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Open Source Linux

Linux Foundation Quietly Drops Community Representation (dreamwidth.org) 129

The Linux Foundation, though it's straightforwardly not a grassroots organization along the lines of the FSF or EFF, has long had a degree of non-corporate involvement by way of community-elected members on its board. Now, writes new submitter Ensign Nemo, that's no longer true. An excerpt from Matthew Garrett's blog on the change: The by-laws were amended to drop the clause that permitted individual members to elect any directors. Section 3.3(a) now says that no affiliate members may be involved in the election of directors, and section 5.3(d) still permits at-large directors but does not require them[2]. The old version of the bylaws are here - the only non-whitespace differences are in sections 3.3(a) and 5.3(d).

These changes all happened shortly after Karen Sandler announced that she planned to stand for the Linux Foundation board during a presentation last September. A short time later, the "Individual membership" program was quietly renamed to the "Individual supporter" program and the promised benefit of being allowed to stand for and participate in board elections was dropped (compare the old page to the new one).

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Linux Foundation Quietly Drops Community Representation

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  • by Anonymous Coward

    Why is this organization even relevant? Which persons involved with the Linux kernel asked for such a foundation, and what was their justification for it?

    • by Anonymous Coward

      I really hate to say this as a long time Linux user and open source contributor, but everything about Linux is becoming a real shitshow these days.

      This Linux Foundation debacle isn't even an overly important one. But it is just one of many such incidents to hit Linux lately.

      The first shitshow issue is the GPLv3. The GPLv2 was restrictive enough, but the GPLv3 takes it from being somewhat workable in practice to being totally untenable. The GPLv3 has made a mockery of the GPL family of licenses. It has gotte

      • Re: (Score:1, Informative)

        by Anonymous Coward
        Linux is also falling off the wagon on laptops. Suspend/hibernate problems, power management issues, WiFi troubles, graphics switching is a pain in the ass.
        • Re: (Score:2, Troll)

          by Junta ( 36770 )

          I think in aggregate the behavior on laptops has improved out of the box.

          What has gotten worse is the ability for someone to figure out and apply a reasonable workaround for an issue they run into.

          • Re: (Score:1, Flamebait)

            by postbigbang ( 761081 )

            Consider the anonymous coward astroturfers working for non-Linux companies that would have good reason to squat on this thread. Nothing to look at here.

            • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

              by Anonymous Coward

              Those of us whom you've wrongly labeled as "astroturfers" actually tend to be long time users of Linux, both personally and professionally.

              Many of us are responsible for managing thousands, if not hundreds of thousands, of Linux servers or VM instances.

              We've also made many critical contributions to open source software.

              If you're using any open source software right now, directly or indirectly, you're probably using code written by us.

              We're merely venting our frustration as we watch Linux, both the software

              • Re: (Score:2, Troll)

                by postbigbang ( 761081 )

                The enemies of FOSS are well-known, although some superficially appear to have changed their tune.

                Your frustrations are common to most projects, as they evolve, go through cycles, and wax and wane.

                I have no problem with the GPLv3. Other licenses can be more or less permissive. Linux is still just the kernel, and the rest is devil of the details. FreeBSD is a lot of fun, with its cousin. There are a lot of decent projects out there, some with good code, some not.

                In the early days of a project, a lot of code

                • Re: (Score:1, Insightful)

                  by Anonymous Coward

                  When you say that the "enemies of FOSS are well-known", are you talking about Red Hat by any chance?

                  As a Linux user, Microsoft and Apple have never caused me any problems.

                  Yet on almost a daily basis something that Red Hat (or somebody working with/for them) shat out causes me problems.

                  Typically it's systemd. Sometimes it's GNOME 3. Other times it's PulseAudio. Now and then it's D-Bus. Occasionally it's NetworkManager.

                  And you know what? I don't even use a Fedora-based distro! I use Debian!

                  The greatest harm t

        • by mysidia ( 191772 )

          This has always been a major problem with Laptops, it gets better for some devices, then suddenly worse again over time with new models, lather rinse and repeat, and it's not getting consistently solved permanently, unless hardware manufacturers start becoming serious about Linux support.

      • Linux used to be about choice; now it's about using the software the distro maintainers tell you to use, and fuck you if you don't like it.

        ...or by rolling your own distro (which totally defeats the purpose of using a distro in the first place).

        Don't these two statements contradict themselves? Also, as far as I know, you can switch to old school System V init with Debian by fussing with the package manager.

