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09.26.20

[Meme] Conflating Critics of Corporate/Class Abuse With Womanisers and Chauvinists (and Now Doing the Same to Influential Women)

Posted in Deception at 12:01 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Recent: The Fake ‘Door Sign’ Used to Frame Richard Stallman and Misrepresent Him One Year Ago (the Media Never Corrected This Slanderous Allegation)

I'm Jordan Peterson. Is it true you said... Media uses me to stigmatise men who obstruct some agenda

Summary: It’s regretful to see real victims of discrimination having their grievances and legitimate causes hijacked by opportunistic corporate media, which rallies a bunch of Internet trolls while oligarchs sponsor the whole thing, emboldening attacks on critics of powerful people (the likes of Jordan Peterson are a distraction; even women are nowadays being targeted using the very same tricks)

09.25.20

Response to Eric Raymond (ESR) on “Last Phase of the Desktop Wars”

Posted in Deception, Free/Libre Software, GNU/Linux, Microsoft, Servers, Vista 10, Windows at 10:05 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Liberty matters; to Microsoft it's all about control/coercion

Statue of Liberty

Summary: Eric Raymond (ESR) talks about Microsoft’s “embrace”; but there are many misunderstandings and misconceptions in his blog post, as we’ll explain patiently, based on known facts

THE co-founder of the OSI (an anti-Free software organisation), ESR, has just published Last phase of the desktop wars?

“ESR is thick-skinned, so he can certainly take the criticism.”The article is full of some strange slant/take on positivism; as if we should be happy about Microsoft, or as if Microsoft is “embracing” this thing called ‘Linux’ (GNU) with good intentions. I found myself shaking my head a lot (side to side, not top to bottom) while reading it; there are many factual errors there, which makes it hard to read without face-palming a bit. “ESR forgot to take the pink glasses off,” MinceR said in IRC and XRevan86 “stopped reading at the mention of MS Edge being ported,” he has just said. We’ve decided to respond. Of course chromium-browser already supported GNU/Linux since the very beginning, so the ‘port’ from Microsoft is a joke. It’s a PR stunt from which we have nothing to gain (GNU/Linux users won’t touch it); Microsoft used it to bombard the media with proprietary software (spyware) marketing on the same day Firefox 81 was released; guess what media paid attention to (vapourware, not an actual release of an actual FOSS browser). But we’ll get to that in a moment…

ESR is thick-skinned, so he can certainly take the criticism. Constructive hopefully…

I spoke to him before (online) and he’s responsive, albeit abrasive at times. We won’t remark on his professional or his political views (he tried to ‘cancel’ RMS more than 2 decades ago and nowadays he promotes militia nonsense); we’ll focus 100% on the substance (or lack of it). Reply in full, in-line, just like the Halloween Documents that he published with editorial interpretations. A lot of the reply below is based on an IRC debate, which is still ongoing.

Without further ado (and quite frankly with respect):

The two most intriguing developments in the recent evolution of the Microsoft Windows operating system are Windows System for Linux (WSL) and the porting of their Microsoft Edge browser to Ubuntu.

As noted above (prematurely perhaps, as that part was particularly off-putting), the core of this browser has long supported GNU/Linux (not just “Ubuntu”) and mostly because of Google and code that it had repurposed; that had nothing to do with Microsoft, which merely ‘borrowed’ other people’s work, initially removing GNU/Linux support (similar to what Microsoft did to Skype).

Regarding “Windows System for Linux” [sic], it’s a deliberate misnomer. There’s no Linux in WSL. WSL2 does have Linux, but hardly anyone uses that. It has been a devastating failure for Microsoft (their Project Manager got really stressed when we spoke about it and presented evidence) and last night we finally saw reports about Microsoft ‘fixing’ it after breaking it almost a fortnight ago. Only a crazy fool would do any serious work on WSL/WSL2.

These Microsoft ‘toys’ are widely seen as experimental laughing stocks among actual users of GNU/Linux. They’d never touch that stuff; at best, they’d run virtual machines with GNU/Linux in them (using something like VirtualBox). WSL/2 is like 2 decades behind (Cygwin).

ESR calls these “intriguing developments” (Microsoft giving up on MSIE and Edge, redoing the whole thing using someone else’s product, just like with WSL/2). The word “intriguing” can be (mis)interpreted in all sorts of ways; if by “intriguing” he meant something negative, then fine. But let’s press on with the next paragraph:

For those of you not keeping up, WSL allows unmodified Linux binaries to run under Windows 10. No emulation, no shim layer, they just load and go.

Wow. Welcome back, 2001. Cygwin. Sort of…

I experimented with Cygwin when I was still a teenager.

Microsoft… bringing you the distant past… today.

Aside from that, today’s PCs come with so much RAM that one can just run these “unmodified Linux binaries” in a virtual machine (with no noticeable performance toll).

