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12.16.19

When You Cannot Convert GNU/Linux Into Windows (Mono, DLL Files Etc.) You May Try to Make It Subservient to Windows (Vista 10 and WSL)

Posted in GNU/Linux, Microsoft, Mono, Ubuntu, Vista 10, Windows at 4:52 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Scoble on Mono

Summary: Microsoft needs people outside Microsoft to promote WSL; some of them have already entered GNU/Linux companies

THIS may not be very publicly visible (except to those who read our IRC logs, which are public), but we’ve been researching what drives WSL development and who takes the lead.

“There’s absolutely no practical reason to use WSL; it’s a lot easier and technically far better to get something like VirtualBox, which is also Free software, then install under it one’s distribution of choice.”Isn’t it curious that lawyers rather than geeks are in charge? Earlier this month we took note of their support for USPTO-granted software patents (despite 35 U.S.C. § 101) that Microsoft still uses against GNU/Linux, even this year.

We are still drilling and digging. Many parallels can be found between the people who promoted Mono inside GNU/Linux and are now Microsoft employees (they weren’t at the time).

There’s absolutely no practical reason to use WSL; it’s a lot easier and technically far better to get something like VirtualBox, which is also Free software, then install under it one’s distribution of choice. But WSL is a lot easier for Microsoft to spy on, remotely break/brick and add Windows-only “extensions” to (the second “E” in EEE). It doesn’t take a genius to foresee what Microsoft will seek to accomplish with WSL and one only needs to assess the background of those who promote it. They’re not GNU/Linux people but Microsoft/Windows people. They view GNU/Linux as something to merely be exploited.

“…Kirkland left after 10 years; hard to imagine he was proud to have turned Ubuntu into an ‘app’ for spyware disguised as an operating system with obligatory ads.”Months ago Will Cooke stepped down As Canonical’s Ubuntu Desktop Director (Rick Spencer, head of Ubuntu’s desktop a decade ago, had come from Microsoft) and Canonical also lost the person who initially announced WSL (on behalf of Canonical), Dustin Kirkland. He now works for Apex Clearing, having left his position at Canonical (Product Manager or VP Product).

“After 7+ years at IBM,” he once explained, “I joined Canonical in (February 2008)…”

So Mr. Kirkland left after 10 years; hard to imagine he was proud to have turned Ubuntu into an ‘app’ for spyware disguised as an operating system with obligatory ads.

All in all, there are many warning signs ‘in the air’ and while our investigation continues we’ll refrain from saying anything we cannot verify (at least not yet). Remember this: WSL is not good for GNU/Linux. WSL is good for Microsoft. WSL is promoted not by GNU/Linux people but by Microsoft proponents. Just like Mono was…

“I saw that internally inside Microsoft many times when I was told to stay away from supporting Mono in public. They reserve the right to sue”

Robert Scoble, former Microsoft evangelist

12.11.19

Instead of Fixing Bug #1 Canonical/Ubuntu Contributes to Making the Bug Even More Severe (WSL/EEE)

Posted in GNU/Linux, Microsoft, Ubuntu at 4:48 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Capitulation: Reducing Ubuntu to “Windows app” with Windows-only extensions and Microsoft surveillance (the race to appease Microsoft) instead of a standalone operating system

Ubuntu bug #1

Summary: Following one seminal report about Canonical financially contributing to Microsoft's EEE effortscelebrated openly by GNU/Linux opponents — there have been at least four more [1-4], reaffirming many people’s suspicions that by closing bug #1 Ubuntu basically decided not that it was fixed but that it would no longer attempt to fix it (“wontfix”)

References:

  1. Canonical Sponsoring Microsoft’s 1st Windows Subsystem For Linux Conference!

    Canonical Sponsors WSL Conference: The team Canonical is the founders of Ubuntu Linux Operating System. The team canonical announced that the team Canonical will be a featured as a sponsor on Microsoft’s 1st WSL Conference. This is the 1st conference held by Microsoft team for WSL.
    The official WSL Conference is scheduled for March 10th-11th, 2020 at Microsoft’s headquarters in Redmond, Washington
    We can expect that the conference will bring “Founders, Developers, Programmers, Community Members” from the WSL project.

