09.29.19

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Large Corporations Can Definitely Work With Free/Libre Software But Total Domination Over Free/Libre Software is the Problem

Posted in Apple, GNU/Linux, GPL, IBM, Microsoft, Patents, Red Hat at 7:56 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

If they cannot control it, they will try to destroy it (and the people who made it)

Stallman needs new home

Summary: Typical and lousy corporate screed, along with corporate media, incites the public against Stallman (based on deliberate misrepresentation), potentially forcing him into temporary ‘homelessness’ (the above is a new Web page from Stallman) while corporations that incorporate GNU into their products rake in billions of dollars each month

HALF A DOZEN of us are still trying to figure out, mostly in IRC, who’s responsible for defacing Stallman’s site (it’s definitely a defacement based on a video link, as we noted in our previous post). It’s definitely not a joke and the goal is to make Stallman look bad. The goal is to embarrass him and cause maximal damage to his image.

We’ve seen a bunch of names mentioned. Generally speaking, it’s just the latest of a long series of events, which already caused Stallman to be removed from MIT (his ‘home’), then removed from FSF. He’s now looking for a place to live and it’s starting to resemble that long voyage of Julian Assange, who was demonised and defamed in the media for nearly a decade. He lived a frugal, repressed life in an embassy’s room.

“Generally speaking, it’s just the latest of a long series of events, which already caused Stallman to be removed from MIT (his ‘home’), then removed from FSF.”There seem to be powerful forces looking to ruin Stallman’s life, not just his work and his reputation. Some people blame Microsoft, others blame Red Hat/IBM (typically citing its short and controversial press release about diversity in the wake of Stallman’s resignation). It’s not pretty and many accusations are largely hypothetical and based on conjectures.

An associate of ours has meanwhile relayed this seemingly new (albeit undated) post from Steve Litt, who recently wrote some long rants about systemd (because it’s expanding to yet more corners if not centres of Linux). “Write a Letter to Redhat About systemd” is the title and it says this:

Red Hat Enterprise Linux (RHEL) incorporated systemd as their default and only init system in 2014. Soon after, perhaps with some persuasion from Red Hat and its allies, Debian adopted systemd as its default init system, and many Debian Derived distros, including all the Ubuntus, followed suit. Starting in 2014, this caused extensive protest from many in the Linux community, for reasons such as: [...]

I’ll be glad to serve as a central information point for this letter writing campaign. If you find other contacts, please feel free to write to them and please email me with those contacts and contact information.

For a number of years I personally chose not to comment/say much about systemd because I don’t understand it as well as some core developers. But seeing how large it has gotten, the fact it’s Microsoft-hosted and the fact it’s IBM-owned (proprietary software company that adores lock-in), I am increasingly worried about it. Corporations do not have feelings or ideology. They don’t care about UNIX principles, either. Corporations are run by very few people seeking to maximise short-term profits and Red Hat is no exception to the rule (only slightly different because of public image), more so under IBM. Frequent releases of systemd help leave rivals of Red Hat perpetually behind, always chasing Red Hat for bug fixes and never capable of offering the same levels of support and customisation. systemd is gradually devouring much of the system or codebase that’s not stale. I am also growingly suspicious of Red Hat because of the IBM agenda that’s inherited by ownership (I’ve been critical of IBM for about 5-7 years); it’s like they have an alliance of convenience with Microsoft and there's ample evidence. I’ve been watching these things closely for a very long time. Red Hat even considered/entertained Microsoft as a buyer. IBM betrayed “Linux” about a decade ago after it had done some good work, including ODF advocacy. Many of us will always remember their back room agreement with Microsoft around 2008 (it was about OOXML). We were all furious. They sold us out. Soon enough they also stopped contributing to OpenOffice and related projects.

“IBM betrayed “Linux” about a decade ago after it had done some good work, including ODF advocacy. Many of us will always remember their back room agreement with Microsoft around 2008 (it was about OOXML).”That’s not to say IBM is evil; we never said such a thing. Our main issue with IBM is its patent policy, which includes lobbying aggressively for software patents.

IBM is somehow left out from GAFAM (Google, Apple, Facebook, Amazon, Microsoft). The same goes for Intel, Oracle and several other companies. Are they all foes of GNU/Linux? No. In our view, for reasons we explained before, Microsoft is the only company that stands to gain a lot from the destruction/failure of GNU/Linux, both in servers and desktops/appliances (the same cannot be said about Apple as its range of products/services is a lot more limited).

