11.09.20

Free Software Freedom is Not Linux

Posted in Free/Libre Software, FSF, GNU/Linux, IBM, Red Hat at 7:39 pm by Guest Editorial Team

By Thomas Grzybowski

A server room

Summary: “We would all probably be better-off if they simply folded their tent and let the GNU organization get on with the real movement.”

A friend of mine was attending one of the OLF Conferences, on Saturday November 7th, and he happened to find a seat listening to Bob Young of Red Hat. Young was telling a story about how a few years ago he had explained to Richard Stallman that he himself was more committed to Free Software than Stallman was. In his view, Stallman was only ideologically supporting Free Software, while Red Hat’s entire business model depended upon on it. And through Red Hat’s commercialization of GNU/Linux, Young had brought open-source/free software into wide-spread corporate acceptance and into the marketplace such that many more people could benefit.

Now what Young was saying was true, in a selfish sense, but I myself, I was concerned to hear his spiel took place at a “Free Software” conference. These sorts of arguments betray a deep ignorance about the nature of Free Software – perhaps, more nefariously a consistent willful ignorance.

Lit up computerThe “FOSS” acronym is a red flag (if not a Red Hat) that a mistake is about to be made. People (and Executives) are consistently conflating Free Software with Open Source. But these are two notions are very different things, belonging to entirely different domains: one is cultural and the other economic. Freedom is a sociocultural phenomenon, while source-code availability is essentially concerned with the distribution of property. It’s not surprising that once one conflates these differing notions there is much confusion.

I want to make this clear: Free Software is a matter of practice. Software Freedom must be actively practiced to exist, whilst Open Source is essentially about the availability of a product. Clearly, Freedom is the more fragile entity here. Institutions seemingly dedicated to Free Software engaged with domain confusion will cause the movement itself to suffer, slow, and die.

The mission of the Free Software Foundation has been evolving. At the beginning, with Stallman as president and a few strong allies as board members, the FSF was designed to draw-in financing for GNU projects. It also took over most of the distribution services from GNU. Over time the FSF became the primary defender of the GPL licenses. The FSF also took on an education mission and began hosting conferences. The Free Software Foundation became the public face for GNU, and much of Free Software in general. And more and more it also served to provide a corporate-friendly face for fund-raising. These missions came to cloud the original GNU mission.

Today, the Free Software Foundation continues to expound the message that we must choose between surrendering to proprietary software or work to opposing it. What we have learned, over time, is that this is an oversimplification of what needs to be done in order to keep the Freedoms inherent in Free Software alive and moving forward.

Before we go any further, let us define what “Freedom” means here for our purposes. Freedom is having two things: options to do as you wish, and the ability to carry choices out. Without both of those things fully in place, Freedom is incomplete and often nullified. Of the two requirements, the means is the most difficult to fulfill. Sadly, one cannot experience software freedom if one is lacking a computing device. Assuming one has access to such a device, and the source code is openly available (with the appropriate license), are we not “Free” as in “Free Software”? Well, the Gnu organization defines four freedoms: Users must have the freedom to (1) run, (2) copy and distribute, (3) study, and (4) change and improve the software. (As per http://www.gnu.org/philosophy/free-sw.html)

Yet there is something not fully stressed in the the Four Freedoms, and this missing understanding is badly undermining Free Software today: one cannot experience software freedom if one is lacking the means to practice software freedom. “Wait, Wait” you say, “I can download the source-code”. Alrighty. And Where does that get you?

It is often argued that the “Free Software” movement is ideological, and based upon some ivory-tower idealism. Nothing could be further from the truth. As we stated before, Free Software is a practical matter, and if the practices cannot be carried-out or are not carried-out in good faith, the benefits (the Freedoms themselves) are not realized. What we are missing in Free Software, and the Free Software movement today is the ability to fully participate in the Four Freedoms – in particular, but not limited-to, the fourth freedom. Many, if not most of our major software packages distributed today are huge, inflated with features and overly complex – not amenable to the application of the fourth freedom (nor the third). If you have any doubt about this statement, take your current Linux system, make a change in Firefox, and recompile it. Simple. Not. In fact, it is virtually impossible. Try it. I doubt more than one in a thousand Linux users could carry this out. And this is only one example. If you have any more doubt, now try a similar operation with systemd. These observations show the growing gap between the teams of developers behind the software and the community at large.

