Sarah Sharp: “I’m not a Linux kernel developer any more”

“I’m not a Linux kernel developer any more. I quietly transferred the maintainership of the USB 3.0 host controller driver in May 2014. In January 2015, I stepped down from being the Linux kernel coordinator for the FOSS Outreach Program for Women (OPW), and moved up to help coordinate the overall Outreachy program. As of December 6 2014, I gave what I hope is my last presentation on Linux kernel development. I was asked to help coordinate the Linux Plumbers Conference in Seattle in August 2015, and I said no. My Linux Foundation Technical Advisory Board (TAB) term is soon over, and I will not be running for re-election.
Given the choice, I would never send another patch, bug report, or suggestion to a Linux kernel mailing list again”
See Closing a door
This is the result of the spat with Linus last year when Sarah Sharp criticized Linus’ lack of decorum. Yes, Linux could be developed without flaming by Linus or anyone else. She doesn’t want any part of that and it’s the Linux community’s loss not to have Sarah contributing regularly. If Linus believes he can afford to alienate even one of thousands of developers, he’s not understanding community. A community grows and evolves differently depending on the individual contributions of all members. With Sarah gone, Linux will be different in ways we cannot tell yet if ever.

Look at it like a tree. If an acorn comes to rest in the right place you get a twig the next year with two or three leaves on it. The year after that, you get a stick perhaps a couple of feet tall with a dozen leaves. A few years later, it’s a broomstick that actually makes some shade. In subsequent years it becomes a vital ecosystem for birds, squirrels, rabbits, mice, earthworms and the system of roots may be much larger than the foliage. Eventually, that system that began so humbly may become a magnificent tree you can see from miles away. It may dominate the landscape for centuries. Why discourage that humble acorn?

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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15 Responses to Sarah Sharp: “I’m not a Linux kernel developer any more”

  1. oiaohm says:

    The Linux Kernel community is not known to be friendly. But Linus and others don’t single anyone out or race, gender or anything else. Basically if they are a jerk they are a jerk to everyone.

    Sarah Sharp released the USB 3.0 driver for Linux early because she was a developer at Intel so got early access to the hardware. Sarah Sharp was on the receiving and of a few problems when other developers got access to the hardware and found the driver had issues. Now those issue would have happen if she was male as well.

    Key thing to learn from Sarah Sharp experience is if you get to release drivers to the Linux kernel ahead of other developers having the hardware to check them be very sure on your QA process or it might come back and bite you big time. Yes some of the issue from doing something like that is on going distrust and increase risk of externally blunt answers.

  2. dougman wrote, “Its obvious that Ms. Sharp is not the crème de la crème of the FLOSS developer world.”

    Only if you are prejudiced in some way. She brought Linux USB 3 ahead of anyone else. What’s that worth? Why didn’t Linus or someone else do that? She contributed a lot in ~7 years. Many people make just a single patch and leave…

    See Intel“Today at the Red Hat Summit, Intel’s Sarah Sharp was recognized with the first Women in Open Source Award for her efforts in fostering collaboration among the open source community and encouraging women to get involved in open source. An embedded software architect in the Open Source Technology Center at Intel, Sharp works with Linux kernel mentors for Outreachy, which helps underrepresented groups get involved in open source projects. Sharp also advocates for improving communication among kernel developers and making open source communities more collaborative and welcoming. Among other achievements, Sharp also was the author of the Linux USB 3.0 host controller driver. From everyone at Intel, congratulations, Sarah Sharp, on this achievement!”

    I wouldn’t think Intel would brag about Sarah and then push her out.

  3. dougman says:

    Re: “Thugs”, did you just call Linus and the devs a pack of thugs?

    Either way, a person’s actions outside the workspace, speaks volumes on what is going on in that person’s head. See Intel has a strict Code of Conduct and perhaps on her next review, this incident will be looked at and reviewed with interest.

    See, Intel utilizes a process known as “stacked ranking” and as a manager, who would you keep a whiny snot that’s a quitter, or a warrior that can take the heat.

    Its obvious that Ms. Sharp is not the crème de la crème of the FLOSS developer world.


  4. dougman wrote, “I know for a fact that whom ever she works for, will take this episode into consideration.”

    She works for Intel. They are a first-class employer, not a bunch of thugs.
    “I’ve been running Linux since 2003, mostly Debian and Ubuntu. I was a Linux kernel developer from 2006 to 2013. I’m the reason Linux had USB 3.0 support before any other operating system, including Windows. I no longer work on the Linux kernel. I currently work in Intel’s Open Source Technology Center (OTC), focusing on the Linux userspace graphics stack (Mesa).”

