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Openwashing And Other Deceptions In Linux

The times are changing for open/free/libre software and OSes, and what the words mean. Make no mistake: collaborative, truly open projects are powerful sources of innovation and problem solving. The only way proprietary, corporate models can even survive is through sheer bullying and anti-competition tactics, as have been used for years to keep Linux from wider adoption. Now that that is changing, the tactics are changing too.

The latest trend in this area seems to be bringing disinformation and propaganda tactics into the fray. The latest is “open washing”. Techrights.org explains:

NON-TECHNICAL FOLKS may easily be led into the illusion of ‘open’ Microsoft and ‘open’ Apple (openwashing), much like that of ‘green’ (and yellow) BP or ‘green’ Shell (greenwashing). There is also whitewashing, e.g. of Bill Gates, but these two examples are different matters. They all involve mass deception with a huge budget. it’s quite a theatre!

I think at least as important is the why of it, which can be seen in another article on the same site:

Microsoft is in trouble and there is no denying that. According to British media, Vista 8 continues to be a disaster technically and in some nations, unsurprisingly, GNU/Linux has greater market share than the latest Vista (Windows 8.1). The desktop monopoly too is in jeopardy, especially where governments made it their policy to embrace Free/libre software (Uruguay and Venezuela in this case).

While this may sound like good news for Linux, it also means we must watch these corporate players carefully for what they’re doing IN Linux. Linux has always been under attack by corporations seeking to poison its free nature. What form are those poisons taking today, aside from openwashing and other misdirection? Could it be that some of the corporations involved in (or in control of) Linux’s engineering are seeking to take it away from the community? And how would this be done?

I think you can see it being done in technologies like systemd, which as many of us observe, brings Linux closer in design to Windows. They can still call it Linux forever, and the large masses of uninformed users will follow them off the cliff, but is it really UNIX-like in its design anymore? How can Linux be controlled when it is ‘open’? By making components which are large, complex, and difficult to maintain and review, and by requiring services that lock out the administrator.

Remember Heartbleed? Don’t let that example escape your attention. OpenSSL is open, yet it is so large and poorly designed that it’s a dark mystery. Heartbleed was easily shown to be a deliberate hack, and was even deliberately coded to hide itself from tools that would otherwise have shown the leak. And it was sitting there in ‘open’ sight. Instead of using small, well-reviewed crypto libraries, corporate Linux developers choose to use corporate-maintained tools like OpenSSL, which are deeply compromised. Do you think the people responsible for HeartBleed were held accountable, and fundamental changes were made? Guess again. It’s simply ignored by most of Linux. (You’ll notice real UNIXes like OpenBSD did not ignore it and have begun serious changes. Yet even there, it took such a serious, obvious exploit for them to see the engineering problem.)

The point is, if Linux is going to continue to be genuinely open and libre, accessible and changeable, it must use technologies that are simple and manageable by the community, not just by large teams of corporate developers whose intentions are questionable at best, and who are not held accountable.

Make no mistake – corporations aren’t just going to let Linux destroy their income. They are responding, deceptively and desperately.

Really, I think it’s too late for mainstream “Linux”. It’s gone. It’s done. Geeks of the world were easily fooled by a shiny new toy and a corporate propaganda campaign to match, without considering the engineering implications. You can still use a real (systemd-free) version of Linux, or move toward the BSDs, but if you stay with the easy-to-use, polished distros, you’re no longer really using Linux. You’re just fooling yourself, and they’re fooling you. Nor will systemd be the end of it – it’s just the beginning, the setup for future changes.

Because of this corporate pressure, using Linux has always been more of a challenge. It has less hardware support, and more knowledge and problem-solving is required for installation and maintenance. The same remains true today. If you take the easiest, effortless path, the one they have paved for you, it’s not really taking you in the direction of genuinely open and libre computing. Non-buyer beware.

June 13, 2015 - Posted by | News

93 Comments

  1. I think one of the principle problems that plagued OpenSSL (and still does) is its insistence on using self-made stdlib functions, for example malloc(). When the stdlib functions don’t behave the way they ought to in a project, it makes it hard to learn the codebase. It doesn’t help that OpenSSL also had very few people working on it. Crypto is hard, and nobody was really paying a lot of attention to it prior to Heartbleed. I believe only 2-5 individuals were working on it, all in their spare time. There wasn’t an active community auditing it like there should’ve been. For such pivotal and important software, I think it was a case of the FOSS community at large making assumptions. “Oh, that’s SSL. Those guys know what they’re doing, it’s great!”

    Cut to Heartbleed, and people are clamoring, wondering why more attention wasn’t paid. I think a lot of it chalks up to laziness, coupled with some very real technical problems the project was facing that nobody seemed willing (or able) to fix.

    I think in some ways, money can motivate a developer and allow them to spend more time working on their software. But that’s a double-edged sword. While the money is nice, it can also then be used against the developer by the money-holder to do their bidding. I’m not saying anything like that has happened with OpenSSL, but if it works on politicians for millions of dollars, it’s probably claimed a few FOSS developers, too, and for far less.

    A FOSS project’s quality is only as good as the amount of time and expertise that can be applied to it. Heartbleed was an example of what happens to a project when people assume it’s doing well and everything’s stable. Regardless of any shortcomings that are sure to be found in the design and implementation of OpenSSL, I think that a community must be vigilant and assist in the development of the most important, core technologies — be it through testing, bug wrangling, test-making, etc — if technical and social excellence is to be maintained.

    Encryption in particular is more important than ever. This can all be solved with honest code critiques, refactoring, and the community working to engage with its developers. OpenSSL hardly got any attention (or money) from those that use the library, and as a result there was a bug in plain sight that was there for who knows how long.

    I think you’re onto something, IG, in noticing that a lot of GNU/Linux users want more of the “ohh, shiny” and less of the “Hey, let’s build something great together”. GNU/Linux users are behaving more and more like customers instead of the community members that they should be. I’ll have no pity for them when their systems become brittle and exposed. Businesses could easily use this “openwashing” to absolve themselves of liability. When someone’s not paying for your software and you abuse the libre licenses, you can do all sorts of nefarious things and (legally) get off scot-free, because when questioned they can say “Look, we included the sources! These people know what they got themselves into!” It’s clever and conniving, and they know it.

    We shouldn’t use the “No True Scotsman” argument. A GNU/Linux system that uses systemd is still de facto Linux — it’s running the kernel, after all. But it’s not Linux *in spirit or principle*, which I’m sure is what you were aiming for. I’m not sure how we can educate young or new GNU/Linux users that it’s not *just* about the freedoms, but also about the social responsibility and collaboration. They’re two pillars of what holds up FOSS, and it will crash without them.

    What I see in the future is similar to what Devuan is doing: a group of people will realize what’s going on with the kernel (if it ever gets to that point) and fork the hell out of it. Then kernels will fragment, and the “Cold War” between the fork and the original will begin, as vendors will be encouraged to use modules or code that aren’t present in the fork in order to force people to choose the original kernel to make their hardware work.

    It will end in initial success for Linux, but the fork will prevail in upholding its values. Mainstream Linux will go the way of Windows until cavalier hackers get popular drivers working for the fork. Then the cycle will repeat itself.

    I think a core part of all of this is corporate involvement. It can’t be trusted, since its motive is profit at any cost. As long as greed is present in a project, it will technically depreciate until it’s corrupt, from the developers to the code.

    As a side note, I just committed udevil 0.4.4 and spacefm 1.0.2 in Gentoo. If I get any bug reports, you’ll be hearing from me. :)

    Comment by sporkbox | June 13, 2015

    • sporkbox, you’re spreading nothing but bullshit here about OpenSSL, but I’m sure many people believe similarly. Google and other corporations used and controlled OpenSSL. When the ‘bug’ was discovered, they ‘discovered’ it a few minutes later and fixed it, completely independently of course – it was just a coincidence that Google found the bug ON THE SAME DAY. Or more accurately, they fail to maintain it, and prevent anyone else from doing so. Do you really think they would just let anyone work on OpenSSL in their spare time? If you think Google (an obvious NSA front) uses a major component they know nothing about, you’re completely out of the loop. If you think you or anyone else can contribute to OpenSSL, show me a commit. You’re right that few people are involved, but that’s because few people are allowed to be by the corporate controllers of the project (like almost all areas of Linux now), and most were driven out of that area of development as it was locked down. When was the last time a civilian added a new algorithm to PGP? You’re still using algos from the 80s, half of them developed by the very people who didn’t want you to have strong crypto in the first place (and they got their wish). You’re absorbing a lot of FUD like most people.

      The one who introduced HeartBleed was a bigshot in the corporate/university/crypto scene (Hansen) who definitely knew better than to do what was done there (childish, not crypto coding), and was definitely on the take in my view, not just someone spending their spare time. If a BLATANT example of hacking like this doesn’t convince you, absolutely nothing will. It doesn’t get better or more obvious than Heartbleed. So the world is just a happy place and no one means harm. Go back to sleep – but that kind of thinking is useless in crypto. You’re simply surrendering if you accept any of that story you’ve absorbed.

      > Crypto is hard, and nobody was really paying a lot of attention to it prior to Heartbleed.

      Complete bullshit – either you do crypto right or you don’t do it – period. Unless you want to cost people their lives, because these aren’t toys (or didn’t used to be). And plenty of people were paying attention to what’s in OpenSSL, I assure you. This certainly wasn’t done right, and only a fool would write code like that non-deliberately, and this guy isn’t a fool no matter how much he pretends to be. And the reason stdlib isn’t used is to hide things, plain and simple. All you’re doing is continuing a lie by repeating such nonsense denials and excuses. (Nothing personal, as I know you mean well, but wake the fuck up already.)

      I don’t think the future will be anything like you say, just merely cycling forever, but you’re right that people are dropping the ball. I think eventually people are going to lose the ability to even have free software or run what they want on computers (which are now all made by large corporations, not in garages). These decades will one day be viewed as a golden time of creative computer use, but it will be lost. If you don’t think that can happen then you don’t know much about history or who you’re dealing with. Use it or lose it. But I’d say the game is already lost because people have no independent will anymore and deny what is right in front of them. As you say, they just consume whatever they’re fed. The world really is getting stupid.

      > since its motive is profit at any cost

      Untrue. If profit was the deepest motive, they accomplished that long ago. Thugs control the world and take what they want materially. They’re after social control and exploitation of people, which is a more subtle business, and are putting sophisticated tools in place for that. You’ll notice corporations DON’T always do what’s best for them in terms of profit and growth (which is why you can’t simply predict the stock market and make money off them), because they are pawns in a larger game. They will often drive things into the ground deliberately, for example, losing millions or billions in the process – because they were told to. There are really only a handful of corporations who own it all, and even those work together, not in genuine competition. The last thing Google needs, for example, is more money. Money is not their problem or motivation – that is a scam you and most of the world falls for hook, line and sinker. Be more discerning about what you swallow.

      Thanks for the SpaceFM and udevil Gentoo maintenance – glad to have you involved there!