I would like to quote Richard Stallman on this topic: “The job wasn’t to build an operating system; the job is to spread freedom to the users of computers.” (From https://www.fsf.org/faif) “And to do that we have to make it possible to do everything with computers in freedom.” Let me state here: The Free Software Foundation is failing at this job.

The removal of Richard Stallman from the Free Software Foundation was a bad sign, and there have not been many positive signs since. There are two more very troubling signs leading me to predict a failure for freedom to prevail there: #1 would be an increasing identification of the mission with the support of the Linux ecosystem. This is a mistake. The practice of software freedom is the mission, and the Linux kernel and ecosystem is taking a shape antithetical to that mission.

The second concern would be the increasing use of and dependency upon GitHub. There can be no software freedom if our ability to practice software freedom is subsumed and fettered within a proprietary development environment. The compromises are too great, and will become contrary to the core mission. We should not tolerate a corporate overlord which insists upon identifying and collecting information about each and every participant. Also a corporation which censors code because of DMCA take-down notices is completely unacceptable. Microsoft simply cannot be a gatekeeper to Free Software.

Let us return to address the first and perhaps most pressing issue, the engulfing focus on “all things Linux”. The Free Software Foundation is guilty of feeding a near-monopoly OS kernel, along with deeply concerning events associated with Linux development. For instance, the “Guix Petition”, which called for RMS to be removed or resign from GNU, includes a disproportionate number of signatories whom were receiving job-payment from Red Hat. Even more of these signatories are known to make important use of GitHub.

Now, I am not alleging corruption here, but rather an institutional failure to properly direct the GNU mission. The failing we see on the surface is that of promoting only a single dimension of activism: Proprietary Software VS Free Software, with the implicit assumption there are no other important factors. Given the remarks of Bob Young, Red Hat (and by extension the overemphasis on Linux), may be at the root of this failing.

Regardless of the etiology of the failure of the Free Software Foundation to promote the practices of Free Software other than the licensing, the consequences are severe. The Free Software Foundation remains the premier edifice for Free Software. This can continue on indefinitely, even as the institution itself becomes hollow, and the very concepts of software freedom become overshadowed by “Linux” and high-sounding platitudes. We would all probably be better-off if they simply folded their tent and let the GNU organization get on with the real movement.

11.08.20

Large Corporations Aren’t Going to Save the Real GNU/Linux Community Because That’s Not Their Goal (They Just Want to Dominate Everything)

Posted in GNU/Linux, IBM, Microsoft at 11:47 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Three Panel Car: Microsoft in Linux Foundation, Microsoft in OSI, Like COVID in your body

Summary: Old and new monopolists aren’t allies of convenience and aren’t to be counted on when it comes to salvaging GNU/Linux autonomy and community-like traits; their sole aspiration is to gain greater control over code (e.g. systemd monoculture) and over all governance structures (e.g. via the OSI and LF as submissive, supine front groups)

WHEN the Linux Foundation (LF) let Microsoft in about 4 years ago we knew it was the beginning of the end; the Foundation had already done other bad things, like outright rejection of community representation, amongst other things which infuriated the real community (not monopolies that call themselves “community” or “open org” or whatever)…

Later came the code of conduct (or conflict, both abbreviated as “CoC”) and the de facto suspension of Linus Torvalds, who ‘merely’ created Linux itself (like ESR being banned by the OSI, which he had created). In recent months we also saw more and more elimination of words — sometimes words that are used to express concepts like a master-slave relation (what many Free software developers are to those monopolistic corporations — zero-cost labour).

Last night figosdev wrote to me regarding “Unacceptable comments toward a company: 1″ (as we noted here). He told me: “I am really glad to be done with “Linux”.”

“But notice the response from LF,” I told him. “They did not take action. BSD also has a CoC issue.”

WindRMS recently told me that he rejected the concept of a CoC and GNU did not have a CoC (they used a different template and name for their kind communication guidelines). RMS understands the importance of free speech, even if he’s losing his freedom of speech over time (due to fear of retaliation). It should be noted, yet again, that many of those looking to silence if not oust him (as recently as this year) are IBM/Red Hat employees. They just put a different hat on (not the red one), hoping the association/affiliation would not be too obvious. Many of them use Microsoft’s GitHub for development.