  2. Canonical Sponsors WSLConf, Microsoft?s First Linux Conference

    WSLConf is the first Linux-related conference to be hosted by Microsoft and, if you hadn?t already guessed, is focused around the Windows Subsystem for Linux (aka WSL and WSL 2).

    Developers, enthusiasts, and users WSL will get to enjoy two jam-packaged days dedicated to the tech, with presentations, workshops, and networking around the platform.

  3. Canonical co-sponsors Windows Subsystem for Linux conference

    There may never be a “Year of the Linux desktop” per se, but Linux on Windows, via the Windows Subsystem for Linux (WSL), is certainly gaining popularity. Canonical, Ubuntu Linux’s parent company, has just announced it will help sponsor WSLConf, the first WSL-specific conference.

  4. Canonical to Sponsor Microsoft’s First Windows Subsystem for Linux Conference

    Canonical, the company behind the popular Ubuntu Linux operating system, announced that they will be an official sponsor of Microsoft’s first-ever Linux Conference for WSL (Windows Subsystem for Linux).

    Announced earlier this fall, WSLconf, the first Microsoft Linux Conference for WSL (Windows Subsystem for Linux), a Windows 10 feature that allows users to run various GNU/Linux distributions on top of their Windows installations, will take place next spring from March 10th to 11th, and it looks like Canonical will be there to give presentations and also sponsor the event.

12.10.19

Microsoft Still Hates GNU/Linux and Mark Shuttleworth Knows It (But He is Desperate for Money)

Posted in Deception, Microsoft, Ubuntu at 5:54 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Microsoft is still suing and Canonical still loses money (for a long time)

“That’s extortion and we should call it what it is. To say, as Ballmer did, that there is undisclosed balance sheet liability, that’s just extortion and we should refuse to get drawn into that game.”

Mark Shuttleworth

“Microsoft is asking people to pay them for patents, but they won’t say which ones. If a guy walks into a shop and says: “It’s an unsafe neighbourhood, why don’t you pay me 20 bucks and I’ll make sure you’re okay,” that’s illegal. It’s racketeering.”

Mark Shuttleworth

The old Microsoft, the new Microsoft

Summary: We’re supposed to believe that a PR or image management (reputation laundering) campaign alone can turn Microsoft from GNU/Linux foe into friend/ally

10.21.19

GNU/Linux is Bigger Than Ever (Used More Than Ever Before), But Communication Means and Brands Have Changed

Posted in Debian, GNU/Linux, Ubuntu at 4:33 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Once upon a time people used landlines a lot

Very healthy communication

Summary: The GNU/Linux market is alive and healthy; it’s how we measure its health that ought to adapt because things are constantly changing, more rapidly in the realm of technology than anywhere else

“I thought you might find this interesting,” one reader told us, sharing some figures about the Debian mailing lists, which don’t exactly thrive. The reader was a very avid fan of Debian, saying to us that “Debian was my favourite distro of all time,” but now this reader isn’t using it anymore.

It’s wrong to judge a distro or a community surrounding a distro based on mailing lists, but here’s a list of unique debian-user posters (with at least 2 posts) by year:

2011  990 users
2012 1000 users
2013  899 users
2014  832 users
2015  810 users
2016  695 users
2017  702 users
2018  (insufficient data)

The reader noted that “it hasn’t updated since the middle of 2018 (so the 2018 data isn’t accurate)” and it’s also worth remembering that Ubuntu came around, basing everything on Debian. Other distros too may have ‘diluted’ somewhat from the Debian activity, albeit not the Debian codebase, repositories etc.

Moreover, it might be possible to explain this by saying that people use other means of communication these days (social control media has become more popular over the past decade).

“Some people wrongly measure the size and importance of GNU, Linux and various other Free software projects based on the number of people lurking in IRC channels or chatting in mailing lists.”A lot of people may easily mistake this for lack of popularity, lost momentum and maybe even blame systemd or some other old canard. Judging by what I see in my everyday life (and work), at the back end Debian is absolutely huge. A lot of the repositories used may be Canonical’s (for Ubuntu), but much of the heavy lifting is based upon or derived from Debian.

