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

09.23.19

OSI Did Not Guard the Open Source Brand; Now Its Own Name, Open Source Initiative, is Being ‘Diluted’ and “Open Source” is Almost Meaningless

Posted in Deception, Free/Libre Software, Microsoft, OSI at 1:09 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Openwashing Report part IV

Part I: Openwashing Report: ‘Open Source’ Without Any or Most of the Benefits
Part II: Summits of Open Bear Traps: The Open Core Summit and Other ‘Open’ Events That Actually Attack Software Freedom
Part III: Microsoft is Not an Open Source Authority But an Opponent of Open Source

Weekly openwashing report

Summary: The term or the brand “Open Source” is becoming worthless because those who use it typically engage in production of proprietary software falsely marketed as “Open Source” (that’s what openwashing is inherently about)

THIS is the closing part of this weekend’s series, the Openwashing Report. Like we said at the start (part I), at one point we shall classify and likely catalogue some of the openwashing patterns in order to highlight the threats they pose to Software Freedom. It is a growing danger. It needs to be deconstructed and explained. Examples from the news help.

“…the corporations take almost complete control of the narrative.”Several days ago “Open Source Insider” did its usual thing; it covers proprietary software again. We think we know who’s behind it. “Open Source Insider” used to be published with a person’s name, but after spreading lies like “Microsoft loves Linux” and facing scrutiny for it that author threatened us and then “Open Source Insider” became nameless. It’s nowadays published anonymously and it’s a source of openwashing. It almost never covers actual Free software. It’s a corporate blog of Computer Weekly (like Linux.com under the new editorship).

But anyway, this has sadly become the norm; the corporations take almost complete control of the narrative.

“Roughly a week ago we wrote about Microsoft buying more seats, i.e. more influence/control, in Zemlin PAC.”Take for example Linux.com. It’s being managed by the corrupt Corporate Linux Foundation (Zemlin PAC). Zemlin PAC is just “influence for sale”, including articles for sale at Linux.com (puff pieces for corporations are up for sale!); “give us money, then tell us what to write/do” is the business model. Corrupt. Yes, for sure…

Roughly a week ago we wrote about Microsoft buying more seats, i.e. more influence/control, in Zemlin PAC. Days ago this was still mentioned in the media, e.g. in Tech stars on the Academy’s open source red carpet” and Microsoft, Apple Join Open-Source Efforts at Academy Software Foundation” (they don’t frame this correctly; this is classic influence-buying).

Does OSI speak for Open Source? Or does the money speak?

Does Stallman speak for FSF (and GNU)? Not anymore.

Does Torvalds speak for Linux? Or does Zemlin PAC (Corporate Linux Foundation)?

Those are serious questions. They’re only partly rhetorical, but they oughtn’t be.

The OSI is losing its identity. Out-shimmered? See this new article entitled “Open-source initiative paving way for wearable sensor standards” (OSI name collision?)

“Does Torvalds speak for Linux? Or does Zemlin PAC (Corporate Linux Foundation)?”Here’s another one, “Shimmer launches ‘Open Source Initiative for Healthcare Wearable Sensor Algorithms’”

From Bio-IT World we have a similar (almost identical) headline because it’s a press release, “Shimmer Announces Launch of Healthcare Industry Open Source Initiative for Wearable Sensor Algorithms”

This one looks like a call for things that might turn out to be Free/Open Source later,” one person told us. “Of interest? They’re calling it “Healthcare Industry Open Source Initiative” so there is potential brand dilution going on. That’s a pretty interesting inclusion of OSI’s name.”

The press release in question says the “[i]nitiative will enable the development of industry standards for wearable sensor data” and towards the middle it says the “new initiative seeks to develop a curated set of open source algorithms and software tools for analyzing wearable sensor data that will be available to all medical device and pharmaceutical companies in a pre-competitive environment as a service to the industry. It will allow the work conducted by thousands of researchers during the past decade to be leveraged to create commonly-accepted de facto industry standards.”

