12.02.22

Gemini version available ♊︎

Sirius Open Source is No Longer Open Source and It’s Simply Unethical to Stay There

Posted in Deception, Free/Libre Software at 11:08 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Article crossposted (from my personal site)

Sirius Open Source

2011-2022: thank you and goodbye

Summary: The company where I’ve worked since my twenties is going under; now it’s trying to find excuses to deny compensation to staff while failing to pay very basic bills and liabilities; there are many other issues that deserve the light of day

SO IT finally happened. I’m liberated. Liberated to speak out and liberated to work around the clock as best suits me.

So what exactly happened? My employer is going under, and in my informed assessment it is going under partly due to its own incompetence. It’s basically its own fault. I did what I could to prevent it. I spent years cautioning against decisions that would make staff recruitment — and retention — very difficult. I even studied documents and laws, hoping to make a case for my stances/positions. But they would not listen. The managers put in charge were clueless; heck, “clueless” is an understatement.

“It is important for me to state upfront and very frankly that the company I leave is not the company I joined.”The way things stand at the moment, the employer is too broke to pay the salaries or pay compensation in case of staff cuts. We know that. We can see the statements from the company; its finances make it quite a miracle that it’s still running at all, based perhaps on prospects of netting some very major client in the imminent future. But that won’t happen. In fact, the staff still left in the company is incapable of dealing with major clients; lies and cover-up from management won’t keep such clients around; no major client would fall for it. ‘Our’ company cannot even find someone skilled at GNU mailman and ninja-style management with “tweets” instead of job advertisements are a symptom or a hallmark of severe weaknesses.

The company was trying to convince people to leave voluntarily (it’s all on record) while treating people poorly, in effect treating them as disposables. To quote an E-mail that my wife Rianne sent to the “Office Manager” earlier this year (failing to do the most basic job!):

Hi ██████,

The same issue (as before) is happening again and I’m really baffled as to why the same mistake would keep repeating itself over and over again. I guess I deserve to have an explanation regarding this matter, because if the NOC shifts wiki page is the only source or basis for your accounting, why can’t you count the number of shifts correctly? I’m starting to look at it as if you are neglecting your responsibility. I have had 13 shifts in total for the month of February, 8 were regular shifts and 5 more are the extra shifts. I got paid for the regular shifts but not for the additional shifts. If you could add the additional shifts to my account, I would be grateful.

Best,

Of course it fell on deaf ears, as usual.

We might do a separate series about Gates Foundation and its sneaky moves, apparently trying to sneak in a bribe at a very critical time (as if it needed a British company to do a simple task thousands of American firms can do). That merits a lot more discussion.

As later posts will explain (in greater depth), the company I joined almost 12 years ago was very, very different. It was run by knowledgeable and compassionate people; not the company run by reviled, unqualified and demotivational people (since 2018 or thereabouts).

So why not leave earlier? Well, a pandemic is not a good time to seek alternative employment, especially when already working from home (many advantages during lock-downs and a lingering epidemic-turned-pandemic), though times are now changing and the clock is ticking. The company is simply running out of time and sinking deeper and deeper into debt (the ‘overdraft’ is like $100,000 per permanent member of staff).

“From supporting and advancing Free software it turned into using proprietary “clown” disservices to help other companies run their proprietary “clown” disservices.”It is important for me to state upfront and very frankly that the company I leave is not the company I joined. I worked alongside some very skilled individuals in 2011 and now it’s just a drag. Turning the job into “bullshit job” is the legacy of years of failing managerial style. It’s akin to the way this blog post described it a few weeks ago: “This was my introduction to busy work: work to be done for no other reason than to keep yourself looking busy. It fits into a larger category of bullshit work: work that the worker must do despite having no purpose.”

That’s basically what much of the job became. From supporting and advancing Free software it turned into using proprietary “clown” disservices to help other companies run their proprietary “clown” disservices. Sometimes not even for a profit but a loss! Yes, imagine taking clients onboard only to lose money on them! That happened again very recently and it was not the first time bosses decided to underwrite, in effect undercharging, just to get a “client”. About 8 years ago, at the instructions of the boss, I tried to get the client to pay for the time we spent; eventually the company was so frustrated with the contacts that it tried to block them from moving to another provider (or to hold the work ‘hostage’), using technical means. What an embarrassment.

