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Linux Foundation is Outsourcing Linux Development and Communications to Surveillance Giants

More centralised than distributed, as that's how big sponsors (buying Board seats for 7-figure sums) of the Linux Foundation truly want things to be. It's neither pragmatic nor desirable, but impractical workflows enable control from above, not by peer (like peer review).

Linus Torvalds on using webmail: "I only have a web browser, which is how I read e-mail and a couple of terminal windows open, which is where I end up doing my Git pulls and any coding although the coding part is not that common any more." (Partial transcript)

Video download link | original/full

Summary: It seems like Mr. Torvalds, the founder of Linux, has been tragically compelled to use proprietary software for E-mail (the primary means/tool for collaboration around Linux); this concerning trend, however, would be consistent with a lot of what we've been seeing from Jim 'respect Microsoft' Zemlin and his associates at the Board of Directors (proprietary software boosters)

THE Linux Foundation's insistence on the use of Microsoft's proprietary GitHub has long been documented here. It's done in defiance of racist elements of GitHub (it is still getting worse); the so-called 'Linux' Foundation cares about racism as much as it cares about Linux... i.e. a token or symbolic 'care'.

Git has not been abandoned entirely. still uses it, but almost everything else is outsourced to Microsoft (GitHub is proprietary) by the so-called 'Linux' Foundation.

"Git has not been abandoned entirely. still uses it, but almost everything else is outsourced to Microsoft (GitHub is proprietary) by the so-called 'Linux' Foundation."GPL has also not been abandoned entirely. The 'Linux' Foundation almost never adopts it anymore. For Linux there's no other choice (GPLv2). But almost everything else is pushed towards non-reciprocal licensing by the 'Linux' Foundation. In other words, it's made more friendly towards proprietary traps and spyware like chaffbots from Microsoft (Microsoft later blames "open source" for bugs).

There are many other issues that we won't focus on today, including the 'Linux' Foundation abandoning Free software for its own Web sites (this sends a self-defeating message, discrediting the mission statement!) and producing pretty much all the material using proprietary software on proprietary operating systems, no matter how often various productive people blast the Foundation for that. Check who runs the Foundation. They still do this, totally undeterred and un-receptive to constructive criticism. It's Hubris. It's madness.

This morning we explained the situation when it comes to E-mail and communications in general. Back in the old days when I exchanged E-mails with Linus Torvalds he still used Pine (latest and final release in 2005). The 'Linux' Foundation, at least some of its staff, used Microsoft Office. This was evident from message headers. They habitually mailed me.

"Back in the old days when I exchanged E-mails with Linus Torvalds he still used Pine..."What are they using now? Well, it seems like Torvalds uses 'webmail' instead of real E-mail, but is that truly what he chose? Was this imposed on him? Well, 'webmail' is notorious for all sorts of reasons (not just 'offline' reading), including the ability to spy on every action of the user. The 'telemetry' would keep track of what was pressed when, how long things were read for, and sometimes even mouse movements (JavaScript can do that). Think of it as 'Linux' Foundation bosses watching over Torvalds' shoulder as he works from inside his home in Portland. Is that humane? Is this necessary?

With the above trends noted, let's consider E-mail. Only about 15 hours ago I saw the Linux 6.3-rc5 announcement and something stood out as a tad conspicuous. Linus Torvalds did not sign the E-mail with his name as he always does (indented a bit, several whitespaces from the left). I never saw this before, but it was way too minor to make a fuss about. A useful idea would be collect all E-mails for RCs/final releases, then assess if he ever left out his signature before. Basically a survey how many he signed... but I think that's all of them in recent years; I watch them carefully every weekend (usually Sundays) and reproduce them. And no, the subject of this article isn't the signature per se but what that gradually us to; it would come across as being overly pedantic if not "conspiratorial" to obsess over such a minor thing.

"For sure the MX records now point to"What interests us more is what Torvalds nowadays uses for E-mail or what his employer is using. That might help explain a bunch of other things, including this rant from 7.5 years ago ("GOOGLE GMAIL ATE MY LINUX: Gobbled email enrages Torvalds"").

One associate of ours started to "wonder if that was an oversight or what [actually] happened. Have they forced a change in his mail client? Moved to Microsoft Outlook instead of regular mail?"

His colleagues did use Outlook. I saw that a long time ago.

