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Monopoly in GNU/Linux is Also a Threat

Posted in Free/Libre Software, GNU/Linux, IBM, Microsoft, Red Hat at 1:13 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

“My baseline is that Debian must welcome code contributions to support running without systemd, just as it welcomes code contributions for other non-default setups.”Ian Jackson on Debian Vote Regarding systemd

IBM Monopoly, Microsoft Monopoly, Red Hat

Red Hat - Microsoft

Summary: A month after Debian developers debated the future of systemd in Debian GNU/Linux we need a better understanding of what the future of GNU/Linux (as a whole) will be like when over a million lines of code are hosted by Microsoft and dominated by IBM, with the Linux Foundation being paid by both to keep ‘neutral’ (passive)

GNU/Linux Sans Diversity

Posted in GNU/Linux, IBM, Red Hat at 12:58 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

“Excessive gentrification destroys the biodiversity and ecosystem of a community.” ― Khang Kijarro Nguyen

Systemd, Fedora, CentOS/RHEL, IBM, Monopoly, Clown computing (surveillance), Arch, Debian, SUSE... Monoculture

Summary: The way things are going, monoculture and reduced choice (in the name of unification) drive development of GNU/Linux with one company dominating many components or compartments of the whole system; “Diversity” means something else to them


The “Open Organisations” With Their ‘Open’ Cages

Posted in Deception, Humour, IBM, Red Hat at 7:04 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Open? More like “Oh; pen!” (of sheep, entry is free!)

Wayland, Systemd, .NET Core and The “Open Organisation”

Summary: We’d like to propose the term “open cages” (akin to “golden cages”) as a lot of the openwashing ‘industry’ offers just that — a kind of glorified prison — because the cages are not really open, they just certainly look like it

Free Software Means Not Monopolies With Publicly-Available Code

Posted in Debian, Free/Libre Software, FSF, GNU/Linux, IBM, Microsoft, OSI, Red Hat at 6:34 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

If “openwashing” is painting a proprietary whole as “open” (because of a mere portion), perhaps we need a new word for systemd (where all the code is “open” but access to it for contribution and for proper assessment is close to impossible)

OSI at Microsoft
The OSI’s Board, literally brought to Microsoft. This photograph may be suppressed as it’s very difficult to find it (or anything about this SF meeting; much like Richard Stallman’s speech at Microsoft’s HQ, which even the FSF kept uncharacteristically secret until it was over and seminally reported on by Microsoft itself)

Summary: Packages such as systemd (“packages” would be an understatement — that’s like calling Linux a “package”) present a new kind of threat, which some in the community have dubbed “Open Source Proprietary Software” (or “OSPS” for short); we need prominent groups and projects to highlight the nature of this threat, which serves to promote monopolies (open gateway into complexity, aided by silence and complicity)

THE OPENWASHING agenda at the OSI is now facilitated by the very same people who run it and profit from it ‘on the side’. Look no further than the culprit and legal hire (conflict of interest/s likely), who last week caused the resignation of the OSI's co-founder. We don’t want to name any names here.

“Look no further than the culprit and legal hire (conflict of interest/s likely), who last week caused the resignation of the OSI’s co-founder.”A growing number of people nowadays speak of IBM and systemd, taking note that it’s still being developed on Microsoft servers and long ago became far too large for people to properly study the source code (reading it is one thing; comprehending it is another). That’s just one example of ‘code dumps’ (akin to ‘document dumps’) as a substitute for freedom-respecting source code (or “code available” rather than “please modify and improve”). If one company — and one company only — develops some piece of software (which becomes incredibly bloated and impossible to avoid), how “open” is it really? This, some of our associates believe, is an issue the FSF ought to speak about. Maybe it wasn’t foreseen. There’s no need to ban anything; an advisory note of caution may suffice. But remember that Red Hat pays the FSF and gives instructions to it (in the open).

