actually necessary to get heard, and have the issue taken seriously. It helps providing the feedback that something REALLY wrong just happened and needs to be addressed immediately.
Imagine a sergeant talking to a trainee. What's the most efficient ?
- "Dear soldier, I think the way you handle your weapon is going to get you killed in a few moment. You should probably change that appropriately. If I may provide you this advice, of corse."
- "Stop this shit now! You're going to shoot yourself!"
Linus himself admits that his outrageous insults are sort of "jokey" and a hyperbole. That's the surface. The underlying tone is to get attention without getting drowned by political correctness.
When I read his reply, I could feel the pain. I imagined I would reply back to him and say "well fuck you too." When I finished reading the email, regardless of who is more right or more wrong, I can understand and feel his frustration. I would absolutely go mad if someone messes with something I care about, and then have the guts to do fact checks.
But I still think there is room to offer an olive branch, honestly. But given how busy he is, and how many shitty patches they get, I can understand his frustration.
That being said, it almost seems like no one other than him, can do a better job in keeping up with the quality if he has to be the one yelling all the time. When Linus is no longer involved (for any reasons), can Linux kernel project continues to have quality code?
A couple years ago Linus shared his views on insult: respect should be earned. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JZ017D_JOPY
If I've been a moron in front of the whole world, you might as well call me one; that part doesn't make a lot of difference. And if I know I haven't, well it doesn't make a lot of difference if you call me one either. I'm not five years old any more, having to chant "sticks and stones may break my bones..." to convince myself it's true, choking back the tears.
There was no "pain" on reading the reply. Only a minor frustration that there had clearly been a miscommunication about the different parts of the patch series, leading to his objections when he saw something he didn't expect. And certainly no temptation to say what you suggest. It was a technical rant. No people were harmed, and a personal reply like that would have been completely unnecessary.
I was expecting him not to like IBRS. Hell, I don't like it either. But as I said later, it still wants posting in the light of day, and a conscious decision to drop it and accept the caveats, if that's what we're going to do.
If he was right about what I did, I would make damn sure that I didn't do it again.
I believe he's being obnoxious because the people submitting these patches are trying to quietly pull some bullshit.
If you're trying to affect countless people and companies across the world with questionable actions, I don't care how bad you feel.
Let's not highlight this nonsense hoax. It isn't how embargoes work and is obviously people just trying to jump on the hype train.
And in the unlikely event that your theory regarding undisclosed vulnerabilities is true, this will certainly make them think twice about leaving Linus out of the loop again, no?
This is not clear enough and could be interpreted as incompetence on the part of the speaker
I'm not sure why saying "I don't understand this" would confer _incompetence_ rather than just not understanding. Understanding is easily gained with good communication. The original patch set clearly doesn't explain the point of the patches well, and everyone gets things wrong as well. There's no shame in saying "I don't understand this", it's not a final statement equivalent to "I will never be able to understand this".
If you don't understand it, say you don't understand it.
Unless you are a narcistic person that think you can never fail and anything you don't understand is always garbage.
It appears much less sinister than Linus was insinuating, but Linus has yet to reply.
But that's a separate topic. As I explicitly said, I limited that answer to the things we can do on current hardware.
* Correction, I thought (as does Google) that he still worked at Intel, but it was pointed out that he now works at Amazon UK.
Edit: Just to make this clearer you can see his email in the Signed-off-by of the patch under discussion: https://lkml.org/lkml/2018/1/20/163
* Intel Corporation - Linux Kernel Engineer - Employed Jun 2008 – Oct 2016 - Employment Duration 8 yrs 5 mos
Source: LinkedIn - https://www.linkedin.com/in/dwmw2/
Note: Also, this is not and please do not turn this into a personal witch-hunt or anything like that, I am just adding context / clarification as to the mailing list thread.
Its actually possible to find thoughtful commentary on most any subject, without suffering jerks.
As the primary kernel developer, the amount of crap he has to deal with gives him broad levity IMO.
I've worked with engineers across many fields over my ~35 years of working. When they're ripping you a new one, you pretty much always deserve it.
Putting shit on a plate is being a jerk, because you're not only wasting your time, you're wasting his time as well.
A thoughtful comment would have illuminated the issue, explained why the fixes were too broad or not specific enough, and how they could be improved.
Linus is the defacto expert on the Linux kernel. His familiarity with the kernel and long history on these issues gives him the credibility to say a patch or code is completely nonsensical.
This isn't Intel's first rodeo. They know what is expected and they continue to play games with their code. If they are pushing garbage then there's a very good chance they know it's garbage.
And he'd have to be an expert on Intel processor internals, which he really can't be. Not in a position to know the details.
What a ridiculous comment.
The average person is insecure about more advanced details of tech topics, yet still needs to use laptops and smartphones to survive in modern society. That is the vast majority of people, and those are the people you should be the most worried about, because those people decide whether Intel will ultimately get away with this or not.
And honestly, with that in mind your remark looks like a thinly-veiled snobbish remark about how you don't fall for any of that.
I'm just dismissing the consumer market as mostly irrelevant in this context, not trying to make any snobbish remarks. We aren't discussing phones or laptops.
Call me crazy, but I would imagine that big Intel customers do not base their purchasing decisions on what Ars Technica, LinusTechTips or Tweakers.net have to say.
Intel & friends have absolutely disgusted me lately, it could be all to easy to settle for less based on their standards, but let’s not let them set the standard - they’ve shown they can’t be trusted with quality and when they fail - they can’t be trusted to be transparent or even take ownership of the problems they create.
