EditorsAbout the SiteComes vs. MicrosoftUsing This Web SiteSite ArchivesCredibility IndexOOXMLOpenDocumentPatentsNovellNews DigestSite NewsRSS

08.18.19

Openwashing Report: It’s Getting Worse, Fast. Everything is Apparently ‘Open’ Now Even Though It’s Actually Proprietary.

Posted in Deception, Free/Libre Software at 8:06 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Weekly openwashing report

Summary: The latest examples (this past week’s) of openwashing in the media, ranging from 5G to surveillance

THE “Openwashing Reports” started last weekend. It was conceived after a reader had sent us feedback (thanks, Christine!) and we hope we can keep it up for years to come. These reports address the growing problem which is the ‘cheapening’ of the term “Open Source” or even the framing of proprietary software as “Open”. OSI isn’t doing anything about it and if nothing gets done (e.g. public shaming at the very least), things will only get worse.

“OSI isn’t doing anything about it and if nothing gets done (e.g. public shaming at the very least), things will only get worse.”We start this report with Datical and Liquibase. We mentioned this last week in passing and days ago Datical was said to be “Furthering Ongoing Commitment to Open Source Community for Database Change” (headline).

What the heck does that even mean? It’s a cheap openwashing stunt. They speak of “community” or “commitment” and “Open Source”. Whose? Not theirs.

More troubling a case of openwashing was this bunch of “Open 5G” “Ecosystems” nonsense from Forbes (a propaganda rag of oligarchs). The press has been openwashing 5G for about a year and it’s doing it again, never mind if 5G is strictly proprietary with additional patent traps (evergreening). Even the so-called ‘standards’ aren’t open. There’s nothing “open” about it and words like “Ecosystems” (in the headline above) are a bit like greenwashing. We expect to see a lot more openwashing such as this; we’ve seen it for months already and pointed this out in our daily links.

“Are they trying to pass off 5G as “Open Source”? Great openwashing right there by surveillance companies.”Telecom openwashing doesn’t quite stop at 5G hype — a curious wave of hype that has already earned notoriety (it’s basically marketing disguised as reporting). Days ago we saw AT&T openwashing and this is noteworthy because of the company’s notorious secrecy (this company is the foremost partner of the NSA in the telecom space, based on several whistleblowers). Dallas Business Journal published this puff piece, reducible to megaphone/loudspeaker of AT&T staff. There was also RCR Wireless News with another puff piece (“Open-source ’5G software infrastructure’ focus of Dell, AT&T partnership”). What on Earth? Are they trying to pass off 5G as “Open Source”? Great openwashing right there by surveillance companies. Truly gross to think it was published to say: “AT&T continues to expand its parnterships with cloud specialists, now working with Dell Technologies to explore open source opportunities for 5G.”

They don’t mean Open Source. Here’s the original press release that it’s apparently based on. The openwashing stunt has a misleading headline which refers to “Open Source Edge Computing”; based on the body it is just “open infrastructure technology,” which is more or less meaningless. “Dell Technologies and AT&T* are jointly exploring the development of key open infrastructure technology areas for the next-generation network edge that will be required by service providers to support new use cases and service opportunities in a cloud-oriented 5G world,” it says.

Whatever “open infrastructure” means…

FierceTelecom joined in, triumphing or championing what it called “open source project” (in the headline even!) and to quote: “Dell Technologies is joining the Airship open infrastructure project, which has been spearheaded by AT&T…”

How did they move from “open infrastructure project” to “open source project” in the headline? It’s either dishonest or grossly negligible. It means that people who look for actual “Open Source” will be bombarded with ‘fakes’ like the above. We’re sadly seeing such stuff every week.

“So they published some code developed ‘in-house’ and now they proudly herald/advertise themselves as “good open source citizens” for ‘good measure’…”Here’s a new example of gross, crude and ridiculous openwashing of eBay, whose entire business is proprietary software with malicious elements like surveillance and blacklisting. The stack they use (not their work) may contain software such as Linux, but just about everything they do and make is proprietary. But “eBay has open sourced software designed to solve the problem of getting multiple servers to agree on a shared state even in the face of failures,” says the openwashing piece. So they published some code developed ‘in-house’ and now they proudly herald/advertise themselves as “good open source citizens” for ‘good measure’…

Maybe less than 1% of their codebase is “open”!

