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06.19.20

At the End Microsoft Pays/Hires to Reward Its ‘Moles’ or ‘Footsoldiers’

Posted in GNOME, Microsoft at 5:32 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

De Icaza rich

Miguel de Icaza poses as Gates

OpenLogic Stormy Peters

Stormy Peters at Microsoft

Summary: Team Mono took over GitHub (Nat Friedman), Stormy Peters came to Microsoft, Miguel de Icaza came to Microsoft; notice the pattern…

THIS article about GNOME received shallow condemnations from GNOME people. Why? Because they deliberately distorted what it actually said. Ever noticed how GNOME Foundation people — when not too busy bashing Richard Stallman (by twisting his words) — help Microsoft? Ever noticed how many former chiefs of the GNOME Foundation end up working (directly) for Microsoft? This is the kind of thing we were alluding to when we simply pointed out that the whole board of the Foundation is on GitHub (Microsoft), with accounts that are controlled by Microsoft.

As a bonus, in the above photos, especially that last one, one can also see cross-pollination with OSI (its board). Entryism oughtn’t be taken lightly. Money does corrupt things and according to new reports some people have the balls to walk away. See “CEO of Open Technology Fund Resigns After Closed-Source Lobbying Effort” published just hours ago… (sent to us by two people already)

06.11.20

[Humour] Where Did GNOME Foundation Put All That Money?

Posted in GNOME, IBM, Patents at 3:09 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Context: OSI Celebrates Software Patents Effectively Being Licensed by GNOME Foundation, Not Abolished (Reaffirmed Rather Than Invalidated)

Side glance monkey: Give money for GNOME Legal defence, a legal firm represented us for free and we settled rather than defended

Summary: Shearman and Sterling offered to do the work for free; so where did all the money raised for the legal battle (which did not squash a single patent) end up?

Shearman and Sterling

Pro-bono Shearman and Sterling

Shearman and Sterling

OSI Celebrates Software Patents Effectively Being Licensed by GNOME Foundation, Not Abolished (Reaffirmed Rather Than Invalidated)

Posted in Free/Libre Software, GNOME, IBM, Microsoft, OSI, Patents at 2:41 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Let’s celebrate settling with a Microsoft-connected troll?

OSI: Celebrating GNOME's Patent Settlement
OSI celebrating IBM-dominated GNOME’s capitulation by licensing at zero cost (while letting the troll carry on suing and blackmailing other companies, using dubious software patents it received from Microsoft's patent troll, Intellectual Ventures)

Summary: The Open Source Initiative (OSI) seems to represent the interests of companies that are supporting software patents; this isn’t what Free software was about, so clearly “Open Source” doesn’t stand for very much anymore…

THE OSI is no champion of software freedom. Heck, even the people who founded the OSI are no longer there and a list of sponsors says a lot about who runs the OSI (people from Facebook, Google, IBM and so on). Microsoft too is increasing its role inside the OSI, as we last noted earlier this week.

“They’re basically legitimising software patents instead of squashing them, if not in bulk than at least individually.”The GNOME Foundation’s settlement wasn’t a bad thing per se, but it’s hardly the best outcome (unless you’re IBM) and it might not be worth celebrating, as we explained before. They’re basically legitimising software patents instead of squashing them, if not in bulk than at least individually. Earlier today the OSI redefined “freedom” when it spoke of “freedom from suit for the open source software world for over 100 patents.” (Signed by the OSI’s Board of Directors)

“All these people care about is money and power, not ethics (even if they speak of “ethical” licences, wherein ethical means excluding and discriminating). The art of double-speak…”That’s basically like licensing over 100 patents of a nasty patent troll (which we’ve been writing about for years; there’s also a Microsoft connection).

So what does OSI stand for in 2020?

The OSI has also just advertised (again) “State of the Source Summit” and about a quarter if not a third of this announcement is about “Code of Conduct”; expect speakers to be employees of companies that help bomb countries, spy on billions of people and so on. But yes, it’s all about ethics and tolerance, right? Keep dreaming. All these people care about is money and power, not ethics (even if they speak of “ethical” licences, wherein ethical means excluding and discriminating). The art of double-speak…

“Open Source” is dead; in 2020 it’s just a fancy marketing buzzword of proprietary software giants. See what happened to the Linux Foundation… “Open Source” and openwashing have become the same thing.