Many business failures i've witnessed happened ultimately because nobody had the energy to cut down the bullshit forest that constantly regrows around a company.
It also requires the social capital necessary for the calls to be taken seriously.
I don't worry about Linus being silenced by prevailing culture; I worry that there won't be another Linus after him.
I wonder if something like FreeBSD is better suited for sustainability - from what I can tell, there's no "dictator" figure there, no critical single point of failure.
Consider an organization that would rather cease to exist or be relevant, than to allow itself all the freedoms to pivot and mutate significantly.
Institutions are much harder to set up, they require that you consider that evil people do evil things, so you have to set up rules and processes. The execution of those rules and processes have to span enough people that a conspiracy would be unlikely. It doesn't always work of course, people find ways to subvert institutions (the zero day exploits of their time).
I've worked at a company that had 20 people and a company that's had 5000 and some ones in between.
Going from 2-3 people to 20 is pretty manageable. Everyone knows each other, work gets done, you can call people out on their bullshit, stuff is fixed, because everyone feels responsible and accountable.
Then you go to 100 people and a few of the original 20 leave and the whole culture changes. 1000's of people? Totally different ball game. Incompetence will slip through, no single person has a full grasp on everything, meetings and more meetings and more managers playing broken telephone all day and you got people in different cities and time zones and countries who've never seen each other face-to-face and it's just a nightmare to manage that.
It can be done, but that's when you really need competent managers, and those are extremely hard to come by.
I'm sure there are teams and divisions within Intel that are extremely competent, people at the top of their game who are looking at this debacle and just shaking their heads just as much as Linus.
Now, however, it's nearly worthless. Anyone can do distribution, both of work and of end products, with very little effort thanks to computers and the Internet. Now, the limitations of those corporate structures are starting to cut deeper and not be compensated for. Their assumption of all of the tremendous failings of in-person human communication (that 'broken telephone' you mention is only part of it, there's also the inherent prejudices and irrational means of influence at play which are inescapable) in combination with both voluntarily abandoning essentially every single benefit they ever offered to employees and the inherent limitations in such a centralized structure will result in them falling apart. I mean, if the market has anything to say about it. Back when factories got big people accepted things like limitations in variety of goods, limited to nil personalization, etc because supporting those things was difficult for factories. Such is still difficult for large companies. They have executives who want to impress 'grand visions' upon the company so that they have some excuse (both personal and professional) to collect such absurdly overlarge compensation.
The human brain, by the way, is limited to keeping around 150 people in mind and maintaining stable relationships with them. It's called 'Dunbar's Number' and while there's certainly variation amongst different people with regard to it, I think we can safely presume there is no one with the ability to maintain and consider 1000+ stable relationships. That this is not reflected in our social structures is probably an error.
Which is why FOSS is so important. Can you imagine a world where Linux was closed source? You’d never have any insight into security patches, or these discussions.
FOSS is nice, but it's not a silver bullet. In this case I think Linus is largely to thank. Things will be a lot harder if he decides to retire.
Maybe I'm projecting.
Well if Linus goes too far, Google and a couple other big corporate contributors could team up and fork Linux, and it would be very hard for the open project to compete. I think the fact that Linus is so good is a big part of what makes the whole thing hold together.
I have a suspicion that Satya's rise to CEOdom via Azure's success could be attributed to him too.
Spectre and meltdown are a great example of this. Sure, ARM, Intel, and (to a lesser extent) AMD may want to downplay these things, but Google did not, so it became a big deal anyway.
So what? Nobody said that. This is a strawman.
Of course FOSS is not sufficient. Look at any homework-style GitHub repo. Nobody disputes that.
All that is said is that FOSS is necessary to achieve this level of quality.
That doesn't make any sense. This is a strawman argument.
Nobody ever said that FOSS is a silver bullet, not even FSFE, FSF, or Stallman himself.
Ranting and swearing is part of who he is personally, but those are not generally required for being a good project leader.
I agree that his other skills are likely more important overall, and there are certainly other ways to be memorable, but I don't think you can discount the contribution of the ranting.
Like others said, his language helps drive the point home and leaves more of an impression. It also humanizes Linus as well.
As far as this particular Torvalds screed goes, it strikes me as measured for him. He is very clear about what he wants more of and what he wants less of. It's the code that is garbage, and he doesn't get overly personal other than to chide Woodhouse for glossing over the quality of Woodhouse's own contributions.
edit: ahh right, "mis-designed by morons" which is pretty inflammatory, and he should do better than that. I suspect he is trying to provoke someone at Intel into explaining their intent. Insult their intelligence, and they'll reveal something about their (possibly sinister) motive.
Linux is what allowed Intel to get its biggest foothold into the UNIX server market.
Given enough time, SPARC chips would also become vulnerable to these issues. See what happened to ARM: their later (higher performance) designs are more vulnerable than their older designs.
Solaris, with the exceptions of a few bright stars like DTrace and ZFS, always seemed like a POS to me, compared to linux. Especially as a work-station. Sun went full retard with Java everywhere right before they went under and I have a feeling the Solaris Desktop experience, and by extension the UNIX desktop experience, would be something from my worst nightmares, something to make wish for Windows Vista.
Don't get me wrong, I love Linux and loved FreeBSD back when it was more easy to choose... But I do think the 'free UNIX' movement has had unintended consequences like the demise of Sun, and perhaps now also this exposing of a failure in what was a desktop class chip architecture that was elevated to server usage.
Everything has a cost is all I'm saying.
Honestly, back when Linux started getting momentum, RMS' GNU/Linux argument had merit. Most of the stuff people where running on top of Linux, never mind using to develop Linux, came from the GNU project.
