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[flagged] Linux – The beginning of the end? (dedoimedo.com)
127 points by coldtea 9 months ago | hide | past | web | favorite | 177 comments



> You cannot expect people from Finland, Spain, Turkey, Namibia, or Japan to behave the same way, talk the same way, express themselves the same way. You cannot expect them to just normalize to a cookie-cutter template and move on. That does not work. And yet, that's the expectation, because that's how the US-centric IT world is designed.

This. Right here. The fanatics in the OSS world (and Tech at large) seem to have forgotten that Silicon Valley != The World. This is not 1984 with a standardized society defined by the Big Brother in Menlo Park.

You will find that most of these "cultural/offensive" flame wars in tech are fought because someone forgot to step out of the silicon valley bubble they reside in. Take what happened with Redis. The Master/Slave terminology does not raise much eyebrows outside of USA simply because these parts of the world did not have large scale slavery of black people. And yet some SV people expect to everyone to know American history and culture. They seem to live in a dream world where only the American culture exists and then get violent when the reality hits them.

And before someone comes with a respect and work with my culture shtick, please remember that it is a two way street. We are not under any obligation to respect only your culture and mannerisms. You also have a responsibility to understand other cultures and respect them and understand their mannerisms and way of thinking.


> The fanatics in the OSS world (and Tech at large) seem to have forgotten that Silicon Valley != The World

When it comes to attitudes and languages, Silicon Valley is sometimes quite different than tech in the rest of the US. As a developer in the northeastern US, one of the adjustments I've had to make in working for an archetypal Silicon Valley company is to the way people express themselves and particularly how they express disagreement or criticism (i.e. in a way that can be interpreted either as more gentle or more passive-aggressive depending on context). You raise a good point, but I think the differences are even greater than you (or the OP) think.

Of course, talking about this on extremely SV-centric Hacker News might not achieve very much.


Yea, if you've been in the SV bubble for too long you might not even perceive it!

One of the biggest cultural things I struggled to get used to when I moved out to the Bay Area for work (originally from the northeast too), was the extent to which I needed to constantly self-censor and water down my wording to the point of meaninglessness, simply to avoid offending someone or coming across as too harsh. People out here have such thin skin, and you're always walking on eggshells when you need to disagree with something. It's a kind of newspeak, where it colors every interaction with people and makes it impossible to deliver certain messages effectively, without sugar-coating or couching with "probablys" and "maybes". When you take this culture and these rules and assume the entire world plays by them, you're likely to end up looking totally out of touch.

EDIT: Self-censored a little. :-)


Here's a question I often like to ask myself about people I interact with:

> What is this person's equivalent of "F you"?

For a typical east-coaster or northern European it's likely to be exactly as in the question. ;) For some people, "I'm not sure I 100% agree" is about as close as you'll ever get. The left-coast average seems to be much closer to the second option. I'm not saying it's a bad thing - in fact I find it quite pleasant - but it can trip you up until you get used to it. At my last job, it took me years to figure out how to interpret my Indian colleagues' responses correctly (if indeed I ever did). This kind of calibration is an under-appreciated skill.


I've never had too bad a time getting away with f-bombs though I have weaned myself off using the n-word for camaraderie (opting for homies). I've found it all depends on reading the room. If people know you and what you're about, they'll take it for what it is.

That said I couch my words with "maybes and probablies" all the time by habit. I suppose it just feels more precise? I save hard assertions for when I mean them.

Disclaimer: Bay native.


These role would be sent for file training to the Netherlands. This is one of the most direct culture, you get a raw opinion.

This is a good thing, eventually, after an adaptation period where you think that missed the memo on being nice.


> extremely SV-centric Hacker News

HN users are about 10% from SV (5-14%, depending on what exactly you count). And about 50% from the US.

https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=16633521


I think the SV influence is probably much stronger than those numbers show. For one thing, what are the numbers like when adjusted for posting frequency? Five users who each post once a month don't balance out even one of the people who post a dozen comments a day. Also, people who have very strong connections with SV companies as employers, investors, or even customers are likely to adopt some of those attitudes even if they live elsewhere (like me). I'm pretty sure a real sentiment analysis would show a different result than a mere user survey.


The numbers vary depending on what we measure but they just don't vary that much. For example, when you look at total submissions and comments, the SV portion goes up to 10.9%. The highest SV number I've seen is actually for total page views (14.4%), which may suggest that SV users are reading more than posting, relative to other demographics.

When I read your comment I can't help but hear it as taking a step away from the numbers and back into preconceptions (i.e. real numbers would show what you already know). One thing I've noticed from years of doing this is that people's preconceptions about HN are amazingly strong and often not open to change. Sorry—I know that sounds condescending; in case it helps, I don't think I'm any different.


> users who post submissions and comments

That's a far cry from weighting by comment instead of by user, not to mention the other factors I mentioned. Maybe it would help if you could provide a link where people could look at the raw data (properly anonymized of course) and do their own analysis instead of relying on yours.

> people's preconceptions about HN are amazingly strong

Indeed. As you point out, nobody's exempt. Of course, there are ways around that. The proof's in the pudding. There are probably many people here who could do a real sentiment analysis and compare the result to other sites. I'm as sure as you are of what that would show, even though we make different predictions.


I don't understand what you mean by weighting by comment?

The corpus of HN comments is public and available to anyone who wants to do a sentiment analysis on them. I've not seen any compelling-enough examples of sentiment analysis to want to do it.


I really, genuinely, don't understand why such a bland code of conduct would be a turn off to anyone. I may not be easy to be around, but I try not to be abrasive while, at the same time, making clear why I think something is the way I think.

If you think someone is wrong very often, I believe saying why the person is wrong on every occasion will provide them with actionable information much better than calling them an imbecile. The goal is not to make the person go away, but to help them produce better ideas.

If someone verbally assaults me, I'll defend my point or, when provided with valid reasons, I'll behave like an adult and correct it. If I ever come across as abusive, let me know and I'll try to be a better person in the future.

Is that really too much to ask?


The problem is multiple vague parts which taken together can be a bad thing.

>Examples of unacceptable behavior by participants include:

>Other conduct which could reasonably be considered inappropriate in a professional setting

Following which country professional setting? The US?

>Maintainers have the right and responsibility to [...] ban temporarily or permanently any contributor for other behaviors that they deem inappropriate, threatening, offensive, or harmful.

Ok, not too abusable.

>This Code of Conduct applies both within project spaces and in public spaces when an individual is representing the project or its community.

Ok.

>Representation of a project may be further defined and clarified by project maintainers.

And that's from where abuse will be coming. Using your blog not associated with Linux but with your name to tell things some "maintainers" don't like? Go work on another project. Because for this case your name is enough to check the "representation of a project" clause.


It's interesting to see the competing claims:

- the kernel community is comprised entirely of people who will never be abusive, so it doesn't need a code of conduct

- the project is surrounded by people who are so dangerous that they will abuse any kind of process, even a code of conduct


1. The CoC normalizes abuse. 2. If someone is abusive without a CoC thryvcan ve easily removed. 3. They aren’t abusing the code of conduct when they use it to attack people, that’s what itcwas designed for. It was designed by a person with an axe to grind who makes no secret of their agenda.


