Linus Torvalds has been in the news recently since he’s been taking a break from leading development of the Linux kernel (the part of the code that passes everything from the software to the hardware and back and the most important part of an operating system). He cites his “unprofessional and uncalled for” behavior and says he’s taking some time off so he can learn to be less of a jerk.
In the wake of his leaving, Linux development has adopted a new Code of Conduct, approved in part by Torvalds, himself. He’s where things get heated and weird and threaten to turn into a shitfight for no apparent reason:
The code is based on the Contributor Covenant Code of Conduct 1.4 which was developed by Caroline Ehmke, and this has some of the people in the Linux community in an uproar over… well-- hard to say. The code of conduct is itself pretty unobjectionable. Instead in the various corners of the Internet that I’m currently refusing to link to, it’s turning into a referendum on Ehmke herself and her politics (despite the fact that accepting a code of conduct doesn’t mean accepting everything Ehmke believes.) Ehmke made some remarks on meritocracy and now this is getting thrown around the net with the subheading of, “Linux is no longer a meritocracy.” Never mind the fact that nothing in the CCCC 1.4 or the Code adopted by the Linux Kernel development community endorses any of that.
Some developers are threatening to rescind their contributions to the Linux kernel, though as of right now, I personally, am unclear on the legalities and externalities of such a move. (Bear in mind you might be carrying Linux in your pocket in the form of an Android phone.)
Anyway, as I write this, it’s all trickling through the YouTube and Reddit reactionary sphere, and it’s only a matter of time before it all blows up or blows over. In the event it blows up, I dub it “Curmudgeongate,” on the grounds that this is basically about a subgroup of people who are just kinda grumpy and practical, and the subgroup of that subgroup of grumpy practical people who are also irrationally afraid of a Code of Conduct because it was made by a giirrrl.
Here’s a video from a pretty middle-of-the-road Linux YouTuber talking about the whole thing, though I have it queued to start at the Code of Conduct (he starts the video talking about Torvalds.)