      Comment by IgnorantGuru | June 14, 2015

      • > They will often drive things into the ground deliberately, for example, losing millions or billions in the process – because they were told to.
        Yeah, and the Illuminati have taken over the world.
        Bullshit! They screw up.

        Comment by Systemd geek | June 20, 2015

        • For a working example, see the movie Who Killed The Electric Car? That’s just one of many, many, many examples which can be cited, in the realm of big oil and energy freedom alone. I would think it’s such common sense that I don’t know how anyone could make such statements as yours honestly. But somehow people are indeed fooled in the details, even though they will always readily admit that “things are corrupt” in general.

          I don’t know anything about “Illuminati”. But I’m not an idiot either. There’s a middle-ground there you may wish to explore.

          Comment by IgnorantGuru | June 20, 2015

          • The Illuminati are a major conspiracy theory, and the middle ground is not where you are.

            Comment by Systemd geek | June 20, 2015

            • Making emotionally charged statements of ridicule, without providing any counter-explanations or facts, is mindless dribble. If you have something intelligent to contribute to the analysis, then lay your facts and interpretations on the table like anyone else – I’m all ears. Most of us have brains and can think things through for ourselves. We don’t need the likes of you to inform us of what we should believe or disbelieve based on your level of irrational scorn.

              As you claim to be so much more highly aware and intelligent than I, I’m surprised you can’t see that.

              Comment by IgnorantGuru | June 20, 2015

              • OpenSSL is terrible. This is because it is a big, multifunctional library which is bound to have bugs. There are genuine criticisms of systemd, but complaining that it “brings Linux closer in design to Windows” is simply FUD. Yes, OpenSSL sucks, but systemd is not OpenSSL. Stop spreading FUD about systemd and go back to SLS.

                Comment by Systemd geek | June 28, 2015

                • @Systemd geek, in case you are not trolling:

                  There are genuine criticisms of systemd, but complaining that it “brings Linux closer in design to Windows” is simply FUD.

                  systemd is not modular. (Most of internals are interdependent, rely on internal API, which is a subject to rapid change. This means that you cannot easily disable or swap most of it’s components with your own ones. Or, in other words, fork single components while not loosing forward compatibility.)

                  This is a first, second, third and n-th genuine criticism and is exactly the thing that brings Linux closer to proprietary systems.

                  There are no possible primary reasons for systemd to be organized this way other than convenience or control. You may think that the primary reason is convenience. We think that the primary reason is control.

                  You cannot fork one of it’s components while maintaining forward compatibility. This means less control. This means, that, in terms of control, the statement that systemd is bringing Linux closer to Windows, is true.

                  On a day to day basis I am dealing with tools and frameworks no smaller than systemd in terms of LOC. Yet they are modular, which means that I am able to disable features or replace single components with self-developed or third-party alternatives.

                  Comment by pipy | June 28, 2015

                  • convenience [of the systemd core team]

                    control [of the systemd core team over the software you run]

                    Comment by pipy | June 28, 2015

                    • http://0pointer.de/blog/projects/the-biggest-myths.html
                      69 binaries isn’t exactly monolithic.
                      @Ignorant Guru: Firstly, you are objecting to the monolithic design of systemd, while switching to a truly monolithic BSD.
                      Next, how do you know what the Windows internals are like? Are you a Microsoft dev whose job is spreading FUD about Linux?
                      Also, your comment about a real Linux is the “No True Scotsman” fallacy.
                      I am typing this from Arch Linux, a distro for relatively advanced users. If there were a problem with systemd, would it be in Arch?

                      Comment by Systemd geek | June 28, 2015

                    • > I am typing this from Arch Linux, a distro for relatively advanced users. If there were a problem with systemd, would it be in Arch?

                      Actually this blog revealed several years ago that Arch Linux wasn’t even signing its packages distributed on worldwide mirrors (meaning anyone with a copy of tar could tamper with them, inserting rootkits, etc), a story which was picked up by LWN and others, and led to months of user backlash that drove them to add the package signing you see in Arch today. You’re welcome. Even so, they have a careless arrogance and disregard for their users, and with their ridiculous attitudes toward security, I wouldn’t trust them with anything serious. They mostly consider their OS a toy.

                      That said, Arch did have a nice, simple design in many regards. It was startling to see them adopt an out-of-place nightmare like systemd, which was largely rejected by their users. Yet I’ve heard from some Arch users who run it without systemd anyway, doing the extra steps required, while others have moved to Gentoo.

                      Your arguments re systemd only demonstrate that you don’t understand the fundamental differences between the design of Windows and Linux, as well as differences in their cultures (eg how developers interact). This apparently is all too common today, many people using Windows and Linux interchangeably, or running Windows inside a Linux window. Yet if you don’t learn the differences, or listen to people who are telling you, you will find yourself losing open software, which will impact the nature of closed software as well. So if you enjoy fewer choices, and those choices dictated on a whim by corporations who don’t listen to their users, keep endorsing technologies like systemd.

                      I consider systemd a fork of Linux. I like to call it SOS (systemd OS).

                      Comment by IgnorantGuru | June 29, 2015

                  • http://0pointer.de/blog/projects/the-biggest-myths.html
                    This modularity is not totally unlike the one of the Linux kernel, where you can select many features individually at compile time. If the kernel is modular enough for you then systemd should be pretty close, too.

                    Comment by Systemd geek | June 28, 2015

                    • @Systemd geek

                      69 binaries isn’t exactly monolithic.

                      All these 69 binaries that you talk about, how many compatible third-party reimplementations do they have? In other words, where is the ecosystem of swappable reimplementations of these binaries?

                      This modularity is not totally unlike the one of the Linux kernel.

                      There is no point to argue whether or not it is “like” or “unlike” Linux kernel. Or, whether for some definitions of “like” and some definitions of “modular” it is “modular” “like” Linux kernel. Or, whether particular design decisions made in architecture of Linux kernel are in fact made in architecture of systemd. Or, whether particular design decisions made in architecture of Linux kernel are
                      acceptable for other parts of software stack.

                      Because you have been given a simple technical argument that is irrefutable.

                      Let me reiterate: there is a concrete technical merit which systemd lacks: stable internal API. Which means that it is close to impossible to develop forward-compatible competing reimplementations of it’s components. Which means we are left in a situation with significantly less freedom to choose software components than before. And, mirroring this fact, core developers of systemd have significantly more control over the software stack.

                      Another deficiency of systemd, which is a problem of it’s own class, is that it tries to solve 100% of use cases. Because software complexity growth is not linear, in order to transform software that solves 80% of use cases into software that solves 95% of use cases sometimes you have to add many orders of magnitude more complexity. To transform software that solves 95% use cases into software that solves 100% use cases sometimes means to add infinitely more complexity.

                      Comment by pipy | June 28, 2015

                    • This is partly a reply to your other post, which doesn’t have a reply button. Number of binaries doesn’t have anything to do with whether a system is monolithic or not, it’s just an implementation detail. Look at the scandal over Chromium’s hotword module – Google’s person justified it by saying that to them, whether it’s built-in or packaged as a separate module is just implementation, and as far as they’re concerned it’s just the same as if it’s a built-in. Microsoft’s operating systems came packaged with plenty of separate DLL binaries, but that never let them avoid criticism for being monolithic. So the real test of whether a package is monolithic or not is not in how many modules it can be broken into, but in how independent the subsystems are. Pipy is correct in noting that the ability for 3rd parties to fork modules in a lastingly compatible way is an important factor. As to whether the kernel is monolithic to begin with, it strongly depends on how much of the rest of the system functionality it pulls in with it.

                      You don’t need to work for Microsoft to form an opinion on whether the system is monolithic, you just have to program applications from a user level, and there are lots of people who fall into that category. So frankly I think your accusation is just ad-hom. I can’t find the comment you were referring to about “real Linux” to see the context, so I can’t comment on that. And it’s silly to suggest that a system used by advanced users is impervious to adopting flawed software, especially if many others are adopting it as well.

                      Comment by IA | June 28, 2015

                    • @pipy @IA So uselessd, eudev and ConsoleKit2 don’t exist? No, the fork ecosystem isn’t major, because systemd is only 4 years old. BSD is even more monolithic than Linux, but BSD is seen as a better replacement. The comment about “real Linux” is on the actual blog post.

                      Comment by Systemd geek | June 29, 2015

                    • Also, what init system do you want? The ugly, arcane, outdated sysvinit? The short-term stopgap of upstart? OpenRC? BSD rc? or the init for the 21st century: systemd?

                      Comment by Systemd geek | June 29, 2015

                    • Yet another point. Read this.
                      https://utcc.utoronto.ca/~cks/space/blog/linux/SystemdWhyItWon

                      Comment by Systemd geek | June 29, 2015

                    • I see it now. Well, technically speaking, it’s no more of a logical fallacy than you saying that systemd is more appropriate for the 21st century. :)

                      Comment by IA | June 29, 2015

                    • But the counterargument remains: if the set of packages needed to support the system needs to be cronyist in order to remain interoperable, then from the user’s point of view it is effectively a large monolithic system, making BSD less so in comparison. This is not to say that systemd will not improve over time – Qt started out with very evil licensing terms, for example, and in one moment dropped those.

                      Comment by IA | June 29, 2015

                    • I was never a systemd obsessive, until loony anti-systemd-ers came along. systemd needs fixing. It bis buggs. It is still the best init system around.

                      Comment by Systemd geek | June 29, 2015

                    • Hey, have some sympathy, it never feels very rewarding arguing against a spin-job.

                      Comment by IA | June 29, 2015

          • Who Killed The Electric Car? is a very enlightening movie,
            quite well documented. I got a copy from Youtube some time
            ago, but all the copies there have now been destroyed by Sony.
            BT (and I don’t mean British Telecom) has one from “Lord
            of War”, which you can find via TPB. And Usenet has one,
            uploaded 1023 days ago, which you can find via binsearch.info .

            Youtube videos can be downloaded using youtube-dl, a
            Python program that runs on all 3 platforms, from here:
            http://youtube-dl.org/

            Another example of control by the corporations, government,
            and media, by what I would characterize as wealthy powerful
            psychopaths (because their behavior matches that of psychopaths
            in lack of conscience and empathy, and willingness to murder
            for profit), is the suppression of Vitamin C as an antiviral
            by the medical profession, drug companies, and government,
            in favor of antiviral vaccines, some of which do great harm
            to some people who receive them.

            Vitamin C was shown to reliably and rapidly cure polio in
            the late 1940s, but this was ignored in favor of the Salk
            and Sabin vaccines, both of which turned out to contain the
            cancer-causing monkey virus SV40, which has caused millions
            of soft-tissue cancers. Vitamin C is known to cure flu,
            measles, and maybe all viruses, except retroviruses. Vitamin C
            regenerates the chemical fuel NADPH, which white cells use
            to create substances like peroxide, that kill the viruses.
            Without Vitamin C, the white cells soon run out of NADPH, and
            the infection cannot be fought, at least not well. Some links
            at the bottom of this page: http://cosmicpenguin.com/codex/

            Animals, except apes, of human body weight make about 5 grams
            a day of Vitamin C in normal health, and as much as 70 grams/day
            when they get a viral infection. The government recommended
            amount is barely enough to prevent scurvy.