“They’re calling it “Healthcare Industry Open Source Initiative” so there is potential brand dilution going on. That’s a pretty interesting inclusion of OSI’s name.”
      –Anonymous
We mentioned that at one point. From their original page: “Shimmer is collaborating with Nextbridge Exchange and Dr. Vincent van Hees, author of the GGIR software, in an initiative to drive the development of industry standards for wearable sensor data.

“The primary goal of this collaboration is to address the lack of accepted clinical endpoints that is proving to be a major obstruction to the widespread deployment of wearable sensors in clinical trials.”

There’s also this: “Shimmer is collaborating with Nextbridge Exchange and Dr. Vincent van Hees, author of the GGIR software, in an initiative to drive the development of industry standards for wearable sensor data. The primary goal of this collaboration is to address the lack of accepted clinical endpoints that is proving to be a major obstruction to the widespread deployment of wearable sensors in Clinical Trials. [...] Shimmer is reaching out to Clinical Trials sponsors and wearable sensor developers to join us in this initiative.”

It’s like another OSI, but this one managed by a corporation.

Going back to Zemlin PAC (Corporate Linux Foundation), is there any community role in it? No, none. The Board is nothing but corporate sponsors.

“Did you know the Linux foundation has their own operating system?”
      –Anonymous
Our reader asked: “Did you know the Linux foundation has their own operating system?

“Neither did I…

From this article: “Best known for its stellar work in open source software, most notably its operating system, the Linux Foundation…”

“Open source has taken nearly every sector IT by storm, but it took networking a comparably large amount of time to embrace it,” it says. “But, with the fast adoption of software-defined networking (SDN) and network management products like SD-WAN, open source finally found a place in IP routing and networkers appear to love it as much as everyone else.”

Last week we wrote about the Open Networking Foundation (ONF), which isn’t too far from the Open Networking Summit (ONS) — the subject of the above article.

“This is what they call a cabal of large corporations. Ecosystem…”The Open Networking Foundation (ONF) does openwashing for malicious telecoms such as Comcast (still). Surveillance DCs and routing get spun as “open” because of partial code releases or rather code sharing among the large telecoms. How about these new articles [1, 2] entitled “Comcast rolling out open source network software in multiple markets” and “Comcast Rolls Out ONF’s Trellis Open Source Networking Fabric”?

Now come the Zemlin PAC openwashing services for these spying telecoms: Open Source LF Networking Projects Enter the Commercialization Phase, Supported by a Growing Global Ecosystem

“Ecosystem” is a term that Stallman strongly opposes and has long warned about. This is what they call a cabal of large corporations. Ecosystem…

Conflating standards (or code-sharing or “interoperability”) with “Open Source” isn’t a new thing. But this is what happens here, as this new article makes more apparent. “Worse,” it says, “most vendors are not following the guidelines and specifications developed by the ETSI Multi-access Edge Computing (MEC) Industry Specification Group (ISG), or any other standards, she noted.”

So they don’t even stick to the most basic and fundamental baseline!

Here come the networking openwashers (“More Than Just Code: Open Networking Early Adopters Share Lessons Learned”); let’s make “Open Source” not about code; it’s about talking.

“We think that the term “Open Source” is nowadays misapplied and misused (or overused) to the point where it has nothing to do with Software Freedom.”When you cannot even tell the difference (anymore) between standards and actual Software Freedom a situation such as this comes about: “The era of software-defined, cloudified networks has begun and promises a higher degree of automation, more flexibility and time to market improvements. This brings together two traditionally separated worlds – CSPs, who are used to technology alignment within standardisation bodies, and the software business, which is often driven by de-facto vendor standards or open source communities.”

So it’s about standardisation mostly.

We think that the term “Open Source” is nowadays misapplied and misused (or overused) to the point where it has nothing to do with Software Freedom. Nothing. The marketing industry is taking over the term for openwashing (here are examples from last week [1, 2, 3]). To make matters worse, the biggest proprietary software companies nowadays call themselves “open”; here’s a new example of openwashing and cloudwashing of Sage. It’s proprietary software, but the company wants to be seen differently, helped by buzzwords (“Sage gets cloudy, moves towards open source and microservices”). Here’s another new example of a company trying get some openwashing PR value out of proprietary software of SAP. “The operator is taking baby steps,” it says, “using open source to complement rather than replace its existing OSS/BSS.”