Some people wrongly measure the size and importance of GNU, Linux and various other Free software projects based on the number of people lurking in IRC channels or chatting in mailing lists. That totally fails to account for various dynamics, such as GNU/Linux becoming so mainstream that people no longer go ‘online’ for support, the names keep changing (e.g. Android, AWS) and many Web pages are behind walled gardens (e.g. online support). Fewer things tend to break. How many people even use newsgroups/USENET anymore? How many use phones and chat ‘apps’? How many pay for some company (such as ours) to support and maintain their servers? None of that ends up being ‘spilled’ online (or some mailing lists). A lot of activity, communications included, lands in pull requests of public and private repositories. As for the media? It’s dying. It’s dying a fast death and it has nothing to do with GNU/Linux (that’s true across the entire spectrum, also outside technology).

Here’s more of the above. It’s “something I did a year or two ago,” our reader said, limiting the search to the debian-user mailing list:

year | users w/ >1 posts | top post count / top poster

1994 --- 22 6 Ian A Murdock (founder)

1995 --- 40 26 Bruce Perens (dpl)
1996 --- 225 76 Bruce Perens
1997 --- 592 93 Bruce Perens

1998 --- 942 104 Kent West

1999 --- 782 56 Pollywog

2000 --- 1099 199 kmself
new york times article: https://www.nytimes.com/2004/09/19/business/yourmoney/barbarians-at-the-digital-gate.html

2001 --- 2273 524 Karsten M. Self (kmself)
2002 --- 2839 1443 Colin Watson (dev since 2001)
https://raphaelhertzog.com/2010/11/25/people-behind-debian-colin-watson/

2003 --- 2929 2061 Paul Johnson
2004 --- 3009 1310 Paul Johnson
("proud debian admin and user" -- from sig)

2005 --- 2409 568 Roberto C. Sanchez (dev, apt expertise)

2006 --- 1876 679 Andrew Sackville-West (debian dev? sw engineer)

2007 --- 1418 1115 Ron Johnson
2008 --- 1222 1168 Ron Johnson

2009 --- 921 417 Boyd Stephen Smith Jr.
https://symcbean.blogspot.com/2014/03/warning-bbwc-may-be-bad-for-your-health.html

2010 --- 536 582 Camaleón
2011 --- 990 2081 Camaleón
2012 --- 1000 2500 Camaleón

2013 --- 899 1297 Ralf Mardorf (ubuntu wiki editor)

2014 --- 832 936 Brian

2015 --- 810 1018 Lisi Reisz (computer consultant)
2016 --- 695 827 Lisi Reisz

2017 --- 702 530 tomas

2018 --- 264 237 David Wright

Even if the above mailing list became completely unused, that would still not say very much, except perhaps something about mailing lists in general. Yahoo is currently shutting down a huge, decades-long archive. That’s just what happens over time. GNU/Linux is slowly but surely adapting. Long live Debian and distros based on Debian.

07.17.19

Red Hat’s Freedom Reduced to Just Online Partner Enablement Network (OPEN) and Microsoft as a Close Partner; Canonical’s Ubuntu Just an ‘App’ for Windows?

Posted in GNU/Linux, IBM, Microsoft, Patents, Red Hat, Ubuntu at 3:20 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNU boiling

Summary: Free software is being snapped up by proprietary software giants and patent bullies that treat it as little more than an ‘add-on’ for their proprietary offerings

WE HAVE long been sceptical and apprehensive about IBM, not only because it lobbies for software patents at the EPO and USPTO (IBM spearheads a lobbying campaign against 35 U.S.C. § 101). IBM still did it — quite a lot in fact — since announcing its plans for Red Hat. IBM that we remember from one or more decades ago is very different from today’s IBM; the management too isn’t the same. For example, 2 decades ago IBM aggressively pushed (GNU) “Linux”, but in recent years it was mostly in bed with Apple. A decade ago IBM promoted OpenDocument Format (ODF), but IBM has since then more or less abandoned office suite-type endeavours (sold outwards, just like the ThinkPad business which had become famous for Linux friendliness).