            I regard situations like this and the electric car as “soft
            fascism” — control of the population for the benefit of the
            wealthy by ubiquitous propaganda (“the matrix”) rather than
            soldiers in the streets with machine-guns. This technique
            was perfected by Edward Bernays, a good candidate for the most
            evil person who ever lived. He called it “public relations”
            but it’s mind-control.

            Other examples are poisoning our air, food, water and medications
            with fluorine, mercury, aluminum, and glyphosate; authoritarian
            education; continuous war — mass murder — and economic slavery;
            genital mutilation; prohibition of psychedelics while pushing
            addictive alcohol, tobacco, cocaine and heroin (the US army
            protected the Afghan poppy fields).

            Comment by Mark Bilk | June 20, 2015

            • I am aware of and fully agree with all your references. I miss the days when computer users were more socially aware and activist, as I think it’s a powerful combination. We don’t have to be dumb programmed machines just because we use them.

              The psychopathy is not limited to the leadership, it actually runs throughout the global culture and people. There are basically two kinds of people: those still fully enveloped by the matrix, and those who are sticking their head out of it and are looking back at it in shock. Those two perspectives are nearly mutually exclusive in their perceptions and conclusions, in any area of human thought. One can’t understand how people can’t see what is now so obvious, while the other can’t understand how people could believe such “conspiracy theories”. Yet neither side is stupid – the blindness comes from core beliefs and how they warp perception. Some beliefs are ‘too big to fail’, and so are protected at any cost to reason. Perception, which we trust so much, operates more like an optical illusion.

              As you dig into the truth of the world, it’s beyond shocking. As you talk about what you find, people find the content so shocking and crazy that they mistake you for being crazy. “It just can’t be!” Yet it is, and there is great value to owning reality, however unpleasant.

              This recent article, Humanity is Developing Survival Resistance to Government Lies, brought up some amazing points. I have seen the trends he’s talking about. I’m not too familiar with the author, and the anti-govt rhetoric at the beginning may be off-putting for some, but he brings up some remarkable observations.

              Sorry to see Who Killed The Electric Car? has been censored and removed – I’m surprised a corporation the likes of Sony made it in the first place. (I still see some places where you can watch it though – on Google’s results.) Intellectual property laws mostly just slow information, and thus slow evolution – their real purpose. Govts should not be involved in information/idea regulation in any form – only physical resources. All information is free by nature, and ideas must be if growth is to occur.

              Humans have a long way to go. We are far more primitive than people like to imagine – basically just slightly clever apes, barely self-aware and riddled with cognitive dysfunction. That includes everyone in my view, and we should be much more humble in our pursuit of understanding.

              Comment by IgnorantGuru | June 21, 2015

            • I also found the following article has stayed in my thoughts since I first read it, and I don’t think it applies to only Americans. Very relevant to the discussion at hand. I think it’s important to see how things fit together – like a crossword puzzle, having an overview helps you fill in some of the blanks, and it makes denial less plausible to the stubborn mind we all have that doesn’t want to see such things.
              Prisons Without Walls: We’re All Inmates in the American Police State

              That Blacklisted News site seems to be new, and I like the quality of what they’ve been bringing to attention there, low rhetoric. This is the type of stuff that people can deny for just so long because it ultimately affects everyone. Sad to see what the world is becoming, but it merely reflects what people have always been. It’s the inflation that gets ya. Like a fire, some things grow out of control and become beyond horrific. Don’t let them grow. Instead support openness, transparency, and fairness, because that’s what creates safety and functionality, just like it does in computing.

              Comment by IgnorantGuru | June 21, 2015

      • Sorry for taking so long to respond. As I said in my e-mail, things’ve been
        busy. It’s nice to finally get a moment to respond and further this
        conversation.

        What sources or connections did you find in your research of OpenSSL that
        connects Google to them? I agree that them “finding” Heartbleed within a day of
        the main team finding it is really fishy. As I understand it, security bugs are
        kept secret long enough for a fix to be released. That seems fair, but if what
        you say is true and they released statements on it within a day of each other…
        what are the odds? That *does* seem suspicious. I see that others have
        criticized your points, so would you mind providing some links? I’d be
        interested in reading them, too.

        I looked around and found the following from http://heartbleed.com:

        > Who found the Heartbleed Bug?
        >
        > This bug was independently discovered by a team of security engineers (Riku,
        > Antti and Matti) at Codenomicon and Neel Mehta of Google Security, who first
        > reported it to the OpenSSL team. Codenomicon team found heartbleed bug while
        > improving the SafeGuard feature in Codenomicon’s Defensics security testing
        > tools and reported this bug to the NCSC-FI for vulnerability coordination and
        > reporting to OpenSSL team.

        So obviously, PR sources like this can be fronts, so whois.com returned
        Codenomicon as the registerer:

        http://www.whois.com/whois/heartbleed.com
        http://www.whois.com/whois/codenomicon.com

        WHOISing Codenomicon returned “Ari Takanen”, in Oulu, FI (Finland?). Checking
        out their site indicates that they’re partners with multiple firms (Skype,
        Broadcom, Comcast, Quallcom, Cisco, Sprint, Siemens, probably more). The top of
        the front page says Synopsys is looking to acquire them. I did find an interview
        at http://www.businessinsider.com/heartbleed-bug-codenomicon-2014-4 that makes
        it seem like a total accident. If their tool, which was designed to find
        vulnerabilities, found Heartbleed, what other vulnerabilities did they find? If
        OpenSSL had such a critical oversight in its code, certainly other things did,
        too.

        Next, let’s see who’s behind OpenSSL and what, if any, ties they have to Google
        are.

        Mark J Cox – Works for OpenSSL, has ties to Red Hat
        Stephen Henson – Couldn’t find anything
        Ben Laurie – Has some papers on Google Research, works for them in London. So
        there’s a potential mole.
        Andy Polyakov – Can’t find anything. Has a G+ profile, but limited visibility.

        So based on that, we have one person with ties to Red Hat, one person *employed
        by Google*, and two people who we don’t know details on. After learning that, I
        certainly question the integrity of the project. But let’s be a little more
        thorough…

        I checked out http://synopsys.com and didn’t find much. They’re a multinational
        security company and they do webinars. They seem to have their eyes on acquiring
        security firms, so that’s worrying. They deal with NASDAQ and other market
        entities, as well. I couldn’t find any connection between them and Google, but
        it wouldn’t be hard to convince me of it, given their other connections.

        Getting back on-topic… Codenomicon may not have had a tie to Google directly,
        but if they informed the OpenSSL team, then it’s practically obvious that the
        Codenomicon and Google releases were coordinated, or at least Google rushed to
        get theirs out the door, perhaps to add “validity” to the claim.

        (excuse me while I close all these tabs, haha…)

        I do think that *some* commits can get into OpenSSL from the outside, but it
        wouldn’t surprise me if their “auditing process” is tainted, to protect certain
        mission-critical (to them) parts from being edited out. We obviously can’t prove
        this, though, so it’s mere conjecture. Heartbleed got patched, after all. If it
        was patched and they have an agenda, that means there must be other bugs that
        are just as bad, or worse. But we can’t make a claim without backing it up with
        a code snippet. Then again, I believe it was one of the FreeBSD guys who made a
        presentation outlining things that LibreSSL intended to fix that they considered
        broken. It probably wouldn’t be hard to find some code that’s fucked.

        Thanks for motivating me to look into it. It certainly doesn’t look good. I have
        no doubts that OpenSSL is pretty much pwned. That said, I find it hard to assert
        that they keep people out of the project. What can we do to prove it? I think
        sourcing conversations regarding patches, historic commit information (number of
        non-maintainer commits, for example), and other public things could make a
        better case than just claiming that it happens. The situation surrounding it
        really smells of foul play, but I think in order to get more people to
        acknowledge it, they need more evidence. I went and found the ties to Google and
        Red Hat, so there’s motive. We need evidence now. Intent would be ass-easy to
        assert, since both companies have vested interests in others using their code.
        Any ideas?

        What I meant by “crypto is hard, and nobody was really paying attention to it
        prior to Heartbleed” is the greater community. I don’t think many non-commercial
        eyes were worried about whether or not OpenSSL worked as advertised. Maybe I’m
        totally wrong; but if so, wouldn’t there be archives of discussions relating to
        bugs that people wanted to fix and were turned away? Otherwise, I completely
        agree. I don’t know crypto well enough, personally, but like anything else of
        high importance, you should either do it correctly, or not at all.

        You make a good point with social control and “the long con”, so to speak. I
        think they stand to profit from it, though. Maybe not now, since it could result
        in short-term losses, but in the future when they control everything, people
        will have no choice. It’s like a social *and* technical monopoly. I think we’re
        already there to a point. So many things are patented that we’d have to make our
        own CPU architectures in order to wrest freedom from the tech giants, and none
        would be as efficient as what’s already out there. We’d basically be starting
        over. And they (corporations with said patents, other technology firms) know it.

        They have us by the balls. It’s another reason I’m worried about certain tech
        in the future, such as self-driving cars. That will be a nightmare: it’s not
        farfetched to assume that law enforcement could be given the “keys” to every
        smart car out there via a backdoor, and use it to force the car to drive to a
        given location. Or worse, lock someone in a car or make it brake in the middle
        of the highway and trigger a crash, killing the target(s) inside.

        With the recent news of the TPP, I’m leaning more in your direction. Once
        corporations get enough money, they start wanting influence and power. Money on
        its own doesn’t make the world bend to their will, so they have to court the
        government until their bribes work out. Then government starts trusting them,
        and that’s when they strike. Getting consumers to follow is then simple, since
        as long as they keep them happy and distracted, they’ll do what businesses want
        them to.

        Why do you think that we can’t do *anything*? Couldn’t we start work on DIY PCBs
        and circuit designs, start improving things, spreading plans and drafts and so
        on? 3-D printing is a thing now, and could aid us (at least a little) in getting
        the ball rolling. The sad part is, I don’t think freedom can be respected on a
        large scale. There will always be players that seek to exploit, but does that
        have to mean that we don’t try to forcefully take our computing freedoms? The
        entire FOSS movement got started to take back computing freedoms. I think we’d
        be doing ourselves a disservice by giving up.

        Of course, the question “What can we do?” seems very limited. We can start our
        own hardware designs, we can audit and analyze current designs, keeping only the
        parts we know work and have no vulnerabilities. We can reverse engineer and
        recreate things. Patents and the like are immoral to begin with, so we have no
        obligation to respect them. They exist to rob others of the ability to make
        things and build on them.

        So, thanks again for getting me to research a bit and discover that OpenSSL’s
        team has Red Hat and Google staff at the top, and getting me to think about the
        big picture. It’s a shame that I can’t edit my prior comment. I stand by the
        gist of it (corps fucking up FOSS), but some of the details were flat out wrong.
        That’s what I get for assuming, right?

