06.04.19

Apparent Staffing Problems at the Linux Foundation

Posted in GNU/Linux, Microsoft at 3:10 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Nothing to say since April 25th? What happened?

Linux Foundation quiet

Summary: There are signs that something has changed inside the Linux Foundation, whose chief and main site have not said a thing since April 25th while advertising ‘Microsoft positions’ inside the Foundation

EVER since we started investigating the Linux Foundation we’ve had very positive responses (no negative ones so far). Some readers decided to help us research the Linux Foundation a bit. We now have quite a lot of eyes on the Foundation and we can sense that the Foundation’s leadership is very much aware of it. Through various connections we also have eyes and ears inside. They’re quite secretive at the Foundation, but people occasionally see or hear things they can’t just ignore. Principal Foundation staff started acting rather unusually. They became eerily quiet recently. Is it one of those “I know what you did last summer” moments? It’s very hard to simply dismiss this as a mere chain of coincidences, as we shall explain below.

“We now have quite a lot of eyes on the Foundation and we can sense that the Foundation’s leadership is very much aware of it.”The Linux Foundation and Jim Zemlin have published nothing since April in Linux.com. First time in over a decade or its entire existence? It was never this quiet. Not even news picks! Nothing! “It’s a potentially worrisome development,” one reader told us, “given the recent Microsoft entryism.”

In the Fediverse someone told me he has “been wondering about that also (?) Any updates on this?”

That needs researching. We’re looking carefully at recent publications from the Linux Foundation as opposed to Linux.com, which has been dormant and stale since April. Did the editor resign? Did someone get fired? Help us find out. The Foundation isn’t responding to any of that debate (it wouldn’t have hurt to say a few words of (re)assurance). It’s public and the Foundation was pinged about it.

Mr. Zemlin himself has been quiet (his last tweet was on April 25th, the same day Linux.com went silent; the last post is a link to what seems like the Foundation’s media partner). He not only blocked me in Twitter; it turned out he had also blocked Tux Machines, to which the Linux Foundation gave an exclusive interview some years back. We often wonder if Mr. Zemlin can be excused for still not using GNU/Linux, even after a decade and a half (almost) as chief of the “Linux” Foundation. He was its only chief ever. The Foundation could put someone like Bdale Garbee in charge instead; at least people respect him. At least he actually uses “Linux”, not just as a brand to be sold, licensed and ‘monetised’.

“Sometimes it feels like companies such as Microsoft have more influence in this Foundation than Torvalds himself.”I am frankly becoming concerned that the Foundation is nowadays promoting surveillance rather than freedom, marketing rather than advocacy and proprietary software instead of Free software (or “Open Source” as they prefer to call it).

Months ago we wrote about how the Foundation together with Microsoft/GitHub (the funding source) launched CommunityBridge, which is proprietary software that competes against existing things which are Free software. And here’s the more curious thing. The Foundation now looks for a leader — someone to run this ‘Community’Bridge thing. Days ago the Foundation published a job advertisement for this proprietary software it had launched for Microsoft (i.e. the usual). I found this ad in its Twitter feed, which is also barely active, with less than one tweet per day on average (over the past decade they posted about 7 tweets a day, on average, including weekends). I tested to see how to apply for the job; out of curiosity of course, not genuine interest. It was soon that I got greeted by… yes! LinkedIn! They push people to join Microsoft (LinkedIn) and give Microsoft personal information, employment history etc. So what the Foundation was reduced to in 2019 is rather upsetting. Open an account with Microsoft and give them all your very personal details to apply for a job at the “Linux” Foundation. True story. Wish I was joking…

Did something happen? Transparency would help. Months ago I became more vocal in my criticism of the Foundation and now I’m genuinely worried about its very future. Remember that this is the employer of Linus Torvalds which could, in principle, even fire him. Sometimes it feels like companies such as Microsoft have more influence in this Foundation than Torvalds himself.

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