We’ve long argued that an elephant in the room — other than Microsoft — is IBM. It’s not hard to see that IBM played a role in ousting RMS based on false pretenses. Are GNU and the FSF better off for it? Nope. Does IBM care? No, not really…

“IBM’s neglect of Fedora has been rather telling, as was the outsourcing which makes no practical sense unless the sole goal is cost-cutting.”IBM is too busy caring about IBM, which is only shrinking over time. Its previous CEO saw a decrease in revenue for almost 100 consecutive months. The customers are gradually going away. Will Dr. Krishna save IBM? Time will tell… there’s certainly no turnaround, at least not yet (COVID-19 has not helped, has it?), and there are Red Hat layoffs. Red Hat’s growth does not seem to have much of a sway on IBM’s decision; there’s duplication across operations (HR, marketing, administration, legal team etc.) and in threads “regarding layoffs at Red Hat” someone pinned the promotional link (from Wall Street-centric media) “IBM Hopes to Double Sales at Red Hat in Next Three Years” only to receive this reply a couple of days ago:

Doubt it. Unless it’ll be the only unit that’s actually making money. It will soon die because no one will want to run an app on mainframe. Red hat tech is cool but not mainframe cool.

We’ve repeatedly been told by our server administrator (thrice at least) that IBM seems to be shifting towards distros other than RHEL and likely has “buyer’s remorse” (based on what IBM has been doing lately, directly engaging/working with Red Hat’s competition). IBM’s neglect of Fedora has been rather telling, as was the outsourcing [1, 2] which makes no practical sense unless the sole goal is cost-cutting.

11.07.20

Self-Hosting Instead of Choosing ‘Masters’ to Swap Between

Posted in Free/Libre Software, GNU/Linux, IBM, Microsoft, Servers at 3:50 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Three doors: Why clown computing? I can do it my own way

Summary: The ‘clown computing’ model or the dependence on “big” and supposedly “trusted” brands is a growing problem; people need to learn how to emancipate themselves and leverage tools which offer complete autonomy

THE GIT instance that we use is locally hosted (by the site) and we’ve looked into things like Gitlab, albeit it’s sort of dual-licensed and many people let the company (Gitlab) manage everything. There are Gitea-based alternatives out there, but Gitea is still not getting rid of GitHub (it said it would do this… for years), just like Gitlab was using Microsoft for hosting… until Microsoft bought GitHub and it needed a better marketing message.

“The term/name “Git” isn’t necessarily helpful either, e.g. when people think of it as synonymous with Microsoft/GitHub.”WELL OVER a decade ago we stressed that for true software freedom we need to do better than just swapping “masters” (like Apple and Microsoft or IBM and Microsoft). Back then the word “masters” wasn’t — at least not yet — considered politically-charged and it served as a helpful metaphor. Choosing IBM and IBM software (typically proprietary back then, e.g. Lotus) over Microsoft’s wasn’t really the solution, it was more of a “lesser evil” choice (like choosing Biden over Trump).

So-called ‘clown computing’ is a new wave of proprietary software (or service as a substitute for actual software). The FSF is a bit late in addressing this threat, but better late than never, correct? People ought to talk about the topological issues (relationship between the user and governments/corporations). That applies to trust models as well. People are giving far too much control to self-serving psychopaths and then wonder why projects like YouTube-DL (which do nothing illegal) can be censored across mirrors/forks/branches as well. Why all the centralisation in the first place? Why GitHub?

Remember that in ‘clown computing’ the users are clowns and all the computing is controlled by Gods or “masters”. Is that true love? Those “masters” love power — or control over other people. Microsoft loves “Open Source” when it is hosted in GitHub, i.e. stuck inside Microsoft’s monopolistic and proprietary prison. At whose mercy is it?

A bunch of stormsTwo decades ago I advocated/promoted very heavily this thing called “LINUX”, only later to realise the considerable role GNU had played. A lot of things that people call “LINUX” are actually GNU (many GNU programs are wrongly being called "Linux commands"). Brands aren’t necessarily helpful when people over-obsess over mere brands, emphasising pedantic points that misdirect and obfuscate. The term/name “Git” isn’t necessarily helpful either, e.g. when people think of it as synonymous with Microsoft/GitHub. In order to reduce the likelihood or prevent/mitigate new GNU/Linux users ‘ruining’ things by demanding DRM, ‘Secure Boot’ or Chrome (along with other such malicious stuff) more GNU/Linux advocacy ought to focus on educating/informing people regarding Software Freedom (capitalised, but it is a concept, not a brand/trademark). To attain it we need to focus a lot less on brands and more on underlying substance.

