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Linus torvalds on security (plus.google.com)
153 points by sagarun on Feb 28, 2012 | hide | past | favorite | 128 comments

The worst part is that this kind of thing actually makes security worse.

If you force people to bypass security to do ordinary tasks, and train them to constantly enter the root password for everything, you don't actually have any security. It's like the password policy that's so impractical that everyone sticky-notes passwords to their monitors, or the Vista UAC.

Too many alerts like that and you're all "Yeah, yeah, whatever, 123123abc here you go".

Really ought to link to the proper URL for the post: https://plus.google.com/102150693225130002912/posts/1vyfmNCY...

The photo of Timberline was nice though:-) Linus has got to be one of Oregon's more illustrious citizens.

A little intemperate but pretty much right IMHO. It's far too easy, bureaucratically, for someone to tighten a security screw than loosen it. So straightforward goofs like this (e.g. there's no permissions system in place for printer or wifi addition yet, so you need root -- just a architecture thing, not an authentication requirement) get locked down by their interaction with the security subsystem. So no one wants to make the call as to whether "security will break" if you allow printer configuration to non-root users. So nothing happens.

That said, modern linux certainly has mechanisms in place to handle this stuff. Fedora and Ubuntu don't seem to have a problem with seamless system configuration from the console user anyway.

It really depends on the context / configuration (or at least should depend on). Imagine a host available to public at a library. Considering that people can come there to print out some sensitive documents, you don't want to allow normal users to change printer settings. Someone could remove the default one and set up a tunnel through his own host, capturing all documents on the wire before they hit the printer. Very similar situation exists for the WiFi networks.

Of course this doesn't make any sense on a laptop. But it doesn't look like there's any sane default. You need to choose your configuration properly and that's it. If OpenSUSE doesn't allow it, then yes... that's a bug.

I disagree. Defaults should be prioritized; they should optimize for the majority of the users, not the minority, and for the casual home user, not big organizations (like libraries), since they're more likely to have professionals configuring the system.

In cases like this, couldn't the library administrator just remove the rights for all their machines? Create a user account with less privileges than a normal user and let patrons use that.

... please just kill yourself now

I don't think someone who actually knows what it's like to experience suicidal thoughts would ever say something like that to people in a technical/professional context.

There is something to be said for the "tough love" Linux culture, but IMO, language as extreme as what I just quoted is just not acceptable.

For me, this is crossing the line from "Linus has an interesting and entertaining character" to "this person seems to be mentally disturbed."

I suppose it's more a cultural issue - no Finn would read that post as seriously as you did. Many would consider it hilarious. It's quite typical in informal Finnish way of speaking to use "dark" metaphors, and granted they come out a little bit clumsy in English, but I know a lot of Finnish coders who express themselves with similar language that Torvalds does. I remember a few incidents from my Nokia career where this caused "issues" when we were communicating with Nokia employees in US over the email.

It's the same in US English. The issue is just that there are 1-10% of people who are sensitive to the issue, and computing has grown from a small club of close friends/enemies/frenemies to a more mainstream activity, there is a growing call for being more welcoming and "politicallyy correct" tone in conversation.

For example, on the official Mozilla Bugzilla, diverting from technical debate to non-technical vitriolic commentary is a bannable offense, regardless of the value of the user's technical contribution.

It's just a toxic way of communicating, and if someone can't package their thoughts for public consumption, it may be better to keep their thoughts (semi-)private and leave it to someone more tactful to spread the word more widely and effect positive change.

I don't think it's the same in US English, I think the parent is right. Here in Buenos Aires one can say "kill yourself" (which would be "matate" in the rioplatense dialect of Spanish) for almost anything and nobody would bat an eye. In English, it sounds/looks pretty harsh, at least to my non native ears/eyes.

That is his personal Google+ profile. I am not sure if he would ask people to kill themselves (even if he is harsh) in a mailing list or other open forums..

I think this is quite different from "political correctness" as the term is typically used, which is regarding issues of gender, ethnicity, political opinion, etc.

It's the same in US English

I don't agree. I've never thought of it before, but to be honest, in my 25 years of life, I've never seen the kind of behavior Linus is famous for on the part of anyone besides Europeans. (Most of whom, I should add, do not appear to be this way.)

That dark and exaggerated sense of humour is common at least amongst Brits, Irish, Aussies & Kiwis.

