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09.28.19

LF Kool-Aid is Unhealthy to Linux

Posted in Free/Libre Software, GNU/Linux, IBM, Kernel, Marketing, Microsoft, OSDL, Red Hat at 3:33 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

The Linux Foundation (LF) business model, which revolves around marketing and openwashing, is draining the life out of Linux

LF Kool-Aid

Summary: Lack of devotion to Linux, the very thing that the LF is named after, is putting the project at peril; Linux is meanwhile, under the auspices of the LF and Microsoft GitHub, becoming IBM™ systemd®

HESITATION to publish this article can be attributed solely to largely speculative remarks about how Linus Torvalds thinks and feels. He has not spoken to me for a long time, though I don’t choose to interpret that as snobbery. I just don’t think he’s free to say as much as he did in the past (we corresponded even before the Linux Foundation existed).

Some time earlier this month (depending on one’s subscription/paywall status) I saw a photograph of Torvalds at LWN. I don’t see many photographs of him anymore even though I read Linux news all day long; he keeps a relatively low profile and he doesn’t make many public appearances any longer. The ‘face of Linux’ has changed. So anyway, earlier this month LWN published an article with the following photograph of Torvalds, who is only in his forties. I don’t want to ‘creep up’ and talk about his personal life, but this made me wonder if Torvalds even leaves the house much (he says he works in a bathrobe; he apparently exercises at home only, or so I’m led to assume because there’s a treadmill there); he looks older than he is in this photo. He looks/seems to have aged faster in recent years. Readers can judge for themselves. This is 2019:

Linus Torvalds 2019

5 years ago (famous picture, mirrored for comparative purposes):

Linus Torvalds 2014

Read the comments in LWN. “Is that really a photo of Torvalds on the left? Jesus, he looks like he has aged like, 20 years since 2012,” says the first comment.

“He’s not wearing glasses, looks like a very different person without them” was the unconvincing first reply. I saw him without eyeglasses many times before.

The next comment said, “bad photograph, perhaps, i saw him in 2018, he looked much younger” and immediately after that: “Was that before he took the politeness training break?”

This refers to the famous incident we’ll come to in a moment.

Out of 8 comments in total only a single comment (the one by Paul McKenney) isn’t about that photograph of Torvalds (and what it says about aging). So people were certainly taken aback.

I personally have a lot of respect for Torvalds. He’s a geek and he’s a hard-working person. Very hard-working. He typically releases Linux and its release candidates on a Sunday, sometimes even late at night or whilst on holiday. That’s dedication. It’s a 30-year (nearly 30) devotion.

Torvalds is in it for Linux.

Zemlin is in it for the money.

Microsoft is in it for sabotage.

“Zemlin is in it for the money.”The Linux Foundation is a facilitator of corporations’ power (including Microsoft’s). It may have outlived its usefulness (long ago). There’s also the IBM factor, which can give room for concern. In the 1980s we had RMS, FSF and his GNU project/manifesto. The 1990s saw media shifting all attention to Torvalds, the ‘new wunderkind’ (child prodigy) on the scene. IBM was happy to boost him as a poster child after he had made a kernel that went well with GNU (he said Linux was nothing professional like GNU). In the 2000s GNU was already ignored; “What’s that,” people might respond. “Oh….. You mean Linux!”

In the 2010s Red Hat was propping up systemd after the ‘Pulseaudio experiment’. It was introduced initially as just an init system (process number one or zero); from “nothing professional like Linux” it’s quickly turning into a replacement to most of Linux. The 2020s, in IBM’s vision (now that it owns Red Hat), might be an IBM-controlled system with very frequent releases of systemd to keep the competition always behind, always chasing IBM.

The LF has had virtually nothing to say about technical aspects and competitive aspects of the above. Nothing. It’s too busy doing what it does best: outsourcing projects to Microsoft (GitHub, where systemd too is hosted).

“Torvalds might not be in real control of the project he started almost 3 decades ago. Maybe he should consider picking his trademark and relocating elsewhere, as he did back in 2007.”Maybe it’s time to begrudgingly reach the conclusion that LF became another OSDL. A lot of people don’t know or don’t remember it, but OSDL was disbanded after it had been mostly abandoned by key Linux people. This is a matter of suppressed public record. They hated the OSDL and thought it went all wrong. It used terms like “IP” to sell services (article by John Oates), it wanted its own ‘GitHub’ (article by Ingrid Marson), it wanted Microsoft Office, and it was generally getting close to Microsoft. Sounds familiar? To quote Slashdot: “Martin Taylor, Microsoft’s general manager of platform strategy, declined to comment on the specifics of what was discussed when he met with OSDL’s CEO Stuart Cohen, only to say that they met.”

