Bonum Certa Men Certa

First They Came for Iranian Developers...

posted by Roy Schestowitz on Apr 11, 2024

Context: Should Fedora banish Russians as they banished Iranians? | Imperialistic Blacklist Machines: Racist IBM and Red Hat -- Just Like Donald Trump -- Have Turned Fedora Into an Utterly Racist Project That Blacklists, Shuns and Permanently Bans People Based on Their Nationality Alone | There's Apparently a New Boss (or Policy) at Red Hat/IBM

lyude tooting

THIS article seems like the sort of stuff we typically limit ourselves to covering on Mondays only. It's just so astonishingly familiar, but at the same time it is exceptionally worrying. Community elements are being 'culled' from... well, the community. Companies that profited from ethnic cleansing insist this is done to "protect minorities".

Every so often we see the term "CoC" being used by one side. Sometimes the other side calls out "SJW" or something to that effect. The terms or acronyms being thrown around (like insults) don't matter as much as the overall objective/s and the outcomes. We want to understand the outcomes and ask ourselves, cui bono?

From what we can gather, based on publicly-available material (accessible legally, no doubt about it!), and a whole bunch of us have studied the situation today and yesterday, we must set aside ad hominem call-outs and focus on substance. Evidence is not "doxing", evidence is evidence. Without evidence, we'd get nowhere. It's like saying Julian Assange deserves death for the way he acquired footage of war crimes; why not demand that the war criminals are held accountable with this footage as evidence?

So, what's this all about anyway? FDO (Free Desktop) and Red Hat.

I first became aware of this because of a post from Drew DeVault, whom I lost respect for last year or the year before that (after he had gained trust and respect of many people in prior years; mine included). Months ago DeVault was recklessly generalising to reach the ludicrous (and collectively offensive) conclusion that Free software tolerates pedophilia or something along those lines. Deducing that because of a chat with one person is laughable.

I wanted to understand what was behind the namecalling and "isms". Hurling insults at people isn't storytelling. I spoke to several people (internally) and wanted to hear their interpretation. We all more or less agreed on this, without even having to convince one another. We independently reached the conclusion that DeVault plays ball for the 'cancel brigade' and even though he no longer does social control media he seems to believe whatever the brigadiers allege.

"Weird post on DeVault's blog" one person told me about it (I hadn't even asked; it was spotted independently by someone who used to respect DeVault).

To quote this person: "I decided to check out DeVault's blog this morning and found a shitshow. It looks like a textbook example of all the stuff you wrote on Techrights about Red Hat behavior towards independent Freedom Software projects, about CoCs, and related stuff."

"The curious thing for me was that the guy whom DeVault attacked just dumped everything on his blog. I read it all, and it's just insane!"

"A per from FDO/RH contacted him to wave FDO's CoC in front of his face, and he in a (in my opinion excessively) polite way told the per to fuck off."

"Roy, I just can't believe these people are so stupid. The FDO/RH member may be, but DeVault... He seems to be spinning propaganda targeted at those who are already on the SJW hook or on his side, because, in my opinion, any sensible person will discover by just reading the stuff exposed by Vaxry that DeVault and the FDO/RH member are the worst of hypocrites. DeVault even framed it as if Vaxry doxxed the FDO/RH member! :O"

I checked for myself. There's no doxing there, period. The same false accusations were once thrown at me. The doxing was actually directed at myself. What an incredible reversal of victim/accuser narrative.

The links are important as we want readers to judge for themselves. We encourage critical thinking. This is what DeVault wrote and a two-part write-up from Vaxry [1, 2] contains some screenshots.

"It may be good material for a piece on Techrights in the "CoC series"," I was told. For the third time and for the second day I sought input from other people, who are technical and very reasonable in my experience (quite left-leaning and definitely not racist!).

I had already criticised DeVault in the past (similar stuff). I saw DeVault's blog post over a day ago and discussed it with an associate. We could not determine all the facts at first, but upon reading the other side the lead-up was illuminated. There was prior provocation of sorts, at least some agitation leading to strife if not online feud/conflict. The large companies (with their precious "brands") are very afraid of not siding with a super-loud minority, so this can be easily exploited for grotesque censorship and overreach.

