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Re: Linus, and whether tactfulness has any value

From: Christopher Browne
Subject: Re: Linus, and whether tactfulness has any value
Date: Wed, 28 Dec 2005 11:40:55 -0500
User-agent: Gnus/5.1006 (Gnus v5.10.6) XEmacs/21.4 (Jumbo Shrimp, berkeley-unix)

> In comp.os.linux.advocacy Edwin <> wrote:
>> Linus is a computer geek, and English is a second language for him.
>> Tact is too much to expect from him.  Beside that, many Europeans seem
>> to practice a blunt, abrupt style of speech.
> Od, my experience differes from yours.  I've found most Europeans
> to be very polite and tactful.  Most of my experience is with
> Germany, Holland, and England, so perhaps I would feel differently
> if I traveled more of the continent.

There are pretty enormous variations even within those three nations'

German seems to be a pretty abrupt language, to my view, and some of
that abruptness often migrates over when Germans speak English.

In contrast, the definition of "polite English" has to do with English
culture, so that you'll see the very most tactful English from a
subset of the English.

And since there are loud, abrupt personalities, as well as meeker
ones, you'll obviously see all of that expressed throughout...

> Also, given the context of ego driven geekness that Linus must
> operate in, I find Linus's behavior on the kernel mailing list
> to be very tactful (relatively speaking).  He can be blunt when
> he needs to be... but usually manages to do it without causing
> personal offense.

He occasionally tells people to f*!$!#( off, which is arguably not the
most diplomatic thing to do.  On the other hand, preserving some
peoples' feelings at the cost of wasting a lot of peoples' time mayn't
be the best of tradeoffs.

>> Linux has outgrown Linus anyway.   It's time to stop making a little
>> tin god out of him.   He's had his 15 minute of fame already.
> I don't think anyone has made a 'tin god' of him... at least not
> among the true developer community.  He commands respect because
> of his technical ability and his skill at coordinating and motivate
> a very diverse group of contributors.  He is the defacto owner of
> the kernel as long as he continues to earn that respect... and not
> a minute longer.

Yes, it will last "more than a minute longer."

There is a cost to doing a fork at the political level, and such a
migration needs to be valuable enough to overcome the costs.

I don't know the "kernel glitterati" so well that it would be easy for
me to discern when a fork to one or another would be the "wisest"
move, and I am nowhere near alone.

Linus Torvalds has built up a certain level of trust, and as change is
*always* a risky thing, a lot of people are likely to stand with him
for more than merely a minute longer.

> If you think his 15 minutes are up, you are welcome to fork the
> kernel tree and motivate the masses to follow you instead.

That only works if it's time for "your" 15 minutes to start :-).
"I invented the term 'object oriented programming'  and I can tell you
I didn't have C++ in mind." -- Alan Kay

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