> The CoC normalizes abuse.

Please explain how an anti-abuse system normalises abuse?

> If someone is abusive without a CoC thryvcan ve easily removed.

It has long been argued that Linus was abusive, and he wasn't removed at all let alone "easily".


Anti-abuse system allows abusers to live in its cracks. The article explains that at length, with examples of offensive (though superficially compliant) language used by US managers.


If the CoC has cracks large enough to sustain an abuser ecosystem, those cracks will be identified and paved over.


That approach is called “Enumerating Badness”, and is known to never completely work.


It doesn't need to be perfect, as long as there are no false positives and few valse negatives.


... which is very much an unsolved problem wrt regulation of human behavior.


Did you really read the text to the end? "Verbal assault" doesn't have a universal meaning, politeness is VERY culture-dependent, and in modern IT everybody is forced to accept US corporate standard which I'm not even sure is universal for the majority of Americans, and often perceived as grossly insincere, and restrictive to the point it's practically abusive by people raised in other cultures.


As a person working for a US giant and not living there, this is relatable. Everyone seemes passive aggressive. It also doesn't help that I've always been more suspicious of polite people since my childhood


In what culture calling someone a fucking inbred imbecile would be considered polite?


It's easier than you think. Probably in all cultures there's an implicit quotient of seriousness applied to angry words (from 1 - "Literal meaning" to 0 - "Absolutely doesn't mean it"), depending on context. In many cultures it quickly decreases as social distance between participants of communication gets shorter. E.g. I wouldn't call a random guy "fucking moron", but I can do it within my circle of friends, and nobody would be offended. In many cultures working within a team means entering much closer relations then Corporate Standard (tm) presumes, and here's more: professional communities considered to be a sort of brother/sisterhoods with reduced social distance within. Do you see the point now?


Maybe not polite, but plenty would read it for what was meant? I'm not saying it's not unprofessional (and "the community" is probably better off without it) but perfectly healthy environments can include that kinda talk.

Plenty of friend groups cuss each other out in good fun.


Fine. I didn't specify context.

As you and @kingofhdds pointed out, it's OK to call someone that if you are a close friend or somehow trusted not to literally mean it, but we are talking about a mailing list that's a professional exchange for one of the most important software projects in history, that's read by thousands of people and its messages will be archived probably forever.

We can do better than that.


It's still an absolutely monocultural view. Indeed, in anglophone cultures "professional" = more formal, and restrained. In many other places it works like that: professional community means reduced social distance means LESS strict mode of communication, then you would use with people at a bus stop. Personally, I think in some cases it really makes sense to accept a compromise set of rules when communicating internationally, but they must be flexible, dynamic, as much informal as possible, not punishing, and not hindering efficiency. And swearing Linus could be quite within such a compromise. Btw, no formal CoC I ever read represent a compromise, and all efforts to enforce industry-wide CoC is obviously goes against the very idea of compromise.


A repeating pattern I saw on the mailing list is that people who oppose the code of conduct does so from fear that it will be wielded as a weapon in misunderstandings and politics.

What I also saw is basically 3 different type of camps. The one I mentioned above. The second group which think the code of conduct is good, needed, and will change the kernel maintainers so it has more diverse group. Last the group that is supposed to enforce the code of conduct and who has consistently proclaim that that isn't their job and that the code of conduct is more of a guide in mediation. The group I have not seen is those who say they need the code of conduct to feel safe as developers.


I believe that I need it to feel safe. But ironically, I don't feel safe saying that here after reading the rest of the comments. Posting from a throwaway for obvious reasons.


Agree.

Open Source values will still remain - working in a transparent, open (not always nice) way.

More with CoC, harassing people will not be tolerated


The entire point of the CoC is it creates a process whereby people not involved in the project can harass members of the project while remaining anonymous.

Notice the people making a stink about Linus do it by taking out of context, lying about what he said and have managed to get people to think he should step down.(and are putting in place a “code” that lets them do it even though he’s the kindest non-bigoted person you could think of.)

It’s completely political and it’s discriminatory.


> The entire point of the CoC is it creates a process whereby people not involved in the project can harass members of the project while remaining anonymous.

So there is a lot of people peripheral to these projects, that want nothing more than to disrupt by harassing people completely unknown to them, under a veil of anonymity? And that's the point of these CoC's?

Who are these people you speak of? Some secret cabal of "SJW's"?

You are saying the point isn't to codify some ground rules for collaboration and communication, which are then in rare cases abused by some individuals, the abuse is the point? Please.


Harassing is a continued assault. Calling some one stupid might be insulting but it is not harassment


This particular CoC goes much further than policing harassment.


Yeah, I wonder if the people posting about not contributing any more to Linux will also stop their open source contributions to projects associated with all the organisations on this page: https://www.contributor-covenant.org/adopters


Yep. There’s a half dozen there I used to contribute to... and one I didn’t realize had adopted it.

If I ever need to add a feature to one of them I’ll have to fork it.

But I think that it needs a “no CoC” license.

That list, by the way, is a list of projects run by people who bowed to pressure and didn’t really think it thru or believed the lies pushed by those pushing the CoC.

I know this first hand for the projects I was involved in. It vaguely sounded good, the maintainers were leftists too and everybody opposes harassment, right?


> That list, by the way, is a list of projects run by people who bowed to pressure and didn’t really think it thru or believed the lies pushed by those pushing the CoC.

Are you implying that those who support a CoC are lying or somehow not "strong" enough to oppose it? You've stated elsewhere [0] your objection that people who oppose a CoC are implied to be bigoted. And yet here you are assuming that those who have no problem with a CoC are weak and have bowed to pressure or believing some lie. It works both ways my friend.

[0] > If you don’t understand, maybe Consider the objections, instead of ( unintentionally) writing as if the people who object are presumed abusive or bigoted.


Perhaps they don’t want to get called a “rape apologist” by the CoC pushers like that T’so guy who didn’t sign? It happened with zero repercussions to the offenders too since they’re the mob in charge. There’s your problem.


I don’t see the contradiction. Just look at any of the commit threads onva prohect where opposition to the CoC is discussed. They fly in “developers” who claim they don’t feel included and bully the maintainer to accept it, often straight up violating their own code in the process.

But then as the original agreement says there is no racism against whites people and no sexism against men.


> But then as the original agreement says there is no racism against whites people and no sexism against men.

Where does it say that? Here is the full text of the CoC: https://www.contributor-covenant.org/version/1/4/code-of-con...


Thank you for posting that. I wish that link was higher up since I think people need to read the damn CoC before losing their shit.

Like, I don't really love it, but I don't really hate it either, and after reading it I find it hard to see what the LINUX IZ DED ZOMG kerfuffle is about.


Having read it, I thought there would be more to it. I don’t see enough to either agree or disagree with. That document is so vague and open to interpretation. Essentially only one part seems to be the meat:

> Project maintainers are responsible for clarifying the standards of acceptable behavior and are expected to take appropriate and fair corrective action in response to any instances of unacceptable behavior.

