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04.10.19

Guest Post: The Linux Foundation (LF) is “Putting the CON in Conference!” (Part 1)

Posted in Free/Libre Software, GNU/Linux, Microsoft at 6:40 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

“I spoke recently with someone who has a lot of experience with boards and explained the LF situation. They said that kind of takeover was so common that it probably could have been foreseen and guarded against, but stopped short of actually saying it quite like that. As for how to fix the situation, no ideas yet.”

Longtime Techrights member

Lighted gift

Summary: Proprietary software giants with their sponsorships and gifts are more like Trojan horses or parasites striving to infect the host; how can the LF be protected from them?

THE three prior articles [1, 2, 3] on this particular topic, namely events of the Linux Foundation (LF), provided some essential background or introduction to this. The latest feedback we’ve received concerns Jono Bacon, the subject of the last post. Other people are being named (readers tell us about them), but we’re reluctant to bring shame to them without contacting them in advance (as we did Bacon, who did not respond).

“What next? What else is for sale? Who will be the next sellout?”Bacon used to work for Canonical. He now works with the LF (a client of his, by his own admission in a recent blog post), which is selling “tweets” from Bacon. Last week Canonical was advertising for Microsoft (paid press release for “free bait” of proprietary software). We are growingly worried that Microsoft will buy Canonical in the not-so-distant future, seeing how financial compromise is already threatening the community. Last year Microsoft paid a lot of money to OSI and 2 weeks ago the OSI’s blog posts were even composed by Microsoft staff (inside the OSI’s’ Board now). What next? What else is for sale? Who will be the next sellout? This is the subject of today’s guest post, which we’ve edited so as to protect identities and organise things a little better.


Volunteers — volunteers — across multiple conferences influencing decisions based on their biases and career goals — one who held IRC sessions on how to submit a winning CfP for LibrePlanet last year — within a few days of the event — published an article in Linux Journal — about how it’s not important — it’s OK — to be proprietary…

RMS took care of it. I was like, “I’m no one’s sweetheart but COME ON!”

How about a conference that charges sponsors and gives them keynotes, articles and even paid tweets by Jono Bacon? Charges sponsors and attendees for what? Hosting a venue and bringing a few names… and little cupcakes?

What about convincing corporate sponsors/partners that they are working on important projects — projects no one uses, really aren’t useful, but are busy at work?

You’re open source now… Faux open source.

“Time to rebrand to FOSS.”Paying other conferences by sponsorship to have their people speak — just so that the presenter looks legit.

Finally, censoring anyone who speaks out about them in — of course — Censorpedia.

Time to rebrand to FOSS.

Anyway, I had an idea of how to combat all this propaganda. I’ve been reaching out to colleges to try encourage the university LUGs (Linux Users Groups) to have their own yearly conferences/learning workshops. I don’t know if that will help, but then I was thinking of pulling some LUGs in. If you ask [name redacted], he can tell you the story about how he was organizing a Conference, started having issues with the venue and such… and was given an “offer” not to continue doing so.

Dirty business these conferences…

If you take a look at the LF prospectus, you can see that the sponsors get anything from:

  • Keynote slot at the conference
  • Article interview
  • Tweets for $3k by Jono Bacon from his account

Just what seemed like a terrible propaganda factory.

“Now, it’s up to $120k for an article and keynote.”Upon realization that Microsoft was a high-tier sponsor, I decided not participate in the Make event in Los Angeles sponsored by LF, even though I had a commitment.

No freaking way…

Check out this year’s prospectus. Kimberly Andrews is listed as contact.

I have some notes:

1. [name redacted] was working SCaLE, SeaGL and LibrePlanet
2. [name redacted] was also side by side with [name redacted] many times in the conference presentation evaluation circuit
3. [name redacted], upon receiving a letter of my concern, addressed this to me and not FSF Staff.
4. Linux Foundation receives payments from sponsors and offers keynotes, article interviews, tweets.

See current prospectus. They have been doing this for years. Now, it’s up to $120k for an article and keynote.

In addition to receiving funding from sponsors for Linux Foundation events, the LF charges attendees. So what are they doing, really? Is it just about the money, or is it something more? Is it a stronghold placement and branding — to move along the LF agenda and gain more members?

The credibility of all of the above parties is questionable, regardless of employment status.

When Microsoft became a sponsor for LF events, it was appalling.

“The sponsorship this year at LF — includes diamond level $120k — has again an article in Linux.com.”After speaking with [name redacted] at [event name redacted], at length, I discovered that many sponsors expect a slot.

Side Note: I have been an event coordinator. In 2001, at Pearson for 2 worldwide events – FL and CA.

2008 – Masters conference at Microchip. Of course, these are companies with internal presenters and such. That’s the difference, right. Still a million-dollar enterprise.

The sponsorship this year at LF — includes diamond level $120k — has again an article in Linux.com.

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