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01.08.20

Monopoly in GNU/Linux is Also a Threat

Posted in Free/Libre Software, GNU/Linux, IBM, Microsoft, Red Hat at 1:13 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

“My baseline is that Debian must welcome code contributions to support running without systemd, just as it welcomes code contributions for other non-default setups.”Ian Jackson on Debian Vote Regarding systemd

IBM Monopoly, Microsoft Monopoly, Red Hat

Red Hat - Microsoft

Summary: A month after Debian developers debated the future of systemd in Debian GNU/Linux we need a better understanding of what the future of GNU/Linux (as a whole) will be like when over a million lines of code are hosted by Microsoft and dominated by IBM, with the Linux Foundation being paid by both to keep ‘neutral’ (passive)

GNU/Linux Sans Diversity

Posted in GNU/Linux, IBM, Red Hat at 12:58 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

“Excessive gentrification destroys the biodiversity and ecosystem of a community.” ― Khang Kijarro Nguyen

Systemd, Fedora, CentOS/RHEL, IBM, Monopoly, Clown computing (surveillance), Arch, Debian, SUSE... Monoculture

Summary: The way things are going, monoculture and reduced choice (in the name of unification) drive development of GNU/Linux with one company dominating many components or compartments of the whole system; “Diversity” means something else to them

01.07.20

The “Open Organisations” With Their ‘Open’ Cages

Posted in Deception, Humour, IBM, Red Hat at 7:04 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Open? More like “Oh; pen!” (of sheep, entry is free!)

Wayland, Systemd, .NET Core and The “Open Organisation”

Summary: We’d like to propose the term “open cages” (akin to “golden cages”) as a lot of the openwashing ‘industry’ offers just that — a kind of glorified prison — because the cages are not really open, they just certainly look like it

Free Software Means Not Monopolies With Publicly-Available Code

Posted in Debian, Free/Libre Software, FSF, GNU/Linux, IBM, Microsoft, OSI, Red Hat at 6:34 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

If “openwashing” is painting a proprietary whole as “open” (because of a mere portion), perhaps we need a new word for systemd (where all the code is “open” but access to it for contribution and for proper assessment is close to impossible)

OSI at Microsoft
The OSI’s Board, literally brought to Microsoft. This photograph may be suppressed as it’s very difficult to find it (or anything about this SF meeting; much like Richard Stallman’s speech at Microsoft’s HQ, which even the FSF kept uncharacteristically secret until it was over and seminally reported on by Microsoft itself)

Summary: Packages such as systemd (“packages” would be an understatement — that’s like calling Linux a “package”) present a new kind of threat, which some in the community have dubbed “Open Source Proprietary Software” (or “OSPS” for short); we need prominent groups and projects to highlight the nature of this threat, which serves to promote monopolies (open gateway into complexity, aided by silence and complicity)

THE OPENWASHING agenda at the OSI is now facilitated by the very same people who run it and profit from it ‘on the side’. Look no further than the culprit and legal hire (conflict of interest/s likely), who last week caused the resignation of the OSI's co-founder. We don’t want to name any names here.

“Look no further than the culprit and legal hire (conflict of interest/s likely), who last week caused the resignation of the OSI’s co-founder.”A growing number of people nowadays speak of IBM and systemd, taking note that it’s still being developed on Microsoft servers and long ago became far too large for people to properly study the source code (reading it is one thing; comprehending it is another). That’s just one example of ‘code dumps’ (akin to ‘document dumps’) as a substitute for freedom-respecting source code (or “code available” rather than “please modify and improve”). If one company — and one company only — develops some piece of software (which becomes incredibly bloated and impossible to avoid), how “open” is it really? This, some of our associates believe, is an issue the FSF ought to speak about. Maybe it wasn’t foreseen. There’s no need to ban anything; an advisory note of caution may suffice. But remember that Red Hat pays the FSF and gives instructions to it (in the open).

“If one company — and one company only — develops some piece of software (which becomes incredibly bloated and impossible to avoid), how “open” is it really?”Yesterday we spent some time studying the past two years’ meeting minutes of the OSI, leading up to the resignation of the OSI’s co-founder, who is no proponent of systemd. He participated in many of these meetings of the OSI, debating licensing aspects in particular. And no, he’s not present in the Microsoft photo op shown above. We previously thought he would be a decent successor for Stallman at the FSF, but seeing his public response (in Twitter) to the almost-forced resignation serves to suggest otherwise. One thing is for sure though: the FSF and the OSI both need strong leadership, which currently both lack. The person or persons in charge have earned some levels of notoriety in Debian and there are more lingering concerns over them succumbing to corporate interests and sometimes taking money from those same corporations. And please note, still no names. Our readers might know who we’re alluding to, but we describe these issues in general terms, at low risk of making it seem like a personal attack on anyone in particular.

