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OSI Did Not Guard the Open Source Brand; Now Its Own Name, Open Source Initiative, is Being 'Diluted' and “Open Source” is Almost Meaningless



Openwashing Report part IV

Part I: Openwashing Report: 'Open Source' Without Any or Most of the Benefits Part II: Summits of Open Bear Traps: The Open Core Summit and Other 'Open' Events That Actually Attack Software Freedom Part III: Microsoft is Not an Open Source Authority But an Opponent of Open Source

Weekly openwashing report



Summary: The term or the brand “Open Source” is becoming worthless because those who use it typically engage in production of proprietary software falsely marketed as “Open Source” (that's what openwashing is inherently about)

THIS is the closing part of this weekend's series, the Openwashing Report. Like we said at the start (part I), at one point we shall classify and likely catalogue some of the openwashing patterns in order to highlight the threats they pose to Software Freedom. It is a growing danger. It needs to be deconstructed and explained. Examples from the news help.



"...the corporations take almost complete control of the narrative."Several days ago "Open Source Insider" did its usual thing; it covers proprietary software again. We think we know who's behind it. "Open Source Insider" used to be published with a person's name, but after spreading lies like "Microsoft loves Linux" and facing scrutiny for it that author threatened us and then "Open Source Insider" became nameless. It's nowadays published anonymously and it's a source of openwashing. It almost never covers actual Free software. It's a corporate blog of Computer Weekly (like Linux.com under the new editorship).

But anyway, this has sadly become the norm; the corporations take almost complete control of the narrative.

“Roughly a week ago we wrote about Microsoft buying more seats, i.e. more influence/control, in Zemlin PAC.”Take for example Linux.com. It's being managed by the corrupt Corporate Linux Foundation (Zemlin PAC). Zemlin PAC is just "influence for sale", including articles for sale at Linux.com (puff pieces for corporations are up for sale!); "give us money, then tell us what to write/do" is the business model. Corrupt. Yes, for sure...

Roughly a week ago we wrote about Microsoft buying more seats, i.e. more influence/control, in Zemlin PAC. Days ago this was still mentioned in the media, e.g. in "Tech stars on the Academy's open source red carpet" and "Microsoft, Apple Join Open-Source Efforts at Academy Software Foundation" (they don't frame this correctly; this is classic influence-buying).

Does OSI speak for Open Source? Or does the money speak?

Does Stallman speak for FSF (and GNU)? Not anymore.

Does Torvalds speak for Linux? Or does Zemlin PAC (Corporate Linux Foundation)?

Those are serious questions. They're only partly rhetorical, but they oughtn't be.

The OSI is losing its identity. Out-shimmered? See this new article entitled "Open-source initiative paving way for wearable sensor standards" (OSI name collision?)

“Does Torvalds speak for Linux? Or does Zemlin PAC (Corporate Linux Foundation)?”Here's another one, "Shimmer launches 'Open Source Initiative for Healthcare Wearable Sensor Algorithms'"

From Bio-IT World we have a similar (almost identical) headline because it's a press release, "Shimmer Announces Launch of Healthcare Industry Open Source Initiative for Wearable Sensor Algorithms"

"This one looks like a call for things that might turn out to be Free/Open Source later," one person told us. "Of interest? They're calling it "Healthcare Industry Open Source Initiative" so there is potential brand dilution going on. That's a pretty interesting inclusion of OSI's name."

The press release in question says the "[i]nitiative will enable the development of industry standards for wearable sensor data" and towards the middle it says the "new initiative seeks to develop a curated set of open source algorithms and software tools for analyzing wearable sensor data that will be available to all medical device and pharmaceutical companies in a pre-competitive environment as a service to the industry. It will allow the work conducted by thousands of researchers during the past decade to be leveraged to create commonly-accepted de facto industry standards."

“They're calling it "Healthcare Industry Open Source Initiative" so there is potential brand dilution going on. That's a pretty interesting inclusion of OSI's name.”
      --Anonymous
We mentioned that at one point. From their original page: "Shimmer is collaborating with Nextbridge Exchange and Dr. Vincent van Hees, author of the GGIR software, in an initiative to drive the development of industry standards for wearable sensor data.

"The primary goal of this collaboration is to address the lack of accepted clinical endpoints that is proving to be a major obstruction to the widespread deployment of wearable sensors in clinical trials."