However I wouldn't say it isn't in the US. Most Boston & some New York stand-up comedians I have seen seem to have a similar personality. Maybe this is self selecting, but the US comedians I have seen from these areas tend to have that same personality.

I really don't think this is a big deal..

I'm not talking about comedians, for pete sake. I'm talking about software development in a professional context.

So why are you talking about professional context on a story about a post in a personal profile on a social network?

Apparently people in the public eye are not allowed to have personal opinions.

Come on guys, this was fully intended to be a public statement and I think there are hundreds of comments on it (too lazy to check now).

In case you didn't know everything you post here is also public.

Yes.... what's your point?

Is a google plus posting proffesional context. He didn't like how suse implemented it and then flames bigotted secrutiy people in general.

don't see any personal attack.

In the professional gaming scene when you beat someone in a match you also say "I raped him hard" and nobody thinks of it as a real rape.

I'm aware of several people that have been driven away from gaming by this kind of culture. It's not as harmless as it seems from the inside, I think.

If you say it in-game at an official tournament you may be punished for that. But casters say this from time to time without feeling bad.

I don't agree. I've never thought of it before, but to be honest, in my 25 years of life, I've never seen the kind of behavior Linus is famous for on the part of anyone besides Europeans.

Really? Does Lenny Bruce qualify? How about Dennis Leary? (Well, he is of Irish descent, I'll give you that).

Hani Suleiman, of the Bile Blog fame?


Definitely not a European.

How about The Filty Critic?


And don't get me started on Hunter S. Thompson and co.

[EDIT] Fk, how could I forget Maddox and the "Best Page in the Universe": http://maddox.xmission.com/

You forgot Bill Hicks. Given the original quote that Javert took offense to I think it's a pretty good example. And I'm not 100% sure he was joking.


Not familiar with those people except Thompson.

Well, the Filthy Critic is quite known on the interwebs. And BileBlog was quite read back in the day by Java devs. But, ok, those are minor websites.

But, you must have heard of Lenny Bruce (they even made him into a movie starring Dustin Hoffman) and Denis Leary. Comedian, had starred in a few movies, and had a tv series that made it into 7 seasons...

I think you're talking about a totally different context than I am.

Not sure. You wrote "I've never seen the kind of behavior Linus is famous for on the part of anyone besides Europeans.", which in the context of the threads, means things like him saying "kill yourself".

Well, those guys, all non Europeans and most Americans, are some random and well known examples of similar --if not identical-- harsh talk as joke/commentary.

My point is that these OpenSUSE guys, software developers, created a free distribution (some were employed by SUSE no doubt and some not, doesn't matter), and Linus shows his thanks this way?

I'm actually talking specifically about the context of kernel hacking. I always thought it was just the "kernel hacker culture" and it never occured to me to see it along geographical lines until someone pointed out that it's apparently commonly accepted in Finland to talk to people this way in a professional context.

Now, of COURSE comedians and schoolyard bullies and people like that say all kinds of nasty shit, all over the world. I really had the Linux kernel hacking community in mind, which I follow somewhat, but I assumed it was clear from context that I was talking about "software development" at least.

I'm actually talking specifically about the context of kernel hacking. I always thought it was just the "kernel hacker culture" and it never occured to me to see it along geographical lines until someone pointed out that it's apparently commonly accepted in Finland to talk to people this way in a professional context.

Oh, sorry, I took the thread was meant to address the whole geographical/cultural difference, not just with regards to the kernel list.

I mean, other guys commented in general that "That dark and exaggerated sense of humour is common at least amongst Brits, Irish, Aussies & Kiwis." etc. And it's not as Linus posted that on the kernel list either.

I guess you could also reverse the idea: if someone is offended by every cultural difference, maybe one should refrain from... living in a multi-cultural world?

What is "public consumption" anyway? I don't want to have everyone communicating through death threats but I also want even less for everyone to sound like a PR representative.

Maybe the solution is to simply understand the cultural differences?

When I see Torvalds say these things in a video - the one where he slags off subversion being the famous example - it's obvious to me that he's not being serious. But it seems much more arrogant, threatening even, written down, without the other cues.

Been there, done that, got the meds. It taught me the valuable distinction between normal mood swings and out-of-whack brain chemistry.

Seriously, if you have a strong bout of suicidal thoughts in reaction to flippant remarks such at Torvalds's then you need to bring this up to a mental health professional because your current coping mechanism isn't working.

If you're merely tut-tutting with disapproval however I simply disagree. Wanting a world where people never get their feelings hurt is a fruitless quest.

