Bonum Certa Men Certa

The Linux Foundation Does Not Want You to See How a 'Code of Conduct' is Actually Enforced at Its Events

Video download link | md5sum 76f355be6d78b0bc030fbbf9cc81a184 Social Engineering by Linux Foundation Creative Commons Attribution-No Derivative Works 4.0



Summary: The Linux Foundation has just issued a "transparency" report which is hardly transparent and is very vague; the timing of the release is very suspicious -- late on a Friday on Easter Friday. The video above explores what the Foundation actually is and who (or what) it is really trying to protect.

THE so-called 'Linux' Foundation lost a lot of revenue due to the pandemic. It used to make a lot of its money from events, based on the "Linux Foundation" IRS filings, which can be found online although these folks are -- suspiciously enough -- years behind (is the IRS investigating or working to revoke the tax-exempt status of the "Linux Foundation"?). There are now two kinds of "Linux Foundation" events, in-person/physical and online/virtual (telepresence). Guess which type is hard to charge a lot of money for. It's worth noting that the "Linux Foundation" manager in charge of all this comes from the hotel/hospitality (for rich people, not hospitalisation) sector, nothing to do with Linux at all. Then again, very few people who manage the "Linux Foundation" actually use Linux or ever tried Linux.



"...very few people who manage the "Linux Foundation" actually use Linux or ever tried Linux."This post isn't about the defunct "business model" or the fraudulent status of the so-called 'Linux' Foundation. The CFO left the Foundation the same years it operated at a loss. They try to reinvent themselves as a diploma mill now and there are many other issues we routinely cover here.

Today we focus on a different aspect. The 'Linux' Foundation (we'll refer to it as "LF" from hereon) has become like a rogue operation working for corporations with a "secret police" entering projects and communities. The people who do the enforcement do not understand these projects and communities. They impose things on them (like political beliefs) and are inherently engaged in social engineering. They banish all sorts of people for seemingly arbitrary reasons.

The "LF police" is not a real police. It's more like a corporate vigilante. It's like a shadowy cabal of corporate actors known as the Code of Conduct (CoC) Committee. They're accountable to nobody and answerable only to their employers.

"They're accountable to nobody and answerable only to their employers."My experience with self-serving police forces is described in my personal site, e.g. in [1, 2, 3]. I hear that it's a lot worse in the United States. Cops typically, at least over there, aren't particularly good at crime-solving. The cops don't get scored for actually resolving disputes or solving crimes but for filing reports of them.

They protect corporations; Neither me nor youSimilarly, in the LF's case, it seems like a shadowy corporate panel is using threats to accused people (rarely launching an actual investigation; except in just one case, as noted in the report; there's no due process and there seems to be a presumption of guilt) to compel them to obey. This is what the CoC is for. It's like a rushed, ad hoc 'tribunal'; its members lack actual qualifications to study and judge incidents. Any rule can be made up or re-interpreted to defend a wrongful judgement, retroactively. It can be selectively applied or enforced based on subjective criteria and financial interests or class interests. Remember who pays the salaries of these people!

In everyday life, to the police it's typically about protecting the status quo (oligarchs etc.) and to the LF it is not about protecting people but protecting the cash cow. The LF knows where the milk (big money) comes from. It's companies like Microsoft, not a few "independent" (not connected to a corporation) conference attendees. The ticket prices are ridiculous and they're designed to encourage corporations to pass money (a lot like the academic publishing cartels and universities' libraries). Almost all attendees are present on behalf of the corporations that send them. It's a form of gate-keeping.

"The ticket prices are ridiculous and they're designed to encourage corporations to pass money (a lot like the academic publishing cartels and universities' libraries)."The above video explains my personal view. It's an expression of an idea. By intention, in order to avoid accusations of "personal attacks", the video carefully refrains from naming anyone so it doesn't make it personal, nor does it personify broad issues which even extend beyond this one controversial organisation.

The video is long, but it could be a lot longer, so I got to the point and started by covering this hours-old fluff on "Less Time on Compliance" (licence compliance; the LF doesn't truly care about GPL violations). I later turned to their main feature, the "Linux Foundation Events Code of Conduct Transparency Report". It reaffirmed my view that a CoC can be misused. For example, any challenge or doubt is "unprofessionally expressed" in their eyes (LF's eyes). They can decide what can and cannot be said based on what's convenient to their interests, not based on any objective criteria. They wish to be impenetrable to critics and criticism. This is tyranny or gross misuse of authority. As I show in the video, many incidents have insufficient details, maybe by intention. One alarming example says "2 reports of concern that several CNCF ambassadors were airing grievances about not having talks accepted at the event, which belittled the work of the program committee" (so one isn't permitted to disagree!) and another example speaks of "1 attendee [who] was speaking unprofessionally to a member of the LF staff when asked to abide by Covid health + safety protocols".

"They wish to be impenetrable to critics and criticism."What does "unprofessionally" mean? Seem rather vague. There's also "1 report of staff at a sponsor booth ignoring a woman attendee", but was this because of the gender? They say one "individual was escorted out of the venue each time", so the LF basically maintains a "blacklist" of people, akin to a "no-fly list"...

"1 attendee reported (on social media) a staff member at the JW Marriott restaurant was racially profiling them," but this term is vague and it's hard to prove racial profiling; also, a bunch of "tweets" aren't a formal report and if profiling was blatant, they should contact authorities, not LF. There are already laws which tackle racism. Finally, at the end they say "1 Attendee was spamming links to YouTube videos..."

Spamming links? What does that mean? Did the links lead to spam? Was a person posting links that the LF's sponsors and other corporate shills did not like? It seems like they're using the CoC as a very broad brush. Posting links is "spamming" and criticism is deemed "unprofessional"...

"It seems like they're using the CoC as a very broad brush."I should be clear and upfront; it's not about us condoning or encouraging rudeness, but there are other resolutions and if laws are broken, they should be reported and pursued in the legal channels.

But as I note early in the video, the LF became a GPL infringers' club (a long or relatively lengthy discussion in the #boycottnovell IRC channel covered this today), so the LF would censor on behalf of some of the very worst abusers. It is a very patronising, corporate attitude. So geeks are "Rude", they insist, but corporations that bomb people for profit are "Professional" and "Well-meaning" (or "Green" or whatever... when the LF does so much greenwashing, even for Microsoft).

"Imagine an LF CoC that says the LF is forbidden from accepting any funds from companies that work for (or with) the military."None of these issues is unforeseen or surprising. In fact we covered these aspects many times before because sometimes the LF is just shamelessly trolling the community (the people who did the lion's share of the work, the coding) and is engaging in corporate/political stunts and tricks, leveraging highly sensitive/divisive issues that these corporations are most culpable of. They use projection tactics. Imagine an LF CoC that says the LF is forbidden from accepting any funds from companies that work for (or with) the military. Oh, no... we can't have that, can we?

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