SystemD: When More is Less (Freedom)

Posted in GNU/Linux, IBM, Red Hat, Servers at 6:59 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Video download link

Summary: The sorts of bills people are expected to receive for GNU/Linux support from IBM are reminiscent of ‘old’ IBM; systemd helps lock-in, making avoidance of such support contracts more difficult over time (now that CentOS is more or less going away)

IN relative terms, systemd isn’t mature software. It’s about a decade old, compared to 37 years of GNU and almost 30 years of Linux. But systemd rapidly takes over more and more functions in today’s GNU/Linux systems and it is controlled mostly by IBM, which develops systemd on Microsoft servers.

“But systemd rapidly takes over more and more functions in today’s GNU/Linux systems and it is controlled mostly by IBM, which develops systemd on Microsoft servers.”The video above isn’t intended to be too hostile; it’s just pointing out some simple facts about systemd and highlights some of the main concerns, which are centered around vendor lock-in (for support) rather than technical aspects, including security.

IBM billsWell, systemd may be working perfectly well in practice (except on some particular systems with unique setups); but should we therefore ignore possible future issues? It’s not like IBM is getting any nicer and less aggressive, as we’ve mentioned in two videos over the past 24 hours [1, 2].

Links/pages from the video:

  1. The NSA Is Looking At Systemd’s KDBUS
  2. Systemd Had A Pretty Big 2020 With Homed, OOMD Components Merged
  3. “By today standard it seems that any stupid idea you throw in qualifies as “modernizing”…” Phoronix comment
  4. Running GNU/Linux With a Top Process Controlled by Microsoft and Far Too Many Lines of Code
  5. What Former Debian Project Leader (Second to the Late Ian Murdock) Thinks About SystemD in Debian GNU/Linux
  6. Simpler Systems, Better Systems
  7. Systemd Has Become (Almost) an Operating System
  8. Foreclosure by Systemd and IBM
  9. Pseudo Novelty is Coming Home
  10. Guest Meme: Systemd and GitHub as Digital Colonisation
  11. The Systemd Song
  12. Monopoly (or Vendor Lock-in) is Not Modularity


Christmastime Extortion Shows That IBM Has Not Changed Since Buying Red Hat and It’s Still a Patent Bully

Posted in Deception, Free/Libre Software, GNU/Linux, IBM, OIN, Patents, Red Hat at 7:48 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Video download link

With due credit to original jokers

Santa Wish Christmas: IBM,can you change for xmas? Sure! Yay! I'll make financial demands

Summary: IBM still has a long, long ‘naughty list’ (a growing list of companies it’s looking to blackmail for money — or tax — using loads of software patents), just like Microsoft’s ‘naughty list’ (Microsoft’s patent blackmail has not stopped; media’s attention to that has stopped, e.g. last year's shakedowns against Linux/Android/ChromeOS)

WEEKS after IBM sealed a terrible (pandemic, Trump etc.) year with a big “F U!” to all CentOS users around the world (individuals and businesses/executives who must now migrate under difficult conditions or shell out money they don’t even have) it reminds us that its OIN PR charade is just that — a charade. It doesn’t protect Free software from software patents, it’s just misleading the Free software community (a real community) about software patents.

Red Hat operatives still try to mislead us all about CentOS and the motivations behind what happened to it (those attempts are shallow or deeply self-contradictory; they’re truly and profoundly disingenuous, so they do more harm than good); one of the persons who proposed this now works at a senior position for Microsoft. A side perk of IBM choosing to pretend to have not abandoned CentOS (just “Stream”) is that they subvert justifications for giving up the trademark in the same way Oracle/Apache did OpenOffice (this limited the appeal of LibreOffice, causing frustration).

Letters of xmas (aka Letter to Murderous Santa): I will never pay IBM for patents

Promises to Red Hat are out the window and Red Hat’s software patents (with their so-called ‘promise’) are now in IBM’s war chest (patent portfolio as cash cow).

IBM — like Microsoft — thinks like a government-connected/sanctioned monopoly and does not wish to really innovate, just amass an endless pile of worthless software patents instead, with help from the legal department (even the same people, e.g. Marshall Phelps), then sue and extort those who actually innovate and make products people actually want.

