Losing Technologists [was: the " 'official' point of view" expressed by kernelnewbies.org regardingreiser4 inclusion]

From: Neil Brown
Date: Fri Jul 21 2006 - 20:09:42 EST

Hi Hans,

On Friday July 21, reiser@xxxxxxxxxxx wrote:
> Linux has a problem, which is that with success it is attracting people
> with more skill than what it started with, and it is not doing a very
> good job of handling that.

You seem to be saying that technological skills are the most important
thing for Linux. I disagree. Linux is a success because of a great
community as much (probably more) than because it has great

And by "great community", I don't mean "completely harmonious" but
rather "board and effective". Good community members follow the rule
"Be liberal in what you accept, conservative in what you transmit".
And the first if these is the more important.

Not everyone in the community is perfect at this, but it is clear to
me that those who excel at this are what makes the community work.

> We have lost quite
> a number of FS developers who just don't want to deal with people who
> know less than they do but are obnoxious and disrespectful to
> submissions because they enjoy powertripping.

This just tells me that they wouldn't make good community members -
they are not sufficiently liberal in what they accept.

It really isn't that hard to filter out the rubbish and look for the
genuine technical content. For some people there isn't any of the
later so you just ignore them. For others there is real technical
content in what they say and you can respond to that while ignoring
the rubbish.

> lkml suffers from
> email disease, and we need to make conscious efforts to reduce that.

Yes. But as this is a free and open community, we cannot exclude or
censor people. The only emails that we can directly control are our
own. We should expect the general standard of the community to be
below the standard we present, and aim accordingly. I see this
happening. It works. The community isn't perfect, but it could be a
lot worse.

> Actually, if we just had a few more akpms to go around, things would be
> a lot better..... oh well. We need to recruit more people like
> him.

Yes, and no.
Certainly a few more akpms would improve the technology, and would
allow our current akpm to catch up with his workload.
But I don't think a few more of anything would dramatically change the
community. There will always be people who attract flames, and others
who are too willing to provide them.
New members to the community really need to sit back for a while and
figure out who is who. Who is worth listening to. Who is best
ignored (except for entertainment value). Who to ask questions of,
It really is worth the effort.

There is plenty of historical evidence that the best technology
doesn't always win out - there are plenty of other factors to
success. So don't be too concerned if we lose a few brilliant
technologists - it isn't the end of the world (domination).

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