EditorsAbout the SiteComes vs. MicrosoftUsing This Web SiteSite ArchivesCredibility IndexOOXMLOpenDocumentPatentsNovellNews DigestSite NewsRSS


GitHub is a Dagger Inside Free/Open Source Software (FOSS); This is Why Microsoft Bought It

Posted in Free/Libre Software, GPL, Microsoft at 6:30 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Remember that GitHub is proprietary software, it is centralised, and it gives Microsoft control over its foremost rival, which is a movement rather than a company

Summary: A year later it seems pretty evident that Microsoft doesn’t like FOSS but is merely trying to control it, e.g. by buying millions of FOSS projects/repositories at the platform level (the above is what the Linux Foundation‘s Jim Zemlin said to Microsoft at their event while antitrust regulators were still assessing the proposed takeover)

THE PREVIOUS post ended by saying that we would deal separately with Microsoft’s GitHub and the threat it poses to Software Freedom. This threat is unfortunately growing over time as not enough people shun GitHub. They walk right into the trap.

“In its internal documents Microsoft once explained that it needs to attack Software Freedom while ensuring the attacks don’t look as though they come from Microsoft.”Microsoft is still the biggest foe of Software Freedom, which it combats constantly. No other company stands to benefit from the destruction of Software Freedom as much as Microsoft. The same goes for GNU/Linux. Microsoft hates it and if it could destroy it overnight, it would (it already tried many times and failed every time).

In its internal documents Microsoft once explained that it needs to attack Software Freedom while ensuring the attacks don’t look as though they come from Microsoft. This is what the likes of SCO and Black Duck are for. SCO’s case isn’t 100% over (believe it or not!) and Black Duck is still around and still active under another name because it got bought. It’s being amplified by Microsoft allies, a Microsoft-connected FUD bunch with history and ‘pedigree’. In “The license and security risks of using Node.js,” for instance, Black Duck continues to attack FOSS as usual, amplified by the anti-FOSS site Security Boulevard (propaganda front of an anti-FOSS hack). Days ago it also promoted/copy-pasted Black Duck’s “Review of Apache Struts vulnerabilities yields 24 updated advisories”. Security Boulevard is not a news site (though Google News thinks it is). It’s focused on FOSS…

“…Microsoft continues to attack FOSS. It’s just doing that less directly.”…always negative.

…has never mentioned back doors in proprietary software.

This anti-FOSS site is also constantly advertising WhiteSource (e.g. event placements, with a new example here), the ‘new’ Black Duck. They’re Microsoft partners. They co-author papers with Microsoft and they attack FOSS by proxy for Microsoft. What a truly malicious network of hacks. But the point we wish to make is, Microsoft continues to attack FOSS. It’s just doing that less directly. Security and licensing FUD (especially targeted at copyleft/GPL) is rampant. Now imagine how they can leverage GitHub to further amplify such FUD, as they very publicly do. They barely make that a secret. Their managers speak about that in Twitter. It’s all public. They bash the GPL. Consider who Microsoft put in charge of GitHub; past Techrights articles about him would likely be eye-opening [1, 2, 3, 4].

“It’s secret code and much worse things happen behind the scenes (including NSA surveillance; GitHub is in PRISM now).”Any project which takes Software Freedom seriously needs to avoid/reject GitHub and choose something else because GitHub is proprietary software, antithetical not just to FOSS but also to the decentralised nature of Git. It’s secret code and much worse things happen behind the scenes (including NSA surveillance; GitHub is in PRISM now). Days ago we noticed that a decentralised code/content project, Audius, chose GitHub [1, 2]. That’s like a vegetarian choosing to work for a butcher. We also noticed that the New York Times started pushing Microsoft GitHub (which is a proprietary software trap) under the headline “How to Take Your Open Source Project from Good to Great” (as if Microsoft entrapment in a proprietary software platform makes it “Great”!).

“As before, many so-called ‘studies’ or surveys count nothing but data from Microsoft (GitHub). If you’re not on it, you don’t exist or don’t count.”We’ve been observing a disturbing trend lately. As before, many so-called ‘studies’ or surveys count nothing but data from Microsoft (GitHub). If you’re not on it, you don’t exist or don’t count. This way Microsoft can bias statistics about so-called ‘FOSS’ (only what Microsoft controls). This is not a particularly new issue; GitHub has long attracted projects that don’t care so much about freedom. GitHub is strictly centralised and it is proprietary software. GitHub also helps put one heck of a twist on the term “Open Source” (which increasingly means nothing at all, e.g. outsourcing to a proprietary software platform of Microsoft). 2 days ago we saw evidence that Google still makes this mistake by outsourcing its projects to Microsoft. Is Google out of its mind? GitHub is Google’s rival. It’s controlled by company that still blackmails Android using patent lawsuits. Wrong platform for Google’s code, no? Unless they stop outsourcing code (and control) to Microsoft — a company full of criminals (who admit their crimes but never get arrested) — they will simply make Microsoft stronger. Microsoft grossly misuses its control of the platform, based on imperialism and racism. You just know that something has gone very wrong with FOSS (or rather that Microsoft sabotages it for a price) when “going open source” means outsourcing everything to a proprietary software platform of Microsoft, which censors projects, bans developers etc. based on country of birth/origin.

