Talk:Lennart Poettering

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Controversial Figure[edit]

It seems that a few people are trying to revert text in the article that clarifies that Mr. Poettering is considered a controversial character in the free software community thanks to his software. He's admitted this himself on dozens of occasions, and further evidence can be seen in forum discussions for nearly every major Linux distribution (and a few Unix OSs as well). The original edits contained some unsourced and inflammatory claims that have since been removed. The remaining text, which simply states that he is controversial in the community, is both factual and non-inflammatory. Being called controversial is not necessarily an insult, and Mr. Poettering appears to rather like the description anyway. 24.196.27.208 (talk) 21:26, 13 January 2013 (UTC)

Ahem, the current wording is simply offending to me. I am certainly a controversial person in some communities, such as the Gentoo or Slackware communities, but it would be nice to actually name them, rather then nebulously claim things for just "The community" for whatever that is. And claiming that the software was the cause of the issue is simply moronic. As if there was something wrong with that software, like it was badly written or so. The more conservative communities such as Gentoo or Slackware have an issue with my way of thinking, my opinions and convictions, and not the code itself. Right now, the wikipedia article suggests that I was a controversial universally, my person is reduced to that, and that my software was problematic. And that's simply offensive, and inaccurate. Also, you refer to something I myself posted as "proof" that I was controversial. That's absolutely not what I am saying there. I am making fun of the fact how few signatures they got, and how irrelevant their petition hence was. You can hardly take that as an indication that I was controversial everywhere in the community. Also, folks like RMS, Theo, Linus are certainly more controversial than I am (heck, they are much better known, so I could never even reach their level of controversy). Yet for my wikipedia article controversy is kinda the only thing listed, but for them I can't find any mention of that at all. So yeah, you try to push your own view of things into this article, use my own quotes completely against what I am actually saying, and you hide behind your anonymity.--LennartPoettering (talk) 22:01, 13 January 2013 (UTC)
You brought it on yourself with the entirely unnecessary Pulse Audio, dude, and you are just making it worse by pushing systemd on everyone when the only distribution that actually needs it is Red Hat. Either cope with the criticisms or write software that doesn't suck. — Preceding unsigned comment added by 50.33.237.53 (talk) 03:55, 27 January 2013 (UTC)
After finding and reading Lennart's post on Google+ about this editing (likely brought to his attention by Kay?), I'll explain why I'm helping keep the controversy text in the article. I think the fact that he is a controversial figure in the community is very notable as this point. He has obviously generated a lot of negative reactions in "old-timer" communities (including Gentoo and Slackware), but also somewhat younger (as in fewer-greybeards-younger) communities such as Arch Linux and Fedora, not to mention Ubuntu's rejection of systemd. It seems like a notable enough controversy that it should really be included in this article.
To the accusations that the article gives undue weight to that controversy, the correct course of action is to fill in more information about other aspects of his personality and work, not to remove the controversial bits, which would reflect a non-neutral point of view. If Lennart wants to write more about himself on here, he can do so (though any biased bits would need editing, of course).
Florian Haas, on Lennart's above-mentioned post, correctly pointed out that controversial is not necessary a negative term. It just means people disagree with you, and he even used the same example I was thinking when I wrote the first paragraph of the talk page, which is Linus himself. He's really very controversial, but he doesn't take it as an insult.
Since you are paraphrasing me here, let me pitch in that while I indeed see "controversial" as non-negative by itself, the original edits were indeed inflammatory and I would have strongly disagreed with them if they had stood. I still consider the wording non-optimal as it implies that Lennart is not only a controversial figure, but that it is because of the software he writes, which is a factual claim that is not verifiable, and can easily be disputed. Fghaas (talk) 22:29, 13 January 2013 (UTC)
The source that is given for that claim is a post Lennart made in response to an online petition for Lennart to "stop writing useless programs." That seems to pretty clearly indicate the software, not the personality behind it, are the cause of the controversy. 24.196.27.208 (talk) 22:43, 13 January 2013 (UTC)
The post does not say that at all. For one anyone say something controversial, that does not make the person controversial. Secondly, he says he is unimpressed. — Preceding unsigned comment added by Bkor (talkcontribs) 23:12, 13 January 2013 (UTC)
Finally, I have used systemd before (it broke my boot and I filed a bug on it), and I'm not an old greybeard who "can't keep up with the times" (I'm 22), and I don't dislike Lennart's software because I dislike him, I dislike his software because it seems bloated, ill-defined in its purpose, and tightly coupled (unnecessarily so). You might argue that these things are the cost of a well-integrated desktop experience, but they are a cost in my eyes nonetheless. I dislike Lennart because he seems completely incapable of handling criticism gracefully. He has lashed out at Ubuntu, Gentoo, and Slackware for refusing to accept systemd and has apparently declared anybody who dislikes his software as an idiot. He refuses to see things from the perspective of others, and he gets upset when they disagree with him, to the point that he predictably reacts on social media when somebody adds a small line of (in its current form, truly non-offensive) text mentioning controversy surrounding him. Just my 2 cents. 24.196.27.208 (talk) 21:56, 13 January 2013 (UTC)
Oh, right, so you actually admit that you have an agenda, and just want to push your view on me and my work. Thanks for being so open about it.--LennartPoettering (talk) 22:03, 13 January 2013 (UTC)
Yes I actually admit, even though I wasn't asked, that I have an agenda to push my view on you.

