March 9, 2015

On the Linux Kernel’s Code of Conflict

 

Last week, 60 kernel developers signed off on a small patch called the Code of Conflict that provides guidelines for discourse in the kernel community and outlines a path for mediation if someone feels abused or threatened. The code was written by kernel maintainer Greg K-H, supported by many of the most prolific maintainers and developers of the kernel community and accepted into the kernel by Linus Torvalds himself.

The Linux Foundation is happy to see these guidelines and is supportive of the mediation process. We will work directly with the Linux Foundation Technical Advisory Board to provide whatever support they need in implementing this process. We believe the guidelines are grounded in the unique culture and process that makes Linux so successful. Conflict over code will and should happen. But the Code is very clear that personal insults or abuse are not welcome.

It’s no secret that the software industry would like to see more diversity. The Linux Foundation believes in that. While this code does not address that directly, we feel it’s an important step to make clear that civil discourse is an important part of an open source community and to make it very plain that all are welcome. Over the last few years, The Linux Foundation has undertaken a variety of programs to address the diversity issue. From funding kernel internships to being one of the first organizations to publish a code of conduct for our events, we take the need for diversity seriously and plan on continuing and expanding these programs as well as supporting the community in their efforts.

There is a long way to go, but the kernel community is always evolving and we feel this patch is an important step.