Belatedly, or perhaps too late, countries realise that GitHub is a danger and a risk factor. Days ago JAXenter wrote:

At the end of July, GitHub enforced access blocks for its software repositories in line with United States trade controls, including U.S. Export Administration Regulations, on sanctioned countries. Instantly this made it difficult for developers based in countries such as Cuba, Iran, North Korea, and Syria to access private repository services, private organisational accounts or GitHub Marketplace Services. However, this also limited access to public repository services for personal communications only.

It’s important to stress that the individual developers themselves had no say over this decision. GitHub has to follow the rules around selling software to specific countries, yet the software itself is neither sold or bought. For open source projects, copying and distribution are important for building up community and use of the software. Blocking GitHub access – one of the main distribution methods for these software assets – therefore has an impact on the community building activity and makes it more difficult over time.

GitHub has become a central resource for downloading the latest official release code for projects and developers who use these repositories for building their own applications. Suddenly blocking access to GitHub repositories has meant that developers based in those countries were cut off and unable to work with many components, which highlights a key issue for open source software developers: if you don’t want your software to be restricted by international politics you had better choose self-hosted solutions, such as GitLab.

Business Times (Chinese site) explained that this motivated China to bypass GitHub altogether:

China will officially be forming the country’s first-ever open-source software foundation to bolster its open-source software community. The plan was unveiled by Huawei Technologies, which plans to partner with domestic software firms to achieve the ambitious plan. Huawei also revealed that it plans to establish the infrastructure in as early as one or two months.

The plan to establish the country’s first open-source software hub was put into place following the ban imposed by GitHub, the world’s largest host of open-source software, on sanctioned nations by the United States. The US-based company began blocking access to its services in July, starting with the removal of Iranian accounts.

The incident itself has highlighted the increasing dangers of geopolitical interference on the open-source community. China likely felt that it needed to establish its own community as a precaution if the US government does decide to sanction the nation as trade disputes escalate.

The Phnom Penh Post and other Asian sites said this:

The plan for the software foundation came after GitHub, the world’s largest host of source code, last month prevented users in Iran and other nations sanctioned by the US government from accessing portions of its service.

Last but not least, ITWeb wrote the following some days ago:

This follows an acknowledgement from GitHub, the world’s largest open source code host, that it has to prevent users in nations sanctioned by the US government – potentially including China as well as Iran and Crimea – from accessing portions of its service.


While it is not yet clear whether Huawei or any other Chinese organisation has been impacted by GitHub’s actions, Wang lamented that although it had long been the de facto open source position that open source communities were supposed to be fair and equitable for all, the American position, and GitHub’s compliance with its government’s dictates, meant that open source had become a pawn in the power play between countries.

As we explained some days ago in relation to bogus foundations, it’s not clear whether Huawei is serious about FOSS and BGR published “Huawei’s long-awaited mobile OS elicits mixed reactions in China”. It quotes Torvalds as saying: “Talk is cheap. Show me the code.”

On it goes: “That user’s skepticism about the OS would seem to stem from its viability as a replacement for Android, which continues to be talked up given that the ban remains in place that prevents US companies (like Google) from working with Huawei. Accordingly, Huawei’s billionaire founder Ren Zhengfei sent out an internal memo in recent days spelling out his ambition of building an “iron army” over the next three to five years that can withstand the US ban — the “iron army,” being a generalized reference to a Huawei overhaul that puts more of the company’s fate in its own hands.”

The bottom line is, a lot of what’s being characterised as Open Source is nowadays neither “Open Source” (as per OSD) nor Free software. We’ll deal with that in our next post which is dedicated solely to openwashing.


The Openwashing of VMware, Sponsored by the Linux Foundation (in Turn Sponsored by VMware)

Posted in GNU/Linux, GPL, Kernel, Marketing, VMware at 8:52 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Is the Foundation a ‘nonprofit’ PR agency?

Dirk Hohndel
Dirk Hohndel and Linus Torvalds speaking at the LinuxCon Europe 2014 in Düsseldorf, 15 October 2014, by Krd

Summary: Dirk Hohndel (formerly Intel, now VMware) has become the master spinner of an infamous violator of the GPL, a proprietary software company with NSA back doors (evidence shown in Edward Snowden’s cache/trove of leaks)

THE PEOPLE who proclaim to be the voice of “Linux” often aren’t even GNU/Linux users. They just talk about GNU/Linux (calling it “Linux”) and they think it’s absolutely fantastic when “Linux” becomes a platform of blobs and DRM. What is the point then? Why even promote “Linux” if it becomes yet another closed, nonfree system? That’s like swapping Windows for MacOS (or Microsoft for Apple), in effect defecting from one brand to another rather than shifting paradigm or freeing oneself from vendor lock-in.

There seems to be a rift or a split between the GNU/Linux crowd and the “Linux” fans; the former speak of freedom as in Free software, whereas the latter focus on “Open Source” (as in, some code may be available). It’s not hard to see what side most corporations have taken.