        Re: spacefm, newer ebuilds will support both gtk2 and gtk3 going forward. The
        prior maintainer sided with the GNOME team, iirc, and removed gtk2 support. Not
        on my watch! :)

        Sorry for such a huge comment. I wanted to give it the attention it deserved and
        better clarify my stance. I was never against your outlook, but now that I’m
        better informed, I agree more strongly. I think maybe in the future, it’d be
        helpful to include your sources to claims so others can piece the picture
        together like you and I did.

        Comment by sporkbox | June 29, 2015

        • Hey sporkbox. I hope your adventures went well. ;)

          Take a look at this article, published just a few days after Heartbleed was announced.
          Behind the Scenes: The Crazy 72 Hours Leading Up to the Heartbleed Discovery:

          Unbeknownst to Chartier, a little-known security researcher at Google, Neel Mehta, had discovered and reported the OpenSSL bug on the same day. Considering the bug had actually existed since March 2012, the odds of the two research teams, working independently, finding and reporting the bug at the same time was highly surprising. (Mehta declined to be interviewed for this article.)

          As for research, you’ll basically just find all of these projects in Linux controlled by Red Hat and Google, if not in name, then in practice. That includes OpenVPN (maintained and security handled by Red Hat of course), used by people using tor for allegedly high security – they’re owned. I see people in Europe, for example, going to great lengths to address NSA spying and secure their networks. Yet they might want to look at who develops their OS, who handles the code and security audits, etc. If you’re using Linux, Red Hat is central to all of it, and Red Hat’s largest customer is the US military. It’s a short walk down the hall to the NSA, they’re all part of the same club. It’s so obvious, I can’t imagine how it’s not widely known, but that’s how these things work.

          Even if you don’t consider yourself a target of their spying, they’re opening vulnerabilities that can be exploited by others as well. Overall they engineer Linux to be vulnerable crap, a la Windows, because that’s what they want for their purposes (look at the Snowden releases re spyware and viruses they also develop). The last thing they want is a nice clean white wall that shows all intrusions. The same people writing the viruses are engineering your OS.

          So mostly I’m just addressing this myth that Linux is open to contributors, the code has been reviewed, etc. Linux is corporate-controlled and owned, with a constant flow of exploits being introduced and closed (once they’re found, like Heartbleed). Just a few weeks ago, you could potentially get root on any Linux system by loading a specially crafted font file, for example – just one of many Xorg bugs (maintained by Red Hat).

          As for OpenSSL, why would OpenBSD create a fork of it (LibreSSL) if they were welcome to contribute? Anyone who works in that area knows whose permission you have to get to modify those components, and they know they won’t welcome security improvements or reengineering. It’s engineered the way it is for a purpose and they won’t let you change it.

          But I’m not auditing Red Hat’s code or investigating their employees. There are some things I don’t want to know, and I’m not inserting myself into their war – which is exactly what it is. You would turn me into an investigative journalist, but I’m mostly just pointing out where the war is, including Linux, so people can understand it’s not what it’s advertised to be. Check it out for yourself. I would say get thy ass to OpenBSD if you want something more approaching secure, and make note of which of your components are maintained by Red Hat or Google especially. (Obviously Microsoft and Apple, and really all large corporations, are also tainted, but I’m focusing on our ‘generous’ open source corporate contributors.)

          It’s amazing how Google manages to maintain this illusion of being so liberal and helpful, while they aggressively spy on everyone, manipulate online discourse, map the world, run 80% of smartphones, develop brain implants, etc. It shows you just how unaware people really are, and that includes these systemd supporters who argue details endlessly while completely missing what that octopus called ‘systemd’ really is to Linux. If you think more evidence will change anything, guess again. Read this recent short interview with Julian Assange re Google’s duplicity:

          I would like to warn people all these developments are leading to a new transnational dystopia the likes of which we have never previously seen. It affects not just one country in one region, but rather every country in every region. It affects all countries at once because every country is moving on to the internet. It is the greatest theft in human history.

          All of this ofc ties into larger things happening in the world (few of them good), but in terms of creating open systems that are reliable for business, voting, news, political discussion, etc., the OS is critical. Who is engineering them and how certainly deserves more attention. For now, most of it is ridiculously owned.

          Comment by IgnorantGuru | June 30, 2015

        • Also, there really isn’t any serious disagreement on the points I make, at least not that I’m aware of. Most of the feedback is positive, and in fact my readers often inform me of more examples, etc. Across several years and over a half million visitors to this blog, no one has raised any significant errors in the simple facts I present or offered any plausible alternative explanations – you can read the articles and comments. Many of the little tidbits I present actually originate from readers bringing them to my attention.

          Elsewhere shills can be deafening, but in my view, the artificial negativity they create around explorations like these doesn’t represent what typical people think. If you speak to actual, intelligent, thinking people, they get it, there is consensus, and most are concerned about what to do about it. Unfortunately there I have limited answers. But I think owning the real situation is a first step.

          Comment by IgnorantGuru | June 30, 2015

          • Yeah, your blog does tend to attract some loud voices. A handful of people disagreeing with you here doesn’t mean that there aren’t others out there that align with us on the subject.

            You’re right; owning the problem is the first step to solving it.

            Comment by sporkbox | July 1, 2015

  2. > but is it really UNIX-like in its design anymore?

    Every argument I’ve had on this topic has resulted in the systemd apparatchik retorting with “but Linux isn’t UNIX”. The will dodge with claims related to stupid AT&T trademark nonsense and jump to nonsense about UNIX being “old” and not ready for the “modern desktop”. Between this and the talking-point where they assert that systemd isn’t a tightly integrated, monolithic design proves they don’t understand UNIX (and have probably never even read about its design[1].

    This is a crowd of people that came to Linux because it is cool/popular, not because they are fleeing the terrible mess of Windows. Not only do they not understand anything about UNIX, they also don’t see anything wrong with Microsoft’s design style. Worst of all, as they never fled proprietary software, they don’t understand the value of making sure your platform stays Free, so they embrace ‘open source’ as if it was the same thing. Combined, this yields a crowd that is easily co-opted by the people who want to send Free Software – and the General Purpose Computer – back where it came from; such tools gave far too much power to the *people*.

    You’ve probably seen it already, and I doubt many of the topic will be new to you, but I *srongly* recommend watching Aral Balkan’s recent talk[2] (the other talks on that page are interesting too). Really, I think *everybody* needs to see this talk asap, but it is particularly on-topic here, as it contains a discussion of “open”, and how many people were seduced by it assuming it meant “commons”, when the tech industry really meant “open access to our proprietary stuff that we can revoke access to at any time”.

    [1] http://www.catb.org/esr/writings/taoup/html/ch01s06.html

    [2] https://projectbullrun.org/surveillance/2015/video-2015.html#balkan

    Comment by pdkl95 | June 14, 2015

    • Thanks, will take a look now. Glad to see someone with their head on straight. It’s true that many Linux users today have no principles. They run Linux in a VM window right along with Windows or any other junk. They don’t know what they have and what they’re losing. Boiling frogs.

      When I saw that freshman now learn intro programming by learning Adobe Flash, it dawned on me where we really are.

      Comment by IgnorantGuru | June 14, 2015

      • CS 101 is Flash? MIT uses Python for its freshman level classes. At least, according to the brief stint I had with Open Courseware. There’s an Australian university that teaches Python first, too. Which colleges are teaching Flash first? Gross!

        Comment by sporkbox | July 2, 2015

        • I forget the colleges involved, but they were brand names – a few students independently told me this a few years ago. Many areas of university are like this now – big business controlling it all, and in weird directions. Same for medicine. I can see Python as a reasonable choice. Mine was blasted pseudo-code eventually implemented in FORTRAN lol. Fortunately I already knew how to code some BASIC, ASM and Pascal already, but they showed me fancy stuff like loops (ha), and how to PROVE any given algorithm can be written both iteratively and recursively. I’ve used that proof countless times, so glad I learned it. ;)

          Teaching Flash there just teaches developers to be limited users of software, not true programmers getting at the underlying machine. I think they should all start with binary machine code on an 8088 and work their way up like I did. ;) My first PC had 3.5KB of free RAM – think I can write some tight code?

          Comment by IgnorantGuru | July 2, 2015

          • Hah, I hear ya. I have no formal training, but I wish I had started with C or Assembly. I had a brief stint with VisualBasic when I was trying to learn how to make a C-com for AOL chats. I really didn’t start understanding even a hint of programming until I decided “I want to make a website!” and picked up PHP. I later brushed shoulders with TADS and Python, and worked up the gumption to learn C. I totally want to learn Assembly and become familiar with some architectures; hopefully *clean* ones. I’d love to one day make my own processor or SoC and write assembly for it, if only as a toy. Low level stuff is really fascinating to me.

            I knew that corporations had education by the balls, so what you’re telling me isn’t new for me. I just assumed it’d be Visual Studio or whatever Apple’s IDE is. Flash and ActionScript are just… a joke. How do you take a course like that seriously? The “cut and paste” or “click and drag” programming only really works for children, imo. Once you’re old enough to start understanding abstract concepts (by your teens, one should hope), that’s a good time to start learning programming. I wish I had access to all the great ways to learn code that we see today back when I was a teen. I’d be a much more confident and competent programmer.

            Oh well, the K&R2’s been treating me well and I’ve learned a lot. I look forward to mastering the stdlib. :)

            Comment by sporkbox | July 3, 2015

            • If you like low-level hardware I’d recommend getting a breadboard and building some circuits. eg you can get a chip that has 8 NAND gates on it, etc. Add some dip switches to enter two binary numbers, and make a state machine that adds them using simple logic gates. Maybe later add a couple 8-segment LEDs to show the result. And ofc some basic books on electronics and boolean algebra. Fun to play with and it gives you a whole different perspective on what a CPU is and how they work. Gives you a real deep view of assembly (machine code). It’s also interesting to get some transistors and build a single AND gate from them – good training for CPU design (although the CMOS example elsewhere there would be more appropriate than TTL).

              I’ve done everything from designing a computer from scratch (memory bus, data bus, memory chips, CPU, caps, etc., traces laid out and circuit timing simulated in CAD, then fabricated), designing a PC card that interfaced with it, and writing the drivers and software for it in C and assembly. The computer was a specialized design to compress images in hardware at very high speeds – used by banks to scan and store images of bank checks). So there were some intense timing and frequency effects in there. Gives you quite a view when you design and build a computer from scratch. I’ve done some CPU design too, which isn’t as much fun as a breadboard but has its charms. I did have some training – did my undergrad in electrical and computer engineering – but you can learn just as much from books and your own lab work, and you don’t have to deal with the profs.