Microsoft developers are now landing features in the Linux kernel to improve WSL.

Read as: Microsoft is taking control of the competition. It even bribed the Linux Foundation several times to keep it off-guard. It hired some kernel hackers to make sure it has key positions in development and inside the Technical Advisory Board of the Linux Foundation.

Some accomplishment, eh?

And that points in a fascinating technical direction. To understand why, we need to notice how Microsoft’s revenue stream has changed since the launch of its cloud service in 2010.

He then goes along with a likely bogus narrative. Many companies do “clown computing” these days; few are actually profitable (AWS is, as the network effect helps, along with brand recognition and lock-in). Many shut down for financial reasons. I’d know; I’ve seen that at my nighttime work (datacentre and service/product closures, forcing migration/relocation with little prior notice).

Ten years later, Azure makes Microsoft most of its money.

Stop right there!

This is what Microsoft claims. While refusing to disclose underlying figures. Microsoft whistleblowers say it operates at a loss and likely constitutes fraud (defrauding the shareholders and more).

So the same ESR who published the Halloween Documents suddenly believes what Microsoft is saying? Come on, Eric, turn back on your critical skills and assess counter-arguments with corresponding evidence.

The Windows monopoly has become a sideshow, with sales of conventional desktop PCs (the only market it dominates) declining. Accordingly, the return on investment of spending on Windows development is falling. As PC volume sales continue to fall off , it’s inevitably going to stop being a profit center and turn into a drag on the business.

Ariadne responded to this in IRC, saying that “the thought that PC sales are declining is a fallacy…”

She said “people are still using PCs…”

“Remind him of Minecraft Bedrock,” XRevan86 noted.

“I’m starting to suspect Teams is an experiment in which they’re trying to find out how long can they delay messages before people give up on Teams,” MinceR added.

Microsoft’s products and services are still rather shoddy.

Ariadne then noted that “NT is a problem though [as] writing drivers and subsystems for NT is a huge pain in the ass. It is possible that NT could be replaced down the road with a Linux kernel. That much I would believe. But POSIX? Yeah right :) [...] if you are going to make developers transition to new APIs, you would get them to transition to whatever the present state of the art is, not POSIX… I guess what I’m saying is that we could see a windows OS based on Linux kernel, in the same way that android is based on Linux kernel, but otherwise unrelated to UNIX environment… the shortcomings of NT are becoming more and more visible.”

“If something like that would occur,” XRevan86 responded, “it would definitely happen in such a way it wouldn’t make anyone happier than Microsoft.”

I agreed with MinceR when he said: “maybe they don’t care anymore, they’re just looking to do damage [...] they’ll just tell gkh [Greg K-H] to declare a stable ABI and if it stops Linux development, they don’t care…”

“Free kernel,” as XRevan86 called it, “completely useless to everyone else.”

“I suspect that is the plan anyway,” Ariadne responded.

XRevan86 recalled the “extend/extinguish” going months back: “It was funny hearing about the DirectX 12 shim for WSL as “Microsoft ported DX12 to Linux, they care!” [...] If Microsoft will port their calculator to GNU/Linux, everyone will lose it. Albeit that’s very unlikely.”

oiaohm said “it’s more interesting [to talk about] the DX12 userspace libraries from Windows being brought on top of Linux [as] there has been some talk [regarding whether] Microsoft is pondering DX12 work on the Linux DRI layer. (Mind you this could be evil profit)”

More on that in a moment (or in raw IRC logs, to be published tomorrow).

“Anyway,” XRevan86 concluded, “I think we can all agree MS Edge coming to GNU/Linux is not the Sign of Microsoft moving Windows to Linux.”

Ariadne responded with “absolutely not [as] even if Windows were to use a Linux kernel in future, they would still use their own APIs just like Android…”

“MS Edge has been available on Android all this time,” XRevan86 said.

“DX12 coming it Linux would not surprise me,” oiaohm said. “Of course it most likely will come with you have to pay fee to Microsoft.”

“That would make them less appealing than FOSS,” XRevan86 replied. “Probably not a fee. Not at first anyway.”

More in IRC logs. Let’s move to the next on to the next paragraph.

Looked at from the point of view of cold-blooded profit maximization, this means continuing Windows development is a thing Microsoft would prefer not to be doing. Instead, they’d do better putting more capital investment into Azure – which is widely rumored to be running more Linux instances than Windows these days.

At a loss. Say former insiders. There’s even a formal complaint filed with the SEC.

We’ll soon be able to publish some Microsoft leaks.

Our third ingredient is Proton. Proton is the emulation layer that allows Windows games distributed on Steam to run over Linux. It’s not perfect yet, but it’s getting close. I myself use it to play World of Warships on the Great Beast.

Nothing new. WINE has long been able to make this DRM mess run (more or less), not that it’s a favourable thing for GNU/Linux or software freedom.

