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posted by takyon on Monday January 25 2016, @11:00PM   Printer-friendly [Skip to comment(s)]
from the let-by-laws-be-bygones dept.

Linux Foundation chief spins to justify keeping community out

Linux Foundation chief executive Jim Zemlin has made a disappointing response to the reports about changes in the by-laws of the Foundation designed to prevent community representation. Confronted by facts that show clearly that the Foundation has made changes to block out the community, Zemlin [has] tried to spin and talked about irrelevant aspects of the debate around the issue. iTWire could not have made it more plain when pointing out the changes in the by-laws; they were marked in bold. Zemlin ignored everything and instead created a few straw men and then addressed them.

His statement began with a straw man: "The same individuals remain as directors, and the same ratio of corporate to community directors continues as well." Nobody has said anything about a change of directors, but the latter part of Zemlin's statement is just plain wrong. How can the ratio be the same when the community was earlier allowed to have two directors and now cannot have any? Zemlin then went on to claim that the Linux Foundation's move is in keeping with other FOSS organisations that are also cutting down on community representation. This again is incorrect, another straw man. Would he care to name the organisations he claims to be trying to emulate?

The major part of his statement talks about the abuse directed at Karen Sandler, the head of the Software Freedom Conservancy. Zemlin's changing of the by-laws was widely seen as a move to keep Sandler off the board as she is a passionate supporter of the GPL. The Conservancy is funding a GPL enforcement action against VMWare, a silver member of the Linux Foundation, and this is seen as a major reason why Zemlin has concluded that the fewer community members on the board the better.

In discussions around the web, there has been mention of the way the GNOME Foundation ran low on funds when Sandler was its head. Some claim that this was because more money was diverted to the outreach programme for women. Sandler has earned some flak for this. And so Zemlin became a knight in shining armour to defend what he characterised as a damsel in distress. Wow, he really went heavy on this.

The fact that most of the code for the kernel comes from developers employed by this company or that appears to have turned Zemlin's head and made him determined to ensure that only non-controversial people occupy the decision-making spots on the Foundation.

This is the relevant blog post by Linux Foundation chief Jim Zemlin responding to the controversy.

Previously: Linux Foundation No Longer Allows Little Guys in on the Election of Directors


Original Submission

Related Stories

Linux Foundation No Longer Allows Little Guys in on the Election of Directors 56 comments

Matthew Garrett reports

The Linux Foundation is an industry organisation dedicated to promoting, protecting and standardising Linux and open source software. The majority of its board is chosen by the member companies: 10 by platinum members (platinum membership costs $500,000 a year), 3 by gold members (gold membership costs $100,000 a year), and 1 by silver members (silver membership costs between $5,000 and $20,000 a year, depending on company size).

Up until recently, individual members ($99 a year) could also elect two board members, allowing for community perspectives to be represented at the board level. As of [January 18], this is no longer true.

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 [YouTube]. 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). Karen is the executive director of the Software Freedom Conservancy, an organisation involved in the vitally important work of GPL enforcement.

Roy Schestowitz at TechRights entitled his coverage
The Linux Foundation Has Become Like a Corporate Think Tank; Microsoft Influence Included

[Our extensive coverage of malfeasance at the European Patent Office] has prevented us from covering as much about the Linux Foundation as we used to, including payments from Microsoft, services to Microsoft, and abandonment of GPL enforcement efforts because GPL enforcers went after a Microsoft executives-run VMware.

Several of the places that covered this remarked about the extremely quiet nature of the process.


Original Submission

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  • (Score: 1, Insightful) by Anonymous Coward on Monday January 25 2016, @11:20PM

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday January 25 2016, @11:20PM (#294661)

    Perhaps he's circling the wagons for when the Smiley Gladhands finish gutting the Ruby community?

    • (Score: 0, Insightful) by jmorris on Tuesday January 26 2016, @01:20AM

      by jmorris (4844) on Tuesday January 26 2016, @01:20AM (#294699)

      Exactly, this was putting a firm foot down on an attempt at SJW entryism. Bring this trojan horse onto the board and within a year there will be a call for a Code of Conduct and pressure brought to bear on the corporate entities to support it. There have already been multiple attempts to claim Linus's scalp, this is just one more by a different method.