All those people who donated to support the defence might have been bamboozled somewhat. According to press reports, the legal representatives for the GNOME Foundation came forth and did it pro bono. So where did all that money go?

06.07.20

All of GNOME Board of Directors Works on (for?) Microsoft GitHub

Posted in GNOME, GNU/Linux, IBM, Microsoft at 3:54 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME Board of Directors

GNOME Board of Directors at GitHub
GNOME Board of Directors at Microsoft’s GitHub

Summary: The GNOME Board of Directors works for IBM and/or Microsoft at GitHub; it’s not entirely surprising that despite opposition from some GNOME developers the head of the GNOME Foundation, preceded by people who have since defected to Microsoft, described Dr. Richard Stallman as “reprehensible” and called for him to step down (from his very own thing, never mind the “G” in GNOME standing for GNU)

GIVEN Red Hat’s long-known (if not notorious) grip on GNOME and pertinent parts of it (the list is very long), we were not exactly surprised by the above finding. IBM’s influence aside, there’s also Microsoft, which not only has Miguel de Icaza but also Stormy Peters. It’s almost like Microsoft/IBM monopoly/duopoly somehow managed to get a grip on GNU/Linux through GTK/GNOME, if not through Linux, GNU at large, and KDE/Qt.

“It’s almost like Microsoft/IBM monopoly/duopoly somehow managed to get a grip on GNU/Linux through GTK/GNOME, if not through Linux, GNU at large, and KDE/Qt.”The GNOME Foundation’s Stallman-hostile messages (not the first time last year; some of the leadership of the GNOME Foundation has since then joined Microsoft, working for Microsoft directly) will cost the Foundation in credibility. Last month they settled with a patent troll instead of squashing the software patent after IBM/OIN had stepped in. Microsoft too claimed to be 'helping'. They’re not helping; they just help themselves to the cookie jar.

05.23.20

GNOME Settlement With Patent Troll Fails to Address/Tackle the Software Patent and Software Patents in General

Posted in GNOME, IBM, Patents at 4:08 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

The sort of outcome IBM strives for (IBM/Red Hat is by far the biggest actor/stakeholder in GNOME)

GNOME logo

Summary: GNOME settles with the troll on terms that are superficially friendly towards Free software; however, more could be done to actually defuse matters on legal if not precedential grounds

ASIDE from several discussions in Reddit and various comment threads (e.g. in LWN), everything that was said about the outcome of the lawsuit against the GNOME Foundation is already in Daily Links and also filed here (page updated as more material is published on this subject). We already wrote a number of articles about the issue several months ago, mostly condemning the legal strategy, led by the likes of IBM and OIN.

“While we’re generally pleased that not even a dime was paid to the troll (only to the lawyers), we regret to see that low-quality/low-value patents prevail, as Patent Trial and Appeal Board (PTAB) inter partes reviews (IPRs) were not initiated.”IBM is said to be preparing for another massive wave of layoffs and we’re closely monitoring its patent policy/stance (with the new management at the helm… having been there for just over a month).

While we’re generally pleased that not even a dime was paid to the troll (only to the lawyers), we regret to see that low-quality/low-value patents prevail, as Patent Trial and Appeal Board (PTAB) inter partes reviews (IPRs) were not initiated. The settlement might even contribute to the idea that the patent is legitimate and thus sort of “licensed” broadly (every OSI-approved-licensed project), perhaps adding to its perceived value. It’s probably safe to assume that this troll will carry on picking on more targets, either behind the scenes or with lawsuits. We previously wrote — several times in fact — about this troll’s indirect connection to Microsoft.

Techrights will continue working towards complete abolishment of software patents in the US (Alice/35 U.S.C. § 101 can help) and Europe/EPO (sadly lawless), as we generally recognise the infeasibility of dealing with software patents just one at a time. As usual, an RMS quote seems in order…

“Fighting patents one by one will never eliminate the danger of software patents, any more than swatting mosquitoes will eliminate malaria.”