“No connection whatsoever to Free software; also remember that the word “community” means nothing to IBM.”When I first heard about Red Hat getting bought by IBM I found solace in nothing but the fact that Red Hat did not sell to Microsoft or to Oracle. As it turned out days later, Red Hat had actually entertained a Microsoft takeover. What a betrayal that would have been (had that happened).

Last night (or around the afternoon/evening) Red Hat published this worrisome new page entitled “Microsoft and Red Hat, inspired,” which said “we’re pleased to be recognized as the 2019 Microsoft US Partner Award winner for ISV Azure Accelerator.”

Here we go again with the Azure agenda, which is all about Microsoft controlling GNU/Linux. Then came another new Red Hat page, this one entitled “Red Hat Global Services + IBM” and to quote: “Last week, we announced the IBM acquisition of Red Hat. It is a monumental deal, one that will enable us to work together to help customers deliver any app, anywhere, to realize the true value of the hybrid cloud.”

Here they go again with “cloud” (meaningless nonsense, pure marketing), but scroll down and find that under IBM “open” at Red Hat is reduced to just an acronym: “Online Partner Enablement Network (OPEN).”

No connection whatsoever to Free software; also remember that the word “community” means nothing to IBM. Nothing.

“They are promoting Microsoft Windows (Vista 10) using the “Linux” brand. “We are getting somewhat worried here. Ubuntu fans will be very pissed off if or when Microsoft decides to buy Ubuntu via Canonical (it’s now possible as it changed the way it’s registered). Canonical still refuses to delete GitHub (even after an embarrassing security incident). Microsoft is already 'eating' desktop GNU/Linux with WSL and Michael Larabel has just highlighted this post we cited a day ago. Hosted on GitHub, i.e. Microsoft, what we have is the next phase of EEE: “Ubuntu-WSL Package Offers Better Ubuntu Integration On Windows Subsystem For Linux” (to quote the headline)

Here’s another one: “Want Better Integration with Ubuntu on Windows Subsystem for Linux? Try This New Metapackage”

So this is where the efforts go?

“In related reading,” Larabel said, “Microsoft’s Tara Raj wrote a Medium post yesterday on more background information on Linux/WSL for Windows.”

They are promoting Microsoft Windows (Vista 10) using the “Linux” brand.

“WSL is about ensuring people never leave Windows; Microsoft already works to make it a lot harder to install GNU/Linux as a standalone/dual OS…”See the Phoronix comments. One person said: “MS has realized that Linux is superior for development, and developers are moving to Linux. However, why would anybody compromise security by using Windows and WSL instead of Linux? Also, I’m considering to run Qubes OS to strengthen security, not other way around,… Lowering security by moving to windows.”
​​​​​​
A further comment says: “MS has realized that Linux is superior for development, and developers are moving to Linux. However, why would anybody compromise security by using Windows and WSL instead of Linux? Also, I’m considering to run Qubes OS to strengthen security, not other way around,… Lowering security by moving to windows.
​​
“No, Microsoft isn’t acknowledging any such thing, and there’s a great many Windows developers that would disagree with you. What you’re seeing is Microsoft acknowledging it’s basically lost the server closet and data center wars. So to stop hemorrhaging server platform and administrators to MacOS and Linux who require a decent compatible terminal to do their job – much like the graybeards used to need for IBM mainframes (3270 compatible terminal software) – they are adding Linux compatible terminal software in Windows along with the ability to prototype Linux server software in Windows.

“Will it work? Probably. Most people still need Windows to do the rest of their job and WSJ is more convenient than VirtualBox et al.

“But if you think business client development and the multi billion dollar gaming industry are starting to or going to switch en mass to Linux you are sadly mistaken.”

WSL is about ensuring people never leave Windows; Microsoft already works to make it a lot harder to install GNU/Linux as a standalone/dual OS, e.g. using UEFI ‘secure boot’ restrictions — an agenda incidentally shared by IBM.

