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07.01.20

IBM-Funded FSF Censors Itself on Software Patents

Posted in FSF, Patents at 5:21 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Only earlier today we praised the FSF for the above version (hours later it was censored or self-censored without explanation)

FSF self-censorship

Summary: Donald Robertson’s article bemoaning and openly condemning the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) over software patents, which it illegally grants in some cases, was modified a week later; and why? One can only guess… (but remember that the FSF’s foremost sponsor is lobbying against 35 U.S.C. § 101 and for software patents)

What Freedom of Software Actually Means to Us

Posted in Free/Libre Software, FSF, GNU/Linux, IBM, OIN at 1:27 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Liberty

Summary: Liberty or libre (freedom) is about more than brands or personalities, as names or institutions or individuals can change or completely perish; but concepts outlast superficialities

THE concepts put forth by rms (Richard Stallman) more than 35 years ago are more relevant than ever. Back then computers rarely had network connections (the Internet was immature and the World Wide Web was still waiting a decade in the future). The concept of back doors wasn’t quite the same in the 1980s; remote access through back doors is meaningless unless there’s a network. Maybe back doors as a concept made sense in the forensics sense (when physical access to the machine is possible, albeit data rather than packets may be encrypted).

Techrights started by dealing with the issue of software patents and standards almost 14 years ago. Prior to Techrights I had already written about patents elsewhere, including in my personal blog. The subject wasn’t new to me at all. About a week ago the FSF finally issued a press release on the matter, berating the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) for what it called the “virus” of software patents.

“The concept of back doors wasn’t quite the same in the 1980s; remote access through back doors is meaningless unless there’s a network.”This gave me hope; is the FSF recognising the big picture and the big issues? Without elimination of software patents (35 U.S.C. § 101 got us closer to it, but IBM lobbies against 35 U.S.C. § 101 and it also pays the FSF) there’s no software freedom. Such patents impede the dissemination of free/libre code.

As per our latest Daily Links with an editorial comment, the IBM-connected OIN is still pushing software patents, this time disguised as “hey hi” (the EPO loves this term as a loophole for granting software patents in Europe). It makes one wonder if IBM, the ‘old’ big bad monopolist, is compatible with Free software (and by extension Red Hat as well). Why does the FSF allow itself to become financially dependent on the company that lobbies for software patents in India, in Europe and in the US? In other countries too of course… (but it takes more work to show this)

The author figosdev, who used to support the FSF financially, has pretty much given up on the FSF. To me, one key issue is the FSF’s silence on systemd (modularity under attack, probably for vendor lock-in) and IBM’s lobbying for software patents. How can the FSF reconcile all this?

figosdev wrote to me some hours ago to say: “By the way Roy, who else has pointed out that OIN is the GitHub of software patents?

“The latest moves into OIN and the latest moves into GitHub aren’t coincidental. The assimilation and annexation continues.

“Ultimately whoever owns OIN will own free software. Of course you can’t own OIN, can you? Wait, that’s like saying you can’t own the FSF or the GNU project.”

Sarcasm noted.

“I think rms made a mistake by embarking on that trip to Microsoft (a few weeks before he was ‘canceled’) and it’s clear that Microsoft/GitHub took none of his suggestions seriously.”My interpretation of Free software is somewhat personal; the concept itself is impersonal, but each can have a different interpretation of it. The advocacy of rms is still as lucid as ever, even if the FSF doesn’t give rms the limelight he deserves. I think rms made a mistake by embarking on that trip to Microsoft (a few weeks before he was ‘canceled’) and it’s clear that Microsoft/GitHub took none of his suggestions seriously. GitHub is a mess, full of JavaScript and lock-in. It’s totally proprietary.

To me, software freedom is about more than “GNU” or “Linux” or “GNU/Linux”. Seeing so-called ‘digitalisation’ of society (that’s what EPO calls it) and seeing software patents and secret code and clown computing and listening devices connected to these clowns makes me growingly concerned. Recently, in the United States, the drones of the police were taken up another notch. These combine surveillance with strategic response (violence). It may only be a matter of time before these Orwellian ‘machines’ (military gear) do to US citizens what’s already done to Somalis. What can we, as producers of code, do about this?

“To me, software freedom is about more than “GNU” or “Linux” or “GNU/Linux”.”The so-called ‘ethical’ licences mostly serve to distract from software freedom itself. They’re based upon the assumption that limiting access to software or restricting who can run it (a bit like UEFI ‘secure boot’) would somehow enhance freedom. It’s worse than misguided, it’s not enforceable (good luck getting military contractors to obey copyright laws, especially as some impoverished programmer with no lawyers), and it’s strategically weak.

I used to say that OSI and OIN and the Linux Foundation and whatnot are useless front groups beholden to corporate interests. The FSF is beholden to IBM, which in itself is a growing concern. The FSF should never have accepted corporate patrons at all.

