Is It Time to Restore Civility to Linux Development?

tuxFrom the ‘Don’t Mess with Sarah’ files:

Linus Torvalds is well known for his use of colorful language on the Linux Kernel Mailing List (LKML) and he’s not the only one that uses questionable language that some might considering threatening.

For the last 20 years, I can’t remember anyone actually standing up to Linus (or the other colorful devs) saying that’s just not right — until today.

Sarah Sharp, Linux kernel developer at Intel, is making a stand against the verbal abuse.

Sharp wrote in an LKML message:

Violence, whether it be physical intimidation, verbal threats or verbal abuse is not acceptable. Keep it professional on the mailing lists.

Let’s discuss this at Kernel Summit where we can at least yell at each other in person. Yeah, just try yelling at me about this. I’ll roar right back, louder, for all the people who lose their voice when they get yelled at by top maintainers. I won’t be the nice girl anymore.

It’s obvious to me that Sharp is right. It should be obvious to all decent human beings that violence and threats of abuse have no place in civil development discourse either.

Do I expect Linus to change? No.

Do I hope he will? Yes.

Will Sharp change anything? I sure hope so. The fact that she’s standing up and making her voice heard is the start of a conversation that should have started a long time ago.

Sean Michael Kerner is a senior editor at Follow him on Twitter @TechJournalist.

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