“If one company — and one company only — develops some piece of software (which becomes incredibly bloated and impossible to avoid), how “open” is it really?”Yesterday we spent some time studying the past two years’ meeting minutes of the OSI, leading up to the resignation of the OSI’s co-founder, who is no proponent of systemd. He participated in many of these meetings of the OSI, debating licensing aspects in particular. And no, he’s not present in the Microsoft photo op shown above. We previously thought he would be a decent successor for Stallman at the FSF, but seeing his public response (in Twitter) to the almost-forced resignation serves to suggest otherwise. One thing is for sure though: the FSF and the OSI both need strong leadership, which currently both lack. The person or persons in charge have earned some levels of notoriety in Debian and there are more lingering concerns over them succumbing to corporate interests and sometimes taking money from those same corporations. And please note, still no names. Our readers might know who we’re alluding to, but we describe these issues in general terms, at low risk of making it seem like a personal attack on anyone in particular.

Nothing would please IBM more than a derailed Debian, a subverted OSI, and infiltrated FSF. It would leave many people overly dependent if not reliant on grossly overpriced support contracts with people who can handle and tackle the extreme complicity they themselves created at Red Hat. Remember that IBM is a longtime monopolist — as its ongoing patent policy serves to remind us — with little evidence to suggest any of that has changed inherently (except on some superficial level). And IBM works closely with Microsoft even after buying Red Hat, which also considered selling itself to that other monopolist (Microsoft).

For those failing to see the Debian-OSI-FSF connection/overlap, look closely at OSI archives; they stated upfront there were no conflicts of interest/s, but there were relational ones. Moreover, the overlap in boards — not to mention awards — can be revealing at times. Names? Sorry, no names. We’d be accused of personal attacks and violation of privacy for daring to ‘name-drop’ anybody at all. The Linux Foundation uses a similar strategy (it’s considered “toxic” to bring up legitimate concerns, which can be spun as envy, opportunism, racism, sexism and so on).

“Yesterday we spent some time studying the past two years’ meeting minutes of the OSI, leading up to the resignation of the OSI’s co-founder, who is no proponent of systemd.”Going back to the FSF, hours ago it published a statement [1] (more text below). Having failed to meet goals/targets, “extra incentive for people to join the movement [have been extended] until January 17th. To assist us further, our friends at Technoethical are offering a 5% discount for @FSF members until this date as well.”

What does the FSF plan to do about IBM now that it’s taking IBM money? We wrote about this angle last month and back in October [1, 2].

Related/contextual items from the news:

  1. Extending our offer for exclusive membership gifts through January

    In the final weeks of 2019, the Free Software Foundation (FSF) welcomed nearly 300 new associate members. That is a strong achievement, but we to boost our numbers further in order to continue our work to educate others about free software and defend copyleft.

    Every day, millions of new people globally are gaining access to software, and are integrating it into their lives. We need to continue to spread the message of software freedom far and wide to reach these newcomers, and the millions of longtime software users who are unaware of how proprietary software is being used to exploit and abuse them. It’s a big challenge.

    At the beginning of this new decade, we’re inspired to dream up a freer future. To help turn this dream into reality, we’re extending our membership drive and our offer for exclusive associate membership gifts as an extra incentive for people to join the movement until January 17th. To assist us further, our friends at Technoethical are offering a 5% discount for FSF members until this date as well.

    Will you start out the new decade with an FSF associate membership?


Matthew Miller, Fedora Project Leader, Sheds Light on Future of Fedora (GNU/Linux for Desktops/Laptops for the Most Part) Under IBM

Posted in GNU/Linux, IBM at 3:17 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Personal view on Fedora (might not represent the views of other site contributors)

YouTube link

Summary: IBM should divert the funds it allocated to lobbying for software patents to an actual good cause, such as GNU/Linux promotion (not just at the back end)

I‘VE USED Fedora since its first version (I had also used it as Red Hat before FC) and the last version I used on a production machine (at my office) was 14. I basically more or less gave up on it just over a decade back, having encountered some issues mostly with package management (conflicts). I tried introducing my brother to it. He tried it for a while, but he did not stick with it at the end.

Fedora is used routinely by several regulars in our IRC community. They post screenshots of the site from Fedora and they experiment with new releases. Fedora is good for geeks and it is cutting-edge — sometimes to the extreme — no doubt!