Readers have long told us that Torvalds went sort of silent or at least quiet after serving some time in the ‘penalty box’ one year ago (due to a media lynch akin to that which ousted Richard Stallman; he’s being pressured to be more 'corporate' (a 'socially-engineered' Torvalds), never use strong words, or else risk ousting). Judging by the photo above (it’s public), he might not be all that happy either. Torvalds might not be in real control of the project he started almost 3 decades ago. Maybe he should consider picking his trademark and relocating elsewhere, as he did back in 2007. Jim Zemlin and his corporate friends can carry on running their PR agency under a different name. Maybe they’ll even be asked, belatedly, to pay their taxes (if the IRS reassesses their status). “Not under my name…”

08.03.19

How the Linux Foundation Devolved From Community-Centric to Microsoft (in GitHub) Projects

Posted in GNU/Linux, Microsoft, OSDL at 4:51 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

The Linux Foundation stands for almost nothing anymore

Winux Foundation logo

Summary: The history of the Foundation which employs Linus Torvalds shows a gradual and at times rapid change of focus; it has become little more than a cash register for corporate deposits and influence-buying (like a PAC)

IT IS EASY TO SEE THAT THE Linux Foundation, or the “Winux Foundation” as one reader of ours chose to call it (he perfected the logo above), isn’t moving in a positive direction. This year or the past year it has gotten a lot worse — to the point where we dropped a lot of coverage about patents (especially in the US) and instead focused on the Foundation. It’s a subject we’ve covered since its inception more than 12 years ago. I’m totally not new to it; I’ve covered this foundation’s internal affairs very closely since the very start and even prior to it (before OSDL, Torvalds’ employer since 2003, sacked its staff and was absorbed into Zemlin’s group, whereupon a rename happened*, leaving OSDL people seeking alternative routes**)

If one looks at the Foundation’s site as it looked one decade ago, “Community, Collaborate, Participate” appear as three consecutive top-level sections. They did at least strive to appear like they stand for something. This is what things looked like a decade ago at the “Linux Foundation” (which did not snub and mock the actual community, i.e. people who develop and use GNU/Linux). Today, in 2019, top-level sections at the “Linux Foundation” are “Projects, Membership, Events, Training, Resources, Newsroom, About”

“The sole goal is to maximise profits.”No “Community”.

No “Collaborate”.

No “Participate” (unless you pay, i.e. “Membership”).

When did it all change? It didn’t happen overnight.

By 2014 the Linux Foundation only had “COLLABORATIVE PROJECTS” left in top-level sections (“Community, Collaborate, Participate” had been removed). It’s no longer there anymore. Now it’s just a bunch of Microsoft (in GitHub) projects, controlled by massive companies like AT&T.

“Linux” is to the Linux Foundation what Linux was to SCO before the lawsuit. Or what Xenix was to Microsoft. It’s something that’s kept at the edge or even at the corner while bigger projects are promoted instead. The sole goal is to maximise profits.
____
* A lot of people don’t know this, but linuxfoundation.org (the domain) and linuxfoundation.com were both registered even years before the actual foundation existed (mind timelines in the Wayback Machine [1, 2]). Back in the 1990s the “Linux Foundation” site sold non-Linux things. It wasn’t even about Linux.
** Stuart Cohen, OSDL’s chief and then CSI (Collaborative Software Initiative) chief, vanished off the radar about a decade ago; it’s hard to see him publicly at any capacity. His online presence is mainly interviews from the OSDL and CSI days, i.e. more than a decade back.

05.28.19

Linux Foundation and the Big Surveillance Industry, Media Industry, Microsoft Azure

Posted in GNU/Linux, Marketing, Microsoft, OSDL at 5:12 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

James Clapper

Summary: The Linux Foundation has become a complex creature with intricate corporate ties and government ties as well (especially the US government); these relationships need to be better understood

IT HAS BEEN a while since we last wrote about the Linux Foundation. We habitually post links to news about it (in our daily links), but we haven’t had time to write articles on the subject. Partly because affairs at the European Patent Office (EPO) are heating up again, culminating in a likely strike next month.

“That undoubtedly disputes claims that the PAC exists merely to pay Mr. Torvalds his salary.”Quite a few things have happened at Zemlin’s PAC this past month. First of all, we came to discover that Amanda McPherson no longer works there. She was receiving about as much money (salary at around half a million dollars per year) as Linus Torvalds. For marketing. That undoubtedly disputes claims that the PAC exists merely to pay Mr. Torvalds his salary. More curious, however, is the background of her successor/replacement. It’s a former spokesperson of James Clapper, best known for lying and perjury (he is deeply connected to Edward Snowden’s employer, Booz Allen Hamilton, and US spying operations at a Federal level too, but to the public he is known as a famous liar because the media focused on it for years). About a week ago the somewhat crypic press release (lacking context) revealed that Huawei connections got the PAC in trouble with the US government, which possibly put direct pressure on the PAC. Here’s how this press release started: “Thank you for your inquiry regarding concerns with a member subject to an Entity List Ruling.[1] While statements in the Executive Order prompting the listing used language granting a broader scope of authority, the Huawei Entity List ruling was specifically scoped to activities and transactions subject to the Export Administration Regulation (EAR).”

Who did the Linux Foundation speak to when it said “Thank you for your inquiry regarding concerns with a member subject to an Entity List Ruling”?

Did some fellow members complain? The final words: “If there is a unique situation of concern, we encourage you to reach out directly to legal@linuxfoundation.org.”

