Bonum Certa Men Certa

Matthew Garrett Appointed to Debian Technical Committee Nearly 17 Years After Saying Debian Made Him Want to Stab the Volunteers Working on it. (And Himself.)

Reprinted with permission from Ryan

Matthew Garrett has been appointed to Debian Technical Committee nearly 17 years after saying Debian made him want to stab the volunteers working on it. (And himself.)

Debian has made some unforced errors in recent years. Some technical, some political, some “other”.

It has also taken quite a lot of money from nefarious and corrupting sources, such as Microsoft, who never gives away money without expecting ruinous and self-destructive favors from the recipient.

As usual, the amounts in question were peanuts on the scale that Microsoft operates at, even as they are in trouble and in the middle of implementing massive layoffs and their CEO is speaking in euphemistically-coded pessimism about the future of the company.

Microsoft has supported Matthew Garrett by proxy during his work to foist so-called “Secure Boot” onto GNU/Linux, in a way that requires binary-only software in your boot path, whose only purpose is to lock the user (userspace) out of low level access to the computer.

I’ve been over and over why I just turn it off before I destroy Windows and replace it on a new laptop, so I will try not to flog this horse again, but at a certain point, even Matthew Garrett admitted that even turning on the Microsoft 3rd party signing key that works with this “shim” bootloader stage more or less destroys Windows, at least from the point of view of an average user, who is unlikely to know how to recover, and the entire “Secure Core Initiative” is just another milestone to a point where the user won’t even be able to choose a different OS for their computer, at all, no matter what they want to do.

Garrett left Google under generally unknown circumstances years ago. When pressed by me on Techrights IRC to explain the logic of leaving a gigantic corporation with deep pockets for an unprofitable “self-driving truck” company that only has enough cash to go on for about another year, whose stock shares have halved again since September of 2022, which has no future prospects except either bankruptcy or a takeover for patents, he has been rather cryptic and evasive.

Logically, why would you leave Google and take a job at Aurora voluntarily? That’s all I’m asking. It doesn’t follow, at least to me.

His pattern has been job hopping and always working on something Microsoft wants, no matter where he’s at officially. And he makes prolific usage of their GitHub division.

Whenever he does comment on Free Software, it’s either to try to cancel the main most directly responsible for its existence (like RMS or Linus Torvalds) or to say he wants to “stab” the volunteer people at Debian in 2006.

(I’ll assume he was speaking figuratively, but why would you even say this?)

And the issue that frustrated him so greatly at the time, which led to his resignation, was that he felt it was “too Free” to easily set up.

There have always been ways to set it up with non-Free firmwares and programs. That should be the user’s choice.

He was angry at them for making the point that Linux is a growing pile of binary proprietary-only software, and that most people’s PCs just don’t work without it because the Free parts of the Linux kernel turn out to be woefully incomplete on PCs, and that this should alarm the user. The operating system shouldn’t silence the problem, hide it from them, and give them backdoored firmware and hardware by default without asking.

Stabbing debian

But I think it’s safe to say that people who openly say that they want to stab other people and themselves (even if it isn’t literal) should seek counseling, not be elevated to the Debian Technical Committee in the middle of the night.

Because that kind of toxicity has no place in society, and they should get the help they need for their own benefit, of course.

He boosts Microsoft, including their fake disk encryption in Windows that exfiltrates your decryption passphrase to Microsoft, and by extension, any cops that want it.

The disturbing content about “stab people” came up in literally the first five seconds after I looked up “Matthew Garrett Debian”. So I can only imagine what else might be out there.

I suppose I might continue looking through things before Matthew Garrett catches on and starts deleting years-old posts.

I put the disturbing post I found in Archive Today just so there can’t be any confusion about what he actually said on his blog in 2006.

Bonus for pimping for Ubuntu before they turned into a Microsoft Troll Farm posting spam about “WSL”.

Words simply cannot describe how horrified I am at what is going on at Debian.

I figured, wrongly it turned out, that it would be a safe place away from the Microsoft Troll Farm known as Canonical/Ubuntu.

Just going to the Web site, it barely says anything anymore about why you would want to use Ubuntu as a GNU/Linux distribution, and it encourages you to use some bastard version of it like the Alien Queen shackled up at the bottom of the pyramid. (WSL)

The wrong people are assuming (usurping) control of Free Software and perverting it.

Contrast the following.

Richard Stallman: (Paraphrase)

I could have made more money if I had sold out my principles and gone to work for a proprietary software company, but I would have made that money by doing harm to the world and leaving things in a worse place than if I had never done any such work at all.

I could have lived on a waiter’s salary and not actively harmed the world.

Matthew Garrett: (Basically his world view, in my opinion and experience knowing him.)

Who will pay me the most, even if it helps bring about the end of Free Software and destroys millions of jobs?

They put Matthew Garrett on the Debian Technical Committee and IBM defunded the Free Software Foundation as punishment for not canceling Richard Stallman and weakening their position on software patents?


Bad people doing bad things definitely always seem to have the upperhand.

It takes constant work to fight them off and the minute you don’t, you lose everything.

Sometimes all at once, sometimes a piece at a time (Secure Boot) so they can deny you’re even under attack at all.

Debian’s Wiki has denied for a while that Secure Boot is an attack on Software Freedom.

So the fact that they’ve had some bad people lying their asses off to the users isn’t new, it’s just made so much worse now that Garrett’s back.

In my opinion, the Return of Matthew Garrett puts me squarely at “Debian is Finished”.

Now, don’t mistake this for being an immediate and dramatic end of Debian. It may go on for some years, or at least something calling itself Debian.

Remember that something calling itself the United States of America went on after 2001, but it’s not the America you grew up in.

Same thing.

I suppose that the avalanche started to take off back when they signed the deal with Mozilla to get rid of the “IceWeasel” branding.

We see where that led. Right? Now there’s DRM in Debian. It’s in the browser. There’s keyloggers and adware.

If they were worried about what the user wants, they would IceWeasel it again and rip it all out, but it’s so painfully obvious that they simply do not care anymore.

These are the sorts of compromises that Matthew Garrett was talking about in the “stab people” article.

You compromise here, you compromise there, and you don’t stand for anything. Eventually, you’re just….totally compromised.

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