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07.06.19

The Openwashing of VMware, Sponsored by the Linux Foundation (in Turn Sponsored by VMware)

Posted in GNU/Linux, GPL, Kernel, Marketing, VMware at 8:52 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Is the Foundation a ‘nonprofit’ PR agency?

Dirk Hohndel
Dirk Hohndel and Linus Torvalds speaking at the LinuxCon Europe 2014 in Düsseldorf, 15 October 2014, by Krd

Summary: Dirk Hohndel (formerly Intel, now VMware) has become the master spinner of an infamous violator of the GPL, a proprietary software company with NSA back doors (evidence shown in Edward Snowden’s cache/trove of leaks)

THE PEOPLE who proclaim to be the voice of “Linux” often aren’t even GNU/Linux users. They just talk about GNU/Linux (calling it “Linux”) and they think it’s absolutely fantastic when “Linux” becomes a platform of blobs and DRM. What is the point then? Why even promote “Linux” if it becomes yet another closed, nonfree system? That’s like swapping Windows for MacOS (or Microsoft for Apple), in effect defecting from one brand to another rather than shifting paradigm or freeing oneself from vendor lock-in.

There seems to be a rift or a split between the GNU/Linux crowd and the “Linux” fans; the former speak of freedom as in Free software, whereas the latter focus on “Open Source” (as in, some code may be available). It’s not hard to see what side most corporations have taken.

I’ve come to the conclusion Steve Ballmer was to Microsoft and to Bill Gates what Donald Trump is to “the Establishment” and to robber barons. Their ugly policies, which they don’t regret, they blame on a person (distraction from a bigger picture). That’s not to say that the person isn’t objectionable; but it helps other, somewhat less objectionable people deflect and personify the problems, which they then want us to believe they ‘resolve’ by merely removing the person. Microsoft after Ballmer has the exact same policy, albeit a slightly different strategy (or marketing/PR) with a new CEO, still largely the same leadership in the Board, notably Gates. Ballmer too attempted to infiltrate FOSS and Linux (and to a certain degree he did), but he just wasn’t so successful at it. He wasn’t a sufficiently good pretender. He was too crude. When we wrote earlier today about Azure we explained that it is all about controlling GNU/Linux rather than loving it. It helps when they tell lies like “Microsoft loves Linux…” (“we come in peace…”)

“Ballmer too attempted to infiltrate FOSS and Linux (and to a certain degree he did), but he just wasn’t so successful at it.”The danger isn’t limited to the operating systems space. As we habitually point out in our daily links, PyCon more or less got ‘sold’ to Microsoft (with the goal of Python entryism). Microsoft also bought itself some powerful seats in other tenets or pillars of Python, e.g. by virtue of buying companies such as LinkedIn and GitHub (but that’s a subject for another day). We should note that Microsoft has also given cash to EuroPython (just about to start [1]) but unlike PyCon they’re not actively advertising Microsoft for it. Attendees can and do support the event so that they don’t end up selling the event to Microsoft (like sellouts who organise PyCon did).

This post is actually a rant about not one but three new videos [2-4] (published as recently as early this morning). One of these [2] was entitled “Developers Don’t Know The Code They Run In Their Applications” (so said the man who receives massive salaries from a serial GPL violator).

Why is he amplified here? Because VMware pays Zemlin’s PAC, which in turn pays and arranges this PR opportunity (the interviewer is professionally connected to Zemlin’s PAC and had all expenses covered by it).

“This interview (or set of clips) serves as a sort of megaphone for Zemlin’s sponsors, including GPL violators.”So Zemlin’s PAC (the Linux Foundation) has turned to something like PR operations for Microsoft and similar companies, including GPL violators such as VMware. With Microsoft there have been various GPL violations (they got caught red-handed!) that we covered in past years, e.g. Hyper-V. This event isn’t a sole example and the interviewer recently advertised himself as a PR service. Has media become “traveling [PR] salesmen”?

If they did some fluff and puff pieces, that’s one thing. Instead, what we have here is company that’s also a serial GPL violator. It badmouths FOSS licences (Hohndel “says that developers don’t even know about the code that’s running in their applications”) and security of FOSS; it’s also downplaying competition to virtual machines (containers), the ‘bread and butter’ of this declining giant. This interview (or set of clips) serves as a sort of megaphone for Zemlin’s sponsors, including GPL violators. Companies such as Microsoft and VMware are not allies of Linux. Surely that’s not too hard to understand, but money talks (they cover the person’s expenses to come to their VMware/Microsoft-sponsored events, he then records the “people of interest” on his “Mac”-branded PC). So now we have a “Chief Open Source [sic] Officer & VP at VMware” lecturing us on FOSS. Yes, a proprietary software company with NSA back doors (see EMC/RSA material from Snowden leaks circa 2013 and 2014) is the ‘authority’ on this subject.

“Another GPL violator, VMware, recently bought Bitnami and a founding person then moved to Microsoft (it happened about a month ago).”It’s like the company pays this PAC to serve as a PR front and control the narrative. Hijacking the story… for a fee. A GPL violator that’s attacking and misusing the GPL coming up with spin. No wonder Bruce Perens called the Linux Foundation a GPL “infringers club”. So Microsoft the serial GPL violator is buying GitHub (well, technically it’s proprietary software, but Microsoft uses it for openwashing purposes anyway). Another GPL violator, VMware, recently bought Bitnami and a founding person then moved to Microsoft (it happened about a month ago). It’s a troublesome trend. They’re trying to just ‘buy out’ FOSS. They target the repositories. They want to control everything, not just in the “business intelligence” (BI) sense but also distribution.

People who sometimes turn out to be turncoats and sellouts aren’t too uncommon; I’ve come across several over the years. Career-climbing opportunists, seduced by money and allured by the cash associated with defection to Microsoft’s lie campaigns (like “Microsoft Loves Linux”) and sometimes Microsoft job offers. Silence on these matters is no longer an option.

Related/contextual items from the news:

  1. EuroPython 2019: Attendee briefing

    EuroPython 2019 will start on Monday. Again we will have more than a thousand attendees signed up and we’re looking forward to an exciting conference packed with more than 130 sessions from Monday – Sunday, July 8 – 14.

  2. Developers Don’t Know The Code They Run In Their Applications

    It’s a clip from our longer interview with Hohndel that you can watch on TFiR. The interview was recorded at KubeCon + CloudNativeCon, Barcelona.

  3. An Inconvenient Truth Of The Cloud Native World

    As a result of this awareness, Hohndel is noticing some positive changes. The Cloud Native Computing Foundation (CNCF) recently announced a new SIG around security which will be conducting reviews of CNCF projects.

  4. A Disturbing Pattern Of Cloud Native: Dirk Hohndel

    Dirk Hohndel, Chief Open Source [sic] Officer & VP at VMware talks about a disturbing pattern he is witnessing in the cloud-native space. He says that developers don’t even know about the code that’s running in their applications.

    It’s a clip from our longer interview with Hohndel that you can watch on TFiR. The interview was recorded at KubeCon + CloudNativeCon, Barcelona.

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