Afterward, another question from the audience asked for Torvalds' thoughts on diversity in the open source community, an issue emphasized by the lack of minority keynote speakers at the Auckland event (and only one female keynote speaker, to boot). Torvalds offered a the-work-is-what-matters sort of response, stating, according to Twitter accounts, that "the most important part of open source is that people are allowed to do what they are good at" and "all that [diversity] stuff is just details and not really important."He later elaborated to Ars Technica, but fundamentally refused to back down:
"I don't know where you happen to be based, but this 'you have to be nice' seems to be very popular in the US," Torvalds continued, calling the concept an "ideology."This, not the false tolerance demanded by the Anita Sarkeesians and Jessica Valentis of the world (who, by the way, have not produced anything of value in this area), is what makes for great products. You want to get credit for that, roll up your sleeves, don your armor, and start producing code — and be prepared to defend your ideas, too. And if that's too painful, well, tough.
"The same way we have developers and marketing people and legal people who speak different languages, I think we can have some developers who are used to—and prefer—a more confrontational style, and still also have people who don't," he wrote.
He lambasted the "brainstorming" model of having a criticism-free bubble to bounce ideas off of. "Maybe it works for some people, but I happen to simply not believe in it," he said. "I'd rather be really confrontational, and bad ideas should be [taken] down aggressively. Even good ideas need to be vigorously defended."