Specifically I want people to believe you wear a white lab coat and pink pants at all times.

If I can't convince folks that you created an amphibian file system, I will have to resort to being a guest star on Coast to Coast AM. — Preceding unsigned comment added by CokeBottleSpecticles (talkcontribs) 15:52, 21 March 2013 (UTC)


No, I did not actually admit to having an agenda there. I said I didn't like you, but that doesn't mean I don't want the article to reflect a neutral point of view. I think you're upset about this to the point that you aren't willing to see if as being potentially neutral, even though others, like Florian, do. I do find it hilarious that you find that line offensive, given that it practically starts with a complement. 24.196.27.208 (talk) 22:06, 13 January 2013 (UTC)
Maybe you shouldn't "write" my wikipedia article if you are not neutral but openly admit you "don't like me".--LennartPoettering (talk) 22:12, 13 January 2013 (UTC)
Does my dislike of you show through in the article itself? I think I'm pretty good at spotting my own biases, but of course, everybody thinks that... I've gone out of my way to remove the bits that were clearly negative, and what remains seems objectively neutral or positive to me. I've stated (correctly) that your software is widely used (which really functions as a complement), and, as mentioned above, "controversial" is not an inherently negative term. The post that I quoted you on really makes it sound like you enjoy the controversy, so I'm not sure how you can claim now that it offends you.
Additionally, between the two of us, it would appear I'm the only one that hasn't used name-calling in our writing. I haven't called you an "idiot", for instance. :) 24.196.27.208 (talk) 22:18, 13 January 2013 (UTC)
I'll also clarify that, despite my dislike towards you, I have no intention of being disrespectful. I respect your abilities to write software (even if I don't like the software), and I appreciate the effort being made to better the Linux community as a whole. I just completely disagree with your methods. 24.196.27.208 (talk) 22:46, 13 January 2013 (UTC)
If you don't like the dude, best to leave the neutral position to someone who does not have an opinion. bkor (talk) 23:16, 13 January 2013 (UTC)
As the word "controversial" is so irrationally important for some: How about adding a translation the German article's paragraph about Lennart's work? Unless I miss something that paragraph quite accurately describes Lennart's work and manages to explain some people's reaction upon his work, without insulting someone or implying anything. Hasselmm (talk) 22:54, 14 January 2013 (UTC)
If somebody can do a good translation, that sounds like a good idea, but the word "kontroversen" appears right in the middle of the article anyway. I made some changes to shift the focus to the controversy surrounding the software, but it would appear that some controversy is attached to Lennart as well. I don't see how you could read his post in any other way. 24.196.27.208 (talk) 23:12, 14 January 2013 (UTC)
Stop it with pushing your agenda about adding controversy where there is none. Loads of heavily used free software packages cause strong reactions, e.g. Unity, KDE, GNOME, etc. This is not unique to software written by Lennart. Giving Lennart a special treatment is just strange. Suggest actually responding to the comments made on the talk page. Else meet in real life or something. bkor (talk) 23:21, 14 January 2013 (UTC)
You don't seem to understand the material you are removing. You have not addressed the sources I've cited with any coherent arguments, you have not made any constructive edits, and you don't seem to understand that the statements made on the page are backed by acceptable references. I am not putting my views on Lennart's page, nor am I pushing an agenda other than the agenda of spreading accurate information and preventing you from censoring accurate information. I am putting views on the page that are reflected in the sources I am citing. If you don't think his software is controversial, that's fine, but you are not disagreeing with me, you are disagreeing with Lennart's FOSDEM interviewer. (See the source you deleted.) Additionally, you are not making these reverts in good faith- you have accused me of blatant bias in the article (as opposed to the talk page), despite the objective nature of the statements in the article, and accuse me of pushing an agenda. In this scenario, the most prudent course of action is to appeal to a third party or third opinion (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wikipedia:Third_opinion). If you want to take that route to resolve the conflict, we could take Hasselmm's suggestion into account, but as I said above, the German version of the article has used the word for controversy since as early as August 2012.
Saying that this is "special treatment" or discrimination against Lennart compared to other major software projects is absurd considering that of the three projects you mentioned, two have the word "controversy" right in their wiki article. Did you actually look them up before using them in your argument? If they mention controversy in the article, it is only logical that Lennart's article mention controversy as well. "Special treatment" would be removing references to controversy as you have done.
