Torvalds CONFESSES: 'I'm pretty good at alienating devs'

Admits to 'a metric ****load' of mistakes during work with Linux collaborators

Linux Lord Linus Torvalds has admitted that his tendency to use strong language has alienated other members of the Linux community.

In a Q&A with Intel's chief Linux and open source chap Dirk Hohndel at LinuxCon Europe in Düsseldorf on Wednesday, Torvalds was asked what he'd do differently if given the chance.

According to, Torvalds' reply was the regrets nothing on the technology front, as technical mistakes can be corrected.

He then added the following:

“The problems tend to be around alienating users or developers and I'm pretty good at that. I use strong language. But again there's not a single instance I'd like to fix. There's a metric shitload of those.”

Torvalds' comments come a couple of weeks after he was the subject of strident criticism by fellow developer Lennart Poettering,, who labelled the Linux community “quite a sick place to be in”.

Poettering laid much of the blame for that accusation at Torvalds' feet, saying his abrasive style is no way to run a community.

Reports of Torvalds' remarks suggest he also tried to point out that while members of the Linux community can lock horns, their aim of producing excellent technology remains intact.

“One of the reasons we have this culture of strong language, that admittedly many people find off-putting, is that when it comes to technical people with strong opinions and with a strong drive to do something technically superior, you end up having these opinions show up as sometimes pretty strong language,” he's reported as saying.

Some are reading Torvalds' remarks as a response of sort to Poettering. Given the shellacking the second man dished out, it would surprise if they're talking, so perhaps conference appearances and blog posts are the easiest way for them to converse.

Torvalds also displayed his usual disinclination to ponder the future too seriously in the session, saying his best guess for the future of Linux is a release candidate for a new point release of the Linux kernel “in about a week”. ®

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