07.14.19

GitHub is Microsoft’s Proprietary Software and Centralised (Monopoly) Platform, But When Canonical’s Account There Gets Compromised Suddenly It’s Ubuntu’s Fault?

Posted in Deception, Free/Libre Software, FUD, Microsoft, Security, Ubuntu at 12:22 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

One year ago: GitHub as the Latest Example of Microsoft Entryism in Free/Libre Software

Internet

Summary: Typical media distortions and signs that Microsoft already uses GitHub for censorship of Free/Open Source software that does not fit Microsoft’s interests

CORPORATE media is toxic rubbish and its business model typically involves serving the companies covered. This is why the media keeps framing the latest GitHub censorship as a GitHub issue (it’s actually Microsoft using its control over GitHub to delete particular ‘naughty’ FOSS [1,2]) and earlier this month Ubuntu received a lot of negative press after its steward’s GitHub account had been compromised. Microsoft was not even mentioned. This is all very typical and we responded to that briefly in our daily links. This is the kind of thing one can expect when Microsoft pays so much money to the media, e.g. in the form of advertising.

Related/contextual items from the news:

  1. GitHub Removed Open Source Versions of DeepNude [Ed: The new company is a Microsoft censorship tool. Every image editor can be used to make fake nudes of people. Even image sequences. Will Microsoft ban image editors too? Don't even think about criticising Microsoft for its crimes in some comments, commits or code at GitHub as they might suspend the account.]
  2. Deepfake DeepNude app’s open source versions removed from GitHub [Ed: Microsoft is doing censorship of FOSS and playing/acting as morality police. Maybe banning encryption software (with no back doors) is next on the agenda because of the terror scare.]

07.13.19

Canonical is Turning Ubuntu Into a More Proprietary Deviant of GNU/Linux

Posted in GNU/Linux, Ubuntu at 11:59 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

The command lineSummary: Ubuntu is becoming more ‘Ubinary’; binaries without their source code available are packed up and cooked up for (or baked into) the ISO; this may be good for widespread adoption, but it’s not an advancement of freedom, a capitulation rather

SEVERAL weeks ago Canonical said NVIDIA blobs would be added to future releases of Ubuntu. It later clarified that even though the ISO would be accompanied by this proprietary software (running not only in userspace), it would be disabled by default. Days ago the news resurfaced again in the following articles and blog posts:

  • Ubuntu LTS releases (and so derivatives too) to get updated NVIDIA drivers without PPAs

    Good news everyone! Canonical will now be offering NVIDIA users up to date graphics drivers without the need to resort to a PPA or anything else.

    Since this will be for the Ubuntu LTS releases, this means other Linux distributions based on Ubuntu like Linux Mint, elementary OS, Zorin OS and probably many others will also get these updated NVIDIA drivers too—hooray!

    This is really great, as PPAs are not exactly user friendly and sometimes they don’t get the testing they truly need when serving so many people. Having the Ubuntu team push out NVIDIA driver updates via an SRU (Stable Release Update), which is the same procedure they use to get you newer Firefox version, is a good way to do it.

  • Ubuntu Now Offers the Latest Nvidia Graphics Drivers to LTS Users

    Until now, anyone that has wanted to install Nvidia binary driver updates on Ubuntu 18.04 LTS has needed to make use of a separate PPA, futz around with random packages distributed online, or install the driver manually, by hand, the old-fashioned way.

    But not any more.

    Word on the street is that Ubuntu 18.04 LTS users can now install the latest releases of the proprietary Nvidia driver through the regular Ubuntu updates channel.

    The magic is made possible by the SRU (Stable Release Update) initiative. It’s this endeavour that keeps other apps, like Mozilla Firefox and Chromium, up to date on long-term support releases.

