A wave of relief is rippling across the FreeBSD community today, as the open source project’s most notorious “contributor,” Randi Harper, announced she was leaving for good.
Harper, who once went by the name “FreeBSDGirl” on Twitter, had been involved with FreeBSD for over 10 years – although her actual contributions are difficult to track down. But in a lengthy post on her blog, which reveals that her association with FreeBSD had become so toxic that the project asked her to change her Twitter username, Harper announced she was dissociating herself after 12 years.
Harper frames her departure as her own decision, but she has of course been regarded by everyone associated with FreeBSD as a liability for some time. In her long-winded post (I read these things so you don’t have to), Harper unleashes a blistering array of bizarre allegations against the FreeBSD foundation, including a claim that they stood by while she was being threatened online, and that she was “tone policed” by someone at FreeBSD who suggested she “be nicer” online.
No wonder that one stung her. Harper is one of the nastiest pieces of work on the internet. She is a self-proclaimed “anti-abuse activist” who has in fact spent most of the last two years generating hate-filled online mobs against her opponents, as voluminous reporting by Breitbart has demonstrated. Famous for telling people to “set themselves on fire,” this anti-abuse activist once drove a woman to tears for disagreeing with her.
Harper’s post details her history with FreeBSD, a story that is, of course, filled with fibs. She repeated her claim to have been responsible for fixing a bug that prevented FreeBSD from being installed via a USB thumbdrive. However, solutions for this problem existed for years before Harper arrived on the scene.
She also claims to have been harassed and threatened by another FreeBSD committer, but IRC logs of their discussion, unsurprisingly, show that Harper was doing most of the harassing. Harper is the consummate crybully – a vicious, aggressive firestarter who turns into a mewling victim whenever she receives a hint of her own medicine.
Judging by her blog post, she seems genuinely astonished that fellow FreeBSD developers weren’t taking her side. “A lot of developers didn’t know what was happening, just that one of the few women in the project was mad at another developer, and he quit. It made it look like the bullying was coming from my end.”
The bullying, coming from your end? Surely not, Randi!
Harper also sought to pressure the FreeBSD foundation into instituting a code of conduct for all their project members. Amazingly, they agreed, following the lead of a number of other open source projects that have instituted wacky, social justice warrior-led codes of conduct for their contributors in recent months. However, Harper still wasn’t satisfied.
“They later published a Code of Conduct, which went so far as to use the term “meritocracy”, and didn’t make a clear distinction between code mediation and responding to abuse.” That’s right, readers. One of the reasons Harper left FreeBSD was because the project valued meritocracy.
No doubt sick and tired of having to deal with her, and the damage she was doing to their public image, FreeBSD decided to ask Harper to remove the name of their project from her Twitter handle (then “@FreeBSDGirl”). According to Harper: “I received an email from this person threatening to involve the FreeBSD Foundation lawyers if I didn’t change my username immediately.”
Harper ends her post with a farewell to FreeBSD. “After 12 years, I left the IRC channel, and will not be going to any BSD conferences or participating in the community going forward. I remain friends with many people involved with the project, but FreeBSD no longer feels like my home.”