I actually worked at a startup that threw out a working Linux / MySQL solution in favor of a Sun / Oracle one. Because, you know, VC...
> Many business failures i've witnessed happened ultimately because nobody had the energy to cut down the bullshit forest that constantly regrows around a company.
The sad thing is that people have unironically labeled Linus "toxic" for calling out crap very bluntly like this.
While I think you've also been bitten by the "we accept everyone! (who thinks the way we do)" crowd as well, this is not the place or the way to express that frustration.
Not any serious people, so why do we care?
From what I've gathered the findings are based on real data.
Citation? Sounds interesting.
I tend not to take my own mistakes very seriously unless they come with serious consequences. Having someone I respect tear into me would, I think, force me to take greater care and apply more attention to my work than I already do.
I've heard similar anecdotes from people who have contributed. I even recall a female contributor say something positive about it.
If anything you'd have trouble getting code in because maintainer thinks it would add more complexity than is necessary, or would make his job harder in the future, or after writing and testing the code, you'd find out you should have been doing things differently, etc. These are much more probable ways to get discouraged from contributing kernel code.
There's a high bar to getting code in, and that can be frustrating. But it also keeps the mainline attractive to users and developers, because of ever improving code quality.
"What the fuck is this? This came from Satan's butt-hole. Kill whoever did this - kill them immediately, here, I'll go and find this asshole who submitted this patch, and do it for you, you lazy ingrates, why do I have to do everything around here?"
It's clearly putting additional pressure on Intel. How you feel about that depends on how you feel about them furiously trying to sweep everything under the carpet and hoping nobody notices.
Personally I think his humiliation of Intel here is putting necessary pressure on them. If he couched his terms and tried to be "nice" about this they wouldn't feel nearly the same pressure.
I wasn't even saying that his tone on this particular instance was excessive. I was responding to the general accusation that "PC culture will silence him". There's exactly one sentence I have issues with here ("the whole hardware interface is literally mis-designed by morons"). The rest of the email is toeing the line, but manages to be forceful without being outright insulting.
I don't. This is pretty much part of his brand. He's developed a reputation for flipping his lid and lambasting people who have always deserved it using entertainingly colorful language. That's why these rants still get to the top of HN.
>I was responding to the general accusation that "PC culture will silence him".
I mean, that seems to be what you're trying to do by demanding that he water his language down to something that has minimal emotional impact.
It's not like using the word morons is particularly offensive, either - except to the people who actually deserved it (Intel).
>There's exactly one sentence I have issues with here ("the whole hardware interface is literally mis-designed by morons").
Which is the sentence that got this rant on hacker news, which attracted all the attention which is necessary in order to put pressure on Intel to fix their shit.
And yet the title of the submission is "Somebody is pushing complete garbage for unclear reasons". That's a good suggestion that the moron quote is not "what got this rant on hacker news". Perhaps it's on hacker news not because the form is inflammatory, but because the content is insightful.
Maybe—just maybe—the fact that the Linux project lead publicly accused Intel of not having their shit together is newsworthy and would end up on the front page of Hacker News no matter what tone it was written in, because that is newsworthy enough in and of itself.
Damn you, Wintel!
It's a sad thing to say about the state of the human specie.
The same can be said of free speech.
That directness is generally associated with multicultural environments where subtler context-dependent communication simply does not work. Some of the quotes I am seeing here from him are things I think are unnecessarily harsh, but most are not.
Discussions about something he has said or written seem to inevitably comment on his speaking style and divide up between those who praise it and those who vilify it. I feel it is mostly a positive, but discussions could benefit from a little context and broader perspective of that detail.
However, Finland is culturally quite homogeneous, so I think the reason behind the bluntness is not what you suggest it may be.
For a Finn, I think Linus is on the blunt side, but he's not an extreme case. In fact, I'd argue he's not an extreme case even among non-Finns; it's just that most people only hear about his rants.
Also, I find that Linus is somewhat quick to judge things, and often his reactions are based on a misunderstanding of the facts.
Maybe he just is what he is. The differences between individuals are greater than differences between cultures. I'm from Finland and I can assure you that Linus' style of communication is not a norm here.
I've heard this blunt(/direct/honest) argument quite often (and the same about my country, The Netherlands), but I've also seen Americans in IT who can be very blunt. I attribute it not to country_of_origin, but to the [autism] spectrum.
I used to try to be tactful with everything I would say, but that ended up in a 4 hour discussion / argument with someone who was digging in their heels about something they were wrong about. Huge waste of time and energy. It would blow a whole day.
When someone is being blunt with me, I take the time to make sure my response is clear and concise. It certainly has it's advantages. I try to keep the swears to a minimum. I'm not a drill sergeant, but I definitely make my point clearly and forcefully.
FWIW, I save the bluntness for important stuff.
As to Torvalds, but we do not get headlines about his mellow emails accepting a patch.
Anytime someone suggests that my directness means I must be autistic, they are a) making a faux polite personal attack that calls me a social retard and b) looking for an excuse to ignore and dismiss the substance of my points. I don't consider it to be a good faith form of engagement.
What I said, is that I find autism another [plausible] explanation. Because being honest/direct/blunt is a trait people with ASD suffer from (since they have less of the social awareness which puts the brake on the sharp edges). I find it more plausible than country_of_origin (TBH I find that a -perhaps harmless- form of discrimination/racism), but certainly I did neither imply nor argue that it is the only, sole explanation!
