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Openwashing Report on Open Networking Foundation (ONF): When Open Source Means Collaboration Among Giant Spying Companies

Weekly openwashing report



Summary: Massive telecommunications oligopolies (telecoms) are being described as ethical and responsible by means of openwashing; they even have their own front groups for that obscene mischaracterisation and ONF is one of those

DUE TO lack of time we probably won't (and can't) keep these "Openwashing Reports" a daily feature but merely weekly, as originally intended. Moreover, once we cover a particular theme or a strand of openwashing we'll try to move on to the next and merely 'shelve' new examples in our Daily Links under "openwashing" (there's one big batch coming later today). We don't want to sound too repetitive (with the arguments, not the pertinent new examples), so this series will have a special nature with a certain uniqueness. Today's "Openwashing Report" is about ONF; it's the turn of telecoms, based on the past week's news (there was an event). It's a pattern we have observed for over a decade and it's usually the same 'news' sites that are the main culprits; we know who funds these (some are transparent about it). They would have us believe that every large telecom company is now "Open". This is the art of marketing by openwashing...



"They would have us believe that every large telecom company is now "Open". This is the art of marketing by openwashing..."Disguising 'interop' (somewhat of a buzzword) and shims/standards as "open" is another form of openwashing; here's a new article entitled "How network standards and open source organizations differ" (there's some fragmentation among these organisations).

"Both open source and network standards organizations want to develop the next-generation network," it says. "Yet their methods differ, and they can benefit different types of organizations."

"The Linux Foundation makes Orwell proud by painting surveillance -- the opposite of privacy -- as a matter of confidentiality!"What's common to all of them is the nature of members. They relay or transmit a lot of traffic, lots of information of lots of different people. They snoop, they intercept, they analyse and they inform. They're informants of militaries, governments or -- as they prefer for people to think -- "advertisers". The openwashing pattern to watch out for here is pretty simple: surveillance is being framed as "open" or "sharing" or "confidential". Yes, confidential! The Linux Foundation makes Orwell proud by painting surveillance -- the opposite of privacy -- as a matter of confidentiality! That's how deeply dishonest they are.

"They work like a tightly-knit family and it mostly boils down to cost-cutting collaboration, sharing of code among the members."This weekend we've decided to do an article about openwashing in the telecom sector mostly because a lot of new examples are available. It's because of the event of the Open Networking Foundation (ONF).

How many of our readers are familiar with the Open Networking Foundation (ONF)? Open is a familiar word, sure. But how many people heard of ONF? How many people participated in some form? How much is actually known about it? We are guessing that few of our readers know much. ONF is actually rather secretive. It'll like an onion one has to peel and it's not a pleasant (or easy) experience.

They work like a tightly-knit family and it mostly boils down to cost-cutting collaboration, sharing of code among the members. Not freedom. Hardly even genuine openness.

Let's look at some examples from last week's news.

Comcast wants to be thought of as "Open" because it shares code with few other giant telecoms (we'll use abbreviations for "telecommunications"). Watch this puff piece that says "Comcast sent its Senior VP of Next Generation Access Networks Elad Nafshi to the Open Networking Foundation (ONF) conference today to announce that the service provider has rolled out some open source software as part of its Distributed Access Architecture (DAA) buildout."

The conference was used by Comcast to also issue paid nonsense. From the conference: "The ONF today announced that Comcast has reached production roll-out of the Trellis Open Source Network Fabric as part of Comcast's Distributed Access Architecture (DAA) buildout."

"Comcast wants to be thought of as "Open" because it shares code with few other giant telecoms (we'll use abbreviations for "telecommunications")."The Open Networking Foundation's (ONF) conference is more like a PR platform than a real, traditional conference which is open to all. It's openwashing of surveillance infrastructures. You don't get to tinker with the code, but wow! Oh yeah! "Open"...

Whatever.

Here's another puff piece that says "Comcast today said it deployed Trellis, the Open Networking Foundation's (ONF) open source SDN fabric, in “multiple markets.”"

SDxCentral is a 'tool' of the Linux Foundation, VMware etc. Those sites are deeply corrupt. They run or 'operate' on the cash of companies they cover. So in effect they're like peripheral PR agencies. Check out their internal blog; it's nauseating. Imagine the BBC or CNN having a section in which they invite corporations to become "partners" with their own (dedicated) 'news' sections, fused together with so-called original 'news' (or 'content')...

"SDxCentral is a 'tool' of the Linux Foundation, VMware etc. Those sites are deeply corrupt. They run or 'operate' on the cash of companies they cover. So in effect they're like peripheral PR agencies."More openwashing by SDxCentral (PR for the Linux Foundation and various other "sponsors") can be found here. This one bears the headline "AT&T’s Fuetsch Touts Trellis Deployed in Tier-1 Network" (AT&T uses the above to spy on millions if not billions of people, but let's celebrate because something is "Open").