I will wait a while to see if any other editor would like to intervene to offer a different perspective into this discussion or maybe take the course of action Hasselmm suggested and add the translated German article content to the English version. If no other editor intervenes, I will revert the changes in a short time. 24.196.27.208 (talk) 00:32, 15 January 2013 (UTC)
You're changing what you write in the Wikipedia article as you go along. Now GNOME 3 is very controversial, there is even an entire wikipedia article about it. Yet none of the developers of those projects have in their articles that their software is controversial. The current Wikipedia article about Lennart is very very short. Now regarding what you quote: The FOSDEM article is regarding a rant from an OpenBSD developer who said that PulseAudio "is not needed". Nothing about that it is not portable. In the same rant, he also complains that some software does not have the BSD license and that makes the software unusable. Furthermore, in the same article he complained that *loads* of software is non-portable, systemd is just one of the things he mentions. Hardly unique to the software that Lennart wrote.
Now I do agree that there are a lot of people who always mention his name instead of arguing about the project. I think that is very interesting to mention. However, there are loads of projects which get loads of strong reactions. As mentioned: KDE, GNOME, etc.
What I propose is to leave the same things in more or less, but adjust the way it is written a little.
Meaning: instead of using "controversy", suggest to use "strong reactions", seems way clearer to me. The sentence " The controversy generated by some of his software has caused Lennart himself to be seen as a controversial figure in certain portions of the free software community" is very vague. I suggest either changing the entire sentence and mention that instead of talking about the project, instead talk quite often about Lennart. It is pretty unique that it happens, and quite interesting to mention. What I disagree with is the bit "to be seen as a controversial figure in certain portions of the free software community", while quoting a post which Lennart says he got worse at creating controversy. He says nothing about being seen as controversial. He links to a petition where at the moment 235 people signed an internet survey. Mentioning that 235 people bothered to sign some internet survey is quite interesting. I however do not see how 235 people result in someone being a controversial person, especially when in your reference does not support that. Furthermore, you mention "certain parts of the free software community", but you do not know where those 235 people are from. By the way it is written, it seems that it was signed by 235 users of free software. There are millions of them, 235 does not make someone controversial. It just is not impressive, as stated by Lennart.
So in short: I agree to mention to include something that more often it is about him, not the software. I don't agree with "controversy" though. I do like the idea behind what you wrote. bkor (talk) 09:21, 15 January 2013 (UTC)
Why don't you go ahead and edit the article to read like what you are describing, then we can go from there. 24.196.27.208 (talk) 05:37, 16 January 2013 (UTC)
There is no conspiracy of "conservative communities" going on against Poettering. That some people are unfortunately emotional in this debate doesn't mean that there are no valid reasons to criticize his work and his influence. The original wording was insulting and non-neutral, but a day later this has been sorted out. That Poettering is a controversial figure in the FOSS-community can not be reasonably denied. And it should definitely be mentioned in the article. Gerald Jarosch (talk) 20:16, 20 January 2013 (UTC)
So if I do not agree with him being a controversial figure, I am not reasonable? If it is so reasonable, back it up! bkor (talk) 12:35, 22 January 2013 (UTC)
This is not about your opinion. And going by your Wikipedia history you are either one of the gang, or a fan boy, but I can assure you that you have not made a single rational post on this talk page here, so far. And yes, it's going to have to be backed up by references, that's the rule here.Gerald Jarosch (talk) 02:47, 24 January 2013 (UTC)
It IS backed up! The references I've used all feature Lennart admitting to being controversial! I've invited you to help me edit constructively, and you have refused! If you want to word the article differently, that's fine, but you have no business removing a perfectly valid reference. 24.196.27.208 (talk) 03:23, 23 January 2013 (UTC)

There is a larger issue here where, based on his software designs, Mr. Poettering has placed himself as a leading advocate of one camp: whether a computer should be an appliance or a tool. And more specifically, the corollary issue of whether Linux should be steered in a direction of an individual's vision (Mr. Poettering's? Mr. Torvalds'?) or should be the product of a democratic process.