Jessie in Christmas: IBM Patents, Monopoly; You're next!We don’t want to say a lot about the whole history/track record which we covered here before, but IBM is no ally of Free software (or not anymore). It’s just milking volunteers for corporate profits, monopolised using complexity (e.g. systemd), vendor lock-in (Wayland etc.) and software patents. Watch what slipped under the radar on Christmas Eve! (Below we’ve put a screenshot)

Even after buying Red Hat (years ago) IBM continues to act a lot like a patent troll, shaking down every company imaginable. Settlement announced when nobody will notice (PR reasons likely)?

IBM Settles Patent Lawsuit With Airbnb; Street Sees 16% Upside


IBM is Not a Community

Posted in GNU/Linux, IBM, Red Hat at 4:44 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Summary: Fedora as a project and as a community (this initiative’s roots at Red Hat) is in peril; for IBM to turn things around it’ll need to show that it really views GNU/Linux developers/users (unaffiliated with corporations) as more than just cost-free labour

THE misuse of the term “community” is closely connected to the emergence of “openwashing” — i.e. pretending proprietary is “open” or “transparent” and corporations are some kind of charities working for the public good. We’ve seen lots of examples of that over the past two years in particular. OSI has been taken over by this agenda.

“To properly judge IBM’s position on software freedom (or human rights), one must assess both the past and the present (which, unlike the future, aren’t an uncertainty).”In IBM’s case, there’s lots of “for Good” or “4Good”; there’s also “embRACE” (trying to rewrite IBM’s record on issues of race), “openPOWER” (openwashing) and manufactured “geek” cred.

To properly judge IBM’s position on software freedom (or human rights), one must assess both the past and the present (which, unlike the future, aren’t an uncertainty). One must go deeper than shallow things like the gender of the last CEO and race of the current one. IBM isn’t as ‘woke’ as it wants people to think; working hard to eliminate particular metaphors isn’t as commendable as these people wish for us to believe.

Recently, much attention was paid to the CentOS betrayal. We saw about dozen videos and close to 100 articles about this one subject alone (throughout December) and few writers brought up Fedora, asking the tough questions about the future of the project.

Quick! Teach me how to monetise the volunteers!

I’m an early adopter (at work) of Fedora (back when it was “Fedora Core”) and Red Hat was the first GNU/Linux distribution I used. With that in mind, it saddens me to see what IBM has done to Red Hat this past year. In the video above I go through only some of the many aspects we’ve been covering throughout the year.

CentOS users; Gateway drugMore on the CentOS issue can be found in this older video. There are also some articles about this subject, e.g.:

Seeing the sorts of attitudinal changes at Red Hat (directed by IBM now), we’re not exactly optimistic. In the video above I focus on Fedora and why I believe 2021 will be a tough year for Fedora.

Links from the video:


IBM: We’re Fighting for Ethics, But We Screw the Community for Money

Posted in GNU/Linux, IBM, Red Hat at 6:16 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Summary: IBM’s leading role in the abolition of words (like the word “master” but not elimination of slavery itself) can be seen from another angle considering what IBM thinks of ‘slaves’ who wrote much of GNU and Linux for no financial gain

THE 'war on vocabulary' is sold to the general public as improving manners and mitigating potential offence. This is all fine on the surface, but there’s a hidden cost because without free speech people cannot openly express an opinion about things they deem to be objectionable.

Such as…

“It hopefully gets across the point that while IBM plays “speech police” (insisting that it’s protecting people) in practical terms it is doing a lot of harm to the community.”IBM screwing the GNU/Linux development community…

Oh shoot… can still use the word “screw”? Does that refer to the contents of utility boxes or something sexual?

Old PennyMany videos have already been done and many articles written about what IBM is doing to CentOS, so we’ve instead chosen to focus on this satirical Web site.

IBM insists that its heart is in the right place; but that’s just shallow PR that obscures gory details about its history and the present.

GNU/Linux users and Free software advocates at large ought to assess IBM by its commitment the community (many volunteers who wrote lots of code for pragmatic and altruistic reasons). If IBM is willing to bin Red Hat’s projects and initiatives that give back to the same community it derived so much value from, what can we conclude about the morality of IBM?

