May 2, 2018 "I am leaving llvm" email

An email to the LLVM development mailing list spawned a large online discussion in multiple forums, which included a lot of confusion and misunderstanding. This page aims to summarize the facts of the situation in one place, with the hope of dispelling the biggest misunderstandings.

I, Chris Lattner, include a personal note at the end, which is strictly my opinion.

Facts of the situation:

About LLVM:

About the LLVM Community:

About the LLVM Foundation:

About Rafael Avila de Espindola:

About Tanya Lattner:

About Chris Lattner:

Chris' personal opinion:

This section is an opinion piece, so I'm writing this in the first person. I speak for myself and do not represent anyone else in this opinion statement.

My foremost concern for the LLVM community is for it to have stability, long term governance, and guiding principles. When Tanya proposed starting the LLVM Foundation, I strongly supported her effort because it was the best path forward to make sure that LLVM's success would continue if anything ever happened to me or other leads in the community. This is one reason why the Foundation looks to standardize and codify a number of informal conventions.

When it comes to code of conduct, the LLVM community has long prided itself on being engineering driven, civil and respectful. This is particularly important for a project where many commercial competitors are collaborating on a common code base: it is essential for people to work together engineer-to-engineer, and leave politics, preconceptions, and unrelated problems out of the community. At the same time, electronic communication enables unanticipated miscommunications and other problems, and while the LLVM community has never had a problem with "bad actors" in a community, they do exist. My opinion is that the right time to introduce an LLVM Code of Conduct is when everything is fine - to set a written down set of expectations, with the hope that it will never be necessary.

When it comes to discrimination and minorities, I'll point out that I am a mid-career white male, who is married to a successful woman in tech. The challenges we have each faced over our careers have stark contrasts, and I have seen situations through both sets of eyes. I do not believe I have ever directly benefited from or suffered from discriminatory behavior, but I can say with certainty that Tanya has suffered from it, and this means I have indirectly benefited from it. I believe that this is morally reprehensible.

The challenges we in technology face with under-representation of minorities is complicated, and I am not an expert on these issues. I (and many others in the LLVM community) believe that our community will be stronger if we can improve diversity, and believe that outreach to minorities is important. At the same time, we continue to grow the community through many other programs - our involvement with Outreachy is a tiny sliver of what we do, and (as was previously mentioned) has not come to anything yet.

When it comes to Rafael, I have worked with Rafael over the internet for many years and have met him several times. Rafael is a very capable engineer who has contributed to LLVM in many ways, and I respect his work. At the same time, Rafael and the LLVM Community have divergent philosophies and neither is willing to compromise on those positions. As such, I think that Rafael's decision (which reflects significant personal sacrifice for him) is a strong display of personal conviction, and while I do not agree with the basis of this decision, I can recognize and respect his determination to follow his own beliefs. I will truly miss working with Rafael in the future, but parting ways is the best thing for both sides.

In closing, this situation strikes very close to home and is frustrating to me in multiple ways. Many people on the internet want to chime in on a complex situation without knowing any of the backstory, and without understanding what is going on. Instead, they look for confirmation of their own beliefs and to demonize people who disagree with them. This is a sad reflection of the state of social discourse in the world.