Earlier today we wrote about the increasing likelihood of China's adoption of GNU/Linux at a much larger scale. What might the US government do next? It certainly has a lot of control over the PAC and ways to punish/blackmail it (e.g. removal of the non-profit status or revocation of licence to operate).

This post is a bit of a preview or a look behind the scenes; it’s the subject of ongoing research into the PAC’s strands of work, including the new initiative for “surveillance capitalism” in an ‘urban’ context (companies like Uber and Google, along with “smart cities” and “edge”). We posted many links about this in recent days, weeks and even months (when it was first announced with little additional details). We are also studying the PAC’s media ties (connections to external sites), which do exist but are difficult to decipher (especially money flow, if any, not just staff moves that are simpler to detect). More about training partners ought to be known too; it’s no secret that the PAC nowadays promotes Microsoft Azure at some capacity.

“There are many interests and various powerful corporations in the mix; it’s only rational to attempt to figure out what they want and what they do to their PAC.”We are still not sure why McPherson left (or was pushed out) and Clapper’s former spokesperson became the Linux Foundation’s. McPherson seems to be working in academia now; some colleagues of hers (also alumni of the PAC) moved to media companies. There’s growing suspicion and some evidence of a connection. The Linux Foundation (LF) links to sites of its alumni and these alumni, in turn, write many articles about Linux Foundation projects and sponsors. “I’m trying to find out why the push for Yocto,” one reader told us, “what push does LF have with members for involvement with these projects no one uses? The recent Forbes article about Clear Linux… is that paid for too? The push to use LF projects by partners/members, I guess is understandable. Buying magazine space to promote… seems shady. Need facts.”

We are certainly going to write more about these subjects in weeks or months to come. We also depend on readers’ input, however meager, so we welcome feedback if not leaks (the latter is rare). There are many interests and various powerful corporations in the mix; it’s only rational to attempt to figure out what they want and what they do to their PAC. Microsoft is only one of several [1, 2], so it would be wrong to focus only on this one company.

04.16.19

GNU/Linux is Being Eaten Alive by Large Corporations With Their Agenda

Posted in GNU/Linux, IBM, Microsoft, OSDL, OSI at 8:25 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Asset stripping GNU/LinuxAsset stripping the GNU

Summary: A sort of corporate takeover, or moneyed interests at the expense of our freedom, can be seen as a ‘soft coup’ whose eventual outcome would involve all or most servers in ‘the cloud’ (surveillance with patent tax as part of the rental fees) and almost no laptops/desktops which aren’t remotely controlled (and limit what’s run on them, using something like UEFI ‘secure boot’)

THE WEB is a noisy place. Many people have something to say and several people say that Microsoft “bought” the Linux Foundation (LF) 3 years ago. We keep seeing that claim. In many ways, today’s LF and Microsoft are “on the same page,” so to speak (“Microsoft Loves Linux”, WSL and so on).

“Jim Zemlin, who said his job was to pay Torvalds, pays himself and some colleagues more than he pays Torvalds, as the LF’s IRS filings reveal.”Weeks ago we saw Microsoft staff writing for the Open Source Initiative (OSI) after Microsoft had paid the Open Source Initiative a big bunch of money. Things change rapidly; neither the LF nor the OSI said anything at all about reports that Microsoft is still using patents against vendors that ship Linux. The President of the OSI has spoken on the subject (even as recently as two years ago), but that changed after Microsoft joined the OSI. We mentioned this a year and a half ago.

Going back to the LF, what exactly is it doing? Jim Zemlin, who said his job was to pay Torvalds, pays himself and some colleagues more than he pays Torvalds, as the LF’s IRS filings reveal. They might (by now) be paying themselves up to a million dollars each, tax-exempted, per year, in this ‘non-profit’. We think that the LF needs to improve, not be ended/disbanded. It started similarly to OSDL, but money and power appear to have corrupted it. The LF nowadays engages in a lot of political activities; it even brought in top officials from US politics. Its nature is largely political and it favours large corporations. About a year ago — seeing that LF was no ordinary foundation and was hardly about Linux anymore — a sentiment shared among journalists whom I spoke to — I decided to refer to it as “Zemlin PAC”, just like “Vista 10″ or similar wordplays.

“Months ago Torvalds ‘escorted’ himself out, came back weeks later (from that ‘penalty box’) and has said nothing particularly critical/negative since.”I think that at this moment in time the LF can do a lot better to restore trust. There are various timeline-related issues that led to people souring and distrusting LF, including removal of community members from the Board and adding Microsoft to it (because Microsoft paid). Then there’s the CoC controversy. It is formally called Code of Conduct and it applies to events, mailing lists etc. The LF’s site describes rules by which LF can remove (escort) people out of premises. Months ago Torvalds ‘escorted’ himself out, came back weeks later (from that ‘penalty box’) and has said nothing particularly critical/negative since. I was recently told that in FSF/LibrePlanet too someone was threatened with removal. I thus worry that this influence can continue to expand, reprimanding those who resist it using social means or social engineering.