The video above is unscripted and done in a single take. It hopefully gets across the point that while IBM plays “speech police” (insisting that it’s protecting people) in practical terms it is doing a lot of harm to the community.


Like It Or Not, This is Just the Real IBM

Posted in GNU/Linux, IBM, Red Hat at 3:53 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

IBM: We do WindowsSummary: A lot of people are deeply disappointed to see the decisions IBM makes regarding GNU/Linux; we need to recognise IBM for what it really is (and has long been), not some fantasies about what we want it to be

AFTER one company of Bill Gates went bankrupt (yes, Microsoft wasn’t the first) Microsoft got its breakthrough deal — perhaps life-saver deal — after Bill Gates' highly well-connected mother (born to a super-rich and privileged family) had pressured IBM to give her son an important software deal. Here we are decades later and IBM squashes key parts of Red Hat whilst at the same time helping Microsoft's monopoly.

“We should not assume that IBM is “good” because Microsoft is “bad”; Microsoft and IBM are not opposites!”IBM as a force of monopoly was never gone; it was merely hibernating. A lot of people out there (even politicians, e.g. head of the Libertarian Party, Robert Mercer, Linux Foundation) came from IBM. Many people from Novell had come from IBM. We should not assume that IBM is “good” because Microsoft is “bad”; Microsoft and IBM are not opposites!

IBM 'ethics': Limiting what you can and cannot say

Techrights was never anti-IBM (in its roots, the site is against Novell’s collusion with Microsoft). In its early days it even cheered for IBM’s response to SCO and advocacy of OpenDocument Format (ODF). IBM is certainly not a ‘high-priority’ threat; in relative terms, IBM is probably a lot more innocuous than any of GAFAM in isolation. What we hope is that IBM won’t use its clout (through Red Hat) for censorship and lies (such as revisionism about IBM’s history).

We certainly hope that IBM will at least try to understand the community and not just look at it like a piggybank to piggyback.

If it doesn't sell expensive mainframes; Then we don't want it

If IBM doesn’t take CentOS seriously, how can it be expected to treat Fedora any better? As we said yesterday, we dread uttering the names of projects IBM might can next (the same way Oracle did Sun’s). We think that the next few months will show us where IBM stands; IBM never stood on the "right side of history". Helping Donald Trump’s regime showed everyone — even current and past employees — that IBM is refusing to change, even after buying Red Hat.

International Bullshit and Masochists

With the Appalling (But Perhaps Predictable) CentOS Move IBM Showed Its True Face and Intentions

Posted in GNU/Linux, IBM, Microsoft, Red Hat at 2:51 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

We doubted a CentOS 8 would even be released (at all) and the relief was short-lived

Red Hat Microsoft handshake closer

Summary: Much as was predicted and told to us (privately) last year, IBM would scuttle parts of Red Hat that it does not want no sooner than 2 years after the acquisition (first announced about 25 months ago); we need to assess more carefully the strategy for Software Freedom, seeing that IBM is more interested in abolishing/squashing it (along with the movement's very founder)

YESTERDAY Red Hat (IBM) promoted Microsoft Azure (no kidding) and even GitHub (it’s a partnership with Microsoft). It’s frustrating to see CentOS being effectively abolished (Sam Varghese rightly believes Fedora is next) while IBM helps Microsoft's monopoly.

“IBM is a symptom of the sort of problem we’ll need to cope with in years if not decades to come.”Varghese already wrote two articles about CentOS (we mentioned those the other day) and now he says: “All the Fedora user complaints, fixes and mailing list posts would serve as excellent free labour for the CentOS Stream. And that is essentially the point. In true gig economy fashion, Red Hat will be getting developer hours free.”

And this is what it’s all about now. “GNU/Linux was once an operating system around which there was some idealism,” he continues. “Now, Red Hat has ensured that the only thing one sees when looking at a penguin is the greenback.”