That’s it. If it’s acceptable to the maintainers, it’s acceptable. If it’s unacceptable to the maintainers, it’s not.


Any open source project that gains enough traction to require a proper governance model has adopted a code of conduct. (Although I'd be interested in seeing if there are any notable counter-examples).

Whether or not it is based on the Contributor Covenant is irrelevant -- the language is roughly the same broad brush strokes with which you appear to have ideological differences. Do you take issue with the "Enforcement" section?

I suppose this means you (and anyone else that has a problem with COCs, I guess) will only contribute to small-to-medium open source projects where the maintainer does it as a hobby?


> Any open source project that gains enough traction to require a proper governance model has adopted a code of conduct.

That sentence probably needs some adjustment for time dependence. There were plenty of open source projects with proper governance models in the 90s (e.g. GNU, Debian) but AFAIK CoCs are a relatively recent thing.


Well, sure.

But a governance model that relies on a couple of hundred self-policing contributors needs to evolve with scale, right?


There are not more contributors to those low level projects, just more people complaining.


> and one I didn’t realize had adopted it.

You can see how you not noticing it is incompatible with your comments about CoCs being the end of the fucking world, right?


I want to add that, even though (as stated in the article) polite language doesn't imply good intentions, it's a good start nevertheless.


Bless your heart.


In the Illuminatus books there is a story that may help illuminate this. Some dude posts signs in a store that say "DO NOT SPIT ON THE FLOOR. --MGT". The staff assumes it's from management, so they leave the signs up. The customers feel insulted that management would think they would spit on the floor, so they stop buying there. The store goes bust.

The apparent blandness of the CoC may exactly be the problem.


That example shows a clear problem in the employee/management relationship. Putting up signs like that without adequately informing the employees is really bad passive aggressive management. Likewise, the employees simply accepting such a change being made is a clear indicator that they're either afraid to ask questions of the management for fear of reprisals, or that they've simply stopped caring about what management does, because they've lost faith in the leadership.

Either way, it's a clear case of mismanagement and miscommunication.

Nothing to do with a software project CoC.


> the employees simply accepting such a change being made

You know, in many places confronting management about the changes they introduce is not something that is generally practiced, and if you do that, especially in a semi-public way (even if that means Cc:-ing a few coworkers), you're simply at risk. This applies to small mom-and-pop shops, and equally applies to Google.


Which is a definite sign of a sick management culture and companies run by dictators, with no regard for the well-being of their employees.


Yes. It's unfortunately ubiquitous.


If you don’t understand, maybe Consider the objections, instead of ( unintentionally) writing as if the people who object are presumed abusive or bigoted.

That wasn’t your intention because you meant to just say you have no problem accepting criticism. But that’s the implication.

And the idea of guilty until proven innocent, but you can’t defend yourself because you will never hear the accusation and your attacker can remain anonymous while you are drummed out of a job based on lies without a chance to defend yourself should be offensive to all reasonable people.

That’s what these “CoCs” do and that’s how they are used.

Look at drupal- the guy attacked for being kinky (really he was attacked because someone didn’t like him and the CoC gave them power to vindictively gee back at him.). Look at the numerous attacks the author of the CoC has perpetrated. Look at the listing of the head of Mozilla for the “crime” of not being a Marxist.

This is an age where people are being reported to HR for the “hate crime” of bringing Chik-Fil-a in for lunch!


And how does not having a CoC stop that? Like, if someone takes a dislike to someone, and they have sufficient power, they can remove them anyway.


You just said it yourself, they need to have sufficient power.

Following one of these CoCs to the letter, I could levee infringements against practically anyone, even if I only made minor contributions.


And that could get you blacklisted in other totally unrelated projects.

Good times!


Actually I was surprised by the Drupal guy since a lot of the people behind these CoCs seem to be various blue-haired kinksters themselves.

I don't think either that or Linus' excessive swearing belongs in a software project, but CoC makers clearly aren't interested in maintaining a civil society, they're just interested in maintaining their particular brand of ideology.


For clarification the dripal guy didn’t bring any bdsm into the project, they dig into his personal life and found it. They beat the poor guy up so bad he’s now apologizing in hopes of mitigating the damage. But they really don’t care. He didn’t harass anyone.


> I really, genuinely, don't understand

This means you haven't read the article.


I did, and I don't agree with its conclusions.


I am a gay man[0] who has contributed to a number of open source projects significantly. However I stopped when they implemented “Code of Conducts” that deny basic rights such as innocent until proven guilty and the right to face your accuser. (The popular one keeps accusers anonymous, thus the victim has no chance to defend themselves.)

The truth is a maintainer can eject someone without a CoC. The purpose of CoC, as stated by its author in her very bigoted and hostile twitter feed is to eradicate meritocracy.

CoC lets some random person with a political axe to grind derail a project with accusations about things done outside the project (Eg a disagreement on twitter) backed up with a gang of people accusing the project maintainers of being bigots if they don’t eject their intended victim.[1]

This is bullying.

I won’t invest time in projects where the contributors are not respected and maintainers will listen to a politically motivated mob over reason.

Since the proponents of CoCs seemingly are always people who violate them constantly (under the CoC its own author should be kicked from every project that adopts it based on her twitter comments) it’s clear the intention is not to protect anyone.

The intention is to force their politics into open source projects.

[0] This means I get to see abuse from straight bigots as well as SJWs who hate me for being male and apparently think preferring men is discrimination against women! (Or so they have told me on twitter.). I only mention I’m gay here so you understand I’m not some neonazi. I’ve been jumped outside a bar and called a faggot in Oklahoma, but I don’t feel these “codes of conduct” do anything to protect me, quite the opposite. So they don’t address the key case that I’m guessing HN users will assume they do. Gay men are considered highly privileged these days, and thus subhuman.

[1] There are many examples, check the reddit threads in /r/Linux of the abuse of CoC.


> The purpose of CoC, as stated by its author ... is to eradicate meritocracy.

For the sake of clarity, it's important to note here that "meritocracy" is a deeply contentious word. What "merit" is being rewarded? True technical ability/contribution? Measured how? Or access and privilege (for which it's a misnomer but still often used)? Which definition does the author of the CoC oppose? Which definition do you defend? You obviously intend "eradicate meritocracy" as a condemnation, but some might see eradicating pretend meritocracy as a good thing.


It's also worth noting that the term "meritocracy" was coined to highlight questions like yours.


> I get to see abuse from [...] SJWs who hate me for being male and apparently think preferring men is discrimination against women!

Please forgive me the scepticism, but this sounds like a standard far-right caricature of liberal beliefs rather than anything that actually happened. People don't actually think like this. If I have to assume good faith here, then another possibility is that you were being trolled.

(Edit: bearing in mind your antipathy towards anonymous complainants, would you be willing to submit a link to the Twitter thread in question?)


By the way, under the CoC you are abusing me by marginalizing me and denying my experience and struggles as a gay man in homophobic America. Good thing I don’t believe in it and don’t care. So I’ll answer you seriously:

But being called a faggot in Oklahoma rings true to you, right?

