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07.30.19

The Linux Foundation: Openwashing as a Service (OaaS)

Posted in Deception, Marketing, Microsoft, Novell, VMware at 3:02 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

SAP openwashing (image from Swapnil’s Web site)

SAP openwashing

Summary: The price of deception is high and some companies with billion-dollar marketing budgets are willing to pay that price for corporate reputation laundering; among the facilitators we unfortunately — and increasingly so nowadays — have the Linux Foundation

THIS has gotten almost depressing. The group which presents itself as the home of Linux turns out to be one of its greatest foes or threats. Its biggest Web site, LINUX DOT COM (Linux.com), contains anti-Linux FUD (poorly-selected news picks) and its sole editor, Swapnil, maintains Microsoft focus in the site’s front page. Here’s an example from several hours ago; he modified the original’s headline from “Microsoft buys a start-up whose software limits access to sensitive data” to “Microsoft Buys Open Source Data Privacy Company” (so desperate to keep openwashing Microsoft, which is still suing Linux using patents). He did the same for VMware (another prominent violator of the GPL) on the Foundation’s payroll in its Web site that offers “creative services” (PR). In the article he cites right now the term open source isn’t even mentioned until the third paragraph and it involves twisting the facts (pure Microsoft marketing); the acquired company has some .com Web site and is generally proprietary. But never let facts get in the way…

“Journalists are not the same as ‘journalists’ (the ‘corporate’ types) and we’ve noticed that some so-called ‘journalists’ conflate “having corporate access” with “success”. Having amicability from/with corporate high-ups means you’re a sellout, you’re PR.”Amid the SUSE-SAP tie-up Swapnil (SAPnil?) also did some more openwashing, for yet another proprietary software giant (see the image at the top) and yesterday these people wrote: “why not invest a coffee or tea break in listening to my discussion with Swapnil Bhatia [sic] of TFIR from this year’s SUSECON.”

More openwashing of SAP ‘aka’ SUSE (they’re increasingly the same). Journalists are not the same as ‘journalists’ (the ‘corporate’ types) and we’ve noticed that some so-called ‘journalists’ conflate “having corporate access” with “success”. Having amicability from/with corporate high-ups means you’re a sellout, you’re PR. Not journalism. These corporations fear people who are actually objective and inquisitive. Unlike those who just print what PR departments ask them to. Guess who’s paid by them. And the Foundation is a facilitator of these ‘transactions’.

“Having reviewed its IRS forms (the finer details) last weekend, the Foundation clearly doesn’t care about the image of Linux (spendings less than 2% of its revenue) but about the image of its sponsors, i.e. companies like Microsoft, VMware and so on.”We’ve long taken note of this Linux Foundation obsession — an obsession with calling proprietary software giants “Open Source”, rending the term “Open Source” increasingly void if not meaningless (everyone calling oneself “open”, itself a shallow and unenforced term). Recently we saw SAP throwing some code out there — similar to what Salesforce had done weeks prior. They then reled on shallow ‘reporting’ calling them “Open”; it’s the business model of deceptive PR. We have not forgotten Jono Bacon's openwashing of Microsoft, either. He too is on the payroll, this self-described champion of FOSS and “community”; yesterday he did this puff piece that boils down to PR. He’s like a PR agent for hire, still not finding his place in this world. It’s the business model is reputation laundering; some sort of “I’ll get you positive press for some cash”…

It’s sad to see that the Foundation is immersing itself in this underworld of PR tactics, borderline AstroTurfing. Having reviewed its IRS forms (the finer details) last weekend, the Foundation clearly doesn’t care about the image of Linux (spendings less than 2% of its revenue) but about the image of its sponsors, i.e. companies like Microsoft, VMware and so on. This is a problem.

The Chief Marketing Officer (CMO) for the Linux Foundation was, according to the Foundation, “Director of Public Affairs for the Office of the Director of National Intelligence (ODNI) and General (Ret.) James Clapper.” We mentioned this in passing before (back in May). “If you can’t make it good, at least make it look good,” Bill Gates (in)famously said. The Foundation manages to take some of the most ‘difficult’ organisations and make them sound fun, just like "puppies". Is Clapper too a “puppy”? Would she say so, based on his physical apperance? Her colleague Angela Brown, who manages LF events, had only the following things to say about Microsoft (which Jim Zemlin compared to a puppy):

In 3 years that’s all she had to say about Microsoft. It’s all about Microsoft giving money (slush funds) to her employer. These "thank you" services (literally paying for thanks) wouldn't be unprecedented.

“After Novell sold out the community, the Linux Foundation wants another Microsoft partner to join up and participate in groups working on legal topics?”Pamela Jones, Groklaw

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