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Thomas Kahle
Works at Otto von Guericke University of Magdeburg
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Thomas Kahle

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I made coasters
Coasters with math imprints. Three are provided in the .scad file, but you can create any 2D openscad object and use it as an imprint.
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Thomas Kahle

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WASHINGTON—After several seconds spent sitting motionless and glaring directly into the camera, former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton reportedly began Sunday’s video announcing her 2016 presidential bid by warning the nation not to fuck th...
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Thomas Kahle

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Much of the Open Source community tries to advertise the community as one happy place to the outside. Where contributions are valued only by their technical quality, and everybody meets at conferences for beers.

Well, it is not like that. It's quite a sick place to be in.

I don't usually talk about this too much, and hence I figure that people are really not aware of this, but yes, the Open Source community is full of assholes, and I probably more than most others am one of their most favourite targets. I get hate mail for hacking on Open Source. People have started multiple "petitions" on petition web sites, asking me to stop working (google for it). Recently, people started collecting Bitcoins to hire a hitman for me (this really happened!). Just the other day, some idiot posted a "song" on youtube, a creepy work, filled with expletives about me and suggestions of violence. People post websites about boycotting my projects, containing pretty personal attacks. On IRC, people /msg me sometimes, with nasty messages, and references to artwork in 4chan style. And there's more. A lot more.

I am used to rough discussions on mailing lists, and yes, when I was younger I did not always stay technical in flamewars, but nowadays I am pretty good at that, I am sometimes articulate, but never personal. I have a thick skin (and so do most of the others involved in systemd, apparently), and I figure that plays a major role why we managed to bring systemd to success, despite all the pressure in the opposite direction. But from time to time, I just have to stand back and say "Wow, what an awful community Linux has!".

The Internet is full of deranged people, no doubt, so one might just discount all of this on the grounds that the Open Source community isn't any different than any other community on the Internet or even offline. But I don't think so. I am pretty sure there are certain things that foster bad behaviour. On one hand there are certain communities where it appears to be a lot more accepted to vent hate, communities that attract a certain kind of people (Hey, Gentoo!) more than others do. (Yes, the folks who post the stuff they do usually pretty clearly state from wich community they come).

But more importantly, I'd actually put some blame on a certain circle of folks that play a major role in kernel development, and first and foremost Linus Torvalds himself. By many he is a considered a role model, but he is quite a bad one. If he posts words like "[specific folks] ...should be retroactively aborted. Who the f*ck does idiotic things like that? How did they not die as babies, considering that they were likely too stupid to find a tit to suck on?" (google for it), than that's certainly bad. But what I find particularly appalling is the fact that he regularly defends this, and advertises this as an efficient way to run a community. (But it is not just Linus, it's a certain group of people around him who use the exact same style, some of which semi-publically even phantasize about the best ways to, ... well, kill me).

But no, it's not an efficient way to run a community. If Linux had success, then that certainly happened despite, not because of this behaviour. I am pretty sure the damage being done by this is quite obvious, it not only sours the tone in the Linux community, it is also teaches new contributors to adopt the same style, but that only if it doesn't scare them away in the first place.

In other words: A fish rots from the head down.

I don't mind using strong language, I don't mind the use of words such as "fuck", I use the word all the time too, it's really not about that. I must simply say that I wished it would stay at that, because what actually is happening is so much worse, and and so much more hateful.

If you are a newcomer to Linux, either grow a really thick skin. Or run away, it's not a friendly place to be in. It is sad that it is that way, but it certainly is.

The Linux community is dominated by western, white, straight, males in their 30s and 40s these days. I perfectly fit in that pattern, and the rubbish they pour over me is awful. I can only imagine that it is much worse for members of minorities, or people from different cultural backgrounds, in particular ones where losing face is a major issue.

You know, I can deal with all this shit, and I guess in a way with the energy we are pushing the changes we propose with we are calling for opposition, so this post is really not intended to be a call for sympathy. The main point I want to make with this is to correct a few things about our communities, and how their are percieved. Open Source isn't a kindergarten. Open Source is awful in many ways, and people should be aware of this.

Not everybody in the Linux community is like this, the vast majority isn't. Not even all our different communities really have a problem with this at all. But many do, and the most prominent one, the Linux community as a whole certainly has.

I am not the one to fix any of this, I cannot tell you how one could do it. And quite frankly, I really don't want to be involved in fixing this. I am a technical guy, I want to do technical things.

My personal conclusion out of all this is mostly just that I don't want to have much to do with the worst offenders, and the communities they run. My involvement with the kernel community ended pretty much before it even started, I never post on LKML, and haven't done in years.  Also, in our own project we are policying posts. We regularly put a few folks on moderation on the mailing list, and we will continue to do so. Currently, the systemd community is fantastic, and I really hope we can keep it that way.

And that's all about this topic from me. I have no intentions to ever talk about this again on a public forum.
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Thomas Kahle

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I just went to the Fields Medal Award announcement page and I could see four pages. The first three were about Avila, Bhargava, and Hailer. The fourth page would not load. A few seconds later neither of the pages would load and now they have been replaced by the teaser for Wednesday again
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I'm sorry if I spoiled the surprise for somebody. Probably this website that I saw, was up by mistake, when I ran into it. It is just very hard to imagine I was the only person who has seen it.

I think the sociology of this is interesting. Until an hour ago I would still count my post entirely as 'Internet rumors' (which don't spoil, they are part of the excitement).

Now the IMU themselves put up the press releases and all the information! News outlets have picked it up. It's on "Nature News" and a page called "Business Insider". Somebody edited the Wikipedia page (of course) and somebody else undid the edit, claiming that this has not been officially announced -> Edit war. People are very excited and emotional about top notch mathematics!!!

If the Fields Medal should mimic the Nobel prize (in secrecy), then IMU needs to professionalize.

OK, I guess the time has come time try to understand what they got the medal for.
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Ahh, Procrastination Patio!
This drawing appears in the July 20 NY Times Book Review. Thanks to AD Nicholas Blechman and editor Pamela Paul! You can order a poster at my shop.
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The Ghostery firefox extension is quite useful. I just got sent to a page on tripadvisor via Google and it blocked no fewer than 33 tracking extensions / supercookies and other malware.
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I'll check it out. 
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Made a Duplo train connector on +YouMagine printed with +ColorFabb.
Connect Duplo vehicles that are not supposed to be connected because they both have male connectors.
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Today I made a Segre embedding in an equilateral simplex.
This surface is a square bent into a simplex.
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Yeah, the propeller is finished.
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Keine Werbung und kein Tracking für 2,50 im Monat.
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Golem.de - Ständig aktuelle IT-News für Profis und Videos aus Politik, Wirtschaft und Wissenschaft über Hardware, Software, Telekommunikation, Games
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Auswärtssieg. 
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The Japanese know their fractions! I just booked a semi-double room for my stay in Kōbe.
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Probably that I can use a double room half of the time. 
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Story
Tagline
People and software should be free
Bragging rights
When I was young, we used to compile our own operating systems.
Basic Information
Gender
Male
Work
Occupation
Mathematics
Employment
  • Otto von Guericke University of Magdeburg
    JProf, 2013 - present
  • TU Munich
    post doc, 2013 - present
  • MSRI
    post doc, 2012 - 2012
  • EPDI
    Math post doc, 2010 - 2012
  • Max Planck Institute for Mathematics in the Sciences
    PhD student, 2006 - 2010
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