I’ve come to the conclusion Steve Ballmer was to Microsoft and to Bill Gates what Donald Trump is to “the Establishment” and to robber barons. Their ugly policies, which they don’t regret, they blame on a person (distraction from a bigger picture). That’s not to say that the person isn’t objectionable; but it helps other, somewhat less objectionable people deflect and personify the problems, which they then want us to believe they ‘resolve’ by merely removing the person. Microsoft after Ballmer has the exact same policy, albeit a slightly different strategy (or marketing/PR) with a new CEO, still largely the same leadership in the Board, notably Gates. Ballmer too attempted to infiltrate FOSS and Linux (and to a certain degree he did), but he just wasn’t so successful at it. He wasn’t a sufficiently good pretender. He was too crude. When we wrote earlier today about Azure we explained that it is all about controlling GNU/Linux rather than loving it. It helps when they tell lies like “Microsoft loves Linux…” (“we come in peace…”)

“Ballmer too attempted to infiltrate FOSS and Linux (and to a certain degree he did), but he just wasn’t so successful at it.”The danger isn’t limited to the operating systems space. As we habitually point out in our daily links, PyCon more or less got ‘sold’ to Microsoft (with the goal of Python entryism). Microsoft also bought itself some powerful seats in other tenets or pillars of Python, e.g. by virtue of buying companies such as LinkedIn and GitHub (but that’s a subject for another day). We should note that Microsoft has also given cash to EuroPython (just about to start [1]) but unlike PyCon they’re not actively advertising Microsoft for it. Attendees can and do support the event so that they don’t end up selling the event to Microsoft (like sellouts who organise PyCon did).

This post is actually a rant about not one but three new videos [2-4] (published as recently as early this morning). One of these [2] was entitled “Developers Don’t Know The Code They Run In Their Applications” (so said the man who receives massive salaries from a serial GPL violator).

Why is he amplified here? Because VMware pays Zemlin’s PAC, which in turn pays and arranges this PR opportunity (the interviewer is professionally connected to Zemlin’s PAC and had all expenses covered by it).

“This interview (or set of clips) serves as a sort of megaphone for Zemlin’s sponsors, including GPL violators.”So Zemlin’s PAC (the Linux Foundation) has turned to something like PR operations for Microsoft and similar companies, including GPL violators such as VMware. With Microsoft there have been various GPL violations (they got caught red-handed!) that we covered in past years, e.g. Hyper-V. This event isn’t a sole example and the interviewer recently advertised himself as a PR service. Has media become “traveling [PR] salesmen”?

If they did some fluff and puff pieces, that’s one thing. Instead, what we have here is company that’s also a serial GPL violator. It badmouths FOSS licences (Hohndel “says that developers don’t even know about the code that’s running in their applications”) and security of FOSS; it’s also downplaying competition to virtual machines (containers), the ‘bread and butter’ of this declining giant. This interview (or set of clips) serves as a sort of megaphone for Zemlin’s sponsors, including GPL violators. Companies such as Microsoft and VMware are not allies of Linux. Surely that’s not too hard to understand, but money talks (they cover the person’s expenses to come to their VMware/Microsoft-sponsored events, he then records the “people of interest” on his “Mac”-branded PC). So now we have a “Chief Open Source [sic] Officer & VP at VMware” lecturing us on FOSS. Yes, a proprietary software company with NSA back doors (see EMC/RSA material from Snowden leaks circa 2013 and 2014) is the ‘authority’ on this subject.

“Another GPL violator, VMware, recently bought Bitnami and a founding person then moved to Microsoft (it happened about a month ago).”It’s like the company pays this PAC to serve as a PR front and control the narrative. Hijacking the story… for a fee. A GPL violator that’s attacking and misusing the GPL coming up with spin. No wonder Bruce Perens called the Linux Foundation a GPL “infringers club”. So Microsoft the serial GPL violator is buying GitHub (well, technically it’s proprietary software, but Microsoft uses it for openwashing purposes anyway). Another GPL violator, VMware, recently bought Bitnami and a founding person then moved to Microsoft (it happened about a month ago). It’s a troublesome trend. They’re trying to just ‘buy out’ FOSS. They target the repositories. They want to control everything, not just in the “business intelligence” (BI) sense but also distribution.

People who sometimes turn out to be turncoats and sellouts aren’t too uncommon; I’ve come across several over the years. Career-climbing opportunists, seduced by money and allured by the cash associated with defection to Microsoft’s lie campaigns (like “Microsoft Loves Linux”) and sometimes Microsoft job offers. Silence on these matters is no longer an option.

Related/contextual items from the news:

  1. EuroPython 2019: Attendee briefing

    EuroPython 2019 will start on Monday. Again we will have more than a thousand attendees signed up and we’re looking forward to an exciting conference packed with more than 130 sessions from Monday – Sunday, July 8 – 14.

  2. Developers Don’t Know The Code They Run In Their Applications

    It’s a clip from our longer interview with Hohndel that you can watch on TFiR. The interview was recorded at KubeCon + CloudNativeCon, Barcelona.

  3. An Inconvenient Truth Of The Cloud Native World

    As a result of this awareness, Hohndel is noticing some positive changes. The Cloud Native Computing Foundation (CNCF) recently announced a new SIG around security which will be conducting reviews of CNCF projects.

  4. A Disturbing Pattern Of Cloud Native: Dirk Hohndel

    Dirk Hohndel, Chief Open Source [sic] Officer & VP at VMware talks about a disturbing pattern he is witnessing in the cloud-native space. He says that developers don’t even know about the code that’s running in their applications.

    It’s a clip from our longer interview with Hohndel that you can watch on TFiR. The interview was recorded at KubeCon + CloudNativeCon, Barcelona.