The thing about games is that they are the most demanding possible stress test for a Windows emulation layer, much more so than business software. We may already be at the point where Proton-like technology is entirely good enough to run Windows business software over Linux. If not, we will be soon.

Computers get more powerful over time and old computers are discarded. The performance aspects don’t matter today (like emulation layers’ penalties or compatibility layer in WINE’s case) like they did 10 or 15 years ago. The translation toll is lessened relative to other parts of the rendering pipeline. Also, graphics cards with their drivers for Linux are rapidly improving (workloads on GPUs) and they offload all that stuff onto proprietary silicon chips. Not an ‘OS thing’…

So, you’re a Microsoft corporate strategist. What’s the profit-maximizing path forward given all these factors?

Patent blackmail. An hour ago MinceR recalled that “manufacturers already bundle a ton of Microsoft crap with their android devices…”

I told him that this is “as part of patent settlements,” recalling that as recently as last year Microsoft still sued a large OEM/manufacturer (Foxconn) over patents in relation to ChromeOS and Android (Linux). “Microsoft blackmails them into bundling,” I reminded him, “because they’re still a bunch of gangsters and if you say this, you’re racist, as Ballmer is out…”

He agreed.

How many billions of dollars per year does Microsoft make by blackmailing companies using ridiculous software patents, or settling with them by means of Microsoft bundling (and/or other business favours)?

It’s this: Microsoft Windows becomes a Proton-like emulation layer over a Linux kernel, with the layer getting thinner over time as more of the support lands in the mainline kernel sources. The economic motive is that Microsoft sheds an ever-larger fraction of its development costs as less and less has to be done in-house.

The simple reality is, Windows is becoming obsolete as more people now use Android (than Windows). But that does not mean that WSL/2 somehow becomes a basis for Windows itself. It’s just a failed experiment. Nobody uses WSL2. Almost nobody (about 150,000 people worldwide last we checked). Remember that WSL is not Linux and it doesn’t even have Linux in it. It’s Windows.

If you think this is fantasy, think again. The best evidence that it’s already the plan is that Microsoft has already ported Edge to run under Linux. There is only one way that makes any sense, and that is as a trial run for freeing the rest of the Windows utility suite from depending on any emulation layer.

Once again he goes back to this Microsoft “ported Edge to run under Linux…”

No, Edge was thrown out (except as a brand) and Microsoft took a codebase that already supported GNU/Linux.

Not much done there. ESR perpetuates Microsoft propaganda here. Or PR ploys/stunts.

“If you think this is fantasy, think again,” ESR said. XRevan86 responded with: “*thinks* nope, still pure fantasy…”

Similar to the one SJVN was spreading in the Microsoft propaganda site, ZDNet.

“What the hay is he smoking,” XRevan86 added.

MinceR thinks “he failed to recognize what happened to Linux, which is extra weird because I thought he’d at least notice the CoC issue…”

“So now Microsoft will have two consumer-oriented projects for GNU/Linux: Edge and Skype (client), both are based on Google’s cross-platform code,” XRevan86 said. “Big flipping deal.”

“You missed Teams,” oiaohm wrote. XRevan86 agreed and MinceR said it “doesn’t work properly anywhere…” (they’re mostly rebranding and pretending to ‘add’ GNU/Linux support — for the illusion of ‘growth’ or ‘market share’).

So, the end state this all points at is: New Windows is mostly a Linux kernel, there’s an old-Windows emulation over it, but Edge and the rest of the Windows user-land utilities don’t use the emulation. The emulation layer is there for games and other legacy third-party software.

Pure nonsense. WSL/2 isn’t at the core of Windows. It’s just some toy added on the side — a ‘side dish’ like Cygwin.

Economic pressure will be on Microsoft to deprecate the emulation layer. Partly because it’s entirely a cost center. Partly because they want to reduce the complexity cost of running Azure. Every increment of Windows/Linux convergence helps with that – reduces administration and the expected volume of support traffic.

Azure is a failure. We need to stop helping Microsoft’s propaganda. They keep googlebombing “Linux”, so perhaps some people are led to absorb lies. Even people who should know better.

Eventually, Microsoft announces upcoming end-of-life on the Windows emulation. The OS itself , and its userland tools, has for some time already been Linux underneath a carefully preserved old-Windows UI. Third-party software providers stop shipping Windows binaries in favor of ELF binaries with a pure Linux API…

No, they can just target proper GNU/Linux instead. Many already do.

…and Linux finally wins the desktop wars, not by displacing Windows but by co-opting it. Perhaps this is always how it had to be.

You got it the other way around, ESR. Who is co-opting who?