Please stop. It's unhealthy to pretend that undesired behaviors in IT are generally the result of autism. It perpetuates an unhealthy culture by essentially saying that guys (because it's only guys who are excused this way) in IT are not responsible for their behavior. It's also insulting to people with autism to lump their legitimate social difficulties in with people who are simply choosing to be assholes.
If a salesperson or marketer or artist or executive is blunt/rude/an asshole, no one assumes it's because they're autistic. It's assumed that this is part of their personality, because they find it more effective to communicate this way (or in some cases, that they're simply bullies).
There is no indication I see that Torvalds is autistic. He's certainly not socially awkward. He manages an organization of thousands of contributors very effectively. If he's blunt or rude, it's because he chooses to be.
Not what I did; no need to start bifurcating. What I asserted (or, what I meant) is that people on the spectrum are more common in IT. I never said that everyone in IT is autistic. I never argued Torvalds has autism.
> It perpetuates an unhealthy culture by essentially saying that guys (because it's only guys who are excused this way)
No idea where you got either of these red herrings from. That's certainly not what I asserted.
I do want to note though that women with autism largely go un(der)diagnosed.
> It's also insulting to people with autism
Hi, I have autism, as I acknowledged in another post throughout this thread. There's a rule on HN that you shouldn't assume the worst explanation from a post. Well, you just did, cause why would I willingly try to insult everyone with autism if I have it myself? How that make any sense whatsoever? I don't see at all why my post can be considered offensive unless you resort to things like bifurcations...
> It's also insulting to people with autism to lump their legitimate social difficulties in with people who are simply choosing to be assholes.
People with autism need to function in a non-autistic society. The current therapy I am getting is focussed on that. Using autism as an excuse isn't acceptable; its considered counter-productive.
> There is no indication I see that Torvalds is autistic. He's certainly not socially awkward. He manages an organization of thousands of contributors very effectively.
I don't find him very strong, socially. Read his body language while he's giving a talk. He's shy, at the very least. Just because someone can express themselves easily via e-mail doesn't mean they're not socially awkward.
Also, what I quoted is not mutually exclusive. More importantly, there is no such thing as a binary autism flag; it is a spectrum.
What Torvalds suffers from is that he expresses his anger with unnecessary cursewords in order to give his arguments strength (a fallacy). To name another example: I've never seen RMS do that, but I have seen TdR do that. I find neither of them particularly strong socially, either.
I know a lot about the topic of autism and related issues. I get tired of seeing social difficulties chalked up to a label of some disability or other. It takes a couple of decades to properly raise a human and prepare them for their role in society. A large part of social skills are learned behavior. This is why we have the term socialization.
Furthermore, different approaches are normal in different contexts. Someone who is not autistic and has no difficulty understanding and navigating social things can have trouble when placed in a new situation, including but not limited to a different culture.
Accusations of being autistic as an explanation for abrasive behavior are almost never sympathetic. They are almost never an attempt to understand why someone is coming across poorly and find a way to better interact with them. They boil down to a suggestion of incompetence and a dismissal of the person's position, as well as any legitimate anger or frustration they may be feeling.
There are cultures, including the American military, where being very blunt is the norm. As others have noted here, when people accuse someone of being rude, it very often means they don't like being disagreed with and are just looking for an excuse to be offended and level accusations. It isn't actually possible to find a way around that. People who are going to hurl accusations and focus on your style of communication as a way to try to avoid dealing with the substance are not acting in good faith. There is no means to be both polite and effective with such people. They will not like being disagreed with and will hate you for that piece of it no matter how you present it.
It seems you are trying to be an advocate for yourself and others with the same diagnosis. This is not the way to go about it. It comes across as simply insulting Linus Torvalds as an excuse to not take his position seriously while at the same time slandering the entire IT profession with a tired and untrue stereotype that everyone in IT has terrible social skills and they are all just aspie.
You keep saying that you have an ASD diagnosis, you don't see the points other people are making and then concluding they must be in the wrong. Let me respectfully suggest that you are missing some contextual cues. Meaning of words does not occur in a vacuum. Context matters.
There are ways to be a representative of your demographic and an advocate for others like you. This is about the worst possible way to try to do that.
Completely disagree. The OP said "blunt(/direct/honest)" is a common feature of autism and autism is common in the tech world. Just because some people may take issue with others being blunt or overly direct doesn't mean it's a negative thing, nor an insult or an attack on autism.
Acceptance of this trait may be cultural but primarily it seems to me to be a personal preference.
Every person's personality is built on a multitude of positive/negative traits, nobody is perfect and it's not that big of a deal having a few flaws. Flaws are often the the type of thing which makes people interesting. But I'm not even convinced this is even a flaw in the first place.
Some of the smartest people I know are blunt/direct and it's a personality trait that I personally seek out in my friends/partners. I find it makes for the best type of business partner and reduces significant amounts of drama and long-term conflict. But I understand it's not for everyone and lots of people misunderstand their intentions or are uncomfortable with raw honesty. But outside of the person not being rude, talking out of place, having basic social grace, etc... that's on them if they don't like it. It's not a flaw in itself, only if it's used incorrectly.
Of course not all people who are blunt/direct are autistic either. I don't think the OP made the implication either. That's common sense, we all like to make generalizations or identify patterns of behaviour, but that does not mean they believe it applies to all people or that they are implying correlation always equals causation.
This sounds to me like a misguided attempt at protecting people from any type of potential discomfort, while ignoring the context of the use of such language and the situational context. This is a primary issue with this political correctness fad. Not to mention valuing hypothetical/potential feelings over honesty, truth, and reality. Certain words, descriptions, or generalizations such as this are not inherently wrong or insulting or malicious. They may be used wrong or be insulting in certain context, but what the OP said is not one of those situations.