              Most people don’t realize it, but after design of a prototype you sometimes get hardware bugs. Basically these are where the CAD failed to accurately model the circuit timing, capacitance or critical voltage issues, etc. So you’ll add little hardware hacks – usually little wires or components soldered to the board afterward to correct the design. They always look funny to me. Occassionally you’ll even find them in end-products, eg if they manufactured a batch of PCBs before discovering a design problem, they’ll hack every one. So bugs aren’t just a software thing. (This is why firmware was invented – ha ha)

              Comment by IgnorantGuru | July 3, 2015

    • I didn’t watch all of it, but Aral Balkan’s talk is nothing impressive to me. He’s just repeating the whole ‘privacy’ meme. But you’ll notice the big media pushed that meme, and no one really cares – the privacy meme emerged from a govt obsessed with secrecy. “Keep our secrets!” It’s just a psyop to acclimate people to being controlled, and to get them to fight for corporate/govt/banking secrecy.

      Most people don’t care about privacy beyond a very limited level, so they give their power away. They certainly don’t care that the NSA and other govts are spying on them. The only ones who do care are the rich and powerful (people and corps), usually because they’re corrupt. The whole privacy meme is just a psyop, and a reminder that if you’re rich and powerful you’d better obey your keepers because “we’re watching”. It’s very psycholgically powerful to make someone feel watched – they begin to alter their behavior automatically.

      The real power of crypto isn’t privacy (it’s nearly impossible to keep secrets), it’s transparency. Imagine being able to look your vote up – to make sure it was counted – using a SHA sum. And no anonymous voting, lets all be counted publicly. And let finances be open and transparent, logged and tallied. Then you’d see what people really think and want (accurate polling), and where money is really going. And ‘they’ wouldn’t be able to steal and hoodwink everyone because any tampering of the polling or tallies would be apparent.

      Yet for such a system to work, you would need many independent, reasonably secure computers, networks, OSes, etc. If all your software and crypto is pwned, you have nothing that can withstand the weight of real use. You won’t even be able to organize and build the system because socially and politically you’ll be out-manuveured by those who control communications and media. (This is very apparent today, where 0.01% control 99.99%.)

      But most people don’t have the will to pick up a real tool and use it to create freedom. They surrender their power – they don’t even WANT real crypto. It feels too real and dangerous – “let the govt handle it, I don’t have any secrets, I just want to be cared for”.

      It is said that the Japanese didn’t attack the US mainland in WWII because their military advisors told them, ‘there will be a rifle behind every blade of grass’. Iow not just just armies, but people were armed everywhere – a distributed strength that is difficult to control centrally by mandate. Likewise, if you have many reasonably secure, hardened PCs well distributed throughout the world, the ability for people to communicate, trade, and share equitably is possible, and the ability for a particular group or person or bank to have unreasonable sway, or to spread propaganda, or to steal, is highly limited. Yet if you have only centrally controlled computers and smartphones, the system can be easily punked without detection or awareness, evidence can be erased, etc.

      Electronic vote fraud, for which there is overwhelming evidence, is the perfect example. Yet people allow it to continue. They’re going to get right where they’re heading, as people usually do.

      That is what Aral Balkan and others should be talking about – crypto’s use in hardened, global transparency – not this privacy meme nonsense. But as usual the whole dialogue is controlled by big media, and these people spouting hot air aren’t nearly as smart as their egos would have them believe, because they’re missing the real issue completely.

      If you want to live in a genuinely peaceful and equitable world, the answer is crypto-enforced transparency and crypto-enforced free/anonymous communication. It must be a system built with real integrity (like a bridge is built with structural integrity so it can take the real weight of real use). It’s very doable, and no one knows that more than the people taking the tools away from other people.

      The real reason they don’t want strong crypto in use isn’t because they think they won’t know your secrets, it’s because they won’t be in control (of banking, politics, communication, media, etc). They can’t fake a SHA sum. Crypto can put people on an equal basis with governments (really banks) and their dark agencies – it’s real power, not merely a right granted.

      Comment by IgnorantGuru | June 14, 2015

  3. Also, it is hard to see how ‘computer people’ are so unactivist and uninformed these days. It seems like ‘the system’ controls most people – as in corporate developers doing what they’re told, etc. Makes sense – they pay people well to do their deeds. Not much free spirit.

    A recent example for me was the Reddit exodus to Voat.co. People like to talk about free speech and seem to believe in it, yet they don’t notice how they’ve never even tried it. They’re so used to being moderated and told what they can or can’t say. They call staying within carefully defined politically correct lines, or getting banned and silenced, ‘free speech’. And anything they create for sharing, such as Youtube or Reddit, gets bought by corporations, manipulated and locked down. They don’t know how to hold onto anything good.

    With Usenet groups, people said and did ANYTHING. There was simply NO control. You chose which groups you subscribed to, and if you didn’t like something, you filtered it in your reader. The groups were mirrored globally. Same way in IRC. You could (can) create a channel and own it, and no one told you what you could or couldn’t say or exchange. And those were just very primitive early examples – they should have evolved much more by now. Instead, you see regression to centrally controlled printing presses.

    So instead of Redditors whining, why don’t they use a crypto-secured method of registering ALL contributions and votes on an aggregator site, tallying them openly, and letting only readers filter? You think you can remove a commit from a git repo with no one noticing? Next time you pull the repo, you’re going to know something is seriously wrong. You think you can steal a bitcoin out of the ledger without it being noticed? It’s math. Stop whining and use the tools – learn how to count. But they won’t, because the last thing they want is for everyone to be heard.

    I don’t think people today can handle that level of freedom or organization for common goals, which is why they hide on social media and such, which is like a managed playground for nitwits, always with an undercurrent of ‘be careful what you say’, because they don’t have free speech at all. Genuine free speech is mighty powerful stuff – it changes the world – and you don’t see much of it today.

    The most obvious evidence for this is activism. In the 1970s and 80s (BEFORE the internet) you saw people rallying around positive social causes, for example the ‘sunshine laws’ in the US that brought much TRANSPARENCY to govt and ended a lot of ‘good ole boys’ backroom politics, environmental and safety movements that actually stopped corporations, opening government meetings to citizens, etc. That’s why you have seatbelts and airbags in your car, for example – you think corporations gave a shit? Yet today all you see are causes fighting against something, no positive goals, no social vision. This is because consensus is never allowed to form around people-initiated ideas – they are dissolved, and there is no free speech. Rather, opposition to corporate-created agendas is created – a false kind of tension that ultimately sustains what it opposes. It’s a chinese finger cuff that people don’t have the intelligence or will to get out of.

    So if you enjoy that fake life, then keep living it, but in case you haven’t noticed, it’s turning into a living hell. It’s like those toy steering wheels they have for kids, so they can pretend they’re driving just like mom or dad. But when he’s done pretending and enjoying the thrill of that, eventually the kid is going to notice that he isn’t steering shit, and maybe it’s time to learn how to drive.

    Comment by IgnorantGuru | June 14, 2015

  4. I have to point out that if USENET was good, it was probably due to more than just the fact that you could do anything. It was helped by the fact that it had reasonably good social standards. In its heyday, the people who’d use USENET were mostly the people who went to universities or worked at companies with DoD contracts. So we’re talking about people who rightfully viewed themselves as technically capable and socially responsible compared to the mainstream, and that probably contributed to the quality of discussion. After the eternal September hit (ie when the floodgates opened and anyone and everyone came online), that quickly ceased to be a factor.

    Even so, it’s a stretch to say that you could do anything. The voting process for adding groups was far from perfect, and probably wouldn’t scale well. You still had moderated groups, with a handful of people moderating posts from the whole world. And for the majority of groups which weren’t moderated, they were always susceptible to spam and trolling, a fact which ultimately led to USENET’s decline once the Internet started seriously growing. I agree with you that the freedom of USENET was something to be envied, and it’s likely that the trolling and spamming was purposefully played up to some degree in order to steer people towards commercially-possessed forums, but I think it’s oversimplification to say that USENET was the way it was only because you could do anything.

    As to the greater point of succumbing to control by corporations, it’s problematic that it’s hard to be immune to deception. Even if you adopt a sensible view, like supporting freedom or opposing greedy exploitation, it’s still easy to be susceptible to pretty little lies. So instead you should be able to fall back on more basic measures of trust, like being able to check what’s going on when something seems amiss, or being at liberty to assert yourself when you actually do know what’s going on. From time to time, I find myself in the situation where I get fed up looking for documentation for something, and I end up going screw it and just looking at the source code instead. This happenned to me once using GNOME, which led to me seeing just how much volume I’d have to download and look through, which led to me noticing how much it actually takes up on disk compared to what it actually adds to usability. So that’s why I stopped using GNOME – I just didn’t really think it was as free as advertised, even before the GNOME 3 fiasco.

    It seems like the government bought into the Microsoft philosophy at some point, turning the power structure of the country into a monolithic beast which puts a lot of power into a very limited space and doesn’t really speak for a lot of people, but at the same time lacks the flexibility to adapt when there’s a problem. One noticable price is that organizations which should have a lot of clout (think ACLU or EFF) routinely get brushed aside. It’s kind of an awkward situation actually, as if the government was suckered in by MS marketing, and one day decided, “hey, let’s be the heroes and make sure we sneakily support these good guys so that they come out on top.” To which most of the tech community which knew what they were doing and generally preferred UNIX variants went, “huh? MS is a lot of things, but good guys was never one of them.” So I think that’s the situation we’re stuck with. It’s difficult to effect change at a microscopic level unless you’re assured the right to fall back on your own better judgement when mainstream powers-that-be don’t agree with you.

    Sorry if I rambled, I’m happy for the chance to put forth my opinion without having to demonstrate my credentials first. I like the toy car example, and it’s especially true if you get handed the toy car after you’ve already spent time driving the real one.

    Comment by IA | June 15, 2015

    • Feel free to ramble. This blog has handled many controversies without moderation, and I let people express themselves as they see fit. I find that things tend to reach a much more valuable natural consensus when moderators aren’t involved.

      I wasn’t suggesting that Usenet as-is is a perfect solution for today’s conditions – evolution required – but it was engineered to be very free, putting to shame today’s versions of social media. It also handled a lot of heat. I don’t know what Usenet you were using, but the one I knew was full of everything (well after AOLers arrived too), not just university professors by any means. I worked on anonymous remailer dev way back then and I assure you everything under the sun went through them onto Usenet. I doubt you’d be able to do it just like that today with corporations owning servers, etc. But the idea of global mirroring, with some crypto and anti-spam added, could be powerfully free.

      But I don’t believe technological solutions alone can help what people have become – intolerant, abusive, and great believers in censorship. Tech isn’t a cure for stupidity. Hence the locked-down internet we see today, where Google is planning to sort their index based on “truth”, and where Reddit moderators censor discussion of Fukushima because they believe reports to be false (based on pro-nuke big media views) – editing for ‘truth’. It’s like people are locked in a room and fed propaganda, and there’s no way to reach them. It completely warps their view of reality, and it’s mostly due to systemic censorship. Just doesn’t work, and people are going to feel the not-working of it in very real ways as it grows. The larger the problem gets, the harder it will be to reverse. Personally, I’ve pretty much given up on them. But if people are going to carve out any sanity, they’re going to need to use real tools to do it, not toys.