Ariadne said, “I do believe Microsoft are shopping for a new kernel [...] that much seems plausible [as] you have to keep in mind that Linux provides, even for Microsoft, lower capex and opex [...] than redesigning NT to scale properly to these hundreds of cores systems being sold today…”

Just because Microsoft can take advantage of the Linux kernel doesn’t mean that GNU/Linux somehow ‘wins’; unless we’re led to think that the Free software movement boils down to some kernel made in 1991 (8 years after the GNU Project) and running Office/Skype on Windows is “winning”…

Faking ‘Progress’ to Distract From True Justice or From a Full, Meaningful Reform

Posted in Deception, Finance, GNU/Linux, Microsoft at 2:48 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Days ago: We Let Them Get Away With Murder, But They Make up for It by Banning Words

Yanis Varoufakis explains corporations- and oligarchs-led ‘progress’, which sometimes boils down to mere slogans and symbolism, not substantial and meaningful reform/s. We’ve set aside parts that are less crucial to focus on what he says about symbolic change versus real change (like the cull of allegedly 'offensive' words whilst ignoring Microsoft's work with ICE and endless bombing campaigns that kill many civilians, usually "people of colour").

Summary: Activism for truly meaningful change doesn’t stop at superficialities and cosmetic changes (which merely give a false sense/impression of accomplishment, resulting in inaction); we need to regularly consider how to dismantle injustice, not based on the criteria set by oligarchs-owned media, rallying gullible mobs to appease only big egos

TIMES are increasingly tough and very much rough (as they have been for about half a year in most places). Coronavirus is eating away, devouring the economy. Many people unemployed or barely employed, children stranded at home shortly after schools reopen (where lock-downs are being reinstated — that’s more countries over time). Discontent is everywhere, sometimes resulting in riots and manifesting domestic violence.

“Where was the mass media (corporate/mainstream media) when trillions of dollars were passed mostly to rich shareholders of companies (rather than those in dire need of money)?”There are societal, economic and structural issues. With more and more people at risk of losing the roof over their head or quite literally starving (some families are going hungry already) the threshold for tolerating the status quo is reached and exceeded. There’s no sign of an imminent solution to all (or any) of this. A lot of people demand change, ranging from better access to health/food… to nutty ideas like “herd immunity” (whose advocates barely understand what it involves). Of course the virus (COVID-19 and maybe — seeing that it’s a moving target — some time soon COVID-20 or -21 etc. because it keeps mutating) won’t stop attacking, even attacking the same people over and over again, until they’re dead or until there’s mass vaccination (or until the virus is eradicated by quarantine, but it seems too late for that).

A sculptureSocial justice is fine. Public health is very important. Good conduct is necessary. But at the moment we’re seeing all sorts of misguided ‘movements’, whose underlying goals and motives overlook the much greater problems or misinterpret (distort, misframe, oversimplify) existing problems. Some years ago at Penn, Richard Stallman was confronted by an animal rights activist (video here) and he explained to her that there were many problems in the world and he needed to focus on particular ones he was better equipped to tackle (as a software developer). Activism is very important, but one’s goal should depend on one’s capacity and area of knowledge. It is totally understandable. Environmental preservation, for instance, is often led by biologists, veterinarians, nutritionists (looking to prevent mass extinction of species at risk) and so on. We support them financially, knowing that they understand how to accomplish their goals. To give another example, race struggle or the fight for racial equality is typically fought by the victims. When people who are themselves privileged and entitled lead this battle it understandably lead to suspicion. Can a white millionaire from Connecticut speak ‘on behalf’ of black people? Can a spoiled brat from Washington, who never in his entire lifetime experienced being anything less than super-rich (since birth), speak ‘for’ the starving children of Africa?

“If one convinces oneself that changing names of things is a high-priority goal, one aims very, very low.”As an activist myself (since my late teenage years), I more or less understand the need to focus on areas more familiar/comfortable to myself. Otherwise, there’s risk that the wrong solutions will be sought, based on the wrong assumptions and a deep misunderstanding of root causes.

Over the past few years we’ve seen more and more hypocrites, exploited/leveraged as ‘useful idiots’ by corporations and oligarchs (also propped up by their media apparatuses), looking for “social justice” by misguided methods, including trolling and dethroning powerful people whom they perceive to be the root of all evil. In practice, what they mostly accomplish is a sort of “chilling effect” (censorious society) by ‘making an example’ of high-profile people. Are we better off for this? Are hungry families better fed now? Are opportunities opening up for misfortunate people on the verge of homelessness? Have race tensions been reduced or increased (suspicion among races is rarely helped by combative elements)?

Holding handsWhere was the mass media (corporate/mainstream media) when trillions of dollars were passed mostly to rich shareholders of companies (rather than those in dire need of money)? Or as soon as social security programs/safety nets were cut or completely gutted (when needed the most)? Why doesn’t the media write about civilian casualties of war each and every day? Because they’re not wealthy people and therefore they’re unworthy of sympathy and aren’t of general interest? Empathetic media would pay more attention to the grief of common people all around the world, not the ‘pains’ of a break-up experienced in Beverly Hill (probably by some Hollywood celebrity whose job is choreographed fiction).

