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06.29.20

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

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

North Carolina

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

06.26.20

Mixed Loyalties, Including to a Surveillance Industry

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

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

AltaVista Cormier
From AltaVista–Almost Google

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

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

Cormier shares

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

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

06.23.20

[Humour] Anti-RMS Venom

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

Context: Guix Petition Demographic Data, by Figosdev

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

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

06.19.20

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

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

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

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

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

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

Posted in Free/Libre Software, GNU/Linux, IBM, Microsoft, Red Hat at 9:34 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Fedora Infrastructure at GitHub

Summary: The Fedora project will fail to attract participants if it continues being some kind of hostage of Microsoft and proponent of vendor lock-in; we take a quick look at where this project stands today

THIS thing called “PLANET FEDORA” has been pretty much dead lately. Almost nothing there, except some Red Hat staff (one needs to be familiar with the names; affiliations undisclosed), a few postings in Arabic, status updates about everything being offline amid datacente migrations, and links to Microsoft’s GitHub (to alert people about releases/updates). It wasn’t like that a number of years ago. I know it wasn’t as I followed it closely, every day, for a very long time.

Will volunteers be willing to work for free for IBM (through Fedora)? News reports say IBM plans to lay off thousands in 5 states, including North Carolina (NC) where Red Hat is based. A victim of IBM’s takeovers once told me that based on his analysis every time IBM buys a company it waits two years before laying off people and canning projects/products. Two years he told me, naming half a dozen examples. The Red Hat takeover goes back to autumn of 2018.

“Will volunteers be willing to work for free for IBM (through Fedora)? News reports say IBM plans to lay off thousands in 5 states, including North Carolina (NC) where Red Hat is based.”The GitHub issue quite frankly bothers me the most. They’re supposed to compete with Microsoft and Windows. I have long examined and commented on it publicly. I really underestimated just to what degree Fedora had been ‘outsourced’ to Microsoft. Fedora Infrastructure alone has 124 repos in Microsoft’s GitHub, IBM’s and Red Hat’s stuff not included (or even Systemd, which has its own dedicated account). What proportion of the code is now controlled, ‘owned’ and surveilled by Microsoft?

Less than a day ago Phoronix wrote about Red Hat and modularity. Systemd wasn’t mentioned (it’s an attack on modularity, it’s vendor lock-in too). To quote Michael Larabel’s polite post, “Red Hat continues to invest in the modularity concept for packaging and will be embracing it “where it most makes sense” for Red Hat Enterprise Linux 9. [...] Fedora Modularity has been getting better, but it still has some criticism and open issues from both users and the developers/packagers. Red Hat though is continuing to invest in it and recently shifted the Modularity effort off to a new development team.”

“Nice “Open Source” company you got there… with proprietary hosting and no vendor neutrality when it comes to core parts of the system (which became just systemd).”“Modularity” is even capitalised now. See above. Have they trademarked it yet?

Aren’t they being consciously cynical and ironic? Systemd eliminated compatibility with many things, reducing modularity like no other thing in GNU/Linux history. Moreover, to participate in Red Hat/Fedora as a developer (technical capacity) they nowadays expect people to set up an account with Microsoft.

Nice “Open Source” company you got there… with proprietary hosting and no vendor neutrality when it comes to core parts of the system (which became just systemd). Thanks for the laugh, Red Hat. Get better soon.

06.10.20

The Only Thing Worse Than Proprietary Software Companies is Proprietary Software Companies That Patent Algorithms

Posted in Free/Libre Software, IBM, Patents, Red Hat at 1:58 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

More so those that leverage such patents to sue rivals and non-rivals, even in the age of 35 U.S.C. § 101

IBM lawsuits persist in 2020 (over patents)
IBM lawsuits persist in 2020 (over patents)

Summary: The development of proprietary software is troubling because of its effects on society; more corrosive are monopolistic lawsuits, which cause companies to lay off staff (except lawyers)

THE recent focus on IBM (or Red hat) isn’t a case of (nit)picking. IBM has long been problematic, not just because it uses dubious patents to shake down a lot of companies but because IBM is actively lobbying for software patents in the US, software patents in Europe, and software patents in India.

“IBM, we believe, can survive and thrive by shifting to Free software the way Sun attempted to do (before Oracle killed much of what it had done). At the moment IBM still develops loads of proprietary software.”IBM has been pretty shameless about it. As for Red Hat, a decade and a half ago it openly opposed such patents, but in more recent years it pursued lots of these while offering empty assurances (before IBM scooped up all these patents). It’s not exactly shocking that Red Hat under IBM finds more commonalities (and partnerships) with Microsoft. IBM isn’t even a Free software company, unlike Red Hat. IBM isn’t quite evil (the FSF will never dare insinuate that; check how much money IBM gave the FSF), but IBM isn’t benign either. Days ago, after endless backlash, the new CEO of IBM finally (perhaps belatedly) decided to quit the face recognition business, unlike Amazon and Microsoft. We hope he will do the same to the company’s patent strategy. They could lay off lots of lawyers instead of engineers (thousands of layoffs are coming).