Fedora is mostly used as a desktop platform; it can act as a server platform too, but for that functionality there are many reasons to use CentOS (or RHEL) instead.

“…unless IBM invests many millions if not billions of dollars in it — promotion/marketing included — the project is unlikely to just thrive on its own.”I’ve long been worried that — seeing the offloading of ThinkPad to Lenovo — IBM would express no desire or interest in GNU/Linux as a desktop operating system (when I say “desktop” I mean laptop as well).

IBM has not convinced me otherwise; earlier today Red Hat’s official site promoted Microsoft yet again [1] (it happens every week, sometimes multiple times per day!) and there’s news about Fedora [2,4], based on a mailing list message from Matthew Miller [3], who speaks of “a GetFedora.org redesign to better showcase the current and future versions of Fedora to better expose them to new users.” According to him, it will be mostly about “spins” and “editions/flavors” (including for devices that aren’t desktops).

Reading between the lines for a bit, and taking a tacit new rant [5] into account (we have had more lately in our Daily Links), I get the impression that quality control is being compromised for speed. IBM’s true dedication or commitment to the project hasn’t been clear (since 2018) and Planet Fedora is getting a lot quieter over time; this can possibly be interpreted as decline in community participation if not resources allocated by Red Hat/IBM.

What is the future of Fedora? Hopefully something quite bright, but unless IBM invests many millions if not billions of dollars in it — promotion/marketing included — the project is unlikely to just thrive on its own.

Come on, IBM. Show us you love GNU/Linux. How old is that “Prodigy” boy today (commercial shown at the top)? Go find him and help spread the word about Free software. The community would thank you.

Related/contextual items from the news:

  1. Performance of RHEL for Databases on Microsoft Azure Cloud

    Red Hat Enterprise Linux 8.0 (RHEL 8) is a release that brings forth optimizations in the kernel. The RHEL 8 kernel reduces system-call related overhead which improves I/O performance for both the filesystem and network subsystems.

    The SCSI multi-queue I/O elevator enables Microsoft SQLserver OLTP workloads to improve by a factor of two, when compared to the single-queue I/O elevator shipped in RHEL 7. Changes to XFS filesystem journaling has enabled improvements of up to 10% in RHEL 8 as well.

  2. Fedora Project Leader Envisions The Project Becoming An “Operating System Factory”

    Fedora Project Leader Matthew Miller has shared his vision for Fedora over the next decade and is encouraging discussions about the direction of this Red Hat sponsored Linux distribution over the next five to ten years.

    The FPL sees a route to Fedora becoming an “operating system factory” built off the successes of the various Fedora Editions. With the growing editions/flavors of Fedora from Fedora Silverblue to IoT and others, Matthew Miller is hoping for a GetFedora.org redesign to better showcase the current and future versions of Fedora to better expose them to new users. Additionally, he would like to promote the Fedora tooling to users for those wanting to create new spins.

  3. Let’s talk about Fedora in the ’20s!

    Hi everyone! Since it’s a new year and a new decade [*], it seems like a good time to look forward and talk about what we want the Fedora Project to be in the next five and even ten years. How do we take the awesome foundation we have now and build and grow and make something that continues to thrive and be useful, valuable, and fun?

  4. Fedora QA No Longer Needs To Test Physical CD/DVD Media As Part Of Their Formal Release Process

    This morning’s Fedora Engineering and Steering Committee (FESCo) meeting approved more changes for this spring’s release of Fedora 32.

    The main matter debated at the FESCo meeting today was whether CD/DVD physical media install issues should be considered blocker bugs. Basically it’s a matter of whether Fedora CD/DVD issues should hold up releases in acknowledging a far majority of users these days use the install media via USB flash drives and the like, no longer resorting to burning DVD images.

  5. Fedora 31 : Can be better? part 004.

    The common question of any Fedora Linux user: Can be better?.
    Yes, we can fix some common errors…


The Software Freedom Deniers

Posted in Deception, Free/Libre Software, IBM, Microsoft, Patents at 3:01 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

They deny us the freedom of Free/libre software while gleefully exploiting it

More water for me. Less food for me.