> I know a lot about the topic of autism and related issues.
Me too. I have a diagnosis based on DSM-5, and with ICD numbers (for insurance related reasons I guess). My cousin had an Asperger diagnosis based on DSM-4 when that was still relevant. My partner likely has autism as well (though its difficult to diagnose for females), and I am getting therapy as well; both group therapy and family therapy. My partner received partner group therapy. I suspect its mostly from my father's side, but I see traits in my mother's side as well. Regarding my parents; I believe the spectrum was a non-conscious or perhaps subconscious important reason why they felt attracted to each other. YMMV.
> I get tired of seeing social difficulties chalked up to a label of some disability or other.
As a general note we shouldn't diagnose other people, but that wasn't the intent of my original post at all. I merely noted its a trait people with autism commonly have.
Conclusions such as that all people with autism have this, that all people in IT have this, or refuting such conclusions are all bifurcations from your own conto; not mine.
Why are people with autism often too direct? It is due to a weaker Theory of Mind (ToM) .
On HN we need to assume people mean the most positive with their posts. If we apply this on life, then all people want to function in society [even with their disabilities]. They want to have success in their communication. Heck, I do too! A repeating failure to communicate is a red flag of something being wrong with that person. It'd mean that those who are responsible for that person (professionals including in medical field, but also teachers, parents/caretakers, and if they're adult: themselves) should consider to seek professional help. A lot of people in our world end up in (deep) trouble such as addiction or prison while professional help could've helped them, and that very much saddens me (am currently watching series Orange Is The New Black).
> It takes a couple of decades to properly raise a human and prepare them for their role in society. A large part of social skills are learned behavior. This is why we have the term socialization.
For most people, they get to basic social levels during teenager years or young adultery. The problem is that people with autism -more so those without therapy/help- are generally worse at learning this (some are downright terrible).
Its important to note that not everyone has autism has exactly the same issues. Some people don't have much issues with ToM but rather with executive functioning (EF), or central coherence (CC). And even then, the lists for each of these are long. Specific sub-traits might be better or worse within each specimen.
> Furthermore, different approaches are normal in different contexts. Someone who is not autistic and has no difficulty understanding and navigating social things can have trouble when placed in a new situation, including but not limited to a different culture.
Well, that's including someone with undiagnosed autism, or mild autism. I recommend to stop seeing a situation like this as black-and-white (stop bifurcation) and start seeing the shades of grey.
> Accusations of being autistic as an explanation for abrasive behavior are almost never sympathetic. They are almost never an attempt to understand why someone is coming across poorly and find a way to better interact with them. They boil down to a suggestion of incompetence and a dismissal of the person's position, as well as any legitimate anger or frustration they may be feeling.
I don't see it as an accusation. I don't see autism as a negative trait per see. Not at all. I see it like a knife or computer; a tool which can be used for good and evil. That does explain why we're having this discussion in the first place though.
> There are cultures, including the American military, where being very blunt is the norm.
It should be noted this is a top-down hierarchy, and the bluntness is top-down as well; not bottom-up. The arguments used by such cathedral-style hierarchies are comprised of argumentum ad baculum (see hereunder for further discussion).
> As others have noted here, when people accuse someone of being rude, it very often means they don't like being disagreed with and are just looking for an excuse to be offended and level accusations.
That depends on their other arguments. Pointing out a fallacy such as an argumentum ad hominem doesn't mean everything the person said is invalid. It just points out the person is (partly) using a fallacy to make their point. It is, essentially, akin to telling someone to tone down their voice. Yes, it can be frustrating to hear that when you're angry, but that doesn't mean the person who points that out is wrong.
Similarly, someone replying to Torvalds: "could you please make your point without insults and vulgar language" isn't saying Torvalds has no point. As such, painting it as if I am trying to attack Torvalds with an ad hominem here is... frankly ridiculous. I don't always agree with his viewpoints, but I got nothing against the man.
> It seems you are trying to be an advocate for yourself and others with the same diagnosis. This is not the way to go about it. It comes across as simply insulting Linus Torvalds as an excuse to not take his position seriously while at the same time slandering the entire IT profession with a tired and untrue stereotype that everyone in IT has terrible social skills and they are all just aspie.
I'd say that's far-fetched and full with assumptions but if that's your interpretation of my post(s), so be it.
(I can't control myself to not include this so FYI: "Aspie" no longer exists since DSM-5. If someone calls me an Aspie they clearly are using old, outdated terminology.)
I attribute it not to country_of_origin, but to the [autism] spectrum.
And you now say:
Those two things don't add up. Maybe think about that.
There is a lot of other failed communication happening here that I don't really think is worth trying to talk more about.
You made a blanket diagnosis for an entire industry and for a common human behavior when you stated that you attribute bluntness in IT to autism.
DoreenMichele provided your own quote again for context but you yet again talked to different tangents. I can't tell if this is really a communication breakdown or if you're willfully avoiding the fact that you essentially said "programmers are Aspie" because you don't want to address your own prejudice.
If you believe that bluntness in IT is generally attributable to autism, then let's talk about that some more, because this is an incorrect and unhealthy belief. If you don't believe it, then don't say it, because it perpetuates this unhealthy viewpoint.
Furthermore, you put words in my mouth, and you paraphrase me with words I didn't use and would avoid. I would not describe Torvalds as a programmer, and I would carefully avoid the word "aspie" or "asperger" ever since I learned they're superseded (since my diagnosis, Sept 2017). Because THAT word is stereotypical whereas the spectrum is far more broad. There is no shame in being autistic/ASD/part of spectrum either. I certainly don't feel ashamed about it (I'm not proud about it either btw).