Nothing would please IBM more than a derailed Debian, a subverted OSI, and infiltrated FSF. It would leave many people overly dependent if not reliant on grossly overpriced support contracts with people who can handle and tackle the extreme complicity they themselves created at Red Hat. Remember that IBM is a longtime monopolist — as its ongoing patent policy serves to remind us — with little evidence to suggest any of that has changed inherently (except on some superficial level). And IBM works closely with Microsoft even after buying Red Hat, which also considered selling itself to that other monopolist (Microsoft).

For those failing to see the Debian-OSI-FSF connection/overlap, look closely at OSI archives; they stated upfront there were no conflicts of interest/s, but there were relational ones. Moreover, the overlap in boards — not to mention awards — can be revealing at times. Names? Sorry, no names. We’d be accused of personal attacks and violation of privacy for daring to ‘name-drop’ anybody at all. The Linux Foundation uses a similar strategy (it’s considered “toxic” to bring up legitimate concerns, which can be spun as envy, opportunism, racism, sexism and so on).

“Yesterday we spent some time studying the past two years’ meeting minutes of the OSI, leading up to the resignation of the OSI’s co-founder, who is no proponent of systemd.”Going back to the FSF, hours ago it published a statement [1] (more text below). Having failed to meet goals/targets, “extra incentive for people to join the movement [have been extended] until January 17th. To assist us further, our friends at Technoethical are offering a 5% discount for @FSF members until this date as well.”

What does the FSF plan to do about IBM now that it’s taking IBM money? We wrote about this angle last month and back in October [1, 2].

Related/contextual items from the news:

  1. Extending our offer for exclusive membership gifts through January

    In the final weeks of 2019, the Free Software Foundation (FSF) welcomed nearly 300 new associate members. That is a strong achievement, but we to boost our numbers further in order to continue our work to educate others about free software and defend copyleft.

    Every day, millions of new people globally are gaining access to software, and are integrating it into their lives. We need to continue to spread the message of software freedom far and wide to reach these newcomers, and the millions of longtime software users who are unaware of how proprietary software is being used to exploit and abuse them. It’s a big challenge.

    At the beginning of this new decade, we’re inspired to dream up a freer future. To help turn this dream into reality, we’re extending our membership drive and our offer for exclusive associate membership gifts as an extra incentive for people to join the movement until January 17th. To assist us further, our friends at Technoethical are offering a 5% discount for FSF members until this date as well.

    Will you start out the new decade with an FSF associate membership?

12.04.19

We Never Accepted and Will Never Accept Corporate Money

Posted in FSF, GNU/Linux, IBM, Red Hat at 4:01 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

The new “campaign contributions”

Patrons of FSF

Summary: Corporate money is a unique problem because of its magnitude and the fact that it’s impersonal; shareholders can only ever accept its supposed justifications if they’re receiving something in return (of proportional worth to the payment/transaction)

THE FSF is a fine organisation in a lot of ways; there are limits to it — sure! — and we’ve named some of them earlier this year. Those who are upset at the FSF because it says nothing about systemd may not have paid attention to the potential impact of money (or the risk of losing that money). It is not a new problem. A decade ago it was openly discussed.

In 2017 (latest tax year published by ProPublica) “contributions” amounted to 94.3% of total revenue at the FSF (“FREE SOFTWARE FOUNDATION INC”). Membership dues were at $658,988, and “other contributions, gifts, grants, and similar amounts not included above” were at $635,709, i.e. about half of the whole. So that’s a lot of financial impact for the latter; the total revenue was at $1,373,574 that year and expenses at $1,233,394, so that latter component is very much essential (to avert very considerable downsizing). Here’s a snapshot of the summary:

FSF finances

We’re not trying to bash the FSF; we’re just pointing out that financial dependence on anything other than FSF staff (or members without vested interests or disproportionate contributions) may inevitably lead to self-censorship. Many people still remember the millions of dollars Microsoft paid the Linux Foundation, but how many people can recall similar payments to the BSDs? If they don’t speak out against Microsoft abuses (much/anymore), think about potential causes/motivations. Also remember Red Hat's stance on Stallman.

11.28.19

Diversity Comes in Many Forms

Posted in Deception, FSF, GNU/Linux, IBM, Red Hat at 1:33 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Which ones are the corporations deliberately ignoring and why?