        Linux is still about choice to me. I can pick and choose whatever software/services I want in my installation. Distributions are merely a recommended set of software/services that distro suggests. You don't have to install their recommendations, you can still, choice again quite there, install a very minimal system from the distro of your ch

      • by Anonymous Coward

        GPLv3 is a non-issue. No one who doesn't want to use it has to use it, and the kernel doesn't, and the same goes for most projects.

        Make your own non-systemd distro if you want to. Note that OpenRC supports many of the same things that people love to hate about systemd. Also note that the big issue that prompted the creation of cgroups and subsequently systemd was that SysV init had no way to guarantee that processes started or stopped when they were supposed to, and no way to guarantee resource usage limits

      • by Junta ( 36770 )

        > GPLv3

        Well, for one the kernel is GPLv2, so this may relate to the ecosystem, but not the kernel per se. That said, I don't think GPLv3 has in effect made things that much 'worse' than GPLv2 for the parties that dislike the GPL. What we have seen is an increased involvement of companies and lawyers protecting business interest pushing MIT/BSD style licenses. So it's not that GPLv3 has turned people off of GPL, it's that companies are getting their way more and more (which can be its own problem).

        >

      • The fourth shitshow issue is Wayland. We keep hearing about how it will soon replace X, but we've been hearing that since like 2009 and nothing ever materializes.

        I'm with the AC that flamed you on this one in particular. When it comes out, it needs to be done right, and AMD and nVidia both need to be on board.

        I have Weston (the compositor, not the protocol [Wayland]) 1.9 ready to merge once I settle the dust on some use flag changes I made. (Yes, sometimes I feel like Gentoo with Paludis is only for masochists, but it's correct god damn it! ;) ). From what I understand Enlightenment E20 will run over Wayland natively on Weston. I saw some curious use flags. In

      • It is easy to dwell on the warts and overlook the fact that the epic journey to world domination has, in most respects, succeeded.

    • by TemporalBeing ( 803363 ) <bm_witness@yah o o . c om> on Thursday January 21, 2016 @04:57PM (#51346383) Homepage Journal

      Why is this organization even relevant? Which persons involved with the Linux kernel asked for such a foundation, and what was their justification for it?

      The Linux Foundation does several things for the community:
      1. Pays Linus Torvalds to work on the Linux Kernel. He initially worked for Transmeta, but then when they let him go he was quickly put on the dole by OSDL (now Linux Foundation) in order to help keep him vendor neutral and allow him to focus solely on the Linux Kernel. (While at Transmeta he had some other responsibilities for Transmeta if I'm not mistaken, so most but not all of his time was on the Linux Kernel.)
      2. Helps protect the Linux Trademark that Linus officially owns. Linus did not originally trademark the term "Linux"; then someone did and brought a suite against him, so the community (and corporations) stood up, defended it, and then trademarked it, officially giving Linus the ownership. However, Linus is in now way financially capable of defending it against sufficiently funded groups, so having an organization like Linux Foundation help in that respect is very good.
      3. Helps show sponsorship of the Linux Kernel. Companies - especially big companies - like to get tax write-offs. By donating to the Linux Foundation (a charity) they get write-offs and they get to build some good will by having their name publicized as a sponsor.
      4. Training - Linux Foundation officially does some training, and support. For example, they help companies get into the Kernel Development process, providing access to key developers, and mentoring on how to get contributions accepted. Greg Kroah-Hartman has been quite helpful to a number of companies in that respect; that doesn't mean they get a straight line into having their patches accepted, but that they get mentored on what to do so the patches are *likely* to be accepted - thus more hardware and features are supported by the Linux Kernel.

      There's more they do as well, but those are the biggies.

      • by KGIII ( 973947 )

        Didn't this Matt guy stomp off in a huff to fork the kernel on his own?

        That said, I'm tired and still ill. If I wasn't, I'd write a novella. Suffice to say, I see Linux (as a group, not just a kernel) us is changing directions. I won't say going downhill but it might be. I'll need to watch for longer.

      • 5. Organizes conferences
        6. Promulgates a wildly exaggerated impression of their importance to the community
        7. Mutual admiration society

    • by Cito ( 1725214 )

      Linus said there won't be any sjw faux feminist bullshit allowed in.

      His nudge nudge wink wink email did the trick it seems

    • Its a for profit organization, which collects multimillion dollar companies and intends to use political pressure to make sure the Internet and Linux become "for profit only" software.

      They will license software for every appliance such that you can't sell your TV or car, because of licensing clauses that could be part of that hardware.