Your speculation on and advice about my mental health is rude and insulting.

I'm not merely "tut-tutting". I don't think telling people to commit suicide because of a legitimate technical disagrement or hurdle is acceptable. If you disagree, put up a reasoned argument or shut up.

Sorry. No aspersions on your mental health were intended. I was using "you" in the general, hypothetical sense. You and I are not the only ones reading this thread.

One of the things I learned from depression was that one (not "you") could intellectually realize that a stimulus was trivial and yet still have a near-overpowering emotional response. People in such a situation would be well advised to deal with the underlying electochemical issues instead of thinking their depression is merely the result of circumstances and something they can just conquer with more will power.

I came back to apologize for telling you to "shut up." I don't think it was worded too too rudely and necessarily requires an apology, but that's not my style, either. I just lost a ton of karma on this (not that that matters, but it stings a bit!) and felt like a lot of people were attacking me on disingenuous grounds. Anyway, I do appreciate the apology, so thank you!

Your point about depression is actually quite interesting. My personal belief is that your emotions reflect the mental content of your mind. So if something is making you depressed, you need to think about what's wrong with the ideas you hold that's causing you to be depressed, and change your ideas. It seems to me that if you just treat it with medicine, the underlying wrong ideas will potentially linger. (OTOH, I've heard it said that taking the medicine gives you strength to confront the things that are bothering you when you lack it.)

FWIW, I haven't been able to confirm or deny my belief, but I suspect it's basically correct, but that not all people can address the intellectual disconnects they have in all situations without some form of outside help.

I used to have the same view of where emotions come from. But after getting brain snapshots and diagnoses from medical doctors and a psychologist, I had to confront my personal history and conclude that habits of thought were only part of the solution. Hence the research findings that talk therapies and meds are more effective than either alone. (Not to mention that an effective therapy is one that produces a 30% solid success rate balanced with a %30 negligable response. Not something you want to hear if you're looking for magic pills to make your problems disappear.)

Anyway, as famed neuroscientist Ted Nelson once put it, "Everything is intertwingled." Just a couple of months ago I read an item about a rodent memory experiment in Helsinki that supported the theory that the reason antianxiety drugs work is that they stimulate neuroplasticity. The results would seem to explain why those drugs could show up in our bloodstreams within hours and yet take weeks for real results to show up -- and it also supports two-pronged approaches to improvement.

This is truly fascinating. In case it's useful for anyone besides me: I searched for the article and came up with [1]. Haven't read it yet, though.

Thanks so much for being so tremendously forthcoming about what you've been through. As I'm sure can be inferred from my first response to you, yes, I'm going through a similar place, and I really appreciate your willingness to share your experiences and empathize.

[1] http://www.sciencemag.org/content/334/6063/1731

Your speculation on and advice about my mental health is rude and insulting.


For me, this is crossing the line from "Linus has an interesting and entertaining character" to "this person seems to be mentally disturbed."

That's a nice trick you have there, where you're allowed to be rude and insulting about a person's mental state while taking offense at anyone doing the same to you.

You strike me as the kind of person who chooses to take offense at things.

I think the problem is that you honestly believe that he was genuinely telling people that they should die. It's an expression, and not terribly uncommon, either.

Honestly, I've never heard that kind of thing (as in "kill yourself" not "you're a moron" - that one is par for the course among kernel hackers) said outside of Linus Torvalds, Ulrich Drepper maybe, and comedians and the like that are in an explicitly comedic situation. I realize he doesn't mean it literally. Anyway, this is just to clarify, not to argue further.

In case you are wondering: if somebody tells you to "go fuck yourself" he doesn't literally want you to do that.

If someone tells me in person to "go fuck yourself," fine, that's a normal turn of phrase in my neck of the woods. "Please kill yourself now" is going to lead to an immediate knuckle sandwich, though, unless I don't have the balls to do it. I will try to make an exception to this if it happens when I'm travelling in Europe.

Not that it would be bad, if you did, though.

As someone who has had professional help to go through what I will only refer to as "the dark patch of my life" I think your over reacting. This might be a cultural thing but as an Aussie, this is viewed as pure exaggeration and has NO connection to reality. If there is no connection to reality then why get upset about it? If there is no intention for a slight then why care?

Maybe this is one of the subtle cultural differences, but surely you agree it isn't fair to judge someone on your own cultural standard on the internet over something simple as a few words? If your truely offended by him, just ignore him.

