Thursday, August 29, 2013

Responding to Trolls

We have an... ahem... toxic personality in our midst in illumos.  I'm going to respond here to his most recent post, to avoid wasting the time on the illumos developers mailing list.  If you don't care about non-sense like this (although it may have entertainment value), please just ignore this post and move on.

The only reason I'm replying even here, is to set the record straight, and establish firmly the history -- at least my side of it -- for posterity.

In the early days of illumos, I invited those I could think of from the Solaris and OpenSolaris communities to participate.  I even reached out to some parties, like Jörg Schilling, who had a bad reputation as difficult people to work with.

I had hoped to repair those broken relationships since there was no longer a corporate controlling entity for illumos.  (Nexenta sponsored my efforts, and paid some of the early operating costs for illumos, but it has always been the case that illumos operates by and for the community -- and not at the behest of any corporate master.  As I've since left Nexenta to start my own company, and illumos has carried on, I think there is fairly ample evidence in support of this fact.)

I reached out, and tried to help Jörg with some integrations; but those integrations did not go well.  Jörg did not like our policy requiring a build or test of changes on the primary distribution (OpenIndiana at the time) used for the vast majority of developers and users, and so several of his changes did not get integrated.  (It turns out this was a good thing, because at least one of those changes, a "fix" for a keyboard problem, was mis-designed and would have broken international keyboards for the majority of illumos' user community.)

We also required code review, as we do now.

Jörg has long had a desire to have "star" integrated as the main replacement for all archivers.  That didn't take place, because he couldn't find reviewers.  And after several negative interactions with him, I withdrew my offer to sponsor his work personally, as I found the process of trying to do so unbelievably painful.  (There was an extremely long telephone call with Joerg that sticks in my memory.)  I suggested he find someone else willing to code review and sponsor his work for integration into illumos.  To date, that has not happened.

Somewhere during that time, Jörg indicated that he would not offer any other code up for integration until star was integrated.  Basically, he took his toys and went home.  Except he just took his toys, but forgot to go home, as he's still trying to create noise on our developer mailing lists.

There was another negative experience we had, mirroring today's thread, where Joerg's response to a tool I wrote (an open replacement for "od") was non-constructive criticism.  (In fact, his response was "it's broken, why don't you use this thing I haven't finished writing yet".  (He modified his "hexdump" utility to behave like od, apparently in response to my effort instead of simply offering helpful review feedback.)

This is typical of Jörg -- the only "right" answer as far as he is concerned is to accept his code, even if it isn't written yet or is buggy!

Jörg is what is known as a poisonous personality.  At least in every context that I've seen him operate. Which is why usually I try to just ignore him, and hope he'll go away; yet like certain garden pests he just keeps coming back.  He's even been kicked out of another prominent open source community.

He's also said made some incorrect and defamatory statements about both Nexenta and illumos at a prominent academic conference in Germany.  (I can't find the link right now, I'll update if I find it.)

So, where in his post today he asks Gordon if he's willing to change the rules for integration, I have this in reply:

Are you willing to change this? 
Gordon isn't empowered to.  Neither, for that matter, am I.  The rules that have been established for collaboration here are by common consent of the major contributors, and no single individual can change them.  Notably, those were the rules in force in Summer 2010, and you were the one that wanted special treatment.   Those rules have served this community well for the past several years, and there has been no movement to change them.

I am interested in setting up a phalanx of OpenSolaris activities because this
is the only way we have a chance to continue with OpenSolaris development but
this is hard as long as Illumos is not willing to play nicely.

OpenSolaris is dead.  The entire illumos community has moved on.  You have not, but then I have long since stopped considering you a part of the illumos community.
Especially given your repeated attacks against both illumos and numerous of its contributors -- even fairly early on you made a number of defamatory and incorrect statements about the nature of both illumos and its contributors in technical presentation before the German academic community.  This was not the behavior of someone who is a constructive contributor.
To be completely honest, I think I'm not alone in wishing that you'd come to the same conclusion: that is that you are not part of this community.

I recently tried to build a bridge by propising that Illumos should implement
the proposals from Summer 2010 to regain credibility. Unfortuntely there was no
reaction.
 
That should speak volumes all by itself. 
As someone else in another open source community said, Jorg Schilling is damage; the community should route around him.

1 comment:

davekoelmeyer said...

Sigh. Jörg yet again.