Torvalds Bad-mouths OpenBSD Devs

By Team Digit Published Date
01 - Aug - 2008
| Last Updated
01 - Aug - 2008
Torvalds Bad-mouths OpenBSD Devs


Linux creator Linus Torvalds has labeled makers of the OpenBSD operating system a “bunch of masturbating monkeys,” as part of a wider critique of what he said was self-centred behavior in the IT security industry.

The row started earlier over a Gmane mailing list, when a developer for the PaX Team, which patches the Linux kernel, accused Torvalds and other top Linux kernel developers of covering up the security impact of bugs by not clearly labelling them as security flaws. Well, that was more than enough to irk Linus and have his version ready. In response, Torvalds wrote that disclosing the bug itself was enough, without having to label each individual security flaw. In an e-mail to the Linux kernel developer mailing list, Torvalds said a section of the security industry was dedicated to finding bugs in software only to publicize their findings and gain notoriety.

“I don’t think some spectacular security hole should be glorified or cared about as being any more “special” than a random spectacular crash due to bad locking,” he said.

The Linux creator went on to state that security people are often the black and white kind of people that he can’t stand.

Torvalds appeared particularly irked by the creators of the OpenBSD operating system, who have focused on security and auditing when developing their variant of Unix. OpenBSD is known to be used in high-security environments such as the U.S. Federal Bureau of Investigation.

“I think the OpenBSD crowd is a bunch of masturbating monkeys, in that they make such a big deal about concentrating on security to the point where they pretty much admit that nothing else matters to them. To me, security is important. But it’s no less important than everything else that is also important!” Torvalds concluded.

Well the comment confirm that Linus never really looked into OpenBSD. Judging the whole project by few vocal whiners isn’t really constructive.

We would like to remind you that OpenBSD folks contribute enormously—and not only on the security front. From several projects, the recent highlight is OpenNTPD, which is rather simple and most importantly a working implementation NTPD protocol.

The comments sound like much of the usual chestbeating we are used to seeing to make all the fanboys and girls on the lists swoon; realistically it just demonstrates an ignorance of the OpenBSD project. We don’t know what Linus’ beef is. He seems to be on the same page with respect to this issue. And the “masturbating monkey” thing? Well that’s just plain funny!


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