Linus Torvalds is Taking a Break, Linux adopts Code Of Conduct

Last year we reported on troubles in the Node.js project with Code Of Conduct violations (alleged or otherwise). It looks like Linus Torvalds has decided a Code Of Conduct is a good idea for Linux kernel development and has seen the error of his abrasive way of managing the project:

This week people in our community confronted me about my lifetime of not understanding emotions. My flippant attacks in emails have been both unprofessional and uncalled for. Especially at times when I made it personal. In my quest for a better patch, this made sense to me. I know now this was not OK and I am truly sorry.

The above is basically a long-winded way to get to the somewhat painful personal admission that hey, I need to change some of my behavior, and I want to apologize to the people that my personal behavior hurt and possibly drove away from kernel development entirely.

I am going to take time off and get some assistance on how to understand people’s emotions and respond appropriately.

We shall see what this means in the future; hopefully we see more developers contributing to Linux kernel development as a result of these changes.

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Another day, another data breach: Careem data breach affects 14 million customers

TechCrunch has the story on this data breach affecting Careem’s customers, 14 million of them:

Hackers accessed the names, email addresses, phone numbers and trip data of anyone who signed up for Careem prior to January 14…

Careem said it became aware of the security incident back in January. Since then, Careem said it has conducted an investigation and strengthened its security systems.

The company waited until now to tell people because “we wanted to make sure we had the most accurate information before notifying people,”

 

Zulip 1.8 is released, alternative to Slack and HipChat

Zulip, the free/open source team chat project has released their 1.8 version. We’ve talked about Zulip and other Slack alternatives on SourceContribute before. What makes Zulip special, aside from being free/open source, is that it has better threads and threading than Slack.

Threads are ways of creating a continuous discussion around a particular topic. In Slack, they’re very rarely used, everyone usually just @-replies. However, Zulip’s UX for threads makes them so useful that you’ll be using them far more often.

Not only that! Zulip also has video calls integrated with Jitsi Meet.

And a new feature I really like is being able to @-reply to a group of people; you can do things like @teamA or @marketing to make it easier and faster to notify the right group of people about something.

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Zulip was posted on ProductHunt in December. Other free/open source projects should be posting their releases on ProductHunt too; there are far too many proprietary projects on that site.

Zulip has a new darker theme, keeping in tune with the hacker/coder idea of what makes a great desktop environment.

I have a feeling that Zulip is in the right spot, along with Riot.im, to really give Slack a run for its money now. Just check out the number of integrations that Zulip has.

TED is launching a platform for social entrepreneurs

https://embed.ted.com/talks/raj_panjabi_community_health_heroes

Social entrepreneurs often walk a tough road. Their ideas seek to improve life for communities that can’t afford to pay a lot, if anything, and without the support of funding options like venture capital, bank loans and stock markets, their best option to fund their ideas is generally the philanthropic sector. This requires an endless…

via A new initiative for launching big, audacious ideas — TED Blog

Big-Tech’s Ethics and Tom Lehrer at 90

Nature has published a piece on mathematician Tom Lehrer, who is turning 90 this year. He has written and sung many a satirical song highlighting the dangers of nuclear proliferation and other political issues.

One of these songs is about an ethical dilemma that it seems many big tech companies are facing:

The rousing ballad ‘Wernher von Braun’ undermines the former Nazi — who designed the V-2 ballistic missile in the Second World War and later became a key engineer in the US Apollo space programme. In Lehrer’s view, it was acceptable for NASA to hire von Braun, but making him into an American hero was grotesque. “‘Once the rockets are up, who cares where they come down?’/‘That’s not my department,’ says Wernher von Braun” — lines that still resonate in today’s big-tech ethical jungle.

It matters what we build and who we build it for.

The Difference Between Innovators and Entrepreneurs — Steve Blank

For all the entrepreneurs out there trying to build free/open source startups:

I just received a thank-you note from a student who attended a fireside chat I held at the ranch. Something I said seemed to inspire her: “I always thought you needed to be innovative, original to be an entrepreneur. Now I have a different perception. Entrepreneurs are the ones that make things happen. (That) takes focus, […]

via The Difference Between Innovators and Entrepreneurs — Steve Blank