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Author Topic: The first rule of kernel maintenance: YOU DO NOT BREAK USER SPACE!  (Read 5934 times)

Josh

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Warning: NSFW Language

A pretty harsh attack at a kernel maintainer, as written by Linus Torvalds.

Renegade

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Re: The first rule of kernel maintenance: YOU DO NOT BREAK USER SPACE!
« Reply #1 on: December 28, 2012, 09:52:34 PM »
Read through the thread there. Interesting issue. The email that set off Linus, well, you need to read it yourself.

But very interesting find --- how did you come across that? It's a REALLY esoteric type of issue.
Slow Down Music - Where I commit thought crimes...

Freedom is the right to be wrong, not the right to do wrong. - John Diefenbaker
« Last Edit: December 28, 2012, 11:19:05 PM by Renegade, Reason: Typo »

Josh

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Re: The first rule of kernel maintenance: YOU DO NOT BREAK USER SPACE!
« Reply #2 on: December 28, 2012, 09:55:51 PM »
Slashdot and Google reader :)

J-Mac

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Re: The first rule of kernel maintenance: YOU DO NOT BREAK USER SPACE!
« Reply #3 on: December 28, 2012, 10:00:49 PM »
Whew! Guess he was hoping to get that message across to Mauro loud and clear, huh?   :P

Gotta give him a little credit for not beating around the bush, or sugarcoating his reply...  but I don’t think I would appreciate those finer points if I worked for him!

Jim

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Re: The first rule of kernel maintenance: YOU DO NOT BREAK USER SPACE!
« Reply #4 on: December 28, 2012, 11:11:57 PM »
Yet another example of Linus acting like a total bastard.

Yes, breaking userspace is bad. And "it looks tha pulseaudio/tumbleweed has some serious
bugs and/or regressions.
" wasn't a very well-thought-out answer. And the -ENOENT return value is sorta bizarro.

But none of that warrants going thermonuclear on the guy, unless (and probably not even then) he has a track record of introducing bugs and blaming it on other people (I haven't researched that - but given how Linus tends to behave, well...)

Being straightforward and avoiding sugarcoating is fine, but IMHO you can do so in a respectful manner.
- carpe noctem

TaoPhoenix

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Re: The first rule of kernel maintenance: YOU DO NOT BREAK USER SPACE!
« Reply #5 on: December 28, 2012, 11:19:07 PM »
Slashdot and Google reader :)

Yeah I got wind of it from Slashdot too. So semi-suddenly it has become tech news.

Renegade

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Re: The first rule of kernel maintenance: YOU DO NOT BREAK USER SPACE!
« Reply #6 on: December 28, 2012, 11:21:06 PM »
Slashdot and Google reader :)

Yeah I got wind of it from Slashdot too. So semi-suddenly it has become tech news.

Kind of bizarre how the f-bomb is front page news in real life, but you hear it 20x in any given TV show/movie and don't think twice about it.
Slow Down Music - Where I commit thought crimes...

Freedom is the right to be wrong, not the right to do wrong. - John Diefenbaker

f0dder

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Re: The first rule of kernel maintenance: YOU DO NOT BREAK USER SPACE!
« Reply #7 on: December 28, 2012, 11:24:38 PM »
Kind of bizarre how the f-bomb is front page news in real life, but you hear it 20x in any given TV show/movie and don't think twice about it.
I don't think there'd have been a lot of fuzz if it was just that word - it's the general level of rudeness (perhaps even hostility?) being shown by Linus that does it.
- carpe noctem

Renegade

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Re: The first rule of kernel maintenance: YOU DO NOT BREAK USER SPACE!
« Reply #8 on: December 28, 2012, 11:30:24 PM »
Kind of bizarre how the f-bomb is front page news in real life, but you hear it 20x in any given TV show/movie and don't think twice about it.
I don't think there'd have been a lot of fuzz if it was just that word - it's the general level of rudeness (perhaps even hostility?) being shown by Linus that does it.

Could be.

From the email that set him off:

Quote
Btw, why pulseaudio is even trying to access a V4L2 control?
I would expect an audio application to take care of its own audio
business, and to not try to access other random Kernel APIs.

In other words, only an application that handles video should be
using those controls, and as far as I know, pulseaudio is not a
such application. Or are it trying to do world domination?

To be honest, that sounds like a bit of a silly comment. I can see how that would set someone off. What APIs an application accesses isn't really relevant - only that it DOES access the API.

Slow Down Music - Where I commit thought crimes...

