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07.01.20

Contrary to Common Misconceptions, Free Software is More ‘Corporate’ or More ‘Enterprise-Grade’ Than Proprietary Abandonware (All Proprietary Software Will Die)

Posted in Free/Libre Software, FUD, IBM, Microsoft at 3:23 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Let’s turn the tables on them because all they have is shallow marketing

A boardroom revisited

Summary: Free software can leverage the superficial and bland boardroom lingo/slang to promote itself; it would definitely harm or dilute/weaken the terms which proprietary software giants like to leverage against us

ANY piece of proprietary software will one day die for good unless its code is liberated (if that happens belatedly, like Microsoft releasing code it wrote before I was born… no sooner than 2020… then it’s worthless).

“When we look objectively at Linux and assess the breadth of usage of GNU or Curl or Firefox (well, not so much anymore because Mozilla lost its way) we quickly come to the realisation that the world is based on Free software.”FUD isn’t a new concept. Blame IBM for it. IBM started it. Evil company. Monopolist. Arrogant. Ask people old enough (like parents or grandparents if you’re young) how smug IBM engineers used to be back in the days they were presumed emperors of the universe, both hardware and software. Without IBM, Microsoft would be nothing (probably wouldn’t exist past the 1980s).

A month ago I quit reading "Open Source" news after more than 15 years (doing so every day!); it was so full of FUD and misinformation that I could no longer stand it. It was pure noise or close to pure noise (over 90% of it was garbage).

“So basically, what the media calls “Open Source” is nowadays more suitable (for pragmatic reason) or fit for purpose (technically) than this “enterprise software” or “commercial software”…”When we look objectively at Linux and assess the breadth of usage of GNU or Curl or Firefox (well, not so much anymore because Mozilla lost its way) we quickly come to the realisation that the world is based on Free software. It runs everywhere (never mind if the media calls it “Open Source”; the media giants have their own agenda, based upon the owners’). If there’s that (false) dichotomy of “enterprise software” or “commercial software” (what the media likes calling secret/proprietary software) compared to “free” stuff (they mean price but mockingly allude to free/libre software as shoddy), why do so many choose the latter — and more so over time, despite all the FUD?

Maybe it’s technically better, right?

And if it’s copyleft-licensed (GPL is still vast in the lines of code sense), then “enterprise software” or “commercial software” can have none of that (unless it decides to self-liberate).

“If Microsoft et al can hijack and warp the meaning of words, so can (should?) we.”So basically, what the media calls “Open Source” is nowadays more suitable (for pragmatic reason) or fit for purpose (technically) than this “enterprise software” or “commercial software”…

Let’s take control of words like ‘corporate’ (whatever they even mean), too. The openwashing agenda misuses these words to confuse us.

“What software do you use, Madam?”

“I use commercial enterprise corporate GNU software, thanks for asking, Sir!”

If Microsoft et al can hijack and warp the meaning of words, so can (should?) we. Messaging is very important, sometimes as important as the code, as with poor messaging it’s hard to convince people to actually use the code.

What Freedom of Software Actually Means to Us

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

Liberty

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Sarcasm noted.

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

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

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

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

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

06.29.20

The Rumours of North Carolina Layoffs and the Atmosphere at IBM/Red Hat Under New Management

Posted in IBM, Microsoft, Patents, Red Hat at 6:13 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

North Carolina

Summary: IBM would send the wrong message if it laid off even a single Red Hat employee; we shall be watching closely how IBM changes (if at all) its patent policy and what kind of staff it is planning to let go (maybe the in-house lawyers, which would be a sign of progress)

THIS post is supposed to inform, not to upset. It is not a simple subject and it isn’t easy to bring it up without potentially upsetting Red Hat employees. But it doesn’t seem like anyone is willing to research and openly discuss this, so here we go.

As every Red Hat employee is aware at this moment (and has been aware for months or at least weeks), IBM plans to lay off workers. There’s no escaping the office gossip or denying that fact because IBM isn’t refuting any of the many reports about it. Just to be clear, this problem isn’t unique to IBM. Microsoft announced layoffs at least three times over the past month alone. What we won’t do is speculate. We want to know the effect, if any, on Red Hat as a business unit of IBM. Cuts would not be beneficial to GNU/Linux, unless one loathes certain technologies or activities of Red Hat (like patenting).

