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kid51 (5328)

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Journal of kid51 (5328)

Sunday July 01, 2007
12:05 PM

Linus Torvalds on git: Disappointing

[ #33649 ]
The other night I watched the entirety of Linus Torvald's May 2007 talk at Google Mountain View on git, the version control system he wrote and uses to manage the Linux kernel. I have to say that my socks were not knocked off by git, but, more importantly, I was not favorably impressed with Torvalds himself.

To the latter first: Torvalds opens his talk by saying that for the purpose of his talk, anyone who defends CVS or CVS-based version control systems such as Subversion is "ugly and stupid." At this point one would assume that he is speaking tongue-in-cheek. But he repeats this characterization a number of times in the 70-minute talk and further characterizes the authors of Subversion as "morons." This leads me to believe that he is not simply having a little fun but does in fact hold the authors and users of these VCSes in contempt. In his characterization of the human beings writing or using these VCSes I find no trace of generosity -- only scorn.

Torvalds' hostile tone toward the people involved with other VCSes ultimately undermines the case he makes for git, IMO. I'm certainly open to an argument that what he characterizes as 'distributed' source code management is better than a 'centralized' system. But I would want to hear that argument from someone who is not heavily invested in dissing the people who disagree with him.

If there are any readers of this post who were present in the Google audience for Torvalds' talk, I would welcome comment as to whether my impression as a viewer of the video matches yours.

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  • I also thought it was unnecessary of Torvalds to attack the svn people in that way.

    The fact remains however that he was 100% correct when he said (paraphrased) "subversion aimed to make branching easier and it succeeded. But branching was never the problem - merging was the problem and subversion does not provide a solution".

  • He seems to have antagonized the version control people in the audience. Subversion must have a foothold at google. Didn't one of the developers get a job there? []

    I wonder too why he is being abusive. As a subversion and svk user, it makes me have a low opinion of git. Perhaps he feels frustration, or perhaps it is a campaign tactic. I think I need to avoid thinking HE is the git, and think about the issues dispassionately. And evaluate it
  • I've seen several Perl talks like this, particularly by Abigail.

    It's like the opposite of political correctness.

    • Let's use a different word than "political correctness", since it's become so slandered and neutered.

      Let's try "civility".



      • Amusing -- after the urge to strangle passed, and I realized it was a joke.
        • My comment was no joke. What gets labeled under the broad brush of "political correctness" is often merely civility.


          • Forgive me for using the phrase in the vernacular sense employed by the vulgar masses, your highness. I shall endeavor to constrain my thoughts, words, and actions to those deemed acceptable by society.
  • Is he on record anywhere with an opinion of svk?

    J. David works really hard, has a passion for writing good software, and knows many of the world's best Perl programmers
  • Most open source developers are paid not in money, but in cred. And one of the only things you can buy with cred is the chance to be a dick to people. Linus, being a cred billionaire, can afford to be a huge dick.