Dear Linus Torvalds,
You don’t know me but I’ve known who you are for years now. I’ve used the operating system kernel you’ve shepherded for nigh on twenty years now and I am in your debt.
And if I can give you anything in recompense, let me give you this advice: Be humbler, be friendlier.
Over the years I’ve seen how you deal with people and it’s not pretty. Please understand me. People respect your intelligence and wisdom in your areas. I assume your family and friends like you as a person, so I’m sure there’s something there you can work with.
The problem is, people respect you, they will even sacrifice of themselves for you, but they don’t like you. You can say “they don’t have to like me” all you like. This isn’t a popularity contest. It’s about your well-being and the well-being of those you deal with.
I’ve read your kernel debates with Andy Tanenbaum. I saw your google talk on git and, to be honest, I was a little embarrassed for you. Those you insulted took the high ground when you took the low ground. I know how you’ve acted on the linux kernel mailing list over the years. I know there are two sides to the story of Alax Cox quitting as tty maintainer.
And, I also know that you wouldn’t have accomplished nearly so much if you weren’t that stubborn, arrogant, brutally honest, usually right prick we’ve all come to know and trust when it comes to the linux kernel.
For all the positive outcomes of such a harsh personality, you can not overlook where your dealings with people will leave you when all is said and done.
Linus, when you’re an old, lonely man without anyone to call a true friend, remember how you lived your life, how you dealt with those around you, and how many people tried to help you avoid becoming what you are.