In my mind the conversation is richer if we don't need to be so careful about dropping to the "Lowest Common denominator". Let there be colour, excitement, rants and exaggeration. In the end I think it helps understand people more then putting on the facade of beige that so many politically correct people insist on.

There is a connection to reality.

What Linus is saying is: if you don't agree with me, you're an incompetent developer, get out of the way and shut up, and I don't want to hear any counter-argument.

It's a means of quality enforcement, to some degree. OK. But there is a point where it goes too far.

I don't insist on political correctness. I haven't complained about Linus' normal insults but he's telling people to kill themselves... it's a step too far.

You should read Your Mother's Tongue: Book of European Invective. You'd be surprised (and in your case, probably shocked) at what people call each other without any intention of actually insulting them.

For example, here in Portugal and in informal situations, it's reasonably common for a person to use an expression that essentially calls their mother a whore because they made something that somewhat annoyed you. Of course, no one is actually insinuating their mother sells her body for money, it's just an expression.

Thanks. I may actually read that, because it's clear to me that a lot of things really aggravate me that don't aggravate a lot of other people in the FOSS world, and if I want to get along, I'd better get over it. (Though that doesn't mean I will condone it or do it myself.)

Now THAT is a sensible attitude! Bravo.

Whenever there are large groups of people communicating, someone will find something to be offended at - and as long as it isn't personal or bigoted we need to just ignore it and move on. In this case, Linus' colorful use of language will almost certainly add some amount of weight to his statement.

Well, what Linus said IS personal, and I'd say it's bigoted, though that's harder to define.

But, if you have to put up with it to deal with these people, so be it.

Personal and bigoted? Really?

These words apparently mean different things to us.

...really? I use hyperbole like that all the time on the Internet, and I really don't consider myself "mentally disturbed".

That's a pretty bold accusation to be making of people who simply typed some shit on the Internet.

Yes I agree. And it is like every other quote from Linus contains similar exaggregations. I think it is his biggest weakness.

This type of 'edgy' language was very popular back on Usenet in the 1990s, and the Linux kernel mailing list never really got away from it. Very much a Generation X thing - Kill yourself, they're smoking crack, those retards, kick em in the nuts, etc etc, yawn.

Ouch, now you're making me feel old, I still do those things, and yes have done for 15 years.

The stuff people point at and post is highly selected.

Try reading further down the page - there are dozens of inoffensive posts by Torvalds.

There's been posts here on HN doing just what you're saying "Look, a quote from Torvalds where he's abrasive"... then people look back at the posting history where he's explaining his point, and he's had dozens of polite comments before reaching breaking point.

So yeah - try reading down the page further before you claim half of what he says is like this.

If the use of hyperbole you find discomforting, on his own personal blog, is his biggest weakness, then I'd say he's doing pretty well, as a human being.

I've seen a lot of his stuff before, and nothing has "shocked" me like this did. That said, he's probably used this particular phrase a lot before, but maybe it just seemed particularly unexpected and worthless here.

"Linus Torvalds arrested for Suse security death threats".

Every time I think of travelling to America again, I read something like this and think... nope, not worth it.

Going down this path you will find yourself in a place where you cannot say or do anything without offending someone.

Actually, the above comment immediately tells me: "oh, another American, why can't the guys take a bloody joke, we're not all 9 year olds". It rarely is a French guy or a British complaining on such matters.

Umm, Linus is not "joking." This is his normal manner of speaking. This is not supposed to elicit laughs; it's supposed to emphasize his point.

This is not supposed to elicit laughs; it's supposed to emphasize his point.

Of course, I know that. Not all jokes are there to elicit laughs --unless one is a clown or a stand-up comedian. It's a joke in the sense that it's not meant seriously.

As, in, if somebody DID kill himself following his advice, Linus would be genuinely upset, sad, and most of all surprised.

You need to look up the definition of "joke" before you insult Americans in general and call them "9 year olds" based on an incorrect usage of that term.

Telling someone to commit suicide, even if not meant literally, because of a technical disagreement, should not be (in my opinion) considered acceptable in any culture. Unless it's just an established colloquialism of everyday speech, as maybe it is for Finns. I don't think that should be brought to other cultures.

The most 'culturally accepted' form of the expression in America is to say 'hari kari' instead of 'suicide'. For two examples:

Representative Joseph Cao said to BP America CEO Lamar McKay: "Mr. Stearn asked Mr. McKay to resign. In the Asian culture we do things differently. During the Samurai days, we would just give you a knife and ask you to commit Hari-Kari."