Think about that. That example is more specific because it’s the only time a right winger has been mean... straight leftists being abusive has happened an uncounted number of times.

My crime is I’m not a leftist, therefore I’m not a person.

— Oh shit, I admitted it. Now I can expect to be deplatformed from HN. —

Anyway apparently it’s not just me who feels this way. Lots of examples but here’s one: https://www.reddit.com/r/TiADiscussion/comments/3daeft/tired...


Well, it happened before. No CoC was needed. Reiser4.


Sorry to say but proven until guilty and basic rights does not apply to everything in life (tax law, private endeavors, I can refuse service to someone, I can kick you out from my home without listening to you if I think you did something wrong). If someone is accusing you and they don't want to hear you, stop contributing. It is is not criminal justice. You are not obligated to spend your time fighting with assholes. Find better proj to spend your time on, just as you written.


> If someone is accusing you and they don't want to hear you, stop contributing.

You're assuming he's contributing privately and can stop at leisure.


He wrote he stopped.


What if we talk about someone who's already spent hundred of hours on a certain project and this happens? It's not like you can ignore it. Or what if we talk about the creator of the project.


Get over with it. So woman should stay with a man that is beating her because they are together for 10 years and have 2 kids? If environment is toxic leave, look for help.


I just want to reiterate what glandium wrote in a comment further down:

"He didn't step down. He's taking a break. It's not the first time he takes a break either. Let's not be too alarmist."


Also I fear this situation is at a loss loss interpretation. If Linus doesn't take time off he's a sociopath, if he does, linux is dead...

I do agree that it's somehow worrisome, but I tend to think that open discussion, and slowing down is a sign of health rather than the opposite. Time will tell.


Personally, I like to consider Linus taking time off to work on his social skills (whether it is really necessary or not) a sign of personal growth.

Time will tell how things will change in the Linux development world, but on a personal level, I think it is kind of admirable to face such an issue and be so open about it.


I really think the internet should calm down; this is not even the first time Linus Torvalds takes a break — and in 2005, the result was git.


I am a Linux developer and contributor for a few decades and the code of conduct simply killed any interest in contributing to it. It won't take long until backdoors are introduced on Linux. Activists that joined the community for money will have full control and the ability of banning any criticism. We really need Linus back.


It was the same for me when Go introduced the CoC. I remember a witch-hunt conducted by someone on one of the important developers because of his language on some other forum. It just reeked of BS and pseudo superiority. I consider myself tolerant and liberal yet I find it bad. I wish people realise that CoC is not a passive constitution. It becomes an active weapon.. and most victims are the ones who actually contribute to the code. I am looking for linux's downfall now.


Rust, the programming language project, is one of the most inclusive projects there is, and they have a strong CoC. They seem to be doing fine.

I don't think this is going to kill Linux. As for Linus's vacation/break/whatever, it's good that they're practicing giving the reins away. It is bound to happen at some future anyway. It's equally good that they're practicing behaving well, because it's quite possible that the next project lead will not have the history and personality to make bad communication work -- and that could destroy Linux.


> is one of the most inclusive projects there is

There is absolutely no proof a CoC drives "inclusiveness", whatever it means, however there are multiple examples where codes of conducts were used to exclude contributors because they said something someone did not like in a setting completely unrelated to the project community.

https://www.inc.com/sonya-mann/drupal-larry-garfield-gor.htm...

CoC are political tools to eliminate diversity of ideas and impose an "intersectional" mindset on all contributors, under threat of exclusion.

Larry did not harass anybody in the Drupal community yet was kicked out of any official Drupal related conferences and cannot contribute to the project anymore, just because he shared a fetish with his wife someone did not approve of.


> said something someone did not like in a setting completely unrelated to the project community.

This is always a difficult line to draw. If you find out someone is a nazi (and thus would like to see you dead or preferably never born) it's hard to just look past that fact and colllaborate constructively just because the behavior was "unrelated to the project". The simple rule would be- would you be fired on the spot from your workplace if these comments were discovered? Then it's not so strange you might face issues in a collaborative project either.

> eliminate diversity of ideas

I think that's reading a bit much into the CoC to be honest.


>This is always a difficult line to draw.

It's not difficult at all. What contributors are doing privately has nothing to do with the project.


As I was trying to explain - behavior in the project is certainly more important, but outside behavior can’t be entirely ignored. Just like in a workplace.


Why is the project like a workplace? Do the contributors all get paid? Do they all, or do most of them consider it as a workplace? What makes you think it's proper to treat the project like a workplace, and downplay those think otherwise?


Because it’s a collaborative environment with humans. Like a workplace. Why would pay be relevant to expected behavior? Is someone really going to say e.g that it’s within their right to be racist because they aren’t getting paid not to?


> would you be fired on the spot from your workplace if these comments were discovered

That is not a simple rule at all: there are all kinds of workplaces out there in the world, some of which allow drunk naked people cursing while puking at the same time.


There's a lot not to like about the Drupal situation, but the powers that be didn't remove Garfield "just because he shared a fetish with his wife". The Gorean subculture seems to be controversial even in BDSM circles. Some of what was used against him was dredged up from semi-private pages, but some of it was public. He seemed to argue against interpreting it as just role-play. When he was told to stop using Gorean mannerisms at Drupal events, he argued it discriminated against his culture.

Also, how is the Code of Conduct to blame? The official position seems to be that he didn't violate it.


If you read the official Drupal statement it comes across very differently: https://www.drupal.org/association/blog/drupal-association-a...

There was a dispute which was being handled privately, and in consultation with Larry, but he decided to attack the project in public over it.


[flagged]


>It’s literally the same as if Christians went after a gay man like me and claimed I should be removed because I’m a criminal committing sodomy (in my own home they assume) which is illegal in many states.

Perhaps I understood this wrong... are you saying that discriminating against somebody because they're gay is exactly the same as discriminating against somebody because they sexually harassed someone?


>CoC are political tools to eliminate diversity of ideas

How so?


> Rust, the programming language project, is one of the most inclusive projects there is

Right. Let's see Klabnik accept a PR from Curtis Yarvin. The "inclusiveness" of Rust, and projects like it, only applies if you hold the correct opinions.

The definition of "inclusive" as viewed by most of these CoCs is extremely narrow.


We do not police people’s political views outside of Rust, and we have a number of people from all over the political spectrum doing work. Including people farther right than Republicans.

Politics discussion is off-topic, and so it’s geneally a non-issue. I don’t discuss my political beliefs, and neither does anyone else.


> The definition of "inclusive" as viewed by most of these CoCs is extremely narrow.

That is, of course, a complete lie.


I like Rust and all, but its hype obscures any real result. You see posts everywhere telling that the language is great and here are some features of it, but it's not as widely used as talked about. And also it's not like there is noticeable "diversity" Rust supposed to encourage among people who make things with it.


By "doing fine", I refer to them having real, measurable progress on every single release (which happens every 6 weeks like clockwork) since 1.0 and probably before too, plus the ecosystem growing.


Sounds like conspiracy theory. There is no relationship between introducing CoC and adding backdoors.


That's a suspiciously specific denial.


