Abusing Linux as a tool of petty personal squabbles

(or: why Matthew Garrett is a cunt)

Matthew Garrett, who is (in his own words) a "power management, mobile and firmware developer" on Linux, has decided that it is somehow acceptable for him to make use of Linux as a tool to promote his personal agenda, and doesn't give a fuck about how many people who have no connection with his petty squabbles suffer as a consequence.

By "using Linux" I don't mean promoting his agenda by some means that involves running Linux software, like posting it on a website hosted on Linux or something. I mean that he is deliberately compromising the integrity and utility of Linux as an operating system, through his position as a developer, in the hope of damaging Intel's sales by making Linux less usable on Intel hardware (ie. the most common hardware there is). He has even written a blog post about it (screenshot).

First thing to note about that page is that all the shite about "awful humans" and "abhorrently behaving corporations" is a load of triple-distilled horseshit. He's willing to sacrifice those "principles" for thirty pieces of silver, so we know from the start that he doesn't seriously believe in it and the whole thing is a load of arse.

Not that it isn't a load of arse anyway even if you aren't a fucking sellout. The relevance of "Gamergate" to anyone except the fucking idiots involved in the argument, and also the content of the argument itself, is precisely fuck all. And they are fucking idiots. I've read a couple of websites about it (and too many tweets) from people on both sides of the argument - or should I say tried to read; they are effectively unreadable because the sheer concentrated stupidity makes my head hurt too much. The content consists of both sides yelling and screaming at each other and quoting large sections of The New Thesaurus of Meaningless Political Pejoratives while conveying zero actual information. And whatever it is they are yelling and screaming about is so unbelievably trivial that it is hard to work out what it even is, because to any normal person it doesn't even register as something to care about. They are also written in "gamer speak" which means that a good 50% of the words don't even mean anything to anyone who isn't heavily into computer games. The only thing that is clear is that it is an argument between gamers about gamer things and has absolutely nothing to do with anyone who is not both a gamer and a fucking looney. It is exactly the same as two groups of monkeys throwing shit at each other in a dispute over one tiny nut, and has exactly as much significance.

Unfortunately those involved in it are so up their own arses about it that they think it has global significance. They think everyone should take as much interest in their mindless monkey fight as they do themselves. The idea that nobody outside their limited circle gives two shits about it, which should be blindingly obvious to anyone with half a brain cell, is entirely beyond their imagining.

Matthew Garrett's blog post is entirely written under this delusion, compounded with blatant hypocrisy, and so everything on that page which relates to Gamergate is worthless. The only significant words on the page are:

I no longer wish to spend [my time] doing unpaid work to enable [Intel] to sell more hardware. I won't be working on any Intel-specific bugs. I won't be reverse engineering any Intel-based features. If the backlight on your laptop with an Intel GPU doesn't work, the number of fucks I'll be giving will fail to register on even the most sensitive measuring device.

Note first of all that he specifically says "unpaid", and backs this up with statements on twitter that he would do it if someone paid him for it. So all that gubbins about ooh this is so terribly awful and I can't do anything relating to these terrible people is a load of horseshit anyway. Some fucking "principles" he has when he advertises on twitter that he's willing to sell them down the river. His argument doesn't even have any internal integrity.

He wants us to think that this content-free internecine squabble is a valid reason for him to tilt at Intel. Well, he can tilt at Intel if he wants. That's up to him and I don't suppose Intel will give a toss about one nutter. But at the same time it is purely between him and Intel, and he has no place trying to involve anyone else in it.

He wants to impose a negative delta on Intel's sales. He is going about this by reneging on his commitment to fixing Intel-based bugs in Linux, thus making Linux increasingly less usable to people with Intel hardware as new chipsets come out and their bugs aren't fixed. This will of course piss off thousands and thousands of people, because Intel is the biggest chip maker on the planet. These are nearly all people who have precisely sod all to do with his petty squabbles since the overall proportion of people who are involved in Gamergate is insignificant. Yet he not only thinks it is justifiable to make them suffer the consequences of his childishness, he explicitly states that he doesn't give a fuck about them.

Not only is he intentionally pissing off a huge number of random users, he is damaging the credibility of Linux and the whole free software concept in general. "Linux support for the most common hardware in the world is deficient because one developer has decided to take a pop at Intel." Does that convey an impression that Linux is developed professionally and responsibly, or an impression that it's for spotty kids in their bedrooms? If a free software project as large as Linux can't keep twats like this from buggering it up, what hope is there for smaller projects that don't have thousands of non-twats to mitigate the impact? But does he care? No, he doesn't, and he outright says he doesn't.

Who will benefit from his actions? Himself alone, and nobody else. Who will be adversely affected? Fuck loads of people: anyone who wants to run Linux on modern Intel hardware, for a start, which is a pretty huge set given Intel's market dominance and Linux's increasing popularity. And because this number is so large, it also affects (less directly) anyone who cares about the credibility of Linux and free software in general, which is an even larger number. And why is he doing it? Because he has a bee in his bonnet about some mindless barney that has no relevance to anyone who will be affected. He is simply being a selfish, arrogant, childish cunt.

And he doesn't even really believe in it himself, since he implies in the blog and states outright on twitter that he would still work on Intel support if he was paid for it. His purported "principles" are on sale for thirty pieces of silver. The whole thing is a complete load of bollocks; what he really cares about is money. This above all disposes of any possibility of dispute that he is a complete cunt. It isn't possible to have even a residual respect for someone who advertises his principles for sale on twitter. The whole thing is a pile of hypocritical horseshit.

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