IBM for diversity... of countries controlled by this man

Summary: Diversity is about much more than visible (to the eye) attributes

  • Diversity of nationality/race
  • Diversity of languages/tongues/cultures
  • Diversity of gender (or gender neutrality)
  • Diversity of opinions/political worldviews
  • Diversity of abilities (e.g. disabilities, accessibility aspects)
  • Diversity of age/maturity level
  • Diversity of technology (is your competition supported?)

Bad things can happen when the concept of “diversity” gets oversimplified and distorted for corporate gain/leverage:

Open letter to the Free Software Foundation Board of Directors
Source: IBM (Red Hat) “Open letter to the Free Software Foundation Board of Directors”


IBM during World War II
Source: Wikipedia


RMS bio


North Carolina aims to bring more women into computer science
4 days ago in IBM-run site: “North Carolina aims to bring more women into computer science”


IBM recently published a dataset for facial recognition AI made up of images...
The present


Just forget how IBM profited and still profits from war on diversity.

22 September 2019: “My father was IBM’s first black software engineer. The racism he fought persists in the high-tech world today”

11.20.19

Microsoft and IBM Are the Patent Trolls, They Won’t Protect Us From Trolls

Posted in GNU/Linux, IBM, Microsoft, OIN, Patents, Red Hat at 1:21 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Times have changed; Red Hat and Microsoft are now close partners.

Microsoft has no taste

Summary: “Microsoft has no taste” and IBM has no taste, either; they’re lying to our collective face together with OIN and the ‘Linux’ Foundation

IBM has long cross-licensed with Microsoft. This means they won’t sue one another over patents. Good for them, eh? Shared monopoly. No wonder Red Hat nowadays promotes Microsoft things almost every day. Now that IBM owns Red Hat (and all of its patents) IBM won’t care about Microsoft’s ongoing — even in 2019 — blackmail of OEMs that ship GNU/Linux.

Now Microsoft and IBM, the biggest purveyors of software patent trolls, tell us they’ll protect from what they are, themselves [1-3]. Wow, the audacity! Joined by their front groups, OIN, a false representative to/of Free software, and Linux Foundation, a GitHub outsourcer which compares Microsoft to "a puppy". They use a lawsuit against GNOME (Foundation) to take us astray from abolishing software patents. Both IBM and Microsoft are feeding patent trolls, are blackmailing companies that implement things they themselves never did, and lobby aggressively for software patents in the US.

Related/contextual items from the news:

  1. Open Invention Network teams up with IBM, Linux Foundation, and Microsoft to protect open-source software from patent trolls

    Open-source software — heck, all software — has been plagued by patent trolls for decades. The Open Invention Network (OIN), the largest patent non-aggression community in history, is now expanding protection of open-source and Linux by partnering with IBM, the Linux Foundation, and Microsoft to further protect it from Patent Assertion Entities (PAEs), aka patent trolls. This new consortium is doing this by supporting Unified Patents’ Open Source Zone with a substantial annual subscription.

    Unified Patents is an international organization of over 200 businesses. Unified Patents takes an aggressive stance against trolls. The name of its game is deterring trolls from attacking its members by making it too expensive for the troll to win. The group does this by examining troll patents and their activities in various technology sectors (Zones). The Open Source Zone is the newest of these Zones.

    United Patents does this in a variety of ways. For example, it runs a public bounty program, where it seeks prior art for troll patents. According to Kevin Jakel, Unified Patents CEO, in a recent interview, “The prize money offered can be as much as $10,000 for anyone that is able to find prior patents on the one being questioned. For example, we recently announced a $10,000 bounty for any prior art relating to network monitoring and sequence integrity.”

    In practice, their method works. For instance, with Unified Patent’s aid, the ride-sharing company Lyft recently beat a patent troll. In the case, a troll claimed essentially he has created all ride-sharing software. US District Judge Jon S Tigar ruled against the troll, saying, “Given the lack of an algorithm for allocation, RideApp ‘has in effect claimed everything that [performs the task] under the sun.”

  2. SUSE welcomes cooperation of Open Invention Network, Linux Foundation, IBM and Microsoft in co-funding Unified Patent’s new Open Source Zone

    An eternal truth is that everything has its opposite for good and evil. Patents are no exception. In fact, even the simple word ‘Patent’ evokes much positive and negative emotion in today’s software world – particularly as news continues to circulate around baseless patent lawsuits by non-practicing entities (NPEs).
    But in news this week there is a bit of positive for a change. The positive news is the announcement of the efforts by Unified Patents to reduce NPE assertion of invalid patents in the open source software zone.