Summary: We must not overlook the impact of those who — quite often behind the scenes — work to undermine the freedom of software by betraying facts and scientific principles; lobbying speaks louder than press releases

NOBODY can forget how Bill Gates openly complained about the patent system back when Microsoft was small, bemoaning the fact that it was helping monopolists such as IBM. To quote Gates: “If people had understood how patents would be granted when most of today’s ideas were invented, and had taken out patents, the industry would be at a complete standstill today.”

“Neither IBM nor Microsoft should deserve our trust; both are old guard monopolists looking to exploit everything they can for money, even if that means ‘stealing’ — to use their own words — Free software.”Nowadays Microsoft together with IBM still lobbies against 35 U.S.C. § 101 and for software patents at the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO). They both also lobby for software patents at the European Patent Office (EPO), in effect harming not just Free software but all software developers that are small. They want a shared monopoly; now that IBM owns Red Hat and has systemd in most distros (it’s still hosted by Microsoft by the way) they might even get their way.

Neither IBM nor Microsoft should deserve our trust; both are old guard monopolists looking to exploit everything they can for money, even if that means ‘stealing’ — to use their own words — Free software. Remember how they responded to Stallman being canceled. They’re in many ways two-faced hypocrites, who contradict even their own prior positions. Whenever that suits the agenda.

“As long as they are going to steal it, we want them to steal ours.”

Bill Gates


We Never Accepted and Will Never Accept Corporate Money

Posted in FSF, GNU/Linux, IBM, Red Hat at 4:01 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

The new “campaign contributions”

Patrons of FSF

Summary: Corporate money is a unique problem because of its magnitude and the fact that it’s impersonal; shareholders can only ever accept its supposed justifications if they’re receiving something in return (of proportional worth to the payment/transaction)

THE FSF is a fine organisation in a lot of ways; there are limits to it — sure! — and we’ve named some of them earlier this year. Those who are upset at the FSF because it says nothing about systemd may not have paid attention to the potential impact of money (or the risk of losing that money). It is not a new problem. A decade ago it was openly discussed.

In 2017 (latest tax year published by ProPublica) “contributions” amounted to 94.3% of total revenue at the FSF (“FREE SOFTWARE FOUNDATION INC”). Membership dues were at $658,988, and “other contributions, gifts, grants, and similar amounts not included above” were at $635,709, i.e. about half of the whole. So that’s a lot of financial impact for the latter; the total revenue was at $1,373,574 that year and expenses at $1,233,394, so that latter component is very much essential (to avert very considerable downsizing). Here’s a snapshot of the summary:

FSF finances

We’re not trying to bash the FSF; we’re just pointing out that financial dependence on anything other than FSF staff (or members without vested interests or disproportionate contributions) may inevitably lead to self-censorship. Many people still remember the millions of dollars Microsoft paid the Linux Foundation, but how many people can recall similar payments to the BSDs? If they don’t speak out against Microsoft abuses (much/anymore), think about potential causes/motivations. Also remember Red Hat's stance on Stallman.


Diversity Comes in Many Forms

Posted in Deception, FSF, GNU/Linux, IBM, Red Hat at 1:33 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Which ones are the corporations deliberately ignoring and why?

IBM for diversity... of countries controlled by this man

Summary: Diversity is about much more than visible (to the eye) attributes

  • Diversity of nationality/race
  • Diversity of languages/tongues/cultures
  • Diversity of gender (or gender neutrality)
  • Diversity of opinions/political worldviews
  • Diversity of abilities (e.g. disabilities, accessibility aspects)
  • Diversity of age/maturity level
  • Diversity of technology (is your competition supported?)

Bad things can happen when the concept of “diversity” gets oversimplified and distorted for corporate gain/leverage:

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

IBM during World War II
Source: Wikipedia

RMS bio

North Carolina aims to bring more women into computer science
4 days ago in IBM-run site: “North Carolina aims to bring more women into computer science”

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

Just forget how IBM profited and still profits from war on diversity.

22 September 2019: “My father was IBM’s first black software engineer. The racism he fought persists in the high-tech world today”

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