05.16.21

IBM Has Changed a Lot Since 2018, and Not for the Better

Posted in GNU/Linux, IBM, Red Hat at 7:40 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Video download link

Summary: IBM isn’t that much of an ally of GNU/Linux as a community-led or community-centric operating system; IBM is in it all just for IBM and we need to treat IBM accordingly

THE acquisition of Red Hat was announced jointly (by Red Hat and IBM) way back in 2018 but wasn’t completed until quite some time later. At first it looked mostly innocuous, as one might expect, but several things happened in recent months — major things.

“Last year they sent PR agents to contact me (albeit peripherally), so it’s crystal clear that they watch not only “IBM Layoffs” at TheLayoff.com but also sites like Techrights.”As longtime readers are aware, we were not rushing to criticise the takeover. We assumed good intention (presumption of innocence, good faith), but seeing that IBM’s aggressive patent policy remained as bad as ever (e.g. Xmas extortion) followed by suppression of Fedora, e.g. banishing longtime volunteers (we suppose because of their critical views regarding some corporations) and pulling of the rug from under(neath) the feet of CentOS users we were quickly losing patience. These attacks culminated in even more vicious attacks on the founder of GNU/Linux — not the first attack of this kind (they then compelled Fedora to do the same while muzzling longtime Fedora volunteers). Layoffs and many resignations did not help, either (or attempted censorship of such information). We’ve lost count of the number of things IBM has done wrong, maybe by intention. Does IBM just hope to eradicate community elements and turn GNU/Linux into another IBM ‘UNIX’?

Judgement: Your honour, they are the most racist company on this planet. They do apartheid, eugenics and genocide. CoC violation! Can't state facts anymoreSometimes it certainly feels like IBM wants vendor lock-in (something to latch onto, along with openwashing) rather than sharing and software freedom, i.e. control for users over the systems they use. The video above moreover mentions the whole corporate trolling angle. There are many, many things to be criticised about how IBM communicates with GNU/Linux developers, sometimes even with its very own staff, and how IBM manipulates the media (usually by shaming the community and reinforcing a stigma, much like in IBM’s notorious days of FUD).

Noted in the video (and shown) are two posts from this morning [1, 2]. It is neither comprehensive nor complete, but given the path IBM has chosen to follow it’s very likely to be a subject we’ll revisit and examine more closely over time. IBM has a lot more influence over GNU/Linux than Microsoft ever had. This is the same IBM that lobbies the EPO for European software patents — the very opposite of what Red Hat did in Europe 16 years ago.

Although we lack concrete and direct evidence, there has been lots of suspicious trolling here recently (discussions about IBM layoffs) and we can’t help wondering if IBM’s PR agents are playing a role in that (to provoke and discourage posting, reading, participation). It would not be the first time IBM does such things; IBM and Microsoft treat and game the media quite similarly (they're more closely connected than many were led to believe), and have done so for decades. Last year they sent PR agents to contact me (albeit peripherally; they had done it a decade earlier as well, even directly), so it’s crystal clear that they watch not only “IBM Layoffs” at TheLayoff.com but also sites like Techrights. In fact, last night one IBM employee said something very unflattering about us in Twitter. They really don’t want people to read the site and when Techrights is in the front page of Hacker News lots of IBM employees (sometimes with explicit disclosure) gang up to bury perfectly factual stories. They just try to control the narrative.

“In May of 1990, the DoJ gave the green light, freeing the FTC to open their probe. With no shortage of help from Microsoft’s competitors, the FTC collected mounds of evidence showing that Microsoft and IBM had been in cahoots from the beginning.”

Barbarians Led by Bill Gates, a book composed
by the daughter of Microsoft’s PR mogul

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