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08.03.19

How the Linux Foundation Devolved From Community-Centric to Microsoft (in GitHub) Projects

Posted in GNU/Linux, Microsoft, OSDL at 4:51 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

The Linux Foundation stands for almost nothing anymore

Winux Foundation logo

Summary: The history of the Foundation which employs Linus Torvalds shows a gradual and at times rapid change of focus; it has become little more than a cash register for corporate deposits and influence-buying (like a PAC)

IT IS EASY TO SEE THAT THE Linux Foundation, or the “Winux Foundation” as one reader of ours chose to call it (he perfected the logo above), isn’t moving in a positive direction. This year or the past year it has gotten a lot worse — to the point where we dropped a lot of coverage about patents (especially in the US) and instead focused on the Foundation. It’s a subject we’ve covered since its inception more than 12 years ago. I’m totally not new to it; I’ve covered this foundation’s internal affairs very closely since the very start and even prior to it (before OSDL, Torvalds’ employer since 2003, sacked its staff and was absorbed into Zemlin’s group, whereupon a rename happened*, leaving OSDL people seeking alternative routes**)

If one looks at the Foundation’s site as it looked one decade ago, “Community, Collaborate, Participate” appear as three consecutive top-level sections. They did at least strive to appear like they stand for something. This is what things looked like a decade ago at the “Linux Foundation” (which did not snub and mock the actual community, i.e. people who develop and use GNU/Linux). Today, in 2019, top-level sections at the “Linux Foundation” are “Projects, Membership, Events, Training, Resources, Newsroom, About”

“The sole goal is to maximise profits.”No “Community”.

No “Collaborate”.

No “Participate” (unless you pay, i.e. “Membership”).

When did it all change? It didn’t happen overnight.

By 2014 the Linux Foundation only had “COLLABORATIVE PROJECTS” left in top-level sections (“Community, Collaborate, Participate” had been removed). It’s no longer there anymore. Now it’s just a bunch of Microsoft (in GitHub) projects, controlled by massive companies like AT&T.

“Linux” is to the Linux Foundation what Linux was to SCO before the lawsuit. Or what Xenix was to Microsoft. It’s something that’s kept at the edge or even at the corner while bigger projects are promoted instead. The sole goal is to maximise profits.
____
* A lot of people don’t know this, but linuxfoundation.org (the domain) and linuxfoundation.com were both registered even years before the actual foundation existed (mind timelines in the Wayback Machine [1, 2]). Back in the 1990s the “Linux Foundation” site sold non-Linux things. It wasn’t even about Linux.
** Stuart Cohen, OSDL’s chief and then CSI (Collaborative Software Initiative) chief, vanished off the radar about a decade ago; it’s hard to see him publicly at any capacity. His online presence is mainly interviews from the OSDL and CSI days, i.e. more than a decade back.

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