IBM, we believe, can survive and thrive by shifting to Free software the way Sun attempted to do (before Oracle killed much of what it had done). At the moment IBM still develops loads of proprietary software.

“If IBM quits pushing proprietary software and quits pushing companies around using threats of litigation (and sometimes actual patent lawsuits), IBM will be treated a lot more favourably by software developers.”“[I]t doesn’t excuse developing proprietary software. A desire for profit is not wrong in itself, but it isn’t the sort of urgent overriding cause that could excuse mistreating others. Proprietary software divides the users and keeps them helpless, and that is wrong. Nobody should do that,” Richard Stallman once said.

If IBM quits pushing proprietary software and quits pushing companies around using threats of litigation (and sometimes actual patent lawsuits), IBM will be treated a lot more favourably by software developers. The whole mindset of proprietary software is aging anyway; in many cases proprietary software becomes just abandonware — to remain totally abandoned unless or until it becomes Free software (see what EA did last month, even if the engineers made an error by outsourcing the code to Microsoft).

06.09.20

Appeasing Critics of Critics of Criminal Behaviour Isn’t Possible and Should Not be a Goal (Objective Impossible)

Posted in Europe, IBM, Microsoft, Novell, Patents, Red Hat at 9:58 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Some people’s salaries depend on rejecting uncomfortable facts

Penitentiary

Summary: Abusers hope to cage and shackle people who speak about their abuses (not only whistleblowers but also publishers); failing that, they smear those people (ad hominem attacks) and dismiss the message/s based on distractions and innuendo

THE EPO series (if “series” is the right word; it has become more like a multi-volume book after 6 years of daily coverage) exposes more corruption that I can recall and keep abreast of. It’s effective enough that for almost 5 years the management of the EPO — both António Campinos and Benoît Battistelli — completely blocked Techrights (their staff cannot access the site even though their staff supports Techrights!).

“And here we are in 2020; companies we criticise, including IBM, resort to familiar tricks.”When this site started in 2006 it focused on Novell and on Microsoft after they had colluded to use software patents against GNU/Linux. And here we are in 2020; companies we criticise, including IBM, resort to familiar tricks. They want to muzzle not only us but also people who support, read or link to our work. How very grown-up… like a child singing “lalalala” with one finger in each ear.

“Motives are hard to prove,” an associate told me this morning. It was said in reference to the latest nonsense in Twitter, which was the last straw to me. “Thus they end up being mostly dismissed as speculation, despite circumstantial evidence especially when a income is based on spreading Microsoft lies. In that way many people would not be satisfied even with a signed and witnessed affidavit from the offending parties. Instead, stay focused on facts of what is possible and from that what is happening and linking them to documented offences.”

“They want to muzzle not only us but also people who support, read or link to our work.”Techrights has over 30,000 pages. Techrights also has very confidential material from inside companies and organisations. Some of that material we must keep close to our chest (for safety reasons) and some gets published, often in redacted form (for source protection).

But there’s another form of distraction from facts, as our associate explains. In his own words: “So, is all the yammering about “ethical” licensing, a) strawman distraction to neutralize discussion of Software Freedom? b) reductio ad absurdum to neutralize discussion of Software Freedom? c) some other distraction to neutralize discussion of Software Freedom?”

“Richard Stallman has been quiet as of late; as for Linus Torvalds, the media only cares about what PC he’s using, not his work.”We didn’t miss the irony of people using the “ethical” label to do something that strikes at the very core of Software Freedom (which was inherently ethical in the sense it encourages sharing and nondiscrimination). It actively seeks to limit (in a discriminating fashion) distribution and use of software. A person who promotes this nearly made it into the Board of the OSI, which we generally regard as a lost cause regardless (too much GAFAM in charge of it, except perhaps the two “A”, Apple and Amazon). It really shows not so infrequently.

Maybe one day we’ll look back and recall in a way we can’t quite grasp now when exactly “Open Source” went rogue, in what fashion, using which modus operandi and what was done — if anything at all — to salvage Software Freedom. Richard Stallman has been quiet as of late; as for Linus Torvalds, the media only cares about what PC he's using, not his work.

“…the latest method seems to be misusing and misapplying the “conspiracy theory” label.”Techrights has long been rather different; for many years, even prior to Techrights‘ existence, I’ve had a loathing for corporate crimes. To me, Novell and Microsoft’s collusion with patents was more than an injustice; it was like an ethical crime against all the developers whose work Novell leveraged to sell SLE*. Novell, with many software patents under its belt, decided to leverage a sort of monopoly by exclusion with threats. Rarely did I receive a “thank-you” for standing up against that, but it was the right thing to do. It needed to be done.

Red Hat (IBM) isn’t doing the same thing and I’d probably never call for a boycott against Red Hat (no reason to). The same is true for Canonical, which is just totally misguided (sometimes it promotes Windows instead of Ubuntu). What’s curious is the response one gets from their employees; the latest method seems to be misusing and misapplying the “conspiracy theory” label. By the time this thing they dismiss as “conspiracy theory” is proven to be a potent threat it’ll be too late to do something about it. And it was never “conspiracy theory” either way; it’s factual. There’s evidence to show it.

