Linus Torvalds is a brilliant person, but often does detrimental things to the long-term viability of his pet project, the Linux kernel. I’m not talking about coding, he is rather good at that, but the more important aspect of interpersonal relationships. To see why, one only need to read this rant where he swore at a developer about a shoddy patch. To quote:
Mauro, SHUT THE FUCK UP!
It’s a bug alright – in the kernel. How long have you been a
maintainer? And you *still* haven’t learnt the first rule of kernel
While there is some indication that the developer was trying to blame other software that use the code in question, there is no excuse to berate a someone in public like he did. It poisons the well and creates an environment to hostile to creativity.
In business, it is never a good idea to get this personal, especially if you are a manager. It is harder to foster trust as subordinates worry they will be on the receiving end someday and become risk adverse. Since people are now covering for themselves, they are less likely to bring creative ideas to the table. This leads to the minimum amount of work being completed.
Now Linus has to deal with the subtle fallout of his bad personnel decision. This will hurt all of us who use Linux in the long-run as good coders overlook it for more hospitable environment in which to work.