Suppressed Facts of the Free Software Movement and Its Community of Volunteers – Part I: We Are Under Attack by Corporations and Their Salaried Facilitators

Posted in Debian, Free/Libre Software, GNU/Linux at 7:40 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Why does the FSF award and reward such people?


Summary: The corporate takeover (taking over the Commons, produced by volunteers who are motivated by altruism) is a subject we must speak about and somehow tackle; this series will highlight uncomfortable or difficult truths

NOBODY wants to be thought of as a “corporate tool” (or “useful idiot”, to use a Soviet era crude and derogatory term). Some call them “trolls” or “provocateurs” — for better or for worse; others use terms like “Trojan horses” or “moles” — a phenomenon we’ve come across and still get subjected to (even in our IRC channels, where it’s tricky to properly defuse without censorship). False pretences are common, mental problems are seemingly a “feature” (perceived victimhood), and those people might not even (themselves) realise to what degree they’re being gamed by their employers. Distraction and diversion are all too common.

This series will refrain from naming people whenever possible. We’re more interested in focusing on the underlying patterns, having long witnessed these in the Linux Foundation and the OSI. We hope that by the end of this series the community will be more robust to corporate infiltration, based on the ability to call it out, having identified the hallmarks or the signatures. There are recurring patterns, or repeatable methods. We’ve long witnessed them and we recently spoke (in private) to a number of informed sources. This series has taken a long time to prepare and properly research (hence not so many articles published here lately) though we’re open to suggestions and corrections.

To kick things off, we’d like to quote a person whom we habitually syndicate here. He’s a whistleblower and a good developer; he was subjected to yet more SLAPP earlier this month. Some people still try to shut him up. Is that because he’s wrong? No. In my experience, having spoken to some of the above-mentioned trolls (the real trolls), he’s right on the money and that embarrasses their employer (like Google). They’re truly eager to do anything in their power/capacity/authority to either silence or discredit him.

“The law,” as we explained last week, “is not on their side. Not even remotely.” We know this because this was done to us too (and we sought legal advice on this matter). They can make legal threats or even send threatening letters from lawyers. But they won’t actually file any lawsuits because if they did, it would most certainly become a catastrophe. Not only would they lose; they would need to pay compensation to those whom they bully (in their desperate attempts to silence/dismantle).

“I have a collection of threats here now,” told me the silenced person (they still haven’t managed to silence him completely), “and I’m thinking about publishing the whole lot.”

We too received an extensive collection of threats. But those never stopped us. We know the law well enough.

“Technically,” the person added, “the photo [which led to a copyright-centric SLAPP action] was published by the Debian Community News Team…”

But they sent the threats to the person perceived to have been the author. Chilling, isn’t it?

“They keep using the words Community and Team for so many things,” he said, “so there is an element of parody at play”

“Community,” he explained, “hides an autocracy or corporation.”

“Community,” moreover, “in that sense, is a poor substitute for a democracy.”

“Team,” he explained in relation to Debian, “hides the fact it is one person, often Joerg Jaspert.”

A lot of Debian development was shifted to servers controlled by Google after Google had silently passed a lot of money to the Debian Project via SPI.

We’re not singling out Google here; this is just one corporate factor among many. We’ll provide some more illuminating examples later in this series.

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