10.07.21

IBM Declares Defeat/Failure, ‘Shuts Down’ Campaign of Anti-Richard Stallman Rhetoric (Defamation)

Posted in Free/Libre Software, FSF, IBM, Red Hat at 5:17 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

No more Bully de Blanc (fired), no Deb (OSI, stepped down), no more IBM-led hate letter against an opponent of its darker agenda

IBM fail

Summary: IBM and Red Hat will now focus on getting medical records of staff* and forcing everyone to pull up the sleeve, unconditionally (the subject of ongoing uproar at IBM); This isn’t software freedom or even freedom in general. What happened, IBM? Got tired of removing signatures (that's all that was happening there; people removing their own names)? Looking for reasons to get rid of staff without announcing more layoffs and potentially without paying severance?

____
* Important note: I’m a proponent of vaccination, but not mandates.

10.04.21

Matthew Garrett’s Twitter Log Shows Exactly Why We Need to Give Security Theater the Boot

Posted in Deception, GNU/Linux, IBM, Microsoft, Red Hat at 9:24 am by Guest Editorial Team

Guest post by Ryan, reprinted with permission from the original

Matthew Garrett put Security Theater Boot support into the Linux kernel some time ago, and he got a Free Software Treachery Award for it from the joke that the FSF has turned into.

“Bootkits just really aren’t much of a problem on desktop GNU/Linux…”Now on his Twitter log, he shows us some of the mess he has caused.

See, if you have “Secure” Boot turned on, and you shouldn’t, but if you do, you’ll see the Linux kernel complain that it is disabling hibernation support, and while that alone really isn’t a huge problem because as long as you can suspend and resume (which still is far from given these days even though we were lied to and told uEFI would be better, over ten years ago), it really shows where we’re at now.

Bootkits just really aren’t much of a problem on desktop GNU/Linux, and I doubt they were ever a real problem on much of anything involving a competently-administered GNU/Linux systems, except maybe embedded hardware, where they can lock it down all they want, but those people don’t care about security. If some asshole at Netgear can make a cable modem based on a Linux 2.6 kernel, you’d better believe they’ll do it. After all, you probably won’t know if your modem is compromised.

In reality, I strongly suspect that even on the Windows side, Security Theater Boot was implemented to make it harder to crack Windows using a boot activation exploit. While it’s true that Microsoft laid off the locking people out of their computer over activation failures, for now, the truth is that after Windows 11 requires Security Theater Boot, OEMs may just make it mandatory and stick you with it, and then Microsoft could decide at any time to stop signing shim, and there’s no way to boot GNU/Linux on a PC anymore. The minute they think they can, they will. The only reason you could turn it off up until now was that they had legacy software and hardware in support, but that’s going away.

“But in exchange for false security which doesn’t gain us anything, we’re forced to deal with no hibernation…”It’s part of the “Up yours, buy new stuff!” theme of Windows 11 where lots of expensive computers won’t run it because they’re 36 months old. (But switching to GNU/Linux on these is probably an option for you.).

But in exchange for false security which doesn’t gain us anything, we’re forced to deal with no hibernation, an entire “kernel lockdown” (unauthorized access… by you, the owner of the machine) patch set whose entire goal was to remove the user’s control over kernel settings from userspace (which Microsoft didn’t even publicly demand in exchange for signing the shim bootloader after Red Hat and Canonical bent the knee instead of filing lawsuits), and has left us unable to extend the kernel that runs our own machines with out-of-tree drivers that we feel like running.

Since people can delete tweets and make them unavailable for critical comment, here’s what this sanctimonious asshole has been up to lately.

UEFI troll tweet

UEFI troll tweet

UEFI broken
Yes, that FAMOUS GNU/Linux bootloader, “Windows Bootloader”. There it is, under P:\EFI\Microsoft\Boot\en-us. I’d recognize it anywhere!

He guesses and gets it into the kernel, and you get to wonder if your OS will work later. He also exaggerates, misdirects, and misleads. (see above) But that’s what carnival barkers do.

That is sort of what happens when you have a failed biologist implementing Security Theater from Microsoft. Getting money from them by proxy to do it with.

