Linux Foundation eunt domus!

Linux Foundation Fail

Article from Issue 195/2017

We're gonna need a bigger bazaar.

Hell has frozen over, the Eagles have re-formed, and Microsoft has joined the Linux Foundation. We must conclude that the Linux Foundation has zero credibility, so now is the time for the Free Software Foundation (FSF) to step up and provide not just the moral leadership for Free Software, but some sort of authentic advocacy.

Ha! Had you going for a bit there, didn't I? While the Linux Foundation is sullied beyond redemption, the FSF cannot become the campaigning, pro-Linux, pro-business voice while it prizes ideological purity above all else. To be clear, the FSF is magnetic north in terms of purity. It's immovable and incorruptible, and when it speaks, we should listen; however, it doesn't do a good job of promoting Free Software. We need a compass to point the way, and that cannot any longer be the Linux Foundation.

So in the spirit of the splitter, I propose a new organization: the People's Popular Front of Linux (PPFL). This organization would campaign tirelessly to raise public awareness of Linux on the desktop, on the smartphone, and on the server. It would be ready with a handy quote for journalists whenever there's a story about "Computer Viruses," informing the public that it's actually Microsoft that's at fault rather than computers in general. It would be there to provide insight the next time closed-source code is implicated in a car emissions cheating scandal, or in a hacking incident, or when someone's closed-source insulin pump goes wrong because of a hard-coded error and the license makes it illegal for anyone other than the vendor to fix it.

When a self-driving car makes you late for your appointment because it needed to re-boot and install an update, the PPFL will be there to tell the world that it's not acceptable; the Linux Foundation will shrug its shoulders and count the money. When an ISP stores its passwords unencrypted and literally everybody in the mainstream ignores the cavalier risks they took because everyone else is taking them, the PPFL will speak up and advise on best practice. When the Internet of Things finally reaches into every corner of our lives, the PPFL will need to shout from the rooftops that if you don't control the software, the software will end up controlling you.

Plenty of experts are already working to protect the freedoms that we gain as software users, including the OSI, the Software Freedom Law Center, the Open Rights Group, and the Electronic Frontier Foundation, but when the holder of the Linux trademark is in the pocket of Microsoft – an organization with a natural opposition to Free Software, Linux, and open source – it's just not fit to represent Linux any more. We need a better alternative and we need it now. Who's with me?

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