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Should I just stop attempting to make these trivial patches? (2004) (lkml.org)
291 points by bischofs 9 months ago | hide | past | web | favorite | 29 comments

Obv. feel the same way, which is why I started being the trivial patch monkey which Linus refers to.

That's long ago been handed over, but I like to think that it did expand the developer base. Not just for Linux, but for FOSS generally.

It looks Jesper Juhl (the person who asked Linux the question) now manages trivial@kernel.org which is the address for the Trivial Patch Monkey.


This is an awesome example of someone being encouraged to participate when they were starting out, and then helping to make it easier for other newcomers to participate.

It's good to hear these opinions, and I think that its important work. I've come across a couple 'huh, that doesnt seem right' things in the kernel, but always shied away from trying to contribute because I didn't want to waste people's time

I think the other side of this is important as well, shoving a patch or a pull request across for something you use and sharing with them that you're fine if they don't merge it.

Probably less with the kernel and more with smaller FOSS it is a way of serving your own needs and also giving back.

But there has to be an expectation that the maintainer isn't under any obligation to merge or even evaluate it.

As a maintainer, part of my task is to interface between developers and the code. That generally means responding to submissions somewhat in proportion to the effort the submitter put in.

More importantly, I have benefitted so much from senior devs "wasting time" on me, I am obliged to help others now I'm senior.

Linus being kind? This is contrary to what seems like public opinion. Good to show this here, I think.

[I appreciate you probably realise this:] Selection bias - you only see one news-aggregator-site linus rant every 3-4 months and not the other 1347 normal coder and leader emails in between that allow him to maintain the most successful bit of open source software in existence.


Linus being gentle to noob doesn't buck the trend, but fits a pattern - Linus only serves his harshest criticism to senior devs who ought to know better.

> Linus being gentle to noob doesn't buck the trend, but fits a pattern - Linus only serves his harshest criticism to senior devs who ought to know better.

Very similar to Gordon Ramsey being very nice and gentle to kid chefs, but very demanding to "professional" chefs.

As professional as reality TV allows

Most (all?) famous people end up being understood as a caricature of themselves. It's like the urge to stereotype, we're limited creatures and try to understand things in simplifications.

If you stop to think about it for a minute, it's impossible that one of the most creative, complicated, and successful projects in the planet could be controlled by a simple asshole or troll. There has to be enough good stuff within that leader to overcome the negativity and create the positive result we all rely on every day.

Even better, it's Linus being pragmatic. You can tell he hates them but he sees the greater good.

As another comment alludes, we end up perceiving the stereotypes in others. Anyone who reads his writing closely should see that his answers are almost always pragmatic and from a "nothing but the best for my baby" perspective, even if they are somewhat abrasive.

I believe kind is his default state. It's just that the few times he deviate from this, end up making the news...

Just keep reading: "Yes, those trivial patches _are_ a bother. Damn, they are _horrible_." :D

Indeed, and he says "keep on doing them" :P

Indeed, and that he's embodying the community spirit of open source so well.

Same thought. He's not being a git at all! ;)

He's mellowing in his old age ;)

That was 14 years ago. Maybe he used to be mellow and he's harshening in his old age :)

>> That was 14 years ago.

Great, so how has the developer evolved? Do they still contribute or have they moved on?

As least as late as 2016 Jesper considered himself a Linux kernel developer (and for all I know still does); a decade plus contributing :)

The next reply is even better in my opinion. Mostly because the person on the other end did get what Linus was trying to convey and felt quite motivated by it.


Super cool exchange.

This is what the LibreOffice project is trying to achieve via EasyHacks.


We are always trying to get in new developers, and we have a masssive and often confusing codebase. Easy Hacks give newbies a way of getting their feet wet, in a way that actually helps improve the codebase.

This is one of the rare times that I'm actually happy to point out that if the title is question, the answer is probably no.

Another important thing is having some kind of resource to find work for new developers. E.g. I want to devote my free time improving XXX framework. I'm visiting its website and if I'd find something like "issues for newbies", that would be a great help, because I could just get one issue and start digging.

Please add (2004) to the title.

Could someone kindly add a [2004] tag?

Updated. Thanks!

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