Similarly, those who claimed to be protectors of Linux from patents turn out to be rather useless or even worse than useless since Microsoft joined them. The LOT Network, for instance, is just a patent pool, which claims to be defensive. If you check who’s behind it (foundations and management at present), you soon realise they are pro-software patents. Additionally, as Bruce Perens put it, OIN exists to protect software patents from us, not us from software patents. LOT is similar. Where does the LF stand on the subject? It never talks about it anymore. In the same message Perens called the LF a GPL infringers’ club (Microsoft is a serial GPL violator). Perens remains a key person in the OSI (he’s also OSD author), but nowadays he’s there among Microsoft staff.

“In the same message Perens called the LF a GPL infringers’ club (Microsoft is a serial GPL violator).”Our concerns are generally shared with many of our readers, one of whom wrote to say (all lowercase, formatting adapted a little but message contents preserved), “hey, red hat did get purchased shortly after github (though not by microsoft, they were purchased by ibm.) what is this, the 80s? “linux” is a lie lasting nearly 30 years. the lie is that linus torvalds created it, and there are multiple generations of people who make that mistake. he was given far too much credit — and people even attribute their “freedom” to his work. we will get back to that freedom in a minute. [...] simon phipps used to say that it’s simply a petty insignificant argument, like life of brian’s “peoples front of judea” vs. “judean peoples front.” the insignificant argument is that free software means anything apart from “open source.” that is an extremely disingenuous claim, given what open source has done for 22 years. no, it’s more like deliberately minimising the work and sacrifice from most of the world in world war ii, and giving all the credit to the americans for coming in later and winning it. the icing on the cake is that phipps conveniently ignores the fact that it is actually open source that started that petty argument themselves. (thanks eddie izzard) [...] “linus! where the fuck have you been?” [...] “having breakfast!” [...] “we are like free software, except better.” is a meme that has co-opted free software for more than 20 years. and it isn’t just co-opting, and rewriting history to paint themselves as more important — they take money for it as well! [..]. hating microsoft is “a disease”, according to torvalds. [...] in light of his recent comments that facebook is also “a disease”, (no argument there) one must ask about this blatant double standard– at what point exactly does a technology company go from being a company which the hatred of is ‘a disease’, to a company that is ‘a disease’ itself? how can torvalds tell the difference? because if he were consistent, he would say that “hating facebook is a disease”– but of course, it isn’t. [...] this is from you mentioning it on pirate.party: every time open source makes something free, something less free comes along for the ride. ubuntu tries to make universal packages — which require you to register for their apple-like app store, and which is now heavily promoting microsoft visual studio code, an ide which brings microsoft telemetry onto your “free” operating system. [..]. at worst, they can go back to the courts and present it as evidence that “yes, these developers (all free software developers) are stealing our property, and we wish to force them to stop.”– to end development of gnu and linux. at best, they can weasel out of any requirements to follow the license, which becomes void when issued by people who don’t “own” gnu and linux. and that seems like the most likely future — microsoft eventually not only rebranding linux (as azure) but relicensing it on their own terms, as “we clearly own it.” [...] important exception: and for the organisations that have met us halfway, and called it “gnu/linux” along with us? it would be unfair (or even dishonest) to pull the rug out from under them, and simply call it “gnu” in that context. insomuch as people only call the operating system “linux,” it is reasonable to call it gnu. recommended reading: benkler-complexity-and-humanity | zero-dollar-laptop | eff-statement-on-assange.”

03.26.19

The Linux Foundation is Not About Linux

Posted in Deception, GNU/Linux, Microsoft, OSDL, VMware at 6:43 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

It used to be, but not anymore

Linux Foundation logo

Summary: Linux Foundation (LF) objectives/missions do not resemble what the Open Source Development Labs, Inc. (OSDL) was founded to accomplish; this puts at grave threat the very raison d’être of both GNU and Linux

THE more we write about the Linux Foundation, the more feedback we receive from readers who teach us things we didn’t know and which these readers feel urged/eager to mention (albeit anonymously, or to be quoted under the condition of anonymity).

“Many corporations are associated with it, so people don’t want to be painted as troublemakers or — at worst — sexist/racist…”The Linux Foundation is big business, it’s big money. Many corporations are associated with it, so people don’t want to be painted as troublemakers or — at worst — sexist/racist (corporations increasingly use these angles to whiten their reputation and condemn critics of these corporations’ supposed “causes”). I certainly saw Microsoft trying this on me…

A reader has just told us that “the board members of the Linux Foundation consist of people from Google, Facebook, IBM, Microsoft, Oracle and many more names I strongly dislike. Is that normal for a foundation like that? I’m a longtime Linux user wondering why the Linux desktop is not moving forwards, I never read about this before…”

“Hi, Roy,” wrote another reader this morning. “You mentioned Ken Starks yesterday in your article about the LF. He might be a source of even more information on the LF if you ask him, I don’t know for sure but perhaps. He’s apparently still struggling through terrible hardship while doing great work. I guess it would depend on how and why you ask.”

Our reader points out, using the links below1,2, that Starks is still active in trying to get GNU/Linux to children in need.

“…a lot of people will be unlikely to want to criticize the LF directly.”
      –Anonymous
Starks isn’t alone. But these people are apparently reluctant to speak out against something called “Linux Foundation”, fearing it would somehow be framed as being anti-Linux or anti-Torvalds (who is bossed by LF, or by Zemlin, who is in turn bossed by the Board that can presumably fire him). The leverage comes from the very top, i.e. the Board, which now includes Microsoft.