10.31.20

A Toxic Combination: Monopoly on War and Monopoly on Human Rights Causes

Posted in Deception, IBM, Microsoft at 9:13 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Helicopters

Summary: Monopolies are trying not only to control the market — including the military sector — but also to control the narrative of opposition to them (those who raise ethical concerns about such actions)

TECHRIGHTS would be no newcomer or stranger to the disturbing trend (we’ve been making site changes recently so as to more effectively tackle emerging threats). Companies that have in essence monopolised (or ‘oligopolised’) imperialism, militarism, internment camps etc. claim to also have a monopoly over various groups that claim to represent the public interest. As the old saying goes, “money talks” and they offer/take money. “Follow the money” is another saying…

“Enough money and persistence can destroy just about anything.”Where does that leave the rest of us, who are governed — or spoken ‘on behalf of’ — by those who assert they stand for manners and ethics (while accepting money from rude, brutal and unethical corporations)? Or even directly by those corporations? Does IBM really fight for social justice? Or is that just some shallow PR tactic? Obviously the latter.

The problem isn’t unique to software. When mass movements and popular actions (activism/campaigns) emerged against corrupt banks the corporate-led wars (looking to profit from deaths by the millions, amassing trillions of dollars by killing millions of people of ‘lesser value’) attempts were made to infiltrate and control the opposition. Did that always work? To some degree, yes. Enough money and persistence can destroy just about anything. In the case of software, look no further than the OSI and the Linux Foundation, especially after they took Microsoft bribes and blessed the aggressive acquisition of GitHub as though it was an act of “love”…

Apple Computer Senior VP Avadis Tevanian Jr. once said:

“Microsoft does not hesitate to use its operating system monopoly power and application program dominance to try to eliminate competition.”

Now, with GitHub, Microsoft has another monopoly paradigm, which it is already misusing to create lock-in and “eliminate competition.” Is GitHub ethical? Not only is it proprietary software, it’s also working for ICE on internment camps. It’s censoring the Web, along with Google…

Distortion or obfuscation of facts may be effective (like taking about some mythical “Arctic vault” to distract the media from ICE-GitHub), but provided we have the capacity to respond and rebut we can win the argument and show people what’s really going on.

10.30.20

Free Software is Still Under Attack From Software Patents (GNOME Getting Patent Trolls to Settle Isn’t the Real Solution)

Posted in Free/Libre Software, GNOME, GNU/Linux, IBM, Microsoft, OIN, Patents at 5:39 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

They used to be called “patent sharks”

On patent sharks

Summary: We’re asked to believe that a sort of “patch” (suggested by companies or monopolies with endless patent portfolios) means that Free software and software patents can co-exist; behind the scenes, however, “community distros” (not developed and controlled by monopolies) are coming under patent attacks which they cannot publicly speak about

THERE is a real and growing need to abolish software patents for good. As we noted quite recently, GNU/Linux distros are under attack. We hope to be able to make more public the pertinent details (that partly depends on OIN).

“The Free software community (the real community, not fake ones like IBM’s “Fedora”) is under attack.”In our latest Daily Links we included this new post about an ongoing Patent Trial and Appeal Board (PTAB) inter partes review (IPR). “On October 28, 2020,” it says, “the Central Reexamination Unit of the United States Patent and Trademark Office granted Unified Patents’ request for ex parte reexamination, finding substantial questions of patentability for all claims of U.S. Patent 7,594,168, owned and asserted by Express Mobile, Inc., a well-known NPE. The ’168 patent generally relates to website building software. Express Mobile has asserted this patent over 90 times in district court against companies employing both proprietary website-building platforms and open-source platforms like WordPress and Magento.”

A wave attackYes, WordPress and Magento, which are used by millions (us included). The Federal Circuit has repeatedly rejected those sorts of patents, citing 35 U.S.C. § 101 (SCOTUS on Alice), but the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) keeps granting those bogus patents, which are being leveraged (as above) by patent trolls who make nothing at all, let alone a CMS or “website building software.” The existing GNOME Foundation (with deep ties to IBM and Microsoft, responsible in part for settling with trolls) wants us to think that this is a new problem even though nothing could be further from the truth. While OIN is working overtime to reinforce the status quo — reaffirming software patents — the rest of us who don’t have like 100,000 US patents need to get work done and write code without fear of litigation.