“As every Red Hat employee is aware at this moment (and has been aware for months or at least weeks), IBM plans to lay off workers.”It should be obvious that IBM does not need two HR departments, two marketing departments, two legal departments and so on. There’s overlap and commonality; fusion may still mean redundancies.

As per Triangle Business Journal, North Carolina (NC) is among the places where layoffs will happen (“IBM (NYSE: IBM) cutting ‘thousands’ of workers across US, including North Carolina”). Red Hat was founded there and its headquarters are there. But not only Red Hat. See articles like “IBM is cutting ‘thousands’ of jobs across the US amid COVID-19 pandemic” which say about “IBM’s presence in North Carolina” that “IBM employs more than 1,000 people at its RTP office, making it one of the largest and most important tech employers in the Triangle.”

“There’s a dismissive reference there to Jim Whitehurst, Red Hat’s CEO who became president at IBM.”So layoffs in North Carolina might have no impact on Red Hat employees. Another article in the same site (“IBM to lay off more than 1,000 employees, report says”) is consistent with this. “IBM employs thousands of people across North Carolina,” says the local press (“IBM cuts ‘thousands’ of jobs across the US, NC included”) and topics regarding layoffs at Red Hat contain no information of relevance. One person wrote anonymously: “Congratulations CEE VP’s & Directors. You’ve finally acheived [sic] your goal of top down management & ruling with fear. No more questions & input from those annoying OG RHatters. IBM assimilation will be complete with the virus layoffs that are sure to follow…”

There’s a dismissive reference there to Jim Whitehurst, Red Hat’s CEO who became president at IBM. It formally happened a couple of months ago. “You have management that shields their eyes and refuses to acknowledge that anything is different,” said a comment. “Then you have the kool aid kiddies of memo-list who will simply acquiesce with self denial.”

“If Whitehurst and the new CEO are serious about GNU/Linux, not a single Red Hat person would get the sack.”There’s a complaint about the management style. Alexandre Oliva left last year, citing issues associated with non-free software the workers were expected to use (some old reports say that IBM is imposing Slack on all staff).

In short, we lack evidence that Red Hat employees are on the ‘chopping block’; the NC-based workers whose job is at risk might be in no way associated with Red Hat. Having said that, if you are a Red Hat employee and have heard rumours or have seen something concrete about impending layoffs at Red Hat, please contact us privately. By airing concerns associated with that perhaps we can change IBM’s plan, fearing backlash before or after such a move. If Whitehurst and the new CEO are serious about GNU/Linux, not a single Red Hat person would get the sack. Red Hat is profitable; no reason for anyone to lose the job.

06.27.20

Shopping and Materialism on the Demise, Just like Proprietary Software

Posted in Apple, Free/Libre Software, GNU/Linux, IBM, Microsoft at 3:56 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Star Trek Black Friday: Proprietary Software 'consumers' fighting over everything while Free software enthusiasts download stuff for free and don't get what the whole fuss is about

Summary: The old way of doing business may be coming to an end; but the monopolists of the past are now increasingly eager to hijack whatever renders them obsolete

APPLE is closing stores again. Too much of COVID-19. Apple is also blasting its own foot, or pulling the rug from under developers’ and users’ feet by changing hardware interfaces.

Microsoft is shutting down whole units. It’s laying off staff. It’s faking its financial results to appease gullible investors who find buzzwords like “cloud” alluring. A reader sent us this article from yesterday (screenshot below):

Microsoft Is Permanently Shutting Down All 83 of Its Retail Stores

Yes, that means many more layoffs (but unannounced perhaps, due to the temping/contracting loophole).

We already know, based on numerous independent data points, that GNU/Linux is gaining. OEMs have witnessed the same thing and the biggest OEMs increasingly offer GNU/Linux as a default option. That’s good. It’s definitely better than those OEMs offering no choice other than Windows.

“We already know, based on numerous independent data points, that GNU/Linux is gaining.”Almost a fortnight ago shops reopened here in the UK. The ‘non-essential’ type. I went to Town within one hour of them reopening and found the whole experience depressing at best. Not because it was overcrowded (after nearly 3 months’ shut-down) but the exact opposite. I went to those stores twice more since then. The shopping malls, the stores around Town (outdoors), the kiosks… all of them mostly empty (and strict rules for those that actually reopened; many did not). My wife saw the same thing yesterday and was disappointed if not frustrated, not because she enjoys shopping (we’re not into consumerism) but because it looked like businesses would not survive. Not enough shoppers, barely any demand. Perhaps people learned to just pursue the basics while reusing and recycling what they already had. That’s very good for the environment, but with no job prospects we may need something like the “New Deal” (lots of people are unoccupied or grossly under-occupied; some occupants, as in tenants, cannot even pay rent).

