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.


Tiger Computing Ltd Afraid of Being Seen as Close to the British Military, Resorts to SLAPP Against Blogger and GNU/Linux Developer

Posted in Debian, Deception, Free/Libre Software, GNU/Linux at 11:18 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

A nerve has been struck after this post was published

CESG and Tiger Computing

Operation Socialist: GCHQ and Belgacom
Reference: Operation Socialist

Context: Developers of Free software sometimes covertly work for spy agencies (directly or indirectly, willingly or unwittingly, sometimes post hoc) that seek to implement back doors and spy on (sometimes disgrace and oust) fellow developers; Tiger Computing Ltd seems so concerned about mere suspicions of social engineering that it’s willing to misinterpret and grossly misuse the law, in effect threatening critics (like a military-connected entity might do)

Summary: Tiger Computing Ltd (UK) has resorted to baseless legal threats against critics and sceptics, based on clear and obvious misuse of trademark or copyright laws (they don’t even seem to know the difference)

THE “threats from [a] DAM employer,” according to Daniel Pocock, have just come. “They are sending me threats,” he said, “did you receive threats too?”

We have not actually. Maybe they are targeting Mr. Pocock specifically, and one can hypothesise why.

“Looks like the discussion on the FOSDEM list today,” he noted, “triggered fresh interest in the GCHQ risks.”

We mentioned this yesterday.

“There is an updated photo on the site,” Mr. Pocock said, but he really oughtn’t have changed the photo.

This is classic SLAPP. The people at Tiger Computing Ltd engage in SLAPP. The law is not on their side. Not even remotely. They know it! They impose a short window for compliance (deadline) so as to prevent Mr. Pocock from seeking legal advice (in a timely fashion). This isn't the first time Debian people sic lawyers on him. It’s a gross abuse of supposed law and lawyers who participate in such campaigns ought to be disbarred. In the case of Pocock, he’s in compliance with the law. I know this law as this was attempted on me and on others as well, e.g. a decade ago by the EPO. They also blur the gap between copyright law and trademark law (which has exemptions for criticism).

“They just use fear against you,” I told him, “to compel you to do what they want.”

In the case of the EPO, the Mafia of Benoît Battistelli (a person who was literally called “Capone”) gave me a short window for response late on a Friday (to prevent me or discourage me from seeking legal advice).

Common wisdom says that such attacks on the speech rights of Mr. Pocock are indicative of fear. Otherwise they’d just ignore the man. They hope that repeated intimidation/chilling/shock would silence him.

His name is Daniel, not Winston.

Names, logos and photographs of people are no basis for such legal demands in such a context. An article about such attempts against yours truly was published almost 3 years ago.

Forwarded to us was the thread (or threat) message:

Hi, a page hosted by you[1] includes a photo for which Tiger Computing Ltd owns the copyright. No permission has been granted for that photo to be published on that page.

We require that the photo be removed by 12:00 UTC on Tuesday, 12th January 2021.

I would very much like this issue to be resolved amicably between us. However, if that photo has not been removed by the time stated above, we will take such action as we deem appropriate without further notice.

Keith Edmunds,
Tiger Computing Ltd

[1] https://debian.community/jonathan-wiltshire-debian-falsified-harassment-claims-tiger-computing-gchq/

Well, Mr. Edmunds is clearly no lawyer; if he was, he would deserve to lose his licence to practice ‘law’. Here’s the ‘offending’ image (blurred, fair use). SLAPP this, Keith! Go ahead.

Jonathan Wiltshire, Tiger Computing Ltd

People Sponsored by Google Are Hiding Sponsorship by Google and Hiding Google Critics

Posted in Debian, Deception, Europe, Google at 1:25 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Microsoft is also passing money (to FSFE, to FOSDEM, and many more organisations where strings get attached to payments)


Summary: FOSDEM mailing list hides the critics of Google; it’s becoming part of a familiar pattern

LAST week we wrote about FOSDEM, an event where the Google-funded (predominantly Google but also Microsoft) FSFE plays a growing role. We’ve just caught a glimpse of the following message, which is mostly self-explanatory.

On 31/12/2020 00:50, J. R. Haigh wrote:

> With best intentions and regards,
> James R. Haigh.
> -- Wealth doesn't bring happiness, but poverty brings sadness.
> https://wiki.FSFE.org/Fellows/JRHaigh Sent from Debian with Claws Mail,
> using email subaddressing as an alternative to error-prone heuristical
> spam filtering.

