06.29.19

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The Campaign to Oust Linus Torvalds and Other Microsoft Critics at the ‘Linux’ Foundation

Posted in GNU/Linux, Kernel, Microsoft, Novell at 2:00 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Microsoft would rather have its longtime friend, Greg (from Novell), in charge of Linux

From LinuxCon & CloudOpen North America in New Orleans, LA. A roundtable discussion on the Linux Kernel from maintainers Tejun Heo, Greg Kroah-Hartman, Sarah Sharp and Linus Torvalds. The session is moderated by Ric Wheeler.
Source with context (video)

Summary: Things aren’t too rosy at the ‘Linux’ Foundation where Linus Torvalds is increasingly being marginalised (thanks in part to Microsoft-friendly media) and propped up to replace him are those who worked on Hyper-V (proprietary software for Windows) and similar Microsoft-centric projects at the Microsoft-occupied Novell

FAMILIAR tactics necessitate familiar reactions and responses. The corporate media keeps shaming Torvalds for exercising free speech while ignoring much worse words from Microsoft executives including Bill Gates (who bribes the media to paint himself as a Saint). Is there a well-planned strategy here? Just earlier today we wrote about Microsoft ousting critics by embarrassing them in front of their employers (or blackmailing the employers into firing them).

“This is Greg K-H (Kroah-Hartman) almost inviting Microsoft. He has been attacking various GNU/Linux vendors but not Microsoft.”Over the past decade or more Slashdot hasn’t been a friend of Linux (it was partly composed by Microsoft boosters) and we’re noticing a pattern there. Yesterday it said something about a Microsoft move “which if approved would allow Microsoft to tap into private behind-the-scenes chatter about vulnerabilities, patches, and ongoing security issues with the open-source kernel and related code…”

This is Greg K-H (Kroah-Hartman) almost inviting Microsoft. He has been attacking various GNU/Linux vendors but not Microsoft. We’ve mentioned this in our daily links after several articles about the matter, notably The Register’s and Slashdot’s (which links to it). In the Fediverse someone told me: “A glance at the changelog for the 5.0.15 Linux kernel is peppered with his sign-offs, often along with Greg Kroah-Hartman, a fellow at the Linux Foundation. It was therefore not surprising to see Kroah-Hartman vouch for Levin. Kroah-Hartman pointed out that Levin has full write permissions to the stable kernel trees, and applauded Microsoft’s application to sign up.”

“So GKH has ‘non-existent tolerance for #ZFS’ (licensed under a free licence!) but he’ll clap for Microsoft?”

He worked for Novell on Microsoft stuff, such as Hyper-V (proprietary software for Windows). He’s potentially trouble for reasons that we last covered some days ago. As one comment put it [1, 2]: “You’re assuming Microsoft has good intentions. Instead, they’ve decided it’s easier to suck the marrow from the bones if they can sneak inside the host under a flag of truce, like many other common parasites.”

A quick Google search shows that coverage has been mostly limited to the above sites and some readers wrote to us about it (after we had filed it under openwashing and chose to move on rather than dwell on character assassinations).

This was discussed yesterday in our IRC channels, as well. To quote a portion:


<__martin__> greetings, do you dr. roy think it’s meant to be a warm-hearted effort or eee smear tactic?
<MinceR> why do people still expect anything microsoft ever does to be benign?
<MinceR> i guess words speak louder than actions after all
<XRevan86> MinceR: It’s big. Inate trust in the authority.
<MinceR> who made those criminals an authority?
<XRevan86> * innate
<schestowitz> anyway, see the comments in The Register
<__martin__> cite: Just more infiltration, entryism. They try to sell Windows and Azure. See comments on this article, e.g.: “You’re assuming #Microsoft has good intentions. Instead, they’ve decided it’s easier to suck the marrow from the bones if they can sneak inside the host under a flag of truce, like many other common parasites.”
<schestowitz> I saw some yesterday
<__martin__> thx I see now (=
<XRevan86> MinceR: Money, money, money; always sunny, in the rich man’s world.
<schestowitz> people aren’t stupid
<schestowitz> but companies like Red Hat and Canonical are controlled by Microsoft cash now
<schestowitz> Zemlin PAC also
<schestowitz> Azure money and all


Curiously enough Slashdot decided to cover ‘news’ from one week ago. Hours ago it published “Tech Press Rushes To Cover New Linus Torvalds Mailing List Outburst” (that’s exactly what Slashdot does here as well, it’s “by EditorDavid”). Torvalds publicly complained that his interviews are being nitpicked by the likes of Slashdot for something insulting or ‘scandalous’ that he said (because such headlines ‘sell’).

Is this part of the effort to remove Torvalds? Look who wrote the two cited articles (the only ones we saw); they’re Microsoft boosters. Are they trying to sanitise the Linux Foundation for corporations like Microsoft, getting rid of charismatic people who simply, after provocation, say that unwanted code (for technical reasons) is like cow’s feces?

If that’s the intention, this isn’t a new strategy; but now with the CoC there’s more ammo with which to shame and even scare Torvalds. They try to lower his impact.

From Slashdot (this afternoon):

“The thing is,” reports the Register, “crucially, Chinner was talking in the context of specific IO requests that just don’t cache well, and noted that these inefficiencies could become more obvious as the deployment of PCIe 4.0-connected non-volatile storage memory spreads.”

Here’s how Chinner responded to Torvalds on the mailing list. “You’ve taken one single statement I made from a huge email about complexities in dealing with IO concurrency, the page cache and architectural flaws in the existing code, quoted it out of context, fabricated a completely new context and started ranting about how I know nothing about how caches or the page cache work.”

The Register notes their conversation also illustrates a crucial difference from closed-source software development. “[D]ue to the open nature of the Linux kernel, Linus’s rows and spats play out in public for everyone to see, and vultures like us to write up about.”

It’s very much slanted against Torvalds and so are the comments. The cited articles are from Linux bashers (with history to that effect). So Torvalds is bad because he mentioned poo, unlike Microsoft putting “boobs” inside the kernel (yes, Linux) — not even a sackable offense by Microsoft's exceptionally sexist standards.

“The LF case is very important,” one person told us. “I think it has driven home the problem of entryism. However, while all that was/is happening, the various FOSS projects are tied up with CoC fiascos.”

We recently mentioned Richard Stallman being silenced similarly [1, 2].

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2 Comments

  1. Canta said,

    June 29, 2019 at 9:32 pm

    Gravatar

    Money generates the structural dependency. And targeted PR generates the context of pressure against key human factors.

    But the hole in our defense is not the enemy power, but our own distance to ethics and politics as tools for survival (and not as some romantic idealism). They’re usually annoying for tech-savvy people, as they tend to dream of a world where they can be “just technical”. And that never happens, and never will. Remember the Brendan Eich issue? That’s leaving those tools to the enemy, as the CoCs are showing up lately.

    Stallman was always correct about endorsing Free Software in the human rights context. Ethics are not about looking like some kind of lunatic that asks for nice but impossible things: it’s about the project not changing into something else entirely in the long run. And politics is the discipline needed to survive that social pressure: how to be with the right people, because you just CAN’T be alone. The FSF will never be a victim of enemy entryism as the LF is, no matter the money.

    I guess Linux will be kinda alright anyways as long as it stays GPL… Is the LF talking about changing Linux’s license yet?

    Dr. Roy Schestowitz Reply:

    GPLv3 was rejected.

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