We have not made inquiries ourselves; some readers do so. “However, as you point out,” the above reader continued, “a lot of people will be unlikely to want to criticize the LF directly. Also the way you present the information you uncover will matter a lot for [sic] how what in unearthed gets received.”

“Findings,” as per another reader (writing about support for children’s use of GNU/Linux), are that there’s “1. support in the form of online learning for a group that installs offline labs. 2. support in the past not currently to send speakers to Linux Foundation event — to speak at their conference…”

We wrote about this earlier this morning (Linux Foundation support and what it means by “support”). In my personal view and in my experience (with the LF or its staff), the LF is almost entirely PR. Just look who holds the key positions and receives the highest salaries. Days ago they tried to “befriend” me online. It didn’t work. It’s their job to guard their image, I understand that, but if the goal is to quell dissent, I would not bother… Novell tried this on me over 12 years ago. If nobody speaks out because of approachable, friendly staff, who will?

“None of the funding for travel, food, expenses or equipment was procured through support by Linux Foundation from what I was told and what I saw.”
      –Anonymous
If anything, the LF’s outreach only motivates me to look deeper. What are they trying to silence or suppress? “We don’t need to do this series quickly as the subject matter is timeless,” I recently told a reader, so “I will build up pertinent facts and publish bit by bit.” I’ve been verifying the facts meticulously. Nobody has (yet) pointed out factual flaws or inaccuracies.

In an earlier post of ours Kids on Computers got mentioned. “Kids on Computers set up Pi and maintain many labs in Mexico,” a reader told us. “None of the funding for travel, food, expenses or equipment was procured through support by Linux Foundation from what I was told and what I saw. In fact, Kids on Computers is suffering financially, last I knew. I could get some numbers, but let’s just say they needed and need funding. The discounts for training is really moot in this case — it’s a ridiculous notion. I am going back and asking ‘has anyone in any of the labs you maintain (10+) in Mexico ever used any of these training opportunities?’

“This “support” is a very sad and lame attempt to seem supportive — without doing anything,” the reader continued because “these labs… are OFFLINE [and] these users speak Spanish…

“The Linux Foundation was intended to pay Linus [Torvalds] and maintain standards.”

“The Linux Foundation was intended to pay Linus [Torvalds] and maintain standards.”
      –Anonymous
What has the LF turned into since? We’re probably going to write about their courses and events separately (in the future), but in the meantime not enough people have paid attention to how the salaries exploded (what kind of “charity” pays people like a million bucks a year)? Based on ProPublica, the IRS has had nothing (public at least, as this is the latest and last) since 2016, so we assume that this “charity” now has $100,000,000 or more in turnover (annual). That’s massive. If they double the salaries, accordingly (doubling the turnover), that’s nearly a million bucks a year for a dozen or so staff members. But that’s not what matters (the money); it’s how they use that money which matters and it feels as though LF staff tries to silence/suppress people who investigate it.

It is our understanding that some people blocked Bryan Lunduke (or something along those lines). Jim Zemlin blocked me in Twitter several years ago. If they don’t want to be studied or politely questioned, we shall do yet more of that. In the spirit of freedom, including freedom of expression/speech.

Does the LF respect free speech at all? The CoC suggests otherwise.

The person who donated server resources to Techrights quit Alpine Linux a couple of hours ago (after he had worked on the project for a decade) and wrote: “My only regret is that the project moves in the direction of political correctness over software freedom, and convenience over open governance.”

He had previously opposed Alpine Linux colleagues for playing along with Microsoft in their WSL ploy (Windows disguised as “Linux”, i.e. classic EEE).

“My only regret is that the project moves in the direction of political correctness over software freedom, and convenience over open governance.”
      –Anonymous
What does the LF help with? Putting GNU inside Windows? What about GNU/Linux desktops? It seems like “adding Netflix” (DRM) is the priority now.

We think companies can directly help projects like Debian instead of giving money to LF (to pay a million bucks a year to “executives” in a tax-exempt “non-profit”).

“I have had it with their [LF's] accepting sponsorship from VMWare (especially from what I heard about not releasing the GPL’d code),” one reader said, “their adoption and recommendation of the Censorship Covenant – especially after the horrible behavior by the author, and the fact this controls speech.”

This reader continued: “I have said, the Contribution Covenant is a boil on the ass of our community…”

“I have said, the Contribution Covenant is a boil on the ass of our community…”
      –Anonymous
That perhaps is another subject worth tackling. By covering the European Patent Office (EPO) quite a lot over the past half a decade we missed the chance to comment much about the LF’s attitude towards the GPL and the whole VMware affair. On the CoC we only wrote this very short post last year.