Glenn Beck: "There's not enough knives. If this, if the IPCC had been done by Japanese scientists, there's not enough knives on planet Earth for hara-kiri that should have occurred. I mean, these guys have so dishonored themselves, so dishonored scientists."

I believe the difference is that, in the US, suicide has a strong association with moral and internal failings, while 'hari kari' is associated with honor despite external failure.

In either case, and as you rightly point out, this is your own opinion. It does not appear to be outside the pale to the US at large, else the above two quotes would have been major reports.

It does not appear to be outside the pale to the US at large

No, you will be likely to get hurt badly if you speak to a US developer like that in person.

The reason this is tolerated for Linus and select others is because if you try to speak out about it as I did, you will get verbally raped by 800 Europeans who totally misrepresent what you said, as happened to me in this thread. (Specifically, relating it to "political correctness" and "American's can't take a joke," neither of which is the issue here; I hate political correctness, and Americans can take jokes, believe me.)

Seriously, I'd like to see Linus try that language on the street here in the US. If a bartender gave him the wrong drink and he said "Please go kill yourself now," he might have to be sent to the hopsital afterwards.

I think saying "go kill yourself" is wrong. I prefer "go fuck yourself" if someone wants something strong and rude. I think that "go kill yourself" makes a status claim, as in, "you are not worthy to live", which is too easily believed. I think that's why saying 'hari kari', which reverses that to be 'you are too honorable to continue living', is more acceptable in American culture.

Nevertheless, there are examples of people saying 'go kill yourself' in American culture, as in:

Bill Hicks, to a class of people: “If anyone here is in advertising or marketing, kill yourself. ... There's no rationalization for what you do and you are Satan's little helpers. Kill yourself, seriously.” - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gDW_Hj2K0wo

Rush Limbaugh to a specific person: “Mr. Revkin, why don’t you just go kill yourself and help the planet by dying?” - http://www.cjr.org/the_observatory/limbaugh_suggests_nyts_re...

A court decides that it's protected speech with no implied physical threat: "Using various pseudonyms on Twitter and on blogs, Cassidy published more than 8,000 tweets and posts about Zeoli often wishing death upon her. (One tweet, for example, read, "Do the world a favor and go kill yourself. P.S. Have a nice day.") ... The judge in the case, Roger W. Titus, agreed with Cassidy's assertion, concluding that the First Amendment "protects speech even when the subject or the manner of expression is uncomfortable and challenges conventional religious beliefs, political attitudes or standards of good taste." - http://www.cnn.com/2011/12/16/tech/web/stalking-on-twitter-p...

A quick examination of these plus 40+ written by people without any influence shows that 1) it is less used by politicians and people who are actually in a position of power, and 2) it is strongly accompanied with a sense of superiority.

This leads me to wonder if that "800 Europeans" you mentioned come from a culture with strong subgroup differences, wherein people from the other group are considered 'less worthy.' While in the US, there's a relatively strong cultural desire to remove those subgroup differences.

However, a third category of people is comedians, who manage to get away with it because it comes across as a joke. Based on what I've seen by Torvalds, he quickly comes across as exaggerating to get a rise out of people. This, many people are going to ignore that asked of what he says, because they know he can't seriously mean it.

He was speaking on his personal blog, in a nondirected fashion. He was not directing the comment at anyone in particular, nor was in in technical debate in an appropriate forum.

As someone who has depression and a past history of suicidal thoughts, you insult me by suggesting I can't tell the difference between a turn of phrase and someone genuinely wishing I was dead.

You need to look up the definition of "joke" before you insult Americans in general and call them "9 year olds" based on an incorrect usage of that term.

I did. Have you? Definition #2 from Mirriam-Webster: "something not to be taken seriously".

Telling someone to commit suicide, even if not meant literally, because of a technical disagreement, should not be (in my opinion) considered acceptable in any culture.

You know what they say about opinions. Lots of people the world over enjoy the occasional colorful comment, and do not get their knickers tied up in a knot (UK-ism meaning they are not annoyed) when non PC language is used. Hell, lots of cultures the world over think political correctness itself as silly and/or prudish.

> lots of cultures the world over think political correctness itself as silly and/or prudish.

Kudos to that. I find it hilarious, and very sad at the same time, that Americans can't say policeman/policewoman any more, and that they have at least 4, maybe more, words for for different values of "fat" (overweight, fat, obese, morbidly obese, ...). In Slovenia, one is just fat, maybe very fat.

