Linux maker Linus Torvalds takes time off, apologizes for behavior

Creator of open-source software Linux, Linus Torvalds, takes the time and apologizes for his "unprofessional and undesirable behavior," Torvalds said in an e-mail to members of the Linux community on Sunday.

"I have to change part of my behavior and I want to apologize to people that my personal behavior is hurting and may be totally out of the development of the kernel," Torvalds said. "I'm going to take time off and get help to understand people's emotions and respond in the right way."

Linux is the open source operating system that forms the basis for other operating systems such as Google's Android for phones and ChromeOS for computers. Much appreciation Torvalds for creating the basis for many modern modern operating systems.

It is something of a striking self-reflection of a well-known software giant, at a time when CEOs and managers are increasingly being scrutinized. Torvalds is still very much involved with the Linux community and advised developer Greg Kroah-Hartman to take over his responsibilities.

"This is not a sort of" I'm burned out, I just have to leave & # 39 ;, I do not feel like I do not want to continue with Linux maintenance. " On the contrary, "said Torvalds," I would like to * continue to work on this project that I have been working on for almost three decades. "

[ So this email got a lot longer than I initially thought it would get, but let’s start out with the “regular Sunday release” part]

Another week, another rc.

There is nothing special about the technical level in kernel updates from last week – rc4 looks pretty average for this phase in the release cycle, and all other statistics look pretty normal too.

We have roughly two-thirds driverfixes (gpu and networks seem to be the biggest part of it, but there are smaller changes everywhere in different driver sub-systems), while the rest is the usual mix: core networks, perf-tooling updates, arch updates, documentation, some file systems, vm and minor kernel corrections.

So it is all reasonably small and normal for this phase. As usual, I place at the bottom of the short log for people who want to get an overview of the details without really having to dig in the git-tree.

The only change that stands out and deserves to be called is the addition of the code of conduct …

[ And here comes the other, much longer, part… ]

That brings me to the * NOT * normal part of the last week: the discussions (in public mainly on the kernel top discussion lists and then a lot in different private communications) about maintainership and the kernel community. Part of that discussion stemmed from the fact that I ruined my planning for the maintainer's top, where these matters are supposed to have been discussed.

And do not get me wrong. It is not that the discussion itself is new in this week in any way – we have been discussing maintenance and community for years. We have had many discussions in both private and mailing lists. We regularly have lectures at conferences – again, both the "public speaking" type and the "private gangway" type.

No, what was new last week is actually my response to it and I may be introspective (you're the judge).

There were two parts of that.

One of them was simply my own response to the fact that I had messed up my maintenance schedule: yes, I was a little embarrassed because I had ruined my agenda, but frankly I was mostly hopeful that I should not go to the core I have gone every year for about the last two decades.

Yes, we have re-scheduled it, and no, my "maybe you can just do it without me there" was overruled. But that whole situation then started a very different kind of discussion. And a little bit coincidentally, the second part was that I realized that I had completely misinterpreted some of the people involved.

This is where the "look yourself in the mirror" moment comes.

So here we are, finally I realized that it was not really funny or a good sign that I hoped to skip the annual core summit altogether, and on the other hand, I realized that I had really ignored deep-rooted feelings in the community .

It is one thing when you can ignore these problems. Usually it's just something I did not want to be busy with.

This is my reality. I am not an emotionally empathic person and that will probably not be a big surprise to anyone. The least of me. The fact that I subsequently misread people and not (for years) realize how badly I have assessed a situation and contributed to an unprofessional environment is not good.

This week, people in our community confronted me about my life of not understanding emotions. My superficial attacks in e-mails have been both unprofessional and undesirable. Especially at times when I made it personal. In my search for a better patch, this was logical for me. I now know that this was not okay and I'm really sorry.

The above is actually a long-winded way to come to the somewhat painful personal recognition that hey, I have to change some of my behavior, and I want to apologize to the people that my personal behavior was hurt and possibly completely out of the way. development of the kernel.

I'm going to take the time and get some help to understand people's emotions and respond in the right way.

In other words, when I am asked at conferences, I occasionally talk about how the problem areas in kernel development generally did not deal with the technical issues, but about the inflection points where the development flow and behavior changed.

These issues were about managing the flow of patches and were often associated with major changes in operations – apart from making releases with "patches and tar-balls" (and the _very_ painful discussions about how "Linus does not scale" back 15 + years ago) to the use of BitKeeper, and then to writing git to ignore the point that no longer works for us.

In about ten years we have not had that kind of pain points. But this week felt like that kind of pain.

To link all this back to the actual 4.19-rc4 release (no, really, this is _related!), I think 4.19 looks pretty good, things have ended up in the "quiet" period of the release cycle, and I spoke with Greg to ask him if he would mind to get 4.19 for me so that I could take a break and at least try to solve my own behavior.

This is not a kind of "I'm burned up, I just have to leave" pause. I do not feel like I do not want to continue with Linux maintenance. Right on the other side. I would like * to continue working on this project that I have been working on for almost three decades.

This is more like the time I left the kernel development for a while because I had to write a small tool called "git". I have to pause to get help on how to behave differently and solve some problems in my tooling and workflow.

And yes, part of it can be "just" tools. Maybe I can get an e-mail filter, so when I send e-mails with swear words, they just do not go out. Because hey, I am a big believer in tools, and at least some problems in the future can be improved with simple automation.

I know that when I really "look at myself in the mirror", it will be clear that it is not the only change that has to happen, but hey … You can send me suggestions by e-mail.

I look forward to seeing you at the Maintainer Summit.


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