01.29.21

Canonical, Ubuntu & Debian DebConf19 Diversity Girls E-mail

Posted in Debian, Google, Ubuntu at 11:43 am by Guest Editorial Team

Reprinted with permission from Debian Community News

On 8 March 2020, International Women’s Day, somebody forged Mark Shuttleworth’s email address to distribute or leak the email below.

Debian, Outreachy, DebConf, student, intern, female, womanThe Debian Project Leader, Sam Hartman, accused another volunteer of distributing it. Eleven months have passed. Nobody ever gave any proof about the source of this message. Sam Hartman lied. He whipped up a mob much like Donald Trump at the US Capitol siege.

There is so much fake news on the Internet today. Why was Sam Hartman, leader of Debian, so enraged when somebody leaked the concerns about unethical romantic relationships in GSoC and Outreachy mentoring? Where there’s smoke, there’s fire. That’s why.

Sam Hartman, DebianRogue elements of Debian take the approach that this is a hobby and they can do what they want. If we care about diversity that is not good enough.

Is the email below sexist itself? Or does this email simply expose the sexism and misogyny that Debian doesn’t want the world to know about?

Subject: Fwd: debconf19 diversity girls

Date: Sun, 08 Mar 2020

From: Mark Shuttleworth <shuttleworthless@protonmail.com>

behave yourselves!

brazilians!

please don’t name the girl

——– Forwarded Message ——–

Subject: debconf19 diversity girls

Date: Wed, 12 Feb 2020 08:31:50 +0000 (UTC)

From: Sam Hartman <hartmans@debian.org>

To: debian-private@lists.debian.org <debian-private@lists.debian.org>

Debian is not an employer and when we gather at DebConf

we are not under any centralized control. Some of us are

paid to be there by our employers and some of us choose

to come as volunteers. Nobody works 24 hours per day

for 10 days at DebConf and when people are not working

there is no reason they can’t engage in any romances.

Our diversity programs have become overwhelmingly popular

and at every event now we have young women coming

on diversity bursaries. Some of these women are

participants in the current round of GSoC or Outreachy

and some of these women want to join the next round.

So many of these diversity bursarie girls are having

a connection with internships. Almost all the others

have no jobs, they are looking for jobs and they are

under pressure to please people.

Debian has never said anything to ban romances with

these women. We already assumed the mentors would

not get romantic with the interns in the current round.

But it needs to be really clear that no Debian Developer

should become intimate with any woman in the current

round or any woman who is preparing to apply for

subsequent rounds of GSoC and Outreachy.

A problem has been discussed at DebConf19 and it was

seen too at DebConf18. The boy involved is a member

of the Debian mentors team so this is one case where it

is definitely off-limits. The relationship did

not involve a woman he mentors personally but

it was also very clear to the mentor that this

woman had an interest in the program, there is no

way he could have been unaware of that.

He is also a Canonical/Ubuntu employee. We believed he

comes to DebConf as an employee, he is not a Debian

employee of course, so there was discussion with Canonical.

Canonical said they would resolve the issue as an internal

company issue. Some other people became concerned because

Canonical is a DebConf sponsor and maybe I’m being too

lenient on their employee. If other Canonical management

were not at DebConf, how would we handle this issue with

any other volunteer from a different company?

The woman and the other people who share her room don’t

want to comment on the issue. We thought this was a dead end.

There is nothing more going to happen here but please

now remember if you are a Debian Developer, even

if you are not a mentor, if you meet somebody at an

event who indicates any interest in our mentoring

programs within the next year, you need to maintain

a professional relationship with this person.

You can also withdraw from Debian, then you are

free to purse any relationship of course. This is

not only for mentors, it has to be for all of us.

–Sam

Debian Outreachy intern diversity girls unethical

01.26.21

It’s Wrong to Assume Red Hat Competes With Microsoft

Posted in Free/Libre Software, GNU/Linux, IBM, Microsoft, Red Hat, Ubuntu at 1:14 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

It competes with Windows Server, but not with Microsoft

Bad Pun Biden: IBM, Red Hat, and Microsoft

Summary: The community ought to stop pretending that one monopoly seeks to replace another despite close partnerships (some would say “collusion”) between the two

THE trio above (IBM, Red Hat, and Microsoft) is closer than ever. Many projects of IBM, Red Hat, and Fedora are still being outsourced to a proprietary monopoly of Microsoft and there’s no true evidence of real competition, except perhaps against Windows Server.