The Free software community (the real community, not fake ones like IBM’s “Fedora”) is under attack. OIN is not helping, it’s only pretending to. We’ll say a lot more about that some time soon. OIN has an opportunity to prove us wrong, but it’s never doing that…

We need to carry on working towards the end of all software patents, not just here in Europe (incidentally, the distros under attacks are European and they’re targeted using already-expired software patents in a fashion reminiscent of the YouTube-DL takedown in GitHub).

3Com CEO Eric Benhamou once said:

“Anyone who doesn’t fear Microsoft is a fool.”

Remember that the troll which attacked GNOME had been working closely and getting patents from Microsoft’s ‘proxy’ Intellectual Ventures. GNOME Foundation, an anti-RMS outpost, doesn’t like to talk about this fact. Last week its head even praised Microsoft. His predecessors work for Microsoft. Infiltration has gone much further than the Linux Foundation and recently the OSI as well.

10.28.20

Linux Foundation (Men for Monopolies) Once Again Hijacking Women’s (and Minorities’) Voices for Public Relations

Posted in Deception, Free/Libre Software, GNU/Linux, IBM at 1:45 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Two men talking and two girls talking: Women don't feel uncomfortable in CS. Men make us uncomfortable in CS. We heard your concerns. Men know best how to help you.

Summary: Diversity and tolerance are absolutely essential, but those who preach or lecture us about it most loudly (their financial means or privilege enable media reach) set a bad example and are mostly opportunistic hypocrites who perpetuate the status quo

Earlier this week the Linux Foundation released this press release entitled “Linux Foundation Focuses on Science and Research to Advance Diversity and Inclusion in Software Engineering” and it evidently charmed the target audience, which wrote: “The Linux Foundation has launched the Software Developer Diversity and Inclusion (SDDI) project to increase diversity and inclusion in software engineering by examining and promoting best practices from research and industry.”

“They don’t get a job at the Foundation by participating in protests but by cheering for billionaires.”The problem is, as we’ve noted before, this is a distraction from racists and bigots who profit from war. They don’t get a job at the Foundation by participating in protests but by cheering for billionaires. They shamelessly hijack “BLM” whilst employing nobody black and incidentally it’s the same issue in IBM (hijacking grievances of blacks after working to ethnically cleanse them). They support monopolies, not diversity, and their attitude towards women is that of sheer exploitation, as we noted in:

Zemlin “and the boys” (and the corporations they front for) don’t care about women or black people, but they’re being advised to obscure and hide it. Press releases and imaginary slush funds don’t cut it.

10.25.20

In Spite of IBM’s Difficult Past and Particularly Dark History, Under Arvind Krishna’s Leadership It Has Only Shown Signs of Improving

Posted in IBM, Microsoft, Patents, Red Hat at 1:49 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

“The price of freedom is eternal vigilance.”

Thomas Jefferson

Winter

Summary: This winter, 6 months after Arvind Krishna’s tenure as CEO began, we can generally say that things seem to have improved and we look forward to further improvements

THE THRESHOLD of half a million COVID-19 cases per day will likely be exceeded this coming week. It’s getting to the point now where even cautious people cannot fully shield themselves from infection. Over the weekend Italy and Spain tightened things further. Here in Manchester the highest restrictions have been in force since Friday. But that’s not what’s important. We want to focus, as usual, on impact limited to the realm of technology and human rights. The wearing of masks limits the scope of surveillance, whereas the “War on Cash” and all that contract-tracing nonsense greatly harm privacy.

“He seems like a generally good guy and a very technical person.”It ought to be noted that IBM’s new CEO (since April) wants to replace our cash (anonymous currency) with “clown computing” (outsourced, centralised) and “smart” (a buzzword meaning that they’re the ones in control of our lives and our transactions). We’ve spent some time trying to understand his background, which isn’t widely publicised. As noted earlier this year, “Krishna’s PhD thesis was on the design and analysis of interconnection networks for high-speed packet switching fabrics in routers.” This is the PhD thesis as PDF. According to this, 9 people downloaded his PhD thesis after he had been appointed (IBM’s top role) — more than in all prior years combined. We spent some time studying it following yesterday's article about his professional and personal background. The good news is, his background shows little interest in technology that infringes rights. He seems like a generally good guy and a very technical person. He’s also quite humble.