The FSF Has Become Too Passive to Tackle Some Emergent and Growing Threats

Posted in Free/Libre Software, FSF, GPL at 9:22 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

The Savannah or the Safari of the Free Software Foundation (FSF) loses some safeties

Wild animal

Summary: In this “ecosystem” which the FSF does not want to talk about (not in these terms anyway) there are predators who thrive in apathy; there ought to be more discussion about newer threats to society’s freedoms in the increasingly-digital age

THE “Librethreat Database” (composed by an anonymous contributor earlier this month) speaks of new attack paradigms/vectors which weaken the freedom associated with Free software. We recently noted that even Richard Stallman was being marginalised, just like Linus Torvalds. More corporations-friendly (controlled by large corporations) people like Jim Zemlin of the Linux Foundation emerge as “heroes” and become the “stars of the show,” supported by corporate media which is meanwhile demonising the likes of Stallman (this has gone on for decades) and more recently Torvalds, causing him to even take his first-ever longterm break from his own project. How dare Torvalds speak of feces?

“If publishers aren’t entirely sympathetic towards Western hegemony, then the fast-and-loose tactic would be to accuse them of being willful (or “useful idiot”) ‘agents’ of Russia/Putin.”Disciplinary measures or precautions against the founders of GNU and of Linux should not be taken lightly. It’s generally an apparatus of leverage. If this can be done to them, it can be done to just about anyone. We could go on naming a bunch of examples (high-profile people), but that would distract from the key point.

A weapon of defamation and smears that we recently brought up was Russophobia, seeing how it was leveraged not just in the technical world but also in the world of journalism. If publishers aren’t entirely sympathetic towards Western hegemony, then the fast-and-loose tactic would be to accuse them of being willful (or “useful idiot”) ‘agents’ of Russia/Putin. We’ve seen this tactic leveraged against a whole bunch of publishers in recent years — to the point where Google started deranking/delisting particular news sites, based on misinformation about those sites rather than misinformation coming from these sites.

“Copyleft, or the GPL with its four essential freedoms, was once the protective shell of Free software.”One recurring theme we’ve witnessed in social (control) media sites is that the FSF should do more. There’s this bunch of new threats, including but not limited to Microsoft entryism, which the FSF mostly ignores/overlooks. Sure, there’s also the attack on GPL/copyleft, there’s DRM, UEFI ‘secure boot’ and to the FSF’s credit, it does deal with these issues, at least verbally (if not by technical means).

Earlier this year we asserted that “Linux” world domination without any of the associated (or assumed) freedoms would not be a big accomplishment. We wouldn’t end up better off than the ‘old order’. Why? Because listening devices (marketed as “smart” “assistants”) proliferate, tinkering with hardware and software becomes harder (if not impossible as well as legally verboten) and there’s a whole bunch of other factors.

“The GPL is no ‘rhino’ layer for those who refuse to ‘wear’ it (and Microsoft’s takeover of GitHub further contributes to that).”This isn’t a harsh criticism of the FSF, with which we have far more in common than most; we just hope that the FSF will at least recognise that, based on what we have been reading, there’s this sentiment or general impression that more must be done. There will soon be a long Techrights series to that effect.

Copyleft, or the GPL with its four essential freedoms, was once the protective shell of Free software. These types of licences, however, are under constant attacks (a smear campaign) from Microsoft partners that we habitually mention, probably not as often as we should. The GPL is no ‘rhino’ layer for those who refuse to ‘wear’ it (and Microsoft’s takeover of GitHub further contributes to that).

Another wild animal

To end on a more positive note, we very much support the FSF and its mission. We view ourselves as complementary rather than alternative to it. If there are certain issues and concerns that the FSF is unwilling to talk about or does not regard as worthy of entertaining, so be it. At least the FSF, unlike the OSI, did not take Microsoft money and does not have Microsoft staff on its Board.


The Linux Foundation in 2019: Over 100 Million Dollars in Income, But Cannot Maintain Linux.com?

Posted in GNU/Linux, GPL at 12:28 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Linux Foundation and Linux.com

Summary: Today’s Linux Foundation gets about 0.1 billion dollars per year (as explained in our previous post), so why can’t it spend about 0.1% of that money on people who write for and maintain a site that actually promotes GNU/Linux?

THE Linux Foundation isn’t what it seems; it isn’t even what it’s called. Our readers and guests often urge us to investigate further, getting to the bottom of what goes on at this relatively secretive nonprofit. Without going too deep into the 2017 IRS filing (it’s publicly available now and we shall write a lot more about it later) one can easily see that it’s not a nonprofit and it’s totally out of control. It’s more like a corporate PAC or pressure group. There are aspects to it that we weren’t aware of before. And readers be forewarned… it’s not pretty, to say the least.

I was all along under the impression that this PAC (or nonprofit or whatever) was at least defensive and supportive of the GPL, or copyleft in general. That is, after all, the licence of almost everything in Linux. Seeing what the PAC did to the Conservancy, however, many people started having doubts. A few days ago someone told me in Mastodon (Fediverse) [1, 2]: “[T]hanks for working on a LF [Linux Foundation] article. I’ve experienced not many people know that LF [Linux Foundation] is the corporate hand over the linux kernel development, and I’ve noticed a big part of the community does not much about this platform. I’d appreciate if you also wanted to mention (besides all other facts) that LF [Linux Foundation] has released all their recent projects with a permissive license and that they are actively fighting against copyleft. [...] thanks for the link to te [sic] /LinuxFoundation wikipage, I must have missed that earlier, and I was unaware you started such a brilliant investigation. Keep up the great work!”

