Malevolent Developer Trolls Linux Kernel Development with Lots of Broken Patches

It's unclear what the goal of this developer is, besides trolling the maintainers

The Linux kernel is the biggest cooperative development project in existence and thousands of people from all over the world are actively participating. Unfortunately, not everyone is looking to help the open source community, and in fact, there are people who try to hurt it.

In the last few days, the Linux kernel maintainers have been inundated by patches sent to them by a guy called Nick Krause. It's not clear what his goals are or why he is ignoring everything that he's been told so far, but he continuously tries to get broken patches past the maintainers.

Some of the other Linux developers think that he's just a troll who is trying to do some damage to the Linux kernel. He's managed to upset a lot of people and he is actually slowing down the development process by keeping devs busy with meaningless or broken patches.

He has no prior kernel development experience and he actually ignores all the advice he receives. The fact that he continues to harass the maintainers with bad code, despite being asked to stop numerous times, makes people believe that his motives are not naive, but nefarious.

Kernel developer Dave Airlie says that “Nick has decided he wants to be a kernel developer, a laudable goal. He however has decided not to take any advice given to me by a number of other kernel developers on how to work on the kernel. So instead he sends random broken patches to random subsystems in the hope that one will slip past a sleepy maintainer and end up in the kernel.”

Another kernel developer and maintainer, Theodore Ts'o, explains that Nick Krause tried to mess with ext4, btrfs, scsi, and usb subsystems. Theodore even advances a nice theory about Nick trying to write a thesis about trolling the kernel development process and to see if he can get a broken patch past the watchful eye of the maintainers.

Even Greg Kroah-Hartman pitches in and explains to Nick Krause that he will get banned from, if he continues. In any case, Linux developers have been advised to double check the patches from Nick and make sure that nothing gets by.

This sort of drama is something that you don't really see in the Linux kernel, but it shows that the kernel is not something that can be messed with easily and that it's actually quite hard to break something on purpose or to be a developer with nefarious intentions.

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