Bonum Certa Men Certa

What the Linux Foundation's Jim Zemlin Really Thinks of Desktop/Laptop GNU/Linux

The Linux Foundation never cared about GNU/Linux; even a year after its formation it expressed disdain for the desktop/laptop as target platform (or form factor)

Winux Foundation logo



Summary: Interesting words from Ken Starks resonate well with what we nowadays see in the so-called 'Linux' Foundation, whose dedication to Linux is like that of a circus to a monkeys' sideshow

"We are dreck in the eyes of the Linux Foundation..."



Sums it up really well. Or as Christine Hall put it, "I get the impression Zemlin enjoys hobnobbing with the rich and powerful."

"...the pay grade is high when you fight against Software Freedom."We wrote about it last month.

Readers may wish to recall the good work of Ken Starks, whom I befriended over a decade ago when he poured out all of his energy into advocacy of GNU/Linux (despite lingering health issues). Here is what he wrote two years ago:

In 2008, I was asked to attend the (by invitation only), Linux Collaboration Summit in Austin Texas. Since I am local to Austin and my head swelled X 10 by receiving this invite, I rounded up one of our non profit Directors and we pushed our way through the front door, into Mecca, as far as I was concerned.

I was still a bit naive and star-struck when I attended that summit. Between presentations, Tom King and I collared Jim Zemlin and I made mention to him that there was little to catch the Desktop user’s attention or interest within the gathering’s program and scheduling for the duration of the summit. Zemlin stood in front of Tom and I and looked down his nose while explaining that there was no real market for the Desktop application For linux and The Linux Foundation had no real use for the desktop or its users.

Tom and I stood, completely gobsmacked; for the next minute, both of us trying to process what we had just heard and from whom we had heard it. That was an eye-opening experience, and I could not have cared less if I was ever invited again, which I have not. We are dreck in the eyes of the Linux Foundation, us Desktop folks…and it’s a shame that the LF profits from the hard work from those that contribute reams of code for the Linux Desktop.

It’s a wonder that Desktop linux has made as much progress as it had, given that “The linux Foundation” would just as soon see the whole “desktop thing” sucked into a black hole.


All the remaining comments (bar few) are also worth reading, including those which point out Mac Asay shooting the messenger, as one can expect. Asay is no friend of Software Freedom; he's a sworn enemy of it; been the case for about a decade now (he had promoted the GPL until he suddenly started slamming it, whereupon he also promoted proprietary software companies under the guise of "Open Source"). These are the people with the biggest paychecks; the pay grade is high when you fight against Software Freedom. Ask multi-millionaires such as Miguel de Icaza, unlike Federico Mena (GNOME co-founder). One works for Microsoft, having defected more than a decade ago, whereas the latter is still hacking for freedom, mostly with Rust nowadays.

The article to which all the comments are strung or clustered around speaks of the Linux Foundation's despicable attitude towards the GPL -- the subject of this morning's post.

Jim Zimlin, the foundation’s head honcho since before the beginning (he was also top dog at FSG), decided to go for the big bucks the corporate world was offering and pretty much sold the folks who’d been using Linux since before there was a Red Hat down the river. As far as I can tell, Zimlin & Company hasn’t spent more than 50 cents and ten minutes of effort on desktop Linux in the 10 years the foundation has been around. No money in a co-op advertising kitty to incentivise OEMs to push desktops with Linux preinstalled. No money to help distro developers create a better product. As far as the Linux Foundation is concerned, desktop Linux users and developers are on their own.

[...]

The organization has also shown a preference for “permissive” licenses, such as Apache, over “copyleft” licenses like the GPL, under which both GNU and Linux — the two major components of a Linux desktop distro — are licensed. This is understandable, as most corporate users and developers of open source prefer licenses that keep the door open for them to employ the code into proprietary projects.

What isn’t understandable, or acceptable, is referring to the GPL in terms reminicent of those used by Microsoft’s Steve Ballmer in the first decade of the 21st century.

On March 23, the Linux Foundation posted an article on its website, Linux.com, by Greg Olson, the foundation’s senior director open source consulting services. In the article, “Five Legal Risks For Companies Involved in Open Source Software Development,” he wrote that “permissive licenses present little risk,” while referring to the GPL and other copyleft licenses as “Restrictive Licenses” and “viral.”

[...]

FOSS Advocate and writer Simon Phipps also took exception to the article, posting an annotated version by way of the Genius website, and tweeting for people to add their own annotations. In a reply to a retweet of Brian Proffitt he said, “Seems Black Duck FUD against copyleft has found a new home at @linuxfoundation.”

The Linux Foundation’s handling of the situation after-the-fact was perhaps more telling than the article itself. Instead of admitting something like “an unfortunate choice of words” and opening up a dialog around the article — which would have been “the open source way” — the foundation took an action that seems akin to something the Ballmer era Microsoft would’ve done. They quietly and without comment removed public access to the article.

Nothing to see here. Move on.

So much for transparency.