Another reader wrote to us about the copyleft aspects (some stuff is just purely proprietary and suggests a Microsoft/LinkedIn account to apply). Last night he wrote: “The LF [Linux Foundation] mess looks like it is only starting. So far it has been uncovered that the kernel’s major competitors/opponents have joined LF [Linux Foundation]. Some from the worst are on the board and thus ultimately have oversight of Linus and his activities. Linus himself was temporarily removed last year in a massive non-technical intrigue and brought back after a longer pause in a diminished capacity. The LF [Linux Foundation] writers for the official web site have been dumped rudely a few months ago.

“In related news, Apple is ramping up its anti-GPL stance, see its motivations for its move from bash to zsh. Google is ramping up its anti-GPL stance, see some of its motivation for its move from Android to Fuchsia. You’ve been the only one covering that so far. Good work. It’s getting positive attention.”

If the Linux Foundation participates in anti-GPL agenda, then it is striking at the very core of Free software in order to promote stuff like “open core” (i.e. free bait for proprietary software). A decade back the Linux Foundation welcomed Black Duck as a member, only years after a Microsoft veteran had created Black Duck for the purpose of smearing and attacking the GPL (by their own admission).

Looking at responses to our more recent articles, this morning we see comments like: “Holy shit this is crazy, I kind of suspected that Linux is not as good as it was in the past now that Google and Microsoft are board members, but for it to happen this quickly. What can we expect, what can we do? Should we all switch to BSD based distros?”

“Well, this kind of stuff did make me seriously consider it,” someone responded. “I’m on manjaro myself. Loving the arch + usability,” said the third person.

Microsoft and Apple would certainly like it if people just moved to BSD-style licences, allowing proprietary giants to exploit the code without giving anything in return and thereby monopolise the market.

On go the comments, e.g. with “people call me crazy when I say we shouldn’t trust Microsoft’s “goodwill”, they say that EEE isn’t a thing anymore, that we can trust them with GitHub and that Microsoft embracing Linux will be a good thing…”

We wrote about this in the previous post. “I actually think this is mostly true,” said the next person. “It’s just that there’s more than one head in Microsoft’s hydra and at least one is set on eating the world (as is true of all large companies).”

“Linux wrapped in Windows,” wrote another person, “it’s kinda hard to admire the grace and power… the freedom of the majestic eagle… when it’s trapped behind the bars of a dingy little cage. That’s developers running Linux on Windows. Let’s hope they wake up before it’s too late.”

“I certainly have no doubt that’s what MSFT is doing,” said a fourth person yesterday. “All the incentives point that way. There’s no room for ethics in a $trillion multinational public corporation that’s built its fortune on exploiting monopolised users. Here’s my thinking on Microsoft and Free and Open Source Software, and on Linux: https://davelane.nz/mstrust” (he wrote about this subject before)

Another new Reddit threat that cites Techrights has responses like, “I didn’t realize there was a linux.com.”

“Yep,” said the next comment. “Run by a large not for profit. They used to issue certifications as well.”

On Linux.com one reader wrote to ask: “Does Larry Augustin have any comment?”

Remember that Linux.com used to be a publicly-traded company with a massive IPO. “Do you have Augustin contacts,” I responded. He has since then escaped the limelight and settled in not-so-famous companies. To quote this reader:

Could be interesting to Ask Larry Augustin what he thinks of the LF firing all the authors and editors.
Was there a contract that required the LF to maintain Linux.com as a magazine site for a certain amount of time?

He held the “monopoly” on a bunch of linux media back in the day… right with VA.
Which, a lot of people were screwed by VA as well -btw.

Wasn’t it Augustin who transferred ownership of Linux.com to the LF…
I don’t know.
I only think it was Larry (VA), then it was LF… not sure the story there. Do you know the story? I’d be interested to know… WHY!

Of course, under his umbrella it wasn’t much different – catering to advertisers…
And Emmett Plant was editor in chief and left – I think there was a “protect your source” reason, but I could be wrong.

Anyway, it could be an interesting comment from Larry or anyone who previously worked at Linux.com (foundation or VA) to see if they have a comment about the current situation…

Our ears are open in case someone wishes to tell us something; we provide anonymity to those who want it.

“Other things I’m curious about,” added this reader. “Do you think previous employees fired by LF – might have some stories to share…”

We’re surprised they didn’t speak out (at all) until days ago in response to an article of ours. Hours after we posted an article about Linux.com being dead since April (and all staff fired) they suddenly added an item as if you say, “we’re not dead” (they linked to some old post from Mozilla). Some hecklers then decided that because a day after our article the Linux Foundation tried to cover up its misdeeds it thus “proves” we were wrong. If anything, it shows how guilty they are (and feel guilty, too).

“They’re not original articles,” one former staff member responded, “they’re from the newsfeed. When http://Linux.com was still active they published several original articles per day, and had a busy newsfeed as well.”

“For the community, by the community, Linux.com is the central resource for Linux users,” says the site, but there’s no community left. Nothing.

“Both of these were added after I had written an article about it” was my response to this heckler. They merely pretend that they didn’t sack the staff in a rude fashion. It’s rather revealing that they try to save face; it’s sometimes called ‘damage control’.

We should note that this likely has nothing (or little) to do with Microsoft, which isn’t the sole threat to Linux inside this PAC (the Board has other foes of Free software). We never framed this as a Microsoft-only issue. Microsoft just stands to gain the most if/when Linux fails.