We are not really Fellows any more, FSFE demoted all of us and removed[1] the Fellowship from their constitution. This was done to discredit all of us, but especially me, as Fellows had elected me as your representative.

You mention Debian. Debian received two payments of $300,000, total $600,000. One payment was from Handshake Foundation, they refuse to publicly disclose[2] the other payment came from Google. At the same time, on the same day, 20 September 2018, Debian also joined FSFE in seeking to viciously discredit the winner of the FSFE Fellowship election, myself.

I notice that the messages we both sent to the FOSDEM mailing list about Google were held in moderation for 2 weeks and only released tonight, 10 January, on a Sunday night. It is likely that date-sorting will hide them from the majority of people. It is an odd coincidence, both of our messages delayed/censored, both of our messages mention a sponsor, Google. My own message is now visible[3] in the archive, please check if it is hidden by algorithms in your inbox.

The email I sent is about the safety of women, this is particularly important as multiple women were brave enough to speak up about Google and FSFE in December 2020.



1. https://fsfellowship.eu/2018/09/08/who-were-the-fsfe-fellowship.html
2. https://debian.community/google-money-censorship-free-software/
3. https://lists.fosdem.org/pipermail/fosdem/2020q4/003192.html

Are monopolists going out of their way, using money, to silence critics? People out there might be led to believe that those critics do not exist.


Migration to GNU/Linux in China Still Progressing, Just as Planned, in Spite of Ridicule and Misinformation From Microsoft

Posted in Asia, Debian, GNU/Linux at 10:31 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Earlier this year: Microsoft Propagandist Turns “Years” Into More Than Ten Years to Belittle a Massive Migration to GNU/Linux in China

GNU/Linux in China

Summary: China is preinstalling GNU/Linux on laptops; “The [above] laptop,” says an English report, runs “Deepin OS 20,” which is based on Debian GNU/Linux

THE world is changing. South Korea, Russia, and China (sharing a border) plan to move their governments and then their citizens to GNU/Linux (South Korea started this year). This won’t happen overnight (due to legacy workflows and systems), but progress is being made; they moreover make their own chips (processors and beyond) to promote self-reliance. Is this good for North America and Europe? Maybe not. Depending on one’s political orientation and stance on security (including back doors).

“We heard about the MateBook earlier this year; Qingyun L410 shows it must have been a success, as otherwise they would not put GNU/Linux on further and newer models of laptops.”Recently, in Daily Links we mentioned this article citing a Chinese portal (screenshot above; it’s hard to access that site). It spoke of a laptop that comes with GNU/Linux preinstalled. “The laptop itself,” it said, “is named Qingyun L410 and is expected to be a cheaper version of the MateBook 14. There’s also the possibility of the device supporting 5G connectivity given that the SoC itself features an integrated 5G modem.”

We heard about the MateBook earlier this year; Qingyun L410 shows it must have been a success, as otherwise they would not put GNU/Linux on further and newer models of laptops.

Kylin and Deepin are the better known Chinese distributions these days (it changes over time and there’s also UOS). Here’s an article about UOS (from May 2020):

Softpedia deception

Certainly the decline of Windows worries Microsoft; lobbyists even begged the Trump administration to allow Microsoft to carry on imposing Windows on banned companies (so much for “Microsoft loves Linux”). Did it work? Not really, at least not based on the above. China has other ideas for its future and it rightly views Microsoft as an imperial espionage tool that’s subsidised by the US taxpayer. Not only did Trump pass a lot of military budget to Microsoft (Pentagon budget as Microsoft stimulus); he also helped Microsoft steal a Chinese company (TikTok) even if that did not materialise at the end.

SuzhouMicrosoft is telling us (even confirming) Azure layoffs, in spite of Microsoft pretending to have found an alternative and promising future in Clown Computing. They literally join or come to our primary IRC channel, trying to interject damage-limiting PR.

Let’s hope that in 2021 the mask will slip further (causing more project exoduses in GitHub), Microsoft layoffs will carry on, and nations as large as China (with the largest number of computer users) will migrate to GNU/Linux.


