> If Linus were brutal and abusive as you appear to think he his, I
> don't think Linux would have been successful. In fact, most people
> believe Linus was successful precisely *because* Linus is normally
> quite reasonable, and his decisions are generally quite pragmatic and
I think the situation is a little deeper than this. Although sometimes
Linus's messages take the form of abusive rants, they are actually not
only technically grounded, but also written in a very deft prose style.
He is a good writer, because it is surprisingly difficult to write
messages in the form of invective-filled rants that still have a light
touch, but this is something he (usually, albeit perhaps not always)
manages. One reason it is tricky is that sometimes more hyperbole
serves to soften invective. E.g., "if you make that change I'll break
your kneecap" is stronger than "if you make that change I'll skin you
alive and roll you in salt", despite the fact that the later threat is
more brutal. Natural language is a tricky thing, full of such odd
Of course, having a CoC which said "things that read as abusive rants
are okay as long as they either raise or bring to clarity a valid
technical point and are humorous and sufficiently well written" can't
really work. But that is pretty much the CoC on LKML.
My own conjecture is that one reasons many people have a visceral
negative reaction to formal mechanisms like CoCs is that humour can be
an inadvertent victim. Certainly I like to see someone toss out the
occasional "Zol vaksen fun pipik a tsibelis."
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