WinterWithin months of his appointment he publicly distanced (at least verbally) IBM from facial surveillance. But data-mining operations of IBM weren’t even mentioned. There’s a lot more to privacy infringement than facial recognition. Being a person who seemingly prefers to be private and low-profile, Dr. Krishna can be a good ally in the fight to reform if not altogether obliterate mass surveillance. IBM stands to gain a lot from the perception that it leads the battle for privacy and other “tech rights”. At the moment we’ve mostly been seeing shallow and rather superficial ‘fluff’ or ‘waffle’ with ridiculous slogans. On the other hand, it has been quite a while since we last saw IBM lobbying for software patents and news about IBM corruption may seem difficult to find these days.

Is IBM at least trying to reform under Krishna’s (and Whitehurst’s) leadership? It generally does feel like it, with news like IBM Hopes to Double Sales at Red Hat in Next Three Years this past week.

IBM will eventually be judged not by how many words it bans/cancels but how many unethical contracts it gives up on. Not only money should matter and if IBM improves its image by distancing itself from repressive regimes, more geeks will follow.

At the moment we regret to see that IBM and Red Hat still outsource many projects to Microsoft’s servers (GitHub) and in light of recent events/backlash they should reconsider. To quote Bill Gates himself: [PDF]

“We should design some of our extensions explicitly so that IBM can’t run them under OS/2. We need to put real thinking into this.”

This is how Gates spoke of the same company that gave him a ticket to the “big show”, albeit only after lobbying from his mom.

IBM needs to stand up to and replace Microsoft, not cooperate with it. If it successfully does so, more geeks will cooperate with IBM, Red Hat, Fedora and so on. When so much of Fedora is still controlled by Microsoft servers it’s hardly surprising that the community component of Fedora languishes over time.

10.24.20

The Militarised Elephant in the Room Still Commands a Lot of Free Software Development

Posted in GNU/Linux, IBM, Marketing, Red Hat at 8:36 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

The Chairman of the Board of Red Hat at the time

Summary: We take a difficult (albeit in-depth and perfectly factual) look at IBM’s past and present; considering this is the company that controls Red Hat (which in turn controls many key projects in GNU/Linux) we need a better understanding of the real context, not PR fluff and marketing

IT IS what some people would call an “open secret” that Red Hat has US military ties. It’s “open” because everything the “open org” (or “community” known as Red Hat) does is supposedly “open” (even the code it outsources to proprietary GitHub), but it’s still somewhat of a secret because Red Hat markets itself as opposing violence and rudeness. Military ties sort of ruin or spoil that false narrative. Posturing is convenient when one studies marketing and goes working for Red Hat. We know for a fact that Red Hat hired some of its external marketing people to work ‘in-house’… because we spoke to them many times, or rather they spoke to us. Red Hat still spams us every week despite our repeated requests for them to stop [1, 2].

“Posturing is convenient when one studies marketing and goes working for Red Hat.”Compared to a lot of companies Red Hat isn’t sinister; in fact, it does a lot of perfectly ethical things. We’re not against ethics or against Red Hat, we’re just against lies, such as the lie that banning the word “master” would really resolve important issues.

Maybe after abolishing “master” they will also abolish “boss”? After all, many people are still mastered by their bosses and Boss (the brand) worked with and for the Nazis. It’s hardly even a secret. Here’s their ‘product line’ one century ago:

Boss Nazis

Should we replace the word “boss”? How about “primary” as a replacement? Or “leader”? Would that upset someone?

Anyway, nowadays Red Hat is owned and controlled by IBM, which is probably even more closely connected to the US military (and the literal Nazis) than Red Hat ever was.

“Compared to a lot of companies Red Hat isn’t sinister; in fact, it does a lot of perfectly ethical things.”This is where it gets even grimmer for Red Hat and its marketing slogans. Because under IBM the company once known as Red Hat lacks moral authority all across the board.

The “IBM Developer” site has just published this post entitled “Call for Code Daily: Fighting racial justice and climate change with tech” (part of the recent hogwash). Yes, IBM has the nerve to pretend to care about racial equality and the environment while working a lot for the Pentagon (the world’s largest polluter) and having started as a eugenics giant, helping crusaders for ethnic cleansing.

The founder of IBM was a racist. We know this based on associates of his. Has IBM improved a lot since? Maybe a bit, but not a lot.

Let’s start with IBM’s CEO who closed/sealed the Red Hat deal in 2018/2019 (depending on which milestone is counted in that very large financial transaction). That’s Ginni. Later reports attributed the decision of the takeover/acquisition to the current CEO, whose appointment came much later, with Red Hat’s CEO as president to his right (as in right-hand man).