  • Ubuntu Will Make it Easier to Install Nvidia Drivers

    It’s about to get easier for Ubuntu LTS users to stay up-to-date with Nvidia’s stable graphics drivers. The Linux Experiment said via YouTube yesterday that Ubuntu plans to make these drivers part of its Stable Release Updates (SRU) program, which means users won’t have to rely on fiddly workarounds to install the latest drivers themselves.
    Ubuntu confirmed The Linux Experiment’s report on Twitter. (The company said it didn’t make an official announcement because it “decided it better to share an awesome video from a member of the wider community.”) It also said the change is “coming in an update, to your computer… [s]oon!” in response to another user.
    Ubuntu LTS typically doesn’t offer recent updates to apps, drivers and other software. The operating system is more focused on making sure everything remains as stable as possible than on providing access to the latest-and-greatest features. SRU offers a compromise by making it easy to install new versions of popular apps.

  • Excellent! Ubuntu LTS Users Will Now Get the Latest Nvidia Driver Updates [No PPA Needed Anymore]

    You might be aware of the troubles to install the latest and greatest Nvidia binary driver updates on Ubuntu.

    By default, Ubuntu provides the open source Nvidia Nouveau drivers that some time result in Ubuntu being stuck at boot screen.

    You can also install the proprietary Nvidia driver in Ubuntu easily. The problem is that the Nvidia drivers in the default Ubuntu repositories are not the latest one. To solve this problem, Ubuntu introduced a dedicated PPA a few years back.

  • Ubuntu LTS Linux Distributions Will Now Get The Latest Nvidia Drivers Installed Automatically

    The Linux Experiment dropped the news on YouTube, reporting that Ubuntu LTS installs will now automatically include the latest proprietary Nvidia graphics driver in its standard system updates. The newest stable Nvidia driver, version 430, is already in the bionic-proposed repository for testing and should land on your Ubuntu 18.04 system soon.

    [...]

    The only oddity surrounding this announcement? Well, it’s a very impactful change but was seeded through a community YouTuber (albeit an excellent one), and not via a Canonical-penned blog or press release. The company responded to this on Twitter, saying “We decided it better to share an awesome video from a member of the wider community. Ubuntu is all about community, after all.”

  • Ubuntu To Provide NVIDIA Drivers Updates To Ubuntu LTS Users

    Ubuntu has been a good choice to switch to Linux from other operating systems. The only thing that has stopped people is the hardware updates. Though there were NVIDIA drivers updates available but through third-party PPAs.

    But no more installation of third-party PPAs in Ubuntu 18.04 LTS. Ubuntu is now going to provide the latest NVIDIA drivers updates to its long term release users starting from its latest LTS release Ubuntu 18.04.

    The big news was announced through Ubuntu’s twitter account posting a Youtube video describing how Ubuntu is already testing the feature and will release to the public very soon.

    Let me tell you, updating Nvidia drivers were not difficult but required the installation of third-party PPAs or run several scripts to update NVIDIA drivers.

    As explained in the video, Ubuntu will now provide the latest proprietary drivers updates from its repositories in Ubuntu 18.04 LTS and also Ubuntu 16.04 in the near future.

There may be more and if I stumble upon any, I shall add them to this page (as comments).

Canonical recently enraged some circles (WINE, Valve and others) because it said Ubuntu would drop i386 support. We didn’t cover this at the time (except in daily links) as it didn’t seem like a very major deal and everyone — even corporate media — covered it on the earliest occasion. At the end Canonical made a much-needed concession, basically caving or surrendering to pressure from users and developers alike.

Canonical isn’t a perfect company. It never was. I’ve used Ubuntu since its first-ever release (at work) and I always viewed it as a ‘pet project’ of a rich tycoon looking to popularise Debian, initially on the desktop. Considering some worse scandals (like Amazon spying inside the desktop), this is hardly the biggest scandal and it’s not unprecedented. People who value freedom probably should not be using this GNU/Linux distribution in the first place.

06.17.16

Canonical’s and Red Hat’s Shameful War Against One Another… and Against the Already-Marginalised Linux Media

Posted in GNU/Linux, Red Hat, Ubuntu at 4:26 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Or: why I hardly cover GNU/Linux news (with original articles) anymore

The feuding cups

Summary: In an effort to trip each other up and in order to become the ‘industry standard’, Canonical and Red Hat hurt each other and alienate the media (what’s left of it)

TECHRIGHTS, with the exception of the daily links, does not cover GNU/Linux matters all that often. Not anymore. There’s a reason for this and it’s not just the growing role of software patents in the destruction/elimination of software freedom.