Making a big deal out of irrelevant things... Now, someone that is not "tall" is "vertically challenged"? I mean, what's wrong with being short?

The point that "politically correct" people are missing is that you cannot really make someone "feel bad", because they already feel bad. You can only make them "feel worse" with your comments.

And the fact that you can get arrested/denied entry to the US because of Twitter messages, that's just fascist (England is in that club as well).

Maybe they need to be politically correct because in some state they carry guns. Don't want to offend someone who's carrying one ;)

I just can't believe that Linus' comment was made to be entertaining or is seen to be entertaining. The point of this kind of invective, as far as I understand, is for Linus to say:

"Shut up and go away, I don't want to hear any rebuttal or any other point of view, because I have waaaay more experience than you do, I know that I'm right, and I don't have time for it."

Basically: he's asserting his right as the "benevolent dictator" of Linux.

Which is fine by me until it goes so far as telling people to kill themselves. That seems unnecessarily and extremely harsh to me (guess it's just an American thing, maybe...), and it seems like something that would be said by a pure psychopath (or a comedian, or a young schoolyard bully).

I understand he doesn't mean "kill yourself" literally, of course.

Though I've always assumed that when he calls people morons, braindead, idiots, etc., he really means those things. Right? Although I can tolerate those things just fine, I'd be really interested to learn if other people interpret those things as not meant literally.

People should actually cheer to this expression of the open source spirit. Like in 'if you find a bug, fix it', he proposes to you to kill yourself if you cause one. Nothing special. Off course, if this were corporate software, they would send somebody to your house to kill you, which might be more convenient.

Cool. I hope your Paki dyke mom dies of AIDS! LOL, am I right?

Well, ok. Am I offended? Not. I'm not even a Paki, but whatever.

It's funny that some of the areas that he touches on are also things where Windows requires local admin. Clearly a messed up privileged action model seems to be common across OSes.

Don't get started on Windows. Just don't.

You know that UAC prompt you get when running setup.exe for an IM client? Ever wondered why there's an UAC prompt in the first place? Because Windows assumes that setup.exe needs admin privileges (unless .exe explicitly states that it doesn't). This piece of engineering doesn't even have a concept of ~/bin. In fact, there is/was an official W7 guideline that said that all programs must go into %ProgramFiles%, which is a system directory. Now, what sort of a imbecile decided that it's a good idea to let an underprivileged account install into a system directory - UAC or not - is beyond me. So, please, don't mix Windows in. While Linux distros have their dark moments, Windows is just one big service pack now.

The official installation path for Windows being Program Files is no different than the expected installation for the majority of .deb or .rpm files being /usr. In both cases, you can't install software with its default assumption as a unprivileged user. The defaults on both Windows and basically every Linux distribution assume software installs are done by a privileged account.

You can install to c:\Users\%USERNAME% if you want to, if the installer lets you pick a path, this is how Chrome installs. Just like you can install into ~/bin if you want to, but you are going to have to go a little out of your way to do it.

Windows is far more riddled with malware and spyware than Linux distros, their users are far more ignorant than the Linux crowd, so having %ProgramFiles% default to a system directory is substantially worse and damaging than letting apt-get (that can't even be run without root privileges) default to /usr. Take a look at a list of predefined paths available on Windows [1]. It doesn't have anything even approximating ~/bin. At the very least they could've said - "here, use %UserProgramFiles% if need be", but they just don't care. And if you try and install into C:\Users\...\Program Files, you will quickly be mis-detected as malware or spyware. Unless you are Chrome, which you are probably not. So, yeah, Windows is really hopeless.

[1] http://msdn.microsoft.com/en-us/library/windows/desktop/bb76...

You keep mentioning ~/bin, but I don't think any major distro ships with such thing. So I don't really see how the situation is any better on Linux than it is on Windows. And then Windows has the Folder Virtualization trick.

> And if you try and install into C:\Users\...\Program Files, you will quickly be mis-detected as malware or spyware

So it's Windows's fault if you use crappy anti-virus applications? If you'd use similar applications on Linux wouldn't it equally flag ~/bin as malware too?

> Now, what sort of a imbecile decided that it's a good idea to let an underprivileged account install into a system directory - UAC or not - is beyond me.

Unprivileged accounts do not have write access to %ProgramFiles% by default in Windows.