  3. Open Invention Network Joins Forces With IBM, Linux Foundation And Microsoft

    Open Invention Network (OIN) is teaming up with IBM, the Linux Foundation and Microsoft to further protect open source software (OSS) from Patent Assertion Entities (PAEs) leveraging low quality patents, also called patent trolls.

    The group will support Unified Patents’ Open Source Zone with a substantial annual subscription. This expands OIN’s and its partners’ patent non-aggression activities by deterring PAEs from targeting Linux and adjacent OSS technologies relied on by developers, distributors and users.

11.07.19

The GNOME Foundation’s Potentially Useless Defense Strategy is an OIN-Styled ‘Fix’ and Not a Software Patents Fix (Abolition)

Posted in GNOME, GNU/Linux, IBM, Microsoft, OIN, Red Hat at 4:56 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

“Fighting patents one by one will never eliminate the danger of software patents, any more than swatting mosquitoes will eliminate malaria.”

Richard Stallman

They get attacked by software patents. And they don't use Alice.

Summary: The anti-Stallman club known as ‘GNOME Foundation’ is not interested in tackling software patents as a whole. What does that tell us about the situation we’re in?

THE short series about the defamation of Richard Stallman (RMS) isn’t over yet. The media defamed him repeatedly for about a month (yet again earlier this week) and Stallman was in contact with us. Whether he wants to make further comment/s on the subject will depend on him.

“We’re not bashing McGovern, but we worry about his predecessors at this prestigious position; they’re are from SFC (also anti-RMS), Peters (now Microsoft), and de Icaza (also Microsoft).”One thing we continue to research is the controversial announcement or media statement from GNOME Foundation, signed by Neil McGovern, who has called himself “Politico and geek, GNOME Executive Director, Cambridge CAMRA press officer, Ex-Debian Project Leader. Views are own etc.” (His personal Web site is nowhere as active.)

We’re not bashing McGovern, but we worry about his predecessors at this prestigious position; they’re are from SFC (also anti-RMS), Peters (now Microsoft), and de Icaza (also Microsoft). Neil McGovern, known better for his anti-RMS rant, is a credible person, but the context he’s in requires him to adopt particular positions.

His media statement, which is two months old (and put a lot of pressure on RMS), has caused a bit of controversy within GNOME itself. Some GNOME people have distanced themselves from it, even in the open. There are blog posts to that effect. Even in GNOME’s own Web site!

As we recently noted (in relation to OIN and IBM), there's an element in this 'community' that does not want software patents to go away. Instead it wants pertinent patents to be challenged based on something like prior art. A reader has just pointed out to us Free software [sic] is under attack. How you can help. (w/ Neil McGovern) from @TheLinuxGamer on LBRY.tv” (a new video interview).

Our reader adds that it’s about “software patents versus Shotwell, though they are mistakenly referred to only as “patents” there; strategy might be a bit misguided since it is not going after software patents in general but instead choosing to play whac-a-mole against one single troll at a time; they also naively plan to recover costs from the troll, which is probably just a shell company anyway; perhaps you could correspond with them…”

I personally will not bother, but I invite readers to do so. I’ve criticised the ‘GNOME Foundation’ in the distant past, so its chief is not likely to talk to me. Well, seeing what he wrote and with predecessors like these, McGovern merely continues a decade-long pattern of trying to overthrow or at least discredit RMS. His employment history in the UK and his work for Debian isn’t something to be mocked or belittled. He’s not a bad person. But his employer and the people who now surround him may be bad influence. The Foundation isn’t so credible; we wrote many articles about this back in 2009. They’re even close to Microsoft (and they will never point out the troll’s connections to Microsoft [1, 2, 3]). The Foundation raises other concerns. It is also deeply connected to IBM through Red Hat (many GNOME developers are salaried by Red Hat), probably the foremost influence source — one which as we noted before wishes 35 U.S.C. § 101/Alice to go away, and for the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) to issue IBM with tens of thousands of software patents, not to be overturned and invalidated in Patent Trial and Appeal Board (PTAB) inter partes reviews (IPRs) with Federal Circuit affirmation of these invalidations. This is the biggest downside of IBM’s acquisition/takeover and it has been our main concern regarding Red Hat (the reasonable patent policy being cast aside).

This approach from the GNOME Foundation must be pleasing not just for IBM but also Microsoft, now an OIN member. Days ago Microsoft Tim belatedly expressed satisfaction about OIN getting involved. OIN is in the ‘business’ of teaching FOSS people to tolerate rather than eliminate software patents and days ago it added another high-profile Japanese member (in our Daily Links).

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