    See Sarah’s Blog, The Geekess

  5. dougman says:

    Good. I am glad to see that someone wrote a lengthy email in response to the whiner. I know for a fact that whom ever she works for, will take this episode into consideration.

  6. dougman says:

    Let’s see, one whiner calls foul, then Matthew Garrett decides to fork Linux, meanwhile, other women have no qualms dealing with Linus.

    Here is a list of women in FLOSS:

    Also, Ms. Sharp has not contributed anything since 2013. According to her blog:

    Here is a list of emails:

  7. JD says:

    Time for the meds?

    Oh ye of little faith:

  8. DrLoser says:

    Women of this nature …

    You wot?
    Res ipsa loquitur.

  9. DrLoser says:

    What are you all whinging about? Sarah Sharp is a woman. Her cognomen might just give that away.
    FLOSS doesn’t need women! Women just get in the way! All of that touchy-feely emotional stuff — it’s vile, I tell you!
    What FLOSS needs is more conferences where we geeky males make fun of women. Objectify women. You know, put women in their place!
    They’ve got lots of practice at cleaning house and dealing with poop in the basement. Obviously they have a role.
    I say women should be exalted as Quality Assurance Supremos! It’s almost as good as being a developer, but not quite.
    I’m sure they will welcome that role. It’s a bit like being an abject slave under the thumb of incompetent males, but, you know, sometimes slaves are necessary.
    Just so long as the slaves don’t buy M$ products. Because that would be far worse than being continuously, gratuitously, insulted by their own “community.”
    Continually, and en masse.

  10. JD wrote, “Women of this nature enter a field and demand everybody who has worked to build it change to accommodate them, instead of themselves adjusting to focus on accomplishing the task at hand.”

    That’s not what’s happening. The flaming on LKML adds nothing to Linux except to drive people away. Sarah Sharp has no such problems working at Intel. She has contributed a lot. What’s happening is that a few street-gang bullies are making good people miserable. It’s not even about women. A lot of good men have been pushed out. Meritocracy is not about who’s meanest. It’s about who’s best. I know Linus would not last long if he were a teacher and flamed students regularly. Linus doesn’t need to flame people. He could explain what’s wrong and/or reject patches and move on.

  11. JD says:

    Well stated dougie. Another example of women coming into a meritocratic field and trying to democratize it. Women of this nature enter a field and demand everybody who has worked to build it change to accommodate them, instead of themselves adjusting to focus on accomplishing the task at hand. It is the cycle of life all over again. Men build civilization. Women wait till all threats have been neutralized, then demand they ‘deserve’ equal rewards from the men’s work but bear none of the responsibilities. They would then claim it was the men’s ‘oppression’ that prevented them from accomplishing the same thing.

    Linus has a choice here. He could either stand his ground, hold on to his balls, and weather the feminzi shit storm, or cave in and risk Linux becoming mediocre.

    Option 1, we will continue to see innovation and the kernel will remain cutting edge. Option 2, we will be setting quotas stating X lines of codes must be contributed by women, X number of contributors must be women etc, without any consideration for the quality or stability of the kernel. Then women will become the majority of contributors and this will be hailed as some sort of progressive achievement by the media.

    Pretty soon, the kernel as we know today will crumble, and a group of men elsewhere will team up to build the next big thing that revolutionizes computing. Rinse and repeat.

  12. dougman wrote, “go cry me a river”.

    Well, why do you think Linux is better off without the participation of women/gentle people? It’s not. Women do some things better than men and they do some different things than men. They matter. Gentle people matter too. They can actually think if they are not driven by rage all the time.

  13. dougman says:

    Pffft…another entitlement princess. She tried some attention grabbing drama, got all uppity, was briefly shot down, butt-hurt feelings etc. Now she quit….go cry me a river.


    Its not like Linux is new, so Linus obviously knows what he is doing and has been doing it for some time. I wonder why she felt the need to complain when NO ONE else has…hmmmm.

    This story reminds me of Anita Sarkeesian and Zoe Quinn, whining to the UN about being abused with “misogynistic hate” then asking that the Internet be regulated.

  14. Agent Smith says:

    That’s what you get when you turn Linux development into a playground of spoiled brats from RH. They bully everyone, and that’s the result. I’m also leaving Linux land, with one foot in BSD these days. I can relate to that girl Sarah.

  15. ram says:

    There is no reason for any Linux developer groups to be impolite, engage in bullying, or harassment. Unfortunately the Linux kernel developers are not the only ones to be deficient in manners. The Linux Audio Developers (LAD) are often rude to each other and one of the reasons I’m not on that list. I know several LAD members so if I want something to get up there I just send it privately as an anonymous fix or addition.
    It is a bit strange, as nearly all of the Linux music communities are polite, welcoming, and supportive. Those groups I correspond directly with, rude groups I do not associate with.

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