Thursday , July 29 2021

Linus Torvalds reflects on how he has been hostile to members of the Linux community over the years, excuses problems, and announces that he will take some free time

On Sunday, Linus Torvalds talked about the confusion he had about the Maintainer's Summit, but more importantly, how this incident gave him the chance to realize "that I had really ignored some fairly rooted feelings in the community" . In an email to the Linux kernel mailing list, Torvalds has apologized for hurting people with his behavior over the years, and perhaps having brought some people "away from the development of the kernel completely". To this end, said Torvalds, "I'm going to take some free time and get assistance on how to understand people's emotions and respond appropriately." He wrote: […] It's one thing when you can ignore these problems. It's usually just something I did not want to face. This is my reality. I'm not an emotionally empathetic person and it's probably not a big surprise to anyone. Less than me. The fact that I later misunderstood people and I do not realize (for years) how badly he has judged a situation and contributed to a non-professional environment is not good. This week people in our community have confronted me about my life of not understanding emotions. My irreverent attacks in e-mails were both unprofessional and unsolicited. Especially in times when I made it personal. In my search for a better patch, this made sense to me. Now I know it was not good and I'm really sorry.

The above is basically a long-winded way to get the personal admission a bit painful that hey, I need to change a little bit. of my behavior, and I want to apologize to the people that my personal behavior hurt and eventually completely removed from the kernel development. I will take some free time and get assistance on how to understand people's emotions and respond appropriately.

In other words: when asked about the conferences, from time to time we talk about how the critical points in the development of the kernel did not generally concern the technical problems, but the inflection points in which the flow and the behavior of development have changed . These sore points concern patch flow management and have often been associated with major changes in tools – moving from releases to "patches and tar-balls" (and very painful discussions on how "Linus does not scale" back 15+ years ago ) the use of BitKeeper, and therefore having to write git to overcome the point where it no longer works for us. We did not have that kind of sore point in about a decade. But this week it seemed like such a kind of pain. To tie this to the actual 4.19-rc4 version (no, really, this is related!) Actually I think 4.19 is pretty good, things have come to the "calm" period of the release cycle, and I've talked to Greg to ask him if you would mind ending up 4.19 for me, so you can take a break and at least try to fix my behavior.

This is not a kind of "I'm burned, I need to go away". I do not feel like I do not want to keep Linux. In reverse. I would very much * continue to make this project that I have been working on for almost three decades. This is more like the time I came out of kernel development for a while because I needed to write a little tool called "git". I need to take a break to get help on how to behave differently and solve some problems in my tooling and workflow.

And yes, some could be "only" instruments. Maybe I can get an email filter so when I send emails with bad words, they will not go out. Because hey, I'm a big supporter of the tools and at least some of the problems in progress could be improved with a simple automation. […]

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