Beggar Varghese

Sam Varghese is a respected commentator on IT but even he begs the question on this one:
Sarah: “80 percent of the kernel contributors are paid by companies. So that means that the Linux kernel really has a lot of people from corporations on there. Some of them, like Linus, are paid by nonprofits. But it’s still becoming more of a corporate environment, and a lot of corporations have codes of conduct. And those codes of conduct often say things about how you conduct yourself on public forums or social media. The code of conduct for those companies also applies to the [Linux Kernel] mailing list."
Sam: “To put it mildly, this is a stupid assertion. All these developers, no matter the company that hires them, are all joining the kernel project which Torvalds started. Hence, it is only logical that they adhere to his rules and not the other way around. Sometimes logic seems to evade even developers.”

see Female dev's outburst against Torvalds was planned.

Joining an organization does not mean a member must accept abuse nor give it. That’s a bizarre concept. People and organizations join the Linux Foundation for many reasons, and probably none involve giving and taking abuse. Sarah Sharp from Intel is probably correct in her assertion that folks from big business do care about image and have rules of professional conduct quite incompatible with flaming on LKML.

In my own career I saw such things in action several times. The most prominent event for me was my attendance at a conference for educators in northern Canada. After the event the forums were overflowing with complements to the organizers for a fantastic success. When I had the nerve to mention an outbreak of food-poisoning which sidelined me and about a third of participant for days and questioning calling this event a success, I was roundly castigated by my boss openly in a staff meeting. That’s corporate ethos. Top-down stuff happens and screaming matches on-line are not compatible with that.

Kudos to Sarah. Boo to geeky dinosaurs like Linus and Varghese who refuse to mature with the product, Linux, which is now in use by everyone on the planet. Polite society demands better behaviour. Linux has escaped from a crevice in geekdom. It’s mainstream and must adjust to greater visibility and side effects. It matters not only what developers say to each other but how they say it. It would cost them nothing to change and would make Linux more acceptable to more people and organizations, a good thing.

About Robert Pogson

I am a retired teacher in Canada. I taught in the subject areas where I have worked for almost forty years: maths, physics, chemistry and computers. I love hunting, fishing, picking berries and mushrooms, too.
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8 Responses to Beggar Varghese

  1. Writing of Sam Varghese, Adam Williamson wrote, “I don’t know anyone actually involved in working on F/OSS who sees him as anything but a malicious troll.”

    Strange, then, that Linus Torvalds, one of the Gurus of FLOSS bothered to give Sam an interview

  2. “Sam Varghese is a respected commentator on IT”

    No, he really, really isn’t. I don’t know anyone actually involved in working on F/OSS who sees him as anything but a malicious troll.

  3. John says:

    “Sam Varghese is a respected commentator on IT” – Not here he’s not. His behavior at some conferences and his constant trolling in his column has put him on my “Do Not Read” list.

  4. JD wrote, “Its something called the rationalization hamster.”

    The person who wrote that article was not logical at all. Why pay any attention?

    In my personal experience I have met many women who are crisply logical. e.g. When I was a student in Honours Physics, a domain almost exclusively male and decidedly logic-bound, a young woman was parachuted in and out of the blue took one of our courses to round out her mathematical training. She made fools of us all, taking top honours. She went on to be a medical doctor and head of a major Canadian hospital. So, attributing fuzzy logic to women is absolute nonsense. Women may appear illogical due to parallel processing to men who are exclusively serial processing at a slow rate but a woman may come to the correct conclusion before the man has even brought the problem into view.

  5. JD says:

    Its something called the rationalization hamster. Read more about it here:

  6. Agent_Smith says:

    Well, the good thing with Internet is it never lets you forget.
    How about the behavior of this CEO ???
    Images are thousand times worth words…

  7. matchrocket says:

    If Linus can clean up his act without changing the basic nature of his benevolent dictatorship, then yes, go for it. But it’s his very nature that’s kept Linux going in its basic form of development in spite of its phenomenal success. Staying true to form has been a major part of its success.

    As far as Stallman is concerned, his image is not an issue. It’s his words that count. A picture of Richard Stallman is not a copy of the GPL. A picture of Richard Stallman does not protect you from unscrupulous corporations. A page or two of his words, however, will.

  8. bw says:

    Torvalds is the star image for Linux, certainly. He is a techie, though, and likely to indulge in the sort of closed conference behavior characteristic of techies, which will include earthy language on occasion. He is far more presentable than Stallman and Linux fans should not complain.

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