  • (Score: 2, Insightful) by Anonymous Coward on Monday January 25 2016, @11:43PM

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday January 25 2016, @11:43PM (#294671)

    Here's a translation: if you want to be treated seriously, you can't have 2/3 of the posts talking arguably sexist nonsense. They'll just back at you and say, you have nothing worthwhile to contribute to the discussion.

    • (Score: 4, Insightful) by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday January 26 2016, @12:57AM

      by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday January 26 2016, @12:57AM (#294691)

      More significant (as was mentioned in this summary and the previous story) is the abuse of GPL by VMWare and its Microsoftie executives.

      Sandler wants the GPL defended from abuse.

      Zemlin is a Microsoftie [google.com] (there's no such thing as a -former- Microsoftie) and he doesn't give a damn about GPL.
      This is what happens when you let Microsofties into your organization.

      -- OriginalOwner_ [soylentnews.org]

      • (Score: 2) by Nerdfest on Tuesday January 26 2016, @11:09AM

        by Nerdfest (80) on Tuesday January 26 2016, @11:09AM (#294854)

        And then of course, there's this [linuxfoundation.org]. Any organization that starts cuddling up with Microsoft has historically been either foolish or corrupted.

    • (Score: 2) by jimshatt on Tuesday January 26 2016, @02:13PM

      by jimshatt (978) on Tuesday January 26 2016, @02:13PM (#294898) Journal
      If he/they disliked the content of her talks, or had some other point about her, they could have just not given her the time to talk, or propose a by-law that puts some restrictions on the topic being discussed. They probably feared retaliation so they did it indirectly, thereby generating an even stronger response.
  • (Score: 4, Informative) by Gravis on Tuesday January 26 2016, @01:00AM

    by Gravis (4596) on Tuesday January 26 2016, @01:00AM (#294692)

    jim seems concerned that people are posting sexist vitriol about karen sandler who is on the board. i agree, this is completely uncalled for and should be condemned.

    if you want to post vitriol, have a good reason behind it because sexism is sooo last millennium. as such, i present you with a perfectly valid reason for posting vitriol. ;)

    systemd is progressive, yet traditional. [twitter.com] - karen sandler

    • (Score: 3, Funny) by The Mighty Buzzard on Tuesday January 26 2016, @11:44AM

      Damnit, Gravis, stop saying things I agree with. You're making me waste modpoints to upmod an asshat troll.

      --
      My rights don't end where your fear begins.
    • (Score: 2, Interesting) by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday January 26 2016, @11:45AM

      by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday January 26 2016, @11:45AM (#294862)

      Karen Sandler is *not* on the board of the Linux Foundation. However, she *was* talking about standing for one of the member-voted board seats. But now they've eliminated member-voting for board seats, which is why her name came up at all in this discussion.

  • (Score: 4, Insightful) by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday January 26 2016, @01:02AM

    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday January 26 2016, @01:02AM (#294694)

    The Linux Foundation (ooh, scary, scary!) is only as relevant as we want it to be.

    If everyone decided that the development of Linux were in the hands of some corporate stuffed shirts, and used *BSD instead, the Linux Foundation would be the boss of a few decisions made by corporate stuffed shirts - and as relevant to the everyday life as the decisions of an IPCP working group. Kind of cool to look at, maybe, but not a major problem.

    So take three deep breaths, let the weird kids play with their weird toys, and if you really want Linux unfettered by the likes of Microsoft, fork it and run your own group.

    They aren't a government organ. They can't make you linux in their way.

    • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday January 26 2016, @01:55AM

      by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday January 26 2016, @01:55AM (#294713)

      No, that's just plain wrong. They're NOT relevant. Pure and simple.

    • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday January 26 2016, @02:38AM

      by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday January 26 2016, @02:38AM (#294738)

      They are a trade and vendor consortium. They have no need for community participation, beyond a bit of self-promotion.

      Most of the momentum (and development work) behind Linux is now carried by corporate interests.

    • (Score: 2) by mendax on Tuesday January 26 2016, @02:39AM

      by mendax (2840) on Tuesday January 26 2016, @02:39AM (#294739)

      So take three deep breaths, let the weird kids play with their weird toys, and if you really want Linux unfettered by the likes of Microsoft, fork it and run your own group.

      Exactly. Fork it and do your own thing.

      Incidentally, Linus owns the Linux trademark. In the end, the Linux operating system will be produced by whoever Linus says it will be produced by because if he wants to fork Linux (or FreeBSD) and call it Linux he can. With a stroke of a pen the Linux Foundation will lose one of its greatest assets, it's name and all the credibility that goes with it.

