Much of the Open Source community tries to promote the community as a happy place for the outdoors. Where contributions are valued only for their technical quality, and all meet at conferences for beers.
Well, it doesn't. It's a sick place to be.
I don't usually talk about this much, and therefore it seems to me that people are not really aware of this, but yes, the Open Source community is full of assholes, and I am probably one of their favorite targets more than the others. I receive hostile emails for hacking into Open Source. People started multiple "petitions" on petition websites, asking me to stop working (google it). Recently people started collecting Bitcoins to hire a thug for me (That happened!). The other day, an idiot I post a «song» on YouTube, a chilling work, full of expletives about me and suggestions of violence. People create websites boycotting my projects, containing very personal attacks. On IRC, people sometimes send me a / msg, with disgusting content, and references to 4chan-style art. And there is more. Much more.
I'm used to rough discussion on mailing lists, and yes, when I was young I didn't always stay technical on flamewars, but today I'm very good at it, sometimes articulate, but never personal. I have thick skin (and so do most of those who get involved with systemd, apparently), and it seems to me that that plays an important role in why we managed to bring systemd to success, despite all the pressure in the opposite direction. But every now and then, I have to stay away and say "Wow, what a terrible community Linux has! ».
The internet is full of insaneno doubt, so one could underestimate all of that on the grounds that the Open Source community is no different than any other community on the Internet or offline. But I do not think so. I'm pretty sure there are certain things that encourage bad behavior. On the one hand, there are certain communities where letting go of anger seems to be much more accepted, communities that attract a certain class of people (Hi Gentoo!) more than others. (Yes, the people who post those things usually say clearly what community they come from).
But more importantly, I would actually put some blame on certain circles of people who play an important role in kernel development, and above all Linus Torvalds himself. Many consider him a role model, but he is a very bad one. If he writes words like “[specific people]… it should be retroactively aborted. Who the fuck does shit like this? How come they didn't die as babies, considering they're so stupid to find a tit to suckle? " (google it), that's certainly bad. But what I find particularly abominable is the fact that defends him regularlyand promotes it as an efficient way of maintaining a community. (But it's not just Linus, it's a certain group of people around him who use the exact same style, some of whom semi-publicly even fantasize about the best ways to… well, kill me).
But no, it is not an efficient way to run a community. If Linux was successful, that happened despite, not because of that behavior. I'm pretty sure the damage done by this is obvious, not only does it sour the tone in the Linux community, but it teaches new contributors to adopt the same style, but only if it doesn't scare them in the first place.
In other words: The fish rots from the head.
I don't mind using strong language, or using words like "shit", I use it all the time, It's not about that. I must simply say that it will stay there, because what happens in reality is much worse, and much more detestable.
If you are a newcomer to Linux, or grow a thick skin. Or you run away, it's not a friendly place to be. It's sad that it is so, but it is.
The Linux community is dominated by western and straight white men who are currently in their thirties or forties. I fit that pattern perfectly, And the trash they pour on me is ugly. I can only imagine that it is much worse for members of minorities, or people from different cultural backgrounds, particularly those where losing face is a big problem.
You know, I can deal with all that shit, and I think in a way that with the energy with which we implement the changes that we propose we call the opposition, so this post is not intended to ask for sympathy. The main point I want to make with this is correct a few things about our communities, and how they are perceived. Open Source is not a kindergarten. Open Source is ugly in several ways, and people should be aware of this.
Not everyone in the Linux community is like this, the vast majority is not. Not even all of our different communities have a problem with this at all. But many do, and most prominently, the Linux community as a whole has it.
I'm not the one to fix this, I can't tell you how one could fix it. And frankly, I don't want to be involved in fixing this. I'm a technical guy, I want to do technical things.
My personal conclusion from all of this is mostly that I don't want to have much to do with the worst offenders, and the communities they run. My involvement with the kernel community ended long before I started, I never post in LKML, and I haven't in years. Also, in our own project we supervise the posts. We regularly put a few under moderation on the mailing list, and we continue to do so. Currently the systemd community is fantastic, and I hope we can keep it that way.
And that's all on this topic. I have no intention of speaking it again in a public forum.