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Linus Torvalds apologizes for years of "unprofessional rants," is taking break from Linux

By midian182 · 17 replies
Sep 17, 2018
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  1. In an email to the Linux Kernel Mailing List, which also addresses the kernel update of Linux 4.19-rc4, Torvalds writes: "I need to change some of my behavior, and I want to apologize to the people that my personal behavior hurt and possibly drove away from kernel development entirely."

    “I am going to take time off and get some assistance on how to understand people’s emotions and respond appropriately.”

    Torvalds has worked on the Linux operating system kernel since creating it in 1991, but his aggressive behavior, often directed at fellow coders, has brought unwanted attention. In 2013, kernel developer Sarah (now Sage) Sharp called him out for “advocating for physical intimidation and violence,” and he’s known for hurling expletives at those who don’t live up to his expectations.

    Even big companies haven’t escaped Torvalds’ wrath. In 2012, he famously told Nvidia “fu*k you” and gave the firm the middle finger on camera. More recently, he blasted Intel over its “garbage” Spectre patches.

    It seems the tipping point was related to the Linux Kernal Maintainers’ Summit. After the event was moved from Canada to Scotland so it would fit in with his family vacation plans, Torvalds said he was hoping to avoid attending, which didn’t please developers.

    "I am not an emotionally empathetic kind of person and that probably doesn't come as a big surprise to anybody. Least of all me. The fact that I then misread people and don't realize (for years) how badly I've judged a situation and contributed to an unprofessional environment is not good."

    Torvalds emphasized that he wasn’t walking away for good. "This is not some kind of 'I'm burnt out, I need to just go away' break. I'm not feeling like I don't want to continue maintaining Linux. Quite the reverse. I very much *do* want to continue to do this project that I've been working on for almost three decades."

    Permalink to story.

  2. fps4ever

    fps4ever TS Evangelist Posts: 304   +295

    A good portion of the Linux community is toxic along with it's fan boys. Especially towards new people trying to learn it and get involved.
  3. treetops

    treetops TS Evangelist Posts: 2,558   +548

    I always assumed the free open source OS was a rare gift to the tech community. I'v never used it but have always admired it.
    astralcyborg likes this.
  4. VitalyT

    VitalyT Russ-Puss Posts: 4,475   +3,034

    I've spent most of my life working in IT at this point, and can say with authority that in my field the old saying is as true as everywhere else - Brilliant people have the most persuasive demons. To put it more bluntly, best IT engineers that I've met were sort of social retards, I.e. often very difficult to communicate with.
  5. pravusnex

    pravusnex TS Rookie

    ... and some people lack technical brilliance and any social grace. Some people, for example, use incredibly offensive terms and seem oblivious to it.
  6. Bannhammer

    Bannhammer TS Enthusiast Posts: 42   +19

    Then end of a legend.
  7. BarryBostwick

    BarryBostwick TS Rookie

    It is hard for robots to read emotions.
    Stark likes this.
  8. Mighty Duck

    Mighty Duck TS Addict Posts: 151   +81

    Perhaps Linus could use a security blanket.
  9. Danny101

    Danny101 TS Guru Posts: 767   +292

    It's typical of this world now-a-days. There's a whole lot of jumping to conclusions, mass attention, and then when the truth comes out, it's Meh. No apologies. Just next. So for Linus's part, at least he did give an apology. But really, anything that someone is passionate about. they are going to go overboard with it. It's human nature.
    Charles Olson likes this.
  10. seansplayin

    seansplayin TS Rookie

    Mr Torvalds, get your **** together, this world needs Linux.
  11. kapital98

    kapital98 TS Guru Posts: 324   +256

    I don't see this as a bad thing. He's getting help. Even small things may help.

    Tech is often different than more traditional fields because the legends in the field tend to become legends when they are young. They don't work their way up through management.

    Linus is still a relatively young man and will be in the field a long time. He's a critical figurehead for Linux. At he very least, he will continue to be a Wozniak type figure (though they couldn't be different in personality).

    Good for him.
    Stark and Eugenia like this.
  12. pan1c

    pan1c TS Member Posts: 19   +6

    the entire internet runs on linux based machines. you're using it every day
    astralcyborg and Charles Olson like this.
  13. BiceBolje

    BiceBolje TS Rookie

    And there is that thing called Android...
    astralcyborg likes this.
  14. Apogee777

    Apogee777 TS Member Posts: 21

    why state the obvious.
  15. jobeard

    jobeard TS Ambassador Posts: 12,876   +1,526

    Why I was told Bill Gates walks on water and everyone else is just #$%&
  16. fps4ever

    fps4ever TS Evangelist Posts: 304   +295

    I never once heard Bill Gates described as toxic. He may not walk on water but his philanthropy has done wonders for who he's helped.
    Last edited: Sep 20, 2018
  17. Danny101

    Danny101 TS Guru Posts: 767   +292

    I can say that I was at least content with Windows before Gates left. Did he really leave though? Just running it from behind the trees.
  18. tipstir

    tipstir TS Ambassador Posts: 2,842   +193

    Linux is what runs Chrome OS and Android. Unix is the hardest one. Apple, Windows, Android then Linux. There are other OS's out there today as well.. To me whatever floats your boat!

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