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Linus Torvalds: ‘I Need to Change Some of My Behavior, and I Want to Apologize to the People That My Personal Behavior Hurt’

Linus Torvalds, announcing that he’s taking a break from Linux kernel development:

This is my reality. I am not an emotionally empathetic kind of person and that probably doesn’t come as a big surprise to anybody. Least of all me. The fact that I then misread people and don’t realize (for years) how badly I’ve judged a situation and contributed to an unprofessional environment is not good.

This week people in our community confronted me about my lifetime of not understanding emotions. My flippant attacks in emails have been both unprofessional and uncalled for. Especially at times when I made it personal. In my quest for a better patch, this made sense to me. I know now this was not OK and I am truly sorry.

The above is basically a long-winded way to get to the somewhat painful personal admission that hey, I need to change some of my behavior, and I want to apologize to the people that my personal behavior hurt and possibly drove away from kernel development entirely.

I find this both encouraging and inspiring — a counter to the notion that people can’t change. Here’s just one example of Torvalds’s infamous style, which until now he was unapologetic about.

Monday, 17 September 2018