Richard Stallman

04.29.20

Techrights on Fedora 32

Posted in GNOME, IBM, Red Hat, Site News at 12:56 am by Guest Editorial Team

By Ryan Farmer (DaemonFC)

Techrights on Fedora 32

Summary: “It feels like my entire (2016) laptop got a major hardware upgrade and there are many nice user interface improvements. It finally feels like GNOME 3 fully matured,” Ryan says

11.07.19

The GNOME Foundation’s Potentially Useless Defense Strategy is an OIN-Styled ‘Fix’ and Not a Software Patents Fix (Abolition)

Posted in GNOME, GNU/Linux, IBM, Microsoft, OIN, Red Hat at 4:56 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

“Fighting patents one by one will never eliminate the danger of software patents, any more than swatting mosquitoes will eliminate malaria.”

Richard Stallman

They get attacked by software patents. And they don't use Alice.

Summary: The anti-Stallman club known as ‘GNOME Foundation’ is not interested in tackling software patents as a whole. What does that tell us about the situation we’re in?

THE short series about the defamation of Richard Stallman (RMS) isn’t over yet. The media defamed him repeatedly for about a month (yet again earlier this week) and Stallman was in contact with us. Whether he wants to make further comment/s on the subject will depend on him.

“We’re not bashing McGovern, but we worry about his predecessors at this prestigious position; they’re are from SFC (also anti-RMS), Peters (now Microsoft), and de Icaza (also Microsoft).”One thing we continue to research is the controversial announcement or media statement from GNOME Foundation, signed by Neil McGovern, who has called himself “Politico and geek, GNOME Executive Director, Cambridge CAMRA press officer, Ex-Debian Project Leader. Views are own etc.” (His personal Web site is nowhere as active.)

We’re not bashing McGovern, but we worry about his predecessors at this prestigious position; they’re are from SFC (also anti-RMS), Peters (now Microsoft), and de Icaza (also Microsoft). Neil McGovern, known better for his anti-RMS rant, is a credible person, but the context he’s in requires him to adopt particular positions.

His media statement, which is two months old (and put a lot of pressure on RMS), has caused a bit of controversy within GNOME itself. Some GNOME people have distanced themselves from it, even in the open. There are blog posts to that effect. Even in GNOME’s own Web site!

As we recently noted (in relation to OIN and IBM), there's an element in this 'community' that does not want software patents to go away. Instead it wants pertinent patents to be challenged based on something like prior art. A reader has just pointed out to us Free software [sic] is under attack. How you can help. (w/ Neil McGovern) from @TheLinuxGamer on LBRY.tv” (a new video interview).

Our reader adds that it’s about “software patents versus Shotwell, though they are mistakenly referred to only as “patents” there; strategy might be a bit misguided since it is not going after software patents in general but instead choosing to play whac-a-mole against one single troll at a time; they also naively plan to recover costs from the troll, which is probably just a shell company anyway; perhaps you could correspond with them…”

I personally will not bother, but I invite readers to do so. I’ve criticised the ‘GNOME Foundation’ in the distant past, so its chief is not likely to talk to me. Well, seeing what he wrote and with predecessors like these, McGovern merely continues a decade-long pattern of trying to overthrow or at least discredit RMS. His employment history in the UK and his work for Debian isn’t something to be mocked or belittled. He’s not a bad person. But his employer and the people who now surround him may be bad influence. The Foundation isn’t so credible; we wrote many articles about this back in 2009. They’re even close to Microsoft (and they will never point out the troll’s connections to Microsoft [1, 2, 3]). The Foundation raises other concerns. It is also deeply connected to IBM through Red Hat (many GNOME developers are salaried by Red Hat), probably the foremost influence source — one which as we noted before wishes 35 U.S.C. § 101/Alice to go away, and for the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) to issue IBM with tens of thousands of software patents, not to be overturned and invalidated in Patent Trial and Appeal Board (PTAB) inter partes reviews (IPRs) with Federal Circuit affirmation of these invalidations. This is the biggest downside of IBM’s acquisition/takeover and it has been our main concern regarding Red Hat (the reasonable patent policy being cast aside).