We welcome input from readers and maybe, some time in the near future, contact the above people, including Bryan Lunduke, a former Microsoft employee who keeps alerting that Microsoft hijacks the LF.
_________

  1. [Old] Ten Years After – Part 1

    Fortunately as it played out, that worry was a waste of emotional energy. Not that there weren’t problems in the beginning. There were, but once I was able to show these students a few simple ways to avoid Windows and Linux bumping heads; these kids dug in and began to learn. As it turns out, it wasn’t the students I needed to worry about. Others with much more sway were waiting in the wings to undo months of preparation and success. People that, with ill intention or not, could sink the good ship Linux, at least locally on my end. Initially, some of them did quite a bit of damage.

  2. [Older] Ten Years After Part III – A Storied Conclusion

    While Alton’s case isn’t the norm, it’s good to know that he picked up on the Linux desktop without a lot of drama or angst. However, that too isn’t the norm. As promised in the first part of this “Ten Years After” series, I’ve went over all of the questionnaires and emails and there are only three real “issues” these kids could find to mention, and I mean mentioned in force. Don’t get me wrong, there were a lot of different types of complaints, but they were, to be honest, nit-picky at best. I don’t think anyone will find any surprises here. So here they are.

02.10.19

Jim Zemlin’s PAC Keeps Raising Money From Microsoft

Posted in Free/Libre Software, GNU/Linux, Microsoft, OSDL, OSI at 12:32 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Today’s Linux Foundation, de facto successor of OSDL, is fronting for proprietary software companies — a very profitable business prospect

Jim Zemlin's PAC
Quite a few of the above are former Microsoft employees (document from IRS)

Summary: The Open Source Definition’s author as well as various Free/Open Source software (FOSS) luminaries warn of an attack on FOSS (“efforts to undermine the integrity of open source”); it’s not too hard to see who participates in it or enables such attacks

SOME days ago the media was ‘aflood’ or awash with reports (literally dozens like this one) about Microsoft stepping deeper into the Linux Foundation, spurring backlash and motivating some readers to write to us about it. As one reader once framed it, the Linux Foundation monetises the handover of Linux and pertinent related pieces, composed by volunteers, to the corporations that ‘buy’ these. It is a fantastic “business model” if it can be called that (imagine passing it off as a “charity”, too). Jim Zemlin and his fellow PR people (and accountant) receive outrageously large salaries, based on public filings (see above). We’re talking about something like $600,000 per year, possibly tax-exempt because they pose as a non-profit. The above is from 2015, so these salaries have likely increased since. As Bryan Lunduke pointed out at some point, these people earn even more money than Linus Torvalds himself (the people or person whose trademarks they convert into cash). Is he in it for software freedom or just for the money? Zemlin is not a technical person.

“…recently there have been efforts to undermine the integrity of open source…”
      –OSI
I’ve long attempted to refrain from being too harsh on the Linux Foundation because I recognise we have vastly greater threats out there (threats to software freedom). The question remains, however, how much Microsoft money is too much and when does the Linux Foundation represent the interests of proprietary software companies more than it represents Free software (or “Open Source”) ideals?

OSI, which also received Microsoft money not too long ago, now warns about an effort to “undermine the integrity of open source”. To quote Business Insider’s new artice, “one of Silicon Valley’s most important industry groups warns that the definition of the term “open source” must be guarded just as zealously as that of the kilogram — and that “recently there have been efforts to undermine the integrity of open source” by stretching the definition to suit their own self-interest.”

“It’s no wonder that the OSI’s Bruce Perens warned a couple of years ago that the the Linux Foundation had become an infringers’ club (he was alluding to GPL infringements).”You just know something is very wrong when pro-GPL groups are being made up just to be dominated by serial GPL infringers like Microsoft and VMware. Who’s facilitating it (and profiting from it)? The Linux Foundation. It’s no wonder that the OSI’s Bruce Perens warned a couple of years ago that the the Linux Foundation had become an infringers’ club (he was alluding to GPL infringements). His views on OIN weren’t any more flattering. This isn’t some random person but the person who came up with the Open Source Definition and is generally supportive (and close to) the FSF/Free Software movement.

“I would love to see all open source innovation happen on top of Windows.”

Steve Ballmer, Microsoft CEO

04.06.17

OSDL, OIN, Linux Foundation, PAX and the Likes of Them Dodge the Real Problem, Which is Software Patents

Posted in GNU/Linux, Google, OIN, OSDL, Patents at 10:26 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Their biggest sponsors simply do not oppose software patents and instead hoard some themselves

Linux Foundation sponsors

Summary: The arms race of patents, or the notion that bad patents can be countered using more bad patents, has become an infectious mentality that acts as a barrier to real progress and only makes the patent thickets a lot ‘thicker’ (impenetrable to small companies/market entrants)

THE US patent office is no longer as lenient as it used to be, but software patents continue to be granted on occasions and troll lawsuits are still being filed (albeit fewer of them than before). As so many companies out there now use Android (Linux), the targets of litigation are often users/distributors of Android and hence “PAX” has some real/perceived necessity. We recently wrote two articles about PAX [1, 2] and Andrew Updegrove, who had worked for the Linux Foundation, wrote the following about it yesterday, under the headline “Google Announces Android “PAX” Cross-License Program – But to What Purpose?”

