Linux News Today: Linus Torvalds Attacks the Work of Kernel Developer with Harsh Language, Again
Linus Torvalds is known for his abrupt style, and he’s never been shy about saying exactly what he’s thinking, even if this got him in hot waters more than once. It looks like he’s again in the middle of the discussion for all the wrong reasons after using some harsh language in the official mailing list.
Linus Torvalds is the undisputed leader of the Linux project, even if he technically works for the Linux Foundation. When he says something, people do pretty much one of three things: they listen, they do what they were supposed to do in the first place, or they leave the project. The latter actually happened quite a few times in the past few months, so it’s not exactly something unheard of.
The problem is not that he criticizes the developers or that he corrects them when they make mistakes, but the strong language that he employs. In fact, he comes down so hard on them that they are unlikely to forget they have been scolded by Linus himself.
Another powerful argument is that he also tends to be right most of the time, about the technical stuff, which means that it’s hard to dispute what he is saying, even if it’s delivered with harsh language.
The Linux kernel is technically an autocracy
No one can dispute the role of guidance that Linus has in the community and the project, even if this is a mantle that he doesn’t really want or care about. He said more than once that he only cares about the code and nothing else.
He doesn’t think that people’s feelings should be above their technical contributions to the Linux project, and this is where the problems stem from. Here is one of this latest rants.
“Really. Give me *one* reason why it was written in that idiotic way with two different conditionals, and a shiny new nonstandard function that wants particular compiler support to generate even half-way sane code, and even then generates worse code? A shiny function that we have never ever needed anywhere else, and that is just compiler-masturbation,” said Linus.
This is one of his more tempered reactions that we’ve seen until now. He was talking about a useless piece of code that was introduced to perform a function; that could have been done with the existing tools. He really doesn’t like when people add stuff to his kernel, especially when it’s late in the cycle, in this case for the Linux kernel 4.3 RC7.