Daniel Lange and Debian, Aggression and Hypocrisy in Focus

Posted in Debian, Deception, Free/Libre Software, GNU/Linux at 6:24 pm by Guest Editorial Team

Reprinted with permission from Debian Community News

This blog follows up on the earlier report about Daniel Lange, who was accused of aggression but accepted into Debian anyway at almost the same time Jacob Appelbaum was expelled.

We quote the following two emails from the debian-private (leaked) gossip network, little comment is needed to see the hypocrisy at work inside Debian.

This one was sent in August 2016, a discussion of Appelbaum’s code contributions to Debian. This is a distraction: it is important to remember that people also make contributions when they spend time preparing a speech, mentoring other volunteers or writing bug reports. The contributors report for Appelbaum gives a much bigger history of his contributions, although that is tangential to the point of this blog post. The key point in this email is not the contributions, rather, it is the assertion that contributions should not be a factor when evaluating accusations of abuse:

Subject: Re: What is true and what is false in accusations against Jacob Appelbaum

Date: Wed, 17 Aug 2016 17:19:11 +0200

From: Jérémy Bobbio <lunar@debian.org>

To: debian-private@lists.debian.org

Andreas Tille:

> > We know for sure that his contributions to Debian are non-existent.


> Very quick and incomplete research:


> udd=# select count(*) from upload_history where maintainer = ‘Jacob Appelbaum <jacob@appelbaum.net>’ ;

> count

> ——-

> 20


> 20 Uploads are definitely not much but do not fit my definittion

> for “non-existent”.

Please, stop using contributions as a criteria when discussing abusers.
We should not tolerate abuses, even when done by “very important

I feel the need to restate that to create a healthy community, it’s
likely more useful to focus on preventing abuses and empowering victims
than judging abusers.

Daniel Lange, Debian, DebConf, aggressive, disrespectful

This one had been sent a few weeks before that. It emphasizes Daniel Lange’s contributions to DebConf, a substantial effort that many people don’t have time for.

Subject: [Daniel Lange] Do some public considerations for newmaint application, good way to proceed?

Date: Sun, 26 Jun 2016 19:42:26 -0400

From: Tiago Bortoletto Vaz <tiago@debian.org>

To: debian-private@lists.debian.org

… snip …

I witnessed aggressive and disrespectful behavior from Daniel against a person
very close to me, both written and in person, during Debconf15. As he was not a
member/whatever of the Debian community I decided to let it go. Besides that, I
think he was quite harmful during the storm against the Debconf chairs. But it
may be more a personal opinion.

I’m aware that he’s doing a lot of work for Debconf and I’m not objecting to
his application. But I’ll just feel bad if I say nothing at this time.

Lange’s work for DebConf was emphasized and it appears that it was more important to Debian than the accusations of aggression. This contradicts the attitude to Appelbaum. As far as we know, neither Daniel Lange or Jacob Appelbaum has been investigated by police, charged or convicted of any crime.

Erinn Clark, defamation, character attacks

We previously disclosed that Erinn Clark was one of the outspoken women pushing for Debian to make a public attack on Jacob Appelbaum. During the discussion of Daniel Lange, there was radio silence from Clark. Was her strong stance on aggression based on principles, or mere politics?

For justice to be fair, it must be the same system of justice for everybody. Some people in Debian make an enormous effort on the Reproducible Builds project, to ensure two builds of the same source file will always produce the same binary. They express concern that if every build produces a slightly different binary, there is a risk that an attacker could place hidden code in a binary and it would be harder to detect. Why don’t we see the same adherence to reproducibility in Debian membership processes?

Reproducible Builds, hypocrisy, Debian, jacob appelbaum, error

[Meme] GitHub is Microsoft Proprietary Software Used Against Free/Open Source Software

Posted in Deception, Free/Libre Software, GNU/Linux, Microsoft, OSI at 2:12 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Hours ago: OSI and GitHub (sponsor of today’s OSI, along with other Microsoft tentacles and Microsoft itself)

Netflix Anime Subtitles: Open Source is just Free software by another name; Microsoft (GitHub) is freedom?

