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Linux - the beginning of the end

Born 17 September 1991

Died 16 September 2018

Some may question the date of death, as Linux is still quite well. I chose that date because that is when Linus Torvalds signed the Contributor Covenant and turned the project over to Greg Kroah-Hartman. For those unfamiliar with these events, I will detail it below.

The Contributor Covenant (CC) is a code of conduct (CoC) that favors social justice over good and efficient code. The CC favors anyone and everyone over white males. No longer will the Linux kernel maintained and improved based on meritocracy (the best code implemented). This means that inferior code will be accepted into the kernel as long as its author is of a protected or preferred group, even over superior code that may have been written by a white male. The kernel will no longer be improved or maintained by the best and brightest if the best and brightest happen to be white males. Furthermore, the CoC allows for people to be banned from contributing for any reason, even without proof, and with no oversight or method of appeal.

The major problem with this approach is that the kernel had a widely diverse base of contributors. People from virtually every continent, of every race, of every religion, of every sexual orientation - all contributed and all benefited from each others contributions.

The first casualty occurred 4 days after the CC was signed by Linus. Theo Ts’o was accused of being a "rape apologist". Ts'o maintains /dev/u+random, a very important part of Linux security. It's speculated that his targeting is purely political, because his decisions kept Linux from revealing an Intel backdoor into /dev/random. The accuser was almost immediately accused of breaking the CoC for making the accusation. Of course, the conversation has devolved and over the past month has created some very bad blood.

The worst part of the whole thing is, people are threatening to pull their code from the Kernel - which is apparently a completely legal and valid possibility. When this happens, the kernel will begin to fail in spectacular ways. Any vacancy in required kernel code will be, of course, now filled by someone who is probably less qualified than the person who originally wrote the code. Bugs are guaranteed to abound.

I never consider ever switching from Linux to BSD - but that's looking like a distinct possibility now. The next few months will determine how this goes.

Linux may have just died. I never thought I'd see that.