So who to trust? Well, rms seems to have not been compromised. He’s still out there (or indoors; the coronavirus doesn’t help one who travels to give speeches). He’ll be out there for years to come. I predict that I too will be out there, hopefully for decades to come. Techrights will never take money from corporations and depending on how the Web evolves (or collapses) it may stick around for a couple more decades. Contingencies and successions are already in place. The site is in good hands, strong hands, technical hands. It can outlive all sorts of perils.

06.29.20

I Won’t Ever Support the FSF Again — That’s Their Own Fault

Posted in Free/Libre Software, FSF, GNU/Linux at 4:09 am by Guest Editorial Team

By figosdev

Holding money

Summary: “There have been several coups (or several coup stages — I’ve counted and named 5 or 6 of them) at the FSF in the past 2 years, and the largest of them is something we warned about — did anybody listen? I guess not.”

I wish rms would step away from this stupid thing. Yes, I would support rms, but never the FSF again.

Lately I’ve been teaching the history of Free Software. It’s a very relevant topic — it’s the thing that got me into Free Software in the first place.

The first free software distribution I tried was tomsrtbt. Since I learned computing in DOS, tomsrtbt made a lot of sense to me — you have a boot floppy and some basic commands, if you want something more elaborate you install a bunch of other stuff on top of it.

A lot of the details about it made less sense, but at the time I really had very little idea what was going on. I read about “Linux” in the newspaper, and being new to everything, I had to navigate the messaging (and propaganda) of various organisations to find a fit. Like many swindlers, Open Source has a very good elevator pitch: We are like Free Software, only better: More reasonable — Friendlier — Easier. We understand you.

“Seriously, I ran into Open Source types who constantly reminded me to be nice to monopolistic corporations. This is nothing happenstance — along the way Torvalds himself has compared criticism of Microsoft to “extremism” and “hate”, and more recently, Jim Zemlin of the Linux Foundation (who treats Torvalds like crap) has compared criticism of Microsoft to “kicking a puppy”.”Great.–So L. Ron Torvalds invented 1s and 0s, which we now call L’s and T’s, and our big mission is to get Microsoft to make Windows Open Source. I can’t wait.

Of course I’m being sarcastic, but it’s been more than a decade and I still feel like Open Source is one of the biggest bridges that was ever sold. Open Source acted like Free Software is full of sacred cows, and being “Open” is whatever I want it to be, but this is the Big Friendly Lie followed up by “Oh, you mean I can’t make fun of Microsoft anymore?”

Seriously, I ran into Open Source types who constantly reminded me to be nice to monopolistic corporations. This is nothing happenstance — along the way Torvalds himself has compared criticism of Microsoft to “extremism” and “hate”, and more recently, Jim Zemlin of the Linux Foundation (who treats Torvalds like crap) has compared criticism of Microsoft to “kicking a puppy”.

“Bruce Perens resigned from OSI within a year of co-founding it with Raymond, saying that it was unfair and that Open Source had overshadowed Free Software.”As far as I can tell, Microsoft has been sacred in the Open Source world for more than a decade. Yet it was the Open Source Initiative (now its co-founder Eric Raymond) who hosted the Halloween Documents. But then Microsoft claims to “Love Linux” so who knows what the Open Source people really think?

Bruce Perens resigned from OSI within a year of co-founding it with Raymond, saying that it was unfair and that Open Source had overshadowed Free Software. It obviously didn’t take long for OSI to turn into a Frankenstein. But it was my interest in computing history that led me to figure out what a sham and ploy Open Source really was. Disillusioned, I set out to support Free Software.

Free Software had a good elevator pitch too — it’s like Open Source, except it’s the real thing.

And support it I did! I switched to a fully free distro, I learned how to write scripts in Bash (until I started using Free Software, I’d coded mostly in BASIC) and Javascript and Python, I bought lots of stuff from the FSF, became a member, and learned all the pro-Free-Software arguments that Open Source loves to sidestep (but still borrows for hype now and then).

“Like when NPR says it’s “Listener-supported”, this sidesteps the reality that they’re co-opted by giant sponsors like the Gates Foundation.”This idea of borrowing ideas for hype is important, because it’s what I think the FSF is doing now. Like when NPR says it’s “Listener-supported”, this sidesteps the reality that they’re co-opted by giant sponsors like the Gates Foundation. NPR doesn’t care about its listeners. (I used to support them as well).

It’s about here that a few people put on their Linus hat and tell me this is about “hate” — I’ve got the same thing to say about that whether we are talking about OSI, NPR, the FSF or something as unredeemable as Wal-Mart: I don’t like paying people to lie to me. Bullshit should always come with a discount — it shouldn’t cost extra.