Summary: We need to quit repeating the lie that Open Source is just Free software by another name

Net Applications Was Always Hostile Towards GNU/Linux (and Close to Microsoft), So Stop Measuring or Assessing ‘Market Share’ Based on What It Says

Posted in Deception, FUD, GNU/Linux, Microsoft at 1:49 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Funny spin, old spin

Big laughter

Summary: We’re supposed to think that versions of Windows still have about 90% of the market; nothing could be further from the truth

SO, some so-called ‘Linux’ sites now tell us about Net Applications, alleging that GNU/Linux is ‘losing’ and it’s all based on some firm with secret data and ties to Microsoft. As we recently noted, another firm claims that GNU/Linux share increased by 15% during lock-downs; so different firms tell different and mutually-contradicting stories. We’ve chosen to not link to any of those so-called ‘Linux’ sites as it would merely feed the FUD/misinformation/click-bait. Either way, Windows does not have about 90% of the market. It’s crafty or artistic misuse of statistics. Android has a higher share (on the Web at least) than Windows and outside laptops/desktops the share of Microsoft is minuscule anyway. Don’t let the liars claim otherwise.

“Working behind the scenes to orchestrate “independent” praise of our technology, and damnation of the enemy’s, is a key evangelism function during the Slog. “Independent” analyst’s report should be issued, praising your technology and damning the competitors (or ignoring them). “Independent” consultants should write columns and articles, give conference presentations and moderate stacked panels, all on our behalf (and setting them up as experts in the new technology, available for just $200/hour). “Independent” academic sources should be cultivated and quoted (and research money granted). “Independent” courseware providers should start profiting from their early involvement in our technology. Every possible source of leverage should be sought and turned to our advantage.”

Microsoft, internal document [PDF]

Sometimes Diversity Programs Are About More Than Diversity

Posted in IBM, Microsoft at 12:53 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Meme based on the movie Kung Pow (the meme is used to highlight parts of a game that always blow up in your face or to elucidate attempts at subversion of groups by buffoons)

The diversity meme
Crimes against humanity are perpetrated by systemically sexist companies like Microsoft and IBM (they profit from it); but they’re careful to constantly portray themselves as champions of “inclusion” (the very opposite of what they really are and this can be done ‘on the cheap’ with interns and low-paid programs)

Summary: Sadly, many people out there don’t want to be painted as “bigots”, so they allow monopolists to make opposition to monopolies seem “toxic” and their activism an act of inherent “intolerance” (by fronting with diversity programs, never mind if those monopolists engage in ethnic genocide); they even ban words in the name of protecting minorities that they bomb

The Open Source Initiative in 2020 is Purely Farcical

Posted in Microsoft, OSI at 12:09 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

The president of today’s ‘Open Source’ Initiative is outsourcing his work to proprietary software of Microsoft

Avatar of Josh Simmons (GitHub/Salesforce)

Summary: With a President (top position) from Salesforce and no general manager (GM) anymore (both co-founders of the OSI also quit or were banned) the OSI in 2020 is just “open source” by name

THE Open Source Initiative has had a long history, riding the tail (or the coattails) of GNU and Free software while opportunistically exploiting support from big corporations and corporate media (controlled if not directly owned by those big corporations).

“Today’s OSI is funded by Microsoft in numerous ways and it relays Microsoft ads/propaganda in its official blog.”The OSI has had its share of controversies over the years (we covered many) and ‘rogue’ board members, including Matt Asay (tried working for Microsoft, brought Microsoft to OSI), Microsoft staff (Carol Smith), Bill Gates staff (Danese Cooper), Jim Jagielski (prominent Microsoft apologist) and Joi Ito (took bribes from Gates through pedophiles, secretly).

Earlier this summer it got even worse.