The company that brought you Windows.

The operating system that goes “Herr! Derr! Here you go, have some files dumped on this here flash drive because the letter belonged to your portable hard disk earlier! Here’s some Microsoft Defender, don’tcha know!?”.

Anyway, I really do wish I had all day to read his Twitter blogs where he pontificates about how the police who protect him from the rioters are evil murderers. But I’ve thought about him too much for one day just for this post.

Anyway, enjoy Windows 11. I’m sure it’ll be great.

10.02.21

What are Flatpaks and How Do They Help on a GNU/Linux Distribution Such as Debian? Why Are They Better Than Snaps?

Posted in GNU/Linux, Red Hat at 4:22 pm by Guest Editorial Team

Guest post by Ryan, reprinted with permission from the original

Flatpak picture

Every GNU/Linux distribution has a “native” package manager system.

In Debian-family distributions, this has normally been Debian Packages. (Although, arguably, Snap may eventually replace it in Ubuntu.)

These DEB files, managed by dpkg, are in turn managed overall by the Advanced Packaging Tool, or Apt, which tracks dependent libraries and programs of what the user is trying to install, and which offers to clean up orphaned packages when nothing is left that requires them.

“One thing that these different systems have in common is they’re basically incompatible with each other, even when it’s the same package management system on each distribution.”In Red Hat distributions, these are RPM files, managed by…well, RPM, which in turn is now managed overall with dependency tracking and orphan cleanup by DNF (still called YUM in Red Hat Enterprise Linux, but it’s DNF now in RHEL 8).

One thing that these different systems have in common is they’re basically incompatible with each other, even when it’s the same package management system on each distribution. If you install an Ubuntu package or software repo in Debian, you’ll probably break Debian, and vice versa, and the same holds true with Fedora, OpenSUSE, and Mageia, even though they all use RPM.

Sometimes you can get away with it, or the author has taken into account that he or she needs to set the stuff in a place where it won’t collide with anything from such a distribution, and you have “universal” RPMs or DEBs that you can install locally, but this is also a pain because it’s not guaranteed to work.

Enter Flatpak.

Flatpak, formerly called xdg-app, is a “universal” package system for GNU/Linux distributions, where developers can write a program, build it once, and deploy it to users of multiple, otherwise quite incompatible GNU/Linux distributions, and it works. Why? They’re fairly self-sufficient in “containers”, and while they have dependencies, they can satisfy them by bringing in those other Flatpaks which contain the foundations the program needs.

In fact, when most people (including me) first see the disk space calculation to install a Flatpak app, they freak out because it’s misleading. It looks like they’re gigantic, but they’re really not that bad. First of all, the more of them you install, the more dependencies you’re going to get, and eventually the next programs you get will need less and less that you don’t already have.

Then, there’s the fact that the containers are compressed.

They install very quickly, and I’ve been messing around and have converted several of the applications I use to Flatpak format and I’m finding the system quite fast. There actually is not much in the way of “install” because it just puts them where it puts them and that’s basically it.

Applications default to being installed for all users on the system, but can be installed for a particular user. Although for the sake of efficiency, you probably want system-wide installations.

Every once in a while, you should run flatpak uninstall –unused to remove orphans, but in my case there are none at the moment.

How does this help a desktop user?

Well, it helps in a few ways.

“…Flatpak lets you have your Debian cake and eat it too.”You get software a lot faster than a distribution is going to package it, at least if you use a Debian or Enterprise or Long Term Support distribution, where the packages available in the native format can go stale rather fast.

On a system like Fedora, where applications are packaged rapidly from upstream, or a rolling release like Manjaro or Arch, or even a 6 month release of Ubuntu, this may not be as important, but these systems exact a toll on the user by forcing them to stop and deal with problems along the way, including in the core OS, the desktop environment, etc. All of which is essentially super stable and maintained with security and bug patches in a longer-lived distribution.

In other words, Flatpak lets you have your Debian cake and eat it too.