“Bullshit should always come with a discount — it shouldn’t cost extra.”The reason people hate Microsoft is they hate the abuse that Microsoft dishes out. The fact that Jim Zemlin thinks hating abuse is like kicking a puppy goes to show how sick and twisted he really is (and Linus almost certainly knows this, since Zemlin has clearly spent years abusing him).

Microsoft lies — A LOT. And people don’t like being lied to and taken advantage of. If you can fool them, they might. Microsoft spreads a lot of money around trying to fool people, and we’ve talked a lot about that.

If software is free, it won’t tie you to a bastard monopoly like Microsoft.

Now I wish that handing users over to Microsoft and calling it “Freedom” was the worst thing that the FSF did in the past year — because they’ve done far too much of that. For several years, people have complained that the FSF was handing users over to other unethical proprietary software companies, and attacking free software.

And the FSF has done what about this?

Fixed it?

Encouraged people to fight it?

Admitted there is even a problem?

No! The FSF has done:

NOTHING!!!!!

They’ve actually told users a bunch of crap.

And I wish THAT was the worst thing the FSF has done in the past few years — but it’s not.

There have been several coups (or several coup stages — I’ve counted and named 5 or 6 of them) at the FSF in the past 2 years, and the largest of them is something we warned about — did anybody listen? I guess not.

“Forget about a coup, there ought to be a revolution right about now. And I don’t hold anything against rms, this isn’t his fault. He was played. He was tricked. He was taken advantage of and lied to as much as anybody, if not more. They screwed him over regarding his entire career.”First of all, they Lied to rms. They lied a lot. And rms talks like he was the only victim. Hullo, we actually pay you people. We aren’t just random people sending email, we are also Customers. And whether or not anybody has noticed, THE FSF LIED to COUNTLESS USERS who have supported (with money and volunteering) these assholes for years and years.

They lied to everybody. And what have they done to those responsible?

I’ll give you a hint, it starts with “NOTH-”!

Forget about a coup, there ought to be a revolution right about now. And I don’t hold anything against rms, this isn’t his fault. He was played. He was tricked. He was taken advantage of and lied to as much as anybody, if not more. They screwed him over regarding his entire career.

If you want to know who I hate more than Microsoft, it’s SFC. YOU’RE SCUM, guys. SCUM. Worthless SCUM, and you also lied to everybody. You’re frauds, and I hope you have to fold — but you won’t, because you’re taking money from Google and Microsoft (enemies of copyleft) for CopyleftConf, so rather than fold you’ll simply be absorbed into the whole IBM/Microsoft thing just like the FSF. You’re a complete traitors to everything.

“You’re opportunistic and you vote against the person who gave all of you your “jobs” — unless you count Red Hat and Google.”RMS still believes he’s the head of GNU — and you know what? He should be. Without rms there would BE no GNU. And to remove him you had to have a lot of fraud and a lot of lies and people had to take advantage of those lies and fraud to make it work. You’re all scum, you’re all traitors. And when freedom really is under threat — what do you do?

You’re opportunistic and you vote against the person who gave all of you your “jobs” — unless you count Red Hat and Google.

Of course I’m not talking as much about the people who have sat idly by and said and done nothing. Sure, you’re part of the problem too, but that’s not enough to call you a traitor for. You aren’t ACTIVELY part of the problem. I’d almost thank you. And if you really don’t know, you really can’t be held accountable for that. That’s innocence. Though some of it is a bit naive.

This is an organisation that is vying for trust, but it blew it — all of it.

“You can’t talk about freedom anymore — all you’ve done is crap on it. You can’t talk about trust anymore — all you’ve done is squander it.”This is an organisation that crapped on its founder, and crapped on every decent user that ever supported it.

The FSF is a scam at this point — it wasn’t built on lies, but the “new” FSF is built on fraud and bullshit.

How are you better than IBM and Microsoft? YOU ARE IBM and Microsoft. You need to raise funds? Ask your biggest sponsor to go melt down some more gold teeth. They’re literal Nazis, and you’re in bed with them, taking their money AND doing bad things. Okay, so you’re just taking money from a corporation with one of the most inhumane histories of any company ever. Whatever, I get it.

But once you change and start doing things their way — and you have — then it’s a very big deal that you let them bribe you to do evil.

You can’t talk about freedom anymore — all you’ve done is crap on it. You can’t talk about trust anymore — all you’ve done is squander it.

You don’t deserve to be called the FSF — you’re the BSF now. Heck, you’re FBS. Everything you stand for is DONE. And it’s YOUR fault.

So I’m very sorry rms, but I refuse to support your organisation anymore. For one, it’s not your organisation anymore. It was sold off to IBM. That’s their own fault. Everyone on the board should just GTFO. You’re all bloody useless. You killed it. Piss off! There’s nothing more useless than a board that kills the organisation.

What you all let happen was shameful.

But what’s more — and this is no hyperbole (I wish it was) there’s simply no way to get back what you had. Not just trust — relevance.

