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09.03.19

Openwashing Report: The Linux Foundation Champions Openwashing of GPL-Violating (and GPL-Bashing) Microsoft

Posted in GNU/Linux, Kernel, Microsoft at 10:26 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

War is peace, so Open Source loves Microsoft

Weekly openwashing report

Summary: When one’s salary comes from a Microsoft-controlled Novell (to work on proprietary Microsoft projects) and then a Microsoft-funded Linux Foundation it’s not hard to see why one is inclined to cheer for Microsoft as much as Jim Zemlin (above) does

THE previous part focused on IBM. We decided to completely separate parts of this series. It keeps it more coherent and easier to follow. Now it’s Microsoft’s turn. Get ready because it’s pretty ugly; some readers might find it annoying/obnoxious, but facts need to be stated, no matter if they’re convenient or not. It’s about awareness, not comfort.

Microsoft

Over the next few days, perhaps even weeks, associates of Techrights are going to write some important mails. Some will write comments such as this new one about openwashing. To quote:

Sadly Roy, we are witnessing yet another iteration of ‘The Decline of Western Civilization’. Only this time it is not punk rock that is the cause of said decline, it is the inanity of the general populace.

Bullshit has become the norm, and those that will not accept the bullshit are few and far between.

While I applaud you for standing up and trying to educate the unwashed masses about all of this, alas I think you are trying to push shit up a very big hill.

Rupert Murdock and his ilk are sitting on their piles of cash and smiling like Cheshire Cats. Their agenda has achieved its goal and we are living in a world of mindless sheep that will feast upon whatever the mainsteam media feeds them.

I sadly have to agree. Facts don’t seem to matter when the budget for marketing by far (several orders of magnitude) exceeds budget for real journalism. The Linux Foundation is little more than a marketing operation; just look who runs it

Marketing/PR can leave a big mess for actual journalism to try to ‘clean up’ (setting the record straight, based on extensive fact-checking)…

“Facts don’t seem to matter when the budget for marketing by far (several orders of magnitude) exceeds budget for real journalism.”Microsoft could not be happier about Linux being managed by a marketing firm instead of geeks; historically, all that Microsoft had was money (cash reserves). Free software developers had principles, so most of them were able to resist the temptation of money. But not Mr. Zemlin. If he was at war with China and Chinese businessmen offered him loans, he’d take it!

Look what Microsoft did to GitHub. What a mess. How did it do it? Money, not charm.

We now have some very tough words for the Linux Foundation, based on a growing pile of strong evidence and new examples of things our investigations found. Remember: the Foundation (LF) is NOT what it seems! It’s an excellent pretender because it’s run by professionals/experts in pretending. This is what they studied in college.

“Look what Microsoft did to GitHub.”We are still very worried about what happened to Linux.com, a casualty of a takeover by an undedicated and uncaring (to Linux) LF. The LF doesn’t like journalism; it likes PR. It’s actually selling articles. It’s right there in LF brochures. Articles are for sale. Pay some huge sum of money to the LF and the LF will then commission an associate to prepare a puff piece. This corrupts the very notion of journalism. Traditionally, many of these pieces were composed by Swapnil, the sole person whom the LF left in charge of Linux.com. The biggest anti-Linux trolls, e.g. one from CBS (tabloid ZDNet), were boosted by him as recently as last night.

Oh, God help Linux.com. A person who uses Windows, Mac OS and (sometimes) Linux runs that site. Yesterday he once again put Microsoft at the front page of Linux.com, but we’ll cover that in a separate part.

Mind you, dear readers, I’m not a “Microsoft hater”. I have contacts at the company and some regulars in our IRC are former Microsoft staff/MVPs. But at least they know when Microsoft does deeply unethical things. They talk about it. Unlike the LF!

The LF, one might argue, is a bigger fan of Microsoft than most Microsoft employees! Even Microsoft employees know that they won’t spend the rest of their lives at Microsoft (they acknowledge the company is in rapid decline), so their loyalty is temporary, somewhat reserved, and they treat their bosses with suspicion (one day these bosses may fire them irrespective of performance on the job).

“The LF, one might argue, is a bigger fan of Microsoft than most Microsoft employees!”Those who oppose Microsoft (e.g. for controlling Linux) aren’t being unreasonable. Those who suggest they are… often turn out to be in Microsoft’s pockets (yes, money). We’ve seen it before. We know the type…

There’s a growing push to describe Richard Stallman (RMS) as history, has-been etc. This is a case of self-fulfilling prophecy efforts. They try to tell us Software Freedom is unreasonable and unrealistic while businesses are gradually privatising 35+ years of Free software. Buying GitHub is one of several such moves.