Maybe we should mix Windows in: http://ewams.net/?view=Linus_Should_Use_Windows_7


They're all reading from the same books, thus the same mistakes.

Fedora had this problem last time I used it, things like adding printers prompted for the actual root password (according the docs Fedora 16 still prompts for the root password). Ubuntu (and Mint) got it right. There are privilege groups that can be set so things like adding printers and wifi networks don't ask for a password. For things the user doesn't have privileges for, if they are an admin it will prompt for their user password (sudo-style) instead of the root password.

As Linus said, the SUSE and Fedora way makes it hard to deploy in a business setting where you want users to be able to administrate their own machines but you don't want them to have the root password.

>.. and now I need to find a new distro that actually works on the Macbook Air.

What would that be exactly? I didn't realize any Linux distro's worked well on MBA yet.

I find it funny, how effortlessly Linus trashes people.

Seems to be part of the free OS culture. Everyone trashes someone. Theo and the OpenBSD devs think Linux is garbage written by people who don't understnd Unix. All of the free OS guys have someone they make fun of regularly. It's a bit silly I think, but that's just how it is.

"Look at them, they use C++... ha ha ha idiots. Oh look at them, they use Linux... utter and complete bloated garbage compared to real Unix."

Wash, rinse, repeat.

If not overdone, I think it is fun. The community will mature at some point in future, but currently the evangelists comprise of not professionals whose jobs are to get these platforms/softwares to more people but passionate fans and contributors who believe in the product and think that their's is the best of them all. It does lead to an unnecessary increase in tension in the community but it also means that those who are involved will be true to their beliefs and contribute to their distro/software/platform in a much more personal and devoted way.

And it is not like commercial software community is never involved with any flamewars. When they do it, they do it for marketing and they do it professionally [1]

[1] http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=k4EbCkotKPU

Because the paid-for consumer OS culture don't have their own punching-bag memes? Apple's 'smug field'? Windows 'malware'? Each of these has large contigents that mock others, and frequently with quite some disdain. It's far from unique to FOSS.

same here. Linus is a man with strong opinions, so i guess the kind of language he uses helps reflects that.

and i find it funny that people get upset so much over it. some "political correctness" crap. look, you don't control what other people say or does, but you can control how that affects you. if you're going to seriously get upset about someone telling you to "kill yourself", you should get yourself a psychiatrist. because you really just might.

I find that a weak excuse. If you were to dine in an expensive restaurant, where one of their guests talked really loudly on his cell phone all night, disturbing the other guests, you wouldn't expect the waiter to tell you to "just ignore it" or "just don't be disturbed". At least I wouldn't.

If you're in a fancy restaurant, what are you doing reading Linus's Google+ posts, rather than enjoying your meal?

I think you misunderstood my analogy. My point is, that obnoxious loud talking at a restaurant is as difficult to avoid as an interesting sounding link on a major tech news aggregator.

So what you want is freedom from people expressing their opinions on their personal blogs because you're paying a lot of money for this Internet, and damnit, you should get to enjoy it?

No. I never said that nor implied that.

I believe Linus can express this particular opinion in a much more civilised way (especially since he has such a special position in the tech-world), just as the restaurant guest that's talking obnoxiously loud on his telephone could talk at a normal volume.

Where your analogy breaks down is that at a fancy restaurant, the restaurant is well within its rights to kick someone out for being disruptive--and your analogy did in fact imply that. Furthermore, if the restaurant won't do something about a disruptive customer, you really don't have much choice about the situation, unless you are willing to walk away from a significant amount of money, for which you had every reasonable expectation that you would be provided with an enjoyable and peaceful meal.

On the Internet, things are completely different. You can easily go read something else if you don't like what you are reading, and bad speech is best fought with more speech.

What I find to be most offensive are people who think that they have a right not to be offended.

There is a difference between public and private spaces.

I fail to see which one is public and which one is private in this case. They're both public in my opinion, but I could be wrong.

You can ignore Linus's post. Just as you would ignore a troll in a forum.

i don't know if you noticed, but i wasn't making excuses. i'm just accepting how things are. don't impose your will to them and say things like it's "politically correct" to do so. because you can't, you can try. but that's not how the world works.

i hate politics like this. it gets in the way of what's really happening.

Regardless of wether you were making excuses or not, my point still stands, I think.

Ignoring the problem might be a good way to deal with situations like this on a personal level. I'd say it's probably the wisest thing to do, because, as you say, confronting him and trying to change his behaviour would only work counter-effective.