Today’s OSI is funded by Microsoft in numerous ways and it relays Microsoft ads/propaganda in its official blog. Did that money come with strings attached to it? Remember that both co-founders of OSI are no longer associated with it. Back in January one left in protest (Bruce Perens) and weeks later the OSI’s leadership (proprietary software companies now) banned the other co-founder. That’s how rogue today's OSI really is.

Richard Stallman Explains Why Open Source Misses the Point and “is Not Enough”

Posted in Free/Libre Software, Interview, OSI, Videos at 11:28 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Note: We’re still working on a migration back to WebM/Ogg (default)

Summary: Ignoring the weak English in the above subtitles, this is a public appearance in which GNU’s founder explained why “Open Source” missed the point (that’s Bruce Perens sitting beside him)

Codes of Conduct and Hypocrisy

Posted in Debian, Deception, Free/Libre Software at 10:48 am by Guest Editorial Team

Reprinted with permission from Debian Community News

IN recent times, there has been increasing attention on all forms of abuse and violence against women.

Many types of abuse are hidden from public scrutiny. Yet there is one that is easily visible: the acid attack.

debian community image

Reshma Qureshi, pictured above, was attacked by an estranged brother-in-law. He had aimed to attack her sister, his ex-wife. This reveals one of the key attributes of these attacks: they are often perpetrated by somebody who the victim trusted.

When so many other forms of abuse are hidden, why is the acid attack so visible? This is another common theme: the perpetrator is often motivated to leave lasting damage, to limit the future opportunities available to the victim. It is not about hurting the victim, it is about making sure they will be rejected by others.

It is disturbing then that we find similar characteristics in online communities. Debian and Wikimedia (beware: scandal) have both recently decided to experiment with publicly shaming, humiliating and denouncing people. In the world of technology, trust is critical. People in positions of leadership have found that a simple email to the press can be used to undermine trust in a rival, leaving a smear that will linger, like the scars intended by Qureshi’s estranged brother-in-law. Here is an example:

debian community image

Jackson’s virtual acid attack was picked up by at least one journalist and used to create a news story.

Some people spend endless hours talking (or writing) about safety and codes of conduct, yet they seem to completely miss the point. Most people don’t object to codes of conduct, but we have to remember that not all codes of conduct are equal. In practice, the use of codes of conduct in many free software communities today looks like this:

debian community image

If you search for sample codes of conduct online, you may well find some organizations use alternative titles, such as a statement of member’s rights and obligations. This reminds us that you need to have both.

When we see organizations like FSFE and Debian trying to make up excuses to explain why members can’t be members of their respective legal bodies, what they are really saying is that they want the members to have less rights.

When you have obligations without rights, you end up with slavery and cult-like phenomena.

History lessons

One of the first codes of conduct may be the Magna Carta from the year 1215. Lord Denning described it as the greatest constitutional document of all times – the foundation of the freedom of the individual against the arbitrary authority of the despot.

In other words, 800 years ago in medieval England they came to the conclusion that members of a community couldn’t be punished arbitrarily.

What is significant about this document is that the king himself chose to be subjected to this early code of conduct.

An example of rights

In 2016, when serious accusations of sexual misconduct were made against a Debian volunteer who participates in multiple online communities, the Debian Account Managers sent him a threat of expulsion and gave him two days to respond.

Yet in 2018, when Chris Lamb decided to indulge in removing volunteers from the Debian keyring (a form of shaming), he simply did it spontaneously, using the Debian Account Managers as puppets to do his bidding. Members targetted by these politically-motivated assassinations weren’t given the same two day notice period as the person facing allegations of sexual assault.

Two days hardly seems like sufficient time to respond to such allegations, especially for the member who was ambushed the week before Christmas. What if such a message was sent when he was already on vacation and didn’t even receive the message until January? Nonetheless, however crude, a two day response period is a process. Chris Lamb threw that process out the window. There is something incredibly arrogant about that, a leader who doesn’t need to listen to people before making such a serious decision, it is as if he thinks being Debian Project Leader is equivalent to being God.