“Times aren’t good for Software Freedom; not good for Open Source either unless we start counting fakes.”So it stays proprietary. They all do. They just use the term “Open Source” in headlines as that helps confuse people (the title above is “RJio Takes Baby Steps With Open Source for OSS/BSS”).

OSI failed to enforce and protect the brand. The PAC of Jim Zemlin, a marketing person, has no interest in protecting this brand; instead it’s being sold down the river. All the code is being handed over to Microsoft in its proprietary software platform, GitHub.

Times aren’t good for Software Freedom; not good for Open Source either unless we start counting fakes.

07.28.19

Either Microsoft Left the Open Source Initiative’s Board or Microsoft Was Kicked Out (Like Black Duck Was)

Posted in Microsoft, OSI at 7:03 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Now:

osi-current-board

Then:

osi-past-board

Now:

osi-current-board-outline

Then:

osi-past-board-outline

Summary: No more Microsoft in the Open Source Initiative‘s Board. Based on the Wayback Machine, the change happened some time around May.

Update: We have just been told by another Board member that “She resigned. Her work situation had changed and she no longer had the time to devote to OSI.”

06.05.19

Chapter 5: Open Source Judo — How to Bribe the Moderates to Your Side

Posted in Free/Libre Software, Microsoft, OSI at 4:30 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Table of Contents

Introduction: Cover and quick Introduction [PDF]

Chapter 1: Know your enemies– Act like a friend [PDF]

Chapter 2: Work with the system– Use OEMs and your legal team [PDF]

Chapter 3: Playing the victim– Show the world that too much freedom hurts development [PDF]

Chapter 4: You get what you pay for– Getting skeptics to work for you [PDF]

You are here ☞ Chapter 5: Open Source Judo– How to bribe the moderates to your side [PDF]

Chapter 6: Damning with faint praise– Take the right examples of free software and exploit them for everything

Chapter 7: Patent War– Use low-quality patents to prove that all software rips off your company

Chapter 8: A foot in the door– how to train sympathetic developers and infiltrate other projects

Chapter 9: Ownership through Branding– Change the names, and change the world

Chapter 10: Moving forward– Getting the best results from Open source with your monopoly


IN 1999, Bruce Perens left the Open Source Initiative that he co-founded with Eric S. Raymond. In his letter to the community, he explained:

“Open Source has de-emphasized the importance of the freedoms involved in Free Software.”

He continued: “One of the unfortunate things about Open Source is that it overshadowed the Free Software Foundation’s efforts. This was never fair – although some disapprove of Richard Stallman’s rhetoric and disagree with his belief that _all_ software should be free, the Open Source Definition is entirely compatible with the Free Software Foundation’s goals, and a schism between the two groups should never have been allowed to develop.”

This schism is ripe for exploitation. As mentioned in the previous chapter: “we can stir contention between ‘open’ and ‘free’ and get open source to defend our model…” Getting fans and amateurs to first fight our battles for us, and then blame the very people they’re attacking for disagreeing with them– is an important step and makes open source an unlikely if valuable ally.

Since no one involved with open source is stupid enough to think they can change the minds of hardened free software zealots, it seems obvious they only use rhetoric to make themselves look like the more reasonable option and to gain the hearts and minds of people who are still on the fence. Those are the same people we want to bring to our side.

Nonetheless, this is an industry. The ideal would be to have industry people on our side. And just as crime glues people to the nightly news, the drama between open source and software idealists gets people reading about whatever open source has to say this week.

The tech press loves open source, because it has greater affinity for the industry the press represents. If you love this business as much as we do, you quickly get tired of all the self-righteous whining of nerds and long for the can-do, easygoing and corporate-positive attitude of open source geeks. They might not appreciate an irreparable, proprietary kernel as much as we do– but they understand that not all improvements are free or open. These are people we can work with. And if we can work with them, we can take advantage of them.

