Why Linux is Bad for Freedom

WE THE USERS need an operating system that we control. We should reject operating systems that are controlled by trillion dollar corporations like Google, Amazon, Microsoft, and Facebook. Although it may label itself as free software, we cannot rely on it to protect our freedoms.

Linux is controlled by exploitative corporations

  1. IBM
    1. IBM Closes Landmark Acquisition of Red Hat for $34 Billion; Defines Open, Hybrid Cloud Future - https://www.redhat.com/en/about/press-releases/ibm-closes-landmark-acquisition-red-hat-34-billion-defines-open-hybrid-cloud-future
    2. Red Hat officially acquired by IBM - https://www.redhat.com/en/ibm
  2. Microsoft
    1. https://www.zdnet.com/article/top-five-linux-contributor-microsoft/
    2. "The Linux Foundation sponsors the work of Linux creator Linus Torvalds and lead maintainer Greg Kroah-Hartman and is supported by members such as AT&T, Cisco, Facebook,[5] Fujitsu, Google, Hitachi, Huawei, IBM, Intel, Microsoft,[6] NEC, Oracle, Orange S.A., Qualcomm, Samsung,[7] Tencent, and VMware, as well as developers from around the world." These corporations donate tens of millions of dollars annually. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Linux_foundation
    3. Microsoft Azure is a proprietary platform and yet is actively being promoted by the Linux Foundation because of Microsoft's financial contributions
  3. Google
    1. Google, Money and Censorship in Free Software Communities - http://techrights.org/2020/08/30/censorship-in-freesw/, https://debian.community/google-money-censorship-free-software/
    Google money pays for interns to do work for him. It appears he has a massive conflict of interest when using the former role to censor posts about Google, which relates to the latter role and its benefits.
    Why are these donations and conflicts of interest hidden from the free software community who rely on, interact with and contribute to Debian in so many ways? Why doesn’t Debian provide a level playing field, why does money from Google get this veil of secrecy?
    The Debian Social Contract[3] states that Debian does not hide our problems. Corporate influence is one of the most serious problems most people can imagine, why has nothing been disclosed?

Here are the top donors to the Linux Foundation:

Platinum Members (USD $500k annually)
FacebookCisco SystemsIntelQualcommHitachiHuaweiNECSamsung Electronics
Gold Members (USD $100k annually)
Alibaba CloudBaiduCitrix SystemsDell EMCDokySUSEBlackRockAccenture
HartOathUberToyotaRenesas ElectronicsPanasonicSonyToshiba
Silver Members
Aarna NetworksComcastSprintArista NetworksCanonicalPANTHEON.techTencentLinkedIn

Do we the users have any voice or say in the development process? It may be nominally free but if we have no control over it, it is almost as bad as proprietary software.

Source code is too complex, average users can no longer understand it

According to a report from the Linux Foundation, these are the top 10 corporate contributors in 2015-2016:

CompanyChangesPercent of total
Red Hat8,9878.0%
Renesas Electronics2,2392.0%

Can a reasonably intelligent, amateur software developer be able to understand and modify the code that these corporations write? If not, then linux has become like proprietary software. It's so complex that we have lost the ability to view and modify the source code.

Linux Foundation Board of Directors are Corporate

The Linux Foundation's board of directors are not made up of users but entirely of corporate representatives. These corporations have repeatedly shown that they have no commitment towards user freedom. Why should we trust them to oversee our operating system?

As of April 2014, the foundation collected annual fees worth at least US$6,245,000. (wikipedia)

Linux's developers are accountable to its corporate sponsors, not to us the users.

  1. https://linux.slashdot.org/story/20/06/07/1941256/bryan-lunduke-explains-why-linux-sucks-in-2020

Aggressive censorship through code of conducts

Linux adopted the Contributor Covenant Code of Conduct

In the interest of fostering an open and welcoming environment, we as contributors and maintainers pledge to making participation in our project and our community a harassment-free experience for everyone, regardless of age, body size, disability, ethnicity, sex characteristics, gender identity and expression, level of experience, education, socio-economic status, nationality, personal appearance, race, religion, or sexual identity and orientation.

This would make it possible for developers to be banned for disagreeing with homosexuality, affirmative action programs, or merely just criticizing poor code quality. The Contributor Covenant defines harassment to include:

Trolling, insulting/derogatory comments, and personal or political attacks

This would make it possible to ban anyone for almost any reason. In fact, even Linus Torvalds was forced to take a break for his violation.

The author of the Contributor Covenant, Coraline Ada Ehmke, is also the author of several "ethical licenses". These unfree licenses would give software developers the power to sue a user for using software in a way they don't approve of if they consider it a human rights violation. This "ethical license" would not even require a court ruling to determine if it is a violation or not -- the developer gets to decide what constitutes a human rights violation.

This is an extreme form of censorship which will be used to sue opposition into silence.

Before early 2018, the Linux Foundation's website stated that it "uses [donations] in part to help fund the infrastructure and fellows (like Linus Torvalds) who help develop the Linux kernel." However, the Foundation no longer sponsors kernel development and infrastructure through donations: while the donations page still claims that "The Linux Foundation is dedicated to protecting, promoting, and standardizing Linux", it currently also indicates that "100% of donations received go towards funding diversity programs." (wikipedia)

It even affected the founder Linus Torvalds himself: https://www.theverge.com/2018/10/22/18011854/linus-torvalds-linux-kernel-development-return-code-of-conduct.

This implies censorship of people who disagree with "social justice" activism.