Removing Profanity from the Source Tree

Linux kernel code of conduct

Warning: this article contains profanity.

Linus Torvalds recently stepped away from kernel development temporarily in order to think about how to be less harsh with developers in certain situations. Simultaneous with his departure was a patch introducing a new Code of Conduct into the kernel source tree. The effects of this are beginning to be felt.

Jarkko Sakkinen recently posted a patch to change a kernel comment containing the word "fuck" to use the word "hug" instead. So the code comment, "Wirzenius wrote this portably, Torvalds fucked it up" would become "Wirzenius wrote this portably, Torvalds hugged it up".

Steven Rostedt replied to this, saying that the code in question had changed so much that the original comment was out of date, and it should just be removed entirely. He said, "that will be an accurate change with or without CoC."

Jonathan Corbet remarked, "I'd much rather see either deletion or a rewrite over bleeping out words that somebody might not like." And Jiri Kosina agreed, saying, "turning comments into something that often doesn't make sense to anybody at all is hardly productive."

Sergey Senozhatsky pointed out that Linus was the author of the original self-deprecating comment. He asked, "Linus has made a comment, in his own words, about his own code. Why would anyone be offended by this?"

And Tobin C. Harding remarked of the original code comment, "This is my favourite comment to date in the kernel source tree. Surely there are still some people working on the kernel that do so for fun. I actually laughed out loud when I first stumbled upon this file."

In a different thread, Kees Cook said he agreed with removing "fuck" from the source tree, but felt that the word "hug" was not a good replacement, since it didn't maintain the original meaning. He said:

"This API is hugged" doesn't make any sense to me. "This API is hecked" is better, or at least funnier (to me). "Hug this interface" similarly makes no sense, but "Heck this interface" seems better. "Don't touch my hecking code", "What the heck were they thinking?" etc...."hug" is odd.

He added, "Better yet, since it's only 17 files, how about doing context-specific changes? 'This API is terrible', 'Hateful interface', 'Don't touch my freakin' code', 'What in the world were they thinking?' etc.?"