Proprietary software has to be marketable, and immediately this gives us an advantage with people who want to write about it– our titles are more fun to cover, lead to more interesting stories and more interesting headlines.

Moreover, when we send press releases or hire copywriters, we can throw our values into the conversation and remind people why everything is better when our tools are included– we can take anything and use our market research and our clout (and leverage) with other companies to create a product ten times better than free software can hope to compete with.

Even when this isn’t true, the tech press has taken our side again and again. We can even push journalists– just like Microsoft did to push OEMs to cooperate– to lean favorably or lose our participation and cooperation. Time is money; in journalism, doubly so. But without our help, the tech press often doesn’t get their story as fast. Just as we can do more favorable business with OEMs, forcing them to dance for us– the same game works with journalists.

If an author becomes too critical, we can drop them– stop handing them stories, and even use their employers against them (favoring another publisher entirely, until they learn from their mistake.) Apple has done this in the past, and their national-security-like commitment to security under Steve Jobs meant that journalists who wanted a story had little hope of getting it without staying loyal to Apple Inc.

But it can’t be said enough times, that just like with everything else (customers, competitors, partners, even open source itself) that our relationship with journalists should be friendly on the surface– and appear friendly as a rule. Even as we subtly threaten writers not to push too hard or they will fall out of favor, we need to smile and tell them “Look, we aren’t here to tell you what to do. You have a business– we have a business. We just want to be sure that what you write is good for both of us.” They’ll get the picture. The vast majority of them always do, and the people who pay them always do.

Open source provides us many new opportunities to make these exchanges and representation in the press look more organic and less staged. The endless, cloying premise of making everything “more open” is the perfect trojan horse for delivering more of our exclusive products to an audience that thinks that it is seriously changing the way we do business.

And they’re right, on the surface– we have changed to make full use of their model, their rhetoric, their vague pseudopolitical nonsense designed to market freedom from our monopolies, to our monopolies. Two decades or more into this dance, we still use the same playbook and we still do it with a smile and thinly-veiled displays of our power.

If they doubt our friendship, we can help them make money in the process. Why not? They help our business. We are in this for control, just as much as money– we pretend to share control through carefully meted partnerships, but the value we generate is sustained by our position staying on top. As long as we remain powerful, we have our budget for advertising, our budget for lobbying, our budget for bribing– not that we need to call it that.

Big business means going to lunch, hosting dinners, sending out promotional items, and so on. We bribe customers with special deals, we bribe journalists with meals and events and parties, we like to treat our friends well– even if later we make it clear what the terms of treating us well are in turn.

It’s not “bribery” if we don’t put the two together. The ultimate hallmark of discretion is that if we pay you to act the way we want you to– even you won’t notice. So we dance around the margins of what is ethically and legally acceptable, and just like we do with consumer rights– sometimes the dance gets a little wild and risky. Business is about taking chances, and if we go too far, we just pull back. Don’t forget that the entire point of this dance is to be treated favorably by the same people who would call us on our behavior. As long as we have enough of them, the rest wont matter.

And if our companies can actually purchase and literally own some of the corporations that talk about us– well, most people don’t care about that. After all, they keep telling themselves that writers write their own stories. Sure they do– from whatever they glean from our press releases, press events, and corporate evangelists.

We don’t just have the tech press treating us kindly– we have the organizations they interview where we want them, and even the other people the tech press gets their information from. No matter where you go, you’re going to hear how great we are.

That’s the power of the press– our press. All we ever really have to do, is figure out what we want people to hear.

Relevant quotes from the Halloween documents:

“It’s a handful of amateurs, most of us unpaid and almost all part-time, against an entrenched multimillion-dollar propaganda machine run by some of the top specialists in the technology-marketing business.”

From https://antitrust.slated.org/halloween/halloween1.html

“Shall I go to the town of Nottingham, Linus, and with smooth words recruit the gossips and trade press to our cause?”

“Why don’t we write software so complicated and protocols so obscure and undocumented that only we can figure them out?”

“Yes! Then we will use our superior marketing forces to cram them down everyone’s throat, and neither Linus’s outlaws nor any other competition will be able to get a toehold in any IT shop anywhere, ever again!”

