Linus Torvalds and Intel woman in sweary spat

An amusing spat has broken out in Linux-Land where an Intel developer has told Linus Torvalds he has to clean up his act and stop swearing.

Sarah Sharp is a Linux kernel developer who considers Torvalds’ trademark swearing a form of abuse.

She wrote in the Linux Kernal blog that violence, whether it be physical intimidation, verbal threats or verbal abuse is not acceptable and Linus should “keep it professional” on the mailing lists.

While Sharp has the backing of some who think it would be good for Linux if its figurehead wore a suit and talked in Intelisms, such calls are unlikely to reform Torvalds.

In fact he has penned a rant, opening with a strategically placed “Bullshit” to vent his displeasure at requests to turn him into a Chipzilla-approved cardboard cut-out.

He claimed Sharp was playing the victim card and simply trying to enforce her particular expectations on others.

“It’s the old “think of the children” argument. And it’s bogus. Calling things “professional” is just trying to enforce some kind of convention on others by trying to claim that it’s the only acceptable way, ” Torvalds wrote.

“People are different. I’m not polite, and I get upset easily but generally don’t hold a grudge – I have these explosive emails. And that works well for some people. And it probably doesn’t work well with you,” he said.

He pointed out that not everyone has to get along or work well with each other and if it doesn’t work for Sharp it isn’t instantly made wrong.

“You think people need to act “nicer”. While I think it’s natural that people have different behaviour – and different expectations, ” Torvalds wrote.

Further advice from Torvalds included telling Sharp not everyone has to like you, or think they have to be liked by you, and that discussions should be about working together “DESPITE people being different”.

“I can pretty much guarantee that I’ll continue cursing,” Torvalds wrote. “To me, the discussion would be about how to work together despite these kinds of cultural differences, not about “how do we make everybody nice and sing songs sound the campfire”.

Torvalds said that if Sharp wanted him to “act professional” he was not interested.

“I’m sitting in my home office wearing a bathrobe. The same way I’m not going to start wearing ties, I’m also not going to buy into the fake politeness, the lying, the office politics and backstabbing, the passive aggressiveness, and the buzzwords,” he wrote.

Acting professionally results in people resorting to all kinds of really nasty things because they are forced to act out their normal urges in unnatural ways, he said.