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04.16.19

GNU/Linux is Being Eaten Alive by Large Corporations With Their Agenda

Posted in GNU/Linux, IBM, Microsoft, OSDL, OSI at 8:25 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Asset stripping GNU/LinuxAsset stripping the GNU

Summary: A sort of corporate takeover, or moneyed interests at the expense of our freedom, can be seen as a ‘soft coup’ whose eventual outcome would involve all or most servers in ‘the cloud’ (surveillance with patent tax as part of the rental fees) and almost no laptops/desktops which aren’t remotely controlled (and limit what’s run on them, using something like UEFI ‘secure boot’)

THE WEB is a noisy place. Many people have something to say and several people say that Microsoft “bought” the Linux Foundation (LF) 3 years ago. We keep seeing that claim. In many ways, today’s LF and Microsoft are “on the same page,” so to speak (“Microsoft Loves Linux”, WSL and so on).

“Jim Zemlin, who said his job was to pay Torvalds, pays himself and some colleagues more than he pays Torvalds, as the LF’s IRS filings reveal.”Weeks ago we saw Microsoft staff writing for the Open Source Initiative (OSI) after Microsoft had paid the Open Source Initiative a big bunch of money. Things change rapidly; neither the LF nor the OSI said anything at all about reports that Microsoft is still using patents against vendors that ship Linux. The President of the OSI has spoken on the subject (even as recently as two years ago), but that changed after Microsoft joined the OSI. We mentioned this a year and a half ago.

Going back to the LF, what exactly is it doing? Jim Zemlin, who said his job was to pay Torvalds, pays himself and some colleagues more than he pays Torvalds, as the LF’s IRS filings reveal. They might (by now) be paying themselves up to a million dollars each, tax-exempted, per year, in this ‘non-profit’. We think that the LF needs to improve, not be ended/disbanded. It started similarly to OSDL, but money and power appear to have corrupted it. The LF nowadays engages in a lot of political activities; it even brought in top officials from US politics. Its nature is largely political and it favours large corporations. About a year ago — seeing that LF was no ordinary foundation and was hardly about Linux anymore — a sentiment shared among journalists whom I spoke to — I decided to refer to it as “Zemlin PAC”, just like “Vista 10″ or similar wordplays.

“Months ago Torvalds ‘escorted’ himself out, came back weeks later (from that ‘penalty box’) and has said nothing particularly critical/negative since.”I think that at this moment in time the LF can do a lot better to restore trust. There are various timeline-related issues that led to people souring and distrusting LF, including removal of community members from the Board and adding Microsoft to it (because Microsoft paid). Then there’s the CoC controversy. It is formally called Code of Conduct and it applies to events, mailing lists etc. The LF’s site describes rules by which LF can remove (escort) people out of premises. Months ago Torvalds ‘escorted’ himself out, came back weeks later (from that ‘penalty box’) and has said nothing particularly critical/negative since. I was recently told that in FSF/LibrePlanet too someone was threatened with removal. I thus worry that this influence can continue to expand, reprimanding those who resist it using social means or social engineering.

Similarly, those who claimed to be protectors of Linux from patents turn out to be rather useless or even worse than useless since Microsoft joined them. The LOT Network, for instance, is just a patent pool, which claims to be defensive. If you check who’s behind it (foundations and management at present), you soon realise they are pro-software patents. Additionally, as Bruce Perens put it, OIN exists to protect software patents from us, not us from software patents. LOT is similar. Where does the LF stand on the subject? It never talks about it anymore. In the same message Perens called the LF a GPL infringers’ club (Microsoft is a serial GPL violator). Perens remains a key person in the OSI (he’s also OSD author), but nowadays he’s there among Microsoft staff.

“In the same message Perens called the LF a GPL infringers’ club (Microsoft is a serial GPL violator).”Our concerns are generally shared with many of our readers, one of whom wrote to say (all lowercase, formatting adapted a little but message contents preserved), “hey, red hat did get purchased shortly after github (though not by microsoft, they were purchased by ibm.) what is this, the 80s? “linux” is a lie lasting nearly 30 years. the lie is that linus torvalds created it, and there are multiple generations of people who make that mistake. he was given far too much credit — and people even attribute their “freedom” to his work. we will get back to that freedom in a minute. [...] simon phipps used to say that it’s simply a petty insignificant argument, like life of brian’s “peoples front of judea” vs. “judean peoples front.” the insignificant argument is that free software means anything apart from “open source.” that is an extremely disingenuous claim, given what open source has done for 22 years. no, it’s more like deliberately minimising the work and sacrifice from most of the world in world war ii, and giving all the credit to the americans for coming in later and winning it. the icing on the cake is that phipps conveniently ignores the fact that it is actually open source that started that petty argument themselves. (thanks eddie izzard) [...] “linus! where the fuck have you been?” [...] “having breakfast!” [...] “we are like free software, except better.” is a meme that has co-opted free software for more than 20 years. and it isn’t just co-opting, and rewriting history to paint themselves as more important — they take money for it as well! [..]. hating microsoft is “a disease”, according to torvalds. [...] in light of his recent comments that facebook is also “a disease”, (no argument there) one must ask about this blatant double standard– at what point exactly does a technology company go from being a company which the hatred of is ‘a disease’, to a company that is ‘a disease’ itself? how can torvalds tell the difference? because if he were consistent, he would say that “hating facebook is a disease”– but of course, it isn’t. [...] this is from you mentioning it on pirate.party: every time open source makes something free, something less free comes along for the ride. ubuntu tries to make universal packages — which require you to register for their apple-like app store, and which is now heavily promoting microsoft visual studio code, an ide which brings microsoft telemetry onto your “free” operating system. [..]. at worst, they can go back to the courts and present it as evidence that “yes, these developers (all free software developers) are stealing our property, and we wish to force them to stop.”– to end development of gnu and linux. at best, they can weasel out of any requirements to follow the license, which becomes void when issued by people who don’t “own” gnu and linux. and that seems like the most likely future — microsoft eventually not only rebranding linux (as azure) but relicensing it on their own terms, as “we clearly own it.” [...] important exception: and for the organisations that have met us halfway, and called it “gnu/linux” along with us? it would be unfair (or even dishonest) to pull the rug out from under them, and simply call it “gnu” in that context. insomuch as people only call the operating system “linux,” it is reasonable to call it gnu. recommended reading: benkler-complexity-and-humanity | zero-dollar-laptop | eff-statement-on-assange.”

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