“Microsoft keeps telling us that it “loves Linux”, so we’re asked to assume the “war is over” (stop resisting!) and “Open Source has won” (in practice, taken over).”Campaigning for justice necessitates constant or at least periodic assessment (introspection perhaps) of one’s goals and means. If one convinces oneself that changing names of things is a high-priority goal, one aims very, very low. That helps appease those who gain the most from the status quo. There don’t want to see any major change, so they’ll settle on small and symbolic compromises. We’re led to think that we’re accomplishing so much while in practice we accomplish so little. In the realm of technology, for instance, we’re meant to think that having the option to share data between Facebook and Google is “progress” and having “secure” Clown Computing (where the host can still access all the data or deny access to it) is a “win” for privacy. Microsoft keeps telling us that it “loves Linux”, so we’re asked to assume the “war is over” (stop resisting!) and “Open Source has won” (in practice, taken over).

Iraq war protestPeople who still (in 2020) think that co-existence with mass surveillance companies (an extension of regimes) is a step forward clearly underestimate the problem we’re in. This week, for example, PIA published Web sites shared over 100 trillion pieces of our personal data last year” (they do this to manipulate people, not to better serve them). If we refuse to take these issues seriously and instead celebrate a change of name (default Git branch), then congratulations! We’ve been collectively fooled and we’re doomed to lose all meaningful battles.

09.24.20

Code of Ethics Versus Code of Conduct in Action

Posted in Deception, Free/Libre Software at 4:49 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Reprinted from Daniel Pocock‘s Web site

The Fedora Council is currently considering a proposal on Community Publishing Platforms which appears to apply Fedora’s Code of Conduct in more places.

Consider the following quote from the Code of Conduct:

Members of the Fedora community should be respectful when dealing with other contributors as well as with people outside the Fedora community and with users of Fedora.

Animal Farm

It seems quite reasonable. Think again: George Orwell’s Animal Farm was seen as incredibly disrespectful to friends in the Soviet Union, comparing Stalin’s totalitarian regime to a bunch of pigs. Russia was a British ally. Most publishers didn’t want to touch the book for this very reason. It should be clear that there is no way Animal Farm’s pig metaphor is compatible with the Code of Conduct as it is currently written.

“Russia was a British ally. Most publishers didn’t want to touch the book for this very reason. It should be clear that there is no way Animal Farm’s pig metaphor is compatible with the Code of Conduct as it is currently written.”Red Hat owns the Fedora trademark and any trademark owner has a right to control the trademark. At the same time, when somebody does work and contributes intellectual property to any free software project, they have a right to assert that they are the Developer and this will inevitably involve using the trademark too. With at least one organization, Debian, refusing to recognise all Developers equally, it is important to scrutinize this issue. After all, not fully and respectfully crediting every Developer is as unpleasant as plagiarism.

There are many signs that Fedora and Red Hat have no intention of going to such extremes. Nonetheless, it is always a good idea to learn from the mistakes of other organizations that are trying to re-invent intellectual property rights to beat people over the head.

Oddly enough, both Red Hat’s trademark rights and the Developers’ authorship rights can be traced back to the same place, Article 27 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.

  1. Everyone has the right freely to participate in the cultural life of the community, to enjoy the arts and to share in scientific advancement and its benefits.
  2. Everyone has the right to the protection of the moral and material interests resulting from any scientific, literary or artistic production of which he is the author.

Last time I cited this article in a blog post, the blog was immediately censored from Planet Debian and Planet Mozilla. I feel that some free software organizations take a one-sided view of these rights, they insist on the freedoms to use free software while showing contempt for any other rights, such as volunteers’ right to speak or vote.

It is an interesting moment to look at the stated goals of some of these organizations. Fedora’s Mission page defines the Four Foundations. The first foundation is Freedom, which includes:

We are dedicated to free software and content. Advancing software and content freedom is a central community goal, which we accomplish through the software and content we promote.

Mozilla’s Manifesto states:

We are committed to an internet that promotes civil discourse, human dignity, and individual expression.
We are committed to an internet that elevates critical thinking, reasoned argument, shared knowledge, and verifiable facts.

When that blog post encouraged critical thinking about the rights of volunteers, this is how Mozilla burned their own manifesto:

planet_mozilla_censorship

Fedora’s Community Publishing Platforms proposal on its own doesn’t appear very controversial until you think through all of this context. To understand why there is a problem, we need to consider how Codes of Conduct have been misused.

The term Code of Conduct has been used to give smears an appearance of credibility. If a smear against a volunteer is based on the Code of Conduct then it suggests there may have been some misconduct. To suggest misconduct, with the weight of the organization’s reputation, is an attempt to harm somebody.