      I wonder if there is or is not a bit of nepotism in that organization?

  • Responsible party? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by spaceman375 ( 780812 ) on Thursday January 21, 2016 @03:14PM (#51345559)
    Who did this, under what authority? Rather critical information is missing.
    • by alvinrod ( 889928 ) on Thursday January 21, 2016 @03:43PM (#51345781)
      My guess is the existing board changed it, which may well also be within their rights based on the existing by-laws. As to why, my best guess might be because they don't like Karen Sandler, who was previously running the GNOME Foundation at the time when they ran out of money (previously discussed here [slashdot.org]) after blowing a lot of it on outreach programs for women developers.

      It's hardly a stretch to assume that they don't want someone around who will complain about not having enough developers or contributors so satisfy those more concerned with the type of genitalia possessed by those writing the code than the quality of it. Of course no one will come out and say this directly, but after watching other open source projects get crapped on by moral-crusaders that contribute little or nothing of actual use to the project, it's not too hard to read between the lines and conclude the Linux Foundation wants to keep those people out to avoid the hassle of dealing with them.
      • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

        by DutchUncle ( 826473 )
        Then . . . if enough people feel about this as you seem to, she could stand for election and lose. Instead the rules of the game itself have been changed to prevent even the possibility. Perhaps the next move will be to discover a history of voter fraud and enact more rules to disenfranchise more voters. I have no interest for or against in this particular matter, but as a casual observer it seems underhanded.
      • by migla ( 1099771 )

        Oh, come on!
        Genitalia is not on the Linux Foundations radar. They don't want Software Freedom Conservancy on board.

        • Tin foil hat warning! How can we be so sure?

          It would be an interesting thing to know more about. If I read TFS correctly (and never TFA, tradition and all that), it seems like a move to shut Karen Sandler out. The tin foil hat comes in if it's because of her supposed genitalia. The media has been relentless in portraying software developers and particularly open source as a bunch of misogynerds and keeps finding convenient victims all over the place. What if Sandler wasn't being a convenient victim?

          • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

            by Anonymous Coward

            Tin foil hat warning! How can we be so sure?

            It would be an interesting thing to know more about. If I read TFS correctly (and never TFA, tradition and all that), it seems like a move to shut Karen Sandler out. The tin foil hat comes in if it's because of her supposed genitalia. The media has been relentless in portraying software developers and particularly open source as a bunch of misogynerds and keeps finding convenient victims all over the place. What if Sandler wasn't being a convenient victim?

            I Googled and found that she is a lawyer and shows signs of being and SJW based on her actions at Gnome. An SJW lawyer running your organization might turn out to be a problem.

      • by ath1901 ( 1570281 ) on Thursday January 21, 2016 @06:56PM (#51347179)

        In the thread you linked to, John Layt (KDE dude near the bottom of the thread) explains how the Outreach Program for Women actually worked. No money was "blown" on the program. It was just a timing mismatch of the cash flows from the sponsors to the interns which Gnome used it's own money to cover. So, a "cost" one year should be matched by a "income" next year (as long as the sponsor pays up).

        The problem was that the program got too popular for the foundation to handle with their existing routines (see some of Sri's posts). It seems the cash flow problem had nothing to do with Karen but with inadequate administration.

        • by Anonymous Coward
          Whether it worked or not is besides the point if she used funds collected for software development for a dubious moral crusade. What is the next "outreach" are we going to fund? Do we need more Latin American coders? Muslims? Jewish lesbians victims of holocaust? I can argue that all of the above groups are under-represented. Let's throw some money at them!
        • by Anonymous Coward

          It seems the cash flow problem had nothing to do with Karen but with inadequate administration.

          So what was her job again? Other posts indicate that the outreach program at GNOME was initiated by her and not limiting the cash flow to something manageable seems like a rather big mistake.

  • by gstoddart ( 321705 ) on Thursday January 21, 2016 @03:21PM (#51345613) Homepage

    The Linux Foundation, though it's straightforwardly not a grassroots organization along the lines of the FSF or EFF, has long had a degree of non-corporate involvement by way of community-elected members on its board.

    Wait, so the Linux foundation is now entirely corporate dominated?

    How the hell is that even possible?

    • Easy: get a bunch of corporate representatives to agree that "linux is good" with a desire to increase adoption through standardization and there you go. They call themselves the "Linux Foundation" which is accurate inasmuch as their reason for existence has to do with promoting linux.