Then there was also Edgecore. This is collaboration among giants. It's good to collaborate, but it is not about freedom; it's just a cost-cutting exercise. Watch this press release [1, 2] and accompanying puff piece for ONF: "Taiwan-based Edgecore is a wholly-owned subsidiary of Accton Technology. Historically, Edgecore built boxes that the incumbent telecom vendors, such as Cisco and Ericsson, would buy. These vendors would then re-label the boxes and sell them to their own customers. “With the movement to open source, some of these vendors that used to be in the background are becoming more visible,” said Timon Sloane, VP of marketing with the ONF."

"This is collaboration among giants. It's good to collaborate, but it is not about freedom; it's just a cost-cutting exercise."Look at this surveillance giants galore [1, 2]. They shower themselves using openwashing, with the Open Networking Foundation's (ONF) help.

TechDirt published an article under a week ago about how the telecom giants try really hard to distract us with "Big Tech", blaming the likes of GAFAM as if they're the sole culprits and privacy violators. In reality, both telecoms and GAFAM are enemies of everybody's privacy. Google, for example, wants a monopoly on access to your data, i.e. it wants to infringe your privacy and for no other company to do the same (hence "security"). From exclusivity come higher pricing opportunities. You are the product. Remember that! To ISPs the customers have increasingly become just "products" to be "informed on" (e.g. to governments and advertisers).

This past week, for the third week in a row, Google was still googlebombing the word "privacy" to make it seem like it fights for it, not against it, plus openwashing on the side. We saw dozens of examples early in the month and it isn't stopping. Examples now include [1, 2].

Also get a load of this from Appuals ("Google Talks About The Importance Of Open Source And Open Data In A Recent Blog Post"). A proprietary software company talks about the importance of what it barely does. Google's openwashing is nothing too new or unique. How many core, important google things are Open Source in their entirety? Same question for Microsoft...

"This past week, for the third week in a row, Google was still googlebombing the word "privacy" to make it seem like it fights for it, not against it, plus openwashing on the side."Is Google Search Open Source? How about Apps (office suite, Gmail etc.)? Android as in AOSP is "open" mostly for compliance reasons (they make use of many external projects, including Linux). The same goes for Chromium...

Almost nothing is really "open". Google's Summer of Code (GSoC) is an extension of the marketing strategy, something along the lines of "don't be evil..." (a motto that Google has already abandoned officially)

Going back to the main subject at hand, an openwashing consortium of surveillance giants totally 'orchestrated' the media this past week. Here's a puff piece entitled "ONF works on an open source evolved packet core" (who other than giant telecoms has contributed to this?) and to quote:

The original 3GPP evolved packet core was not CUPS compliant, said Guru Parulkar, executive director of the Open Networking Foundation (ONF). Control User Plane Separation (CUPS) of evolved packet core (EPC) nodes provides for the separation of functionality in the S-gateway, P-gateway and MME.


Guess who makes all the commits.

Here's another new press release (from that same event):

The ONF today announced that the Stratumâ„¢ project has been released as open source. Stratum is now available under the Apache 2.0 open source license, and Stratum is forming the foundation for ONF's next-generation software defined networking (SDN) work.


Based on this press release there has been fluff:

Stratum is a silicon-independent platform designed to let network operators easily integrate new devices from a wide range of vendors, expanding and upgrading their infrastructure in real time. It strictly defines the interface between switches and controllers as an unambiguous "contract," avoiding proprietary silicon interfaces and software APIs that lock operators into one vendor's hardware.


Another piece of fluff from the same site:

The ONF today announced that the Stratum project has been released as open source. Stratum is now available under the Apache 2.0 open source license, and Stratum is forming the foundation for ONF's next-generation software defined networking (SDN) work.


How many companies is that even relevant to? Not many. Only the few which participate.

"How many companies is that even relevant to? Not many. Only the few which participate."We don't wish to come across as too cynical. If openashing is the wrong term by which to describe ONF, then we need to come up with another new word. It's when companies come together to share code and the public can see the code. In the past they habitually did all this, but the public was shut out.

ONF is not a fraud but a vastly better thing than all telecoms having their own pool of proprietary software. ONF is a good thing in general, but it boils down to collaboration, not Open Source or Free software (they're all, for the most part, against freedom because their surveillance facilitates oppression).

"Remember that Software Freedom includes privacy; the cheapening or departure from freedom (to "Open Source" or "Open" or "Collaboration") is a sacrifice/compromise whose end goal (or ultimate objective) is to rationalise abuse. It's about maintaining the status quo, i.e. not reforming anything except the marketing slant."We're still thinking what to call all this. It's not limited to ONF and there are overlaps in the Linux Foundation, whose chief Jim Zemlin rejects Open Source (he uses a proprietary operating system with proprietary on it). We've meanwhile noticed that F5 is, perhaps as expected, leveraging NGINX (just Open Core basically) for openwashing purposes. F5 is spying on a lot of traffic, but it prefers to be seen as "Open". Perhaps that was one of the main 'perks' of buying NGINX.

Remember that Software Freedom includes privacy; the cheapening or departure from freedom (to "Open Source" or "Open" or "Collaboration") is a sacrifice/compromise whose end goal (or ultimate objective) is to rationalise abuse. It's about maintaining the status quo, i.e. not reforming anything except the marketing slant.

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