Those proprietary “clown” disservices aside, imagine stuff like Microsoft/Azure and various proxies of Microsoft, for whom we were meant to act like clerical staff, reading from scripts and then writing into GUIs (for staff to relay), in essence cheapening the workforce and wrongly assigning roles/tasks — all this in a pathetic pursuit of business. Not to mention several unethical clients, which won’t be named as the rants aren’t about any particular company except the one I know best (it is unfair to pick on pertinent clients as it’s not about them).

“Looking at the current staff page, it’s fair to say that half or perhaps a majority of those listed aren’t in fact in the company.”Having said that, here’s a recent example, which intentionally omits any names; some months ago the company’s founder asked me to look into Web/Apache logs of some ‘Christian’ fundamentalist (anti-abortion) site, trying to reaffirm it had come under DDOS attack (barely!) after Roe getting overturned. Well, at that point I knew already it was time to leave. I think it was around March that the decision had been finalised, at least in my mind. The issue isn’t a monetary one; it’s just that we don’t filter potential clients, we’re even desperate to get some that yield losses rather than profit, or don’t involve any actual projects. If there’s no filtering, you risk letting staff do unethical stuff in a company that has “Open Source” in its name; in the above example, the supposedly ‘Christian’ fundamentalists were trying to demonise those “Evil” and “Extreme” people who support a woman’s right to choose whether to bear a child. Why would I want to help them? No way!

There were other unethical clients (one was even a loan shark) and highly unprofitable contracts that ended up losing the company 4 times more than the actual revenue. Imagine working for a desperate company that’s under-selling itself, telling the staff to study stuff like Kafka (in a hurry) just to claim to potential clients that we possess such skills as if a few days messing about with some software is the same as proper experience. This was about getting business based on false claims of skills possessed by the workforce.

Looking at the current staff page, it’s fair to say that half or perhaps a majority of those listed aren’t in fact in the company. Some left about 3 years ago. They’re in no way associated with the company:

Not in the company for years; Dr Roy Schestowitz/Support Engineer/Roy is a 10-year veteran at the company, having joined Sirius after completing a doctoral degree in Medical Biophysics and worked in postdoctoral positions studying medical applications of computing. Roy also runs the site Techrights, which was founded in 2006 to advocate ethics in the context of technology. He participated in various fitness competitions in the more distant past and still goes to the gym routinely. At work, Roy leverages Free-as-in-Freedom software to accomplish various tasks for clients and in his spare time he is researching and analysing news. Rianne Schestowitz/Support Engineer/Rianne has a Bachelor's Degree in Computer Science and has been with Sirius since 2013 working as a support engineer. She works during weekends and sometimes covering weekday shifts for the colleagues. During weekdays and after the shifts of the weekend she co-edits Tux Machines, the website that covers Linux, Android and Open Source-related news. Rianne is environment-conscious, an animal lover and her most loved animal is the panda bear (you can read some of her blog posts in Tux Machines). As much as she loves learning about different cultures, she likes to learn different languages too. As of this date she speaks five!

In terms of communications, an abyss widened too. Replies weren’t being sent (or selectively sent), not even a reply to message about aggressive cancer of a loved one (little sympathy is a sign of sociopathy) in addition to lying about not receiving important E-mail. Sometimes clients would not receive replies for months; it was a failure at the very top! More recently, we witnessed a manager probably lying about a client making a complaint (I could ask the client directly to prove this too was a lie, but it’s not fair to the client) and misrepresenting/distorting what I actually said. Suffice to say, pointing out a lie or a pattern of lying is not the offense; the offence, or even repeated offence, is repeatedly lying to people. In the business context, lying has financial and sometimes legal consequences. When I actually said flattering things about a client, without any names, that was used against me. How dare I praise someone? When attempting to weaponise anything against someone, even flattery is used negatively.

“Of course spending all day spying on staff (activity outside of work) instead of actually running the company is also not a sanctionable offence. There are some rules that are only applicable to those who aren’t enforcing them.”Lies often go hand in hand with cover-up, so of course an inappropriate romantic relationship was becoming a taboo; you cannot even ask, “is there a relationship or not?” That in itself is considered a problem, but not the nepotism. In fact, pointing out a potential conflict of interest (that is rather obvious to everyone inside the company) is not abusive, it’s the relationship itself, which doesn’t predate the hiring, that seems inappropriate to say the least.