So far I've not seen any other article about this (DeVault left out the balancing acts; he wants to be believed without full or fools' context). If I do find something new and substantial, and if that introduces truly new evidence, then I'll read up on that and write something sooner or later. I see some of the same tactics there that I saw in the years-old campaign against me. It's horrible to see what some human beings do to other human beings in an effort to "get ahead".

Thanks for the links, as above, I am able to make up my own mind.

To quote things that DeVault does not want seen (from Vaxry): "As we can see, utilizes people who are power-hungry, hypocritical and self-obsessed as moderators to say the least. Moderators that do not wish to look at themselves in a mirror, and treat any and all disagreement as a personal attack."

"Harassment under guise of code of censorship concern trolling and other tactics" is what an associate has labeled this, "also similar tactics used against Techrights and many others, it's part of a large pattern."

There seem to be a gross overreach beyond one's professional/personal life or between projects. We already saw how FSFE, which does many bad things, sought revenge against Daniel Pocock (who merely talked about these bad things as part of his responsibilities as a representative of FSFE Fellows). FSFE tried to crush him in Debian, Fedora, Mozilla, and so on. FSFE should never be forgiven for this.

We saw this kind of abuse by the person who coined "Ethical Source" and sought to extinguish Software Freedom (even the first freedom) under the guise of "ethics" (however that's judged... by whoever's standards). People were being chased out of projects (or abused, demonised etc.) for completely unrelated activities, even things that are decades old. Drupal and Mozilla had similar scandals (maybe we can elaborate on those some other day).

To quote Vaxry: "Now, you might agree with Lyude here, or you may not agree. That does not matter. What matters is that you can see someone in a position of power (spanning across the board, the Freedesktop CoC board, and a RedHat employee) abusing their power to enforce their own CoC outside of where they are allowed to - the size of their project does not equip them with the power to enforce their set of rules over unrelated projects."

As a reminder, the person who keeps harassing my wife and committing hate crimes against her had the audacity to phone her employer. This kind of thuggery is why even Mastodon/Fediverse, not just Twitter, gives them the boot.

As our associate explains: "It's all about censorship, but ultimately about control over the projects and wresting it away from the skilled people and into the hands of those controlled by hostile interests."

Quoting Vaxry: "Regardless of what some people might say about me, I focus on writing good code, and don't go around and discriminate people based on who they are and what they believe."

It is this thing "which puts him squarely in their crosshair," the associate adds. "However, I have not read the social control media / discord posts in question. I won't get around to that because it would be too much politics for me to try to track."

It's actually another reason not to even bother with social control media and why I quit participating 4 years ago. It's mostly a liability as context is lacking and "brigading" is encouraged (rewarded).

"However," the associate concludes, "where do the CoC wavers have the right to block people arbitrarily for stuff that happens off-list or outside the project anyway. I suspect that the CoC wavers are in the wrong but even if not wrong, stuff outside the project is outside the project."

We object to the CoC culture because we've seen it abused countless time, also by the Linux Foundation. There are many utterly disturbing examples of tactless enforcement. Some became "viral", but many go under the radar undetected, just like patent trolling.

Vaxry says: "It's a shame to see such an important pillar of the modern Linux desktop, Freedesktop, in such a state.

"I truly hope it can improve with time, regardless of whether I am a part of it or not. I really do hope so. Not because of me, but because of all the past and possibly future instances of similar behavior.

"If anyone here is marring the reputation of Freedesktop, unfortunately, in my opinion, it's you, Lyude."

Based on what I've read there, it boils down not to code. Not by a long shot. Maybe they should worry about real issues like gaping holes (or even deliberate back doors) in the code rather than people's whims and moods.

"DeVault seems to use the exact same tactics as the others attacking FOSS," the associate said in hindsight. "Is he that confused or just malicious?"

"Either way, he does seem to have lost it completely and may end up "offline" completely for a few weeks or months. He had been a reasonable developer and AFAIK a decent person before flipping out and losing contact with reality."

In the meantime corporations like Google and IBM solidify their power over the Free software stacks, often removing their originators and leaders in the process. Is that the endgame?

And wait, it gets worse. Microsoft is joining from behind. They are all "partners" now.

Notice how the FSF has not bothered to even mention (or promote) Richard Stallman's 5 talks across Europe in recent weeks. Does the FSF try to distance itself from its own founder due to the relentless campaign of defamation?

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