“There are still fine communities around (e.g. Arch, Gentoo) and they’re a lot more worthy of volunteer efforts.”Surely this frustrates some people, including volunteers who gave a lot of their time to the Fedora project. IBM itself is a former monopolist, so it can relate to Microsoft, to which it offloaded some of its business to avert antitrust-induced break-ups (in a sense, giving business to Microsoft was a surrogate of a break-up).

Recently, as the news sites put it, IBM responded to the correct perception that people were getting seriously upset at IBM and at Red Hat, mostly because of what they had done to CentOS. Planet Fedora has been eerily quiet since then, except for employees (IBM) and interns.

Red Hat Microsoft handshake closerA very long time ago Canonical enjoyed the support of many volunteers who donated their time and efforts to the Ubuntu community (gardening bug reports, reporting bugs, contributing artwork and so on). Canonical’s dealings with Microsoft did irreversible harm. Those started well over a decade ago.

The inability to tackle issues like monopolies and various ethical or practical issues (e.g. Ubuntu adding Amazon spyware) led to erosion of trust and devotion. When Canonical marked Ubuntu’s bug #1 (basically the need to replace Windows) as resolved or “wontfix” that said a lot about Canonical’s objectives. Instead of seeking to remove a monopoly Canonical sought to participate in the monopoly and Canonical is nowadays still outsourcing much of its code to Microsoft's monopoly, which thankfully lost inertia.

More than 20 years ago I joined the Free software community, motivated primarily by the need to replace Windows, which had become very abusive (even well before Windows XP and the Windows back doors for the NSA, as exposed by Edward Snowden). If companies like Canonical and Red Hat (now IBM) don’t intend to tackle the Windows monopoly on desktops and laptops, then why should the community support such companies? There are still fine communities around (e.g. Arch, Gentoo) and they’re a lot more worthy of volunteer efforts.

01.23.21

Video: The State of Communities Surrounding GNU/Linux Distributions

Posted in Debian, GNU/Linux, IBM, Red Hat, Ubuntu at 5:56 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Video download link

Summary: A discussion about the state of volunteer efforts going into the development, maintenance (in the ‘maintainership’ sense) and support/advocacy of GNU/Linux distros

FOLLOWING last night’s article about erosion of fake communities (not grassroots but corporate) I’ve recorded a quick video. It’s snowing and very cold here this morning, our connection issues persist (20th day now!) due to COVID-related network congestion, so there’s usually a significant lag between time of recording and time of publication.

Erosion of Communities, Ascent of Corporate-Industrial Fake Communities

Posted in Debian, GNU/Linux, Red Hat, Ubuntu at 12:01 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Money controls agenda

The corporation, the 'community'

Summary: Despite the attempts to manipulate/trick developers (and sometimes users) into becoming unpaid workforce of for-profit companies, there’s an exodus back to real communities, which aren’t subjected to the fury of wealthy shareholders who utterly dislike or simply don’t care for software freedom

THE Debian project seems to have no new developers (DDs) in 2 months and Canonical is coming to grips with demise of its community (whereas Gentoo, a real community, reports big growth). The former and last “community manager” of Canonical/Ubuntu is nowadays a Microsoft shill. Seems like a pattern, no? Follow the money at the Linux Foundation and OSI… surveillance is the new 'open'!

“We’ve noticed that more and more developers nowadays speak of “Free software” instead of “Open Source” and that’s a very encouraging sign as it means people go back to the roots and the principles, which are connected to altruism rather than profit motive.”The GNU Project is still doing well. We recently wrote a series about the FSF, which nearly reached its goal (number of new members) after a deadline extension. GNU is a real community; it has been so since 1983.

We’re also seeing a growing realisation that companies like IBM mean no good for Fedora and other parts of Red Hat. We see some developers walking away to real and genuine communities. We’ve noticed that more and more developers nowadays speak of “Free software” instead of “Open Source” and that’s a very encouraging sign as it means people go back to the roots and the principles, which are connected to altruism rather than profit motive.