We already mentioned this at the time (two years ago), but now is a good time for recollection and reconsideration. The attitude towards the GPL has since then worsened and pretty much all the code is being outsourced by Microsoft (especially newer stuff, which means that the Microsoft takeover wasn't a deterrent). The site in question (Linux.com, which published the above) has since then seen all of its staff fired -- both writers and editors -- and to maintain impression of 'life' it's being stuffed with links that promote GPL infringers.

"A great deal of dishonesty and revisionism is only to be expected from those who delete GNU from history and pretend everything began in 1991 in Finland."It's worth noting that the Linux Foundation's Web site no longer mentions "community"*, its VP of "Communications" was removed and was seemingly replaced by a "CMO" (as if it's a private for-profit company with a marketing department). It also explains very clearly, in the Web site itself, that it's not about Linux anymore. The name was just used for promotion; they rode the hype wave, which over time they killed. The site is terrible in a lot of other ways. It also says that the Foundation was founded in 2000 (this lie keeps spreading), but actually it came into being in 2007 with a similar management to a group that had existed since Zemlin pretty much 'discovered' Linux in 2000, not as a user but as a nontechnical person aided by the likes of Ian Murdock. A great deal of dishonesty and revisionism is only to be expected from those who delete GNU from history and pretend everything began in 1991 in Finland. It's worth noting that Torvalds is presented as a pretty 'low level' employee in the Web site; and yes, he can be fired (from something called after himself; just like Gaël Duval, Steve Jobs and Solomon Hykes). Long live the 'king'...

Jim Zemlin in tuxedo
Photo credit: The Linux Foundation

____ * As our own MinceR put it this afternoon (in IRC), "it would be strange to mention community since they kicked out all the non-corporate members; it's a pretty good warning example, though [as] if you want some technology to survive and remain usable, don't let the suits touch it, ever..."

Recent Techrights' Posts

Windows Sinking Below 13% Market Share in the Island of Jamaica
Microsoft's decline continues and will mostly likely continue indefinitely in Jamaica and its neighbours
Women in Free Software (FOSS) Need Action, Not Mere Words
the men who are loudest about women's rights are some of the very worst offenders
Embrace, Extend, Extinguish Minecraft
These folks should check out Minetest
Techrights Statement on Men Who Viciously Attack Women in Free Software
history shows women will win
Tux Machines: Third Party Impending
There will be more next week
 
