Linus Torvalds: Getting Upset in Public and Ignoring Flame Wars | Summary and Q&A

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January 28, 2020
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Lex Clips
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Linus Torvalds: Getting Upset in Public and Ignoring Flame Wars

TL;DR

Open source communities struggle with the lack of a private forum for sensitive discussions, leading to potential issues with context and new team members.

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Questions & Answers

Q: Why do open source communities need a private forum for discussions?

Open source communities often deal with sensitive matters related to security and maintainer issues that demand a private forum for open and honest discussions without the fear of repercussions. Without privacy, context can be lost, causing misunderstandings and potential conflicts.

Q: How does the lack of a private forum impact onboarding new contributors?

When discussions happen privately, new contributors may miss out on important context and decisions, making it difficult for them to fully understand and engage with the project. It can create a divide between experienced contributors and newcomers.

Q: How does Linus Torvalds handle frustrating situations?

Linus Torvalds admits that he occasionally explodes and fires off angry emails, mostly when someone fails to acknowledge a bug they introduced. However, he tends to calm down quickly and no longer responds to every email, prioritizing his mental well-being.

Q: How does the lack of private discussions affect the press?

Without a private forum, open source community members may sometimes engage in public flame wars that attract attention from journalists. This can lead to news articles focused on conflicts rather than the productive aspects of the community.

Summary & Key Takeaways

  • Open source communities lack a private forum for sensitive discussions, leading to challenges with context and onboarding new members.

  • Maintainer issues and code-related discussions often require a more private setting, but this can result in the lack of archives and exclusion of new contributors.

  • Linus Torvalds, the creator of Linux, sometimes gets upset when bugs are not acknowledged or when he receives a significant amount of email, but he no longer responds to every message.

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