FSF joiningAssuming we go down the trajectory of software freedom, the (wo)manpower will still be there, albeit redirected or funnelled into projects and initiatives that don’t merely ‘farm’ volunteers for free labour.

“We’ve had enough of those corporate coups and hopefully lessons are still being learned.”To those who joined the FSF as members, thank you! Based on what we’ve been hearing, there are signs that the anti-RMS coup is mostly over (and it failed). Those who pushed for the removal of RMS are still out there, but not in positions where they can do further harm.

Long live real, authentic community. We’ve had enough of those corporate coups and hopefully lessons are still being learned. More coups will come and go.

After the hostile takeover of GitHub Microsoft has yet another YouTube-DL-like scandal on its lap; and seeing that projects and users flee GitHub, Microsoft makes panicky and much-belated reversals.

12.21.20

It Was a Mistake to Assume Corporations Would Usher in Software Freedom

Posted in GNU/Linux, IBM, Ubuntu at 8:19 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Openwashing is the most they can offer (an “open” spin on proprietary offerings) and smaller companies, such as Red Hat, can be taken over by vastly bigger ones (IBM) with another agenda/vision

Tiny Core, eh? Community distro; not up for sale/auction

Summary: When GNU/Linux becomes more corporate it can also become more detached from users’ needs

THE Free software movement is about as old as I am and it sought to preserve the “hacker culture” (which was prevalent in academia at the time; Microsoft had only been established several years earlier). Scholars would exercise the freedom to share code; such sharing accelerated research.

“IBM has come up with some new excuses for cutting CentOS support (support window shortened almost tenfold, followed by a complete redefinition of what CentOS actually is).”The GNU Project was a great success because many hackers were persuaded to join the new movement and create a free UNIX-like system (the UNIXes were very expensive at the time). In the early days many of them were labeled “hobbyists” because they did not do this for a salary. A decade later the media collectively called their work “Linux”, Red Hat hired many key hackers, and one decade later Canonical hired many key development folks from Debian.

As we noted earlier today, neither Red Hat nor Canonical would criticise Microsoft because Microsoft pays them to play along. It is a truly sad situation which occurs when corporations strive for nothing other than increasing revenue; they’re easily compromised and they can be made to cooperate with their competitors. Competition between GNU/Linux and Microsoft/Windows isn’t a brand war; it’s about licensing and inherent philosophy. Even if GNU/Linux was technically behind Windows in some area, it would still be favourable to users. The realm of ideology goes all the way back to the 80s — back when the antiwar movement was also very powerful and people wanted to take back control from corporations (rather than strive to buy the latest “smart” phone).

IBM has come up with some new excuses for cutting CentOS support (support window shortened almost tenfold, followed by a complete redefinition of what CentOS actually is).

Nobody is naive enough to believe that IBM chose this direction because of the users. It is all about money.

Well, money is not inherently evil (it’s a straw man argument to suggest those who oppose IBM are generally against capitalism). However, if profit alone is the guiding hand, we’ll see more corporate domination over GNU/Linux (systemd, Wayland and so on). Selling support is a lot easier when the pertinent bits are developed ‘in house’.

Red Hat’s founder honestly believes he did more for Free software than Richard Stallman ever did. But the movement (of Stallman et al) did not necessarily strive for anything other than freedom for users.

It’s important to shelter and nurture distros developed by passionate volunteers rather than employees. We may otherwise end up with another UNIX (opaque and bloated). We don’t need another Apple, do we?

10.30.20

With Microsoft in Charge, OpenSSF Seems More Like It’s About Back Doors — Not Real Security — Inside the Linux Foundation

Posted in Microsoft, Security, Ubuntu at 3:39 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Related: Techrights Urges Readers to Ask the Linux Foundation’s Let’s Encrypt (Backed by Companies That Give the NSA Back Doors) Some Hard But Legitimate Questions

OpenSSF
If you cared about real security, would you put in charge Microsoft, which puts back doors in everything as that’s just exactly the goal?