> the code of conduct simply killed any interest in contributing to it.

Just to balance that statement out: any projects with discourse sounding like the LKML of the past I'm completely uninterested in helping. I think I represent a larger group of developers than those scared off by a CoC.

Certhas 9 months ago [flagged]

Because behaving like a decent human being is that hard, isn't it? If a code of conduct hurts your feelings that much maybe you're just not cut out for collaborative work.

I really wonder where the great fear that CoCs will be abused to shut down disagreement comes from. I am not a fan of policing language, but there just aren't many real examples of such abuse out there.

Here is the actual list of examples from the CoC. Which of these do you need to do in order to feel happy to contribute to Linux development?

+Examples of unacceptable behavior by participants include: + +* The use of sexualized language or imagery and unwelcome sexual attention or + advances +* Trolling, insulting/derogatory comments, and personal or political attacks +* Public or private harassment +* Publishing others’ private information, such as a physical or electronic + address, without explicit permission +* Other conduct which could reasonably be considered inappropriate in a + professional setting

Fight overreach, by all means. Make sure that the CoC contains means to fight overreach. That's all good. But the whole "I can't contribute to this project anymore because I find SJWs offensive" whinging strikes me as deeply hypocritical.


> Because behaving like a decent human being is that hard, isn't it? If a code of conduct hurts your feelings that much maybe you're just not cut out for collaborative work.

This is a personal attack, very thinly veiled. If Hacker News had the same code of conduct, your account would have to be banned at worst.


That's fair, it's definitely a way to read this. I shouldn't respond to hyperbolic language with the like. I'll edit it.

Edit: Too late, I can't edit anymore unfortunately. Let me rephrase:

"Behaving like a decent human being isn't that hard. It's work that anyone who wants to work in a collaborative project can reasonably be expected to do. If this is objectionable to you, then maybe this collaboration isn't for you."


> Behaving like a decent human being isn't that hard.

It can be quite hard to live up to everyone's standards of "decency". You just failed to do it.

> I shouldn't respond to hyperbolic language with the like.

Write that on the chalkboard one hundred times and maybe we'll let it slide. This time.


Yeah, I was called out on it, and I corrected myself. I wouldn't want to be part of a project that bans people who make an effort towards decency. The fact that standards differ and a consensus needs to be found for what constitutes decency is not an argument against it.

What point are you trying to illustrate? Are you saying I shouldn't have been called out on it? Because I disagree. The fact was, I found the post I replied to annoying, and I replied in a tone that was stronger than it needed to be. It's a good thing that was called out. Next time I'll take a breather before replying and we'll have a more constructive exchange.


I think part of the problem is that in the CoC context, the slighted party now looks at your username, cross references it against reddit and twitter, searches your posts for something else to take umbrage at, and makes the case that you should be excluded from the community. The result is a very real chilling effect on speech on all public platforms because now you're never allowed to make a comment that might be taken out of context to offend now or at any time in the future.


This is the key to the whole thing and I'm glad someone finally said it. Open-source projects aren't incapable of getting rid of contributors who cause problems to the detriment of project productivity without having a formalized Code of Conduct. Why add something to a project that causes more problems than it solves? CoC proponents have good intentions but fail to see the chilling effect potential, even as it plays itself out in real time, right on cue (Ts'o).


I agree with this worry and think a CoC should make clear that it covers conduct within the project only.

That said, this chilling effect seems to come more from companies and public institutions in the UK/US than CoCs in the OpenSource community. I agree that this is something to clearly position against.

And I believe a well written CoC can help here by making this explicit: For example: By refering to behaviour in an official capacity. There is some subtlty with OpenSource projects and less formalized roles here. So that's a discussion worth having.


I believe they were trying to refute your initial point:

> Because behaving like a decent human being is that hard, isn't it?

By pointing out that you weren't able to live up to that standard even when trying to champion it. How hard will it be if you're in a heated argument with someone when your work is at stake?


Thanks.

I don't know, this is the topic I get most heated about, I successfully lead pretty diverse teams, this definitely wouldn't happen to me in that context. After all discussion message boards like this are also a different context than a professional mailing list (and I strongly believe that context is important and not always appropriately taken into account).

Just because something isn't that hard, doesn't mean we don't slip up sometimes. So I'd stand by my assessment. It isn't that hard. I expect it of myself and my team. I still sometimes fail. Then a CoC, being called out on it, and given constructive criticism helps me.


> Just because something isn't that hard, doesn't mean we don't slip up sometimes.

Code of Conduct that you are defending doesn't mention it. It allows to state someone guilty right after first "slip up". Now I can take your comments and present them to the pretty diverse teams you successfully lead and you may be expelled from them due to your heated arguments on HN. But I wouldn't do that. I'm just making an example how exploitable Contrubutor Covenant's policies are.


It doesn't mention automatic sanctions either. Your argument is essentially: If we are OK with some sanctions on some behaviour what will stop someone from enforcing unreasonable and draconic sanctions!

To me this is roughly analogous to: If we let a maintainer decide what code to accept into the Kernel, they can just take malicious or suboptimal code and merge it!

I have seen attempted overreach in using statements made in different contexts against individuals, but overall it seems that these overreach situations were mostly corrected.

In fact a well written CoC should protect against this sort of stuff as well. It should make explicit this defence: This is my personal handle, not associated to my professional career, thus I am not representing my employer or an open source entity when I argue here.

The arguments I've encountered here in this thread are not for better CoCs, or for how we should behave towards each other, but just blanket rejections of CoCs.


> Just because something isn't that hard, doesn't mean we don't slip up sometimes. So I'd stand by my assessment. It isn't that hard. I expect it of myself and my team. I still sometimes fail. Then a CoC, being called out on it, and given constructive criticism helps me.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Persona_(psychology)#Disintegr...


> What point are you trying to illustrate? Are you saying I shouldn't have been called out on it? Because I disagree. The fact was, I found the post I replied to annoying, and I replied in a tone that was stronger than it needed to be. It's a good thing that was called out. Next time I'll take a breather before replying and we'll have a more constructive exchange.

See, that's what I disagree with. To me that reads like almost pathological conflict-avoidance, or maybe it's the urge to not be a hypocrite. Either way, it's unnecessarily submissive and it's making you weak.


Does it look like I'm shying away from conflict here?


Yes.


It's attitudes like yours, that seem to equate conflict with aggression, not admitting mistakes with strength and bullying with commanding respect, that need to be opposed. CoCs or not.


> It's attitudes like yours, that seem to equate conflict with aggression

I don't. Aggressiveness, especially passive-aggressiveness (like in your original reply) is usually a sign of weakness.

> not admitting mistakes with strength

You ceded to an overly pedantic and uncharitable interpretation of the CoC that, if applied, would be disastrous. People can't live up to that standard, applying it would be counter-productive even to your own goals. My goal was to make you realize that, not cave in. You had not made a mistake.

> and bullying with commanding respect

Asking people to live up to an extreme interpretation of an already highly subjective CoC, that is bullying in my book. If you actually commanded respect, you wouldn't need such a document in the first place.

> ...that need to be opposed.

