Linus Torvalds created Linux, and you didn't. What else do you need to know? Torvalds was at some conference in New Zealand this week and pesky question people started giving him shit for not being very nice on the mailing list where
sad pee-stained losers Linux developers communicate and work together to make the glorious software known as Linux. Someone pointed out that Torvalds was kind of abrasive online, only to find out that in fact Torvalds is even worse IRL.
Said Torvalds: "Some people think I'm nice and are shocked when they find out different. I'm not a nice person, and I don't care about you. I care about the technology and the kernel—that's what's important to me."
Then someone asked about diversity and Torvalds told them to stuff it up their butt, because he's Linus Torvalds, and he's Finnish, and he has created a life for himself where he does not have to answer to anyone and he cannot be fired.
Ars Techica wrote it up, and it perhaps didn't help that Ars Technica illustrated the story with a photo of Linus giving the finger at a conference, which made it look like he'd done that to the person who asked about diversity. In fact that photo is a frame taken from a video made at a 2012 talk, and the finger was aimed not at diversity advocates but at nVidia for being dicks about working with Linux.
Anyway. Torvalds basically said he doesn't give a shit about diversity, and then a bunch of people, most notably
tech diversity advocate Shanley Kane (@shanley) who is cofounder and CEO of ModelViewCulture, as well as a "cultural critic, organizer, writer and feminist," went nuts on Twitter, and there are honestly way too many tweets for me to publish here but you should go check out her feed. Here's one of the nice ones:
Others joined in. Pretty soon it was Hate Linus Torvalds Day on the Internet. Linus sent a statement to Ars Technica saying that diversity is more than just age, race and gender, but that he stands by his belief that he does not need to be nice.
"This 'you have to be nice' seems to be very popular in the US," he said, adopting the I'm-a-befuddled=stranger-in-a-strange-land pose that he has used since arriving in this country 15 years ago, in 1997.
Linus Torvalds is 45 years old, works out of the basement of his home in Oregon, and honestly does not give a fuck what you think.
UPDATE: ModelViewCulture CEO Shanley Kane has asked me to describe her not as a "diversity advocate" or "diversity activist" and to instead identify her as the co-founder and CEO of a media company that is better than the one I work for. According to its website, ModelViewCulture is "an independent media platform focused on the intersection of technology, culture and diversity." So: nothing to do with advocating for diversity then. I regret the error, and have updated the post to reflect that.