Summary: Another Linux Foundation (LF) group seems to have been taken over by the company that’s attacking Linux and attacking real security (as opposed to fake security or back doors in the name of “national security” — the Trojan horse for imperialistic coercion, worldwide)

THE Linux Foundation-linked boosters are at it again. They’ve been doing puff pieces this Thursday night (in CBS/ZDNet/TechRepublic and the LF’s spam site). Well, between the lines we find that OpenSSF was already infiltrated — and is now headed — by Microsoft (the NSA’s back doors giant, not to mention the PRISM pioneer), so the so-called ‘Linux’ Foundation is a total farce again, serving imperialism and monopolistic agenda rather than true security that laughs off/rejects this agenda (disguised as “national security”).

“These people are indebted to and are thus obliged by their employer to put back doors in things.”Even Huawei has joined in (then SUSE wrote about it). Is that supposed to inspire confidence? The opposite might be true. Either way, this is another example of ‘Linux’ Foundation stuff getting taken over by Microsoft staff (taking salaries — and loyalty/obligations — from Microsoft, not the LF). These people are indebted to and are thus obliged by their employer to put back doors in things.

Incidentally, right about now Canonical associates with OpenSSF and uses its official Ubuntu blog to promote Windows and Microsoft agenda:

Ubuntu for Windows

Phoronix and Liliputing are boosting this agenda again. Never mind if hardly anyone uses this EEE-type assault on GNU/Linux (we’ve seen similar tactics in the Bill Gates deposition). This is a natural extension of the anti-Linux agenda of Microsoft and it doesn’t bother these people/sites that WSL2 is a tiny niche of fools. As one comment put it: “I still don’t get that name. Shouldn’t it be the Linux subsystem for Windows?” (It’s Windows, not “Linux”, and it’s all about Microsoft being on top)

We suppose that in the coming days Microsoft will googlebomb the word “Linux” some more (to promote Vista 10). Forget about any notion of privacy and security in WSL/2, defeating the very purpose of this platform.

10.22.20

TechRadar is an Irresponsible Clickbait and Misinformation Site Disguised as ‘News’

Posted in Deception, GNU/Linux, Ubuntu at 7:17 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Real damage is being done by such sites, which distort journalism in the name of selling ads and rogue agenda

Summary: TechRadar is no tech and no radar, either. It’s just an opportunistic click-harvesting machine, disguised as a source of “news”; today we deal with the latest example (among many).

PUTTING ASIDE the anti-GNU/Linux bias of TechRadar, there’s a bigger issue. The site has almost always had an anti-journalism aspect as well. They’re not into accuracy, only whatever gets people to click, watch ads, and be spied on (for personal data to be sold). It’s well overdue for us to discuss this. We’ve long complained about IDG, ZDNet and various other networks of misinformation, funded by the companies they cover (their products and the rivals of those companies). There isn’t even a disclosure. They don’t bother because it would do more damage than good (honesty would be outweighed by the financial harm and damage to their credibility).

“We’ve long complained about IDG, ZDNet and various other networks of misinformation, funded by the companies they cover (their products and the rivals of those companies).”Our objective here isn’t to give an extensive list of FUD examples. In the past month alone TechRadar published several highly misleading FUD pieces about GNU/Linux and we’ve mostly ignored these (trying not to send provocateurs who lie any traffic at all). We’ll focus only on the example above, for this example is hours old and it’s timed (not dated) several hours before the actual release.

So what’s the big deal?

It actually is a big deal.

No, you don't! That's why you ask for consent to violate privacyBecause today we once again see people who announce a Ubuntu release prematurely, probably just for traffic through clickbait (the author knew it hadn’t been released yet). It really ought to stop. TechRadar is a clickbait site disguised as “news” and there are actual victims. The fact that it was today’s main/sole culprit isn’t particularly surprising. Unlike sites which said things like “Ubuntu to be released late today” (that’s an accurate thing to say), TechRadar was ‘announcing’ a Ubuntu release before it actually happened. Which is opportunistic fake news.

“Each and every 6 months period someone jumps the gun and ‘announces’ a Ubuntu release before it’s even released.”How many people relayed the headline, in effect misinforming other people (for instance, in social control media)?

I was hawking to see which site would be first among the offenders, knowing there was always certainly going to be at least once offender.