Well, the project was not de-personified (it's still called after the founder, who is a de facto Release Manager who deals mostly with communications and writes some mock/pseudo code in E-mail). As a 'Linux' Foundation Fellow or a Principal Developer, taking charge of only indirectly (a Russian person handles most of the infrastructure; someone from the Ural region), does Torvalds have much of a say on what to use for E-mail in the 'Linux' Foundation (using a trademark he controls)? In a sense, he said they had him use webmail (an old video from the Foundation; clipped above) and one can check the headers of the original messages, relayed outwards from Linux kernel mailing lists (LKML). Last time I exchanged messages with him he was using Pine, but maybe he did change his E-mail client at some point; maybe he never uses Pine anymore. Judging by the latest message and the message headers, there's lots of Google and "the mirrors for LKML seem gone (just see the first few links there)," an associate said.

"If someone out there can confirm that the 'Linux' Foundation outsourced to GMail, that certainly can help. But the evidence above seems almost sufficient.""Someone familiar with mail headers would have to take a look and decide how early Google is involved. It could be that Linus has been forced into GMail but that seems unrealistic to me," the associate added.

For sure the MX records now point to

As MinceR has said today, "doesn't that confirm it?"

And "from here, % dig MX also returns stuff pointing to"

To reproduce this:

$ dig mx | grep -E '^[[:alnum:]]'   253     IN      MX      10 ALT3.ASPMX.L.GOOGLE.COM.   253     IN      MX      10 ALT4.ASPMX.L.GOOGLE.COM.   253     IN      MX      1 ASPMX.L.GOOGLE.COM.   253     IN      MX      5 ALT1.ASPMX.L.GOOGLE.COM.   253     IN      MX      5 ALT2.ASPMX.L.GOOGLE.COM.

"In a different list," the associate added, "the MessageIDs indicate that Linus Tovalds is a victim of GMail. So as unrealistic as it may be, it might be the case. Independent confirmation is necessary."

"So what exactly is going on and when did the change occur?"He also used Google+ and a variety of other Google disservices. Using GMail does not seem so improbable; he would not put up a fight or much resistance.

If someone out there can confirm that the 'Linux' Foundation outsourced to GMail, that certainly can help. But the evidence above seems almost sufficient.

"If it can be confirmed," the associate noted, "it would be important to note that LF is no longer self-hosting and one could then speculate about using inefficient web-mail in place of highly efficient (relatively speaking) clients. I'm not familiar enough with mail setup or mail headers to make more than suspicions. However the above lines could be useful if checked by someone sufficiently knowledgeable."

"Torvalds has already said, on official record/video in fact, that he uses webmail, probably not Zimbra or something that's Free software or partially "Open Source"."The latest message from Torvalds does not specify the client used in its headers, unlike headers of other messages. It's fair to say that's strange as those used to be very basic fields, albeit not quite mandatory.

"The big question would be the clients," the associate said. "It is all but impossible to use anything other than GMail's own web-mail client. The LKML list might not have enough unredacted detail on the clients though. [...] Web mail is very clumsy, awkward, and slow to use. People like it for those reasons though because all the soporific clicking is comforting as they get no work done...

Remember that Linux kernel development still uses E-mail (for good reasons). So what exactly is going on and when did the change occur?

An associate said "it would be essential to note which year Linus Torvalds via the Linux Foundation was forced into GMail and when (if) he was forced into webmail. No one would voluntarily use web-mail for managing patches."

Based on the above-cited article, that may have happened years ago. Torvalds has already said, on official record/video in fact, that he uses webmail, probably not Zimbra or something that's Free software or partially "Open Source". Probably not some Web mirror/archive either.

“No one would voluntarily use web-mail for managing patches.”
      --Techrights Associate
"Modern" webmail is good for "monitoring" (bossing) staff with "telemetry" (JavaScript is not "optional" after projects like Horde or like SquirrelMail got deprecated; the latter has had no release in 12 years). In most cases, webmail is like Slack, but it is not "Real-Time" (like IRC is); the fallbacks for JavaScript-free interfaces were also deprecated in recent years, e.g. by Twitter and Outlook 'web' access. Obtrusive interfaces have become harder is not impossible to dodge.

Webmail "is a poor way of skimming through and triaging messages," our associate said, whereas a proper mail client has none of these issues. Webmail "does farm clicks as [webmail's] victims "emit behaviors" for Google to monetise..."

Several years ago full-time Microsoft employees who had entered the Board (Microsoft just bought some seats) lobbied/pushed to move Linux, the kernel, to Microsoft's GitHub. That caused somewhat of an uproar and never happened at the end. Now that GitHub has had several waves of layoffs (the media barely mentioned it) we hope that such nefarious moves won't be re-attempted.

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