I have no interest in discussing this further with you because I have no interest in getting convinced by you that autistics aren't part of IT while I am getting signals that people within the spectrum are indeed overly represented in certain professions, including IT. But that wasn't my point because if I wanted to draw a caricature of an autist in IT I got far better examples available.
Go spend your time convincing someone else instead, and perhaps consider a worthwhile subject instead of nitpicking on a conclusion you drew and aren't refuting with data either.
> If you don't believe it, then don't say it, because it perpetuates this unhealthy viewpoint.
You won't censor me. Au revoir.
You directly accuse someone else of racism for saying that Finnish culture is blunt. But you happily attribute bluntness in IT to autism. I cannot believe you are this lacking in introspection and self-criticism.
I'm not sure what you mean by "bifurcating" in this context but this is exactly what you did. You literally said that you see blunt communication in IT and attribute it to autism spectrum disorders.
> What I asserted (or, what I meant) is that people on the spectrum are more common in IT. I never said that everyone in IT is autistic. I never argued Torvalds has autism.
I did not claim that you said everyone in IT is autistic. I'm saying that your assumption that blunt/direct/whatever behavior implies autism is both incorrect and unhealthy. People with autism spectrum disorders may be over-represented in IT (people claim this; I have no idea if it's actually true), but even if so, it's still a small percentage of total people in IT. Attributing entire classes of common behavior to autism is incorrect.
You did not directly claim that Torvalds has autism but you did assert that you assume autism in the face of Torvalds-style behavior.
> Hi, I have autism, as I acknowledged in another post throughout this thread. There's a rule on HN that you shouldn't assume the worst explanation from a post. Well, you just did, cause why would I willingly try to insult everyone with autism if I have it myself? How that make any sense whatsoever?
I didn't say you're trying to insult people with autism. I said you're doing it. It's undoubtedly unintentional, but it's absolutely insulting to take an undesired behavior and associate it with an entire group.
If I say that when I see fat people, I assume they're Americans, that's insulting to Americans. The fact that I happen to be American doesn't change that.
> People with autism need to function in a non-autistic society. The current therapy I am getting is focussed on that. Using autism as an excuse isn't acceptable; its considered counter-productive.
Assholes also need to function in society. Pretending that they're autistic doesn't help anyone. It certainly doesn't help people with autism.
I'm not in any way saying that people with autism spectrum disorders don't need to function in society or that autism should be an "excuse" for anything. I'm actually saying very much the opposite. Rude behavior should not be attributed to autism, partly because that's not a valid excuse but also because most rude behavior does not come from people with autism spectrum disorders.
> I don't find him very strong, socially. Read his body language while he's giving a talk. He's shy, at the very least. Just because someone can express themselves easily via e-mail doesn't mean they're not socially awkward.
I probably overstated when I said he's "certainly not socially awkward". He is a little awkward in talks. However, lots of people (most, probably) are uncomfortable with public speaking in front of large crowds, and I don't think his level of awkwardness seems unusual. And of course shyness is not synonymous with autism. I still don't see any evidence that Torvalds has any form of autistic disorder.
> Also, what I quoted is not mutually exclusive. More importantly, there is no such thing as a binary autism flag; it is a spectrum.
No one said there's a binary "autism" flag.
> What Torvalds suffers from is that he expresses his anger with unnecessary cursewords in order to give his arguments strength (a fallacy).
Torvalds is not generally criticized for "curse words". He's generally criticized for bluntly insulting people and their work. When he says someone is "fucking insane", the problem isn't the fact that he used a curse word. It's that he's insulting someone. The cursing is perhaps another layer on top, but if he dropped the word "fuck" into every email but did it politely, no one would call him an asshole for it.
But I also don't think Torvalds is really "suffering" as a result of his communication style. The only negative I see is that people criticize him for it periodically. But overall it seems to be working and the negative repercussions are minimal to nonexistent. He gets attention on the issues he cares about and HN says he's mean. I doubt he loses sleep over the criticism.
I'm probably still too verbose (ha... "probably"... I flatter myself), but I went through a phase in my late teens and early twenties where I qualified and wrapped in polite circumlocutions everything I wrote. It makes in incomprehensible, honestly, and it doesn't work anyhow. I still got flamed. (Good ol' Usenet.)
There's a time and a place for politeness. That time and place is most times and most places. There's a time and a place for directness, bluntness, and even outright impoliteness; I'd submit "Intel is just going to leave a critical vulnerability in basically every CPU in the world, and throw up an obfuscating cover of flags and workarounds and PR to try to pretend otherwise" is a reasonable time for those things.
(Personally, I don't expect miracles. Intel ought to come out and say "Look, this is going to take some years. Here's some workarounds in the meantime, and here's our plan going forward." I think everyone who understands the situation understands that a true fix is very difficult. But if it looks like they're going to try to skate by on some weak workarounds and a heavy dollop of PR, the industry as a whole really needs to pushback, not just Linus.)
Anyway, this argument comes up again and again. Regardless of the style in his country and language or origin he is writing in English, in public, for an international audience. One expects a different sort of tone.
I don't think I can agree with that statement :)
I'm part of the target audience and that tone is _exactly_ what I'd expect instead of polite talk that dances around calling out BS for what it is.
> From what I gather, some of this is cultural. His country of origin is just generally blunt and direct about things.
and my response was
> Regardless of the style in his country and language or origin he is writing in English, in public, for an international audience.