      According to the blog, one of the members (unnamed) is a major GPL violator and then speculates that the change to the bylaws was to prevent a representative of an organization that attempts to enforce the GPL from joining the

    • Re:Huh? (Score:5, Interesting)

      by 110010001000 ( 697113 ) on Thursday January 21, 2016 @03:33PM (#51345701) Homepage Journal
      Yes...check out the board: mostly VPs of IBM, HP, etc. Useless. Oh, wait, I mean they are "thought leaders".
    • by mwvdlee ( 775178 )

      Simple.
      Start an corporate organisation.
      Give it some random name like "Linux foundation".
      Boom! Fake community organisation.

      They don't have any power beyond that of any other individual contributer.

    • Re:Huh? (Score:5, Informative)

      by phantomfive ( 622387 ) on Thursday January 21, 2016 @03:49PM (#51345839) Journal

      Wait, so the Linux foundation is now entirely corporate dominated? How the hell is that even possible?

      It always was. The Linux Foundation used to be called OSDL. They give Linus a paycheck. You can see the member list here [linuxfoundation.org].

      By design they don't make any decisions about the Linux kernel: they just got together to fund it.

      • by Anonymous Coward

        By design they don't make any decisions about the Linux kernel: they just got together to fund it

        Most people call this 'influence'.

        • Most people call this 'influence'.

          They already influence the Linux kernel more than you do, by contributing code like you don't. They're also paying for it. They have a vested interest in making it better. You don't think they should exert more control than you?

    • The headline is a little misleading......they didn't drop their "community elected members," they dropped the associate elected members, which were those that paid $99 to be a member of the foundation. There don't seem to be many of those.
      • Mod parent up. Lots of tizzy over nothing. Doesn't change the kernel, apps, distros, direction, etc.

        It's for the talking heads and their corporate overlords. Publicly traded corps need to look like they're busy, so there aren't any stockholder lawsuits.

  • Linus (Score:3, Insightful)

    by 110010001000 ( 697113 ) on Thursday January 21, 2016 @03:22PM (#51345619) Homepage Journal
    Unless Linus is on the board of an Linux related organization it is irrelevant to me. All hail Linus!
    • Re:Linus (Score:5, Informative)

      by phantomfive ( 622387 ) on Thursday January 21, 2016 @03:44PM (#51345797) Journal
      The Linux Foundation is the group that pays Linus' paycheck (used to be called OSDL). It's funded by IBM, Samsung, Intel, Oracle, Qualcomm, and others [linuxfoundation.org]. They support other kernel related projects (like Xen Hypervisor and LSB).

      Karen Sandler is best known around here for leading Gnome when Gnome started their women/underrepresented outreach program. She is now at the Software Freedom Conservancy (which supports Inkscape, Wine, BusyBox, Samba and others), and she brought her outreach program with her (it's now a part of the SFC).

      It is unclear whether the move by the Linux Foundation has anything to do with Karen. The article doesn't clarify, and since there were only six affiliate members who lost representation, hardly anyone is affected by this change.
  • the usual shit (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday January 21, 2016 @03:36PM (#51345725)

    oh look, there's proud SJW and perpetual FOSS shitstirrer Mathew Garet making unsubstantiated charges of a conspiracy against a Linux trade organization. All because a parasitical lawyer who's attached herself to OSS organizations to promote her radical feminist agenda (and not free software) won't get to join the trade organization's board of directors (LF is not a charity) so that she try an influence them to donate to a organization whose function now is to sue the members of the industry which is responsible for the spread of Linux globally. Not a single line of worthwhile source code has been released as a result of GPL enforcement lawsuits, but they have generated legal fees, which is what this is pretty much about and her exorbitant salary. Hey Intel, HP, Red Hat, CoreOS, etc., when are you going to purge these enablers who only contribute nothing but toxicity and discord amongst the community?

    PS.Since MG likes conspiracy theories maybe he should ask about the curious circumstances surrounding the Gnome Foundation's delayed releasing the its financials statement only after Karen secured her position on SFC. I'm sure the board members would have like to asked a few questions during her interview if they had known about the apparent mismanagement of funds that almost entirely went to supporting Karen's pet project, the OPW.

    • Re:the usual shit (Score:4, Informative)

      by Anonymous Coward on Thursday January 21, 2016 @06:31PM (#51346983)

      Yes. It should be noted that Sandler is the same SJW that sleazed onto the GNOME board and pushed an open reach programme for women - which SHE was responsible for and SHE oversaw and which all but bankrupted the GNOME foundation when it ran out of control. She then quit two weeks before the GNOME foundation announced the colossal mess.

