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10.07.15

Hypocrite Forks the Linux Kernel Because of Cultural Characteristics That He Himself is Guilty of

Posted in GNU/Linux, Kernel at 1:00 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Summary: Forking of Linux is misleadingly reported in the media because of a couple of very loud people, who are not even quitting their jobs

THIS post is not a personal attack, so we shall refrain from naming names (no direct reference to individuals). This post isn’t about news either, just some rants that infiltrated so-called ‘news’ sites because drama ‘sells’.

It all started with the original rant [1] from one among many thousands of Linux developers (she didn’t even leave her employer, just changed projects to focus on). This was picked up by few sites the following day and became a topic of discussion in LWN [2], which is close to LKML (people/subscribers overlap). Linux media then picked it up [3-7], followed by the corporate media [8-12]. Some Microsoft boosters were all over it as this was a rare opportunity to characterise Linux as rude and condescending (as if this never happens in proprietary software, they just hide it better in their culture of infamous secrecy, no public mailing lists either).

This in itself was bad enough in the publicity sense and then a longtime vocal supporter of feminism added more fuel to the fire [13], causing some stir in Linux media [14], having done this against Intel before. Intel is the former person’s employer by the way; the company whom he decided to effectively boycott over chauvinism — a problem that the former person seems to not even want to address at all because that’s where her large salary comes from. Double standard much?

This outburst against Linux has nothing to do with women’s rights or manners. There is no threat of violence (as once alleged) and there is no language directly offensive to women (no more than it can be offensive to men). Some people have too thin a skin, especially where free speech is highly valued.

The latter person is a Microsoft apologist (based on his own words) and the fact that he technically supports UEFI (i.e. attacking computing freedom) is why Torvalds famously lashed out and used sexual connotations.

The latter person is provocative, confrontational (even against former employers like Canonical), and foul-mouthed (look how he behaves on sites like Twitter), so who is he to use ‘brutal’ culture as a pretext for forking Linux? Yes, large news sites now frame this as Linux being forked [15,16], as if this will ever truly fly. It’s just a cycle of provocation, resulting in little more than harmful publicity, e.g. stereotyping and reinforced stigma for Linux.

Related/contextual items from the news:

  1. Closing a door
  2. Sharp: Closing a door
  3. Sarah Sharp: “I’m not a Linux kernel developer any more”
  4. Sarah Sharp Quits as a Linux Kernel Developer, Blames the Toxic Behavior of the Community
  5. Sarah Sharp Steps Down As Linux Kernel Developer
  6. Kernel Anniversary Marked by “Without Linux” and Resignation

    Today marks 24 years since Linux Torvalds released version 0.01 of the Linux kernel to the benefit of humanity. The day was marred by the resignation of Sarah Sharp saying, “I am no longer a part of the Linux kernel community” due to “blunt, rude, or brutal” communication. The Linux Foundation today announced a new video series titled World Without Linux that will highlight the vast ecosystem spawned from that original 10,239 lines of code.

  7. Linux kernel developer Sarah Sharp quits over bad culture in LKML
  8. Linux kernel dev Sarah Sharp quits, citing ‘brutal’ communications style
  9. Linux kernel dev who asked Linus Torvalds to stop verbal abuse quits over verbal abuse
  10. ​Linux developer who took on Linus Torvalds over abuse quits ‘toxic’ kernel community
  11. Linux: Is Sarah Sharp a Social Justice Warrior?
  12. Key Linux geekette walks over community abuse
  13. Going my own way
  14. Another Longtime Linux Developer Looks To Distance Himself From The Kernel Community

    A day after Sarah Sharp formally announced she’s stepping away from Linux kernel development due to the arguably toxic community, well known kernel developer Matthew Garrett announced he too is planning to cease his personal contributions to the upstream Linux kernel.

  15. Matthew Garrett Forks the Linux Kernel

    Just like Sarah Sharp, Linux developer Matthew Garrett has gotten fed up with the unprofessional development culture surrounding the kernel. “I remember having to deal with interminable arguments over the naming of an interface because Linus has an undying hatred of BSD securelevel, or having my name forever associated with the deepthroating of Microsoft because Linus couldn’t be bothered asking questions about the reasoning behind a design before trashing it,” Garrett writes. He has chosen to go his own way, and has forked the Linux kernel and added patches that implement a BSD-style securelevel interface. Over time it is expected to pick up some of the power management code that Garrett is working on, and we shall see where it goes from there.

  16. Matthew Garrett Leaves Linux Kernel and Forks It

    Now, another Linux kernel developer has decided to move away from the project. Matthew Garrett has been in the news a lot this past year, but surprisingly, not for the Linux kernel. He’s been a constant critic of Canonical IP policy, and he has criticized the company more than once. In fact, he’s a rather well-known kernel developer, and he had his fair share of disputes with Linus Torvalds. Unlike Sarah, he made his reasons a lot more clear.

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