From now on, you’ll be “buying” that relevance, and just like no user is free when they sign in to Facebook, no organisation is free that lets itself fail this entirely and All For A Buck. People who aren’t stupid know that non-profits can and do sell out, sure the words “non-profit” make that sound impossible, but there are countless examples to the contrary. Thanks to you, there’s now one more.

When it’s time to deny the fact that you’re all soundbites and rehashed old shit from now on:

“FSF <3 GNU/LINUX!”

You’ll get plenty of help from your good P.R. buddies, and the shills you’ve taken on as volunteers.

“You don’t care about our freedom — You certainly don’t care about rms, and you definitely don’t care about the truth.”All that matters is every donation you get is for a lie.

You don’t care about our freedom — You certainly don’t care about rms, and you definitely don’t care about the truth.

You stabbed your founder in the back — and all of your members.

You are the Former Software Foundation. And I will never, ever support your bullshit.

Nothing is going to bring the “real” FSF back, because it’s dead. You might as well try to bring back Miguel! Do you think you can?

When is the last time a 501(c)3 sold out everybody and actually turned around and went legit again? Has it ever happened?

It’s the stage in the game where everybody has to find a way to fool themselves.

Have fun with that.

I don’t think Free Software is dead, and I do think it will always matter. I hope it will come back soon. You’ll know when it does, because users will matter again. They sure as hell don’t matter to anybody right now — except themselves.

So I told rms he should start a GRASSROOTS free software organisation. He said, “how would that be different?”

“A REAL grassroots free software organisation would have thrown IBM out by now as well, recognising that nothing more toxic than a bunch of CORPORATE NAZIS has ever dragged the FSF down into illegitimacy.”Well for one, it would always have people fighting for it. It wouldn’t have shills in charge, because people like the ones running the FSF right now, would be shoved out the door.

A REAL grassroots free software organisation would have thrown IBM out by now as well, recognising that nothing more toxic than a bunch of CORPORATE NAZIS has ever dragged the FSF down into illegitimacy.

But users can’t do that, because only sponsors matter to the FSF.

Sure, they’ll lie to you and say you matter to them. They’ve been doing that for years.

And you’re welcome to listen to their crap and believe their lies. Heck, everybody I know has believed a lie or two — especially when they wanted to believe.

To paraphrase something rms used to say, “I’m sorry to tell you this, but there is no FSF”.

It’s not like OSI is better, they’re even worse. But the same thing happened to both organisations. The sooner we can stop pretending the FSF can come back from this, the better. Freedom does still matter — and users need self-advocacy. All they’ve got is a bunch of liars trying to start a coup (and a shocking number of those behind the coup are linked to the biggest sponsor).

“I’ve made several predictions — including the ousting of rms and the sale of Red Hat.”It’s not like SFC is better, they’re as bad as OSI!

FSFE is even more corrupt than the FSF is, so screw that.

I’ve made several predictions — including the ousting of rms and the sale of Red Hat. Here’s one more: wait for the FSF to betray users in a big way, AGAIN — very soon. Their true colours are showing up everywhere. All you have to do is wait.

Long live rms, long live Free Software, to hell with the BSF. They’ll never lie to you as well as Microsoft does, but they’ve gotten far too good at it to deserve your money. You shouldn’t help them lie to people, either. The gaslighting from these traitors won’t stop, they work for IBM and Microsoft now — not for rms and certainly not for users.

Licence: Creative Commons CC0 1.0 (public domain)

06.24.20

Let’s Ban Bombings, Not Words (Corporations Taking Away People’s Freedom of Speech So They Can Bomb ‘in Peace’)

Posted in FSF, GNU/Linux, IBM, Microsoft at 1:59 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

The quotes below (on the right) are real quotes from Linus Torvalds

Chris Jericho and Dean Ambrose: 'If you want to travel around the world and be invited to speak at a lot of different places, just write a Unix operating system.' '...the Linux philosophy is 'laugh in the face of danger'. Oops. Wrong one. 'Do it yourself'. That's it.' Linux Foundation: You can't say bastard; 'See, you not only have to be a good coder to create a system like Linux, you have to be a sneaky bastard too.'

Summary: Companies that are bombing people or provide the technology to bomb people (always in countries where ‘white’ people don’t live or are a very small minority) tell us that offensive words are the real problem

THE POLICING not only of behaviour but also of speech (even outside work) is a problem to free-as-in-freedom software along with free speech rights. Freedom of expression issues have already ousted RMS from MIT and then from the FSF. It’s not like RMS did what Hans Reiser did. But those things don’t seem to matter anymore. They tell us that (mis)use of words is aggression and the moral equivalence of physical violence. If you ‘hurt’ someone’s feelings (purely emotional harm, even where/when one deserves it), then you’re a schoolyard bully.