Zemlin’s PAC isn’t about Linux. Zemlin himself doesn’t even use Linux. They’re no allies of GNU/Linux but of corporations — such as Microsoft and Intel — companies that make proprietary software and just ‘happen’ to have “Linux” somewhere. If Linux disappeared, they’d just replace it with something else like BSD. They probably would do so anyway if it wasn’t for inferior hardware support (lack of drivers).

What we have here is neglect if not betrayal; it’s really very blatant. First the PAC takes over Linux.com and claims it’ll support GNU/Linux news; it takes full ownership and for a while the site does some journalism (as promised). Site then turns into a marketing outlet of corporate PAC members (for payments, see the brochures we published earlier this year) and eventually all of the site’s staff gets sacked. As even people who worked for Linux.com admit, under the PAC the site just became marketing (and we know this based on the PAC’s brochures; interviews and articles were bought by the PAC’s clients and payers). This means a corruption of journalism rather than support for journalism (and those who don’t play along are fired). We’ve meanwhile noticed that Swapnil Bhartiya, who used to write for Linux.com, took a pivot to the marketing ‘industry’ [1, 2].


The Corrupting Influence of Money in the Linux Foundation (Bias for Sale)

Posted in GNU/Linux, GPL, Microsoft, VMware at 2:20 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

When enemies of the GPL (GNU) like Microsoft and VMware — not just GNU/Linux-friendly companies such as Red Hat — pay the Linux Foundation to get their way

Red Hat glasses

Summary: The growing danger of a Linux Foundation which is funded not just by proprietary software giants but also direct opposition of Linux and serial violators of the licence of GNU (GPL)

THE level of entryism at the Linux Foundation has become way beyond acceptable and now that only corporations are involved in decision-making (see reminder below) we expect to see the verge of the farcical. How long before the Linux Foundation is not even pro-Linux but is instead pro-industry (for the industry giants that fund and thus dominate it)? Or, put another way, will it endorse things irrespective of the very spirit of both Linux and GNU? Whether something is or is not Free/Open Source software and whether it promotes (GNU) Linux? You know something is very wrong when the (paid-for) keynote speech at the biggest Linux conference is given by the company that called Linux “cancer” and continues to attack Linux to this date. That’s like having Donald Trump at the Democrat’s conventions and campaigns.

We have been trying to write more about patents, especially about the EPO, so not many articles mention Linux or talk about Microsoft these days. Microsoft’s latest patent attacks on Free software are revealing; Microsoft says it “loves Linux”, but its attacks on Linux definitely carry on (as recently as a couple of weeks ago or less).

“Microsoft’s latest patent attacks on Free software are revealing; Microsoft says it “loves Linux”, but its attacks on Linux definitely carry on (as recently as a couple of weeks ago or less).”The following points were mentioned a lot over the past 2 weeks, but we finally decided to write an article about it because sponsored articles (for Linux Foundation funders) continue to come out from the Linux Foundation’s Web site (this disclosure says IBM, but previously it was Microsoft). Why is the Linux Foundation simply morphing into a mouthpiece? Why, for example, is it willing to publish Microsoft lies? Just because Microsoft pays for it doesn’t mean it’s ethical or worthwhile. It reminds us of the years when Microsoft used (exploited) Novell for Microsoft marketing. I’ve exchanged nearly a dozen E-mails about this with Stallman this past week and he too is concerned about it.

The main subject of this article is actually VMware, a company that has been notorious for GPL violations for quite a few years (almost a decade). Some people wrote articles noting that Torvalds had publicly acknowledged the important role of the GPL at LinuxCon. Shortly thereafter, however, Torvalds blasted GPL enforcement. A week ago we saw at least two articles about exactly that [1, 2] (related but less relevant is this article).

“VMware recently poached Dirk Hohndel from Intel (head of Open Source [sic] or whatever they call it) and it was him who interviewed Torvalds as his trusted colleague less than a fortnight ago at LinuxCon, just shortly before the above attack on Kuhn et al.”Journalists then saw a rant in the mailing lists and decided to inform readers regarding Torvalds’ public rant against the Conservancy [1, 2] (these link to the original from the mailing list). A few more articles about the subject have been published since (these are in our daily links) and they serve to reinforce suspicions that Sandler (not just Kuhn) from the Conservancy got pushed out of the Linux Foundation, causing a lot of backlash about a year ago. The backlash was about abandonment of funds (material support) to the Conservancy; it happened after VMware had joined the Linux Foundation and the Conservancy got involved in a GPL enforcement lawsuit against VMware.

But here comes the interesting thing — an observation which I mentioned last week (in passing) over at Tux Machines. VMware recently poached Dirk Hohndel from Intel (head of Open Source [sic] or whatever they call it) and it was him who interviewed Torvalds as his trusted colleague less than a fortnight ago at LinuxCon, just shortly before the above attack on Kuhn et al. It reinforces the suspicion that the Conservancy’s decision to uphold the GPL on behalf of a client made Hohndel an enemy and then, by inference, made Torvalds somewhat of an enemy. Remember that a lot of ‘ex’ Microsoft executives now run VMware (look who has been running the company since 2008) and the company famously violates the GPL (this has been known for many years), just as Microsoft did when it created a shim for its proprietary, back door-compatible Hyper-V (that too was a GPL violation, but Microsoft moved quickly to comply once caught [1, 2, 3])?