When I was a Fedora user, I used to spit and curse all the time when they brought in some new kernel that did more harm than good. They always do more harm than good once your computer works well enough that you’d be better parking yourself on a LTS Linux kernel. (These special kernels are maintained for years by various stakeholders and get hundreds of stabilizing releases, and a little new hardware support if it won’t risk rocking the boat too much.) Other parts of the system could be brought in by Fedora that do something terrible.

Once, they brought in a new build of the 32-bit x86 libc that contained “optimizations” that turned out to brick some of my Steam games and I had to wait for them to revert it. When they’re just bringing in new junk all the time and pimping your ride, you just never know what will happen next. It’s barely tested. In fact, you are the tester.

Then, a while later, they brought in a Linux kernel where Intel tried closing a minor security problem in the graphics driver by disabling its power management, thereby causing my Skylake U-based Yoga 900-ISK2 (which was basically a SoC architecture design) to consume twice as much power. All of a sudden, my usual 6-8 hours away from the wall became 2 or 3, and I had to back out that kernel and go to an older kernel _and_ version-lock it.

By the time Intel “fixed” the power mess, by giving up on fixing the security issue (LOL), my computer had over 160 unpatched security vulnerabilities before I could upgrade the kernel again.

“It used to be that Fedora was more hit or miss, and now it’s just some janky semi-rolling crap that IBM hardly even cares about.”

Now I can just strap some Flatpaks onto Debian 11 and let Debian worry about keeping the underlying system nice and stable, and my computer working properly, and if there is a failure in one of my Flatpak apps, at least it doesn’t spill out and ruin the entire OS like a bad OS update could.

It used to be that Fedora was more hit or miss, and now it’s just some janky semi-rolling crap that IBM hardly even cares about.

Flatpak also gets around distribution packaging policies that you don’t agree with.

Debian has their “Free Software Guidelines” and for the most part, this helps us because they’re not spamming proprietary software, but sometimes you want a program like SNES9x, which Debian considers non-Free because it has source available, you can redistribute it with modifications, but you can’t use it for commercial purposes.

In other words, you don’t care. Why would you care if a company can make a product with SNES9x? You just want to load ROM files in it and play Super Nintendo games.

Flatpak has it. Honey Badger don’t care about no commercial use on an SNES emulator.

There’s also a potential security upside with Flatpak applications.

Thanks to sandboxing and a permissions system, they might be safer than non-Flatpak applications, especially if they have to handle untrusted data from the Internet, or run media codecs, which are notoriously insecure.

Web browsers and VLC are in Flatpak format.

Flatpak is the end of dependency hell, system file stomping from third party repos, and many other kinds of problems.

When you add third party repositories to your distribution’s package manager, and that person doesn’t take care to get along with the OS and not overwrite any of its files, or you install multiple such repositories, you can end up in big trouble really fast.

In fact, OpenSUSE used to encourage the user to set up multiple such repositories to get extra software, and then the system was immediately broken at setup with food fights over which version of what package to install, which broke this or that, and then broke the package manager and then the OS was ruined.

Although that was an extreme example. Most distributions are smart enough not to do this. Stupid krauts.

How is the system integration?

Usually pretty good. I noticed that Debian doesn’t install the Adwaita-Qt theme or set the environment variable to make sure Qt applications look close to native on your GNOME desktop, especially if you use dark themes. I love dark themes.

“…you may hit minor bumps here and there, but overall they integrate pretty well with the system.”You can either set up Adwaita-Qt, or you can let Flatpak handle your Qt or KDE apps, like VLC (Qt) and Krita (KDE). Normally, APT would just bring in a ton of stuff from Qt and KDE and then maybe it does a good job tracking and getting rid of it if nothing needs it, and maybe it doesn’t.

I tweak my GNOME settings to work better as a more traditional desktop, and to look more “correct” for an American PC user, and to blow away some of the settings that I’ve always hated, like middle click paste.

While I was messing around with Flatpak Firefox, I noticed it was middle click pasting. Well, this is a problem because I enable autoscroll in about:config, and so every time I’d hit scroll, it would paste random crap into a blog post or something, so I had to go back into about:config and find a setting to disable middle click paste. The Firefox ESR from Debian respects your system settings.

So you may hit minor bumps here and there, but overall they integrate pretty well with the system.