      Something that had nothing whatsoever to do with GNOME technology... syphoned off funds. I never contributed a penny again.

      They plan the same thing with the Linux Foundation.

      The fact that Garrett "spotted" this is due to him being part of the clique playing these entryism games. Work together to get onto the board of an organisation and then start making accusations and claims to remove people... which then get filled by their political supporters.

      Fuck this shit. I'm not defending the changes to weaken community support - but if you want someone to blame: it's these shitbags. If you want your technology to based on merit and not gender politics and SJW whining, then get rid of these people. Make it clear they have no place.

      Make merit and skill the reason anyone has sway in Linux... not skin colour and genitals.

    • BS (Score:4, Informative)

      by Shane_Optima ( 4414539 ) on Thursday January 21, 2016 @07:04PM (#51347239)
      GPL enforcement is crucial across the board and has resulted in plenty of worthwhile code being released. OpenWRT and related firmware are great stuff that is widely used, but as I recall Linksys did not release any code until after they were threatened. These days most companies don't waste time and money fighting it, precisely because they know that it will be fought and they know they will lose.

      For that reason, companies often preemptively go in the other direction and try to embrace the FOSS goodwill. Do you think Google would have dared risked shareholder lawsuits with AOSP if no one had ever bothered suing anyone for GPL violations? Do you think it's merely a staggering coincidence that Apple has made no serious effort to open source their BSD-based operating systems? (Their contributions to Darwin definitely fall under "not very serious" category.)

      It's either very stupid or very disingenuous to imply that the GPL and GPL enforcement has had nothing to do with Linux's success.

      (Donated money being spent on gender-specific outreach programs is another matter entirely, of course.)
  • ....you know it... it is coming !!!
    • I can't! I no longer have a floppy drive!
      • by KGIII ( 973947 )

        Just because I am peppy (artificially, that is) and knew I'd seen it before I went and dug out this link for you.
        http://www.linux.org/threads/o... [linux.org]

        I have no idea if it's deleted but, at one time, I did have a VM of OS/2 Warp and (I think it was called OS/2 Connect - but don't quote me on that.) I went through a phase where I'd install every OS I could find (and I had an MSDN subscription at the time as an award gift from Microsoft - even though I don't usually use their products except a phone). I have Solar

    • Is 2016 the year of OS/2 Warp on the desktop?
  • Karen Sandler (Score:5, Informative)

    by Britz ( 170620 ) on Thursday January 21, 2016 @04:43PM (#51346285)

    For those of you who don't know who that may be:

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?... [youtube.com]

    • I love lawyers in the software industry. They are so useful.
    • foundation money to pay people who would not voluntarily work on free open source software, just because those people happened to have two X chromosomes. And that to the extend that the GNOME foundation became technically insolvent. At which time she went on to abuse other foundations' money.

      It's not that I have any sympathies for commercial exploitation of free open source software, but any foundation is well advised to keep Karen Sandler away from it.

      • I wonder if those paid-internships would be available to transgender women, or transgender men, just where is the line?

  • "Did the Linux Foundation just drop all semblance of community representation because it's afraid of GPL enforcement? ref [twitter.com] ref [dreamwidth.org]
    • by Anonymous Coward

      More like afraid of the SJW who stripped GNOME of cash to pay for her pet projects.

  • by rainer_d ( 115765 ) on Thursday January 21, 2016 @08:39PM (#51347751) Homepage
    It's the same everywhere.
    Also happens in FreeBSD-land: company coughs-up code that solves a problem that is relevant to other users (includes companies that turn "FreeBSD" into a part of their product) - code get's into the source-tree (which review, of course)
    I wouldn't even say that's a bad thing. After all, that's how we ended-up with ultra-stable releases recently:
    Netflix doesn't want their delivery/cache boxes to crash.
    Customers pay top-dollar to EMC so that their Isilon-devices are stable
    etc.pp. You just have to put things into perspective.
    OSS isn't a hippie love-fest anymore. Hasn't been for a while.
    Best thing is to get over it quickly and move on.
  • If you don't like Linux Foundation policies, communication style of Linus himself or design of systemd, you are always free to fork the project and get full benefits of work so far as well as ability to merge any future patches that you like into your own source tree. Either your fork gathers enough following to maintain it, or the original project makes changes to address the problems that triggered it - either way you win.

    The fact that this has not happened with Linux tells me that current situation is ac

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