Freedom is the right to be wrong, not the right to do wrong. - John Diefenbaker

J-Mac

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Re: The first rule of kernel maintenance: YOU DO NOT BREAK USER SPACE!
« Reply #9 on: December 28, 2012, 11:48:35 PM »

Being straightforward and avoiding sugarcoating is fine, but IMHO you can do so in a respectful manner.


Sarcasm, f0dder; just sarcasm!

Jim

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Re: The first rule of kernel maintenance: YOU DO NOT BREAK USER SPACE!
« Reply #10 on: December 29, 2012, 12:00:33 AM »
To be honest, that sounds like a bit of a silly comment. I can see how that would set someone off. What APIs an application accesses isn't really relevant - only that it DOES access the API.
Yes, that comment is somewhat silly and unprofessional (even if I do think it sounds strange that PulseAudio should be calling V4L APIs...). But at any rate, it's not something that deserves the reply it got. If you look through the full thread, Mauro seems pretty reasonable and level-headed.

Being straightforward and avoiding sugarcoating is fine, but IMHO you can do so in a respectful manner.
Sarcasm, f0dder; just sarcasm!
Yeah, I got that :) - that line wasn't directed at you, but at the slashdot comments... those guys seem to equate rudeness with directness, and applauds Linus' way of behaving O_o
- carpe noctem

Renegade

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Re: The first rule of kernel maintenance: YOU DO NOT BREAK USER SPACE!
« Reply #11 on: December 29, 2012, 01:11:23 AM »
If you look through the full thread, Mauro seems pretty reasonable and level-headed.

No argument there. I did read through it, and he was certainly much nicer than Linus there.
Slow Down Music - Where I commit thought crimes...

Freedom is the right to be wrong, not the right to do wrong. - John Diefenbaker

Josh

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Re: The first rule of kernel maintenance: YOU DO NOT BREAK USER SPACE!
« Reply #12 on: December 29, 2012, 10:09:44 AM »
Not to sidetrack, but I think this ties directly into my main hold backs from switching to Linux full time. It is not the available software, lack of features, or anything like that; it is the support and my fear of asking "the wrong question" without reading 200 different pages first. This has gotten far better over time, but as someone who frequents several Linux IRC support channels (what better way to learn, right?), I can say I still see new users attacked quite frequently in a very similar manner. IT folk in general have a tendency to have a "My answer is always right" mentality, but I think it gets worse when you move to platform specific debates (Apple, Linux, Microsoft (to a point), or the web browsers).

Thoughts?

40hz

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Re: The first rule of kernel maintenance: YOU DO NOT BREAK USER SPACE!
« Reply #13 on: December 29, 2012, 01:57:44 PM »
^I think the degree of harshness in Linus's response is due to the fact that this happened in the kernal maintainer's space where everybody involved is expected to be on the same page and at ninja ranking when it comes to coding ability.

Not to excuse the rudeness factor (even if all these guys have thick skins and substantial egos from what I've seen over the years) but the point about never breaking userspace has been an ongoing refrain by Linus for many years now. And it's something I'm sure he (and most of the other maintainers) had thought was a settled issue and a done deal by now. So when it unexpectedly raised it's ugly head, I think that's what provoked Linus's outburst. And I'm guessing it was probably more in the interest of dramatically reinforcing that directive rather than a simple show of temper. (Linus knows how to play the game and use the bully pulpit when he has to. There's almost always an agenda behind his occasional tantrums and flames.) And seriously, how many times do you need to repeat something before you stop saying it politely and just smack someone over the head with it a few times? You do not break userspace. As was said below "It's not how we work."

Quote
WE DO NOT BREAK USERSPACE!

Seriously. How hard is this rule to understand? We particularly don't
break user space with TOTAL CRAP. I'm angry, because your whole email
was so _horribly_ wrong, and the patch that broke things was so
obviously crap. The whole patch is incredibly broken shit. It adds an
insane error code (ENOENT), and then because it's so insane, it adds a
few places to fix it up ("ret == -ENOENT ? -EINVAL : ret").

The fact that you then try to make *excuses* for breaking user space,
and blaming some external program that *used* to work, is just
shameful. It's not how we work.

Fix your f*cking "compliance tool", because it is obviously broken.
And fix your approach to kernel programming.

I'm not even a kernal maintainer and I can grok clearly what's being said here.

It's pretty simple:

WE DO NOT BREAK USERSPACE!
WE DO NOT BREAK USERSPACE!
WE DO NOT BREAK USERSPACE!

Ever. Period.

Maybe it wasn't the most polite way to send a message. But I'm sure Mr. Chehab "got" the message that was being sent.


« Last Edit: December 30, 2012, 07:50:43 AM by 40hz »