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Microsoft GitHub Exposé — Part VIII — Mr. Graveley’s Long Career Serving Microsoft’s Agenda (Before Hiring by Microsoft to Work on GitHub’s GPL Violations Machine)

Posted in GNU/Linux, Microsoft, Mono, Novell at 7:24 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Series parts:

  1. Microsoft GitHub Exposé — Part I — Inside a Den of Corruption and Misogynists
  2. Microsoft GitHub Exposé — Part II — The Campaign Against GPL Compliance and War on Copyleft Enforcement
  3. Microsoft GitHub Exposé — Part III — A Story of Plagiarism and Likely Securities Fraud
  4. Microsoft GitHub Exposé — Part IV — Mr. MobileCoin: From Mono to Plagiarism… and to Unprecedented GPL Violations at GitHub (Microsoft)
  5. Microsoft GitHub Exposé — Part V — Why Nat Friedman is Leaving GitHub
  6. Microsoft GitHub Exposé — Part VI — The Media Has Mischaracterised Nat Friedman’s Departure (Effective Now)
  7. Microsoft GitHub Exposé — Part VII — Nat Friedman, as GitHub CEO, Had a Plan of Defrauding Microsoft Shareholders
  8. YOU ARE HERE ☞ Mr. Graveley’s Long Career Serving Microsoft’s Agenda (Before Hiring by Microsoft to Work on GitHub’s GPL Violations Machine)

GitHub: Where everything comes to die

Summary: Balabhadra (Alex) Graveley was promoting .NET (or Mono) since his young days; his current job at Microsoft is consistent with past harms to GNU/Linux, basically pushing undesirable (except to Microsoft) things to GNU/Linux users; Tomboy used to be the main reason for distro ISOs to include Mono

THE LAST part took note of Nat Friedman and Alex Graveley (“best friends” in Graveley’s eyes; Miguel de Icaza said they go back 20 years). Today we look more closely at what Mr. Graveley had done before Microsoft/GitHub enlisted him to promote a GPL violations tool (a tool for encouraging — not detecting — copyleft violations).

“All this stuff needs daylight, as the media completely failed to report about what had actually happened earlier this year.”Based on long conversations with a source, “on LinkedIn [he makes] claim to Copilot,” but that goes further back to things we covered over a decade ago. “It sounds like you might know more about that than me,” the source said, as “the timeline starts with the Tomboy stuff.” (We called them “Team Mono”)

That was ages ago, but many of the same people are still involved and they are officially under Microsoft’s umbrella, with a salary from Microsoft as well. “From my understanding,” the source noted, “Alex wasn’t even 18 when this stuff started” because he “dropped out of high school at 15″ and later met “Nat [Friedman] through an IRC[-based] Linux channel or something…”

They also did some podcasts together (Friedman and Graveley), as we noted here before. Friedman had worked for Microsoft as an intern (mid 90s, seems to be when he met Miguel de Icaza). It took many years before he worked directly for Microsoft once again. A lot of the time was spent hooking up companies like Novell with Microsoft and then promoting .NET through Xamarin, which also led to a “payday” from Microsoft.

Our source said, “he hides that and I wonder why?”

He would then attack Free software through shells and proxies, the latest of which was GitHub. We’ve already covered a number of scandals related to this. “I know almost nothing about his personal life,” our source noted, but Richard “Stallman [said] that his dad was a stock broker though…”

“I just thought that was super weird,” the source said, “saw on some email to Richard” [Stallman] that said: “It seems that your efforts to build resistance to Amazon’s ludicrous one-click patent are really paying off! My father is a stock broker, and tonight he showed me a news item which came over his company’s internal wire service describing (fairly accurately) the boycott and your roll in it. Apparently it has been widely distributed among the brokerage firms, and AMZN was down 7 points today on the news (at least, there was no other readily-apparent reason for the downturn). Perhaps now that Amazon is getting hit in the pocketbook, they’ll pay more attention.”

Mr. stock market…

But this series isn’t so much about Friedman but about the issues, notably Copilot (connected to GitHub and proprietary spyware for desktops, Visual Studio). We’re going to focus on GPL violations they enable and who’s promoting this practice; that’s the role of Alex Graveley. Visual Studio ‘Code’ is proprietary spyware (the so-called ‘telemetry’ has become notorious enough) and a certain “Nathaniel Dourif Friedman” has a software patent on spyware. Spyware like this: “During the course of a computer session, many actions may be performed on a computer. For several reasons, including increasing workforce productivity, it may be desirable to monitor these actions.”

If it sounds like a SOFTWARE patent, bear in mind it is with Novell, which openly bragged about its software patents and tried to leverage them to attack rival GNU/Linux vendors in collusion with Microsoft. Our moral objections aside (those are patents which we oppose), Mr. Graveley too has such patents. All the Hackpad patents are listed there. “For clarification, Alex’s legal name is Balabhadra Graveley,” our source noted, and “to further clarify he is a white man and not Indian despite the sound of his name” because of his “hippie Hare Khrishna parents…”

His LinkedIn (Microsoft) account suggests he still works for Microsoft:

Alex Graveley

“Team Mono or whatever you want to call it,” our source noted, is “alive and well…”

Except Friedman is gone, likely forced to resign to save face.

All this stuff needs daylight, as the media completely failed to report about what had actually happened earlier this year.

One less important aspect of it all is, Alex Graveley was inadvertently the subject of many old posts of ours. Because of Mono and Tomboy. Readers might want to get some context, assuming they never heard about this controversy before. Here’s an article from 2013:

And half a dozen (among more) from 2009:

“I do have this message where Alex calls Tomboy his life’s work,” our source said. The above articles spoke about technical issues, not just legal issues. And sure, those are old… as the site was a lot younger back then (about 2.5 years old) and nowadays we do deeper investigations. It certainly seems like Friedman and others set him up for richness; by sucking up to Microsoft, with Mono, he was swimming close to the sharks.

Tomboy as a piece of software is junk. That’s why someone else from Novell (alumnus) rewrote it in C++; there’s just nothing special about it, which makes sense considering he wrote it as a high school dropout with little experience in software engineering.

“I’ve seen his code,” the source said, calling it “very procedural”.

Gnote’s developer rewrote the whole thing in a better language, not controlled by Microsoft. Yes, his whole program was re-written as a hobby in C++ — a process which didn’t take long — and then it run much faster (details in the above links).

The original implementation (Tomboy) was technically weak. Among the quotes we heard about Graveley: “He is so insecure”; “Full of doubts and strong opinions”; “Fun to be around, but also very self destructive” (attributed to Miguel de Icaza, speaking on experiences with Alex Graveley).

“Based on his code,” our source added, “Alex is the kind of engineer that doesn’t understand easy to read doesn’t mean it’s simple…”

“I write easy to read code that is well organized and get underestimated for it…”

Tomboy was apparently so bad that someone simply rewrote the whole program in another language, C++, and did so very quickly; the technical improvements were vast.

So is Graveley even good at software development? He didn’t finish school.

He is insecure but (now) well connected, so he’ll try to use the current status to compensate for a weak background. “I suspect that Alex and Nat share darker secrets,” our source added. “I don’t even understand why Alex is working. [...] In regards to Github, the Github hate community has already been in touch on Twitter, mostly in regard to the ICE stuff…”

GitHub does worse than ICE, but the media seldom talks about that. The media suppressed that and more, whereas it actively helped ‘pacify’ the ICE protesters by shoveling up “Arctic Vault” puff pieces. We wrote about it back then.

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