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03.14.19

CommunityBridge is a Cynical Microsoft-Funded Effort to Show Zemlin Works for ‘Community’, Not Microsoft

Posted in GNU/Linux, Microsoft at 8:20 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Maintaining salaries this high requires “Big Tech”

Jim Zemlin's PAC

Summary: After disbanding community participation in the Board (but there are Microsoft staff on the Board now) the “Linux Foundation” (or Zemlin PAC) continues to take Microsoft money and polishes or launders that as “community”

TTHERE has been not a single word from the Microsoft-funded Zemlin PAC since it turned out that Microsoft continues to blackmail Linux (using software patents). We have, by now, seen nearly a dozen news reports about it. Shouldn’t an organisation that goes by the name “Linux Foundation” say something?

Well, Zemlin has been netting Microsoft money from more and more sources (membership, sponsorship of events, sibling/offspring companies and so on). When we started covering EPO matters we sadly lacked the time to cover examples of this, but the latest (context below) shows another example of it. There has been one blog post and two press releases (see [2] below, “Linux Foundation Announces Funding with GitHub”), saying it will operate “to Help Sustain Open Source Communities [...] to advance sustainability, security, and diversity in open source technology.”

“But hey, Microsoft is an Open Source company now (finally!) because GitHub has calculator code with spying in it.”Who gets to decide who receives the money and based on what criteria? This can become very political — one thing that that the PAC of Jim Zemlin has always been (he even told people how to vote in the 2016 Presidential election and issued purely political statement in the Foundation’s — not his personal — site).

The FS Conservancy — a real non-profit which believes it was defunded by the Zemlin PAC because a serial GPL violator and a Zemlin funding source, VMware, asked to curtail GPL enforcement efforts — has been cited [4] for its response to it [5], which was later posted also in the personal blog of Mr. Kuhn. He notes that “LF’s Community Bridge is a proprietary software system.” Just like GitHub. But hey, Microsoft is an Open Source company now (finally!) because GitHub has calculator code with spying in it.

Related/contextual items from the news:

  1. Announcing The Linux Kernel Mentorship project on CommunityBridge, a new Linux Foundation platform

    When Jim Zemlin asked me to come to the Linux Foundation as a Linux Fellow to work on mentoring programs and initiatives to make Linux secure I didn’t have to think twice. I am very excited to be working at the Linux Foundation alongside talented and dedicated individuals on initiatives near and dear to my heart. It is a unique and special opportunity to share my knowledge and passion by helping aspiring developers discover the joy of being a part of the largest open source project in the world.

    Contributing to the Linux kernel and working in open source is my passion. It is an honor to be a contributor to the software that influences and touches everybody in the world whether they know it or not. Being a part of something that has changed the way we communicate, conduct business, learn, and interact with each other is something that myself and thousands of developers worldwide share with pride as part of the Linux community.

    My journey as a Linux Kernel contributor started as a fun experiment to help take Android code and make it part of the core Linux project. I loved the experience of being part of the community and started looking for more opportunities to engage with it. When Greg Kroah-Hartman was looking for volunteers to help him with the stable release maintenance activities, I signed up.

  2. Linux Foundation Announces Funding with GitHub for New CommunityBridge Platform for Developers

    The Linux Foundation today announced Community Bridge™, a new platform created to empower open source developers — and the individuals and organizations who support them — to advance sustainability, security, and diversity in open source technology. On stage, Jim Zemlin, the Executive Director, announced that the Linux Foundation will match funding for any organization that donates funds to CommunityBridge projects to help provide developers resources to solve critical security, mentoring, and diversity challenges in open source ecosystems.

  3. The Linux Foundation Launches New CommunityBridge Platform to Help Sustain Open Source Communities

    The Linux Foundation today announced CommunityBridge – a new platform created to empower open source developers – and the individuals and organizations who support them – to advance sustainability, security, and diversity in open source technology.

  4. The Linux Foundation’s CommunityBridge platform

    The Linux Foundation has announced a new initiative called CommunityBridge; its purpose is to help with funding and support for open-source developers. It includes some security-related services and a means for connecting developers with mentors. The program is in an “early access” mode for now.

  5. Understanding LF’s New ‘Community Bridge’

    Yesterday, the Linux Foundation (LF) launched a new service, called ‘Community Bridge’ — an ambitious platform that promises a self-service system to handle finances, address security issues, manage CLAs and license compliance, and also bring mentorship to projects. These tasks are difficult work that typically require human intervention, so we understand the allure of automating them; we and our peer organizations have long welcomed newcomers to this field and have together sought collaborative assistance for these issues. Indeed, Community Bridge’s offerings bear some similarity to the work of organizations like Apache Software Foundation, the Free Software Foundation (FSF), the GNOME Foundation (GF), Open Source Initiative (OSI), Software in the Public Interest (SPI) and Conservancy. People have already begun to ask us to compare this initiative to our work and the work of our peer organizations. This blog post hopefully answers those questions and anticipated similar questions.

    The first huge difference (and the biggest disappointment for the entire FOSS community) is that LF’s Community Bridge is a proprietary software system. Section 4.2 of their Platform Use Agreement requires those who sign up for this platform to agree to a proprietary software license, and LF has remained silent about the proprietary nature of the platform in its explanatory materials. The LF, as an organization dedicated to Open Source, should release the source for Community Bridge. At Conservancy, we’ve worked since 2012 on a Non-Profit Accounting Software system, including creating a tagging system for transparently documenting ledger transactions, and various support software around that. We and SPI both now use these methods daily. We also funded the creation of a system to manage mentorship programs, which we now runs the Outreachy mentorship program. We believe fundamentally that the infrastructure we provide for FOSS fiscal sponsorship (including accounting, mentorship and license compliance) must
    itself be FOSS, and developed in public as a FOSS project. LF’s own research already shows that transparency is impossible for systems that are not FOSS. More importantly, LF’s new software could directly benefit so many organizations in our community, including not only Conservancy but also the many others (listed above) who do some form of fiscal sponsorship. LF shouldn’t behave like a proprietary software company like Patreon or Kickstarter, but instead support FOSS development. Generally speaking, all Conservancy’s peer organizations (listed above) have been fully dedicated to the idea that any infrastructure developed for fiscal sponsorship should itself be FOSS. LF has deviated here from this community norm by unnecessarily requiring FOSS developers to use proprietary software to receive these services, and also failing to collaborate over a FOSS codebase with the existing community of organizations. LF Executive Director Jim Zemlin has said that ?wants more participation in open source – to advance its sustainability and — wants organizations to share their code for the benefit of their fellow [hu]mankind?; we ask him to apply these principles to his own organization now.

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