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 itâ€™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.”
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.