Whenever I see a reference to a Code of Conduct in a free software community, the first thing that comes to mind is that I resigned from some of my voluntary roles after the loss of a family member and the people who were oblivious to that immediately started the CoC-insult routine. Each time I see another volunteer being insulted and attacked with this weapon, in any free software community, it also reminds me of the same attacks on my family and I.

Looking through the history of our industry, before Code of Conduct mania, we can find many examples of people resigning or forking projects without any public acrimony. An example is Theo de Raadt leaving NetBSD to start OpenBSD, Wikipedia dedicates only a few words about personality clashes to the split. When Paul Allen left active operations at Microsoft in 1983, there was no public shaming on account of his medical condition. He continued to support the company in various ways. Since we have Codes of Conduct, each time there is some resignation, each time somebody forks a project, a narrative of wrongdoing can be falsified.

“Since we have Codes of Conduct, each time there is some resignation, each time somebody forks a project, a narrative of wrongdoing can be falsified.”Codes of Conduct have created a form of extremism. People can’t resign gracefully and move on with their life: some organisations retrospectively change a resignation into an expulsion. This is illogical, you can’t expel or fire somebody after they resign. Alternatively, if somebody resigns and a vindictive leader feels cheated because he can’t indulge himself expelling the person, the organization uses the Code of Conduct to publicly declare they have been banned.

Think of teenagers breaking up, both parties rushing to their social media accounts to publicly claim who-dumped-who first. Do we really want free software projects to be governed with the mentality of adolescent romance?

“Think of teenagers breaking up, both parties rushing to their social media accounts to publicly claim who-dumped-who first. Do we really want free software projects to be governed with the mentality of adolescent romance?”Leaving a voluntary role in a free software organization has become akin to leaving North Korea: any officials who want to resign have to run across the border to the south while getting shot at.

In 2011, immediately after the arrest of Dominique Strauss-Kahn (DSK) on false rape charges, the police sought to publicly shame and humiliate him by taking him, the head of the IMF, on a perp-walk, handcuffed, in front of the TV cameras. Yet after it became obvious that the police had been fooled, they came off looking like keystone cops.

DSK

Most countries don’t indulge in these perp walks. Some countries, like Germany and Switzerland, give significant privacy protections to anybody accused of a crime up until a trial has been completed. Proponents of Codes of Conduct have sought to usher in the practice of perp walks as if these things automatically go together.

The most prominent examples of this have been the attacks on Jacob Appelbaum and Richard Stallman. In the Appelbaum case, I recently documented how existence of first-hand accounts was falsified and amplified across multiple free software communities. Appelbaum was accused of using his membership of free software projects to achieve privilege escalation in other organizations: yet the only evidence of privilege escalation is those using their Codes of Conduct to propagate a one-sided story. The effect of Codes of Conduct in that instance was to induce ongoing harassment of Appelbaum, his friends and neighbours. Using Codes of Conduct and the associated processes induced organizations as far away as Australia to take sides and jump to conclusions. The Code of Conduct was inferior in every way to the proper authorities for handling such complaints, this underlines how important it is to reject these inferior Codes of Conduct.

In parallel, the Fedora community is currently investigating a Code of Ethics and that may provide a credible way forward. Many professional organizations have a Code of Ethics and these codes typically have safety mechanisms encouraging dispute resolution rather than vendettas. I feel the Code of Ethics initiative is far more important than the proposed Community Publishing Platforms policy. I strongly believe these documents need to be worked on together, rather than rushing through the Community Publishing Platforms policy in two weeks.

The difference between a Code of Conduct, as we know it in free, open source software and a Code of Ethics in a professional body is much like the difference between adolescent romances and a well organized professional sporting team.

The ACM’s Code of Ethics provides interesting reading. Consider the paragraph on Conflicts of Interest:

Computing professionals should be forthright about any circumstances that might lead to either real or perceived conflicts of interest or otherwise tend to undermine the independence of their judgment.

This has far reaching consequences. If we go back to the Appelbaum example, we can see that people who made decisions on behalf of the Tor organization had been personally and romantically involved in the case. These people were therefore ineligible to use Tor’s name to make a public statement. They had the option to make statements on a personal basis but not in their official capacity.

“The difference between a Code of Conduct, as we know it in free, open source software and a Code of Ethics in a professional body is much like the difference between adolescent romances and a well organized professional sporting team.”One of the questions that arises whenever a Code of Conduct is introduced is the question of who will interpret it. What does this mean, interpreting the Code of Conduct? Most Codes of Conduct are incredibly short and overgeneralised so you can actually read anything you like into them. When a free software organization appoints some person or group to interpret their Code of Conduct, they are giving them a weapon that they can use at will, the smear of suggesting misconduct whenever such a conclusion is politically useful, even after somebody has resigned.

You can have your say on the Community Publishing Platforms proposal by subscribing to the Fedora Council discussion list.