I wouldn’t be the first person to state that the GNU/Linux world can be harsh and brutal. People have free speech, which is absolutely fine (I’m a big opposer of censorship and self-censorship). But what happens when people cross the line of common sense and begin to personally attack writers and pundits? What happens when they do this on behalf of big and wealthy corporations? A lot of the abuse I received from the Mono crowd over the years (unimaginable abuse, comparing me even to a criminal) is ever more fascinating now that those very same people are Microsoft employees.

“A lot of the abuse I received from the Mono crowd over the years (unimaginable abuse, comparing me even to a criminal) is ever more fascinating now that those very same people are Microsoft employees.”I recently encountered or was the eyewitness of truly shameful attacks on Phoronix, both from developers and from sites like Reddit, which effectively blacklisted Phoronix, calling it “blogspam”. Reddit is full of censorship for those who don’t know it yet (our daily links have many articles about its political censorship too), but it’s rather unbelievable if not cynical when they block the whole of Phoronix (recently the subject of renewed debate over there and maybe a reversal/overturning of the ban, for the first time in a very long time).

The point I am trying to get across here is that it’s not easy to cover GNU/Linux news because there’s always someone, somewhere who isn’t happy. Thick skin is required. I hardly cover GNU/Linux matters (compared to past years), though it’s not because I’m offended or put off by personal attacks; it’s because I don’t always feel appreciated for the investigative work which I do. I generally snub any PR person or company spokesperson. I don’t trust them. I try to come up with an independent point of view; so do some journalists like Sam Varghese, who have earned nothing for that other than scorn and abuse.

I am not alone in this. Not many people are willing to speak out about it, perhaps fearing backlash. Consider Canonical with their disgusting blacklists of journalists who are not sucking up to Canonical and swallowing every ounce of Kool-Aid from Canonical, as pointed out not just by yours truly but also other bloggers/journalists (both privately and publicly, with those who do so privately fearing that these blacklists would treat them even more maliciously if they dared to rant).

“I try to come up with an independent point of view; so do some journalists like Sam Varghese, who have earned nothing for that other than scorn and abuse.”Red Hat is not much better by the way. The giant Linux firm is alienating people who often/always write out of passion, not for profit (financial gain) or for glory. Red Hat has a massive PR operation now (publicly and behind the scenes) and it’s not something which is pleasant to see because it reminds me of how Microsoft games the media, often bordering the unethical. When companies hire patent lawyers they tend to bring a lot of their (the latter’s) self-serving anti-etiquette and the same thing happens when companies hire PR people. Mass-mailing people is just one of their professional ‘skills’ and — at risk of saying something politically-incorrect — these tend to be women, preferably attractive women (this gives more impact to their work, along various different aspects beyond the scope of this post).

The other day I noticed a certain flamewar brewing between Red Hat and Canonical. They try to keep it on ‘low fire’, but it’s impossible to ignore the bigger picture.

openSUSE’s Twitter account, for example, wrote: “Of course kudos also go to http://flatpak.org . But canonical at least trying to behave and collaborate deserves respect” (that’s a polite way of saying that Fedora/Red Hat does not collaborate or does not deserve respect). Prior to that openSUSE mentioned Swapnil Bhartiya and said: “Kudos to @Canonical for working with other distributions on a new method of packaging applications #linux #respect https://twitter.com/swapnilbhartiya/status/743555291535519744″

“I soon learned of Fedora employees bashing the media wherever they could because some sites wrote about Canonical’s Snap initiative being an actual competitor to their Flatpak universal binary package.”OpenSUSE is trying not to take sides. They first retweeted Swapnil’s tweet saying “Kudos to Canonical for working with other distributions.” And then they say “Also kudos to http://flatpak.org” (as if someone from Fedora got in touch). In another tweet or a bunch of them we see what indicates that there is strong rivalry between Canonical and Red Hat. It makes us bloggers/journalists feel like collateral damage (or ‘tools’), and unlike these people who push us around, we don’t receive huge salaries for our work. For me, reporting is a purely voluntary activity with no financial gain. I decided to ask around and find out what the heck was going on, having seen how Red Hat strong-armed some distributions into embracing the “Red Hat way” — to the point where Canonical had to abandon some of their own projects.