“Exactly, master. I call it de-commoditizing.”

“Various press shills and Microsoft lackeys, alerted, begin pointing fingers at Linus and his little band.”

“those hippies will never build anything really complicated or difficult!”

From https://antitrust.slated.org/halloween/halloween4.html

“We also get some whining about ‘lack of fairness in media coverage,’ which appears to be Microsoft-speak for ‘the trade press isn’t behaving like our poodles anymore.’”

From https://antitrust.slated.org/halloween/halloween5.html

“Microsoft has never been famous for reluctance to tell lies when that suits corporate purposes.”

From https://antitrust.slated.org/halloween/halloween5.html

“Microsoft has been trying to sandbag Linux with supposedly ‘objective’ studies by third parties that turn out to have been bought and paid for by the boys in Redmond.”

“Microsoft got the benchmark results it wanted – only to be embarrassed when it came out that Mindcraft had apparently run them on Microsoft-supplied machines, at a Microsoft site, with the benevolent assistance of Microsoft technicians tuning both Windows and (even more helpfully) Linux – and then neglected to mention in its press release that Microsoft had paid for and hosted the whole exercise.”

“This time, its date for the dance was a respected name in IT forecasting, the Gartner Group.”

“Sometime before 6 October, the Gartner Group published on its central corporate website, www.gartner.com, a series of five reports slamming Linux and predicting that its appeal would fade once the inevitable Service Pack 1 for Windows 2000 came out. These reports quickly spawned Linux-is-doomed articles like this example from 15 Oct on the IDG Australia website, which promoted them as objective studies by independent Gartner.”

“On 19 October Gartner changed the copyright on the reports to no longer mention Microsoft, while publicly insisting that the research had not been funded by Microsoft.”

From https://antitrust.slated.org/halloween/halloween6.html

“Provide detail on the writer and their media who are writing the story, i.e. are they technical, political, sensational”

From https://antitrust.slated.org/halloween/halloween8.html

“since Microsoft hired Mindcraft to discredit Linux.”

From https://antitrust.slated.org/halloween/halloween9.html

“I also expect a serious effort, backed by several billion dollars in bribe money (oops, excuse me, campaign contributions), to get open-source software outlawed on some kind of theory that it aids terrorists.”

“We need to make the cost of suppressing us higher than the sixty billion dollars Microsoft can afford to pay.”

From https://antitrust.slated.org/halloween/halloween11.html

“For close on twenty years I have watched Microsoft peddle inferior technology with slick marketing, destroy competitors with dirty tricks, and buy its way out of trouble.”

From https://antitrust.slated.org/halloween/faq.html

“Sleazy behavior, covered by utterly brilliant marketing, has been a pattern in Microsoft’s business practices since they were a garage outfit”

From http://www.catb.org/~esr/not-the-osi/halloween-rant.html

04.23.19

Code of Coercion

Posted in Deception, FSF, GNU/Linux, Microsoft, OSI at 12:39 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Real screenshot, taken days ago

Zemlin and Microsoft

Summary: Entryism is visible for all to see, but pointing it out is becoming a risky gambit because of the “be nice!” (or “be polite!”) crowd, which shields the perpetrators of a slow and gradual corporate takeover

A COUPLE of days ago we published a reader’s suggestion for the site. It’s a longtime reader, who has been rather sceptical of the Linux Foundation (LF), the OSI, and even the FSF. We too have had our rare disagreements with the FSF (in this particular case awarding a Microsoft apologist other than Miguel de Icaza, now a senior Microsoft employee).

One subject we continue to explore is the LF because we recognise the obscene lack of understanding. The name, for one thing, is misleading because it is neither a foundation (nonprofit) nor about Linux. It is morphing into a giant narrative-shaping monster that helps OSI ‘tame’ Free software (as envisioned by the FSF), making it more corporations-leaning if not led. Today’s OSI blog posts are sometimes composed by Microsoft staff.