Which parts of what I said seem inconsistent to you?
That's like saying because my mother is now an American citizen, she should obviously no longer have a German accent. You may personally feel she has some obligation to do her best to lose the accent, but regardless of the standards you would like to see imposed on other people, most people remain influenced for life by things they grew up with.
I assumed you meant
> His country of origin is just generally blunt and direct about things and that is sufficient justification for his using a rude tone on a public mailing list
and I was also rather confused because this seemed to be a non-sequitur. I thought you had indended to reply to one of the other comments criticising his tone. On rereading it now seems that you were saying that
> His country of origin is just generally blunt and direct about things and this is why his is good at calling out bullshit when he sees it
Sorry for a double misunderstanding. If I hadn't made the first one I wouldn't have made the second one either.
I agree that this is true, but two points stick out to me:
1. Generally the motive for this convention stems from organizations wanting to sanitize their image.
2. FOSS project communication is overwhelmingly pubic.
If we accept that all organizations need some amount of blunt communication at some point, and if we accept that public bluntness has so far not had a measurable negative perception impact for Linux, then it seems inevitable that the project will be an exception to expectations.
I also see Intel lawyers working overtime, closely interacting with marketing, to somehow ward of lawsuits coming from Google, Microsoft, Amazon, which must be seeking ways out of Intel contracts to turn towards AMD processors for their currently more attractive TCO characteristics.
Could be the end of Intel as we know it.
...but irrespective of that, it ALSO appears that there's no leadership within Intel to actually fix the underlying issue.
I don't care if the PR is BS - that's what I expect. But if the chips are not fixed the right way, I'm taking my business elsewhere, and I'm not alone.
- ancient rivers of money
- The Return of the Barbarian
- Can Hydras eat unknown unknowns for lunch
There is also a more recent one where he writes about young people and their attitudes about money and property ownership and "life scripts" that was here on HN and metafilter and other places but I don't know the name of it ... was quite good.
No, I don't know how I came to be replying about Ribbonfarm a day late to a comment deep in a thread I haven't read most of.
Qualcomm on the other hand has taken the "fuck security" approach and failed to clean up their code and get it mainlined for nearly all of their common SoCs. Hence why Android phones are often trapped on old versions of Android when launched or shortly thereafter, long term security through the device lifecycle is a bad joke when Qualcomm and most other ARM vendors are involved.
The reason why most android phones don't get upgrades (or only one) to newer android versions has absolutely nothing to do with qualcomm lack of care regarding their cpu's security.
This is partially why Treble is being worked on, to just completely disconnect the actual Linux-based HAL from "the OS", thus trying to negate a lot of the oblate stupidity from vendors like Qualcomm and have a shim in-between your actual phone, and Android itself, in hopes to fix stuff.
We seriously need more phone SoC vendors.
First, of all there are legal obligations known as contracts. If Google was serious about Nexus 5 support from OEMs, it would have had contract in place that would assure the necessary support regardless of what OEMs would decide.
Secondly, Treble is yet another solution that will die, because Google, again, decided to leave to OEMs the task of delivering Treble updates, without any kind of legal obligation.
Additionally Android devices that get upgraded to Oreo aren't obliged to be fully Treble compliant, only the ones released with Oreo.
So, many new devices planned to be released in 2018, are based on Android 7.0.
That kind if snark is unnecessary and degrades the conversation.
> If Google was serious about Nexus 5 support from OEMs, it would have had contract in place that would assure the necessary support regardless of what OEMs would decide.
I'm not sure who you are referring to with "OEM" here, but Google took on the responsibility of maintaining the OS images for the Nexus devices, not the companies they contracted to build them.
May be, but apparently discussions about Android's and OEMs usually leads to hand waving regarding the legal options available to Google, if they really cared about enforcing updates.
> I'm not sure who you are referring to with "OEM" here, but Google took on the responsibility of maintaining the OS images for the Nexus devices, not the companies they contracted to build them.
Like the customers they have abandoned after TI cut down support on their chipsets?
Had Google taken the legal requirements to enforce TI to maintain support or face monetary sanctions for the three years it was supposed to take place, this would not have happened as it did.
It always circles down to how much Google cares.
On the other hand - yes, hammerhead is stuck on Linux kernel 3.4, which is no longer maintained, and current best effort to forward-port to mainline kernel  is far from complete.
Among other things this means that there is no workaround for Meltdown on this hardware, which it is likely vulnerable to. 
 "11 stage integer pipeline with 3-way decode and 4-way out-of-order speculative issue superscalar execution" - from https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Krait_(CPU)
He lives under the sword. The moment he stops being right, everyone will swiftly turn against them.
What separates them is that they're almost never wrong. Not when they pull out "this is garbage" card.
This is a difficult ability to learn. You need to stay quiet most of the time, then be a complete asshole when it's important.
I really hate that aspect of our industry. But that's just hating on humanity. Apes listen to apes that shout, but only when everyone else is listening too. Otherwise you're just a dick with no influence.
The key is to hate that Linus is a bully while also respecting him when he's right.
It's super frustrating because I feel like any of us could have written that, and no one would care. Literally no one would listen. But Linus says it, so it bubbles to the top of HN and now we're counting our blessings for how lucky we are.
Try to remember this next time someone says something that sounds crazy. Your instinct should be to suppress your skepticism and think whether it has merit. It might piss you off, but is it true? That's the important bit.
And not just for design, but for everything.
(I'm sure whoever came up with the current design isn't too happy about Linus calling it garbage, but they'll just have to deal with it.)