      Comment by IgnorantGuru | June 15, 2015

      • Good point about the AOLers and the like. I still think that having a sense of what USENET should be contributed to what it was, and it wouldn’t have been the way it was without the intellectually-elitist, socially principled mentality deriving from the people that helped build it, even if those people only represented a fraction of the Internet population. Signal-to-noise in discussions isn’t an absolute, of course, and there’s a good amount of built-in tolerance, but I know that in my case, I stopped reading USENET once it felt like I was searching through spam posts just to find any real posts.

        I totally hear you about intolerant, abusive, censorship-loving folks, but I don’t think that’s something new. I think that the mainstream that was once looked down upon by people on the Internet, because they were intolerant, abusive, and censorship-loving, now make up the mass of the Internet. In the past many would shy away because it was something unfamiliar which they didn’t understand, and now it’s something commonplace. So the Internet is somewhat of a victim of its own success. But ultimately I’d reach the same conclusion you do, it’s hard to cure a shortage of common sense without the help of real tools.

        Comment by IA | June 15, 2015

        • So the Internet is somewhat of a victim of its own success.

          To give credit to USENET/Debian/Wikipedia/(Internet ?), these are failures, but the ones that improved on the previous situation and the ones that we can learn from.

          Every bold project is already containing the roots of its future failure even at the times of the peak success.

          I think, when starting something new and ambitious, it is reasonable to aim not at an eternal success, but at better failure.

          I think there is still much to be learned from the failure of Debian/(Linux at large?), perhaps it should be a theme of many sociological / economical studies in order for future projects to fail better.

          Now, when many people agree that Debian has failed, it is important to have detailed historical quantitative and qualitative analysis of why it has done so.

          Comment by pipy | June 18, 2015

          • P.S. To this day I think that Debian is THE Linux and still embodies some strengths of what Linux could have been.

            Comment by pipy | June 18, 2015

          • I think you’ve made a remarkably optimistic post masquerading as a pessimistic one. :)

            Iteratively reducing failure is a process that’s served nature well, so there’s no reason why it wouldn’t be the model for software projects as well. The failure that we’re talking about isn’t complete failure. So for example, I still use Debian, albeit without GNOME or systemd, and like you said, progress is defined in terms of people’s ability to take what worked well and adapt what didn’t.

            Comment by IA | June 22, 2015

  5. There is something pointed out by this guy in relation to Systemd and NSA – on the following site on updates on Systemd auditing –

    “auditing: implemented for when your application needs to be NSA approved (that appeared to be the main reason, Lennart himself said he’s not a big fan of it). Can log all system calls made to /etc/passwd etc to the audit log. Auditing is integrated with journald, audit-tools to read the logs have been improved.”

    https://ma.ttias.be/whats-new-systemd-2015-edition/

    Well it is obvious what Lennart Poettering is all about..

    Comment by Vinay Paul | June 16, 2015

  6. Offtopic: Epic Debian bug “Chromium: unconditionally downloads binary blob”: https://bugs.debian.org/cgi-bin/bugreport.cgi?bug=786909

    Comment by pipy | June 16, 2015

    • Nice one. And if anyone wants to know just how whipped Debian is, they didn’t even issue a security advisory. They wouldn’t dare.

      The paid trolls are out protecting Google’s reputation, I see. Though admittedly it’s hard to tell them from mere dumb-as-fucks. Some discussions:
      https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=9724409
      https://warosu.org/g/thread/48522008

      Yeah, keep using Google products. A binary blob listening for keywords on your mic in your open source browser is Perfectly Normal.

      Comment by IgnorantGuru | June 16, 2015

      • Interesting similarities between that chromium bug and this new Samsung phone bug. Both seem to involve a word watcher (mic vs keyboard) downloading unsecure material and opening a security exploit. In this case it’s remarkable that the keyboard software was so in control of the whole system that it’s compromise affected the security of all areas – that’s some important keyboard software. And they seemed very reluctant to fix the problem – eventually the team that found it had to go public with it.

        Comment by IgnorantGuru | June 18, 2015

    • Funny is the guy that’s insisting it isn’t a rootkit. If it’s very unexpected behavior, and you have no way to find out for sure, it’s quite normal to assume it’s a rootkit.

      Comment by IA | June 16, 2015

      • And the Debian developer in question is an uploader not only of Chromium, but of Wine, lighthttpd, Ghostscript, ISC DHCP, Xpdf. [1]

        I concur with IG that the problem is social and is not solvable by technical means.

        It is the same as Wikipedia, which cannot possibly be democratic in an an undemocratic world. In my country each truly controversial Wikipedia article is guarded by paid government and PR shills that keep sweeping important facts and authoritative sources under the rug, sometimes making content of the articles so absurd as only Kafka could have imagined. (Not that English Wikipedia doesn’t have it’s fair share of shills).

        About 10 years ago I had a lengthy correspondence with one of my countries prominent non-party left writers in which I argued precisely against the idea that left activists can possibly overtake Wikipedia to make it a democratic and progressive enclave. Wikipedia is a tool, it is good for some uses, and should not be ignored, but it is not a magic cure-all pill.

        Individual is always at disadvantage with coordinated groups with full-time involvement. I find the idea that progressive individuals should fight for transparency instead of privacy very compelling. Even as a person most probably living under 24/7 personal surveillance (not that I’ve done anything bad, but ‘just in case’).

        [1] https://qa.debian.org/developer.php?login=mgilbert%40debian.org

        Comment by pipy | June 17, 2015

        • Yes, technology is only supposed to go so far as to ensure that a reasonable resolution to social problems is possible. It isn’t supposed to solve the problems itself. I concur as well.

          Comment by IA | June 17, 2015

        • So Debian responded with a bugfix, and Google responded with an explanation, which is really the bare minimum that decency dictates. I’m still put off by the way the Debian maintainer paints it as a non-issue. Assuming he isn’t simply being disingenuous, he’s drastically underestimating the potential for BS [*].

          [*] I remember one open-source project where a dev boasted about how its technology progressed from similar software from past decades. Really it wasn’t a controversial statement, and most people would be inclined to accept it with only a casual glance – unless they’d looked at the code. Then they’d have seen that not only was it not an advancement, but that it was actually {objectively,unambiguously,significantly} technically inferior to the older tech he was comparing to. To this day I’m puzzled about what was up with that. Whether he was just a PR goon who had no idea what he was talking about, or if he thought nobody ever looked at the source in open source projects, or if he knew people would look as was trying to piss them off on purpose. Most plausibly, I think it was probably a social engineering trick to split the muggles from the wizards, so to speak, for some unknown nefarious purpose. That project had a number of similarly dubious characteristics, which I’m hoping aren’t very representative of what open source has become.

          Comment by IA | June 22, 2015

  7. […] via Openwashing And Other Deceptions In Linux « IgnorantGuru’s Blog. […]

    Pingback by Openwashing And Other Deceptions In Linux « IgnorantGuru’s Blog | Truth... Fiction... Reality... | June 17, 2015

  8. It would be easier to go against the current if I was a salmon instead of a primate. It is exceedingly difficult to believe as an individual that I can make a difference in the way that is often promoted by every manner of organization as they seek to recruit members to their causes. All commitment involves sacrifice and as has always been the case, we are all in favor of it as long as it is not us that is lying on altar. Even in our utilitarian world, the one is always sacrificed for the many.

    I would argue that our conceptual love affair with individualism is a form of romanticism but like all love affairs, the mechanics of life intrude. Individualism today has become assimilated into the social fabric (a paradox) and turned into self-gratification, a consumptive drive. I doubt that it could have turned out any other way. In life it is rare that anything turns out the way it was intended.

    There is a reason that every new technology is seen as having the promise of contributing to a new utopia (at least for those in possession of it). Technology has been the hallmark of our success as a species as we have gone from flint tools to supercomputers and the fundamental behavior that has allowed technology to thrive is our manipulative skill. For us as a species, manipulation is wedded to survival even to the point of social engineering.

    It is a cliche that human beings are sheep but for some reason the implication of this by those making this pronouncement is never given its due. If human beings are sheep, it is futile to expect them not to seek safety in numbers even if it means having a barking dog to keep everybody together.

    I am most sympathetic to IGB’s desire for something better, I just find that I am not one who is going to make it happen even though at one time, I thought I might contribute. These days I identify with the character Lt. Col. Frank Slade in the movie Scent of a Woman when he said in his rant at the Baird School, “I’m too old, I’m too tired, I’m too fucking blind. If I were the man I was five years ago, I’d take a FLAMETHROWER to this place!”

    (Just to be clear, I’m not blind and I probably wouldn’t have taken a flamethrower to anything even 40 years ago but the intensity of the frustration coupled with futility resonates).

    In any movement, there is always a small cadre of those who adhere to certain principles irrespective of consequences but as we have seen with the disinformation campaign regarding “open source” and appropriation of code control by corporate developers, these principles end up being watered down to make them appealing to the masses so that the masses can feel to be a part of something revolutionary without cost and control remains in the hands of the few.

    Of course I could be wrong. The Persian’s under Xerxes did not ultimately defeat the Greeks but it was not without great cost for the Greeks. I just question whether or not such commitment can exist for any battle that does not involve the very land upon which one stands.

    Comment by Eli Cummings | June 17, 2015

    • I am no fan of great costs or sacrifice. In fact people who use those words are usually enslaving and exploiting people, and it is the egomaniacs who are trying to make everything homogenous and hugely time-consuming, not me. I’m all for working smarter and more efficiently.

      First, most software users should understand that they vote with their feet. You support what you use, even if you don’t pay dollars for it. If you use software, that generates energy around it. If you abandon a particular area, that deprives it of energy. So the point here is to choose software carefully – make your votes say something. Contribute to a positive direction, and support people who are genuinely supporting your interests.

      That said, I realize some people don’t give a damn, they just want to use shiny toys. So be it, but at least tell the truth. Stop lying to yourself and others that your OS and software is secure and freely developed, for example. Stop calling people “conspiracy theorists” just for pointing out who is engineering your toy. Stop pretending it isn’t completely pwned. Also, you might give some thought to where engineering is headed, not just how the bait tastes. Take a look at who develops your software, what their affiliations are, what their track record is. Whose team are they really playing for? Slow down and think things through. Are these wild changes really saving you time and effort in the long run?

      It’s not necessary to reinvent Linux – it’s mature and capable. Small changes and slow development at a time like this saves energy and effort. Don’t let them steal all that is good in Linux by their rewriting it (really forking it radically). “Bigger, better, more” as a set of principles eventually produces a lot of garbage that isn’t genuinely valuable. It’s also hugely wasteful.

