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6 Dirty Secrets of the Linux and Open Source Industry
The Linux Foundation, Mozilla, and Open Source Initiative don't want us talking about these topics. Which is weird.
The broader Linux and Open Source industry has been around for quite a number of years now — and brings in an absolutely staggering amount of money.
Like any such industry… there are going to be skeletons in the closet. Little facts that, while often hiding in plain sight, are kept as quiet as possible.
Let’s go over 6 such “dirty little secrets” of Linux and Open Source. Not all of these are, necessarily, bad things… but they are all topics that — for one reason or another — their respective companies and organizations (desperately) don’t want us to talk about.
And that, alone, makes them worth remembering.
The Linux Foundation is funded (and controlled) by Microsoft and Facebook
As of 2018, the cost of a “Platinum Membership” to the Linux Foundation cost $500,000 USD (half a million) per year. A system that propelled The Linux Foundation revenue up to $177 Million dollars in 2021.
Platinum Members include Microsoft, Oracle, and Facebook (now Meta).
The Board of Directors of The Linux Foundation is made up of representatives from Facebook (Meta), Microsoft, and Amazon (who employs the Chair).
Think you’re being rebellious — and staying clear of Big Tech — by using Linux? Think again.
Who controls and funds the foundation which controls Linux?
Microsoft, Facebook, and Amazon.
Donations to The Linux Foundation… do not fund Linux. Not even a little.
If you check the Linux Foundation donation page, they make a rather odd disclaimer:
“100% of donations received go towards funding diversity programs.”
Putting any (even tangentially) political thoughts to one side for a moment (because The Lunduke Journal really doesn’t like getting political)…
It’s really weird that “The Linux Foundation” takes donations… but does not use them for the development of “Linux”.
In fact… did you know that “The Linux Foundation” spends only 3.4% of it’s total revenue… on Linux? It’s true. And it’s… weird. Linux is, quite literally, the smallest budgetary item that The Linux Foundation feels is worthy of noting.
UPDATE: The Linux Foundation has updated this page and removed that disclaimer! Have they decided to now finally start directing donations towards Linux development (after having the “no donations used for Linux” policy for so many years)? We have reached out for comment and details.
Linux foundation is in the Vaccine Passport and NFT business
While we’re talking about things that are not (in any way) related to Linux…
Did you know that “The Linux Foundation” is in the “Vaccine Passport” business?
It’s true! In fact, they are big time into that (decidedly not related to Linux at all) business! Multiple pushes, lots of staff, big monetary investment… it’s clearly a big deal for them.
And now it appears that The Linux Foundation is getting involved with NFTs as well.
What do Vaccine Passports or NFTs have to do with Linux? Who knows! Your guess is as good as mine! I suppose if The Linux Foundation wants to focus on so many “not Linux” things, that’s totally their right! Though… perhaps they should consider a name change?
A little bit of irony here: Last year I wrote a (clearly satirical) article entitled “Linux Foundation releases Linux as NFT”. Flash forward a few months and The Linux Foundation is now getting involved with NFTs. Anyone care to wager on how long before my satirical article becomes 100% reality?
Open Source Initiative banned 100% of its founders
The Open Source Initiative (or the “OSI” for short) — which has the goal of being the “steward of the Open Source Definition” — was founded in 1998 by two gentlemen: Bruce Perens and Eric S Raymond.
Both of those founders would later be forced out of the organization that they, themselves, created.
In 2005, the Open Source Initiative rejected a membership application from Bruce Perens.
In March of 2020, Eric S Raymond (known often as ESR) was completely banned from the Open Source Initiative (including the public mailing lists).
That’s right. 100% of the founders of the Open Source Initiative are not allowed to be involved with… the Open Source Initiative.
Right about now it’s worth noting that the Open Source Initiative is funded by: Google, Microsoft, Comcast, and Twitter (among others).
Fun side note: Many efforts have been launched to ban the founder of the Free Software Foundation (Richard Stallman), and the creator of the Linux Kernel (Linus Torvalds), from the projects that they started. There are significant portions of the Open Source industry that really have it out for the founders of the projects they use.
Mozilla is for-profit corporation with nearly $1 Billion in revenue per year
Many supporters of Mozilla, and the Firefox web browser that it creates, will often declare, “Mozilla is a non-profit!”
*cough* Not quite.
While it’s true that “The Mozilla Foundation” is an actual 501c3 foundation… simply stating that would be more than a little misleading.
You see, “The Mozilla Foundation” is the 100% owner of a for-profit corporation known as “Mozilla Corporation”. The same person runs both “The Foundation” and “The Corporation”.
(Think about that last paragraph for a moment.)
Mozilla Corporation has just shy of 1,000 employees, world wide, and brings in well over $800 Million dollars per year.
Does being a for-profit, corporation — which brings in close to a billion dollars every year — make Mozilla bad or evil? No. No, it doesn’t. But to say “Mozilla is a foundation” or “Mozilla is a non-profit” is intentional deceptive.
Let’s call Mozilla what they are: A massively profitable, incredibly large, for-profit corporation.
The term “Open Source” was coined by… the NSA
Who first used the term “Open Source” when talking about software with the source code available?
No offense is intended towards Christine Peterson… but this answer is not only wrong… but wildly wrong.
The Lunduke Journal has done an in depth study of the topic and determined that:
The first known usage of the phrase (in context) by a company would be Caldera in 1996.
The first known usage of the phrase (in context) by an individual / journalist would be May of 1990 by Tony Patti (on USENET).
The first known potential usage of the phrase (in context) by a government agency might be the NSA in 1987.
The truth is, that the NSA made, likely, the first published instance of “Open Source” (as a phrase) being used to describe software… in 1987. A full 11 years prior to the 1998 event that most of the Open Source industry claims.
And, even if you completely discount the usage of the term by the NSA… certainly Caldera would qualify. Heck, in 1996, Caldera issued a press release where the title was (literally):
“CALDERA. ANNOUNCES OPEN SOURCE CODE MODEL FOR DOS”
Couldn’t be more on the nose.
Here’s the crazy part: Red Hat, the Open Source Initiative, etc… they all know this. They know that Caldera (for example) used the term a full two years before they claim it was invented.
One has to ask, “Why do the prominent members of the Open Source industry push this known false information about the origin of the phrase?”
What possible benefit could there be for them to spread this known lie?
It’s all pretty weird.
Just worth keeping in mind…
Again. Some of these things you may not view as all that bad.
Heck! You might even like some of the items listed above (and that’s totally cool)!
Just remember them. Because, for whatever reason, the people involved do not want you to think about them (and they certainly don’t want you talking about them).
And whenever a big tech company (or tech organization) doesn’t want you thinking about a topic… is exactly when — just maybe — you should.
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