The Universal Declaration of Human Rights, Article 10 tells us that Everyone is entitled in full equality to a fair and public hearing by an independent and impartial tribunal, in the determination of his rights and obligations. They were probably thinking about more than a two day response period when they wrote that.

Any organization seeking to have a credible code of conduct seeks to have a clause equivalent to article 10. Yet the recent scandals in Debian and Wikimedia demonstrate what happens in the absence of such clauses. As Lord Denning put it, without any process or hearing, members are faced with the arbitrary authority of the despot.

The trauma of incarceration

In her FOSDEM 2019 talk about Enforcement, Molly de Blanc has chosen pictures of a cat behind bars and a cat being squashed in a sofa.

debian community image

It is abhorrent that de Blanc chose to use this imagery just three days after another member of the Debian community passed away. Locking up people (or animals) is highly abusive and not something to joke about. For example, we wouldn’t joke with a photo of an animal being raped, so why is it acceptable to display an image of a cat behind bars?

Deaths in custody are a phenomena that is both disturbing and far too common. Debian’s founder had taken his life immediately after a period of incarceration.

Virtual incarceration

The system of secretly shaming people, censoring people, demoting people and running huge lynching threads on the debian-private mailing list has many psychological similarities to incarceration.

Here is a snapshot of what happens on debian-private:

debian community image

It resembles the medieval practice of locking people in the pillory or stocks and inviting the rest of the community to throw rocks and garbage at them.

debian community image

How would we feel if somebody either responded to this virtual lynching with physical means, or if they took their own life or the lives of other people? In my earlier blog about secret punishments, I referred to the research published in Social Psychology of Education which found that psychological impacts of online bullying, which includes shaming, are just as harmful as the psychological impact from child abuse.

Would you want to holiday in a village that re-introduced this type of cruel punishment? It turns out, studies have also shown that witnesses to the bullying, which could include any subscribers to the debian-private mailing list, may be suffering as much or more harm than the victims.

If Debian’s new leader took bullying seriously, he would roll back all decisions made through such vile processes, delete all evidence of the bullying from public mailing list archives and give a public statement to confirm that the organization failed. Instead, we see people continuing to try and justify a kangaroo court, using grievance procedures sketched on the back of a napkin.

What is leadership for?

It is generally accepted that leaders of modern organizations should act to prevent lynchings and mobbings in their organizations. Yet in recent cases in both Debian and Wikimedia, it appears that the leaders have been the instigators, using the lynching to turn opinion against their victims before there is any time to analyse evidence or give people a fair hearing.

What’s more, many people have formed the impression that Molly de Blanc’s talks on this subject are not only encouraging these practices but also trolling the victims. de Blanc has become a trauma trigger for any volunteer who has ever been bullied.

Looking over the debian-project mailing list since December 2018, it appears all the most abusive messages, such as the call for dirt on another member, or the public announcement that a member is on probation, have been written by people in a position of leadership or authority, past or present. These people control the infrastructure, they know the messages will reach a lot of people and they intend to preserve them publicly for eternity. That is remarkably similar to the mindset of the men who perpetrate acid attacks on women they can’t control.

Therefore, if the leader of an organization repeatedly indulges himself, telling volunteers they are not real developers, has he really made them less of a developer, or has he simply become less of a leader, demoting himself to become one of the despots Lord Denning refers to?

[Meme] Turning ‘Open Source’ Into Another Proprietary Software Monopoly

Posted in Deception, Free/Libre Software, OSI at 10:36 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Turning the page, then turning the tables, too

SU - how to talk to people: How to kill freedom
The “Open Source” flag is thoroughly compromised, admits the person who started it

Summary: Create a new messenger, dilute the message, aggregate everything in one place (centralisation), pass the whole proprietary collective to the fiercest enemy of software freedom and then declare that “open source has won” (it just means monopoly has won or taken over the competition/counterparts)

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