Guest Post: Helping Roy Delete Debian at Work and Home

Posted in Debian, GNU/Linux, Microsoft at 2:51 am by Guest Editorial Team

By figosdev

Geese in flight

Summary: “What we probably don’t want to do is continue to support Debian or systemd, if we can help it.”

Roy needn’t go far for reasons to delete Debian, he only needs to read Techrights. I mean, look at all this.

I’ve also read (from a source Roy should consider reliable) that Stallman is aware of the problems created by Microsoft systemd, which Debian has used to undermine and divide against its community and developers for years.

In better days, Ubuntu was a nice gateway to Debian, but today it is increasingly monopolistic (putting itself in app-store-like control of Snap — not its development, but its deployment) and acting as a shill for WSL — Ubuntu devs have increasing influence in the Debian world as well.

“I’ve also read (from a source Roy should consider reliable) that Stallman is aware of the problems created by Microsoft systemd, which Debian has used to undermine and divide against its community and developers for years.”I had fewer reasons than this when I migrated from Debian nearly six years ago; none of us get to choose what Roy uses at home, though I often wonder why he persists in relying on such an incredibly toxic distribution.

Then again, migration is often far from simple — and if you count activism, Roy has several full-time jobs.

The goal then isn’t to put pressure on Roy which he can just shrug off as simply as he would not having wings or extra limbs, but to try to make it a bit easier for him to imagine his world without the horrors of Debian. “Better the Devil you know,” sure, but Roy knows that’s really not true.

Surely one of the reasons Roy wouldn’t change his distro is that he would have to change his workflow; this is like gambling with both spare time and extra trouble. A migration that’s smooth as possible would minimise the gamble and instability likely to result from changing distros.

Another thing to consider would be how much control the change is either giving or taking away from Microsoft.

While I could write an article about the long-term advantages of moving to a more modular distro like Tiny Core, as I did before moving to BSD, this article will instead focus on seeking short-term benefits and minimising workflow disruption; if we want to tempt Roy away from Debian, I doubt Tiny Core is the best place to start. I simply went to more trouble to make it suit my own needs than I want to subject Roy to if he even seriously considered doing this soon.

“In better days, Ubuntu was a nice gateway to Debian, but today it is increasingly monopolistic…”I do however, note that Techrights itself has migrated to something more minimalist; perhaps Roy would benefit from using Alpine at home, perhaps not. It should be considered, even though it’s not a choice I would likely make as I believe Alpine has a GitHub-based init system. Although it is a step up from systemd, in terms of being GitHub-based this would make Alpine a lateral move from what he uses now. Though as I said, there are lots of reasons to leave Debian.

I think it is best to let Roy worry about which distro he would move to IF he decided to move, and I would also recommend the following criteria towards that decision:

* A distro that is not itself developed on GitHub, obviously. This counts Void out.

* A distro that does not use systemd.

* A distro that is as close to Debian as possible, but is not Ubuntu or Devuan.

Obviously my first choice for Roy would be OpenBSD, but even for me I decided to switch distros before switching operating systems — for Roy this step would help even more.

Devuan was considered before the Alpine migration I think, and for whatever reason it was dismissed, Roy knows I have others. Besides, I think Devuan has most of the problems that Debian has except for a couple well-known exceptions.

Roy has a setup consisting of several machines and even more screens. He most likely manages those screens with either xrandr or a tool that uses xrandr. Even if Roy were to switch to BSD, this would not likely change. Probably the most trouble I’ve had with more than one screen is from Tiny Core — you need to install the “graphics” package to get a window system and xrandr that can handle more than one screen.

Roy likes Falkon and I confess, I do not keep track of which distros support KDE. I’ve had nothing but complaints about KDE since 4.x (props to Trinity) and their recent cancel-fest was not inspiring. I don’t blame Roy at all for liking Falkon relative to other choices though; web browsers suck.

“I had fewer reasons than this when I migrated from Debian nearly six years ago…”I think Roy makes heavy use of tmux and it is incredibly standard; even OpenBSD comes with tmux included (though I’ve deleted it because it’s developed on GitHub).

You can migrate piecemeal without a plan, but for Roy I recommend a plan (which he can tweak as it suits him) since it will increase both the ease and likelihood of an actual move. The plan is also piecemeal.