Techrights hopes that “conspiracy theory” isn’t the latest ploy or the broad brush with which to paint those who call out abusers. Because they would certainly distract from truly damaging (and false) conspiracy theories — like those which associate viruses with radio transmissions.

How Ad Hominem Attacks Work

Posted in GNU/Linux, IBM, Microsoft, Red Hat at 12:28 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Ad Hominem

Summary: The shame tactics and pressure on people to not mention particular people is very much evident, more so in social control media (which is publicly accessible for scrutiny); don’t be surprised if it soon becomes a taboo to express support for the very people who gave us GNU and Linux (while still fashionable to worship a famous criminal who co-founded Microsoft)

AD HOMINEM attacks (or “to the person”) shift focus from ideas/issues to personalities. It’s not a novel trick. It’s hardly limited to software or technology debates, either; the Latin words correctly remind us of the old roots and breadth.

We recently discussed attacks on the people perceived to be leaders of Free software, notably the founder of GNU and the founder of Linux. People are supposed to feel ashamed about supporting them, as if they endorse chauvinism or something (and need to apologise upfront for such support). Failing that, maybe they’ll compare Richard Stallman to Osama bin Laden and Linus Torvalds to Hans Reiser (it’s going to be a disaster when he’s finally freed from jail, which almost happened recently, wanting to rejoin development of the filesystem named after him). Days ago in Twitter someone insisted to me that Stallman was a practicing pedophile; maybe they’ll soon tell us that the Reiser crimes (or failed attempts to reinstate his role) somehow prove Linux “misogyny”, inevitably causing the murder of wives. Guilt by association is on the rise in this generation.

“People are supposed to feel ashamed about supporting them, as if they endorse chauvinism or something (and need to apologise upfront for such support).”Ad hominem tactics are cheap but very effective, as whenever an argument may be made which is strong enough (difficult to factually refute) you find a ‘shortcut’ such as criticising the messenger’s appearance (oh look! A beard!!), lifestyle (OH! MY! God! Linus works in his bathrobe sometimes! How rude! The code must be terrible! The bugs will be awful!) or some other nonsensical aspects. Who can blame these people for wanting more privacy in their lives…?

Ad hominem tactics are a nasty, nasty thing. When we slam the EPO we always try to focus on the nature of the abuses rather than the ethnicity or appearance of people like António Campinos and Benoît Battistelli (when we speak about their nationality we typically highlight nepotism, a conflict of interest, or money-laundering aspects). We’d rather focus on what won’t change with a mere change of leadership (like Battistelli choosing Campinos as his successor because he’s a longtime friend and ally of his).

“Not too shockingly, slurs tend to come from IBM/Red Hat staff (regarding articles that deal with IBM/Red Hat) and one IBM/Red Hat employee surprisingly blocked me even though I had never ever interacted with her in any way (that I can recall).”One reason (a last straw) I’ve just decided to 'quit' Twitter is this bunch of ad hominem tactics; it would take time to explain all the context (I’d also have to log back into Twitter to take screenshots), but the gist of it is, some people refuse to comment on the actual content of my articles and instead just throw an insult at the site, the messenger, or both. No substance needed; just an insult. That’s it. Not too shockingly, slurs tend to come from IBM/Red Hat staff (regarding articles that deal with IBM/Red Hat) and one IBM/Red Hat employee surprisingly blocked me even though I had never ever interacted with her in any way (that I can recall). So why block?

It’s possible to incite people based on deliberate distortions. Days ago someone lied about what I had claimed, causing an outrage over something I never even said! Oh, thanks Twitter! Facts optional…

IBM is often not given enough credit for F.U.D. tactics (coined by a former employee); Microsoft ‘steals’ credit for that, too. But the way I see it, IBM/Red Hat is now engaging even in ‘cancel culture’-like tactics. There’s no need to actually counter anything presented here in this site; instead, attack Roy. And then attack people who merely mention Roy.

“IBM is often not given enough credit for F.U.D. tactics (coined by a former employee); Microsoft ‘steals’ credit for that, too.”How very mature. What’s wrong with Roy anyway? Nothing. They specify nothing. It’s all innuendo. As one of them put it just hours ago: “I’m mad at myself for clicking that link before I realized what site it goes to.”

OK, what’s wrong with that site?

No, nothing specified. Maybe upset that the employer is being criticised for something there (never mind if about 80% of the things we write or wrote about both IBM and Red Hat are positive). What possibly upsets me more is actually attempts to make other people (even bots!) untweet mentions of Techrights. This is how ‘cancel culture’ works.

Congrats, IBM. You’re just acquired a bunch of angry children (and grossly overpaid for them).

Like layers of an onion or a social graph-based elimination strategy these people target the ‘circle’ sympathetic to those whom they try to oust, silence, discredit. Remember what was done to Alex Oliva months ago because he had long supported Richard Stallman? He has been relatively quiet since then. Intimidation leads to self-censorship, which in turn enables bad things to continue unabated, without critical voices causing outrage/backlash.

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