By criteria such as these, almost every company is now “Open” (even when it’s not and even when it actively attacks “Open”; proprietary software fiends pretend to be what they attack).

Now check out the latest propaganda of Salesforce. Its openwashing spam is a “contributed” PR piece about “open platforms” (whatever that means). GovTech, an influential site, published it to say:

Open platforms can provide states and localities with several advantages. They are typically cloud-based, with the underlying infrastructure and source code managed by the platform provider. This lowers the cost and maintenance burdens on IT shops who can reduce the number of patching and upgrade cycles, and scale up or down as needed without the worry of managing capital IT infrastructure.

Open platforms can also enable IT teams with limited expertise to develop and deploy advanced applications through simple, no-code/low-code capabilities. This provides IT staff with the software “building blocks” to create applications with minimal coding, and help those agencies facing shortages in personnel who are adept at application development. That said, open platforms frequently offer toolkits with more advanced capabilities, so more tech-savvy users can benefit as well.

[...]

Tommie Fern is vice president of sales for State and Local Government Public Sector Business Unit at Salesforce.

This guy pushes surveillance and proprietary software into the public sector. It’s proprietary, but they call it “open platforms”. How much more distortion can the word “open” endure?

“So one who looks for “Open Source” news gets loads of search results about companies that aren’t.”And speaking of supposedly “open platforms” with surveillance, how about Facebook? It’s pushing React Native, its own controversial ‘standard’, so ComputerWeekly decided to chip in with some PR. The so-called “Open Source Insider” (he no longer publishes his name) helps Facebook with this openwashing stunt. It’s that same old openwashing of surveillance operations. “Now open sourced by Facebook under an MIT licence, Hermes is supposed to supercharge startup times, drain less memory and result in a smaller overall application code footprint,” it says. Another new openwashing puff piece of Facebook came from Wired a few days ago.

Just amazing. So one who looks for “Open Source” news gets loads of search results about companies that aren’t. Openwashing plus googlebombing equals cheap whitewashing (reputation laundering/marketing).

How about the openwashing of RideOS (a surveillance network for passengers)? Linux.com participated in this openwashing about a week ago. Is there source code? Well, there’s an API:

Ridehail API and open source mobile apps are designed to empower companies to build and manage their own ride-hailing network.

“OS” in RideOS stands not for Open Source, but nowadays everything gets called “open-source” or “open” or “Open Source”…

“”OS” in RideOS stands not for Open Source, but nowadays everything gets called “open-source” or “open” or “Open Source”…”The propaganda of proprietary software giants would have us believe malicious secret code is “open”.

Here’s another new example, one where “OpenChain” actually refers to specs (an “OpenChain Specification.”). Well, an ‘open spec’ is not Open Source. It’s just misleading.

How about this new one from Container Journal? We have cloudwashing and openwashing here (“Open Server” and “Cloud Service” and “Ecosystem”, so arguably greenwashing too). It’s about CNCF, part of the Linux Foundation. To quote:

The Open Service Broker API specification is the product of a collaboration by Cloud Native Computing Foundation, Fujitsu, Google, IBM, Pivotal, Red Hat and SAP. The goal of the project is to develop a standardized approach for connecting services to container orchestration platforms and cloud-native applications. At the same time, open service brokers are rapidly becoming a critical capability that cloud service providers are now all but assumed to possess.

The word “open” is used spuriously here; but it’s not about code. It takes some research, it takes a lot of time (checking whether something is really Open Source or just openwashing as a marketing opportunity), but once you manage to decipher a project’s or a company’s status it rarely changes thereafter. If they’re faking it, they’ll likely fake it for years to come (if they survive that long).