This approach from the GNOME Foundation must be pleasing not just for IBM but also Microsoft, now an OIN member. Days ago Microsoft Tim belatedly expressed satisfaction about OIN getting involved. OIN is in the ‘business’ of teaching FOSS people to tolerate rather than eliminate software patents and days ago it added another high-profile Japanese member (in our Daily Links).

10.31.19

Purism’s Problems Purely Boil Down to Trust and False Promises

Posted in FSF, GNOME, GNU/Linux, Hardware, KDE, Rumour at 1:17 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

PureOS sounds promising, just like OpenMoko, but we all want (and likely expect) to see results

Business silhouette

Summary: A promising, potentially exciting, freedom-respecting set of products would be easier to talk about than actually deliver; we take a look at what goes on at Purism

THIS is a particularly difficult subject for me to write about, having spent a number of years cheering for Librem (in its various forms or form factors) and by extension its parent company, Purism, whose goals I believe to be well-intentioned. They’re a sort of privacy-first, freedom-at-the-forefront company (freedom as in Software Freedom as well as hardware freedom — to the limited extent presently possible).

Lately I have been reading negative things about Purism. I also received messages and mail about it. I am committed to Software Freedom, but I am also deeply committed to truth, so let’s put right there on the table the knowns, unknowns, and what’s in desperate need of verification. Because transparency is needed for true trust; otherwise it’s fantasy. Here in Techrights we’re as transparent as possible with IRC logs that serve to reveal operations (behind the scenes too). We’re balancing privacy and transparency, e.g. in the name of source protection. We redact some things, usually to protect identities only. But those who lurk in IRC (or read our logs) can get a pretty good idea of what’s going on.

“Many companies operate at a loss and/or have massive debt. They don’t like to talk about those things.”Purism is different. The company isn’t always upfront. Sometimes it’s not even honest and some would say “misleading”. I’d like to believe they’re not intentionally misleading people, but over the past month there was more evidence to that effect. Are they dishonest for “the greater good”? I don’t know. Some companies pretend to do better than they really do, hoping for a sort of self-fulfilling prophecy effect — inertia built atop an illusion. I get that. I don’t respect that, but I totally get that. It’s quite common and many large companies — including Microsoft — do this. Many companies operate at a loss and/or have massive debt. They don’t like to talk about those things. It might scare away those who subsidise/invest in them. Sometimes they’re bank(er)s, sometimes they’re so-called ‘angels’, sometimes they’re the public or prospective buyers who raise funds for projects/products.

One person asked me yesterday: “Have you heard anything about Purism? Or Librem? Being a complete and utter failure/scam?”

“Well,” she said, “from what I heard…”

She shared some discussions about this and even new memes. Moments ago someone pointed out to me this recent article that I had read days ago. It’s titled “The Sad Saga of Purism and the Librem 5″ and there are 3 parts to it.

“Their laptop campaign had over 65% return rate, I heard closer to 70%.”
      –Anonymous
“And no comments from @purism to that,” I was told, so “seems like a really sad story to me.”

Going back to that first person, “2 years ago,” she said, “over 1.5 million — I heard close to 2.5… was raised.”

“But they cannot deliver on the units,” she added.

“Their laptop campaign had over 65% return rate, I heard closer to 70%.”

“When employees went to San Diego to the fulfillment center, they noted all the concerns – return rate, quality, etc. They wanted to work with Weaver for improvement. He would not meet F2F from what I heard but online. During that session, he went around to see what concerns people had. Quickly, 5 were fired. Another quit within a week or so.”

But apparently it gets yet worse. This is the part which is mostly speculative. “From what I heard,” she said, “Purism money is now going to Forbes and social media campaigns without the transparency of what is really happening. Phoronix is one of their media outlets.”

I can believe the part about Forbes, knowing how they’re manipulated. But I’m not sure about Phoronix.

“Media manipulation is possible,” I responded, “but I won’t vouch for it. Michael Larabel isn’t perfect, I often wonder what he does with hardware shipped to him (among other things), but there’s no evidence they pay him or are in cahoots, so that seems unfair. Please dig further with your contacts. Eventually I will write about this.”