There's also this: "Shimmer is collaborating with Nextbridge Exchange and Dr. Vincent van Hees, author of the GGIR software, in an initiative to drive the development of industry standards for wearable sensor data. The primary goal of this collaboration is to address the lack of accepted clinical endpoints that is proving to be a major obstruction to the widespread deployment of wearable sensors in Clinical Trials. [...] Shimmer is reaching out to Clinical Trials sponsors and wearable sensor developers to join us in this initiative."

It's like another OSI, but this one managed by a corporation.

Going back to Zemlin PAC (Corporate Linux Foundation), is there any community role in it? No, none. The Board is nothing but corporate sponsors.

“Did you know the Linux foundation has their own operating system?”
      --Anonymous
Our reader asked: "Did you know the Linux foundation has their own operating system?

"Neither did I...

From this article: "Best known for its stellar work in open source software, most notably its operating system, the Linux Foundation..."

"Open source has taken nearly every sector IT by storm, but it took networking a comparably large amount of time to embrace it," it says. "But, with the fast adoption of software-defined networking (SDN) and network management products like SD-WAN, open source finally found a place in IP routing and networkers appear to love it as much as everyone else."

Last week we wrote about the Open Networking Foundation (ONF), which isn't too far from the Open Networking Summit (ONS) -- the subject of the above article.

"This is what they call a cabal of large corporations. Ecosystem..."The Open Networking Foundation (ONF) does openwashing for malicious telecoms such as Comcast (still). Surveillance DCs and routing get spun as "open" because of partial code releases or rather code sharing among the large telecoms. How about these new articles [1, 2] entitled "Comcast rolling out open source network software in multiple markets" and "Comcast Rolls Out ONF's Trellis Open Source Networking Fabric"?

Now come the Zemlin PAC openwashing services for these spying telecoms: "Open Source LF Networking Projects Enter the Commercialization Phase, Supported by a Growing Global Ecosystem"

"Ecosystem" is a term that Stallman strongly opposes and has long warned about. This is what they call a cabal of large corporations. Ecosystem...

Conflating standards (or code-sharing or "interoperability") with "Open Source" isn't a new thing. But this is what happens here, as this new article makes more apparent. "Worse," it says, "most vendors are not following the guidelines and specifications developed by the ETSI Multi-access Edge Computing (MEC) Industry Specification Group (ISG), or any other standards, she noted."

So they don't even stick to the most basic and fundamental baseline!

Here come the networking openwashers ("More Than Just Code: Open Networking Early Adopters Share Lessons Learned"); let's make "Open Source" not about code; it's about talking.

"We think that the term "Open Source" is nowadays misapplied and misused (or overused) to the point where it has nothing to do with Software Freedom."When you cannot even tell the difference (anymore) between standards and actual Software Freedom a situation such as this comes about: "The era of software-defined, cloudified networks has begun and promises a higher degree of automation, more flexibility and time to market improvements. This brings together two traditionally separated worlds – CSPs, who are used to technology alignment within standardisation bodies, and the software business, which is often driven by de-facto vendor standards or open source communities."

So it's about standardisation mostly.

We think that the term "Open Source" is nowadays misapplied and misused (or overused) to the point where it has nothing to do with Software Freedom. Nothing. The marketing industry is taking over the term for openwashing (here are examples from last week [1, 2, 3]). To make matters worse, the biggest proprietary software companies nowadays call themselves "open"; here's a new example of openwashing and cloudwashing of Sage. It's proprietary software, but the company wants to be seen differently, helped by buzzwords ("Sage gets cloudy, moves towards open source and microservices"). Here's another new example of a company trying get some openwashing PR value out of proprietary software of SAP. "The operator is taking baby steps," it says, "using open source to complement rather than replace its existing OSS/BSS."

"Times aren't good for Software Freedom; not good for Open Source either unless we start counting fakes."So it stays proprietary. They all do. They just use the term "Open Source" in headlines as that helps confuse people (the title above is "RJio Takes Baby Steps With Open Source for OSS/BSS").

OSI failed to enforce and protect the brand. The PAC of Jim Zemlin, a marketing person, has no interest in protecting this brand; instead it's being sold down the river. All the code is being handed over to Microsoft in its proprietary software platform, GitHub.

Times aren't good for Software Freedom; not good for Open Source either unless we start counting fakes.

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