Of course spending all day spying on staff (activity outside of work) instead of actually running the company is also not a sanctionable offence. There are some rules that are only applicable to those who aren’t enforcing them.

A rush to finger-point is instinctive and convenient; it’s not unprecedented, either. A professional company with a thick enough skin would ask questions first; they should be “chilling” and finding composure again (maybe get a lawyer, ask for an actual lawful action; it’s harder to mess about when instructed based on legal grounds).

But “I suspect there is no involvement of HR here,” one person advised me, as “they don’t have money or they don’t have HR as they would find out it’s just a fishing venture or expedition” (causing embarrassment to the company, obsessing over chats where there’s no actual damage done, except ‘damage’ to one man’s ego).

I’ve had enough. This message was sent today:

Resigning screenshot: I am hereby handing in my resignation from Sirius, effective immediately.

Share in other sites/networks: These icons link to social bookmarking sites where readers can share and discover new web pages.
  • Reddit
  • email

Decor ᶃ Gemini Space

Below is a Web proxy. We recommend getting a Gemini client/browser.

Black/white/grey bullet button This post is also available in Gemini over at this address (requires a Gemini client/browser to open).

Decor ✐ Cross-references

Black/white/grey bullet button Pages that cross-reference this one, if any exist, are listed below or will be listed below over time.

Decor ▢ Respond and Discuss

Black/white/grey bullet button If you liked this post, consider subscribing to the RSS feed or join us now at the IRC channels.

DecorWhat Else is New


  1. IRC Proceedings: Saturday, January 28, 2023

    IRC logs for Saturday, January 28, 2023



  2. Unmasking AI

    A guest article by Andy Farnell



  3. The ISO Delusion/Sirius Corporation: A 'Tech' Company Run by Non-Technical People

    Sirius ‘Open Source’ was hiring people who brought to the company a culture of redundant tasks and unwanted, even hostile technology; today we continue to tell the story of a company run by the CEO whose friends and acquaintances did severe damage



  4. Links 28/01/2023: Lots of Catching Up (Had Hardware Crash)

    Links for the day



  5. IRC Proceedings: Friday, January 27, 2023

    IRC logs for Friday, January 27, 2023



  6. Microsoft DuckDuckGo Falls to Lowest Share in 2 Years After Being Widely Exposed as Microsoft Proxy, Fake 'Privacy'

    DuckDuckGo, according to this latest data from Statcounter, fell from about 0.71% to just 0.58%; all the gains have been lost amid scandals, such as widespread realisation that DuckDuckGo is a Microsoft informant, curated by Microsoft and hosted by Microsoft (Bing is meanwhile laying off many people, but the media isn’t covering that or barely bothers)



  7. This is What the Microsoft-Sponsored Media Has Been Hyping Up for Weeks (Ahead of Microsoft Layoffs)

    Reprinted with permission from Ryan



  8. [Meme] António Campinos Wants to Be F***ing President Until 2028

    António Campinos insists he will be EPO President for 10 years, i.e. even longer than Benoît Battistelli (despite having appalling approval rates from staff)



  9. European Patent Office Staff Losing Hope

    The EPO’s management with its shallow campaign of obfuscation (pretending to protect children or some other nonsense) is not fooling patent examiners, who have grown tired and whose representatives say “the administration shows no intention of involving the staff representation in the drafting of the consultant’s mandate” (like in Sirius ‘Open Source’ where technical staff is ignored completely for misguided proposals to pass in the dark)



  10. IRC Proceedings: Thursday, January 26, 2023

    IRC logs for Thursday, January 26, 2023



  11. Sirius Relegated/Demoted/Destined Itself to Technical Hell by Refusing to Listen to the Technical Staff (Which Wanted to Stay With Asterisk/Free Software)

    In my final year at Sirius ‘Open Source’ communication systems had already become chaotic; there were too many dysfunctional tools, a lack of instructions, a lack of coordination and the proposed ‘solution’ (this past October) was just more complexity and red tape



