The Linux kernel civility discussion is an ongoing discussion in July 2013 about the role that civility or lack thereof plays in Linux kernel software development. The discussion was started by Sarah Sharp on her blog and on the Linux kernel email list (LKML).
The discussion was not centered on gender or other diversity, but attracted commentary from people interested in diversity advocacy in software development among others.
Linux kernel community discussions
- Sarah Sharp's mail to LKML, calling out verbal abuse from kernel maintainers and suggesting further discussion at the Kernel Summit
- Linus Torvalds responds to Sarah Sharp's tone "That's the spirit."
- Darren Hart responds, suggesting improving process documentation
- Followup from Sarah Sharp, pointing out specific past emails from Linus Torvalds
- Reply from Linus Torvalds, explaining his "management by perkele" style
- Reply from Sarah Sharp
- Reply from Linus Torvalds, on the correlation between his cursing and higher expectations
- Reply from Linus Torvalds, clarifying the difference to him between arguing and cursing
- Reply from Sarah Sharp, saying yelling can be non-productive and that she won't put up with verbal abuse
- Reply from Sarah Sharp, on not "playing the victim card"
- Kees Cook responds, pointing to a presentation on maintaining a good social tone in an online community
- Reply from Linus Torvalds, against "acting professionally"
- Reply from Sarah Sharp, on plans for moving the discussion to the Kernel Summit
- Chris Ball responds, suggesting signing a statement to "critique code respectfully, without personal attacks or public humiliation"
- Neil Brown responds, saying that "Open conflict != insults"
- Thomas Gleixner responds, saying that he was not a victim of abuse
- Neil Brown responds, mentioning public scolding as potentially discouraging other members of the community who are bystanders to the scolding
- Rusty Russell responds, supporting being harsh with code but gentle with people
- Will Tarreau responds, on limiting and misunderstanding and on how the system works because newcomers can work with maintainers rather than Linus
- Alex Elder responds, saying "shaming and flaming" is effective for the top people but doing so publicly needlessly initimidates new people
- Steven Rostedt responds, on consequences of being "professional" that he wants the Linux community to avoid
- Kees Cook responds, changing focus from "being professional" to "no bullying"
- Darren Hart responds, clarifying the focus on avoiding personal attacks rather than avoiding swearing
- Darren Hart responds, pointing to an article on "survivor's bias"
- Reply from Sarah Sharp, providing a thorough summary of her viewpoint
Off-list commentary by kernel developers
- No more verbal abuse blog entry by Sarah Sharp
Summary on Civility blog entry by Sarah Sharp
- On Linux-Kernel Mailing List Behavior by Rusty Russell
Commentary from others
- You don't have to be a jerk to code review by Alex Gaynor
- Why This Hacker Stood Up Against ‘Verbal Abuse’ in Linux Land
- Linus Torvalds defends his right to shame Linux kernel developers
- Intel Programmer Sarah Sharp Wants Linux Creator Linus Torvalds To Knock Off The 'Verbal Abuse'
- King Of Geeks Linus Torvalds Defends His Right To Code In His Bathrobe And Curse At Other Developers
- Man, you can tell how many abusers are hiding out in a community by how voraciously they defend abusive behavior when it's called out. @demew
- Amazed, though I shouldn't be, at the number of people who think abuse is acceptable at all AND that it demonstrates skilled leadership. @christiekoehler
- It’s hilarious to me watching people argue that you HAVE to be a jerk to make software. ProTip: Linus is the exception, not the rule. @jacobian
- Abusive private email sent to Sharp