I soon learned of Fedora employees bashing the media wherever they could because some sites wrote about Canonical’s Snap initiative being an actual competitor to their Flatpak universal binary package.

As a reminder for those who are not paying close enough attention, Flatpak is loosely connected to Systemd, probably Red Hat’s most controversial ‘lock-in’ at the moment. On the other hand, Canonical is trying to push its own ‘standards’, which it can probably do given its dominant position on the desktop (and almost on the server as well).

“Red Hat was apparently so pissed off by the whole thing that one Fedora employee (i.e. Red Hat) started chastising reporters.”One interesting fact I have learned is that several days ago Canonical basically spoon-fed some sites a so-called ‘scoop’, in order to ‘generate’ some coverage for Snaps. Not so atypical or unexpected from Canonical, but there we go…

Red Hat was apparently so pissed off by the whole thing that one Fedora employee (i.e. Red Hat) started chastising reporters. That employee was James Hogarth. He baselessly started accusing Softpedia on the fedora-devel mailing list, claiming that Softpedia said, to quote, “Canonical state that they have been working with Fedora developers…” (this was not said at all). There’s this reply from Michael Catanzaro of the GNOME Project. At that time, he took James Hogarth’s words for granted, assuming that Softpedia claimed something it didn’t. Here is a later response from him:

Just for the record… the Softpedia article doesn’t actually say “Canonical state that they have been working with Fedora developers to make this the universal packaging format.” It does say they’ve been “working for some time with developers from various major GNU/Linux distributions” and that “the Snap package format is working natively on popular GNU/Linux operating systems like [...] Fedora [...],” so it’s clear why there was confusion, but it doesn’t say that they’ve been working with Fedora specifically.

Later on Hogarth cited his colleague, Adam Williamson, with a rather offensive piece (“Canonical propaganda department”), adding “AdamW responds to the Canonical Snappy PR piece.”

“But either way, accusing publications of saying something they did not say is unfair, and it reflects badly on the community as a whole.”Michael Hall from Canonical said on Reddit that they talked with some Fedora people at some point (Michael Hall’s statement here is equally informative). But either way, accusing publications of saying something they did not say is unfair, and it reflects badly on the community as a whole.

I have a personal grudge with Canonical over how they treat media, having witnessed online friends becoming victims of theirs, but I didn’t think Red Hat would stoop down to this level as well. What we are basically witnessing here is a bunch of Red Hat (‘Fedora’) employees attacking the media over Snap/Flatpak war. They want the media to take sides and get upset that the media isn’t telling the story the way they want it to.

This isn’t some kind of epic rant from me, just an observation of something that I noticed in the past. If Softpedia folks and Phoronix (Michael Larabel) can be treated like enemies because they attempt to amicably — without controversy — cover GNU/Linux news, then what hope is there for more outspoken bloggers like myself? It’s sad as it’s not just one case; the above is symptomatic of something that has been going on for years and that’s why I don’t cover Linux issues such as Systemd. It’s almost suicidal. It’s nothing but trouble. Self-censorship ensues.

“They’ll need to learn to respect the media or earn no respect in return.”Why do journalists need to be abused for attempting to cover the news, even when they cover it correctly? There’s also this on LWN (Jimbob0i0 is James Hogarth) where, again, it’s said that Softpedia claimed something it didn’t.

Red Hat needs to respect people’s views, even when these views are not correct (in this particular case these views are correct). They’ll need to learn to respect the media or earn no respect in return. They need to work better with the media or have no media at all, except that which they pay for, e.g. their opensource.com propaganda rag (it spends much of its time just peddling a book that helps pretend Red Hat is “open”, based on the CEO’s words).

The above scenario is corrosive and harmful to the relationship between Free software developers and media. Why are they all still wondering why the GNU/Linux ecosystem is not united? Why the fragmentation? Why some many hundreds of distros? That’s why.

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