I’ve used or experimented with Ubuntu since its very first release in 2004. They typically make their release announcements later in the day (end of business days), quite often on Thursdays (not before weekends, just in case of show-stopping incidents that necessitate intervention). Each and every 6 months period someone jumps the gun and ‘announces’ a Ubuntu release before it’s even released. Some even link directly to mirrors that are still work in progress (with possibly mislabeled or partial ISOs, services still going up and down, limited workload/bandwidth capacity, undergoing preparation and configuration etc.).

TechRadar is not (and likely was never) a news site but a streaming pile of crap looking to misinform and spy on readers.”People who prematurely ‘announce’ such GNU/Linux releases don’t just piss off the distro makers. Which they do by the way (this is no secret). They do a lot of technical and practical damage (which has many angles and aspects).

TechRadar is not (and likely was never) a news site but a streaming pile of crap looking to misinform and spy on readers. TechRadar is likely aware of it, but it’s hoping nobody will publicly point this out.

10.03.20

‘Telemetry’ (Surveillance) Ought Not be Tolerated in the Free Software Community

Posted in Free/Libre Software, GNU/Linux, KDE, Ubuntu at 6:00 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Security cams

Summary: If software users learn to tolerate the inclusion of spying code — however that’s being justified — then those users certainly fail to grasp the proposition of software freedom (which is first and foremost about users’ full autonomy)

‘Telemetry’ is a marketing term (euphemism), mostly for marketing types who want to show off the number of users and occasionally what those users are up to. Many are up in arms about Mozilla putting more of this ‘telemetry’ nonsense inside Firefox — a subject we covered here before (Mozilla also puts this code in Microsoft’s proprietary prison, GitHub). They say they want to improve users’ experience, based on their understanding of what users do (remote observation with supposedly ‘anonymous’ statistics, though it’s clear some server gets IP addresses stored).

“If Canonical debunks the argument (or “selling point”) that GNU/Linux won’t betray your very discreet elements of life (like searching locally your photo albums), what will people think and what will freedom-respecting software advocacy look like?”Many years ago Richard Stallman publicly condemned Canonical (or Ubuntu) for allowing Amazon to spy on what GNU/Linux (Unity) users were searching for locally. He issued this condemnation after he and I had debated the subject over E-mail. Many years down the line the problem isn’t resolved. My beloved text editor (yes, plain text) has ‘telemetry’ in it (albeit after controversy we’re reassured that it’s off by default; KDE’s Kate didn’t always have those anti-features and I’ve used it since 2004) though many people still use Visual Studio (‘Code’; openwashing basically), which is proprietary software with ‘telemetry’ in it. Those who use text editors to manage confidential material don’t want some cryptic process to send away data about usage (which can in turn reveal something about the work being done).

SecuriCamIf we keep silent, we may accidentally get across this false impression of indifference or even tolerance of spying. It can embolden companies like Canonical and even some KDE developers to do more of the same. We need more disputes and controversies over the matter; at the very least it serves as a cautionary tale, meaning that developers will think twice or thrice before implementing such malicious ‘features’ which nobody asked for. A few years ago Mozilla used its spying on Firefox users to justify removing RSS support from Firefox (Live Bookmarks), in effect participating in the “War on RSS” or the assault on an open, distributed, decentralised Web. Like Firefox’s abandonment of XUL, there seemed to be no benefit to it… to the users. These increasingly “data-driven” companies hire from Microsoft and from Facebook while posing publicly as champions of privacy. “Free/libre” software and “privacy-respecting” software aren’t the same thing, even if in practice any freedom-respecting software also tends to respect the privacy (an extension of freedom) of users. This was in fact one of the grounds of Stallman’s condemnation. If Canonical debunks the argument (or “selling point”) that GNU/Linux won’t betray your very discreet elements of life (like searching locally your photo albums), what will people think and what will freedom-respecting software advocacy look like?

One core (and seminal) argument for “Free/libre” software was, we ought to put power at the hands of the users. Because if the user does not control the software, it may in fact be the developer (or developer’s employer, government etc.) controlling the user. This argument has been valid since the 1980s. ‘Telemetry’ is an injustice in the sense that it embeds inside the code elements that give the developers unjust spying powers over users. It’s a stepping stone towards non-free and user-disrespecting software.

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