(An open letter to the Linux community.)
You need to decide for yourself how dire your circumstances are now that the Contributor Covenant Code of Conduct (CCCOC) is in place. If you think the Social Justice capture of the Linux kernel is all-well-and-good, you need do nothing. Everything is running right on schedule.
But if you think this heralds the end of Linux as anything resembling a meritocracy (however flawed), as well as the beginning-of-the-end of a project that you love and depend on, then you need to take action. Nobody is coming to save you. You’re going to have to save yourselves.
Whereas the Social Justice Attack Survival Guide is a good defense, playing only defensively leaves the non Social Justice cohort of the Linux community indefinitely vulnerable to attack, individually and collectively. To end that vulnerability, you will need to achieve something very difficult. You will need to drive the rejection of the CCCOC, and demand restoration of the Code of Conflict (or perhaps the outright rejection of anything resembling a Code of Conduct at all).
You may ask, “Why should I have to do anything? They’re the ones who suck! They should do the right thing themselves, I shouldn’t have to make them.” And in a way, that’s all true – but it doesn’t matter. You can’t wait for “the management” to “come to their senses.” They have no incentive to change. You have to motivate them to change.
Here’s one form of motivation:
You go on strike.
Don’t resign. Don’t delete or disable your accounts. Keep them, because you’ll need them when this is over (if it ever is over). But stop volunteering:
Stop donating money. Email them and say how much you have given in the past, and why you won’t give any more.
Stop donating time and effort to commits. Email the project and list your commits, fixes, and features, and say why you won’t be committing any more.
Stop answering questions and writing documentation. Instead, respond along the lines of “I’d love to help … once the CCCOC is removed.”
If you are paid to work on the kernel, stop doing that work. Tell them why you are going on strike.
Go on strike, and speak up about having gone on strike, until the CCCOC is reverted and the Code of Conflict is put back in place. The longer you keep volunteering, the longer it looks like you are OK with the CCCOC.
They cannot survive (at least, not as easily) without your volunteer efforts. Stop volunteering, and speak out as to why you are stopping. Be prepared to do it for longer than you think you’ll have to.
Threats to their cash flow, to their free-resource flow, will be a serious motivator for them to listen to you.
That’s a starting point. If they need further motivation, their actions between now and later will make the followup approach more obvious.
Do it today. Not tomorrow, not next week, not “later” – today. The longer you wait, the more inertia will build up against you.
Now, I have to warn you: the consequences for you going on strike might be overwhelming. You are likely to find yourself the target of Social Justice, with all that entails. Each of you has to decide for yourself if you want to deal with that kind of fallout, and I’m not kidding when I say it is psychologically and emotionally draining. But you also have to decide for yourself if you want to just sit back and let Linux be co-opted in this way. The choice is yours.
And if you see someone else going on strike with you, support them.