As far as I can tell, there are two sane ways to begin this process: one is with a quick and simple assessment of his workflow, and the other is with a plodding, methodical and tedious assessment. If Roy wasn’t always spread among lots of other projects, I would suggest the plodding and tedious assessment; for that, you boot Debian from live and list the installed packages using apt list, then compare this to a list from Roy’s installation(s).

“Obviously my first choice for Roy would be OpenBSD, but even for me I decided to switch distros before switching operating systems — for Roy this step would help even more.”But possibly even before that, I would suggest Roy start by figuring out which of his machines has the “simplest” job in terms of his regular workflow, as I believe he uses each machine a bit differently. The whole process is actually easier if he uses all of the machines for the same things, but I doubt he does. If he uses them all the same way, then he can simply remove one machine from the “RAIL” (redundant array of inexpensive laptops) and redistribute the workflow manually over the other machines.

BirdsWe are going to assume Roy has a slightly different workflow on each machine, though either way it should be reasonable to assume that one machine has the smallest or simplest workflow. I recommend he target that one for migration.

The priority is to make a reasonably complete list (even if only pen and paper are used) of purposes that machine serves. For the purpose of choosing a distro to switch to, a similar list for each machine would probably be beneficial as well — but we at least need a list for the target machine.

Depending how important that machine is, a full backup with tar or rsync to one of the other machines is obviously recommended; if it is very important, a second backup to standalone media may also be worthwhile.

The machine can then have the new distro installed to it — I’m not certain dual booting is worth the trouble, but Roy knows best. I would lean away from it for this purpose because it simply makes getting used to the new system take more time (and in some ways, more trouble).

“Depending how important that machine is, a full backup with tar or rsync to one of the other machines is obviously recommended; if it is very important, a second backup to standalone media may also be worthwhile.”A reasonable goal is to retain as many of the tools already used on that machine as possible. Some minor workflow goals may change or even improve. The backup of the system should be moved (or copied) back to the target machine, so that it is trivial to access old files. Only the most valuable, high-priority cruft from the old installation should make its way into the new installation as needed, but a repository of all old files can sit under a folder in /root, /home or /opt.

Soon the new machine will be up to capacity in terms of its purpose on the RAIL, and Roy can consider repeating the process with the second-least used machine.

As the migration moves forward, Roy will likely learn some new tools or at least new tricks with existing tools. Even when his migration from Debian is complete, it could be years before his wife wants to migrate; but then this is just about Roy. What distro his S/O uses is really no concern of mine.

“What we probably don’t want to do is continue to support Debian or systemd, if we can help it.”We can’t force Roy to do anything, but perhaps this will offer him a friendly nudge for future consideration. In this short run, this is workflow-disruptive; in the long run, it would inspire new innovations or shortcuts — not entirely unlike the ones that have happened at Techrights lately. What we probably don’t want to do is continue to support Debian or systemd, if we can help it.

Long live rms, and Happy Hacking.

Licence: Creative Commons CC0 1.0 (public domain)


A Free Speech Deficit Harms Software Freedom

Posted in Bill Gates, Debian, Deception, Free/Libre Software, FSF, Google at 8:05 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Planet Debian: only ‘happy’ stories permitted? Criticism of sponsors not allowed? That would amount to censorship on sale (to those who try to ‘herd’ unsalaried coders).

Debian guys

Summary: Free software and Software Freedom cannot possibly succeed if we keep accepting or even just tolerating systematic censorship of opinionated people in our community; failing to speak out on this matter (for fear of supposedly offending someone, risking expulsion) is part of the problem — complicity by passivity

THIS is 2020. Many people now conflate “free speech” with stuff like racism and even worse things. Sometimes even whistleblowers who say the hard truth are being denied a voice, under the false pretenses that this somehow “defames” a project or employer (last night I read a document to that effect and it astounded me).

“It’s quite likely that somebody out there can make an allegation that we infringe some rules of violate some Code of Conduct; but so what, who made up those rules? And whose interests are promoted/served by such rules?”Justice requires freedom of expression and transparency. Introspection requires speech without fear (of unwarranted consequences). Free software developers who cannot safely express a political view — however unpopular it may be among some groups — don’t really enjoy freedom.

