The Torvalds Situation

This is old news to some, but it’s still something I wanted to write about. Linus Torvalds, the Linux kernel creator and project manager, has stepped aside (temporarily) to work on his attitude, which is acerbic and awful. Spewing expletives and insults at anyone who dares to work on the kernel. At first, it wasn’t understood why Torvalds chose this moment to take a break.

Noam Cohen has the scoop for The New Yorker:

Torvalds’s decision to step aside came after The New Yorker asked him a series of questions about his conduct for a story on complaints about his abusive behavior discouraging women from working as Linux-kernel programmers. In a response to The New Yorker, Torvalds said, “I am very proud of the Linux code that I invented and the impact it has had on the world. I am not, however, always proud of my inability to communicate well with others—this is a lifelong struggle for me. To anyone whose feelings I have hurt, I am deeply sorry.”

It shouldn’t take a journalist looking into your attitude for some self-reflection to happen, but I’m pretty happy that this acknowledgement is happening at all.

Torvalds’ shitty attitude of non-conformity to being a good person was infectious, it helped encourage a younger Jack Slater to be a bad leader for the ioquake3 project in the IRC channel and on the mailing list. I thought this attitude made for a good leader, it had the opposite effect. Being an asshole only brought in other assholes and a few extremely great people who helped me change as a leader.

Other “open source” leaders like Eric S. Raymond have already been found to be complete shitbergs blocking the flow of progress, at least Torvalds had enough sense to step aside and try to change.

It is decades past time for better leadership in open source and free software. Bring out the open-source 3D printed ultra mega guillotine for the leaders who refuse to step-aside or change.

Eric S. Raymond’s Turn at Becoming The Biggest Asshole in Open Source

Eric S. Raymond

Eric S. Raymond:

The short version is: if you are any kind of open-source leader or senior figure who is male, do not be alone with any female, ever, at a technical conference. Try to avoid even being alone, ever, because there is a chance that a “women in tech” advocacy group is going to try to collect your scalp.

ESR’s blog post goes on to back up this conclusion with IRC logs from one anonymized source that nasty women are all around trying to destroy him and other self-aggrandizing free software/open source shitlords through false claims of sexual assault. The comment thread on the post is an amazing cavalcade of other mens rights assholes who followed through links from terrible websites such as Phoronix and Breitbart. Surprisingly, the comment thread is a little bit better on the Phoronix post where people call out Michael Larabel on linking to ESR’s garbage as if it were fact.

ESR calls this an attempt by women to “… smear and de-legitimize the Linux community (and, by extension, the entire open-source community) in order to render it politically pliable.” ESR is the one who has smeared the Linux community. He has threatened harm to other developers, by all accounts is a terrible developer, and a racist who takes credit for coining the term open source when it was actually invented by Christine Peterson.