The first meaningful OSS defensive initiative was Open Source Development Labs (OSDL), founded back in 2000 by companies like IBM, Intel and HP to reassure developers and customers in the face of the veiled threats then being made by Microsoft against users of Linux and other OSS, and in light of the actual (and ultimately unsuccessful) litigation by SCO, perhaps bankrolled by Microsoft, against four companies using Linux.

[...]

Like OSDL, OIN was heavily funded by its founding members and has a high-powered Executive Director and staff. Over 2,000 organizations have now signed the OIN License Agreement, which you can read here, without having to send in a request to be vetted, or incurring a confidentiality obligation.

And then there are the many efforts that were far less meaningful. Beginning with an announcement by IBM on January 11, 2005, many of the leading IT companies made public “patent non-assertion pledges” to reassure users of Linux (and sometimes other prominent OSS programs) that they would not be sued. Those companies ultimately included Motorola, Nokia, Sun, Google, Oracle and others, each publicly releasing its own slightly different legal pledge, and its own specified list of patents – dozens, scores and even hundreds of them. In the case of IBM, the package included exactly 500 patents, an oddly round number. (The same press release also noted that IBM had filed more patents than anyone else for the fourth year in a row, conveying a rather mixed message to the patent-averse open source community.)

PAX and OIN are both ineffective against trolls and as we reminded readers earlier this afternoon, companies like Ericsson and Microsoft pass patents for trolls to sue, bypassing all sorts of alleged defenses such as OIN.

Yesterday or earlier this week, more detailed analysis emerged on the cases involving Samsung, Apple and Qualcomm (which had abused its position against both Samsung and Apple). To quote what Florian Müller wrote this morning:

Procedural decisions relating to two major Apple cases have come down this week. With respect to design patent damages in Apple v. Samsung, Apple did not get its preferred way forward (affirmance of prior damages verdict and an immediate re-retrial necessitated by the Federal Circuit’s dismissal of Apple’s trade dress claims), but the United States Judicial Panel on Multidistrict Litigation has granted Apple’s wish that its contract, patent and antitrust action against Qualcomm be kept separate from a long list of (consumer) antitrust cases related to the FTC’s mid-January complaint against Qualcomm.

There isn’t much to say right now about the Apple v. Samsung design patents case. In a case management order handed down on Tuesday, Judge Lucy Koh disagreed with Apple’s most aggressive suggestions, which would have cut the remand proceedings short (after the Federal Circuit decided that the district court should take a closer look at the record in light of the December Supreme Court ruling). I’m not surprised and I doubt Apple itself was.

Qualcomm’s abuses against all sorts of companies were covered here before [1, 2] and where were groups like OIN while this was going on? Nowhere. Because in practice they are something between “deterrent” and “bloody useless”. To properly address these issues, we need to tackle the underlying issues, which are the patents themselves, notably software patents that Qualcomm still uses and advocates for.

03.13.10

Latest SCO-Novell Drama in a Nutshell

Posted in Courtroom, GNU/Linux, Microsoft, Novell, OSDL, SCO, UNIX at 7:38 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Alcatraz

Summary: How SCO orchestrated attacks on Groklaw and other takes on the trial against Novell

WE generally cover the SCO case only when there is a major development. One new post that we found particularly curious is titled “Blake Stowell Email to Maureen O’Gara: ‘I Need You to Send a Jab PJ’s Way’” (SCO also paid O'Gara, who carries on lying about the case).

This shows how corruptible the press really is, but then again it’s Sys-Con [1, 2, 3, 4, 5], which is far worse than Fox. Microsoft also used Maureen O'Gara to send a jab in the Linux Foundation's way (OSDL at the time). Microsoft didn’t do this directly. In order to reduce the risk, it used its main PR agency (there are several), Waggener Edstrom. Anyway, here is what Groklaw writes:

So. Now I know. Now we all know.

Blake Stowell, then the PR guy for SCO, sent an email to Maureen O’Gara, saying “I need you to send a jab PJ’s way,” and then right afterwards she wrote that invasive so-called expose, in which she revealed, or at least intended to reveal, things like who I called on my phone. A la the HP scandal. She got fired for doing it the way she did, and the then-publisher apologized to me publicly, but she says in the deposition she’s not sorry a bit.

We learn this by reading excerpts from her deposition, previously under seal, attached to a letter [PDF] SCO’s attorney sent to the court. SCO doesn’t want the part of her deposition video played where she talks about me and Groklaw. It’s beyond eye-opening, however, despite her pretense, as I see it, that there is no connection between the two events.

They also don’t want the part about an email she sent to SCO, subject line, “I want war pay,” played. It’s allegedly humor. Just chatter. But you know, she is on the list of people SCO owes money to, now that I think of it, filed in connection with the bankruptcy. I wonder for what?

It isn’t acceptable, in my eyes, that SCO’s attorneys invariably smear Groklaw in every filing that mentions it. They don’t just say “Groklaw,” they say “the anti-SCO website, Groklaw.” One can say quite a lot in legal filings, and get away with it, but there is a line where it becomes libel, when it is gratuitous, and that language is gratuitous. There isn’t a media outlet that I can think of, other than Maureen O’Gara’s newsletters, that hasn’t criticized what SCO did. The Wall Street Journal was the first, actually, to suspect there was something rotten in Lindon, if you recall. Would it be acceptable to call it, in legal papers, the anti-SCO newspaper, the Wall St. Journal? I think not, and I suggest they are crossing a line.