  12. Geminispace Approaching Another Growth Milestone (2,300 Active Capsules)

    The expansion of Geminispace is worth noting again because another milestone is approached, flirted with, or will be surpassed this coming weekend



  13. [Meme] Cannot Get a Phone to Work... in 2022

    Sirius ‘Open Source’ wasted hours of workers’ time just testing the phone after it had moved to a defective system of Google (proprietary); instead of a rollback (back to Asterisk) the company doubled down on the faulty system and the phones still didn’t work properly, resulting in missing calls and angst (the company just blamed the workers who all along rejected this new system)



  14. [Meme] Modern Phones

    Sirius ‘Open Source’ is mistaking “modern” for better; insecurity and a lack of tech savvy typically leads to that



  15. The ISO Delusion: Sirius Corporation Demonstrates a Lack of Understanding of Security and Privacy

    Sirius ‘Open Source’, emboldened by ISO ‘paperwork’ (certification), lost sight of what it truly takes to run a business securely, mistaking worthless gadgets for “advancement” while compelling staff to sign a new contract in a hurry (prior contract-signing scandals notwithstanding)



  16. Links 26/01/2023: LibreOffice 7.4.5 and Ubuntu Pro Offers

    Links for the day



  17. Links 26/01/2023: GNU poke 3.0 and PipeWire 0.3.65

    Links for the day



  18. IRC Proceedings: Wednesday, January 25, 2023

    IRC logs for Wednesday, January 25, 2023



  19. Companies Would Collapse Upon Abandoning Their Original Goals (That Attracted All the Productive Staff)

    Staff with technical skills won't stick around in companies that reject technical arguments and moreover move to proprietary software in a company that brands itself "Open Source"



  20. [Meme] Listen to Your Workers, Avert Disaster

    Companies that refuse to take input from staff are doomed to fail



  21. The ISO Delusion: When the Employer Doesn’t Understand the Company's Value Proposition (Building Systems) and Rejects Security

    Sirius ‘Open Source’ has failed to sell what it was actually good at; instead it hired unqualified people and outsourced almost everything



  22. Links 25/01/2023: NuTyX 23.01.1 and GNU Guile 3.0.9 Released

    Links for the day



  23. Links 25/01/2023: Stratis 3.5.0 and Many Political Links

    Links for the day



  24. New Record Low: Only One 'Linux' Article in ZDNet in More Than Two Weeks

    Only a few years ago ZDNet published about 3 “Linux” stories per day (mostly FUD pieces); now it’s a ghost town, painted in ‘alien green’; considering ZDNet’s agenda (and sponsors) maybe it’s better this way



  25. Links 25/01/2023: Pale Moon 32.0 and DXVK 2.1

    Links for the day



  26. IRC Proceedings: Tuesday, January 24, 2023

    IRC logs for Tuesday, January 24, 2023



  27. ISO Certification Hardly Tackles Any of the Real Issues

    The real-world threats faced by private companies or non-profit organisations aren't covered by the ISO certification mill; today we publish the last post on this topic before proceeding to some practical examples



  28. [Meme] Medical Data Sovereignty

    What happens when your medical records/data are accessible to a company based abroad after a mysterious NDA with the Gates Foundation? The International Organization for Standardization (ISO) does not mind.



  29. The ISO Delusion: Sirius Open Wash Ltd. and Medical Data/Projects at Risk/Peril

    Sirius ‘Open Source’ was good at gloating about “ISO” as in ISO certification (see our ISO wiki to understand what ISO truly is; ISO certification needs to be more widely condemned and exposed) while signing all sorts of dodgy deals and lying to clients (some, like the Gates Foundation, were never mentioned because of a mysterious NDA); security and privacy were systematically neglected and some qualified as criminal negligence (with fines/penalties likely an applicable liability if caught/reported)



  30. Links 24/01/2023: Wine 8.0 is Ready, FSF Bolsters Copyleft

    Links for the day


RSS 64x64RSS Feed: subscribe to the RSS feed for regular updates

Home iconSite Wiki: You can improve this site by helping the extension of the site's content

Home iconSite Home: Background about the site and some key features in the front page

Chat iconIRC Channel: Come and chat with us in real time

Recent Posts