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SubjectRe: [Ksummit-2013-discuss] [ATTEND] How to act on LKML
On Wed, Jul 17, 2013 at 11:09:31AM -0400, Steven Rostedt wrote:
> On Wed, 2013-07-17 at 07:48 -0700, Sarah Sharp wrote:
> > > Does that sound like there are not going to have enough direct/thick skin
> > > new kernel developers around to maintain the future Linux community? Maybe
> > > just need a better pipeline for people comfortable for this culture?
> >
> > No, we don't need a better pipeline for people who can "put up with
> > shit". We need a better pipeline for people who can work together
> > civilly, and still get shit done.
> >
> > I'm working on getting a pipeline of women into kernel development,
> > through the FOSS Outreach Program for Women. They slowly get introduced
> > to Linux development culture, starting with a very friendly separate
> > mailing list and IRC channel, and finally moving to work with a kernel
> > mentor on a bigger project on the main Linux kernel development lists.
> > We have seven women participating this round, and I suspect we'll have
> > even more the next round.
> >
> > So deal with it. You're going to have a lot more women in the kernel
> > community, and not all of them will be willing to put up with verbal
> > abuse. If you want to attract top talent that also happen to be women
> > or racial minorities, the verbal abuse needs to stop.
> >
> I have to ask. How much verbal abuse have you received in LKML? And I
> don't mean in this thread.

I assume you also want me to exclude the verbal abuse and personal
threats I've received via email and my blog because of this thread.
But, just for reference, I'll post them here as well.

Here's a gem from a senior software developer at Nvidia:

And another email from a software developer in Portland, where I live:

On my blog, here's some choice comments, mostly asking me to quit kernel
development, along with more than a few misogynist comments:

"You volunteered to help out on the Linux journey. He never volunteered
to care for your feelings, nor did anyone else. It’s an opt-in community
and you can always opt out at any time. Caveat emptor."

"You’re no one compared to Linus. Start being Alan Cox or Theodore T’so
first to criticize him for his behaviour."

"Drama Queen"

"The LKML is not a place for easily offended girls to be. Get over

"shit, just what we need – a bitch running around crying about how hurt
her feelings are."

"Oy vey you poor goyi…girl. You need to teach these sexist boys that
being racist is wrong. Think of the wonderful things that womyn have
done in the IT field. Clearly Linus is a rape apologist who fosters
negative views of minorities."

"This is why women are viewed as pathetic jokes, especially in the tech
world – because you’re weak and ineffectual, insufferable pansies who
expect the world to cater and accommodate your thin skin and easily
offended hyper-sensibilities. Grow the fuck up bitch. It’s real cute how
you’ve tried to paint yourself as some gallant Joan of Arc, crusading
against “muh bigotry” and “muh intolerance.” You’re a feminist joke, one
in a very long line."

Speaking out about this has made the crazies come out of the woodwork.
It means I now have to book a rental car so I don't have to be on public
transit, and book a hotel room so I don't have to be home. Those
crazies, especially the local Portland SW developer, can easily find my
home address from my blog domain name whois info.

Being a woman in open source, and speaking out, means I put my personal
safety in jeopardy. I should not have to put up with this. We should
be able to have a private conversation at KS without the court of public
opinion getting involved. However, that's not the way it went, and now
I have to deal with the verbal abuse, sexist statements, and threats
that are the backlash from this thread.

> You pointed out a few examples of Linus, and it usually comes from
> someone that should know better being told not to do something, and they
> continue to do it, and then finally Linus blows up. Linus doesn't start
> his cursing at the first email. It takes a few to show that you deserve
> a blow up.
> Usually sensitive developers would listen the first time they are told.
> It's more of the thick skin developers that push the envelope. But I
> understand, its the "image" that bothers you.

No, it's actually some of the comments I've received that bother me.
For example, I would never want to deal with the misogynist troll,
Lubin, EVER again.

"You may be seen as a liability by Intel preaching "feminism" on a
public forum. From their point of view: will you play the gender card
on them. Here is what you did: Instead of realizing that I was being
_very_ sympathetic to a more diverse Linux development environment by
using the phrase "the old boys club", you pretended to take offense, not
realizing you're in fact becoming a liability. That's okay. Honest

Telling me my job at Intel is in jeopardy because I'm complaining about
sexist statements is a threat. It's verbal abuse, and I won't take it.
I shouldn't have to put up with these kinds of statements and personal

> The scariest thing about Linux kernel development is that because its so
> successful, and the development is so open to the world (you are
> programming on a stage in a world theater), that thin skin people may
> not be comfortable in that environment. What we need are mentors, and
> educate people that Linux really isn't that harsh, and that the new
> developers actually do have talent, and shouldn't be afraid to post
> their code.

We do need mentors. Thank you for signing up to be one.

I disagree that we should educate people that Linux really isn't that
harsh. We are technically harsh, and always will be. Linux kernel
developers require perfect code, and perfectly formatted patches.
Setting up mentees to think otherwise is simply not advisable. However,
we can assure them that they won't see harsh _personal_ attacks, and
coach them through dealing with their first harsh attacks against their

> The last thing I want to do is to lower the quality of the kernel just
> to get a wider range of developers.

I agree. We shouldn't lower our coding standards. We should however,
take a very close look at our personal communication styles, in order to
ensure we aren't excluding a wide range of developers.

Sarah Sharp
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