Linus Torvalds pens vintage 'f*cking' rant at kernel dev's 'utter BS'

Dev bounces back with 'fair enough' as rc3 for 4.13 lands

Linux overlord Linus Torvalds has fired off an expletive-laden rant of the sort that only he seems to find acceptable.

His post to the Linux Kernel mailing list takes aim at a chap named Kees Cook, who The Register believes to be a Google employee working on security for the company's Pixel phones.

Cook appears to have earned Torvalds' ire with his post warning of a bug in the way the Linux kernel deals with memory leaks.

Torvalds' response is stern, kicking off with “Kees, stop this idiocy already”, explaining that the bugs Cook discusses are false positives and then launching into “it's a f*cking disgrace that you are in denial about the fact that it's the *checking* that is broken, not the code, and are making excuses for shit.”

He then gets up a head of steam, writing “That BUG() is broken. Claiming that there was no sane way to continue is complete and utter bullshit.”

“Seriously, this is the kind of utter garbage that drives me bonkers. Introducing new code that kills a machine, and then not owning the fact that it was *your* code that was broken, and instead saying 'but we HAD to kill the machine'.”

“So get rid of the BUG(), and get rid of the excuses.”

Torvalds explains the situation in more depth and then wraps up as follows:

“None of this 'there is no way to continue' bullshit. Because it is pure and utter SHIT.”

And so, argue some, is the fact that Torvalds finds it acceptable to write this sort of thing in what is effectively the workplace for contributors to the Linux kernel. Torvalds' response to such criticism is to point out that he's not nice by nature and that his style gets results. A counter-argument suggests that those results would be even better in an environment that doesn't see developers quit because they feel they won't be treated respectfully.

Cook seems not to have been bruised by Torvalds' strong language, as his next post opens with “Okay, fair enough” and goes on to say “I'm not in denial about that – I think we just have very different perspectives on this.”

Perhaps Torvalds' mood will be improved by the fact he says Linux 4.13 is coming along nicely, with a “small” third release candidate now on offer.

Torvalds attributes the slow-down to a European-summer-related slow-down in development activity.

“I'm not complaining,” he writes. “Quiet weeks are nice.” ®

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