You're opposing a straw man.


Hacker News does have a code of conduct, and the comment was flagged.


> Because behaving like a decent human being is that hard, isn't it? If a code of conduct hurts your feelings that much maybe you're just not cut out for collaborative work.

Who gets to decide what's "decent"? Do you not realize that what you just wrote can be considered [inappropriate], a [personal attack] and/or [trolling]? Do it once more, perhaps unwittingly, and you're a repeat offender. Three strikes and you are out. If I like you (or rather your politics align with mine), I won't use that weapon against you, but it's in my power to do so.

Look into what led to the Ayo.js/node.js fork, it was basically caused by R.V. posting on his personal twitter something against CoCs. He wasn't in line with the politics of certain other members. In that case, sanity prevailed, but only narrowly.

For another example where that weapon was turned against the very person who brought it to the table, look into what happened with J.K. and Lerna.

> But the whole "I can't contribute to this project anymore because I find SJWs offensive" whinging strikes me as deeply hypocritical.

Nobody actually is saying that. You're just misrepresenting the argument in a [derogatory] manner. That's pretty [insulting], isn't it?


I adopted a better tone in one of the replies higher up, but I do not believe I substantially misrepresent the argument (which is now flagged so I can't see it anymore).

Also the CoC explicitly gives a list of examples on what is decent/indecent behavior. It's a good one to me. Ultimately the answer is the same as with anything in a collaborative group: The group has to come to a consensus on what is and isn't decent. What we are experiencing right now is that this consensus is shifting.

Also, yes, there are examples of CoCs being used to bully people, or people making stupid decisions. These have usually been quickly reverted. [1]

But overall I have seen a lot more whinging reactions along the lines of "how dare you put your politics here!" than actual examples of abuses. And remember the information asymmetry here. Every abuse of a CoC is by definition public, and therefore also ultimately the community has a lot of options to correct such abuses. On the other hand, people who drop out because they find the atmosphere in a group toxic rarely go public. I've certainly dropped out of groups for that reason without mentioning it anywhere.

[1] Remember the "fork their repository" and dongle jokes debacle from a few years back? The outcome of that was that the accused was initially quickly fired (institutional overreaction to a ridiculous accusation), but ultimately got a new job immediately. The accuser on the other hand got a whole ton of abuse, lost her business, and last I checked was still out of a job. The idea that on balance the social power has shifted too far into the direction of the accusers is absurd to me. It just does not fit the world I observe. Every public accuser still get's harassed a lot. There are still plenty of incentives to not publicly accuse.


> Every abuse of a CoC is by definition public

That is untrue.

> But overall I have seen a lot more whinging reactions along the lines of "how dare you put your politics here!" than actual examples of abuses.

That is besides the point.

> [1] Remember the "fork their repository" and dongle jokes debacle from a few years back? The outcome of that was that the accused was initially quickly fired (institutional overreaction to a ridiculous accusation), but ultimately got a new job immediately. The accuser on the other hand got a whole ton of abuse, lost her business, and last I checked was still out of a job.

Well, okay, what do we actually learn from that unfortunate turn of events though? If you ask me, it's that CoCs cause more problems than they solve, for everyone involved. I actually gave you the example where the person who introduced the CoC got thrown out via the CoC.

> The idea that on balance the social power has shifted too far into the direction of the accusers is absurd to me. It just does not fit the world I observe. Every public accuser still get's harassed a lot. There are still plenty of incentives to not publicly accuse.

I'm not sure what your argument is here. I'm not making a "power balance" argument myself, your argument couldn't be that it all evens out because everyone's life will be ruined.


The problem is not in the guys who want to misbehave and hate Code of Conduct because of that. Code of conduct and its vaguely written rules gives certain people a power to abuse. As we know from history, if there is a possibility that power can be abused, it will be.


We know from history that human collaboration, and the building of communities requires norms, compromise and ongoing discussion.

Fight the abusers, fight the bullies, but don't pretend that we can't have written down norms of decency because of the potential for abuse.

You presumably wouldn't accept blanket "potential for abuse/harm" arguments in other contexts either.


> don't pretend that we can't have written down norms of decency because of the potential for abuse

I don't pretend that we can't have written norms of decency. But I know for sure that it's not the norms written in "Contributor's Covenant". It should be another covenant.

> You presumably wouldn't accept blanket "potential for abuse/harm" arguments in other contexts either.

A couple of month ago I made a teardown[0] of 17 pages long bill that was pushed in Ukraine and had a lot of abuse potential. It was (and is) my main concern. I see it as a major issue of laws, rules, covenants and other legal or semi-legal documents. You may not see it as big issue, but I do. I see this potential abused every single day by corrupt governments of Ukraine and other ex-USSR governments. Vague rulings as in previously mentioned "Contributor's Covenant" are used to prosecute people for stupid reasons and for personal profit by ones who have power.

> Fight the abusers

It's very unlikely that witchhunt victim will return to community. I'd rather have rules better written than someone expelled from the community because someone likes to abuse the power.

[0]https://www.reddit.com/r/ukraina/comments/8te554/как_власть_...


These CoC's are weapons, disguised as a harmless decency. In the case of linux, it was yielded within a very timely manner:

https://old.reddit.com/r/KotakuInAction/comments/9hhnev/less...


If the CoC is used to bully people, then fight the bullying. It's a false dichotomy that we have to accept one type of bullies in order not to empower another type of bullies.

That said, your link also just peddles various conspiracy theories as "proven", and imagines a vast conspiracy of SJWs who specifically target powerful men. Which, BTW, should it exists, is clearly utterly ineffectual.


>If the CoC is used to bully people, then fight the bullying.

Why add something to a project that begins an endless spiral of fighting? Does this seem productive to you?


To this day I remain baffled he actually stepped down. A black day in tech history if you ask me..


He didn't step down. He's taking a break. It's not the first time he takes a break either. Let's not be too alarmist.


Can't the kernel just be forked by people who don't like this CoC?


Presumably they realize that it would be an unproductive dead end next to the original, and don’t want to become a subject of mockery. They want to make noise and rattle their cages, and that’s where their commitment ends. It’s hard to see this extended reaction to something that is at the end of the day incredibly common and banal, as more than trying to suck up the air of publicity while its fresh. After all, people really do care about Linux kernel, so for a short time their “ideas” are given a hearing they would otherwise never seriously be given.


It's ironic that you think the reason they don't want to create an environment to avoid using a CoC that prohibits mockery is that they are afraid of being mocked.

I also don't think this rejection of PC culture is as silly and as small of a movement as you think. But time will tell.


Yeah, time will tell, although to be fair the same was said incessantly by the likes of GamerGate and they’ve just been folded into the larger alt-right and forgotten by most. In a sense, time has already told, and at the end of the day nobody has time for the petulant who frame everything in terms of “sjw’s” and basic human decency as “PC culture.” Tragically that group (having a surfeit of free time) is excellent at amplifying their own noise online, but inevitably it’s recognized as the same old noise, utterly lacking signal, and people move on until the alt-right concocts a new-sounding nontroversy.