I don’t know how you can believe this after reading even a few of his messages. Read the message which started this thread and count the number of times where he is talking about not just the quality of work but the person who produced it.
It’s possible to be blunt and unforgiving about code without saying that the person who created it is a moron.
That means that if you get offended by the way someone else criticizes the mess you're responsible for you are not accepting the responsibility at all! Well, now that's an interesting insight!
Most people are going to take it personally, especially when it’s public in front of their peers, and since it’s so lazy and unhelpful there’s no benefit from doing that rather than, well, anything constructive
Arguments on the internet are held public most of the time + it's all public record. Personal insults are generally not acceptable. But when is it personal and who decides what's personal and what not? Where is the point when insults are the least important part of the issue? Should the insulted person always take insults personal regardless what issue at hand?
I understand that sometimes an argument about an issue in reality is a battle of egos. But, seriously, Intel trying to wiggle themselves out of the noose with it's not a bug it's a feature PR stunts, I think insults are as appropriate as "thank you" and "have a nice day". So, if anyone says or does something stupid for no apparent reason, questioning the sanity of their decision making by calling them a moron is the way to go, imo.
Not quite. Bullying is continuing targeted agression for the purpose of demeaning another person and getting power over them.
A one-off diatribe, blunt or even mean-spirited statement, by itself, is not bullying. A person can be an ass without being a bully.
But I get the point that there's more to actual bullying than I initially stated, thanks for clarifying that.
>> His attacks and critique are never on the personal basis
This is really not true. Linus takes it way too far from time to time. The person is always in the wrong, but Linus goes well beyond what is necessary.
Again, I get it and I don't mind. But he makes it personal occasionally.
People get angry, it happens (a bit more with Linus than some, it's a personality flaw, but it's not like any of us are perfect). I guess the general thing is more that, for some reason, people are way too overly fascinated with Shouty Linus compared to Linus the general kernel developer. There's a lot of posts on the Linux Kernel list... but the odds of a single post from this list being shared on social media dramatically increases for every Linus swear word included.
Linus is abrasive, but he usually has a good explanation for why the target of his ire is a moron, e.g. everytime some coder without Linus’ experience suggests converting the kernel codebase to C++.
Let’s be honest, most developers are average at best, and knowledge is our status play. Scoring points against Linus’ decisions are one way to get you noticed, which makes him a target. If I had to deal with that shit everyday, I would do my best to discourage point scorers by putting them in their place as well.
This is the only way you can get Linus to really lose his shit. I'm surprised his comments in this Intel thing approach the level of anger he has for C++. It's my barometer for how important something is to him.
I hope you aren't under the impression that Linus stays quietly and waits for the perfect victim.
> (I'm sure whoever came up with the current design isn't too happy about Linus calling it garbage, but they'll just have to deal with it.)
Or maybe whoever came up with the design was aware it was garbage from inception, there's no need to pity them gratuitously.
I totally agree with "they can’t be trusted to be transparent or even take ownership of the problems they create" though. When you play at Intel's level and mess up on that order of magnitude, doing what they did make you loose all trust.
Well, it's the natural outcome of a system based entirely on competition. When the only incentive is "beat everyone else, nothing else matters" then this eventually happens.
However, I fail to see how Sandya's observations are BS. A code review is a place to improve code and oneself, and there's a pretty large distinction between constructive criticism and sarcastic/aggressive comments. Being respectful/mindful of your colleague in that situation is in my opinion the minimal requirement.
That's actually the opposite of what I see in Linus. He seems to reserve these responses for people who should have known better.
So if I suggest fixing the watch by smashing it with a hammer, it probably wouldn't even merit a sideways glance. I'd be ignored like background noise. (or at most, invited to look for something more in tune with my skillset, perhaps hanging wallclocks).
When Intel show up with a hammer, the hammer is only half of the offence.
In an ideal case, the reviewer "should" perhaps consult with the reviewee's therapist and craft the reviews to most benefit the reviewee based on their emotional state - but we don't have an ideal world of infinite resources, and some of these rules go beyond a reasonable "don't be an asshole" line and make code review into an even more mentally taxing task: one where you can't treat the other person as an adult peer, instead having to talk to them as if they were insecure teenagers who could misinterpret anything as rudeness or attacks on them.
- Pointing to a common reference instead of simply stating your opinion in a review will get the improvement you want done faster
- Writing a single comment for a repeated error is faster to do for the reviewer
- Explicit communication instead of emojis and sarcastic comments will bypass the need for further explanation, which will make the whole process faster
Finally, you seem to take issue with only a few of the author's points ('some of these rules go beyond a reasonable "don't be an asshole" line'), could you explain which ones and why? I am interested to know what exactly makes the process too taxing for you.
If I were Lord God of the cosmos, I'd give Linus Torvalds my magic and go farm Yabbies and sleep like a retired God at night, knowing that the world will be even better in the morning.
Sorry, but being "nice" is totally inappropriate and unhelpful.
I agree with you, and though I haven't evaluated your first statement, the fact that I have to think about whether or not you are right at all is good enough.
We don't have to like Linus' communication... methods. I often don't. But no one is perfect, and I'm willing to cut Torvalds some slack for being a dick for past - and future - accomplishments. People think that greatness doesn't excuse demeanor... but it does when the greatness is that far along the SD curve.
That's an unhelpful model. It implies that hitting the gym or studying or putting on make-up will make harm you in equal measures as it helps you.
No, it doesn't, not for anyone who played D&D which is where it is derived from.
Also, your statement is at least partially true, given that you have finite time and resources to pursue skill development in any given area.