We’ve meanwhile also noticed this new article from App Developer Magazine, a relatively large site with high reach. How did this article turn “leading cloud computing luminary” (i.e. a surveillance computing trap) into “Open Source expert” (in the headline)? Someone has just “joined Armory as vice president of open source and developer relations.”

“Get your optics ready because what’s nowadays being called “Open Source” has neither open nor source.”The person’s background however in no way supports the label “Open Source expert”; it’s someone who worked for CNCF (the above) as a marketer. To quote them: “Kumar was most recently the VP of product marketing and developer relations at the Cloud Native Computing Foundation (CNCF), the home of Kubernetes (arguably one of the most impactful open source projects in cloud computing).”

So apparently being in marketing makes one an “Open Source expert”. Whatever… we all know that the Linux Foundation is more or less a marketing front anyway. They do marketing for proprietary software firms for the most part; those are their sponsors and the motto is, “the sponsor is always right!”

Welcome to 2019. 2020 vision coming soon. Get your optics ready because what’s nowadays being called “Open Source” has neither open nor source. It’s just a marketing label like “dolphin-safe”.

Share this post: These icons link to social bookmarking sites where readers can share and discover new web pages.
  • Digg
  • del.icio.us
  • Reddit
  • co.mments
  • DZone
  • email
  • Google Bookmarks
  • LinkedIn
  • NewsVine
  • Print
  • Technorati
  • TwitThis
  • Facebook

If you liked this post, consider subscribing to the RSS feed or join us now at the IRC channels.

Pages that cross-reference this one

What Else is New


  1. Links 11/12/2019: Huawei Lobbied by Microsoft (Because of GNU/Linux) and Microsoft Still Googlebombs Linux to Promote 'Teams'

    Links for the day



  2. Links 11/12/2019: Edge Native Working Group, CrossOver 19.0 Released

    Links for the day



  3. Instead of Fixing Bug #1 Canonical/Ubuntu Contributes to Making the Bug Even More Severe (WSL/EEE)

    Following one seminal report about Canonical financially contributing to Microsoft's EEE efforts — celebrated openly by GNU/Linux opponentsclosing bug #1 Ubuntu basically decided not that it was fixed but that it would no longer attempt to fix it (“wontfix”)



  4. IRC Proceedings: Tuesday, December 10, 2019

    IRC logs for Tuesday, December 10, 2019



  5. Today's Example of Microsoft's Faked 'Love'

    “On 7 September 2017, users began noticing a message that stated “Skype for Business is now Microsoft Teams”. This was confirmed on 25 September 2017, at Microsoft’s annual Ignite conference,” according to Wikipedia



  6. Links 10/12/2019: Kubernetes 1.17, Debian Init Systems GR

    Links for the day



  7. 'Cancel Culture' as 'Thoughtpolice' Creep

    Richard Stallman spoke about an important aspect of censorship more than 2 decades ago (before “Open Source” even existed); it was published in Datamation (“Censoring My Software”) 23 years before a campaign of defamation on the Internet was used to remove him from MIT and FSF (censoring or ‘canceling’ Stallman himself)



  8. Microsoft Still Hates GNU/Linux and Mark Shuttleworth Knows It (But He is Desperate for Money)

    We're supposed to believe that a PR or image management (reputation laundering) campaign alone can turn Microsoft from GNU/Linux foe into friend/ally



  9. Actions Against EPO Corruption and Unitary Patent (UPC) Injustice/Lobbying

    The EPO is apparently going on strike again and an action against the UPC is scheduled for later this week (protest in Brussels)



  10. “The Fifth Freedom as a Meme”

    The issue with systemd (or SystemD) has provoked or at least stimulated discussions about the limits of the famous Four Freedoms