“If you ‘hurt’ someone’s feelings (purely emotional harm, even where/when one deserves it), then you’re a schoolyard bully.”Hours ago a group that pushed very hard to oust RMS from the FSF (Mr. Kuhn was also in the FSF’s Board at the time) published the following: “Existing versions of Git are capable of working with any branch name; there’s nothing special about ‘master’ except that it has historically been the name used for the first branch when creating a new repository from scratch (with the git init command). Thus many projects use it to represent the primary line of development. We support and encourage projects to switch to branch names that are meaningful and inclusive, and we’ll be adding features to Git to make it even easier to use a different default for new projects.”

“Disagreement is bigotry.”Remember that in the context of Git repos there’s no “slave”; so these people basically side with Microsoft (GitHub), which keeps bombing people and profiting from internment camps (and separating babies from their parents). But hey, Microsoft will rename branches to “main”, so the bombings and the crimes against humanity are all forgiven now.

It’s all about ethical priorities, right? If you don’t agree with them, watch out! They’ll oust you, too. Disagreement is bigotry.

Protecting minorities from physical harm (like wars) is a lot more important than protecting them from feeling unwelcome; we’re sadly seeing a bunch of groups siding with a diversionary plot to not talk about so-called ‘brown’ people (or black people or Muslims or latinx) being massively and systemically harmed by large corporations such as Microsoft and IBM; instead they talk about how “blacklist” might be misinterpreted as racism. Oh, wait, some of these groups take money from Microsoft

06.23.20

[Humour] Anti-RMS Venom

Posted in FSF, GNU/Linux, IBM, Red Hat at 11:33 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Context: Guix Petition Demographic Data, by Figosdev

It's Always Sunny In Philadelphia Roof Scene: FSF, Richard Stallman, Red Hat (IBM)

Summary: With the the founder of the GNU Project still being marginalised we need to remember who fears his presence

06.22.20

The Implications of an Increasingly Corporate FSF

Posted in Free/Libre Software, FSF at 9:45 pm by Guest Editorial Team

Article by figosdev

The corporate wear

Summary: “Who’s going to defend our 4 freedoms then? The people who bribed the watchdogs? The people who decapitated our organisations?”

The Cumberland Science Museum once held a simple exhibit in optics that you can recreate at home: a pane of glass with lights on either side, that allowed those seated to dim or brighten the lights on their side. You can achieve this at home after dark, if you have switches for lights outdoors as well as indoors.

“…Mozilla (who is upstream from GNU IceCat) is hiring people from Microsoft and getting Microsoft cozier with Rust — a language that is not only based on Microsoft GitHub, but one you need in order to compile IceCat.”If the lights are brighter on your side than the opposite, your side will act as a mirror and show your reflection; people on the opposite side will see you. If the lights on your side are dimmer than the opposite side, people on that side will see their reflection (the glass is opaque) and the glass will appear transparent from your perspective.

This is not unlike what’s going on right now at the FSF, where things are increasingly transparent for corporations, but for the rest of us they are increasingly opaque. And while that may be a fun opening for an article, the implications of this aren’t very fun at all.

While GNU Radio, GNU Bison and GNUstep (along with several GNU maintainers from Red Hat — a company now owned by the FSF’s largest corporate sponsor) drag the GNU project further into Microsoft’s clutches, Mozilla (who is upstream from GNU IceCat) is hiring people from Microsoft and getting Microsoft cozier with Rust — a language that is not only based on Microsoft GitHub, but one you need in order to compile IceCat.

“Yes, they like to pretend that Source = Transparency, but tell that to the spooks who approached Torvalds because they wanted a backdoor.”The FSF claims to be against imposing DRM on the user — from this standpoint it is not only understandable, but welcome, that IceCat ships with EME (the now standard DRM for the web) disabled from about:config. From a freedom-respecting standpoint, this is the least they can do.

You have to wonder if we will be so lucky when DRM ships with the Linux kernel itself. Of course I’m not referring to Direct Rendering, but Digital Restrictions Management. As that sort of ugliness creeps into the kernel, one hopes this too will be shipped with it turned off (or removed if necessary).

The nice thing about free software is that it comes with the source and a free license. This means that if everything else breaks down, you can still pore over the code and mirror it — whatever that may cost — these days it seems a lot of projects cant find it in their budgets to host their own code, let alone mirror it; as they keep moving to GitHub because it’s “free”. But we are also free (as in permitted) to host the code they couldn’t justify the costs of hosting themselves.

“Tell that to the Microsoft engineers who design everything around the fact that they control updates more than you do. These are the same people gaining control of Mozilla, Python, the Linux kernel, and (very gradually) the GNU project.”I have personally (often with tools informed of what I was looking for) sifted through gigabytes of source because its less bother than navigating the labyrinthine channels of doubletalk and broken promises that pass for news, forums and mailing lists these days. Yes, they like to pretend that Source = Transparency, but tell that to the spooks who approached Torvalds because they wanted a backdoor.