“With the abduction of the Linux Foundation, the OSI and so on their vision is almost fulfilled.”Critical thinkers and sceptics alike would likely say that the writings are on the wall; people can barely buy stuff, let alone rent anything (the short-term contingency when ownership isn’t feasible). In these arduous, difficult conditions Free software, of which GNU/Linux is a subset, is set to thrive. People have a lot of time, but not a lot of money. They’re willing to learn new things, but not to spent/waste a lot of money. The corporate coup against GNU/Linux will most certainly carry on. Microsoft will tell us that it “loves” what replaces Windows (more so if you use that thing under Windows and pay for alleged patent infringements). IBM will put systemd in everything and outsource to Microsoft, as it did 3 decades ago.

There should be no question about it in anybody’s mind; the old world of software is dying, so right now those companies are preoccupied with hijacking what replaces them. We, as a community, need to react and respond to that. Otherwise we’ll have another prison or 4 more walls around us, disguised as “Open Source”, promising us not Freedom but a free GitHub account so we can become some volunteer workforce for Microsoft, for Facebook, for IBM…

With the abduction of the Linux Foundation, the OSI and so on their vision is almost fulfilled. We need to take back control. This recession if not depression may kill some of them; let’s not drown together with them.

06.26.20

Mixed Loyalties, Including to a Surveillance Industry

Posted in Finance, IBM, Red Hat at 3:36 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

…And not just Red Hat’s ties to the NSA (and IBM’s)

AltaVista Cormier
From AltaVista–Almost Google

Summary: Having cashed in on $27,325,797 worth of Cloudera shares while still sitting on the board of Cloudera and its NSA assets, in addition to a position in SolarWinds Corp (proprietary software), Red Hat’s CEO is a rich man; the question is, how loyal is he to Free software and Red Hat’s goals?

THE new CEO of Red Hat is a technical and seemingly decent/modest man. I was personally relieved what they announced he had been appointed CEO, having followed him since his earlier days at Red Hat. The only thing or the main thing that gives me discomfort is his Cloudera and Hortonworks role (they merged amid troubles). Based on public information, more than a month after he became Red Hat’s CEO he is still involved in that:

Cormier shares

As noted above and elsewhere, he’s still on the board of an NSA-connected company and a Board Member of SolarWinds Corp (proprietary software), which describes him as having “served on our board of directors since October 2018. Mr. Cormier previously served on our board of directors from July 2014 until the Take Private. Mr. Cormier has served as President, Products and Technologies of Red Hat, Inc. (NYSE: RHT) since April 2008 and as Executive Vice President of Red Hat since May 2001.” A page last updated a week ago says: “The estimated Net Worth of Paul J Cormier is at least $28.5 Million dollars as of 15 June 2020. Mr. Cormier owns over 40,140 units of Cloudera stock worth over $912,561 and over the last 13 years he sold CLDR stock worth over $27,325,797. In addition, he makes $285,002 as Independent Director at Cloudera.”

Maybe the solution to all this is simple; as Red Hat’s CEO under IBM’s leadership (the IBM Board) he should leave those other companies — and boards — behind. Too many companies out there have mixed loyalties; board members are members in many different corporations, so there’s no true dedication to any one in particular. Board members of IBM can still recall that Microsoft got 'the big break' only because of the mother of Bill Gates.

06.24.20

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

06.23.20

[Humour] Anti-RMS Venom

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

Context: Guix Petition Demographic Data, by Figosdev

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

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

06.19.20

[Humour] GitHub-Hosted Fedora (Microsoft Watching, Censoring, ‘Farming’ Users)

Posted in GNU/Linux, IBM, Microsoft, Red Hat at 9:46 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Context (not a joke): 2 Years After Microsoft Hijacked GitHub for Monopoly Fedora Still Has Well Over 100 Projects in Microsoft’s GitHub (Not Even Counting Red Hat’s and Systemd)

Black Woman Drinking Tea: Welcome to Fedora, Sit Back While We Connect to the Microsoft Servers, Microsoft?!

Summary: The promise of freedom isn’t being fulfilled by Fedora; it needs to ask IBM/Red Hat to set up more Git infrastructure that IBM/Red (and Fedora) can control, not one that the competition (Microsoft) controls

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