How do Flatpaks compare with Snap from Ubuntu?

I hate Snap, and that won’t change. I think they implemented it poorly.

It requires a system service that takes hundreds of MB of RAM to manage the software images. Flatpak doesn’t.

When I tried using Snap on Ubuntu, there were many Snaps that just didn’t work at all, and one of them was GZDoom, which I have installed on Debian 11 as a Flatpak, and which works fine.

Snaps require AppArmor, which Debian has since version 10 (but not all distributions do!), or else there’s no sandbox at all, Flatpaks have their own sandbox methods. Snaps are bigger and don’t integrate as well with system settings. Flatpak is Free Software on the client _and_ server side, but Snap is totally proprietary on the server side and only Canonical can run a Snap store.

Canonical claims that Snaps are universal “Linux” programs, but it doesn’t really work properly on other distributions, and most of them have rebuked Snap in forceful language and purged it from their distribution completely, including the Ubuntu-based Mint and Fedora.

Microsoft loves Snap. Of course, when they packaged a DEB, they clobbered Debian system files with it, so when they’re too $%#$ing stupid to package an application and they love Snap, you should know to run. Hell, they screw up their own OS all the time with bad updates.

So I hope this encourages some interest in Flatpak.

I think it’s a really neat and exciting software management system that compliments the usability of a very stable and long-lived distribution such as Debian.

09.28.21

[Meme] Joining Red Hat After Jim Whitehurst Left

Posted in IBM, Red Hat at 12:45 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Capturing the sentiment

redhat-query

ibm-query

Summary: The screenshots above are minutes old; insiders don’t think too highly of long-term careers at Red Hat (the latter seems to be the same person as the former)

08.21.21

[Meme] IBM Is Not Helping the Cause or Barely Helping GNU/Linux and Software Freedom

Posted in IBM, Red Hat at 10:57 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Big Blue IBM, GNU/Linux Users, Whatever
IBM has had almost 3 years to prove that it cares about us…

Summary: Since taking over Red Hat, back in late 2018, IBM has practically done far too little for us; it repeatedly attacked the FSF, it basically killed off CentOS, and it is liaising with Microsoft in its attacks on copyleft

Many IBM Layoffs (in Marketing), But the Media Is Not Mentioning Those Layoffs At All

Posted in IBM, Marketing, Red Hat at 10:37 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Video download link | md5sum 18739a1627d1b4bc21e69f0d6ed3e806

Summary: IBM has a grip on the media, so many people won’t know about the recent layoffs; as if without IBM formally declaring those layoffs — set aside the exodus — the media lacks the authority to mention that it is happening

THE PAST few days in these forums were rather telling. I’ve been watching these closely for about 4 months and spend dozens of hours assessing the situation, based on insider accounts (also some former IBMer with contacts inside the company).

“…we must conclude that the current trajectory is towards an obsolete IBM, which in turn spells trouble for Red Hat as well.”While the media issues a bunch of cloudwashing fluff such as this there’s no mention of this year’s layoffs or the ongoing exodus (Google News shows not even a single article). It is a suppressed subject that we wrote about before.

Having spent dozens of hours researching these RAs, based on one of the most active forums/boards in thelayoff.com (there are many insiders there — something that we’ve mentioned here in passing before) and lots of blogs/sites of Red Hat and IBM, we must conclude that the current trajectory is towards an obsolete IBM, which in turn spells trouble for Red Hat as well. I saw many of the very same patterns in S.u.S.E. under Novell, which was at one point headed by a former IBMer (Hovsepian), who sold out to Microsoft and then sold the company.

