Bonum Certa Men Certa

The Linux Foundation is Not About Linux

It used to be, but not anymore

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Summary: Linux Foundation (LF) objectives/missions do not resemble what the Open Source Development Labs, Inc. (OSDL) was founded to accomplish; this puts at grave threat the very raison d'être of both GNU and Linux

THE more we write about the Linux Foundation, the more feedback we receive from readers who teach us things we didn't know and which these readers feel urged/eager to mention (albeit anonymously, or to be quoted under the condition of anonymity).



"Many corporations are associated with it, so people don't want to be painted as troublemakers or -- at worst -- sexist/racist..."The Linux Foundation is big business, it's big money. Many corporations are associated with it, so people don't want to be painted as troublemakers or -- at worst -- sexist/racist (corporations increasingly use these angles to whiten their reputation and condemn critics of these corporations' supposed "causes"). I certainly saw Microsoft trying this on me...

A reader has just told us that "the board members of the Linux Foundation consist of people from Google, Facebook, IBM, Microsoft, Oracle and many more names I strongly dislike. Is that normal for a foundation like that? I'm a longtime Linux user wondering why the Linux desktop is not moving forwards, I never read about this before..."

"Hi, Roy," wrote another reader this morning. "You mentioned Ken Starks yesterday in your article about the LF. He might be a source of even more information on the LF if you ask him, I don't know for sure but perhaps. He's apparently still struggling through terrible hardship while doing great work. I guess it would depend on how and why you ask."

Our reader points out, using the links below1,2, that Starks is still active in trying to get GNU/Linux to children in need.

“...a lot of people will be unlikely to want to criticize the LF directly.”
      --Anonymous
Starks isn't alone. But these people are apparently reluctant to speak out against something called "Linux Foundation", fearing it would somehow be framed as being anti-Linux or anti-Torvalds (who is bossed by LF, or by Zemlin, who is in turn bossed by the Board that can presumably fire him). The leverage comes from the very top, i.e. the Board, which now includes Microsoft.

We have not made inquiries ourselves; some readers do so. "However, as you point out," the above reader continued, "a lot of people will be unlikely to want to criticize the LF directly. Also the way you present the information you uncover will matter a lot for [sic] how what in unearthed gets received."

"Findings," as per another reader (writing about support for children's use of GNU/Linux), are that there's "1. support in the form of online learning for a group that installs offline labs. 2. support in the past not currently to send speakers to Linux Foundation event -- to speak at their conference..."

We wrote about this earlier this morning (Linux Foundation support and what it means by "support"). In my personal view and in my experience (with the LF or its staff), the LF is almost entirely PR. Just look who holds the key positions and receives the highest salaries. Days ago they tried to "befriend" me online. It didn't work. It's their job to guard their image, I understand that, but if the goal is to quell dissent, I would not bother... Novell tried this on me over 12 years ago. If nobody speaks out because of approachable, friendly staff, who will?

“None of the funding for travel, food, expenses or equipment was procured through support by Linux Foundation from what I was told and what I saw.”
      --Anonymous
If anything, the LF's outreach only motivates me to look deeper. What are they trying to silence or suppress? "We don't need to do this series quickly as the subject matter is timeless," I recently told a reader, so "I will build up pertinent facts and publish bit by bit." I've been verifying the facts meticulously. Nobody has (yet) pointed out factual flaws or inaccuracies.

In an earlier post of ours Kids on Computers got mentioned. "Kids on Computers set up Pi and maintain many labs in Mexico," a reader told us. "None of the funding for travel, food, expenses or equipment was procured through support by Linux Foundation from what I was told and what I saw. In fact, Kids on Computers is suffering financially, last I knew. I could get some numbers, but let's just say they needed and need funding. The discounts for training is really moot in this case -- it's a ridiculous notion. I am going back and asking 'has anyone in any of the labs you maintain (10+) in Mexico ever used any of these training opportunities?'