“How long before the Linux Foundation is truly/entirely incapable of defending Linux from patent lawsuits and upholding the GPL because Linux foes and GPL foes develop financial strings, making them harder (or riskier) to publicly criticise?”The above observations came out late (I did not wish to write about the subject), but when Microsoft attacked Linux with patents it became too much to skip (I only say “Linux” because it’s Android in this case). How long before the Linux Foundation is truly/entirely incapable of defending Linux from patent lawsuits and upholding the GPL because Linux foes and GPL foes develop financial strings, making them harder (or riskier) to publicly criticise?


So-Called ‘Trade’ Treaties Like TPP and TTIP Threaten to Legalise Software Patents in Europe and Even Effectively Ban Software Freedom/Copyleft

Posted in GPL, Law, Patents at 6:07 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Trading the world for money and power

World trade

Summary: Revelations about the world’s largest secret collusions teach us about what rich and powerful people have in store for software patents, Free/libre software, and digital sharing economies

TECHRIGHTS does not and has not written much about so-called ‘trade’ agreements such as TPP and TTIP (there are several more, usually affecting other countries/continents). It’s not because the subject is not important but because we must focus on a narrower spectrum of topics, including the European UPC. News about ‘trade’ agreements usually just ends up in our daily links, under “Leftovers”, so it’s not being ignored.

We’re living in an age when if those in power commit crimes against millions of people (not just wars of conquest abroad but also domestic wars on the local population with its diminishing rights), they just simply rewrite the law to legalise these crimes after the act (e.g. CISA and Investigatory Powers Bill) and if there is something that bothers them (e.g. law-abiding citizens who are activists) or threatens their monopolies (anonymity-wielding protesters, software freedom etc.), they will simply try to demonise or altogether ban those things. It means we must always stay very vigilant and fight back, at the very least by informing peers.

It is becoming increasingly hard to overlook or ignore the impact of these aforementioned ‘trade’ agreements because the EPO‘s President meddles in them, as we showed less than a couple of days ago.

Benjamin Henrion, a longtime activist against software patents (especially in Europe), has noticed some rather disturbing things in the relevant TPP chapters, which Jamie Love has looked at and explained.

“This looks like it was composed by lobbyists of Free software foes, e.g. Microsoft.”“TPP chapter on software presumes software is patentable in the first place,” Henrion noted, pointing to this curious article titled “TPP has provision banning requirements to transfer or or access to source code of software”. In section 4 it says: “his Article shall not be construed to affect requirements that relate to patent applications or granted patents, including any orders made by a judicial authority in relation to patent disputes, subject to safeguards against unauthorised disclosure under the law or practice of a Party.”

This looks like it was composed by lobbyists of Free software foes, e.g. Microsoft.

“The TPP chaoter on software is basically trumping licences like the GPL with contract law,” Henrion later added. “Am I right?”

“Software patents boundaries will be challenged through ISDS courts and TPP,” Henrion added and Glyn Moody, who has become quite an expert in this area having covered it for years, responded with “same will be true under #TTIP: will be effectively impossible to remove *any* area from patentability – eg #swpats [software patents].”

The article in question is this one, which says: “Instead of combatting the ability to bring cases such as Eli Lilly’s, the TPP’s investment chapter invites them. Any time a national court – including in the U.S. – invalidates a wrongfully granted patent or other intellectual property right, the affected company could appeal that revocation to foreign arbitrators. The new language would also make clear that private companies are empowered by the treaty to challenge limitations and exceptions like the U.S. fair use doctrine, or individual applications of it. Adoption of this set of rules in the largest regional trade agreement of its kind would upset the international intellectual property legal system and should be subject to the most rigorous and open debate in every country where it is being considered.”

There is also this about TRIPS: “The investment chapter provisions on prohibited performance requirements includes a number of exemptions for intellectual property rights, compulsory licenses to patents under Article 31 of the TRIPS or for copyright, or remedies to anti-competitive practice, that protect U.S. state practice in those areas.”

It is imperative that people everywhere become familiar with these to-be-signed treaties before they are signed (if ever). It’s like ACTA from the back door and even if corporate media doesn’t write so much about it, this doesn’t make it any less important or urgent a matter. It’s often that case that the corporate media covers up (if it covers at all) and misleads the public about these treaties. At the end of the day we know who wants to see these treaties passed and at whose expense these can become a reality. It’s class warfare.

“There’s been class warfare for the last 20 years, and my class has won.”

Warren Buffett


GNU/Linux and Free/Libre Software Dominance: What It Comes Down to is Patents

Posted in Apple, Finance, Free/Libre Software, GPL, Microsoft, Patents at 6:38 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Proprietary software companies like Microsoft, Apple, Oracle etc. want lawyers to run their business

On legality

Summary: A decade after Free/libre Open Source software (FLOSS) surpassed its proprietary counterparts on technical terms/merit it is facing an increasing number of patent challenges, as well as disruptive takeover attempts

TECHRIGHTS was born out of the need to tackle Microsoft’s patent war on GNU/Linux. Back in 2006 Microsoft saw innovations such as Compiz whilst it had a lousy operating system called Vista (which even Microsoft executives were internally ranting about). It knew it was only a matter of time until Windows loses dominance outside the server room. Fast forward to 2016 and Android is expected to have nearly 90% of the market. Windows is in a state of disarray and Microsoft now tries to force people to use it, even if they don’t pay for it and don’t want it at all.