IBM Laptop Keyboard
Morale is low, the flagship products were sold (e.g. to Lenovo)

08.20.21

Imperialistic Blacklist Machines: Racist IBM and Red Hat — Just Like Donald Trump — Have Turned Fedora Into an Utterly Racist Project That Blacklists, Shuns and Permanently Bans People Based on Their Nationality Alone

Posted in Deception, Free/Libre Software, GNU/Linux, IBM, Microsoft, Red Hat at 5:13 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Video download link | md5sum d1aa183b4adca3c55c50942e11d982fd

Summary: The ethnic-cleansing IBM has brought overt racism to Free software, showing that nothing has truly changed since its dark past with Nazi Germany (or the Nazi Party) as its second-largest client; all that changed — however slightly — is the dictator (or Fuhrer), the communications/PR strategy, and the subjects of scapegoating

THE Free software community needs to shun racism. I agree with IBM on that. As such, we might need to shun IBM. Because IBM isn’t just historically racist but also presently racist — just like Microsoft is racist for that matter (it’s very profitable at the state level). Ignore the projection tactics or the façade they pay for, e.g. by Linux Foundation PR campaigns (the so-called ‘Linux’ Foundation is itself spreading racism).

Those who fail to see how 'Big Tech' promotes racism may have been cheaply indoctrinated (brainwashed on the cheap with ‘slush funds’), mostly by manipulative deflection tactics. It helps distract from their own actions. It’s a very old playbook (not in the Ansible sense). You constantly accuse others, e.g. the Free software community, of what you yourself are deeply culpable of. What they refer to as “community” (they never speak about freedom, it’s not economic to them) is in fact a fake ‘community’; they’ve redefined community as “our staff” or people whose efforts (as unpaid volunteers) they ‘farm’ using malicious sites like GitHub, where they promote non-reciprocal licences, i.e. not copyleft. GitHub actively attacks copyleft.

“This is a dark day for the Fedora project, but those who run the project are mostly IBM employees, so don’t expect anybody from Fedora to condemn this.”Those who have been following Planet Fedora for years (as I have) will have noticed — or can certainly still notice — that, as a project, Fedora is almost as dead as CentOS and the months-old Fedora statement on RMS showed that Fedora is nowadays little but a mouthpiece of IBM. They’ve put much of Fedora on Github (not accessible to people from particular nations) and AWS, which works for the US Army and discriminates against many millions of people. When induction, deduction, and stigma/stereotypes intersect, the racism becomes institutional and in turn ‘normalised’. We can become insensitive to it. But it is still there, lurking behind the curtain of corporate PR and creative story-telling. They paint themselves with rainbows while constantly reinforcing exclusion, bigotry, and privilege.

IBM is not BLMIt’s sad to say this but IBM has brought overt racism to Free software, including Fedora. This is why hours ago we saw this blog post entitled Free Software NOT as in `free speech,` NOR as in `free beer` (resembling similar posts about GitHub) in “We Build Fedora”. The very people who actually built Fedora and volunteered for the project are being shunned for no reason other than nationality, which in this case is tightly connected to an ethnicity or race. This is a dark day for the Fedora project, but those who run the project are mostly IBM employees, so don’t expect anybody from Fedora to condemn this. IBM is known to be surgically removing dissenting voices (escorting people out by surprise), so it’s likely to not even get noticed. You’d get sacked by the fake ‘community’… while IBM is in a very layoff-y mood. Not that the media bothered mentioning it; maybe it expects journalism to just be repetition of a bunch of press releases from IBM rather than investigation of what many insiders say this week. Including last month’s E-mail catastrophe at IBM.

IBM recently published a dataset for facial recognition AI made up of images...
The present

08.03.21

IBM’s Attack on the Community and on GPL/FSF is an Attack on Red Hat’s Greatest Asset

Posted in Deception, FSF, GNU/Linux, GPL, IBM, Red Hat, Servers at 6:09 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

IBM has no clue what it's doing (and it has lost someone who knew better, Mr. Allowhurst)

We've made centos users become IBM customers, but it didn't work because of Alma, Rocky, Debian etc.
IBM attacks what it cannot understand (or cannot control)

Summary: Ever since IBM bought Red Hat it has repeatedly attacked the FSF (in a malicious and personified fashion), looking for its own ‘copyright grab’ whilst outsourcing loads of code to proprietary software monopolisers who attack the GPL; by doing so, IBM is destroying the value of what it paid more than 30 billion dollars for (IBM is governed by pretentious fools, according to IBM insiders; they’ve already lost Red Hat’s longtime CEO and IBM’s new President), so it’s falling back on openwashing of IBM's proprietary software with help from the so-called ‘Linux’ Foundation

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