Torvalds disses overzealous OpenSuse security

In a rant to Google+, Linux creator Linus Torvalds hammers developers of OpenSuse for 'mentally diseased' security measures that trump usability

Linux creator Linus Torvalds last week posted a searing rant to Google+ hammering the developers of OpenSuse for "mentally diseased" security measures.

Requiring users to provide an admin password to make even minor changes like adding a new wireless network or changing the time zone is "moronic and wrong," according to the open-source guru. The furious article was apparently prompted by Torvald's daughter running into these security issues at school.

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Nor did Torvalds stop there.

"[I]f you have anything to do with security in a distro, and think that my kids (replace 'my kids' with 'sales people on the road' if you think your main customers are businesses) need to have the root password to access some wireless network, or to be able to print out a paper, or to change the date-and-time settings, please just kill yourself now. The world will be a better place," he wrote.

The hundreds of comments on the post were overwhelmingly supportive of Torvalds' stance on OpenSuse security. And while several commenters took issue with the suicide comments, many others defended the wording -- including Torvalds himself.

"I could write another rant on the whole American 'I take offense with that' mentality. It's political correctness of the worst kind, and as far as I'm concerned. Jokes are often offensive. If you get offended, the problem is solidly at your end. Think about it for a while," he said in response.

While such public outrage from an important figure in the community is rare, overzealous security measures are undeniably a hot button for users. A look back at the widespread frustration with Windows Vista's User Account Control feature should provide a clear reminder of how irritated people can get when security trumps usability.

Robert Quattlebaum commented, “It's so frustrating to see someone you respect be so petty that they think they need to make insinuations that the world would be better off without people who disagree with him about this single topic.”

Read more about software in Network World's Software section.

This story, "Torvalds disses overzealous OpenSuse security" was originally published by NetworkWorld .

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