Microsoft evangelists (on the payroll) are doing this to Boycott Novell and anonymous Novell employees too. Thus, they would be hypocrites to paint themselves as victims of bad publicity.

Our reader The Mad Hatter writes some more about the SCO case, calling it “SCOicide”.

Due to the interest in the case, Judge Kimbell told both parties to minimize redactions in the documents that they filed, and not to minimize the number of documents filed under seal. Because of this we learned that Caldera had hired people to investigate and prove the transfer of code, and that they reported that they COULD NOT FIND PROOF OF ANY TRANSFER. They filed their reports before the original lawsuit was launched. Darl, the CEO knew that he didn’t have any proof. None. But he went ahead with the lawsuit against IBM anyway.

Other coverage from the latest episode in this case includes:

1. Novell asks for further ruling on Motion in Limine No. 4

Novell has asked the Court to rule further on their Motion in Limine No. 4 [PDF; text]. The Court had previously issued a ruling [PDF] granting that Motion, but Novell now asks for further ruling, stating that “[t]he Court addressed this issue solely in the context of SCO’s covenant of good faith claim. However, Novell’s motion covered all of SCO’s claims, including slander of title. The Court’s prior ruling did not expressly address other claims, so Novell requests the Court to rule on the issue that was left open by its prior order.”

2. Attorney: IBM-Novell worked together to hurt SCO

Novell Inc. lied about owning the copyrights for the Unix computer operating system then collaborated with IBM to damage Unix owner The SCO Group, the latter’s attorney told a federal court jury Tuesday.

In the first day of testimony in a trial to settle a long-running legal dispute between SCO and Novell, SCO went on the attack by calling as its first witness the former CEO and chairman of Novell. Robert Frankenberg testified that despite Novell’s claims of ownership, his intent was to sell the copyrights in a 1995 deal that’s at the heart of the conflict.

The SCO Group claims that Novell “slandered” its title to the Unix system and caused it to lose as much as $215 million in revenue at a time when it was in a related dispute with IBM. SCO had accused IBM of improperly using Unix code for improvements that made the Linux operating system a commercial competitor.

SCO’s 2003 lawsuit potentially put IBM on the hook for hundreds of millions of dollars. But then Novell late that year claimed that it, and not SCO, owned the copyrights, meaning SCO did not have a basis for its IBM lawsuit nor for demands that businesses using Linux pay licensing fees.

3. Novell, IBM accused of collaborating to hurt Unix owner, lawyer says

A trial in federal court that could have a major impact on the Linux operating system opened in Salt Lake City on Monday with The SCO Group’s lawyer taking aim at Novell and IBM.

4. Arguments begin in SCO v. Novell over copyrights

5. Day 2 of the SCO v. Novell Trial – Opening argument – Updated Repeatedly – 1st Witness, Frankenberg (more documents)

Would it surprise you to find out that it turns out that apparently one of the jurors might be related to one of SCO’s prior corporate officers? At any rate they have the same last name, and Salt Lake City is a big place, so perhaps not. Novell noticed the similarity in names, according to our reporter today, MSS2, only after jury selection was over.

MSS2 has just sent me his first report of day 2 of the jury trial in SCO v. Novell, with more to come. Today was opening arguments by both sides. And we have lots more goodies for you from two eyewitnesses, MSS2 and Tilendor. We begin with SCO’s opening argument by Stuart Singer. All I can say after reading it is maybe you needed to be there. Or SCO must be a slow learner or Mr. Singer never reads Groklaw, or … well, see what you think.

6. Day 1 of the Jury Trial, SCO v. Novell – Updated 2Xs – We Have a Jury

7. Jury seated in SCO lawsuit against Novell

A jury has been seated to hear the lawsuit in which The SCO Group is claiming Novell interfered with its ownership of the Unix computer operating system and cost it more than $100 million in business.

8. Last-Minute Filings from Judge Stewart, SCO, Novell

9. More Back-and-Forth on Proposed Jury Instructions/Verdict Forms in SCO v. Novell

10. Day 2 of the SCO v. Novell Trial – Opening argument – Updated Repeatedly – 1st Witness, Frankenberg

11. Volunteer Needed for Thursday Trial Coverage

The Salt Lake Tribune then published this somewhat controversial article (also posted here), which led to this rebuttal from Groklaw.

And on it goes until Friday:

12. Day 4 of the Trial in SCO v. Novell – and Novell’s Petition for Certiorari

13. Novell’s Motion to Allow Evidence: SCO Opened the Door

14. Day 5 of the SCO v. Novell Trial & Some Help for Journalists Covering the Trial

Some readers of Boycott Novell have sufficient knowledge about the case and they comment about it in IRC. But for well researched commentary regarding SCO, we recommend that people read Groklaw, which could use more volunteers.

“…Microsoft wished to promote SCO and its pending lawsuit against IBM and the Linux operating system. But Microsoft did not want to be seen as attacking IBM or Linux.”

Larry Goldfarb, Baystar, key investor in SCO approached by Microsoft

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