      If you look at systemd for example, consider the hundreds of thousands of hours people are spending converting to it, resisting it, arguing about it, begging for changes and support – for 2 seconds of faster boot time and a less stable system? Some deal. And knowing who develops it, it will continue to be a neverending energy sink, like a black hole that sucks time and effort. Sucking other people’s time with useless changes is what these people are really experts at, trust me. They have the whole Linux community dancing to their music, trying to keep up with useless and destructive changes, instead of using that time and energy to create genuinely new and innovative tools, slowly and carefully engineered with precision.

      When it comes to innovation, remember that often things are ‘good enough’ and you can simply let them be. You don’t have to change something continuously. This is something the Linux community really needs to understand, because it wastes huge energy through constant breakage and rewriting, rewriting, rewriting.

      Then you see people making threats against systemd people, etc. Another waste of energy. You don’t need to murder the world. Just choose an open road. Instead of thinking you need to change the world, try creating a few quality, simple tools to live in the world. (Doing that, you might just change the world more than you think.)

      As far as I’m concerned, computers are enjoyable and I’ve always moved toward technologies I enjoy using. For example, I found myself hating developing software in Windows. So I moved to Linux and found it much better, at least for a time.

      None of these approaches requires huge sacrifice – quite the opposite. It really does come down to survival, so it’s not sacrifice. Yet for all species except humans, survival mostly is a matter of adaptation, not strictly controlling one’s artificial environment. A little adaptation here and there goes a long way.

      The sheep factor is more a case of people not being permitted to form higher organization – natural consensus is dissolved through social engineering, censorship, etc. Anywhere you see people band together to create something good for themselves, corporations (as actors for big banks) come along and take it away. The fact that people like to group together and feel safety in numbers is not the problem. The fact that they’re not free to form natural consensus and groups is the problem. They need to group together and find genuine solutions to how they’re being confined and played. Just because you’re sheep, doesn’t mean you need to let wolves lead you, or that you need to be stupid and easily deceived. Even lazy sheep can be intelligent in their choices of leadership and direction.

      Comment by IgnorantGuru | June 18, 2015

  9. Thanks, IG, for an extremely relevant article! Maybe I’m missing
    something, but how about individual websites for uncensorable
    unspammable broadcast communication? Not ones that use
    wordpress or blogger/blogspot, which are under corporate control, but
    sites where the user writes his own HTML (which is what HTML was
    originally designed for), or uses a CMS that’s completely under his/her
    control. Keep a copy on your home computer of everything you put up,
    and if the web hosting company kills your site, just put it up somewhere
    else.

    If Google search is censored, rely on other good folks to link to
    your site, and link to theirs. My ISP Comcast is dropping, at least
    temporarily, some outgoing e-mails containing URLs of pages
    embarrassing to the US govt, e.g. about the US coup against
    Venezuela in February, but (at least currently) it’s easy to get around,
    by substituting commas or spaces for periods. or using tinyurls.

    Here’s my site — perhaps poorly organized, but with some good info,
    and nobody can mess with it:
    http://cosmicpenguin.com

    Comment by Mark Bilk | June 17, 2015

    • Thanks for your input. Even holding a controversial website can be very challenging, as I’m sure Wikileaks could tell you. Yet what is being discussed here is censorship in things like Reddit, and other forums where people discuss things. These forums, once they reach a certain size, are bought by corporations who act as players in social control (not as mere money-making machines, don’t be deceived), and are manipulated from the top down via moderators, trolls, etc. Many people go along with this willingly, because many people are brainwashed, but it’s still controlled.

      Free communication and open discussion is essential to problem-solving. So these modern censorship mechanisms prevent certain problems from being solved. Instead, people are exhausted and discouraged, which is the intention. You never see their energy building to effective, positive social change. The storms are dissolved, and artificial social movements are created.

      To address this, I believe they need to use real tools that use crypto, for example, and global mirroring. This means no one can manipulate or remove information from a discussion without leaving a trail. Thus you introduce transparency and accountability. That’s not to say moderation doesn’t have a limited role, but the moderators are held to standards. And part of this must be very loose standards which promote very diverse input. We’re still living in a world where a small minority dominates all discussions, usually through political-correctness and other prejudiced filters being applied.

      This accurate polling and discussion, once started, will spread, and it will also reveal how corrupt things really are (expect lots of resistance). For example, do you ever wonder why people don’t just vote on laws directly rather than using corrupt middlemen who clearly don’t represent them at all? Because people aren’t self-governing at all. That’s still merely a dream.

      So it’s not as simple as holding a website with static information that almost no one sees, because its address is censored and banned from most discussions. Technology can be used to help achieve balance and distribution of resources, reduce corruption and stealing, etc. Currently, the world runs on corruption. This is what the “conspiracy theory” propaganda was designed to hide in this age of information. Most people are figuring out that there’s a lot of truth to conspiracies (the world is run on corruption), but they still aren’t able to form groups and effect real change. This is why: they are silenced, and a false reality is created by big media.

      That false reality smells like death – it is a trap. Basic survival requires real awareness and mobility.

      Comment by IgnorantGuru | June 18, 2015

  10. Really, I think it’s too late for mainstream “Linux”. It’s gone. It’s done.

    I’m a very, very, very pessimistic person myself. But I think it is good to be skeptical even in pessimism. As history teaches us, it is impossible to see/envision future heights from the lowlands of societal crisis. To most people living in the Middle Ages the situation seemed eternal and unchangeable. (To be clear, I think that we are most probably living in pre-Middle Ages and wont ever see the brighter future : – ))

    BUT if we are wrong, we wouldn’t know it until situation changes. : – )

    Comment by pipy | June 18, 2015

    • pipy> Really, I think it’s too late for mainstream “Linux”.
      It’s gone. It’s done.

      If by “mainstream” you mean the major distros and big user
      numbers, then maybe you’re right. But if you mean Linux
      that follows the Unix design principles and is easy to use,
      I believe we’re gonna pull out of the dive.

      I think the two most important ways that Linux is being
      sabotaged are systemd and KDE4.

      The Devuan project is a fork of Debian without systemd. Judging
      from the high traffic on its mailing list and the hundreds of
      people on its IRC channels, it’s getting a lot of interest.
      I think it will succeed. And given the power of open source
      and the Internet, it will be impossible to kill, and it will
      be used by the many people who understand the issues.
      http://www.devuan.org/

      KDE4 eliminates KDE3’s twenty virtual desktops, which are
      very useful for fitting the computer to the user’s mind,
      since topically related programs can be set up and left
      running in each desktop, and a desktop can be selected with
      a single click.

      The Trinity Desktop Environment (TDE), is a modernized fork
      of KDE3 retaining all of its advantages, and under current
      development and maintenance. It has versions for the major
      distros including Debian. Its developers are unalterably
      opposed to systemd. http://www.trinitydesktop.org/

      Long live GNU/Linux!

      Comment by Mark Bilk | June 18, 2015

  11. […] Openwashing And Other Deceptions In Linux […]

    Pingback by Links 18/6/2015: Red Hat Results Imminent, Tor Browser 4.5.2 | Techrights | June 18, 2015

  12. Is Linus getting ready to quit Linux? He seems to be dropping a lot of hints lately, eg:
    http://www.theregister.co.uk/2015/06/17/now_i_can_die_happy_what_linus_didnt_iquitei_say/

    Personally, I think he sees how Linux is being engineered into Windows, or he has been ordered by Red Hat and party to quit soon. As he has held back a lot of the careless and insane changes that Red Hat has pushed for in the kernel, his departure will likely spell another major shift in mainstream corporate Linux (and thus in all the major systemd-infected distros that do whatever they’re told to do). However, many of those articles paint Linus as ‘being in charge of Linux’. They never mention how Red Hat does most of the engineering outside the kernel (and some inside it), and is solely responsible for most of the unwelcome changes.

    Comment by IgnorantGuru | June 18, 2015

  13. A report on the recent Bilderberg conference had a lot of AI development info in it. Google sure seems to be buying lots of AI interests. I’m sure nothing can go wrong there.

    “Artificial Intelligence is a tool to massively amplify our ability to control the world.”

    That’s a statement, couched with positive outloook [sic], from Mustafa Suleyman a co-founder of DeepMind, the AI firm now acquired by Google and represented this year at Bilderberg by co-founder Demis Hassabis, the Vice President of Engineering at DeepMind.

    http://truthstreammedia.com/2015/06/17/bilderberg-wields-artificial-intelligence-a-tool-to-massively-amplify-our-ability-to-control-the-world/

    Comment by IgnorantGuru | June 18, 2015

    • IMO, the creation of Strong AI will mean the end of human civilization.

      If we would get it, in a sense, we will deserve it. The children — the only ones to pity: they would be the ones that haven’t yet had a chance to repeat mistakes of their parents.

      As a Budach, the hero of “Hard to Be a God”, Alexei Germans film about a fictional civilization that didn’t experience Renaissance and is living through perpetual Middle Ages, answered to a question: “What would you ask of God, if ever had a chance?”

      He eventually told: “The Creator, if you do exist, blow us away like dust, like pus, or leave us in our rotting. Destroy us all. Destroy us all”.

      Eric Schmidt doesn’t seem to be a stupid person, yet he foolishly believes that AI would spare him if he were to upload his mind to a machine. He and others of that ilk would be like parasitic “monkey mind” software applications thinking their monkey thoughts wasting resources that could have been spent on more useful tasks. Not monkey, but nematode mind, most probably.

      I tend to think that even benevolent AI would consider us humans to be rotten, primitive and evil creatures, that, sadly, cannot be helped. “Hard to Be a God” universe is a great metaphor for this.

      As about Weak AI, not that I’m qualified to discuss this:

      In a future more near, the systems that can transform written texts into systems of logical statements to be used in automatic logical inference would be useful not only to crush dissent, but to force more transparency on ruling elites.

      Sadly, it looks like the progress of opensource Weak AI’s will be lagging over proprierary ones.

      Comment by pipy | June 19, 2015

      • I would be careful slipping too far into despair, mainly because so much of our world view is fictional. As you start to scratch away the paint on the matrix, you definitely encounter information that can send you into a tailspin. Things are lot more complicated than the conventional narrative, and people who like to believe they can fix problems can be quickly overwhelmed by the scale of it all. This is why many people hang out in denial – they can’t handle even a glimpse of the truth.

        When you see these ‘powerful’ people grabbing for insane things like nuclear weapons and AI, it’s important to remember that these are not free people – in many ways they’re more trapped than the people they would trap. There are balancing factors to most grabs for power, and in many ways these people have a gun to their heads just like we do – it’s a crowded chess board. The rabbit hole goes much deeper than these little players. They are mostly only in control of the masses they manage to suck into their media-created false reality, and that number is falling rapidly. They definitely aren’t in control of everything. Just look at how much energy they devote to maintaining propaganda to see how vital it is to their effort.

        I think the important thing to focus on is noticing how the media, military, and banking machines are playing people badly. Once you notice that, and the instruments they’re using (such as Google or the NSA), then look to what other directions you can take, what else you can support. Get informed and mobile instead of just sucking poison from a corporate tit.