Linux Foundation: “Transformation Through Open Source” is Proprietary Software That Rejects Linux

Posted in Deception, GNU/Linux, Kernel at 4:13 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

The Foundation of Contradictions

LF report

Summary: The Linux Foundation, run by proprietary software companies that don’t really care about Linux, is still a lot more about openwashing (perception management techniques) than about “Open Source” or even Linux (which most of the Foundation rejects)

THE Linux Foundation works very well… for the few people who run it and bag/net massive salaries (without even using Linux!).

What does this foundation even stand for? Apparently nothing but words or lip service.

“So they keep telling us how Open Source is all awesome while consistently rejecting it themselves (rejecting both Linux and Free software).”Case of point?

This new report was published some hours ago and promoted in Linux.com (a spam site). Not too shockingly, for the third in a row (that I examine this closely enough), it’s a slap in the face of the messenger; those reports are always produced with proprietary software on a Mac, including statements such as: “They’re all dependent on open source software.”

So they keep telling us how Open Source is all awesome while consistently rejecting it themselves (rejecting both Linux and Free software).

LF report made on Mac

Linux Foundation report… a report made on… a Mac.

LF report made on Mac

Using software that does not even run on GNU/Linux. What is one to conclude?

“Linux Foundation report… a report made on… a Mac.”They are not improving, are they?

Are they even listening at all?

To make matters worse, they’ve added a sort of ‘paywall’ that requires something in exchange for reading/downloading this report. Now they’re harvesting E-mails (for marketing) and personal details from people who wish to read their reports. As noted earlier today in relation to Red Hat/IBM, those things tend to be misused.

Here’s the direct link to the report (to bypass their data harvesting).

At ZDNet, in 2020, “Linux” Means Microsoft and Windows

Posted in Deception, GNU/Linux, Microsoft at 10:57 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Marketing site. We can easily see whose. Microsoft is the only brand in the top bar.

Linux at ZDNet

Summary: The incredible charade of ZDNet carries on; the site whose parent company went bust last December isn’t even trying to hide its true agenda

09.23.20

The Latest Greenwashing Campaign by the EPO is Just ‘Chinese Propaganda’

Posted in Deception, Europe, Patents at 1:30 am by Guest Editorial Team

From World Economic Forum:

World Economic Forum on batteries

Summary: When the EPO speaks of “innovation” and “clean energy transition” it means nothing but patents on batteries, in effect monopolies being granted in Europe (to a lot of Asian — not European — companies)

THIS week we’re seeing old tactics resurrected by the Office that rapidly renders itself obsolete. Looking for a distraction? Superficial and shallow positive press? Who from?

“While our goal isn’t to bash China, it’s worth noting that conflating patents with “innovation” and using the whole thing for baseless greenwashing tells a lot about the degree of (dis)honesty in today’s EPO.”Corrupt EPO management is greenwashing patent monopolies once again (lots of that so far this year [1, 2]). Benoît Battistelli did this on occasions and António Campinos seems to be doing even more of that than him.

The latest slant is calling batteries “clean energy” (warning: epo.org link) even though the energy inside batteries tends to be produced or derived from inherently unclean processes (e.g. coal and extraction of harmful chemicals, typically to the detriment of nearby locals, flora, and fauna). Here’s what the EPO wrote:

Improving the capacity to store electricity is playing a key role in the transition to clean energy technologies. Between 2005 and 2018, patenting activity in batteries and other electricity storage technologies grew at an average annual rate of 14% worldwide, four times faster than the average of all technology fields, according to a joint study published today by the European Patent Office (EPO) and the International Energy Agency (IEA).

They measure nothing but patents. So what kind of ‘study’ is that? The headline says “innovation” but it’s actually about patents, not innovation. And only EPO patents or European Patents.

On battery pollutionIt didn’t take long for them to squeeze out this press release for Asia entitled “Joint Study by European Patent Office (EPO) and International Energy Agency (IEA) Shows Asia Ahead of U.S. in Battery Technology Innovation”. To quote: “According to a joint study published today by the European Patent Office (EPO) and the International Energy Agency (IEA), improving the capacity of electricity storage solutions is playing a key role in the transition to clean energy technologies. Between 2005 and 2018, patenting activity in batteries and other electricity storage technologies grew at an average annual rate of 14% worldwide, four times faster than the average for all technology fields (3.5%). U.S. firms are lagging, with the U.S. in fifth place behind Japan, South Korea, Europe and China in terms of the number of international patents in battery technology.”

This one too uses the word “Innovation” while measuring something completely different. It’s about patents. The corrupt Office now collaborates with Chinese state media (formal propaganda outlets) to produce self-serving puff pieces with greenwashing all over them. This one says: “Nine of the top ten applicants for patents in batteries and other electricity storage technologies in the period from 2000 to 2018 were Asian companies, according to a study published by the European Patent Office (EPO) in Munich and the International Energy Agency (IEA) on Tuesday.”