Tell that to the Microsoft engineers who design everything around the fact that they control updates more than you do. These are the same people gaining control of Mozilla, Python, the Linux kernel, and (very gradually) the GNU project.

The problem with the Source = Transparency equation, is that we didn’t just have the source. It’s a very nice thing to fall back on, as a last resort. But the fact is that what we called “transparency” in the days when these things were built, went a lot farther.

“We had a Mozilla that would still have said “NO” to DRM — we had a kernel that wasn’t controlled by several people from Microsoft.”It was source, plus a tech press that wasn’t entirely in these corporate pockets, plus mailing lists that weren’t being stress-tested to see how many lies they can hold without buckling. And you had watchdog organisations (including Mozilla, though more importantly the FSF and debatably, OSI) that were far less compromised.

As the FSF is being hollowed out, as if by termites, Big Blue (along with Big Red) is propping up the structure so it doesn’t collapse — at least not on them. But who brought the termites, and who fired the exterminators? We didn’t just have the source, we had the source and a functioning Free Software Foundation.

We had the source and a functioning FSF, and a non-ousted leader. We had a less-bribed tech press, who were owned by a larger number of corporations (then at least 6; now 5). We had a Mozilla that would still have said “NO” to DRM — we had a kernel that wasn’t controlled by several people from Microsoft.

“If we turn around, what do we find? Do we find that GNOME has SETTLED with patent blackmailers?”You can’t even count the number of side-channel attacks, (we didn’t mention the lobbying against copyleft, by SPONSORS of CopyleftConf!) but people keep on with the mantra of Source = Transparency. And with the sliders out of our hands, all the side-channel processes that used to throw their weight behind the source when it came to transparency, become more opaque for us and more transparent for the likes of Microsoft and IBM.

What’s truly hilarious about IBM and Microsoft controlling free software more and more all the time, is that — not only are they still suing us for control of the software we wrote to be free — they’re the same companies (or they controlled, leveraged or bought the same companies) who controlled our computing before we declared freedom! So one day we were fighting against them, and the next day, when we were supposedly winning, we said “Hey, you know what? Why don’t we go over to your side?”

“Do we find that while these people talk about “transparency” it’s been 3/4 of a year since the founder was ousted on predominantly bogus terms, and the FSF still has two presidents, neither of whom can possibly tell us when things will be back to “normal”?”I mean if you can beat them, why not join them — as they fight against us? It only makes sense, right? We just won’t call it fighting, we’ll give it some other name and everything’s cool now.

But we actually lost the fight against DRM becoming a web standard, I guess that’s okay as long as we have the source to IceCat, and we lost most of the people who would keep watch and tell us if something rotten happened, but that’s okay as long as we have the source, I guess — and we lost the founder of the organisation that fought the most for our freedom, but that’s okay, because he still controls the GNU Project.

And of course, he asks people not to move parts of GNU Project to GitHub and they do it anyway, but that’s okay, because we still have the source code, amiright?

“GNU leadership petition (about 1/3 of which was people from Red Hat, the biggest FSF sponsor)”It’s like we are staring at the front door, while people come through the back or the side and take everything in the house, but that’s alright — the door is still right there! If anybody messes with the door, we will be sure to find it right there in the source code!

If we turn around, what do we find? Do we find that GNOME has SETTLED with patent blackmailers? That rms actually runs the GNU Project about as much as the Queen actually runs England? Do we find that while these people talk about “transparency” it’s been 3/4 of a year since the founder was ousted on predominantly bogus terms, and the FSF still has two presidents, neither of whom can possibly tell us when things will be back to “normal”?

Nor can they tell us what happened to the founder’s personal website.

“None of what’s going on is legitimate, the FSF is simply rotting from the inside and getting propped up by the biggest sponsors.”So you had a coup over LibrePlanet, then we predicted a coup at the FSF which now has happened — a coup to oust the president, then someone tampered with his website to make it look like he didn’t control the GNU Project anymore. In the context of all else, too little was made of that event, because it was clearly part of a coup that remains ongoing.

Let’s count the stages of the coup here:

1. LibrePlanet petition
2. FSF presidency
3. GNU leadership petition (about 1/3 of which was people from Red Hat, the biggest FSF sponsor)
4. GNU leader’s personal website tampered with
5. Ongoing (separate) GNU petition (months later, as recently as April of this year?)

We already mentioned the 5th stage, that one keeps going even now.

None of what’s going on is legitimate, the FSF is simply rotting from the inside and getting propped up by the biggest sponsors. Even if that didn’t match a lot of well-known corporate takeover strategies, it still obviously is one.

“Every aspect of everything to do with free software is now compromised, until we get the source code as our “receipt” of getting screwed over.”But gee, gosh, which corporations are trying to take over?