Do you realize that Linus most likely took a break because of this, and you talk about basic human decency? How about supporting the work of intellectual giants, and not worrying so much when their communication style doesn't match your cookie-cutter ideals of what communication should be?

How about not taking the term I used, "PC culture", and using it to passive aggressively disparage me as someone petulant who frame everything in terms of "sjw's"? (the term "sjw" in quotes although I never wrote that, but assuredly, this is how you believe I think.)

Yes, gamer gate settled down, because the media couldn't keep a controversy going and generate clicks forever. But this is not what I'm talking about. It's people like me, other developers, and now the developers of the linux kernel as well speaking up and trying to reign in this insanity, which you seem blind to.

Yea, so I don't believe that your conclusion that this is just a flash in the pan, and will be forgotten in the historical context, is correct, but instead just further evidence that the pot is starting to boil, and will eventually be the beginning of actual correction to this high-handed bullshit that we have been fed from those supporting crap like this CoC.


You could say the same about Ayo.js (https://github.com/ayojs/ayo/) coming from the other side but hey, who's counting.


I hope Linus manages to not see what sort of an absurd shitstorm happened during his absence.


[flagged]


Did you know the term "red-pilled" comes from a movie written by two trans women? Really makes you think.


> Really makes you think.

Oh yea? What about?


I dunno, maybe there's a "non-SJW" version of that term that might be more suitable to use in this context? Considering we're all so passionate about using those versions :)


> the code of conduct simply killed any interest in contributing to it

It looks like the only plausible way to undo the addition of the CoC is if enough contributors rescind the license to use their contribution. Given that the kernel is licensed under GPL v2, this seems to be a real possibility (GPL v3 prevents this scenario).


/r/linux has been full of arguments about this recently.

The moderation team claims that many of the people arguing against the CoC appear to be new to /r/linux.

> We have noticed a large influx of accounts this past week that have never commented or posted in /r/Linux before. We have also seen a large number of accounts being created just to comment on these posts. ~ /u/Kruug

From https://aa.reddit.com/r/linux/comments/9i43t9/dont_worry_the...


Yes, the problem is there's a significant ""pro-abuse"" movement around who are willing to turn up anywhere these issues are discussed despite not having any previous involvement with the community and argue that they need to be continued to drive away marginalised people and anyone who doesn't have an extremely thick skin.

(Not directed at anyone specific, but I notice some green text in this thread too)


Throwaway accounts for normal contributors out of fear of backlash


On /r/linux of all places..?


All places over Reddit.


I find the doom-and-gloom over the CoC change absolutely silly. Plenty of projects have a CoC and none of them have just died a fiery death because there were rules against treating people badly. As other people pointed out, there's a big difference between putting everything into 15 layers of business speak and just not insulting people. Linus is, to me, obviously advocating the latter.


Yes. It's baffling to me that people can't see the difference between "this doesn't work" and "this doesn't work you stupid cunt", or can't see how the latter is corrosive.


BSD is dying.


Does Netcraft confirm it?


I don't think OpenBSD is ever going to adopt a CoC, so they should be fine. ;-)

duck


The phrases like "you need to go and learn some empathy through sensitivity training" are deeply offensive to autistic spectrum individuals, this is where the whole "inclusion" thing falls down on its double standards. Also the whole obsession with skin color and gender as if that would automatically mean that those individuals are more diverse is simply not true, you can't be diverse if you only allow homogeneity of thoughts and ideas (which is the most important part).


Sigh. For 27 years, Linux has been maintained by a frankly abrasive person who weren't afraid to show middle finger to a big company, say some coders should be "retroactively aborted", and even say "shut the fuck up" to a co-contributor. We were told that it was part of Finnish culture of being direct, and although some people grumbled (and some thought that was a load of BS), people didn't really mind that much, worked together, and built the Linux we know now.

Now, for once, Linus Torvalds thinks it's time for change and maybe everyone could be a little nicer to everyone else, and suddenly we hear doom and gloom and how yielding to the American "SJW" culture will ruin Linux for everyone.

I wonder what choice words Linus-of-yesteryear would have uttered to see the shenanigan.


There needs to be more frank discussions about corporate and vested interests and how to protect the independence of the kernel which Linus has managed well till now.

Automatic assumptions that what is good for Redhat or Google is good for everyone do not hold. These companies have real power, thousands of employees, media and industry support, funding, and lots of people reluctant to go against them or keen to curry favour so they can overwhelm any decision or discussion with resources. This must be recognized.

Linus is obviously not easy to replace but there should be some kind of succession planning and also thinking in detail about how to retain the independence of the development process from powerful interests.

This latter is something that not enough attention has been paid to in open source. Security fud is often used to raise complexity and indirectly encourage corporate interests and monopoly. The control of standards is also used to push complexity and raise barriers.

In the long term its only the ability of smaller groups to develop software that can ensure users are not held hostage by vested interests. The Linux kernel is hugely important to open source and it needs to be managed well to encourage and motivate the next generation of contributors.


> Should he have apologized? Yes, privately

If you cross someone privately, apologize privately. If you cross someone publicly, especially a subordinate, you owe them a public apology. Because you burned all their relationships.


CoC encourages harrassment through doxing and witch-hunts. It actually has the opposite effect.

You were rude to me on a bug tracker? I'll dox you and find something you said 5 years ago which is offensive and report it to the committee to get you banned.


This is the CoC that many projects subscribe to: https://www.contributor-covenant.org/version/1/4/code-of-con...

The relevant snippet is here:

--------

Examples of unacceptable behavior by participants include:

The use of sexualized language or imagery and unwelcome sexual attention or advances

Trolling, insulting/derogatory comments, and personal or political attacks

Public or private harassment

Publishing others’ private information, such as a physical or electronic address, without explicit permission

Other conduct which could reasonably be considered inappropriate in a professional setting

--------

i.e. the CoC explicitly mentions doxxing as against the CoC.



I can relate to this, although for me it feels rather comical than offensive:

I find the phrase "I am excited" used in almost every business announcement to be offensive, because it is not genuine, nor does it indicate what type of excitement is being felt - excitement merely means an elevated state of emotions, could be good, could be bad


Oh come on. Linus isn't just direct in a culturally different way. He calls people idiots and belittles them all the time. You can be direct without that and I'm glad Linus has finally realised it (seriously; it's extremely difficult to admit your flaws).

Have a look: https://www.reddit.com/r/linusrants/


To me, it seems that the biggest lesson here has to do with cults of personality. No matter how awesome he is, Linus should never have been put up on such a high pedestal, given such a complete pass on everything he said, for so long. The longer it went on, the more he attracted both imitators and detractors. When he had a change of heart (and BTW I think the person who talked to him and finally made a difference was probably his daughter), neither of those two groups knew how to handle it gracefully. I've seen plenty of BS from both the Reddit/4chan troll army on one side (quite prevalent in this thread) and the anti-LF clique on the other (haven't seen them here yet) since then.

