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Dear Linus, STOP SHOUTING and play nice - says Linux kernel dev

'Professionalism' is passive aggressive bulls**t, replies Penguin king Torvalds

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A Linux developer has blasted the kernel's chief Linus Torvalds, taking him to task for his famous potty mouth and brutal putdowns of his lieutenants.

It's time for Torvalds to stop "verbally abusing" his programmers, Sarah Sharp told the fiery Finn, warning him she’s "not taking it any more". The USB 3.0 driver maintainer pleaded: "You don't need to SHOUT, call me names, or tell me to SHUT THE FUCK UP!"

But Torvalds, who founded the popular Linux kernel project in the mid-1990s, wasn't taking this lying down, claiming today's demands of "professionalism" promote passive-aggressive "fake politeness" used by tie-wearing back-stabbers.

“You are in a position of power. Stop verbally abusing your developers,” Sharp hit back at Torvalds on the Linux Kernel Mailing List (LKML) - the nerve-centre of the open-source system's development.

The catalyst was Torvalds' latest rants over bugs in the x86 updates for the 3.11 kernel that has just hit first release candidate as well as in the 3.10.1 stable review.

Things started simmering on Friday, when Torvalds tore into Sharp’s kernel boss, USB subsystem maintainer Greg Kroah-Hartman.

Torvalds wrote that bugs were getting into the kernel because devs treat Kroah-Hartman like a doormat. “You may need to learn to shout at people,” he wrote.

However, this was playful by Torvalds’ standards, and by Saturday Linus had uncorked the vintage Torvalds over problems he’d found in the x86 work on 3.11.

What the F*CK, guys?

This piece-of-shit commit is marked for stable, but you clearly never even test-compiled it, did you?

Torvalds was very upset after he'd merged the code assuming it was stable when it wasn’t.

Why the hell was this marked for stable even *IF* it hadn't been complete and utter tripe? It even has a comment in the commit message about how this probably doesn't matter. So it's doubly crap: it's *wrong*, and it didn't actually fix anything to begin with.

There aren't enough swear-words in the English language, so now I'll have to call you perkeleen vittupää* just to express my disgust and frustration with this crap.

Sharp, who runs USB 3.0 support and is the Linux kernel xHCI driver maintainer, has demanded Torvalds stop yelling at devs in caps and be "more professional".

Sharp wrote:

Seriously, guys? Is this what we need in order to get improve - stable? Linus Torvalds is advocating for physical intimidation and violence. Ingo Molnar and Linus are advocating for verbal abuse. Not *fucking* cool. Violence, whether it be physical intimidation, verbal threats or verbal abuse is not acceptable. Keep it professional on the mailing lists.

Sharp has called for talks at the next Linux Kernel Summit to improve the working environment on the kernel and to force Torvalds to confront people in person. “We can at least yell at each other in person,” Sharp wrote.

The kernel dev is also encouraging fellow devs to stand up to Torvalds and call for civility on the LKML.

I'm not going to wear ties, buy into fake politeness - Torvalds

But the angry Finn isn't backing down and Torvalds hasn't taken criticism of his management style in silence. In an increasingly lengthy and fiery series of LKML exchanges with Sharp, he fired back arguing he can’t help himself and it’s his management style to be "honest" and "emotional".

Torvalds responded to Sharp’s calls for greater professionalism by saying she’s trying to force her own style on him.

She reckoned he should running the project by setting rules on code quality and working with other managers to discipline devs who submit the kinds of bugs that typically send him off into orbit. “If they protest, then lay into them,” she said.

But, no, that’s not Torvalds’ style. “I'm not going to start wearing ties, I'm *also* not going to buy into the fake politeness, the lying, the office politics and backstabbing, the passive aggressiveness, and the buzzwords. Because THAT is what 'acting professionally' results in,” he said.

Indeed, Torvalds reckons, "publicly tearing apart" members of the Linux project is the only way to get results.

I do it partly (mostly) because it's who I am, and partly because I honestly despise being subtle or "nice". The fact is, people need to know what my position on things are. And I can't just say "please don't do that", because people won't listen. I say "On the internet, nobody can hear you being subtle", and I mean it.

Sharp headed this off, saying Torvalds is capable of being polite – he just doesn’t want to bother.

On Monday, as part of her back and forth with Torvalds, Sharp wrote:

I've been through verbal abuse before. I won't take that shit from you, or any of the other Linux kernel developers. Tell me, politely, what I have done wrong, and I will fix it. You don't need to SHOUT, call me names, or tell me to SHUT THE FUCK UP!

®

* perkeleen vittupää – f*cking m*therf*cker, in Finnish.

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