"This "support" is a very sad and lame attempt to seem supportive -- without doing anything," the reader continued because "these labs... are OFFLINE [and] these users speak Spanish...

"The Linux Foundation was intended to pay Linus [Torvalds] and maintain standards."

“The Linux Foundation was intended to pay Linus [Torvalds] and maintain standards.”
      --Anonymous
What has the LF turned into since? We're probably going to write about their courses and events separately (in the future), but in the meantime not enough people have paid attention to how the salaries exploded (what kind of "charity" pays people like a million bucks a year)? Based on ProPublica, the IRS has had nothing (public at least, as this is the latest and last) since 2016, so we assume that this "charity" now has $100,000,000 or more in turnover (annual). That's massive. If they double the salaries, accordingly (doubling the turnover), that's nearly a million bucks a year for a dozen or so staff members. But that's not what matters (the money); it's how they use that money which matters and it feels as though LF staff tries to silence/suppress people who investigate it.

It is our understanding that some people blocked Bryan Lunduke (or something along those lines). Jim Zemlin blocked me in Twitter several years ago. If they don't want to be studied or politely questioned, we shall do yet more of that. In the spirit of freedom, including freedom of expression/speech.

Does the LF respect free speech at all? The CoC suggests otherwise.

The person who donated server resources to Techrights quit Alpine Linux a couple of hours ago (after he had worked on the project for a decade) and wrote: "My only regret is that the project moves in the direction of political correctness over software freedom, and convenience over open governance."

He had previously opposed Alpine Linux colleagues for playing along with Microsoft in their WSL ploy (Windows disguised as "Linux", i.e. classic EEE).

“My only regret is that the project moves in the direction of political correctness over software freedom, and convenience over open governance.”
      --Anonymous
What does the LF help with? Putting GNU inside Windows? What about GNU/Linux desktops? It seems like "adding Netflix" (DRM) is the priority now.

We think companies can directly help projects like Debian instead of giving money to LF (to pay a million bucks a year to "executives" in a tax-exempt "non-profit").

"I have had it with their [LF's] accepting sponsorship from VMWare (especially from what I heard about not releasing the GPL'd code)," one reader said, "their adoption and recommendation of the Censorship Covenant - especially after the horrible behavior by the author, and the fact this controls speech."

This reader continued: "I have said, the Contribution Covenant is a boil on the ass of our community..."

“I have said, the Contribution Covenant is a boil on the ass of our community...”
      --Anonymous
That perhaps is another subject worth tackling. By covering the European Patent Office (EPO) quite a lot over the past half a decade we missed the chance to comment much about the LF's attitude towards the GPL and the whole VMware affair. On the CoC we only wrote this very short post last year.

We welcome input from readers and maybe, some time in the near future, contact the above people, including Bryan Lunduke, a former Microsoft employee who keeps alerting that Microsoft hijacks the LF. _________



  1. [Old] Ten Years After - Part 1

    Fortunately as it played out, that worry was a waste of emotional energy. Not that there weren't problems in the beginning. There were, but once I was able to show these students a few simple ways to avoid Windows and Linux bumping heads; these kids dug in and began to learn. As it turns out, it wasn't the students I needed to worry about. Others with much more sway were waiting in the wings to undo months of preparation and success. People that, with ill intention or not, could sink the good ship Linux, at least locally on my end. Initially, some of them did quite a bit of damage.



  2. [Older] Ten Years After Part III - A Storied Conclusion

    While Alton's case isn't the norm, it's good to know that he picked up on the Linux desktop without a lot of drama or angst. However, that too isn't the norm. As promised in the first part of this "Ten Years After" series, I've went over all of the questionnaires and emails and there are only three real "issues" these kids could find to mention, and I mean mentioned in force. Don't get me wrong, there were a lot of different types of complaints, but they were, to be honest, nit-picky at best. I don't think anyone will find any surprises here. So here they are.



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