Nadella and Red HatTo be frank, those recent events serve to reaffirm our arguments (from recent years) and embolden us. We need to rethink our strategy, seeing the increasing consolidation and exploitation. “Open Source” is effectively dead; it’s just openwashing and large monopolies looking to harvest free labour of non-employees. People need to start speaking about Free software; not GitHub accounts, “clown computing” and all that other nonsense. IBM is a symptom of the sort of problem we’ll need to cope with in years if not decades to come.


Corporations Love Shareholders, Not Software Freedom or Users’ Needs

Posted in Free/Libre Software, GNU/Linux, IBM, Red Hat at 6:11 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Who’s left to (really) love GNU/Linux if not its users, who actually depend on it unlike these IBM executives and Linux Foundation executives?

When your own chiefs; Basically reject your own product

Jim Whitehurst story

Summary: IBM loves profits made through Red Hat (and RHEL), but it does not love GNU/Linux and cannot understand why so many people do in fact love GNU/Linux

THE IBM-owned and IBM-controlled Red Hat isn’t crushing CentOS because there’s no demand for it but because there is demand for it; minimal compliance and conformance with licences seems “fair enough” for IBM. After all, the new CEO “Hopes to Double Sales at Red Hat in Next Three Years”; what better way than leaving users stranded, compelling at least some of them to become customers?

IBM and Red HatIBMers who loved GNU/Linux have already retired (Red Hat’s founders, who love this company the most, are also gone). In recent years IBM worked closely with Apple, not with Free software. The CEO of Red Hat (and now IBM President) isn’t even eating his own dogfood (he claimed he had messed around with Fedora, but there’s no strong evidence of it and Red Hat didn’t do much for the Fedora project, which keeps languishing).

Red Hat was the first distribution that I used (years before Fedora Core existed) and the latest disappointment from IBM is certainly not the last. We can envision several other things happening next (particular projects on the chopping block), but we’d rather not name them and give any ideas…

Our article about Red Hat layoffs was read by about 100,000 people; people know that this is happening, but many are still in denial about it. Recently, as noted in the news some weeks ago (it’s in our Daily Links), IBM fired a huge number of workers across Europe.

“GNU/Linux development (or whatever replaces “Linux”) ought to get back to its grassroots community…”Last month Tom (Thomas Grzybowski) reported for us that according to a friend of his, who had been attending one of the OLF Conferences, Bob Young of Red Hat “was telling a story about how a few years ago he had explained to Richard Stallman that he himself was more committed to Free Software than Stallman was. In his view, Stallman was only ideologically supporting Free Software, while Red Hat’s entire business model depended upon on it. And through Red Hat’s commercialization of GNU/Linux, Young had brought open-source/free software into wide-spread corporate acceptance and into the marketplace such that many more people could benefit.”

This is typical; it’s conflating market share (or “penetration” as executives like to call it) with other things, such as the freedom Stallman (RMS) strives to give users and hackers (he means developers when he uses that word). Judging by the history of IBM, the company doesn’t care about freedom. It never did. Linux and GNU were just zero-cost tools for IBM to build systems upon. IBM’s executives in the 1990s understood that it was better to work with GNU/Linux than without it (and sure, they groomed “Open Source” and “Linux” rather than Free software and GNU; IBM’s employees still try to oust RMS from his own project, GNU).

Let’s be realistic about it; IBM may have the most important GNU/Linux distribution, but that does not make it the most important advocate or ‘flag bearer’. GNU/Linux development (or whatever replaces “Linux”) ought to get back to its grassroots community; shareholders of IBM do not share the same goals as ours and they’re not diverse either (it’s a bunch of highly privileged people, rarely geeks).

[Meme] IBM is Totally Not Killing CentOS

Posted in GNU/Linux, IBM, Red Hat at 5:00 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Yesterday: IBM Keeps Weakening Its Commitment to Developers and Software Communities

Yes, how can I help? Systemd? Yes, it's obligatory now. Wait, you use CentOS? We don't support that. No, we didn't kill it. We pretended to create Stream in addition, then killed the other.

Summary: The new boss of Red Hat wants the bucks, not the community; as a person closely familiar with IBM deal-making told us last year, IBM always waits two years before getting rid of people or products inherited from newly-acquired companies

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