“It is morphing into a giant narrative-shaping monster that helps OSI ‘tame’ Free software (as envisioned by FSF), making it more corporations-leaning if not led.”We’ve already issued a call for help in researching various LF matters. Some people look into it. We need answers regarding Linux Foundation insiders in the media* (coverage for sale) and more information about their “training” business model (corporate sponsorships play a role). It’s not what it seems; there’s more to it than one can see on the surface. The LF is contracting journalists, selling coverage (sponsorships in exchange for puff pieces), and engaging in what the PR conglomerates call “perception management” (this is where the LF’s chief comes from). In recent years the LF chaps have helped market obvious lies and falsehoods such as “Microsoft loves Linux”. Microsoft loves Windows, which it now calls "Linux". The trademark is being misused, but that doesn’t seem to bother the LF. Microsoft has a long and very extensive history trying to make its products sound like the competition or hijack the competition’s identity (e.g. “Office Open XML”).

I recently chatted with Richard Stallman about the LF’s CoC after I had heard that a similar thing was likely imposed on Stallman. We exchanged many messages on this subject and wondered whether Torvalds’ criticism of companies like Microsoft would be curtailed by the new CoC. It is a difficult thing to prove. Self-censorship is sometimes unknown to those who are subconsciously subjected to it because, for instance, speaking out against corporate overloads who pay one’s salary (or a portion of it) is politically unwise. In politics it’s known as “campaign contributions” — a form of ‘soft’ bribe which at the very least buys silence or passiveness.

“In recent years the LF chaps have helped market obvious lies and falsehoods such as “Microsoft loves Linux”. Microsoft loves Windows, which it now calls “Linux”.”We are meanwhile hearing of a new CoC “draft outline”.

“No one really wants a CoC,” told us a source, “but that one adopted by the LF and projects is horrible.” We will probably write about it in a future article (when this is no longer a draft).

A Techrights member has meanwhile taken a look at Gource LF. “Linux is a huge kernel,” he explained, “really enormous, and the amount of work being done is mind-boggling. Gource provides way too much information and visual analysis won’t provide much. Nor will any other kind of manual analysis. But here’s how it’s done:

 	git clone git://git.kernel.org/pub/scm/linux/kernel/git/stable/linux-stable.git;
 
 	cd linux-stable;
 
 	$(gource --log-command git) > ../linux-project.log
 
 	gource --start-date 2017-09-01 --time-scale 4 \
 		--fullscreen ../linux-project.log

As many people are aware, swear words and other (even less controversial) things are being removed en masse by people from companies like Intel, citing the new CoC as justification/motivation. Intel is the same company whose employees smear the most prominent Linux developers (calling them “rape apologists” and such). As for Microsoft? Remember that it put ‘BIG BOOBS’ inside Linux. Sexism at Microsoft is rampant, yet it has been trying to project this stigma onto Linux.

“It seems to be getting worse. “Morality” and “ethics” are being leveraged by large corporations that are hostile to Linux in order to gain a tighter grip on it.”“It takes a long time to build up to autumn 2018 even at high speed,” our member wrote about Gource. “Maybe that will give someone some ideas on what kind of analysis can be done easily to identify what kind of damage, if any, is visible from the CoC.”

Back when Torvalds was pressured to take a break (willful but due to shaming) we said we would refrain from commenting, but seeing some recent developments at the LF we feel like it’s important to research the matter. It seems to be getting worse. “Morality” and “ethics” are being leveraged by large corporations that are hostile to Linux in order to gain a tighter grip on it.
_____
* Take for instance The New Stack, which the LF last linked to just hours ago. It has various LF projects, including the LF itself, as sponsors. This page reveals that the editorial team includes Libby Clark, who was at the LF for a long time and is still based in Portland.

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.”

03.24.19

Microsoft Paid the Open Source Initiative. Now (a Year Later) Microsoft is in the Board of the Open Source Initiative.