Those two? Really? Again? I guess antitrust law really is dead. You can buy all the non-profit orgs you want to, these days.

So back to being a poor user here — who are you supposed to get real answers from, since you have transparency? Because while it’s nice that we have the source, every process that has anything to do with:

1. Development
2. Distribution
3. Watchdogging
4. Organisational structure
5. Communication

Every aspect of everything to do with free software is now compromised, until we get the source code as our “receipt” of getting screwed over. You can email rms right now — you can poke at him for months, it won’t get you any closer to the answers you want or need as a concerned user or free software supporter. You can talk to all THREE presidents — the former, the figurehead, and the corporate puppet — but you won’t get useful answers. Who has them?

“Everything on GitHub is already run by Microsoft — including GNU Bison and Perl, which are used to build everything that uses GNU automake.”This is the FSF In Absentia, and OSI is already run by Microsoft. Red Hat is already run by IBM. (But they say it isn’t, so that’s cool). Everything on GitHub is already run by Microsoft — including GNU Bison and Perl, which are used to build everything that uses GNU automake.

Are we still pretending that this is going to turn around? Because when you do turn around, there’s nothing there.

It’s just a reflection, the ghost of free software.

It’s just a corporation now — and if anybody still cared about the reality that allowed the free software movement to be built, they would be just as worried about the fact that all those elements are in fact now missing, and missing at roughly the same time.

“Who’s going to defend our 4 freedoms then? The people who bribed the watchdogs? The people who decapitated our organisations?”But hey, we still have the source code, Tra La La La La… but who is going to fight for our right to host it? (And to Use it, and Study it, and Change and Share it?) We have the source code and a license, so we don’t need a working, transparent FSF? (“Oh you can see our financial…”) YEAH, BUT THAT’S NOT WHAT WE ASKED YOU GUYS, IS IT?

No real answers = No real organisation. Because puppets can’t really talk!

Who’s going to defend our 4 freedoms then? The people who bribed the watchdogs? The people who decapitated our organisations? The people who can’t, won’t answer your questions, but who will just deflect them? The GNU maintainers who are more loyal to Microsoft GitHub than rms, who make fun of users’ concerns in the mailing lists?

“The GNU maintainers who are more loyal to Microsoft GitHub than rms, who make fun of users’ concerns in the mailing lists?”There’s nothing left of it but smoke and mirrors, and (when the lights come back) the big monopolies we spent more than 30 years gaining independence from. Remember that? More than 30 YEARS!

We sure showed those guys!

Long live rms, and — Whatever, I guess!

Licence: Creative Commons CC0 1.0 (public domain)

06.08.20

Software Development Isn’t Social (Control) Media

Posted in Free/Libre Software, FSF, GNU/Linux, Microsoft at 11:05 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

“I’m the last survivor of a dead culture. And I don’t really belong in the world anymore. And in some ways I feel I ought to be dead. [...] In terms of effect on the world, it’s very good that I’ve lived. And so I guess, if I could go back in time and prevent my birth, I wouldn’t do it. But I sure wish I hadn’t had so much pain.”

Richard Stallman

Summary: We’re coming to a point now where monopolies are dictating to Free software developers the way they code and behave; the trouble is, if we work/operate based on the rules of monopolies, we’ll never succeed in making these monopolies obsolete and never liberate/unshackle ourselves from them

THE FSF belatedly responded to the GitHub threat several months ago. A bunch of us had contacted Richard Stallman and months later the FSF said it would improve its development framework to make it more like social control media (we presume with Gitlab as base/template). Git is Free software; it’s simple, it’s modular, and I’ve personally used it over the years, always from the command line. We use Git on our Techrights server too (to maintain some code of ours). Git collaboration and communication can be done over E-mail; Git is designed to handle that. It may seem slow at times (e.g. PR workflow), but speed isn’t the only thing that matters. Standards, processes, ‘papertrail’ etc. must also be taken into account.

“Last year I heard rumours that users and projects — not only staff — had been fleeing GitHub (we lacked hard evidence to confirm this).”Microsoft shrewdly avoided antitrust scrutiny when it bought GitHub (fiction like “Microsoft loves Linux” helped), exploiting the ‘network effect’ to acquire a monopoly it could never build with CodePlex (not even remotely). Notice how careful Microsoft is to not associate GitHub with itself (Microsoft logo nowhere to be seen; same in LinkedIn). Microsoft is very much self-conscious about its crimes. Last year I heard rumours that users and projects — not only staff — had been fleeing GitHub (we lacked hard evidence to confirm this). This isn’t something that the chronic liars from Microsoft would ever publicly acknowledge. Heck, last month I discovered that my GitHub account that I deleted two years ago is still there and still publicly listed. Anything to maintain the illusion of size/scale/magnitude, eh?