“Should we replace the word “boss”? How about “primary”? Or “leader”? Would that upset someone?”Just to be clear, IBM’s legendary CEO Sam Palmisano said about Ginni’s (her nickname) selection as successor that it had “zero to do with progressive social policies.” We wonder if he’d say the same about Dr. Krishna. Nobody asked him. But Krishna’s technical skills are beyond doubt and we’ll come to that later.

The General who motors the war, GM, gave us Ginni, an Italian American (no connection to fascism) who came from a somewhat troubled family. She had a career in just two companies, GM and then IBM. Both were awarded/showered with medals from Nazi Germany for their collaboration and multitude of services (before the US entered the war). Later on she became the CEO of one.

GM’s connections to Nazi Germany is beyond the scope of this article, but it’s nothing extraordinarily Earth-shattering or new (by contrast, IBM just tried to evade responsibility and obstruct historians). There were press reports and books about it.

GM and Nazis

As CEO of IBM she managed to anger a lot of her staff (both past and present), which even prepared a massively-signed petition.

This kind of photo-ops isn’t helpful, is it?

Ginni and Trump

These ones are not particularly helpful, either.

Modi and IBM

Forget about companies profiting from war.

It doesn’t matter.

Who cares anyway?

The important thing is that Git repositories don’t have a “master” branch…

“The important thing is that Git repositories don’t have a “master” branch…”Right?

What is being accomplished anyway?

If women or ‘brown people’ (or ‘brown women’) get bombed by the Pentagon it’s helpful neither to feminism nor tolerance.

IBM has long been heavy(weight) on rhetoric and words, which rarely match the company’s actions, especially the more secret contracts all around the world. IBM is still helping autocrats oppress the population. Not secretively but the media doesn’t bother looking into these. Because it has been too busy preparing puff pieces in exchange for money. Like all those “Watson” marketing pieces thinly disguised as ‘journalism’…

Maybe one day Ginni too will earn a medal. Not for 24 consecutive quarters of revenue declines and increases in ties with ‘Orange Man’ (whom some compare to Hitler) but something about women’s accomplishments…

“IBM is still helping autocrats oppress the population.”For those who don’t know, there’s a military angle associated with Watson. The US military was to “adopt the Watson IoT services and a new Watson IoT Equipment Advisor solution. The latter analyses unstructured, structured and sensor data directly from military assets,” said this article. When “tech” companies view war as an opportunity to make even more money… or when a bomb falls (and then it explodes) and that means IBM can sell its clients more “Watson(TM)” — more money “from military assets…”

Remember that after IBM made a lot of money by helping Nazi Germany it made a lot of money selling the same to the US military (which had entered the war).

To the credit of IBM, its past two CEOs (former and current) were both technical geeks, unlike the criminal who ran Microsoft (whose arrests predate his Microsoft venture). At IBM one geek has been at the company for nearly 4 decades (with higher education sponsored by GM), whereas the latter has been there for 3 decades, having earned a doctoral degree outside his home country. The latter (latest) comes from a military background/family, but it would be rather unfair to attribute that to himself, also unfair from a privacy standpoint (his father, however, was a high-profile military officer, not merely a troop).

“Whether Red Hat can lecture us all on ethics depends on whether we view Red Hat as still separate (it’s not; not any more than ATI is still separate from AMD).”IBM’s CEO since April of this year is an “army kid”, said The Economic Times. “Krishna, 57, [is] son of an Indian army officer,” wrote Times of India. It’s not a secret. It would be nice to see the Ph.D. thesis and some of the patents/scholarly articles he authored or edited. We wish to see the ethical aspects of these; he worked for the unit named after Watson himself (a Nazi medal recipient) and that unit does things like surveillance and military-grade stuff. We know that IBM is hoping to profit from fascistic methods mastered and ‘normalised’ by Mr. Modi, who poses for duo photos (during pandemic it’s harder to meet in person like Ginni did) with Dr. Krishna. Remember that India has nukes.

In conclusion, today’s Red Hat is connected to all sorts of burdensome stories and a really harsh history. Morality is misplaced in that context. It’s all about money and power. Whether Red Hat can lecture us all on ethics depends on whether we view Red Hat as still separate (it’s not; not any more than ATI is still separate from AMD).

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