“When employees went to San Diego to the fulfillment center, they noted all the concerns – return rate, quality, etc.”
      –Anonymous
For the sake of accuracy let’s just assume — at least for now — that Phoronix covers Purism stuff because Phoronix readers care about it. That seems a lot more plausible to me

“As we already are pretty certain,” she said, that “Forbes takes money – I mean, just even looking at the content Forbes puts out about certain tech is telling. Phoronix was a question, but is looking more and more like a media outlet that takes money too based on the Purism story.”

Phoronix recently did a story that’s actually an interview with Purism folks. But nothing suggested that it was promotional. Nothing that I could see.

“I believe Purism is starting other services/campaigns in hopes to raise enough to fulfill those previous orders,” she continued, “but it didn’t work out… (social media, tablet)

“That’s all the info I have on this.”

From what I can gather, Purism is struggling. Also, at this stage, workers are leaving (or get fired). This is not good.

Is there something malicious going on? Probably not, but people who fund-raised for this company are being left in the dark and it’s not fair to them.

The subject line of the above message was, “purism – where’s the hw?” [hardware] which to me says it all.

To me at least. There’s a story behind it. It’s an old story.

Half a decade (probably less) ago they said they’d ship a review unit for me to write about (just on loan, for me to pass on to the next person once done). I’d never buy their overpriced laptops, but they wanted me to assess. It’s them who suggested this to me; they had approached me. But it soon became apparent that they were inconsistent, unorganised, and unprofessional.

Did they ever ship?

No.

Never.

Just wasted my time.

Again and again.

Then the person was removed. The person who spoke to me. The one who approached me. The one who wasted my time.

Always excuses. Hardly any apologies.

“From what I heard Purism money is now going to Forbes and social media campaigns without the transparency of what is really happening.”
      –Anonymous
I posted online about that (at the time). Repeatedly even. It was a sort of warning. They seemed a tad suspicious to me. Trust was eroded and ever since then I never looked at them the same way. But the press carried on, then the FSF (endorsement), not to mention fund-raising for Librem 5.

At one point they said they’d connect me for an interview (to publish on my site) with the founder of Qubes OS. Did that ever happen? No.

You bet! Another round of false promises; a total waste of time.

So, in summary I view them as bad on communications, big on promises, never delivering anything. Anything. Later they make up a bunch of excuses.

And going back to the question, “where’s the hw?”

I wondered that many years ago, almost 5 years ago. I’ve lost count.

The dreams they put forth are dreams. KDE, GNOME…. on a small device. Nice, but will that be delivered? I heard they scattered around some units recently. Then I heard about technical issues. Now I hear about staff leaving.

Deep inside I hope they succeed, but I remain sceptical based on my personal experience.

Purism needs to speak out and be frank about what’s happening. I’ve been nothing but courteous towards them (I didn’t even name the person who let me down; maybe she quit, maybe she got fired), but courtesy should be a two-way street/bridge. The very fact that a project about “freedom” does not even offer “openness” is not compatible with the spirit upon which it managed to raise millions of dollars in funds, thanks in part to endorsements/promotions from FSF, GNOME, KDE and so on. Not to mention volunteer writers like myself who have mentioned them over a thousand times over the years.

Moments ago figosdev told me: “ive always been neutral/curious about these guys, particularly with the fsf endorsement. im very curious what oliva thinks.

“I believe Purism is starting other services/campaigns in hopes to raise enough to fulfill those previous orders…”
      –Anonymous
“but with all thats happened to people trying to create real freedom lately, is it possible this is another attack, rather than a real revelation? (i dont know how i can prove im neutral, this is just my reaction.)”

Tom Grz wrote: “I’ve always been suspicious, primarily because their products are high-priced, and if they really wanted to make a difference they should move down the population curve. Also, the president is a jerk.”

Some memes do target the president’s personality; I don’t know him personally. There’s a link there to a talk from him. “Todd Weaver has more to say about himself than the advertised subject matter,” Grz added later.

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