After pushing RMS out (let’s face it, they put incredible pressure to cause him to resign; it wasn’t wilful) the FSF started resorting to wordplay of the ‘hipster’ types, not the hacker types. I personally preferred the messaging of the RMS days; nothing wrong with some abrasive words when particular companies very much deserve it. So it’s more or less expected that now they want something “social” and started pursuing “mobile-friendly” design for the FSF site (as if “smart” phone ownership isn’t a regressive development; in China they impose aggressive malware on those, introducing it in particular “hot” regions first).

“If you cannot write decent code, then no amount of “social” and “likes” (or GitHub “stars”) will compensate for it.”I myself have developed software since I was 15. I still develop software every day (at some capacity or another) and I have a general understanding of how ridiculous all the buzzwords are (“agile”, “devops”, “CI”, “scrum” etc.) because in practical terms little has really changed except formalities. If you cannot write decent code, then no amount of “social” and “likes” (or GitHub “stars”) will compensate for it. All that proprietary (non-standard) metadata associated with actions is tiresome nonsense that sometimes distracts from what really matters. If your code is bad, you may need more practice/training and experience, not more “friends”/”followers” on the platform (to “like” your bad work). Any popularity contest should be based on objective merit, not “click farming…”

Of course the FSF is free (as in freedom) to do as it pleases; but many people out there believe that the FSF ought to educate the public rather than be ‘educated’ (or lectured) by the public into a “mobile-friendly” (i.e. crap, minimal, lacking navigation options and still very bloated) design, a “social” development framework and so on.

Here in this site we still use a theme from 2006; it works with virtually all devices made in the past 1.5 decades, it’s relatively light (you don’t need to download fonts to merely render a single page) and it’s backward compatible in a lot of ways. Pages still look the same as they did 13 years ago (sans banner changes at the top).

“The hacker movement will die if we’re led to making so many concessions that we become what we fought.”The adoption of all this “social” nonsense (it’s not really social; a lot of what they nowadays call “social” — including “social distancing” — is in fact antisocial) shows that in a submissive, capitulative fashion the tail now wags the dog, instead of the dog wagging his/her own tail (can we say “bitch” in 2020?) and likewise, in the Linux Foundation, monopolists like Microsoft tell Linux developers how the kernel should be developed instead of Linux developers dictating their own trajectories, leaving dying monopolists to adapt to our own standards.

The hacker movement will die if we’re led to making so many concessions that we become what we fought. Or even taking money from what we’re supposed to replace.

“Corruption and hypocrisy ought not to be inevitable products of democracy, as they undoubtedly are today…”

Mahatma Gandhi (Indian Philosopher, internationally esteemed for his doctrine of nonviolent protest, 1869-1948)

06.06.20

IBM (Red Hat) Lectured FSF That It Needed More Diversity, But Was It Looking at the Mirror? IBM and Red Hat Are Even Less Diverse.

Posted in FSF, GNU/Linux, IBM, Red Hat at 2:51 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

2019 statement:

Open letter to the Free Software Foundation Board of Directors
Source: IBM (Red Hat) “Open letter to the Free Software Foundation Board of Directors”

Summary: Techrights examines Red Hat’s (IBM’s) hypocritical claims about the Free Software Foundation, founded by Richard Stallman back when IBM was the “big scary monopolist”; IBM employees were prominent among those pushing to oust Stallman from the GNU Project, which he founded, as well

The IBM Board of directors, where 3 out of 14 are female (that’s 21.42%), would have us believe that it’s OK to push out the founder of the FSF because of “diversity”; the problem is, at the FSF the staff and Board are 18 people in total, 4 out of whom female (22.22% of the whole) and Red Hat’s Board had only one female in it before it added a second in 2008.

“Only the former CEO (Rometty) has been there in the Board for more than a year (since 2012). So that’s one female in a room full of men.”So what the heck are those charlatans on about?

We’re not racist, so we won’t start classifying people based on the superficial and shallow concept of “race”; having said that, racially the FSF is vastly more diverse than IBM’s Board (a typical “white male” boardroom with suits and ties and an endless lust for money). Oh, hi…

IBM's white suits

Michelle Howard was only added last year. Martha E. Pollack was also added last year. Only the former CEO (Rometty) has been there in the Board for more than a year (since 2012). So that’s one female in a room full of men.

“The present scandals reveal that little was learned from IBM’s darker past.”Yeah, so go ahead and lecture the FSF about “diversity”…

The present scandals reveal that little was learned from IBM's darker past. It cancels people. If not by “business machines” (for tabulation) then by “HEY HI” (AI)…

IBM recently published a dataset for facial recognition AI made up of images...

You know what that means. The police, which already has a closeted racism issue, will flag black people for more policing, reinforcing the assumption that dark people are more violent (and that dogma will in turn bias the statistics, e.g. number of arrests). Well done, IBM. Clap, clap, clap…

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