But it doesn't solve the problem, which in this case is Linus's exaggerated and (slightly?) offensive use of language. Even for ignoring a problem, it is necessary to first acknowledge there is one, or there won't be anything to ignore.

You can argue wether it should even be considered a problem (I think it should be), but unfortunately, the same "excuse" could be made: you can't change what people perceive as a problem or not.

He is spot on, but I find (and always found) his wording way too aggressive. Makes it kind of hard to have a constructive discussion on the topic, which by the way really needs such discussion.

It's also kind of hard to have a constructive discussion on the topic if nobody takes notice. Without the invectives, it probably wouldn't have been noteworthy enough to spread like wildfire across the hacker sphere.

every now and then linus peeks in at what passes for linux, freaks out, gets pissed off at the state of things, vents, and everyone chimes in. so i'll chime in.

this is what you get when you are laissez-faire about how things operate in the land you helped create and ignore issues (via guidance and suggestions) for years on end. this happened with wifi some years ago, too, and didn't get attention until linus got a laptop with wifi.

this is just one reason why i stopped using linux day to day over ten years ago, happily.

>this is just one reason why i stopped using linux day to day over ten years ago, happily.

It's gotten a whole lot better in the last 10 years.

use it on servers at work, it's gotten horribly confusing in terms of configs. real scary, inconsistent mess.

i don't use it as my primary machine or dev machine any more.

i'd say i'm pretty up to date with it (and alternatives) and still disagree with you. "whole lot"? i disagree.

Why is a kernel dictator responsible for the userspace? what genuine authority does Torvalds have over gnome or kde?

It's not Torvalds' responsibility, implied or otherwise, to manage what kind of password userspace requires for setting config settings.

linus is notoriously opposed to security, calling the security community various names over the years. the capabilities exposed by the kernel have direct impact on userland. if security isn't a priority for linus and is left to third parties, then you wind up with all sorts of stuff that is the ecosystem we have today. some is great, some is awful.

without attention and respect from the guy in charge of the kernel, which gates security for the system, this is what you get.

Why is it news when Linus mention something so obviously frustrating as the security scheme is on OpenSUSE?

Would it make a difference if s/Linus/JoeBlog/ mentioned it if the issue is so frustrating?

It's all about the perceived level of intelligence related to the field. It'd be no different than Rand Paul making a fuss about budgets versus Joe Blog.

He is wrong about date/time setting. Most computers have automatic time sync, and consistent time stamps are important for many business purposes. Giving end users the ability to manipulate time can cause significant issues.

Is it overkill for Linus's kids? Yes. But OpenSUSE wasn't put together for his kids.

I think you may have misread.

> I first spent weeks arguing on a bugzilla that the security policy of requiring the root password for changing the timezone

The time zone is a completely presentational setting, something that users can be expected to want to change every so often. And it has no relation to timestamps.

Changing time zones can fuck up a server application.

Time zone setting can (and should) be a user-specific setting.

Since a server application most likely isn't running as a the same user as the "real" logged-in user, there's no reason anything bad would happen.

CAN and SHOULD. but it's NOT.

Try 'export TZ=my/timezone/name' sometime.

What on earth are you doing using time zones in a server application? Time zone is purely presentation, you should be storing and calculating everything in UTC and only converting to time zone for presentation to a user based on that user's time zone (either via a user defined setting for your application or based on the current time zone setting of a user's system). You should never, ever, ever use the server's time zone to determine presentation to a user (or for anything really).

No, the server application should have it's own timezone setting, like almost any serious server has, and/or use UTC time.

And a distro must not assume you're using it for server applications, when you install a personal installation on your laptop.

don't tell me. tell the linux developers who created the server application.

He is wrong about date/time setting. Most computers have automatic time sync, and consistent time stamps are important for many business purposes. Giving end users the ability to manipulate time can cause significant issues.

On a laptop? A seriously doubt it. Make the bloody distro learn to differentiate between a server and a personal installation, and change the settings accordingly.

Why does it matter if it's a server? I reckon, if it's a server, the only people that should have that sort of access to it should be trusted to change the time.

I'm fine with that. i'm just saying, that isn't the way things work right now.

The real problem is the `MacBook Air`, not security...

Really? How so? Because the MacBook Air has nothing to do with the issue at hand, and it is by Linux admission the best laptop for him (from the thread: "Trust me, I tried. Nothing better exists. It's sad. They are all big and clunky").

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