Over the past year or two we’ve seen numerous high-profile people being ‘cancelled’ or partly gagged because they expressed an opinion, either about bad code/conduct — sometimes inside the workplace (personal life) — or something like a bribe in the professional context. It’s hardly surprising that Debian outsourced some of the development pipeline to Google (check who the biggest sponsor is), the Linux Foundation flexed its muscles against the person who ‘merely’ created Linux, and the FSF treats its very own founder like “grumpy racist uncle/grandpa” who needs to be kept silent or read pre-approved scripts. Notice how he (RMS) is not doing any interviews about Free software anymore (hardly any since 2019) and it seems like he’s reluctant or actively obstructed. I sometimes feel/sense he wants to do an interview with us and then changes his mind because he’s afraid to (like someone else isn’t approving that). The “social control media” mob and the FSF (especially Guix petitioners in GNU) silenced our #1 advocate. In RT and elsewhere RMS only speaks (however seldom) about cryptocurrencies, privacy etc.

Earlier this month "DMCA Sucks" released this old video of RMS (almost 20 years old, actually released two decades late).

When tackling corporate crimes and a coup against your movement you’re bound to come across as ‘abrasive’ while reacting. It is expected.

People who have read Techrights since 2006 (there are quite a lot of them; they still follow and support us because we don’t self-censor and we value honesty, facts, truth) very well know that we’re quite unspoken about injustices. It’s quite likely that somebody out there can make an allegation that we infringe some rules of violate some Code of Conduct; but so what, who made up those rules? And whose interests are promoted/served by such rules? They might soon tell us that the word “serve” is also dirty and that “servers” need to be rebranded to avoid causing offence (some already refer to them as “clouds”)…

Under the guise of “manners” we have corporate and oligarchic censorship imposed and enforced upon us.

Bill Gates Paid MIT Through Jeffrey EpsteinQuite frankly, we need RMS to be liberated. He needs to speak out freely, as he used to do until the Bill Gates/Epstein scandal in MIT made the press (so media distraction became more necessary, both for MIT and for Gates). With few exceptions, the media right now is cheerleader and salesman (vaccines) for the Gates Foundation; it’s a mouthpiece for truly awful people who profit a lot from COVID-19 while those of us who rent an apartment after 30+ years of fighting for freedom struggle in a pandemic. This isn’t justice, this isn’t right.


Online Meetings: The Temptation to Censor Tricky Questions

Posted in Debian, Google at 9:43 pm by Guest Editorial Team

Reprinted with permission from Daniel Pocock

Early in 2020, at the outset of the pandemic, the UN’s special rapporteur on torture and other cruel, inhumane or degrading treatment or punishment, Professor Nils Melzer of Switzerland, spoke out about the growing problem of cybertorture.

I could immediately relate to this. I had been a volunteer mentor in the Google Summer of Code since 2013. I withdrew from the program at an accutely painful time for my family, losing two family members in less than a year. Within a week, Stephanie Taylor, the head of the program at Google, was sending me threats and insults. Taylor’s Open Source Program Office at Google relies on hundreds of volunteers like me to do work for them.

Everybody else in my life, my employer, friends and other non-profit organizations that I contribute to responded with compassion and sympathy. Taylor and her sidekicks chose threats and insults. Taylor had chosen to take the pain from my personal life and drag it into my professional life. Despite exercising my rights under the GDPR and asking her to stop this experiment and get out of my life, she continues to sustain it.

The UN’s Forum on Business and Human Rights is taking place this week. It is online due to the pandemic. In the session about accountability and remedies for victims of human rights abuse, my experience with Stephanie Taylor and Google was at the front of my mind. I’m not the only one thinking about Google as a bunch of gangsters: a British parliamentary report and US Department of Justice investigation has also used terms like digital gangster and unlawful to describe the way that people like this are operating.

Yet when I entered the UN’s online event and asked about the connection from Professor Melzer’s analysis to Google’s wrongdoing, the question vanished. I posted a subsequent question asking why my query was censored and it was immediately subject to censorship. This is the golden rule of censorship: don’t ask about censorship. I never received any correspondence or complaints about the question.

united nations, censorship

Article 19 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights proclaims the right to free speech. Within the first year of the pandemic, the UN has already set that aside, not wanting to offend the Googlers who slink around the corridors of power. If somebody asked the same question in a real world event at the UN in Geneva or New York, would a trap door open up underneath them and make them disappear? Or would members of the panel and the audience need to contemplate Professor Melzer’s work on cybertorture seriously?