“Microsoft promotes lawyers to high management and tries to make patent extortion its new cash cow.”Microsoft tried to evolve, but it was all in vain. Remember the Microsoft Stores? Remember Surface (both the old and the new)? Microsoft is losing a lot of money in the hardware business (faulty by design [1]) and the online business (promises are being broken now in an effort to raise money [2]). Microsoft is now borrowing money — a lot of money in fact — to pay debts [3], confirming what we knew all along about Microsoft’s real financial situation.

As a result of Microsoft’s panic (losing billions of dollars) the company launched patent assaults on various companies (OEMs) that distribute Linux/Android. Microsoft promotes lawyers to high management and tries to make patent extortion its new cash cow. It is also disrupting Android from the inside, in an effort to better control it. Last month we wrote about Xamarin‘s (Microsoft proxy) takeover of RoboVM [1, 2, 3, 4] (still a subject of critical debate). Paul Krill wrote that “Hammond sees the bigger issue as Xamarin’s acquisition of RoboVM and its desire to support RoboVM iOS apps in the Apple App Store, which has taken a dim view of GPL licenses to date.”

Apple — like Microsoft — is also attacking Android backers like Samsung, using software patents that are inherently incompatible with the GPL. Apple is still bickering over patents in an effort to derail the dominant Linux-based platform, Android, according to this new report.

We expect the last remaining barrier for the triumph of Free software everywhere to be patents, and especially software patents. We are changing our site’s focus accordingly.

Related/contextual items from the news:

  1. Microsoft’s Surface Book laptop is almost impossible to repair

    IFIXIT HAS taken Microsoft’s first laptop apart and found that it’s probably not a good idea to try to fix it yourself.

    Microsoft’s latest device went on sale last week in the US and has yet to see a UK release, but the people at iFixit have cracked it open and explained exactly what’s going on inside. And it’s not good.

  2. Microsoft is breaking its cloud-first promise

    There’s already a backlash against Microsoft’s surprise announcement, and it’s not a good look for the company given its impressive focus on mobile and the cloud. Microsoft is fighting a war against Amazon, Google, Salesforce, and many others for the business side of the cloud, but its consumer efforts are starting to look a lot more like Apple’s iCloud offering. Apple offers the bare minimum of free storage and entices consumers to pay more for iCloud by making its apps and operating system make the most of the cloud. Microsoft is now bullying OneDrive users into paying for the free storage it is now taking away.

  3. Enslaving M$

    It’s kind of embarassing to have to borrow money to pay debts… but that’s what M$ continues to do. It has $100 billion in liquid assets but it can’t repatriate them to USA without forking out a ton of money to Uncle Sam for taxes, so it borrows money at this end to pay for what it does day to day. The problem is chickens come home to roost. When the day inevitably comes that the world sees M$ has no clothes and that M$ is not the one true source of IT, the gravy train ends but the debts will have to be paid. At the last 10-Q quarterly report, M$ reported $36billion in short+long term debt. Now about half it’s liquid assets will be needed just to repay that debt.


Microsoft-Connected Xamarin Demolishes the Freedom of Android

Posted in GNU/Linux, Google, GPL at 2:58 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Microsoft’s war on Android surely a benefactor here


Summary: An essential Android tool, RoboVM, turns into proprietary software just shortly after Xamarin, which is financially assisted by Microsoft veterans, takes over it; time to fork?

LAST WEEK we wrote about Xamarin‘s disturbing takeover of RoboVM [1, 2], which was a threat to Microsoft’s monopoly and domination of APIs (especially on the desktop). Xamarin, for the uninitiated, creates proprietary software that strives to spread Microsoft’s .NET to mobile (including Android) devices.

“Following RoboVM’s acquisition by Xamarin, the company has raised the price of their offering and has closed the source code.”
      –Abel Avram
It has only been less than a week and now we learn from Abel Avram that “RoboVM Is No Longer Open Source”.

“Following RoboVM’s acquisition by Xamarin,” explains Avram, “the company has raised the price of their offering and has closed the source code.”

“The community has wondered what would happen to RoboVM now that they have been acquired by Xamarin,” Avram noted. Well, now we know. Bye bye, community.

To quote further: “RoboVM is no longer providing the source code except to enterprise customers. [...] Several RoboVM components used to be made available under the Apache 2.0 license while the compiler was open sourced under the GPL license.”

It has gotten so bad that RoboVM might be forked. To quote Avram, “some developers consider that closing down the source code has to do with Xamarin’s acquisition. And some are discussing forking the project, perhaps starting with the sources v. 1.8 which will be pushed to GitHub this week, according to Zechner. It remains to see how successful they are in their endeavor considering that RoboVM is not a trivial piece of software.”

Xamarin and Mono were never about Free software and GNU/Linux; they were just a parasite trying to exploit Free software and GNU/Linux to spread .NET and now they serve to convert Free software into proprietary. Microsoft must love what Miguel de Icaza has been up to recently.

“At Microsoft I learned the truth about ActiveX and COM and I got very interested in it inmediately [sic].”

Miguel de Icaza

« Previous entries Next Page » Next Page »

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

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

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

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

New to This Site? Here Are Some Introductory Resources




Samba logo

We support

End software patents


GNU project


EFF bloggers

Comcast is Blocktastic? SavetheInternet.com

Recent Posts