Posted in Microsoft, OSI at 1:25 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Entryism
Wikipedia on entryism

Summary: The progression of Microsoft entryism in FOSS-centric institutions (while buying key “assets” such as GitHub) isn’t indicative of FOSS “winning” but of FOSS being infiltrated (to be undermined)

I WORRY greatly about where Free/Open Source software (FOSS) is heading. Why wouldn’t I, having dedicated my entire adult life to this cause (literally my entire adult life, since my late teens or early twenties)? Having just written my sincere thoughts about the LF (hardly worthy of the “Linux” brand anymore), I feel inclined to comment on other organisations. It is no secret that Microsoft is on the Board of the LF (whereas community participation in the Board got completely scuttled). These people in the Board would support Zemlin as long as he supports the likes of Microsoft, so it’s entryism or a slow-motion ‘coup’. Torvalds was already self-’suspended’ for a number of weeks; can he still speak about Microsoft the way he used to? It would now be in direct violation of the new CoC.

Not a word from LF regarding the patent blackmail by Microsoft — a new patent lawsuit which was exposed earlier this month (OIN has not uttered a word, either) [1, 2, 3]. How come? Don’t they care? Don’t they oppose software patents? OIN certainly does not and its new leadership gives room for concerns (the same patent trolls who attacked Linux now hold top positions in OIN).

“Not a word from LF regarding the patent blackmail by Microsoft — a new patent lawsuit which was exposed earlier this month (OIN has not uttered a word, either).”How about OSI? A couple of years ago the chief of the OSI invited me to run for the Board, but seeing the direction in which it has gone since, I’d probably face a hostile environment, resistant to criticism of corporations that actively attack Open Source while claiming to “love” it (in practice, for the most part, hijacking it while leveraging it to promote proprietary software with back doors).

Talking about the OSI’s elections (the outcome is days old) is a rather sensitive subject, so I will not name people and will not say much. Some readers actually wrote to me about after I had already noticed it. The corporate media keeps focusing only on gender rather than corporate affiliations. It is as though we should quit caring about the agenda of the businesses and instead obsess over something entirely different. Curious readers will notice that Microsoft is now (as far as I know for the first time ever) on the Board of the OSI. So the ‘cancer’ is progressing. Nobody wants to talk about it for fear of being called “Sexist”.

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

09.23.18

Open Invention Network is Rendered Obsolete in the Wake of Alice and It’s Not Even Useful in Combating Microsoft’s Patent Trolls

Posted in America, IBM, Microsoft, OSI, Patents at 2:13 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Microsoft and trolls

Summary: Changes at the US Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) and in US courts’ outcomes may have already meant that patent trolls rather than software patents in general are a growing threat, including those that Microsoft is backing, funding and arming to put legal pressure on GNU/Linux (and compel people/companies to host GNU/Linux instances on Azure for patent ‘protection’ from these trolls)

THE situation at the USPTO has changed in recent years. AIA introduced the Patent Trial and Appeal Board (PTAB) and inter partes reviews (IPRs) — together with 35 U.S.C. § 101 as relevant law — helped eliminate a lot of software patents which had been granted for a couple of decades.

These changes posed a problem not just for patent trolls and bullies but also law firms and bodies whose sole purpose was to ‘protect’ from these patent trolls and bullies. Some were rendered moot or redundant. See the demise of RPX for example. Well, what about Open Invention Network (OIN)? The terrain is changing and OIN is totally failing to adapt. It’s still stuck in the past.

OIN’s Jaime Siegel and Mirko Boehm reappeared several days ago. Usually its their CEO who appears in the media.

OIN has such a misguided and pointless strategy these days that even the patent trolls’ proponents can support these people. Watchtroll entertains Jaime Siegel, OIN’s Global Director of Licensing (yes, licensing!). It’s a large “cross-license agreement” — one that Oracle did not even seem to obey when it sued Google over Android/Java. Abolish software patents instead, OIN, don’t do this:

As Jaime Siegel, OIN’s Global Director of Licensing, notes, OIN is able to grant free membership to companies joining the consortium thanks to the efforts of eight full-funding member companies which have each funded $20 million to support OIN’s operations through an endowment. These companies include the first six companies to form OIN: Sony, Phillips, IBM, Red Hat, NEC and SUSE; joining those companies are Google and Toyota. OIN’s board consists of representatives from each of these full funding members. Every new member of OIN signs the same licensing agreement as the full-funding members, giving all members in the organization equal standing in terms of the cross-license agreement.