If you wish to participate in the final day of the forum, you can use the following links:

daniel pocock, dante pesce, united nations, geneva, palais des nations

daniel pocock, united nations, geneva, palais des nations


Ashtrays of Human Rights and Tech Rights

Posted in BSD, Debian, GNU/Linux, Kernel at 10:29 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz


Summary: The way things are going, especially so far this year, we’re going to have to become a lot more active (in the activism sense) and campaign for better society; repression has soared during the COVID-19 pandemic and further exacerbated due to Donald Trump’s fear of losing the election, only to be held belatedly accountable for his crimes (he already jokes aloud about having to escape the US in case he loses the impending election)

THIS coming week chaos and violence are predicted in — and for — the United States (we’ll spare the links; there’s no lack of them). We’ve already taken note of which corporate candidate is less harmful and which one is less harmless (double negation because we’re excited about neither candidate).

“2020 was an extraordinarily scary year for the “tech rights” of people; privacy is increasingly being framed as a health hazard…”The world is going in a very negative direction, putting aside the health crisis. People tend to focus on human rights aspects, such as asylum-seeking and race-baiting. We try to remain focused on technology because it’s a subject we understand better and are suitably equipped to comment on.

2020 was an extraordinarily scary year for the “tech rights” of people; privacy is increasingly being framed as a health hazard (some places go as far as banning cash payments as if coins or banknotes are the most potent infection vector, not people speaking to each other’s face in some pub with uncovered beverages/drink glasses). It was Halloween yesterday and not a single family/child knocked on our door (eerily unusual) because we’re going into lock-down in a few days and people don’t trust each others’ palms (or even objects that touched those palms). This sort of “new normal” makes organising for change a lot harder, except digitally.

Linus PaulingSome readers might choose to feel or actually be “offended” by the view that next week (or later this week, if Sunday is judged to be a week’s first day) we still won’t know who becomes/remains president in the US. No inauguration date until January and maybe no decision on the matter until then, either…

These are dark times, both politically and technologically. There’s a correlation between those two things (e.g. misuse/abuse of technology to enable human rights violations, as IBM did ~85 years ago in Germany and a century ago in America). Companies that wish to be seen as racially “woke” are anything but… it’s just smoke and mirrors.

To the best of our understanding, our server maintainer is applying to leave the US (for Europe). She’s not the first. To some, the last straw was Bush with his illegal wars; to others, Trump is more than they can chew.

Linus Torvalds, a Finnish citizen, was naturalised in the US more than a decade ago (to the best of our knowledge he’s still a dual-national). He moved pretty much all of Linux to the US-based fake ‘nonprofit’ (called after his main project, which is in turn named after him).

The other day an associate reminded us of what OpenBSD received for opposing illegal wars (OpenBSD is the other famous OS founded by a South African, originally). To quote Australian press:

The US Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) has stopped providing funding for a project which involves OpenBSD, apparently because OpenBSD lead developer Theo de Raadt made statements which could be considered anti-war to a Canadian newspaper.

OpenBSD is one of a number of free Unices which are increasingly being used on servers due to their reputation for security. NetBSD and FreeBSD are two others; they all have a common base in a project which began at the University of California in Berkeley and had the name Berkeley Sofwtare Distribution.

A good part of the $US2.3 million grant from DARPA, the research and development arm of the US military who in 1970 set up what evolved into the internet, has already been used by de Raadt even though he was not very happy about the source.

Canada’s Globe and Mail quoted him as saying: “I actually am fairly uncomfortable about it, even if our firm stipulation was that they cannot tell us what to do. We are simply doing what we do anyways – securing software – and they have no say in the matter. I try to convince myself that our grant means a half of a cruise missile doesn’t get built.”

The money was provided to the Portable Open-Source Security Enhancements project run at the University of Pennsylvania.

It’s no secret that today’s Pentagon, which drops bombs as frequently as British people nowadays check their so-called ‘phone’, favours Linux. Linus Torvalds is no Linus Pauling (whose mugshot is shown above).

'Trump’s Military Drops a Bomb Every 12 Minutes, and No One Is Talking About It' and 'Brits Now Check Their Mobile Phones Every 12 Minutes'

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