There’s a lot of fun on the Linux Kernel Mailing List this week. There’s way too much BS there to sort through on a regular basis, so unless there’s something particularly interesting going on I usually follow it by reading the excellent Kernel Traffic digests. In this week’s edition there’s a lovely little flame war about coding style. Apparently anyone who uses longer variable names than Alexander Viro prefers, or tries to write platform-independent code using typedefs or macros (because Linux is basically deficient when it comes to providing those for you) is a “bugger” or perhaps a “wanker” who deserves to be in a coding “Hall of Shame”. It’s particularly rich to see Mr. Virus^H^Ho complaining about people writing “the 1001st broken implementation of memcmp” when he’s the guy who chose to create the VFS Layer From Mars instead of adopting known and proven models for how a VFS layer should work. That, in a nutshell, is what’s wrong with too many Linux kernel developers: each and every one thinks he’s some sort of Nietzschean übermensch, free by virtue of their creative genius to break the very same rules they demand mere mortals adhere to.

Later on, we get to see Jeff Garzik treating non-standard variable names as comparable to security vulnerabilities, and Linus exhibiting the same “nobody ever thought about this until I came along” hubris regarding philosophy and evolutionary theory that he has always shown with respect to kernel hacking. It’s a good read, all around.