10.24.20

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The Militarised Elephant in the Room Still Commands a Lot of Free Software Development

Posted in GNU/Linux, IBM, Marketing, Red Hat at 8:36 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

The Chairman of the Board of Red Hat at the time

Summary: We take a difficult (albeit in-depth and perfectly factual) look at IBM’s past and present; considering this is the company that controls Red Hat (which in turn controls many key projects in GNU/Linux) we need a better understanding of the real context, not PR fluff and marketing

IT IS what some people would call an “open secret” that Red Hat has US military ties. It’s “open” because everything the “open org” (or “community” known as Red Hat) does is supposedly “open” (even the code it outsources to proprietary GitHub), but it’s still somewhat of a secret because Red Hat markets itself as opposing violence and rudeness. Military ties sort of ruin or spoil that false narrative. Posturing is convenient when one studies marketing and goes working for Red Hat. We know for a fact that Red Hat hired some of its external marketing people to work ‘in-house’… because we spoke to them many times, or rather they spoke to us. Red Hat still spams us every week despite our repeated requests for them to stop [1, 2].

“Posturing is convenient when one studies marketing and goes working for Red Hat.”Compared to a lot of companies Red Hat isn’t sinister; in fact, it does a lot of perfectly ethical things. We’re not against ethics or against Red Hat, we’re just against lies, such as the lie that banning the word “master” would really resolve important issues.

Maybe after abolishing “master” they will also abolish “boss”? After all, many people are still mastered by their bosses and Boss (the brand) worked with and for the Nazis. It’s hardly even a secret. Here’s their ‘product line’ one century ago:

Boss Nazis

Should we replace the word “boss”? How about “primary” as a replacement? Or “leader”? Would that upset someone?

Anyway, nowadays Red Hat is owned and controlled by IBM, which is probably even more closely connected to the US military (and the literal Nazis) than Red Hat ever was.

“Compared to a lot of companies Red Hat isn’t sinister; in fact, it does a lot of perfectly ethical things.”This is where it gets even grimmer for Red Hat and its marketing slogans. Because under IBM the company once known as Red Hat lacks moral authority all across the board.

The “IBM Developer” site has just published this post entitled “Call for Code Daily: Fighting racial justice and climate change with tech” (part of the recent hogwash). Yes, IBM has the nerve to pretend to care about racial equality and the environment while working a lot for the Pentagon (the world’s largest polluter) and having started as a eugenics giant, helping crusaders for ethnic cleansing.

The founder of IBM was a racist. We know this based on associates of his. Has IBM improved a lot since? Maybe a bit, but not a lot.

Let’s start with IBM’s CEO who closed/sealed the Red Hat deal in 2018/2019 (depending on which milestone is counted in that very large financial transaction). That’s Ginni. Later reports attributed the decision of the takeover/acquisition to the current CEO, whose appointment came much later, with Red Hat’s CEO as president to his right (as in right-hand man).

“Should we replace the word “boss”? How about “primary”? Or “leader”? Would that upset someone?”Just to be clear, IBM’s legendary CEO Sam Palmisano said about Ginni’s (her nickname) selection as successor that it had “zero to do with progressive social policies.” We wonder if he’d say the same about Dr. Krishna. Nobody asked him. But Krishna’s technical skills are beyond doubt and we’ll come to that later.

The General who motors the war, GM, gave us Ginni, an Italian American (no connection to fascism) who came from a somewhat troubled family. She had a career in just two companies, GM and then IBM. Both were awarded/showered with medals from Nazi Germany for their collaboration and multitude of services (before the US entered the war). Later on she became the CEO of one.

GM’s connections to Nazi Germany is beyond the scope of this article, but it’s nothing extraordinarily Earth-shattering or new (by contrast, IBM just tried to evade responsibility and obstruct historians). There were press reports and books about it.

GM and Nazis

As CEO of IBM she managed to anger a lot of her staff (both past and present), which even prepared a massively-signed petition.

This kind of photo-ops isn’t helpful, is it?

Ginni and Trump

These ones are not particularly helpful, either.

Modi and IBM

Forget about companies profiting from war.

It doesn’t matter.

Who cares anyway?

The important thing is that Git repositories don’t have a “master” branch…

“The important thing is that Git repositories don’t have a “master” branch…”Right?

What is being accomplished anyway?

If women or ‘brown people’ (or ‘brown women’) get bombed by the Pentagon it’s helpful neither to feminism nor tolerance.

IBM has long been heavy(weight) on rhetoric and words, which rarely match the company’s actions, especially the more secret contracts all around the world. IBM is still helping autocrats oppress the population. Not secretively but the media doesn’t bother looking into these. Because it has been too busy preparing puff pieces in exchange for money. Like all those “Watson” marketing pieces thinly disguised as ‘journalism’…

Maybe one day Ginni too will earn a medal. Not for 24 consecutive quarters of revenue declines and increases in ties with ‘Orange Man’ (whom some compare to Hitler) but something about women’s accomplishments…

“IBM is still helping autocrats oppress the population.”For those who don’t know, there’s a military angle associated with Watson. The US military was to “adopt the Watson IoT services and a new Watson IoT Equipment Advisor solution. The latter analyses unstructured, structured and sensor data directly from military assets,” said this article. When “tech” companies view war as an opportunity to make even more money… or when a bomb falls (and then it explodes) and that means IBM can sell its clients more “Watson(TM)” — more money “from military assets…”

Remember that after IBM made a lot of money by helping Nazi Germany it made a lot of money selling the same to the US military (which had entered the war).

To the credit of IBM, its past two CEOs (former and current) were both technical geeks, unlike the criminal who ran Microsoft (whose arrests predate his Microsoft venture). At IBM one geek has been at the company for nearly 4 decades (with higher education sponsored by GM), whereas the latter has been there for 3 decades, having earned a doctoral degree outside his home country. The latter (latest) comes from a military background/family, but it would be rather unfair to attribute that to himself, also unfair from a privacy standpoint (his father, however, was a high-profile military officer, not merely a troop).

“Whether Red Hat can lecture us all on ethics depends on whether we view Red Hat as still separate (it’s not; not any more than ATI is still separate from AMD).”IBM’s CEO since April of this year is an “army kid”, said The Economic Times. “Krishna, 57, [is] son of an Indian army officer,” wrote Times of India. It’s not a secret. It would be nice to see the Ph.D. thesis and some of the patents/scholarly articles he authored or edited. We wish to see the ethical aspects of these; he worked for the unit named after Watson himself (a Nazi medal recipient) and that unit does things like surveillance and military-grade stuff. We know that IBM is hoping to profit from fascistic methods mastered and ‘normalised’ by Mr. Modi, who poses for duo photos (during pandemic it’s harder to meet in person like Ginni did) with Dr. Krishna. Remember that India has nukes.

In conclusion, today’s Red Hat is connected to all sorts of burdensome stories and a really harsh history. Morality is misplaced in that context. It’s all about money and power. Whether Red Hat can lecture us all on ethics depends on whether we view Red Hat as still separate (it’s not; not any more than ATI is still separate from AMD).

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