Bonum Certa Men Certa

Mark Shuttleworth and the Question of Liability (Debian Volunteers He Pressured Before the Suicides)

posted by Roy Schestowitz on Feb 22, 2024

Mark Shuttleworth

Humanity for me (zero-cost "human resources")

OUT of respect to the original author, we did not edit the recent articles about Debian suicides [1, 2], but we can comment aside, i.e. in separate articles.

It's no secret who runs and controls Debian. It's companies like Google (the host), ARM, Canonical and so on. They just use SPI as a sort of "proxy" through which to "herd" unpaid labour - contrary to what Debian used to be in the 1990s. Much of this unpaid labour is in fact connected to other companies (employment), which exercise control over Debian through this "staff". It's not a new issue and it is a lesser issue when scholars do this because of the way universities used to be run (nowadays even universities act a lot like for-profit corporations).

Moreover, there's the lingering issue of obligations and liabilities as per employment law; the labour of love from the "Ubuntu" South African, who now 'resides' in a tax shelter around the UK, has become Microsoft bait. Mark Shuttleworth uses Debian volunteers' labour to sell Microsoft's proprietary spyware. Is that ethical? Will this be considered moral?

Worse yet, it seems like he pays money to silence/censor critics. As the earlier article put it: "In one of the hysterical legal filings constructed by Software in the Public Interest, they claim that informing the victim's family about their rights is tantamount to harassment. They even admit that the family has no desire to make a complaint, but the snivelling SPI lawyers claim it is harassment anyway simply because it is inconvenient for Mark Shuttleworth. Ubuntu is the African word for sharing but Shuttleworth appears to be more willing to share his money with lawyers than volunteers who died."

So says Daniel Pocock, who has received his share of threatening letters. Have millions of pounds been spent trying to silence him instead of taking his message to heart? And notice all the malicious personal attacks on him; they like to misuse the term "harassment" (clearly projection) while they're abusing not only him; they're abusing family members who have nothing to do with Daniel's articles. If Mr. Shuttleworth is lawyering up, maybe he's afraid he might in fact be held liable for deaths; on more than one occasion Mr. Shuttleworth publicly pressured unpaid volunteers who later killed themselves due to stress. So who does the "harassment" here? Shuttleworth or Pocock?

After the suicides there are typically attempts to silence family members too (same thing that happened at the EPO after suicides). And apropos the SPI, one associate has noted, "they extracted equipment from his home" (according to the above), which could be considered evidence tampering.

Whether Shuttleworth will be criminally prosecuted remains to be seen; he's very well connected because of his wealth, which he places in some remote island because he respects UK tax laws as little as he respected them in South Africa (he was dragged to court over it).

"Ubuntu" is a beautiful word with a positive message, unlike what the distro became. To Mr. Shuttleworth, Ubuntu was just "Debian plus sex" since the very beginning.

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