Linux CoC → different perspective

Aleksei Matiushkin on September 27, 2018

Unfortunately, dev.to does not [yet?] provide an ability to cite/refer to another resource, so I took the responsibility of copy-pasting this bri... [Read Full]
markdown guide

The Linux kernel community is a place without office politics, without subtle subtexts, without primate dominance dynamics.


Any talk about Linux's relationship to Microsoft has always been a primate-dominance-fight. Same reason why the stock Linux kernel dumps dmesg too-fast-to-read to the terminal. And, of course, you're engaging in monkey dominance posturing by posting that sentence.

Sometimes, it can become an intra-subjective fact, like how people's belief that something is fit-for-purpose can lead to them building the tooling that makes it true (that's why C, with its many extensions and compiler optimizations, is better for OS development than anything else currently is, even if we'd be better off if Ada had won). This stuff can sometimes make my head hurt, too, and I'm not even on the spectrum.

Having Aspergers means you have trouble reading social cues. It doesn't mean you don't commit logical fallacies just as badly as the rest of us.

And, most importantly, none of those previous paragraphs are a dig at you or at LKML. Acting like a person isn't wrong, and if you feel safer there than in other places that value politeness more highly, that's cool, that's important, and that's doesn't conflict with spelling out, in so many words, common forms of discrimination that are not allowed. Just drop the "I achieved nirvana" shtick.


Yes, these are valid difficulties, but Edward is describing a nostalgia which cherry picks.

The Linux community is struggling with "some big change all of a sudden", but it didn't happen until after this technology became globally dominant. The healthy approach would have been to grow and mature as a project along with its success, in the Linux way, but because the community clung to values that don't scale, they ultimately had less control over the outcome.

Unwillingness to change at all, meant that they couldn't stay ahead of these issues. Linux could have lead the way instead of putting up a fuss and succumbing to their own success.


Off-topic, but what do you mean by

Same reason why the stock Linux kernel dumps dmesg too-fast-to-read to the terminal.

I don't see why that's a problem? If something crashes, you get the last lines right in front of you, and if you want to review it later you can, so why is this a bad thing?


Unfortunately, you did not get the message. That’s fine, just drop the “I know how” shtick.


The OP is afraid of accidentally pissing someone off, and thinks that the CoC means that he'll be banished for it.

Am I wrong?

IMHO you are absolutely wrong.

The OP is mostly insulted by the feeling that Linus (and some others) were literally harassed and enforced to do things that make them unhappy.

I am pretty sure OP had never nearly pissed someone off and had less than zero plans to do that in the future.

That's not the story Linus tells. And I think it's an insult, especially to someone who prides himself on his thick skin, to claim that the Twitter mob made him do it.

That mail says that the CoC change was made because the code of conflict had made the kernel summit less fun.

Though, thanks. You're right. I think I was missing the point.

I know what story tells Linus (I hope you somehow assumed I had it read before.) I see the highlight of the Linus’ email in:

Maybe I can get an email filter in place so at when I send email with curse-words, they just won't go out. Because hey, I'm a big believer in tools, and at least some problems going forward might be improved with simple automation.
I know when I really look “myself in the mirror” it will be clear it's
not the only change that has to happen, but hey... You can send me
suggestions in email.

I see this as a bitter irony, nearly trolling. I might be wrong, but hey, I might be right as well. And even if we just imagine the world where I am right, we’d immediately see what am I trying to express by pushing the OP and saying all that crap I am saying here.


It seems to me that it should be pretty easy to maintain high standards and quality while at the same time not engaging in mean or hurtful interactions with people. It probably makes things sound kind of technocratic, but I don't see that as a bad thing. We’re talking about kernel development after all. If you don't agree with a code submission, just say something like:

  • The following code doesn't meet our standards because of a, b, and c. Please fix these problems and re-submit.
  • This approach won't work because it will result in problems a, b, and c.
  • This code increases complexity while not actually solving the problem it purports to deal with, for the following reasons. Don't use this approach in kernel code submissions going forward.

This is very minimal. It doesn't go out of its way to be extra nice, but I think it's polite enough, no? I'm sure if Linus and the other core people behind the kernel just limited themselves to this kind of wording, there would not have been such an outcry about the code of conduct in the first place.

The problem is this kind of thing, written by Linus himself, that has become well known:

lkml.iu.edu/hypermail/linux/kernel... (contains abusive language):

Christ people. This is just sh*t...The conflict I get is due to stupid new gcc header file crap. But what makes me upset is that the crap is for completely bogus reasons... and anybody who thinks that the above is... is just incompetent and out to lunch... Really. Give me one reason why it was written in that idiotic way...So I really see no reason for this kind of complete idiotic crap... And it's a f*cking bad excuse for that braindamage...

