Linus Torvalds, in response to a petition on to remove RdRand from /dev/random, has lambasted the petitioner by called him ignorant for not understanding the code in Linux Kernel.

Kyle Condon from UK raised a petition on to get Linus to remove RdRand from /dev/random in a bid “to improve the overall security of the linux kernel.” This petition seems to be a direct result of the recent NSA surveillance revelations where it was also believed that UK’s GCHQ was aiding the US spy agency in its activities.

In his response, Torvalds asked Condon and the supporters of the petition to gain an understanding of Linux drivers, cryptography and then “come back here and admit to the world that you were wrong.” Torvalds stressed that kernel maintainers knew what they were doing and the petitioner didn’t.

Elaborating the use of rdrand, Torvalds stated that the function was being used as just “_one_ of many inputs” to the random pool and that it was used to improve the overall randomness. Torvalds iterated that rdrand did in fact improve the overall quality of random numbers generated through /dev/random. Ending his reply with the statement “you’re ignorant.” The petition is now closed.

Torvalds, in a similar outburst just yesterday, hoped that “ARM SoC hardware designers all die in some incredibly painful accident.” This came in response to a message from Kevin Hilman when he noted that there were quite a few conflicts in the ARM SoC pull request for Linux 3.12, which were a result of the platform changes conflicting with driver changes going in to the V4L tree.

“So if you see any, send them my love, and possibly puncture the brake-lines on their car and put a little surprise in their coffee, ok?”

Torvalds released Linux 3.11 last week and with Linux 3.12 merge window still open we could see quite a few new features in Linux 3.12. We have managed to dig around the mailing lists and listed out a few Linux 3.12 feature on ParityNews’ sister site here.

  • mbagnall

    what an asshole. The Steve Ballmer of Linux.

    • Philip Keighley

      This isn’t a man throwing chairs in response to things outside his control; Linus is right in saying the petitioner does not understand the kernel. How he goes about saying it leaves much to be desired….

    • Fred .

      Linus can get hot headed at time, but he is always right.

      • Halofreak1990

        “Linus can get hot headed at time, but he is /often/ right.”
        Fixed that for you.
        No one is always right. And Linus has probably also made a mistake or two, just like everyone else.

    • Mister Cathari

      More comments from the peanut gallery. Linus has always been straight forward in his replies with those who’ve deserved it. You are a prime example of the ignorance that he’s referring to. Let me speak in his stead when I say shut your mouth.

      • Yonah

        Ahh, the apologists are up and at ’em! Wishing death on people while criticizing them is juvenile trolling at it’s finest. Of course, you’ll never acknowledge that. Instead you dress it up as being “straight forward” or, my personal favorite, being “blunt.”

        • Mister Cathari

          You seem confused, at best. Who is “wishing death” on anyone? Have you actually read Linus’ reply? Or are you the one who is, in fact, trolling?

          • Yonah

            “I hope that ARM SoC hardware designers all die in some incredibly painful accident.” – Linus Torvalds

            “So if you see any, send them my love, and possibly puncture the brake-lines on their car and put a little surprise in their coffee, ok?” – Linus Torvalds

            Are you really going to play semantics with the differences between wishing and hoping? If so, troll elsewhere.

          • Guest

            Perhaps you need to look up the definition of the word “sarcasm”?

          • chuckwolber

            Perhaps you need to look up the definition for the word “sarcasm”?

    • oGMo

      Linus wrote Linux. What did Ballmer ever do? Make terrible MS products even worse?

      • Ynot_82

        He imported a picture of a Ferrari into Windows Write to amaze his work colleagues

  • Matt

    Where is the actual response.

  • JimmyJarnror

    Linus kinda like Dr. House. He can get away with being rude if he’s *right*. The petition was well intentioned, but it was demanding something which would have LOWERED Linux security. If Linus hadn’t dealt with it swiftly and harshly the petition could have wound up wasting a lot of people’s valuable time.

    Linus’s full response was:
    “Where do I start a petition to raise the IQ and kernel knowledge of
    Guys, go read drivers/char/random.c. Then, learn about cryptography.
    Finally, come back here and admit to the world that you were wrong.
    Short answer: we actually know what we are doing. You don’t.
    Long answer: we use rdrand as _one_ of many inputs into the random pool,
    and we use it as a way to _improve_ that random pool. So even if rdrand
    were to be back-doored by the NSA, our use of rdrand actually improves
    the quality of the random numbers you get from /dev/random.

    Really short answer: you’re ignorant.”

    Harsh, but effective. The other guy immediately shut down his petition with “UPDATE: It appears I got #rekt, petition closed”. (#rekt as in “wrecked”, as in acknowledging that Linus validly tore down his argument.)

    • eli_lilly

      But House isn’t real.

    • If Torvalds would stop communicating his ideas like an aggressive asshole, I might be more inclined to listen to him – just as I treat all other adults.

      • JimmyJarnror

        I say “Yo idiot! You left a loaded gun on the floor and your toddler is playing with it.”
        Are you more inclined to (A) shout “Oops! Thanks!” and fix the problem, or
        (B) Decline to listen to me because I was an aggressive asshole.

        • None of Torvalds’ (or anyone’s) computing work situations even approaches the severity or urgency of your ridiculous comparison. Vanishingly few of the billions of human interactions that take place every day merit the kind of hostility that Torvalds gets away with regularly. The guy needs to be put in check, badly.

      • Shardis

        Behave like an adult then? Learn what you’re speaking of before making unreasonable demands, and don’t be surprised when people tell you that you’re ignorant when you want to see if witches float or sink.

      • Utenlandsnordmann

        Bothering busy people with bullshit means that they have less time for important stuff. Bullshit peddlers are actively degrading performance. If one treats them nicely – it’s a signal to other bullshit peddlers to keep bothering you.

        Linus puts this kind of bull down, and discourages others from making demands without having a clue. This is a good thing. If it had been an honest question about RdRand and whether this decreased the security of linux – instead of claiming it did – I’m quite certain it would get a completely different response.

        Adults should know what they’re demanding, before demanding it.

        • Almost everyone is “busy” – Torvalds isn’t on a pedestal. Everyone gets bothered by other people making mistakes or not thinking as much as they’d like them to. It’s a fact of life.

          Guess what? Human interaction takes patience, insight, and social skills – particularly from people in management positions. The majority of people are required to act civilly towards each other in the workplace, and the majority try because they are held to that requirement. Torvalds is in a management position. But Torvalds regularly throws tantrums at people he works with. And people have been letting him get away with that for a long while, apparently. Until Sarah Sharp, that is.

          “Bull” doesn’t excuse childish hostility in response. There are many more respectful and more effective ways to deal with “bull”. Again, it’s a part of maturity.

      • chuckwolber

        And that is precisely why you should not be swimming with the big boys…

        This is how it works with people who earned their knowledge through a lot of blood, sweat, and passion. They have little patience for ignorant people who want to do stupid things.

  • Bernd Paysan

    Linus should read his code. rdrand is actually *not* fed into the entropy pool, but instead xored over the output of a sha-1 hash of the entropy pool. Which maybe does little harm, but in case someone managed to screw the pool itself, it “takes over”. rdrand for sure has some entropy, so using it the way Linus describes would be ok. However, that’s not true.