You’d think Europe has better and higher standards to offer, no? Greenwashing propaganda in China’s state media. There’s also this EPO puff piece with Campinos quotes all over it:

The study conducted by the European Patent Office (EPO) and the International Energy Agency (IEA) revealed that almost 90 percent of the applications revolved around the storage of electricity in an innovative battery system.

This is the only non-China article we’ve found about it. While our goal isn’t to bash China, it’s worth noting that conflating patents with “innovation” and using the whole thing for baseless greenwashing tells a lot about the degree of (dis)honesty in today’s EPO.

09.22.20

What the Efforts to Remove Dr. Stallman Reveal About the Agenda of Large Corporations (Looking to Absorb the Competition, Remove Freedom, Spread Proprietary Software in ‘Open’ Clothing)

Posted in Deception, Free/Libre Software, GNU/Linux at 1:02 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Related: Guix Petition Demographic Data, by Figosdev | Red Hat/IBM Got ‘Tired’ of RMS. Is It Getting ‘Tired’ of GPL/Copyleft Too?

A decorative metal
Caging us in by taking down our leaders

Summary: Richard Stallman’s (RMS) positions and foresight are usually correct; at the moment we’re losing access to key people whose leadership positions are essential for the independence of cornerstone projects

THE ‘cancellation’ of Dr. Stallman didn’t start in 2019. It started before that, some say around the time of a certain LibrePlanet event. We wrote about that event several times months before he ‘resigned’ or ‘stepped down’ from his position at the FSF.

To better understand what’s going on or what happened we must explore further back in time (than September 2019). We must consider what set the scene and the tone for ‘cancellation’ of principled people, typically for expressing the ‘wrong’ view. All that was needed was a ‘trigger’ event… then some distortion and ‘spilling of beans’ as in past stories and ‘old beef’ (things said like a decade earlier).

It “depends on what the real goal of the CoC is,” somebody told us this morning, as “the real goal is to oust non-corporate technical leads; that blue-haired * [link/reference to Lamb's girlfriend with that description in GitHub] is just a distraction.”

“To better understand what’s going on or what happened we must explore further back in time (than September 2019).”Shawn wrote in response in IRC a few hours ago, “that makes sense” (he had contributed to some of GNU/GCC).

It’s the “same with the hostile attitude towards GPLv3,” he added. “I have been at GCC and LLVM conferences (both before and after they got intensely corporate) and the LLVM ones are all “I can’t talk about that” [...] and also NDAs are a “I’m stupid and not a political person” [...] at GCC conferences you don’t get that “I can’t talk about my work” attitude, which makes it much healthier.”

I told him that may change or has already changed, citing LibrePlanet with their “Safe Space” concept (where it means nothing to actual safety in practice, it’s more about gagging potential critics and even an opinionated RMS himself).

“RMS was put under pressure to justify his assertion that LLVM was like a corporate plot (not his words) against GCC and — by extension — against GPL/copyleft.”Shawn quoted, “sticks and stones may break my bones, but words will never hurt me…”

MinceR said it “sounds like LLVM isn’t really free software” and Shawn (who is good at compilers) noted that “as RMS said, it is a platform for non-free compilers and he realized GCC could go that way when Steve Jobs asked him if he could release Obj-C as binary blobs linked to GCC [...] there is a real opening right now for a good portable language for FPGAs as Verilog has many problems and because FPGAs are not the same as ASICs mainly because FPGAs perform things in lock step to the clock…”

For those who miss some context, here we have LWN outlining things as follows: “During a discussion on the GCC mailing list about the comparative performance of GCC versus Clang, Richard Stallman weighed in to argue that LLVM’s permissive license makes it a “terrible setback” for the free software community, because contributions to it benefit proprietary compilers as well as free ones. The original topic was Eric S. Raymond’s suggestion that GCC should allow non-free plugins—an idea which, unsurprisingly, Stallman does not find appealing. “To make GCC available for such use would be throwing in the towel. If that enables GCC to ‘win’, the victory would be hollow, because it would not be a victory for what really matters: users’ freedom.””

“We’ve contacted RMS for a potential interview (not related to this topic) and hopefully we can say more some time soon.”RMS was put under pressure to justify his assertion that LLVM was like a corporate plot (not his words) against GCC and — by extension — against GPL/copyleft.

“I have to say that RMS is right here and ESR wrong,” Shawn added, “while there are cool thing that can done with a more open compiler, losing control over having a libre compiler is not worth it [...] The nonfree compilers that are now based on LLVM prove that I was right — that the danger was real. If I had “opened” up GCC code for use in nonfree combinations, that would not have prevented a defeat; rather, it would have caused that defeat to occur very soon. [...] the whole point is that if you are going to be anti-social, the GNU project is not going to help you do that [...] The only code that helps us and not our adversaries is copylefted code. Free software released under a pushover license…”

We’ve contacted RMS for a potential interview (not related to this topic) and hopefully we can say more some time soon.

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