  11. IRC Proceedings: Monday, December 09, 2019

    IRC logs for Monday, December 09, 2019



  12. Demonstration Against Unitary Software Patents, Thursday 12 Dec in Brussels

    FFII's call to demonstrate against the UPC



  13. Links 9/12/2019: China on GNU/Linux, Canonical Wants Help to Improve Ubuntu

    Links for the day



  14. Links 9/12/2019: Linux 5.5 RC1, EasyOS Buster 2.1.9

    Links for the day



  15. IRC Proceedings: Sunday, December 08, 2019

    IRC logs for Sunday, December 08, 2019



  16. Mandatory Education for Those Who Use and Misuse Buzzwords Would Go a Long Way

    In an age of substitution — where marketing terms replace meaningful words and concepts — it has gotten more difficult to have honest debates, for example about the scope of patents



  17. Once Upon a Time Banter Was Allowed on Mailing Lists

    Hours ago Torvalds announced RC1 of the next Linux (kernel) release; it has been a while since he last said something ‘controversial’ (following his month at the penalty box); free speech deficit can make us weaker, not stronger (advantage to those who work in the dark)



  18. Links 8/12/2019: Debian Init Systems GR, NomadBSD 1.3

    Links for the day



  19. Can We Quit Celebrating DRM in GNU/Linux?

    Over the past couple of days various news sites and "Linux" sites expressed great satisfaction [1-5] over the passive embrace of Disney's DRM ploy (Disney+), even when Disney itself rejects DRM, seeing the harms practically caused by it [6,7]



  20. You Know WSL is Bad for GNU/Linux Because Anti-Linux People, Microsoft and Its Propagandists, Want People to Use That

    Microsoft and its boosters (and media partners) haven’t grown tired of spreading falsehoods to stigmatise and take control of GNU/Linux by creating their own versions and traps for it



  21. IRC Proceedings: Saturday, December 07, 2019

    IRC logs for Saturday, December 07, 2019



  22. 5 Years Ago the Linux Foundation Turned Linux.com Into a Non-Linux Site

    One can leverage the Internet Archive’s Wayback Machine to better understand how, over time, the Foundation called “Linux” deviated or diverged away from its mission statement for the sole purpose of raising corporate funds and selling influence to corporations (passing the community’s hard work to them — a form of tacit privatisation)



  23. Microsoft Redefining Ownership and Identity of GNU/Linux

    The idea that “Microsoft loves Linux” is as insane as it gets; but the lie which is “Microsoft loves Linux” is a powerful enabler of Microsoft entryism, e.g. if Greg steps down, does a Microsoft employee become the deputy of Linus Torvalds?



  24. Things That Cannot Be Said

    The limits on what we can say are mostly defined by what sources permit us to say publicly (for the sake of source protection)



  25. Fake European Patents (on Algorithms) Leading to Fake Embargoes

    Law firms have gotten their way in Germany; instead of supporting the productive workers the patent system is nowadays promoting the litigation 'industry' and it ought to be corrected



  26. From Moderate Advice to FUD and Misinformation: The Case of a VPN Vulnerability (CVE-2019-14899)

    What should have been a trivial bugfix in a variety of operating systems and bits of software — both proprietary and Free software — somehow became anti-Linux FUD, clickbait and worse



  27. Dangerous Thinker

    Society oughtn't be alarmed by people who say unusual things; it should be wary and sceptical of those corporations ever so eager to silence such people



  28. Unitary Patent (UPC) Died Along With the Credibility of Managing IP and the Rest of the UPC Lobby

    It is pretty astounding that Team UPC (collective term for people who crafted and lobby for this illegal construct) is still telling us lies, even in the absence of underlying supportive facts, and pressure groups disguised as "news sites" latch onto anything to perpetuate an illusion of progress (even in the face of a growing number of major barriers)



  29. IRC Proceedings: Friday, December 06, 2019

    IRC logs for Friday, December 06, 2019



  30. Links 7/12/2019: Fedora 31 Elections Results, Lots of Media Drama Over VPN Bug

    Links for the day


RSS 64x64RSS Feed: subscribe to the RSS feed for regular updates

Home iconSite Wiki: You can improve this site by helping the extension of the site's content

Home iconSite Home: Background about the site and some key features in the front page

Chat iconIRC Channel: Come and chat with us in real time

Recent Posts