We’d also like to make an important if not vital distinction: So-called ‘Open Source’ people who join Microsoft are not “sellouts”. They are defectors. There’s technically a difference. Big difference. These people work in units inside Microsoft that actively undermine us. If they work in some hardware division, that probably impacts Linux very little (if at all). I have contacts at Microsoft who like GNU/Linux and do not compete with it; it’s just not their department, so to speak.

Going back to the LF, yesterday Swapnil wrote: “There is a vocal minority of desktop Linux user community that frowns at Microsoft’s involvement with the Linux kernel.”

“So-called ‘Open Source’ people who join Microsoft are not “sellouts”. They are defectors. There’s technically a difference. Big difference.”“No,” I responded politely, “it’s the majority, not a vocal minority.”

I called that “spin and lies.”

Swapnil then responded with a bunch of insults in Twitter. Yes, he can be very rude — a subject we’ll cover separately (in a later post). It later landed in Slashdot with this summary:

Top Linux kernel developer Greg Kroah-Hartman gave a new 30-minute interview with TFIR during the Open Source Summit, 2019. He discusses security in the post-Spectre world, remembers when Microsoft joined the Linux distros mailing list, and acknowledges good-naturedly that he and Richard Stallman “approach things from a different standpoint”.

“We also talked about how companies like Microsoft and Amazon are becoming good citizens and contributing to the kernel,” Swapnil wrote in another video ‘lump’.

“Moody had previously blasted Amazon for paying Microsoft… for so-called ‘patents’ in Linux. As far as we’re aware, it’s likely that Amazon still pays Microsoft a huge sum of money for AWS instances running GNU/Linux. Nothing suggests that this ‘gentlemen’s agreement’ ever came to an end. Nothing.”Dr. Glyn Moody (Linux Journal, TechDirt etc.) responded jokingly, “for some value of “good”…”

Moody had previously blasted Amazon for paying Microsoft… for so-called ‘patents’ in Linux. As far as we’re aware, it’s likely that Amazon still pays Microsoft a huge sum of money for AWS instances running GNU/Linux. Nothing suggests that this ‘gentlemen’s agreement’ ever came to an end. Nothing.

Moments ago I asked Moody, “Is Amazon in your opinion still paying Microsoft for these patents? In bulk?”

His response was, “my guess is some/many will have expired; maybe still paying for a few that were relatively new. that was 9 years ago, half the life of a patent…”

So we take that as a partial “yes”. As we noted here several times last week, we assume many OEMs still pay Microsoft for exFAT patents and many of the patents Microsoft ‘handed over’ to OIN either don’t relate to Linux or are already covered by secret OEM deals with major GNU/Linux/Android distributors. So Microsoft still gets buckets (maybe billions of dollars per year) from patent assertion against Linux.

Amid all this nonsense from Swapnil and Greg Kroah-Hartman one might be tempted to ask, “where’s Linus Torvalds?”

Torvalds won’t be the one to save the “Linux” Foundation from its infiltrated Board and Linux-hostile (or at best agnostic) staff. He is, however, best equipped to resist it because of his credibility and charisma. But they're silencing him. The media intimidates him. There’s a growingly concrete threat of him being ousted one way or another.

“The LF PR operations are very much in the pockets of Microsoft, which keeps sinking more and more money into the LF (GitHub, LinkedIn — it’s all connected!).”It’s not hard to see what sort of attitude and stance Greg Kroah-Hartman has; GAFAM is awesome to him. Microsoft is a friend. He knows he’s ‘next in line’, so if Torvalds left (as he did temporarily last year), a Microsoft apologist would be in charge of Linux (just like Zemlin).

The LF PR operations are very much in the pockets of Microsoft, which keeps sinking more and more money into the LF (GitHub, LinkedIn — it’s all connected!). As we noted earlier this year, the LF PR is contracting work outwards, even to Jono Bacon. The LF pays him thousands of dollars for “tweets” (endorsements for sponsors). Guess who Swapnil published an interview with last night. Oh yes, “Lets Talk To Jono Bacon About The Evolution Of Open Source” (the Open Source ‘expert’, Mr. Bacon, who worked at proprietary software company GitHub and now works for ‘clients’ such as Microsoft, who endorse his new book).

Pass me the bucket, Mr. Zemlin. I think I need to vomit.

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