This was Bill Gate's contribution, recognized and extended by Jobs: the computer as an appliance usable by everybody, an appliance that does not require understanding, involvement, or thought, repackageable for sale for every purpose. This runs completely counter to the vision behind Unix: a tool that can be adapted by the user to address all exigencies because its simplicity and clever modular design encourage creativity.

Here was also Stallman's defeat - the attempt to popularize the notion of "GNU/Linux" was an attempt to ensure that Linux wasn't an individual's vision, but a product of many visions.

That Mr. Poettering has become a lightning-rod for this fundamental disagreement is an opportunity to address it head-on. — Preceding unsigned comment added by Thomas Mellman (talkcontribs) 07:36, 10 April 2014 (UTC)

The systemd controversy should be moved to systemd[edit]

A nice percentage of the stub article talks about a controversy around systemd. In the meantime, the systemd has no mention to any controversy. If the alleged controversy is about the software then it should be primarily referred in the software page, and here we could just mention and link it.--QuimGil (talk) 04:23, 27 January 2013 (UTC)

I agree wholeheartedly with that sentiment. The focus of an article on Lennart doesn't need to focus so much on systemd controversy when systemd has a page of its own. On the other hand, don't go overboard and throw out any mention of controversy either, as it is clear that some of the controversy is attached to Lennart himself. I would however suggest that the remaining "controversy" text be incorporated into other existing sections. I'm not sure that the article deserves a whole section for just controversy that applies to him, but that just depends on how future edits go. Thanks for all your hard work by the way. 24.196.27.208 (talk) 03:18, 29 January 2013 (UTC)

The controversial section[edit]

I have added no less than three paragraphs in a new Controversy. The text can be improved and more references can be added, but I had more Lennart Poettering today than in the rest of my life. :) I believe those three paragraphs make the 4th DUPE/DEPRECATED and ready for deletion. And some of those banners if not all could go with it.--QuimGil (talk) 08:13, 27 January 2013 (UTC)


Suggested Enhancements[edit]

Lennart Poettering is a German computer programmer. He is extremely intelligent and often tries to use this mental strength to create software to aid the Linux community, but in spite of his best efforts, the community only manages to misuse his software and make things worse.

Poettering has received acclaim for his mad and bizarre inventions, such as PulseAudio (a sound server), FrogExt (an underwater "amphibian" file system), System D (a replacement for the System V init daemon), Avahi, an implementation of automatic tap dancing shoes and Bullgrep, a sarcasm detector daemon.

His manner of speech and appearance is much like Professor Frink of the animated television series The Simpsons, who, like Poettering, wears thick glasses, has buckteeth and wears a white lab coat and pink pants. He also often rambles or speaks incoherently in run-on sentences without pauses during presentations. — Preceding unsigned comment added by CokeBottleSpecticles (talkcontribs) 01:36, 19 March 2013 (UTC)

Source: http://m.topix.com/forum/city/billings-mt/TO1KIDS0ILB6Q62CV — Preceding unsigned comment added by 98.234.137.228 (talk) 18:35, 20 March 2013 (UTC)

Sources and quotefarm[edit]

Recently, the article has even more of a dependence on primary sources, and is a WP:QUOTEFARM. I restored one of the two tags removed in that edit, and left off the tag I put in. Widefox; talk 13:50, 16 October 2013 (UTC)


More info[edit]

Should cover more information on his background. I am infinitely more times impressed by his language abilities. He is quite adept at English at an advanced level. He speaks with a mixture of an English accent and sometimes with some region of German. Does he know Spanish and Brazillian equally as well? Maybe we can include some info on his projects. He has maintained and concluded on many non-trivial projects and a brief overview of some of those would surely be enlightening. He's surely a fascinating dude. — Preceding unsigned comment added by 69.140.192.106 (talk) 19:05, 2 November 2013 (UTC)

I wouldn't recommend lauding the subject's command of English in the article, at least based on the limited examples of it I've seen - it's not quite idiomatically correct. Examples of this include the subject's own contributions to this talk page. Look at the Wikipedia page about RMS for examples of what's suitable for inclusion in this sort of article. Dream of Goats (talk) 01:23, 26 February 2014 (UTC)