I sent the mail below on Saturday evening (Portland time). I'm told
that others also sent complaints, perhaps to different address(es).
I think there is room for disagreement about: the extent to which his
comments were a CoC violation; the nature and severity of the
violation; and the appropriate response.
However, I think a basic requirement is that CoC complaints are:
- dealt with promptly;
- without fear of favour;
- and that the outcome is communicated to the complainants.
It seems to me that, unfortunately, we have failed in those respects.
During my informal conversations with various people it was evident
that this issue was seen as a political hot potato, and that it wasn't
clear to everyone who had ultimate responsibility for making a
It seems to me that we have failed to act (or to do so promptly, at
least) essentially because of the identity and status of the alleged
violator. This is not acceptable.
I can see that it's a difficult situation for the teams responsible,
and I'm sorry for putting those people on the spot. And I regret the
need to follow this up. But a Code of Conduct is only any use if it
is enforced, and it is only fair if it is enforced equally on
I have some concrete suggestions for improvements which I am going to
post to a public list. I wanted to share the background here.
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So of course I disagree with Linus on the metaquestion of treating
people decently. That specific disagreement was dealt with in the the
Q&A in a decent manner.
But the fact that Linus disagrees with us doesn't give him the right
to come to our space and violate our norms.
Linus described the FSF as `bigots'. That is clearly beyond the pale.
As part of that extended tirade he accused them of lying, in so many
words. That is a very serious accusation which he didn't really back
up. Under the circumstances I think at the very least he should have
minced his words.
It's not as if he was insulting an abstract entity, or even people who
weren't present. Many FSF Supporters will have been in the audience,
and indeed the FSF's Executive Director may well have been in the
Obviously it's rather late to try to enforce the CoC on Linus for this
conference. But we can make sure that there is no repetition, and we
can set a good example for others:
Debian should make a public statement that Linus will not be welcome
at Debian events in future.
Also, Debian owes the FSF an apology. That apology should be at least
as public as the offence.
Feel free to make this complaint, including my identity, public.
Ian Jackson personal email: <ijackson@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx>
These opinions are my own. http://www.chiark.greenend.org.uk/~ijackson/
PGP2 key 1024R/0x23f5addb, fingerprint 5906F687 BD03ACAD 0D8E602E FCF37657
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