Greg K-H Tries to Code Linus' Behavior

by Ostatic Staff - Mar. 09, 2015

Yesterday Greg Kroah-Hartman committed small patch cc-4.0-rc2 to the kernel git documentation repository dubbed "Code of Conflict." The Code of Conflict is an attempt "to keep things civil and focused on the technical issues involved." Jim Zemlin took the opportunity to include diversity in the conversation as well although yesterday's commit didn't address that issue specifically.

The document committed by Kroah-Hartman yesterday begins by stating the process by which the kernel is developed "has been proven to create the most robust operating system kernel ever." It continues by saying that while the writers do not wish the quality of the kernel code to decrease but if anyone "feels personally abused, threatened, or otherwise uncomfortable due to this process" they should write the Linux Foundation and file a complaint. The Linux Foundation Technical Advisory Board will then take action to resolve the issue.

Although it wasn't stated explicitly, the document is clearly aimed squarely at Linus Torvalds who has been quoted saying what some characterize as abusive comments to developers. Torvalds, who admits he is "not a nice person," is straightforward and has little patience for sloppy and buggy code. Torvalds is downright rude sometimes but perhaps the Code of Conflict can rein him in. The commit was signed by 60 developers and Torvalds accepted the patch no doubt knowing that it was directed at him.

Kroah-Hartman finishes the "code" with:

As a reviewer of code, please strive to keep things civil and focused on the technical issues involved. We are all humans, and frustrations can be high on both sides of the process. Try to keep in mind the immortal words of Bill and Ted, "Be excellent to each other."

There's been no public comment from Torvalds on the patch as of yet, but Jim Zemlin of the Linux Foundation today blogged, "There is a long way to go, but the kernel community is always evolving and we feel this patch is an important step." Zemlin also said, "It's no secret that the software industry would like to see more diversity. While this code does not address that directly, we feel it's an important step to make clear that civil discourse is an important part of an open source community and to make it very plain that all are welcome."

Torvalds was quoted as saying the code is what's important - not the color, gender, or sexual orientation of the submitter. Torvalds was scolded by many for that position and now complaints can be filed against him.