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07.06.20

IBM is Imposing Non-Free, Privacy-Infringing Tools and Patent Tolls on Red Hat Staff

Posted in FSF, IBM, Patents, Red Hat at 11:20 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

IBM could not even choose a Free software-based communication tool, instead outsourcing it all to ‘surveillance capitalism’ at GAFAM (AWS in IBM’s case)

Reasons not to use Zoom
Reasons not to use Zoom by Richard Stallman (Zoom also gives back door access for authorities, as there’s faux encryption)

Summary: There are signs that Red Hat under IBM will be more like assimilation to IBM, not IBM assimilating to the ‘Red Hat way’ or the so-called ‘open org’

FOR a very long time (nearly 2 decades) Alexandre Oliva worked for Red Hat (he now works inside the FSF, where he’s a Stallman loyalist inside the Board). He left Red Hat not too long after IBM had unofficially/tentatively taken over, perhaps seeing the writings on the wall. Oliva is a GCC (compiler) contributor and IBM seems to be pushing LLVM. In his blog he said: “If only I’d quit over an imposition of non-Free Software on me, over the increasingly clouded business, over some great new opportunity to make a difference, it might have ended up being more than a negligible blip within the Free Software community, nevermind the grand scheme of things. Alas, it was just rotten office politics on a global scale, after a misunderstanding blown way out of proportion, that resulted in an unbearable situation for me.”

“Inevitably, what this will likely lead to is departure of Red Hat workers who do value ethics and software freedom, leaving in place mostly the apathetic.”In some online threads (at the time) it felt like it resulted from objections to some non-free software in the workplace (including clown computing). I too have had such experiences, leading to severe arguments. According to press reports, “IBM picks Slack over Microsoft Teams for its 350,000 employees” and we suppose that covers Red Hat employees as well. Slack is about as horrific as Microsoft and the same goes for Zoom. Bad, bad stuff.

To me, based on my readings (a daily errand), Red Hat became less about freedom and more about business since IBM took over. The patent policy shows no signs of changing. It’s still “Red Hat” in name, but it is IBM ‘in spirit’. Privacy of staff is being squashed and the culture just isn’t the same, based on anonymous murmurs from the inside.

Inevitably, what this will likely lead to is departure of Red Hat workers who do value ethics and software freedom, leaving in place mostly the apathetic. And look what happened to Canonical, which seems to be hiring Microsoft 'moles' while the actual GNU/Linux geeks leave. Ubuntu may never be the same; as for Fedora, it has been dreary and quiet lately. Some hours ago the Fedora Community Blog said that in the entire month “the site had 3,753 visits from 1,736 unique viewers. Readers wrote 1 comment. 119 visits came from Fedora Planet, while 553 came from search engines.” These are ridiculously low numbers and IBM is hardly helping Fedora in any way whatsoever. With help from the Linux Foundation IBM has been openwashing its proprietary products that cost a fortune. This is what the strategy is likely to be.

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