I'll stop there. My point is: Is this kind of thing more acceptable for people with something like Asperger's? If someone with Asperger's got this kind of feedback to a code submission, would it not be even harder for them to process than for a neurotypical person?

Not everyone is cut out to wrap every sentence in warm and fuzzy language. I think that's fine. In that case, just stick to clear and neutral language. Don't launch into foul or abusive tirades. And if it's possible to explain how a person can improve in the future, do that, because it will have the practical benefit of helping them to make better contributions. I don't get why this needs to be so hard.


My point is: Is this kind of thing more acceptable for people with something like Asperger's?

Unfortunately, you did not get the message. Asperger’s has nothing to do with the real issue. It was an example, the author said many times it’s just an example—and still, every single comment here appeals to Asperger’s.

I do not have Asperger’s. And I pretty much on this email author’s side. Here is why.

it should be pretty easy to maintain high standards and quality while at the same time not engaging in mean or hurtful interactions with people

Well, maybe. That is out of scope, actually. The subject here is different: “be polite” worship came without any doubt that assaulting and harassing people who are out of this cult is fine. Being polite is given as a God's gift. Here is the truth: it is not by any mean. Despite you might think differently. We are fine with those wanting to be polite, but they are not fine with us.

Here are some examples of the same pattern from the past (including but not limited to):

In all the examples above the majority was sure it does well and the minority should just obey for their own benefit.

If you think I am exaggerating, I am not.

This is how damn bloody majority rule works.

And harassing, baiting and assaulting people like Linus or the author of this email—cannot be good no matter what the shining goal is it for.

Dictating any culture is an enforcing a slavery for others. Even while masters are sure everything is done for these stupid people goodness.


Yeah, I do think you're exaggerating, and I'd be surprised if even Edward Cree (the OP) would go as far as you are here. Power Mods who treat their mailing list like a fiefdom, and social media klans who inundate people with negativity, are not the same as the real thing. They don't have access to physical force. It's the internet. You can always leave.

Which is not to be taken as sticking up for the Twitter mob. There's a reason my Twitter account is locked.

I'm sticking up for the Code of Conduct specifically. After all, DEV has a very similar code, and you seem happy enough with it. I'm not getting kicked out for using strong language, and you're not getting kicked out for invoking Godwin's Law. I expect the LKML to be less like Tumblr and more like Lobsters, really.

you seem happy enough with it

Nah, I am not. Ask @ben : I was nearly banned twice, I was personally emailed by core team members to stop exposing my thoughts broadly and my innocent post containing no one harsh or rude word was removed because some anonymous but still way-too-tolerant people literally conveyed I am a moron insulting people.

I'm not getting kicked out for using strong language

My wild guess would be it’s only because I am known as an easy person to not to pay attention to words and focus on the meaning. If I were a bit less intelligent, you’d received all that fancy load of the tolerance (see above.)

and you're not getting kicked out for invoking Goodwin's Law

I explicitly avoided the protagonist of Godwin’s law, so nice try, but plain wrong again.

I really don't care about the specific distinction between Nazi Germany and the Spanish Inquisition. It's the same non-argument, comparing online harassment to a state-sponsored atrocity. They are both bad, but they are not anything near the same.

I'm curious about how "nearly" those near-bans were. I've had plenty of conversations with the mods (not here, not been around long enough, but in similarly strongly-moderated forums), and participated in threads that got locked. It's actually really difficult to get banned from a place like this, and I expect LKML will be the same. Lots of warnings and locks, very few bans.

You might care or don’t care about whatever you want, you might even claim that 2×2=5 and live in that particular axiomatics, but the communication is easier when people use the same meaning of words and that’s where the vocabulary comes to the scene. Godwin’s law mentions Hitler. Period.

I'm curious about how "nearly" those near-bans were.

Ad hominem arguments are great to bully the person but they rarely if never help to prove anything. It does not really matter ‘how "nearly" those near-bans were,’ what actually matters is ‘how insulting they were.’

That’s the point I advocating for and that’s IMHO the main point of the OP.


As another individual with Aspergers, I 100% understand where you are coming from with this. I feel targeted by this. It wasn't required, and was simply a target against a single individual I feel.

I feel segregated when I read this because I feel that I should not be treated any differently than anyone else, regardless of who I am. If you cannot code, don't contribute code to a system. If someone says "You need to follow this style guide", accept that you have to do that.

This whole "Code of Conduct" thing resonates with me that they are targeting Linus and only him, especially the Tweet that was put out by the person who had it implemented (I forget the name of them) saying they cannot wait for the Mass exodus of Linux.



Unfortunately, dev.to does not [yet?] provide an ability to cite/refer to another resource, so I took the responsibility of copy-pasting this brilliant email originally sent to LKML here.

That's what things like the line-leading > and the markdown standard link-out methods are for. Probabably other methods you could leverage, as well (depending how much they excised from their markdown implementation).

code of conduct - report abuse