Jan 31, 2024

50-Line Patches

#programming #product

Somebody shared a screenshot of Linus Torvalds email-yelling at someone for a technical contribution. I hate the whole thing and it makes me want to quit software:

But I read some of the surrounding conversation and saw a followup from Linus:

If somebody goes "I want to tar this thiing [sic] up", you should laugh in their face…not say "sure, let me whip up a 50-line patch to make this fragile thing even more complex".

I think Linus has a point here. Obviously not the one about laughing in someone's face, but that accounting for edge cases with fixes is not a requirement for software maintainers. We are absolutely allowed to set the boundaries of "happy" conditions. We do this already for many things, but somehow are happy to add "50-line patches" for many customers that ask for them.

Just because something is easy, does not make it a requirement to do.

Here's the original email the screenshot is from

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