[Meme] The Free(dom) Software Engineer in European Elections
“When the debate is lost, slander becomes the tool of the loser.”
Vista 11 Was 'Leaked' Exactly 3 Years Ago and This One Picture Says It All
how 'well' Vista 11 has done
A Smokescreen for Brad Smith
Maybe the key point was to say "Linux is not secure either" or "Windows and Linux are equally vulnerable", so don't bother dumping Microsoft
Links 15/06/2024: Microsoft's Intellectual Ventures Attacks Kubernetes With Software Patents, More Layoff Waves
Links for the day
Gemini Links 15/06/2024: On Lagrange and on YouTube Getting Worse
Links for the day
Edward Brocklesby: hacker received advance notice of zero-day vulnerabilities in MH and NMH email software
Reprinted with permission from Daniel Pocock
[Meme] Code Liberates Kids
Matthias Kirschner: I can't code, but I can write a book
In Armenia, Bing is Measured at 0.6%, About Ten Times Less Than Yandex
Bing will probably get mothballed in the coming years
[Meme] A Pack and Pact (Collusion Against Computer Users)
They never really cared about users, no more than drug dealers care about drug users...
GNU/Linux in Azerbaijan: From ~0.1% to 7%
Azerbaijan is around the same size as Portugal
Over at Tux Machines...
GNU/Linux news for the past day
IRC Proceedings: Friday, June 14, 2024
IRC logs for Friday, June 14, 2024
[Meme] People Who Cannot Find Gainful Employment Because of Their Poor Behaviour Online (Not the People Who Merely Call Them Out on It)
Imagine trying to become a lecturer while talking like this in public
You Too Would Get Nervous
countries where Windows is down to 2%
[Meme] The Two Phases (and Faces) of Microsofters
Microsofters: stalk IRC, then troll IRC
The 'Nobody Reads Techrights Anyway' Crowd
Send In the Clowns
Books in the Making
I intend to spend a considerable amount of time explaining what my family and I were subjected to for the 'crime' of promoting/covering Free software
Microsoft is Still Losing Malta
And GNU/Linux is doing well on laptops and desktops
Links 14/06/2024: Microsoft Layoffs in the News Again, East-West Conflict/Tensions Update
Links for the day
Links 14/06/2024: Comments on the Death of Email and Lagrange Commentary
Links for the day
Dutch Government Appoints Microsofters to Combat "OSS Fetishism"
What corruption looks like
Microsoft's Collapse in Africa and Shutdown of Entire 'Development Centre'
Unlike what Microsoft claimed in face-saving statements
[Meme] Not Your Typical IRC Troll and Harasser
I say, let's punch nazis...
GNU/Linux's Journey in Qatar: From 0.1% to Over 3%
Windows is no longer an important contender there
Secret Contracts and Corpses
The media pretends it's just some generic "IT" issue, but it is not
Bing Has Run Out of Time and Microsoft Might Dismantle It (Save a Financial Miracle)
How much more of investors' money is Microsoft willing to throw in the trash?
Statement on Antisemitism in Our IRC Network and in Social Control Media
In an ideal world nobody would have to be banned from IRC
Gemini Links 14/06/2024: Ads vs. Content, Why Aliases Are Har
Links for the day
Vista 11 Has Fallen in Switzerland, a Country That is More Microsoft Friendly Than Most of Europe
GNU/Linux rose to its highest level there in almost half a decade
Microsoft is Dying in Africa
Based on the Central African Republic, which "is around the same size as France"
[Meme] Microsoft in Africa
Are you telling me Windows is now down to 1% 'market share' in some countries?
Management of the European Patent Office Misleads Staff on Views of the Office's Staff Committee
The EPO as a workplace very rapidly deteriorates
[Meme] Newer is Worse
"They say those are New Ways of Working (NWoW); New does not mean better, it is worse"
Microsoft Needs to be Banned From Contracts, Including Government Contracts, Not Just for Security Failings But for Criminal Negligence, Corruption, and Fatal Cover-ups
How many deaths will it take for Microsoft to face real, effective scrutiny rather than kid gloves treatment?
Links 14/06/2024: Violence, Famines, and Montana Has More Cows Than People
Links for the day
Microsoft Telecom Layoffs, Facebook Layoffs in Africa: A Month After Microsoft's Mass Layoffs in Lagos (Nigeria) Facebook/Meta Does the Same and Microsoft is Now Retreating and Quitting an Entire Sector! (Affirmed Networks and Metaswitch)
Disasters in the making for GAFAM. Money down the drain.
Papua New Guinea: GNU/Linux Growing, Windows Down Below 15%
it seems indisputable there's headway and momentum
"Planets" Cannot Replace Social Control Media, They're Very Much Akin to It (Censorship Hubs, Gatekeepers)
Don't be subjected to gaslighting; make your own OPML file
Topics That Truly Irritate and Consistently Infuriate the Microsofters (Whenever We Cover These)
Censoring uncomfortable information is a difficult activity that has its limits, even in Reddit
Honduras: Vista 11 Down, GNU/Linux Up
Valve sees GNU/Linux as bigger than Apple's MacOS
Over at Tux Machines...
GNU/Linux news for the past day
IRC Proceedings: Thursday, June 13, 2024
IRC logs for Thursday, June 13, 2024
LibrePlanet 2024 and the Lost Video/Audio of Talks
After the event was over someone informed us that due to technical issues they had lost (or failed to acquire) recordings of the talks
Choosing Between Options to Outsource to Evades the Best Solution (Self-Hosting)
Most users don't need this sort of complexity
IBM Layoffs at Kyndryl
This can soon spill over to Red Hat
Turkmenistan: GNU/Linux Leaps Past 5% This Month?
This is how statCounter sees it
Watch This Space
what matters most is not the volume or quantity of publications but their underlying depth and quality
Short Downtimes, Planned Maintenance
Hypervisor maintenance is planned
Links 13/06/2024: Ongoing Sharp Increases in Deaths, Mediterranean Diet Linked to 23% Lower Risk of Death in Women
Links for the day
Gemini Links 13/06/2024: Linuxing of the Dell Laptop and Deep Dive into the World of the OpenEarth Foundation
Links for the day
New Highs for Android in Haiti (Nearly 80%), Microsoft Windows at Only 4%
that's Android at another new high and very close to 80% (it now seems inevitable)
[Meme] How Stefano Maffulli (and Microsoft's Own OSI Insiders) Make Money
Milking what's left of the OSI by attacking its very mission - something that more people now recognise
Mobs Don't Get the Job Done (Mob Leaders Have Lost Credibility/Visibility, Job, or Both)
their demands weren't met
Montenegro: GNU/Linux "Proper" at Over 6%
Windows is down to record lows
Links 13/06/2024: Overpopulation Woes, Best Buy Lays Off More Employees
Links for the day
Nationwide Eventually Did Listen
Miles better than their original nonresponse
The Corruption of Open Source Initiative (OSI), a Front Group of Microsoft and GAFAM, Openwashing Proprietary Things and Even Plagiarism, GPL Violations
Stefano Maffulli (and Microsoft's staff that works with him) basically profits from anti-FOSS
In Malawi, Windows Down to 10%, GNU/Linux Growing
it's not a small country
[Meme] Featuritis
Newer is not always better
"AI" Tech Bubble
How much "hype quotient" does this whole "hey hi" (AI) thing have left in it?
Links 13/06/2024: Science, Politics, and Gemini
Links for the day
Over at Tux Machines...
GNU/Linux news for the past day
IRC Proceedings: Wednesday, June 12, 2024
IRC logs for Wednesday, June 12, 2024