Amazon, for instance, isn’t a big concern to us, albeit it’s dangerous to Software Freedom, mostly because of ‘cloud’ loopholes, centralisation, surveillance and licensing matters that impact FOSS economics. Be wary of Mac Asay. “Asay [is] back,” one reader said this morning about this article. “However based on past posts, I haven’t read his full post this time.”

“…Microsoft is the only company that stands to gain a lot from the destruction/failure of GNU/Linux, both in servers and desktops/appliances (the same cannot be said about Apple as its range of products/services is a lot more limited).”Mac Asay has been against copyleft for quite some time now (he’s an Amazon AWS employee now, serving Bezos and by extension the CIA/US Army); opposition to ethics is very much expected from him. He has worked for a number of proprietary software companies in recent years and he had also applied for a job at Microsoft. He’s one of those people who attack Software Freedom while pretending to care about it. Writing about “open source” while promoting pure exploitation/abuse of it…

Going back to Red Hat, it habitually promotes .NET, sometimes Azure too. It took former Microsoft employees even into management ranks and OpenSource.com often posts pro-Microsoft nonsense. How about this latest post, “Microsoft open sourcing its C++ library, Cloudera’s open source data platform, new tools to remove leaked passwords on GitHub and combat ransomware, and more open source news”?

As we put it in our last Daily Links bundle, “”Microsoft open sourcing its C++ library” means proprietary software MSVS is “open” and “new tools to remove leaked passwords on GitHub and combat ransomware” means NSA PRISM is “security”…”

“Writing about “open source” while promoting pure exploitation/abuse of it…”We also included this new article, calling it “more Microsoft openwashing whose net goal is to sell Microsoft proprietary software for developers to become ‘serfs’ of Windows, Azure etc.”

This morning we saw “Chromium-based Microsoft Edge could hit Linux” and days ago we explained that nobody wants it or asked for it.

GNU/Linux is being changed. It’s being made more proprietary. One might say it’s being hijacked with help from the likes of the Linux Foundation.

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A Single Comment

  1. Canta said,

    September 29, 2019 at 11:01 am

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    Some random thoughts, just to sublimate the many hard feelings I have about all this.

    1) Amazon is a horrible danger. Just as Microsoft does, they’re attacking the developer communities with candy for their careers and curiosity. If we let them, one day we will wake up and all code will depend on Amazon guidelines, just as systemd is still doing to GNU, and as every closed environment do to their tools. Amazon installs this “innovation” (and several other cherry-picked interpretations of “better made”) mindset in programmers, so then they became its de-facto PR, sales, and work force. We all know what happens when some crap is entangled in production environments: it may stay there for years to come. Amazon tech should have as strong rejection from free software communities as systemd did: at least the day they win a battle, and many people begin to notice what’s going on years later, that people will have previous opinions to refer as historical documents and as fertile ground to build activism against the problem.

    2) As software goes, IBM doesn’t belong to that list: I believe they’re marginal in the software ecosystem. But as hardware goes, both IBM and Intel should be in that list. However, also don’t let Nvidia rampant without notice. They’re mopping the floor with Intel’s face since several years ago, and they’re also invading the server ecosystem aggressively. There are already tech use cases that are heavily nvidia dependant.

    3) This will happen over and over again, decade by decade. I believe we need some international hardware and software authority, formally bound to a legally enforceable body, not in terms of “patents” or “standards”, but in terms of “rights”. I believe United Nations is such a body, as their resolutions (and I’m not an expert here, so I may be saying bullshit) frequently have constitutional scope. But however the organization, the cultural and political problem to tackle is that technology should not be tested in terms of “it works or it doesn’t”, but in terms of “this grants or removes rights”, which is basically what RMS was teaching the last 30 years around the world.

    4) Or not. Maybe this is what we need to learn, as well as every next generation: we cannot delegate this degree of power over society to anyone. Maybe there’s no international or national standards body, legal body, intelectual body, that saves or protect us from the corporate power. And then every generation has to learn to live with their triumphs and defeats, step by step, whatever happens the next day. Maybe this is the way things work with people, and there’s no real solution other than adapt the fight to the changes.

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