Intel Developer Accuses Torvalds of Verbal Abuse, Linus Says He Doesn't Fake Politeness

A heated discussion has started in regard to the harsh language used in the mailing lists

By Silviu Stahie on July 16th, 2013 11:51 GMT

The Linux Kernel Development Mailing List may sounds like a boring place, but the latest discussion between Linus Torvalds and Intel developer Sarah Sharp shows that it's actually full of life.

Everyone has enjoyed the furious rants of Linus Torvalds over the years, usually started with good cause against someone who has made a mistake.

The Linux maintainer and founder is not a patient man and he showed this side of his character more than once, but now, one of the other developers, Intel's Sarah Sharp, says that the mailing list has to become a more civilized environments, free of profanities and swear words.

“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 [expletive] cool.”

“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,” stated Sarah Sharp in the official mailing list.

It's not hard to imagine that Linus Torvalds has responded to this rather unusual email and has defended his reactions and the overall tonicity of the discussions.

“Because if you want me to ‘act professional,’ I can tell you that I'm not interested. I'm sitting in my home office wearing a bathrobe. The same way 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: people resort to all kinds of really nasty things because they are forced to act out their normal urges in unnatural ways,” responded Linus Torvalds.

This is not the first time that Linus Torvalds has to explain the fact that the Linux kernel mailing list is not a democracy and that, despite everyone’s intentions, he is actually in charge.

The discussion will most likely not end on this high note from Linus, but until this is solved, it's going to be an issue for the credibility of the Linux developers as a bonded community.
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