After Torvalds' apology, the Linux community is adopting a new code of conduct

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Following years of questionable behavior and ranting, the grandfather of Linux Linus Torvalds issued an apology and announced his intention to take a break from kernel work. Now the Linux community is adopting a new code of conduct to help make the environment more welcoming.

Based on the Contributor Covenant, the new Code of Conduct seeks to make participating in the community "a harassment-free experience for everyone, regardless of age, body size, disability, ethnicity, sex characteristics, gender identity and expression, level of experience, education, socio-economic status, nationality, personal appearance, race, religion, or sexual identity and orientation".


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Acknowledging that the current Code of Conduct is not achieving its implicit goal of fostering civility and the spirit of 'be excellent to each other'", a revamp of the code is set out with members of the Linux Foundations noting that "explicit guidelines have demonstrated success in other projects and other areas of the kernel".

The new code is introduced with a pledge:

In the interest of fostering an open and welcoming environment, we as contributors and maintainers pledge to making participation in our project and our community a harassment-free experience for everyone.

The code encourages respect, empathy and constructive criticism, while setting out examples of unacceptable behavior:

  • The use of sexualized language or imagery and unwelcome sexual attention or advances
  • Trolling, insulting/derogatory comments, and personal or political attacks
  • Public or private harassment
  • Publishing others' private information, such as a physical or electronic address, without explicit permission
  • Other conduct which could reasonably be considered inappropriate in a professional setting

The code applies to community participants not only in project spaces, but also in any situation where an individual represents the project. It sets out the following responsibilities: "Maintainers are responsible for clarifying the standards of acceptable behavior and are expected to take appropriate and fair corrective action in response to any instances of unacceptable behavior. Maintainers have the right and responsibility to remove, edit, or reject comments, commits, code, wiki edits, issues, and other contributions that are not aligned to this Code of Conduct, or to ban temporarily or permanently any contributor for other behaviors that they deem inappropriate, threatening, offensive, or harmful".

You can view the code of conduct here.

Image credit: Stanislaw Mikulski / Shutterstock

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