07.11.21

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Proprietary Software on the Road to Nowhere

Posted in Free/Libre Software, GNU/Linux, IBM, Microsoft at 8:37 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Golden Gate
As always, corporations and nations try to project wealth, confidence, and stability. But reality ain’t quite so.

Summary: We’re meant to think that some American corporations are worth trillions of dollars (even corporations that operate at losses!) and many such corporations are in fact funded by taxpayers against taxpayers’ will (subsidies); we need to be patient as their business models lack long-term viability and they will eventually collapse (they try to sink freedom-respecting alternatives, but that’s an impossible task, corrosive to oneself)

THESE past few years we saw Microsoft and IBM falling into the realm of financial engineering (basically faking their performance in order to reward managers) and judging by what insiders say about IBM, it might be at the point of no return after more than a century. It’s unable to attract or even retain talent; Microsoft is like a “love child” of IBM and therein too there are layoffs (across many parts of the business).

A lot of technology giants are subsidised by their military/government and VCs. It is what some people deem an “open secret” or a “duh moment”. They always hope to turn things around one day; in the case of AWS, after quite a few years they finally managed to become profitable and in Twitter’s case it has been mostly losses. A lot of the advertising business is a bubble based on false advertising of the potential reach (Twitter, Facebook, Google etc.) and they even get caught faking “engagement” levels in order to attract advertisers, entice users, and so on.

A lot of social control media, YouTube included, is basically faking it or exaggerating numbers. In recent years and especially in recent months YouTube turned into something else — resembling something of the “infinite scrolling” addiction model — wherein suggestions are pushed not based on what one searches for or subscribes to. They just strive to entrap people in and decide for them what to watch next, irrespective of actual preferences. It’s the “social control” in social control media and we strongly encourage people to reject (i.e. not upload to) any of that social control media.

The sorrows of those technology giants aren’t visible; they’re being propped up by people looking to gain some other way (like those who “support journalism” but actually look to bias the publishers). In Google’s case, it’s willing to lose billions of dollars on silly pipe dreams (“Stadia”) and clown computing nonsense just because it helps establish/secure some geopolitical goals.

Golden Gate FogWe’ve often spoken about how political the EPO has become (UPC likewise), but it is the same in the private sector. Benoît Battistelli and António Campinos aren’t scientists; they’re political hacks. It therefore also implies that the question of software patents becomes a political question influenced by corporate lobbying, not science or scientists (practitioners who code rather than just sue).

“My personal belief is that we just need to endure the storm; all that perseverance will pay off in the long run.”A lot of large companies play a game of lottery; they pretend to be all big and powerful, even when they’re in fact deep in debt. We can drive them out of balance with stalling tactics; some of them already collapse. In IBM’s case, the attacks on the FSF may in fact be connected to the company’s imminent death (in many respects, the company is already dying).

Free software will need to endure all these destabilisation tactics, divide-and-rule strategies, and most importantly infiltration. People who haven’t a penny (or “kings of overdraft” — in their own words!) will carry on rocking the boat. They may try to sink lots of boats, but in the Free software movement we have lots of backups, including escape routes. We need to make more and more of them; decentralisation will help a lot.

My personal belief is that we just need to endure the storm; all that perseverance will pay off in the long run. For instance, Microsoft’s hostile takeover on millions of Free software projects has not paid off. Money is being lost, too. It was all along more about destruction and disruption.

At the moment lots of money is being pumped from the US government (China does the same by the way, for strategic geopolitical reasons) or its military to technical projects and multinational firms. That money won’t last forever; that inflow will run dry (a stimulus or bailout money to Microsoft, to the tune of $10,000,000,000, has fallen through; because there was no justification for it; nor was there any for the HoloLens grifting — a company whose entire staff had been laid off by Microsoft).

Carry on sharing code, delete GitHub, move away from “Red Hat” (IBM), reject social control media and let’s see where we get in the coming years as global power shifts (however gradually) to the east. Not because it needs to, just because it is inevitable. Attempts to ban/sanction entire companies (TikTok, Huawei etc.) — companies that increasingly adopt Free software as means of improving self-reliance — show that the so-called full-spectrum dominance cannot be assured by conventional means anymore.

“First they ignore [Huawei et al], then they laugh at [Huawei et al], then they fight [Huawei et al], then [Huawei et al] win.”

Joke

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