It's particularly interesting to contrast this with the relatively smooth process of the Python community. They adopted a code of conduct a while ago, and more recently Guido van Rossum - he for whom the term "Benevolent Dictator For Life" was invented - stepped down. There was some contention, but nothing like what we're seeing for Linux. I don't think it's because of the two projects' prominence. I think it's because Guido was never as polarizing as Linus. Again, the lesson is perhaps that nobody should be allowed to drive a project of that size toward such a cliff.


This is a highly revisionist version of events.


OK, so what did I get wrong? Please explain exactly which facts are incorrect, and what the correct version would be. Or is "revisionist" just a content-free dismissal of something other than your personal preferred narrative? Put up your version, and we'll see who the revisionist is.


The main thing is, I've yet to see any evidence that Linus' "abuse" actually hurt anyone in any way. Peoples' reactions ranged from amusement to cringing but I don't think anyone ever took his hyperbolic over-the-top profanity seriously. nobody was actually being hurt, and the Linux kernel developed into an amazing product that's in use everywhere around the world. Anyone who doesn't like the way Linus does things is free to fork the repo and do their own thing, and always has been.

Many people seem to want to paint Linux as having this terrible internal culture because mean ol' Linus was always randomly insulting people for no good reason, and I just haven't seen any proof of that myself. The idea that Linus had to change strikes me as odd--he wasn't hurting anyone, and nobody thought he was, until recently.


> I've yet to see any evidence that Linus' "abuse" actually hurt anyone in any way.

I have a feeling this will get dragged down into hair-splitting over what "hurt anyone" means, but I've known or known of several people whose careers were negatively affected. Sage Sharp comes immediately to mind. Some of the people who have tried to get security or real-time-scheduling patches in, only to met with a wall of invective, also come to mind. Sure, they probably went on to do their work elsewhere or maintain it as private patches, and were content doing so, but I'd still say that denied them recognition they deserved and also represent missed opportunities for Linux itself. I've personally stayed away from working on the Linux kernel, despite having worked on kernels since before Linux existed and thus knowing both the technical and cultural issues involved, because I just didn't want to be around him or Al Viro or some of the others I'd have to work with to get patches in.

So I have a different perspective than you. How is that "revisionist"? Couldn't that label be applied to your "nothing bad ever happened" version just as easily?

> The idea that Linus had to change strikes me as odd

Whether he had to or not, he felt it was beneficial to do so. Maybe those who idolize him should consider that he might have been right this time too.


Why is this article flagged?


If Linux has survived the past vitriol, I'm pretty sure it would flourish in future civility.


> Not a corporate-approved kangaroo court.

Is this really what happened? To me it appeared like a bunch of Linus's close friends told him he was acting like a jerk, and he agreed. Building this into some kind of global movement out to punish wrongthink smacks of conspiracy theory to me.


Has happened many times in the past in other open source projects: https://github.com/opal/opal/issues/941


This doesn't address my comment.


I get the impression (or maybe this is the point and I'm just dense) that the article is saying that Linus's aggressiveness matched corporate aggressiveness head-to-head, and that this meant Linux didn't get engulfed by corporate agenda to the extent that it lost its core integrity and values.

I also think I'm reading the notion that perhaps Linus' apology and temporary stepping-down to reflect introduces hesitancy about the authority/legitimacy/validity of his position and views.

Maybe so. I don't think this will have a negative impact on Linux itself though. For all the chaos it's wrought, the GPLv2 kind of saves things somewhat here; even if Linus steps down, we'll be fine: the whole world is Linux-specific, and while Linux is just a syscall interface it's also a rather important thing that initializes and maintains the state of your hardware and peripherals for you, and this rather important thing happens to be under this license that doesn't let you proprietary-ify it in certain ways.

This is awesome.

Until someone makes a perfectly Linux-compatible kernel with a different license model.

The idea makes sense. Notwithstanding whatever ideas you might associate with Lennart Poettering, I remember him saying (although I can't find it right now...) that Linux is pretty much the future and that nothing else (translation: BSD) really matters. I think this was regarding GNOME and/or systemd BSD support. Some may think FreeBSD (at least) might want to have a word with Lennart, but still...

So far Microsoft have a partially complete UNIX^HLinux reimplementation. Honestly quite an amazing 360° there... they currently seem to be trying to lure "modern developers" to Azure. I can't say I quite get the rationale there, but okay, cool. (Not dissing it, I genuinely don't "get" it.)

FreeBSD's quiet use in things like the PlayStation 4 is similar to MINIX's use in Intel CPUs: the fact that it's a UNIX is a throwaway implementation detail. Linux is completely different - compatibility encapsulates everything from the syscall table to the location of specific files, to the existence of /proc, /sys and similar, to the fact that graphics and windowing are (for now...) X11 based, to the fact that the shell works the way it does (read: that the shell uses the GNU coreutils).

Google decided to avoid the UNIX thing altogether, instead opting to create their own new thing. This makes sense: Google have server-side, client-side, and everything in between to think about, and it's going to simplify a lot of subsystems, infrastructure, tooling, design, architecture, etc, if they can hand the same kernel to wearable device OEMs, phone/tablet OEMs, server OEMs, IoT device OEMs, "nonexistent"/internal network equipment OEMs, consumer network device OEMs; etc etc. This is a stretch and perhaps I'm looking ahead more ambitiously than Google is here, but I'd be _very_ surprised if this concept hasn't been floated. It's too attractive and makes too much sense.

I've been scared about Linux's future for a long time. It feels... too successful, like things are going suspiciously well. I mean, right now I'm typing this on a machine running an OS I didn't have to pay anybody for, and if something breaks and makes me mad enough to want to do something about it, there's more things I can take apart and things I can open and shut that will fit in my attention span. And here's the bit that I'm suspicious about: that's the status quo, what we've come to expect. We have it ridiculously easy!

I guess the reason I'm suspicious is because, I'm afraid the nice status quo changing isn't a matter of if but when, and when things fall apart, I don't want to be taken by surprise.

It would be utterly foolish for me to try to envisage how this would happen; the bazaar is WAY too big, sociopolitically speaking, for me to mentally model it. Nope. But I feel (hand-wavily) that something's gotta give, eventually. Not because of some concept of "where on earth is the fuel for all of this free stuff coming from, and when will it run out" but more in terms of the integrity of the fabric holding everything together, and how vulnerable that is to change.


This whole thing reeks of personality cultism


Betteridge's Law



I don't know about the end of Linux .. but I'd love to see Linus fork Linux just to see who follows and how this turns out. He could certainly afford to do it (economically and otherwise).


No need for a downvote :) I have witnessed Linux' rise from nothing to the dominating server OS. Back then there was a rich ecosystem of other Unix systems that we used at my workplace (HP/UX, Digital Unix, Irix) and when we started introducing Linux it was belittled for years as a toy until it was finally accepted and slowly the other systems disappeared.

Now if Linux came to an end (I don't think so) or Linus started some new OS project it wouldn't be the end of the world but the opportunity to start over and create something new. Eternal recurrence and all that ..


Linux has survived and thrived, garnering support from many big companies without having to have a coc before.

That an admittedly mediocre tech-wise, and really quite odd person who publicly hates meritocracy will now presume to sit in judgment of others who have skills far greater than his, grates.




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