[...]

Siegel said that the only kind of company that wouldn’t benefit from membership in OIN would be a company which was building a patent assertion program to get companies to license Linux core patents. Despite the massive expansion of Linux-based systems across industries, however, Siegel said that there has been virtually no patent litigation around the Linux core. “While OIN won’t take all the credit for it, I think OIN has been a big factor as to why there’s been so little litigation around the Linux core,” Siegel said. “While we are a pro-patent organization, we’re very aggressive about going after assets that are threats to Linux and opposing activities that are targeted against the Linux core.”

“OIN’s Members include Google, IBM, NEC, Philips, Red Hat, Sony” (and others), according to Wikipedia. Sony is one of “the first six companies to form OIN,” according to the above interview. Days ago Sony’s patents made some headlines [1, 2] because Sony is still a patent maximalist, hardly a reformer in any sense of the word. IBM is a major patents-wielding bully, as well, and OIN’s first CEO came from IBM.

OIN’s Mirko Boehm wrote about FRAND in the European Union on the very same day the above got published. Here is what he said:

As part of the research project on “The Interaction between Open Source Software and FRAND licensing in Standardisation”, a workshop was organised by the European Commission, Joint Research Centre (JRC) in collaboration with Directorate General Communications Networks, Content and Technology (CONNECT) to present and discuss the intermediate results to date. The workshop took place in Brussels on September 18, 2018. I presented a set of observations from the research on the case studies performed as part of the project that are outlined below. Other speakers where Catharina Maracke on the issue of legal compliance between Open Source and FRAND licenses, Bruce Perens on “Community Dynamics in Open Source”, and Andy Updegrove on “Dynamics in Standardisation”.

You may ask what the relevance of this debate is for the wider Free and Open Source Software community. The obvious answer is that to distribute software “without restriction”, the user needs all the usage rights associated with the program. While most FOSS contributors assume that this is naturally the central motivation for anybody to contribute in the first place, there is a long history of attempts to maintain some sort of exclusive control over a piece of FOSS code, possibly using other rights than copyright.

Mirko Boehm’s (auto)biography says that he is “Director, Linux System Definition, Open Invention Network.” With people like Andy Updegrove and Bruce Perens involved (in the above) it looks a lot more legitimate than IAM's disgraced event.

Anyway, if the goal is to protect GNU/Linux from patents (rather than protecting software patents from GNU/Linux advocates, as Perens once put it), then OIN must evolve. Microsoft is operating through trolls while offering (selling) ‘protection’ from these [1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19, 20]. One example is Microsoft’s patent troll Finjan, which days ago issued a widely-spread and paid-for press release [1, 2, 3] about its laughable software patents that it uses to blackmail Microsoft’s rivals. This spoke of the Federal Circuit‘s stance on the ‘408 patent:

“Finjan is gratified to have the Federal Circuit’s decision affirming the USPTO’s Patent Trial and Appeal Board’s decision rejecting Palo Alto Networks’ challenges to Finjan’s ‘408 Patent,” stated Julie Mar-Spinola, CIPO and VP, Legal Operations for Finjan. “While this allowed Palo Alto Networks to delay Finjan’s day in court for nearly four years, we believe we are due and will seek past and accrued damages for that period until resolution, which is not insignificant.”

There have been similar Federal Circuit challenges to patents from Intellectual Ventures (IV) with its notorious proxies like ‘offspring’ trolls. It’s another Microsoft proxy which goes after Microsoft’s rivals with frivolous lawsuits and threats thereof. Where is OIN in all this? Not interested? Apathetic? Therein lie some of the biggest problems.

« Previous entries Next Page » Next Page »

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

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

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

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

New to This Site? Here Are Some Introductory Resources

No

Mono

ODF

Samba logo






We support

End software patents

GPLv3

GNU project

BLAG

EFF bloggers

Comcast is Blocktastic? SavetheInternet.com



Recent Posts