08.28.20

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Google, Microsoft and Debian

Posted in Debian, Google, Microsoft at 11:54 pm by Guest Editorial Team

Reprinted with permission from Debian Community News

There has recently been news about money from Google and Microsoft corrupting the FSFE. Has it also touched Debian?

In May 2006, there was a discussion on debian-project asking Debian Developers not to redirect their debian-private emails into Gmail accounts. Trying to access it in the archives gives a 404 Not Found error. Censorship? It lives on in archive.org.

Ian Jackson wrote:

However, it has come to my attention that at least one developer
appears to be reading debian-private at their gmail account.

I think that this is a violation of the privacy rules surrounding the debian-private list. Google should not get a copy of debian-private, even if the only current output is aggregate keyword hit reports (ie ad presentation rate data).

Why have those comments been censored from the debian-project archives? Was Google’s money a factor?

We recently saw a former DPL’s girlfriend demoting people at Christmas. Some people feel that precipitated much bigger leaks of debian-private as people lose all respect for the project’s leaders.

Nonetheless, as of 2020, there are numerous examples of people using gmail.com instead of those coveted debian.org addresses on debian-private. What changed?

In 2018, of course, there was that mysterious $300,000 donation from Google that nobody wants to talk about. In this time of Coronavirus, we’ve been told to pay with our cards because paper money can spread the virus. At the same time that Google’s money entered Debian’s bank account, both Google and Debian were simultaneously experimenting with demotions of their respective employees and volunteers. Coincidence, or contamination?

Nonetheless, what does it look like when Microsoft’s money comes along?

There can be no greater contradiction. The letterhead of Software in the Public Interest, Inc used to request money from Microsoft???? While Sam Hartman was unleashing feral dogs to attack a long-standing volunteer, he was rolling out a red carpet for Bill Gates.

While some of us may work with Microsoft in other contexts, it is hardly appropriate in Debian. Imagine for a moment if the British Medical Association accepted money from a firm like British American Tobacco.

What are the principles that govern Debian Developers in 2020? They are clearly not the same as they were in 2006. Anybody who dares to ask about these paymasters is accused of violating the Code of Conduct. Long live the Code of Conduct.

debian-spi-microsoft-tainted
SPI, Inc now invoices Microsoft for donations

osi-board-2019-mollamby
Mollamby (Chris Lamb and Molly de Blanc) at an OSI board meeting hosted by Microsoft

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