On LLVM leavers

2018-09-18


I was reading the llvm-dev mailing list entries from a few months back where one contributor finally left due to disagreement with the newly chosen COC. Not an uncommon occurance in modern open-source development. A few posts later, I found a reply that had said, amongst other things, this:

The community change I cannot take is how the social injustice movement has permeated it. When I joined llvm no one asked or cared about my religion or political view. We all seemed committed to just writing a good compiler framework.

You'll see that this is not an LLVM trend, but a world wide trend and that's not a bad thing. It is, and I wholeheartedly agree, an exaggerated and poisonous trend, but it's a response to an even more poisonous history and one that needed a change. History is not stable, nor it's a steady progression. History happens in hiccups, step-function-like sudden increases in pressure, which are then followed by attenuated periodic function. This is one of them. More importantly, history tramples on people every time. Just different events trample on different people. There's no way to avoid this." I found the last part of this reply most illuminating as to the poster's mindset. 'History tramples on people every time [...] there's no way to avoid this'. It seems he thinks that it's worth committing evil today in the name of undoing the evils of the past- or at least, it's worth sitting by and letting it happen. You just have to be as sophisticated as this guy is to get it. I can't abide by it. I understand the impulse to be kind. But I can't imagine debasing myself like this for the sake of an "exaggerated and poisonous trend", just because the stated intended outcomes are, in principle, positive. I'd be less unsettled if I thought he were being disingenuous.