      --
      It's really quite a simple choice: Life, Death, or Los Angeles.
  • (Score: 4, Insightful) by Gravis on Tuesday January 26 2016, @01:06AM

    by Gravis (4596) on Tuesday January 26 2016, @01:06AM (#294695)

    while it happened much earlier, i think everyone can agree that when they joined up with Microsoft [linuxfoundation.org], it made things very clear they had sold out completely. kicking out the community is just maintenance for total corporate control.

    • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday January 26 2016, @01:56AM

      by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday January 26 2016, @01:56AM (#294715)

      Yup, that is one ass kissing blog post right there.

    • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday January 26 2016, @01:58AM

      by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday January 26 2016, @01:58AM (#294718)

      They were running short of money, and so came up with Linux classes and such, didn't do much for their bottom line. Along comes MS, injects some money, and now they dance to MS' tune.

      Linus? He will keep his mouth shut cuz guess who signs his paycheck?

      • (Score: 5, Insightful) by Runaway1956 on Tuesday January 26 2016, @02:05AM

        by Runaway1956 (2926) Subscriber Badge on Tuesday January 26 2016, @02:05AM (#294722) Homepage Journal

        Now, that's funny. Linus keep his mouth shut? You may be posting from an alternate dimension, where Linus is a timid little pussy, but in this reality Linus is very outspoken.

        --
        Our first six presidents were educated men. Then, along came a Democrat.
        • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday January 26 2016, @03:43AM

          by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday January 26 2016, @03:43AM (#294766)

          When did he ever shoot his mouth off his paymaster?

        • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday January 26 2016, @12:07PM

          by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday January 26 2016, @12:07PM (#294867)

          Linus is an outspoken little pussy. If he had balls he's purge the blobs from Linux.

          • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday January 26 2016, @02:42PM

            by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday January 26 2016, @02:42PM (#294912)

            If you had any brains you'd know that Linux is the kernel, and Linus cares about the kernel. If you want to fuck up your desktop with however you want to package it, that's your problem. If you want to make your own binary modules to work with the kernel, that's just fine, just don't fuck up the kernel. You're complaining is like complaining that Stroustrup doesn't "do something" about libraries people write for C++.

            • (Score: -1, Flamebait) by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday January 26 2016, @02:44PM

              by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday January 26 2016, @02:44PM (#294913)

              What Stroustrup should do is to uninvent C++.

          • (Score: 2) by tangomargarine on Tuesday January 26 2016, @03:02PM

            by tangomargarine (667) on Tuesday January 26 2016, @03:02PM (#294917)

            Linus isn't about freedom; he's the pragmatist. You're thinking of RMS.

            --
            "Is that really true?" "I just spent the last hour telling you to think for yourself! Didn't you hear anything I said?"
      • (Score: 2) by TheRaven on Tuesday January 26 2016, @10:57AM

        by TheRaven (270) on Tuesday January 26 2016, @10:57AM (#294852) Journal
        I don't think that's true. If there's one thing that the Linux Foundation is good at, it's raising money. If you're a company that wants to use Linux in a product and you want any face-to-face time with the senior kernel maintainers then you need to hand over 6-7 figures annually. And, without that, good luck getting patches into mainline. It may happen, but the odds are that you'll be maintaining a fork for a long time. In contrast, the FreeBSD Foundation (for example), has no control over who is allowed to attend DevSummits or over who has commit access to the FreeBSD source tree.
        --
        sudo mod me up
      • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday January 26 2016, @11:34PM

        by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday January 26 2016, @11:34PM (#295065)

        How much funding is the foundation getting from Microsoft? I don't see the figure mentioned in Jim Zemlin's blog post.

        In 2013 they took in around $22 million [foundationcenter.org]. A few hundred million dollars from Microsoft would let the foundation branch out, confidently, in a new direction.

    • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday January 27 2016, @07:09AM

      by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday January 27 2016, @07:09AM (#295177)

      It happened long time ago? It was only announced last month.

  • (Score: 4, Funny) by unzombied on Tuesday January 26 2016, @02:47AM

    by unzombied (4572) on Tuesday January 26 2016, @02:47AM (#294743)
    Remind me to continue ignoring the Linux Foundation.