        You only need to look at their desperate actions to see they aren’t really in control of much. In fact desperation is what mostly characterizes their actions. They are losing control, which is why they are grasping for AI. Despite all their apparent power, they have limited numbers (they keep reusing the same tired actors) and aren’t able to keep up with how the narrative is evolving. This may be hard to see from within the matrix – they won’t bring you that news on their channels – but you do see it as you expand your horizons. Most of us are raised and live in a very artificial and narrow bubble of misinformation and deception, and getting free of that takes real effort. So don’t draw too many conclusions from your current perspective, which you can bet has been warped by propaganda – first open your head more. And at the same time, invest in principled approaches. Iow, have some class and walk with dignity, treat all people with respect – don’t fall for all the race-baiting, nationalism, and other games they use to divide, control and brutalize people.

        AI is scary stuff, though, and they are using it. Keep giving reckless people unlimited resources and that’s going to be costly. Overall, I think limiting how large corporations, govts, spy agencies and other things get is important – people need to start pulling the plugs, shutting them down and splitting them up. Redistribute, reconfigure. It’s not easy, but it’s easier than we’ve been led to believe.

        It’s getting a lot easier to convince people of things like this, and it’s going to get a lot easier still as it becomes more obvious. But it will also then be more difficult to change (the chess pieces will be in position). So the sooner people wake up and respond in assorted ways the better. Time is somewhat critical – this particular stage of the game won’t go on forever, and you can see how desperately ‘they’ are putting pieces into place.

        I think the biggest challenge to them is climate change and other earth changes, and that’s one thing they’re clearly using the AI for (humans even with supercomputers can barely predict the weather, let alone figure out how to control it – it’s a very complex system). These changes threaten their order. But they know they’re going to lose control, and then things tend to get knocked back to the stone age, setting people free again (it’s a cycle that has repeated on this planet many times with past civilizations, many of which were very advanced).

        Most technology is very fragile and won’t last from one age to another. The only thing that doesn’t turn to dust between ages are huge stone constructions like the Great Pyramid, natural systems like DNA, and a bit of folklore. Bands of humans have survived ice ages and solar activity, for example, which would send almost all modern tech to its grave. This is why they’re obsessed with tunneling into mountains and editing DNA, but I don’t think it will matter – it’s just desperation, rats looking for a way off the ship. We’re all going for quite a ride.

        Comment by IgnorantGuru | June 20, 2015

  14. Just saw this floating on voat.co – interesting in light of some of the above discussion.

    Comment by IgnorantGuru | June 18, 2015

    • Just saw this floating on voat.co – interesting in light of some of the above discussion.

      Thanks. This is just a treasure. Amazing material to research on many, many evenings. : – )

      Comment by pipy | June 19, 2015

      • And look how much trouble Voat is having, first with DDOS attacks and now just keeping a provider:

        Our hosting provider, hosteurope.de has terminated all our contracts and shut down all our servers without issuing a warning or trying to talk to us. This includes my private server which… contained no other data whatsoever.

        Comment by IgnorantGuru | June 19, 2015

        • If its that trivial to censor, then they need to move to a darknet like I2P/tor – got to get more reasons for people to use the more private/functional networks.

          Comment by omegaphil | June 19, 2015

        • To be fair (or at least sticking to facts), HostEurope is in Germany and they have anti-hate speech laws. The fatpeoplehate Reddit drama made them spill into voat, and it was likely reported by people to HostEurope.

          If Voat wants to allow for true free speech, Germany is one of the worst possible countries to host a server for it in. Their government is socially conservative due to the events of WW2 and don’t want to risk anything close to a repeat.

          I’m not saying it’s right or that I agree, but it explains why they got terminated. That said, it was completely unwarranted to ruin the guy’s personal site. It had nothing to do with Voat.

          Comment by sporkbox | July 9, 2015

  15. A recent interview with Julian Assange re we need to break up Google:

    “This is one of the best interviews he ever gave”.

    Your remarks on Google, such as that it’s a “geopolitical visionary of Washington”, will come as a surprise to a majority of people and internet users, who all see Google as this inventive, “cool” company that cherishes liberal values. In fact, regular Internet users don’t view Google as a “corporation” whatsoever, let alone an evil one. Have you managed to fathom the phenomenon of this duplicity, this “hypocrisy” of Google?

    Comment by IgnorantGuru | June 19, 2015

  16. “The National Security Agency and its British counterpart, Government Communications Headquarters, have worked to subvert anti-virus and other security software in order to track users and infiltrate networks, according to documents from NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden.”
    https://firstlook.org/theintercept/2015/06/22/nsa-gchq-targeted-kaspersky/

    Also:

    An award-winning company founded by former Google engineers is taking legal action against the search engine giant over claims it has engaged in a “pattern of abusive behavior” and is violating privacy rights on a “massive scale.”

    Giving a user the ability to control his own privacy information (and to protect himself from malware) by blocking invisible connections to problematic sites constitutes an existential threat to Google.

    https://firstlook.org/theintercept/2015/06/23/google-disconnect-antitrust-privacy-app-europe/

    This is probably trouble for open anything too, especially considering who is doing it.
    http://techcrunch.com/2015/06/17/google-microsoft-mozilla-and-others-team-up-to-launch-webassembly-a-new-binary-format-for-the-web/

    Comment by IgnorantGuru | June 23, 2015

    • The funniest thing is that when you search the internet for “NSA antivirus” you get the impression that there is only one antivirus company in the world. Well, all results are only about one company…

      Comment by pipy | June 28, 2015

  17. Yet another example in the news recently…

    Spy Agency’s Secret Plans to Foster Online “Conformity” and “Obedience” Exposed

    Among the most troubling revelations is a 42-page internal JTRIG memo that describes in detail how the elite unit developed, maintained, and apparently sought to expand its “scientific and psychological research into how human thinking and behavior can be influenced” in order to increase its ability to “manipulate public opinion” via online tools like email, social media, video, discussion forums, and other platforms.

    From the original The Intercept article Domestic Law Enforcement, Online Propaganda, Psychology Research
    :

    The spy unit responsible for some of the United Kingdom’s most controversial tactics of surveillance, online propaganda and deceit focuses extensively on traditional law enforcement and domestic activities — even though officials typically justify its activities by emphasizing foreign intelligence and counterterrorism operations.

    Though its existence was secret until last year, JTRIG quickly developed a distinctive profile in the public understanding, after documents from NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden revealed that the unit had engaged in “dirty tricks” like deploying sexual “honey traps” designed to discredit targets, launching denial-of-service attacks to shut down Internet chat rooms, pushing veiled propaganda onto social networks and generally warping discourse online.

    Comment by IgnorantGuru | June 24, 2015

    • Thanks! As always, the document is really interesting. Whoosh, 42 pages! And 18 items in recommended reading list! The topic of shilling is so huge, it deserves a specialized encyclopedia!

      Comment by pipy | June 28, 2015

  18. The following is a real thinking-man’s article based on a recent interview with Julian Assange. I highly recommend taking the time to read it in full:
    Julian Assange on Google, surveillance and predatory capitalism

    Comment by IgnorantGuru | July 6, 2015

  19. Hi, couldn’t comment in the proper thread/blog post so I’ll leave this here: https://wiki.freebsd.org/launchd
    You were right about FreeBSD going Fedora, but freebsd folks had the original mostly crafted by Apple, so why should they get fucked by a scam like Red Hat’s when they could get onto them the original one?

    Comment by Theodore | July 21, 2015

  20. Maybe not the right topic but i’ll just leave it here:
    http://www.theregister.co.uk/2015/08/11/memory_hole_roots_intel_processors/

    Comment by ancow | August 12, 2015

    • Yes, all these ‘accidents’ coming to light recently. This is a nice one too. That should remind Linux users of systemd’s design. Can you imagine customers that actually tolerate such things?

      The shills would have one believe there’s no such thing as security, it’s such a tough job, so everyone should just give up. But the fact is they’re simply trusting the wrong people to design computers (the same corporations that are killing and enslaving the planet in general), and are trusting the wrong technologies and approaches. Once they have no access to food or water (what loss of freedom always leads to – where do you think this is all headed?) then they’ll wonder where they went wrong. It’s hard to pity these dumb fucks at all.

      Comment by IgnorantGuru | August 13, 2015

  21. Corporations ‘eh??? Cypherpunks? NSA? Linux “Conspiracy Theory”?
    Reminds me, of a 1970s movie scene (prophecy, imo)…

    Don’t mind the man behind the curtain…

    Comment by insidersbank | August 14, 2015

    • Two fish were swimming in the ocean. One says to the other, “kinda murky water today”. Other fish replies, “what water?”

      Comment by IgnorantGuru | August 19, 2015

      • Ha! ;-) Exactly.

        It is interesting that it’s so obvious (in plain sight), affects us everyday – yet takes intensive conscious effort on the part of an observer to even begin to notice & understand it. Perhaps why so few do?

        Or as Morpheus said: “The Matrix is everywhere. It is all around us. Even now, in this very room. You can see it when you look out your window or when you turn on your television. You can feel it when you go to work… when you go to church… when you pay your taxes… It is the world that has been pulled over your eyes to blind you from the truth.”

        Neo: “What Truth?”

        Comment by Insiders'Bank | August 22, 2015

      • Man, looking back on my pre-awake days, it’s scary how blind I was.

        Comment by Insiders'Bank | August 22, 2015

        • Yes, that’s why I try to be relatively patient, because I know I once believed so much crap. We’re taught and told it from a young age and it is indeed a false reality – stunning in its scope. It seems real because so many people believe it. Humans have serious cognition problems, including people at all intelligence levels, since it is more a matter of beliefs. People who pretend to be logical (like science and computer types) are usually very easily manipulated because they have no real awareness of how their beliefs are affecting their perceptions. The danger of being narrow-minded. I’ve always found the study of psychology to be valuable (and not so far from computer programming).

          And then there’s just plain old corruption and denial – lies.

          But I have found that if you research things broadly and honestly, with most things you can perceive a clear consensus that forms. Most conspiracies are actually blown open pretty well. Yet those who now go to great efforts to engineer society go to great lengths to prevent natural consensus from being expressed. This is because once consensus forms on an issue, people then form groups and create change to address it. This process is now dissolved through shills, confusion, various forms of attack, etc. That’s why despite all the revelations and leaks, little is changing for the better. People can’t get it together, even on the most basic things like human dignity and sharing resources (the things that create the conditions for war). It’s hard to watch what’s happening in this world. I see why people bury their heads. I can’t really blame them, but it’s not helpful.

          Comment by IgnorantGuru | August 22, 2015

          • Amen, brother.

            I was a Psych major once… :-\ before I switched to business. idk , thinking money would attract ladies. Only After* graduating B-school did I learn the World is completely & irredeemably Corrupt.

            Quite disappointing! Although I should have expected that surprise.

            I love how Mark Passio explains it:

            and..
            https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LXPk2b_57P4 I’m not a big follower of Mr. Icke, but he’s got a way with words

            Mark’s background is computers, but he knows plenty of neuroscience. Which he uses to explain concepts like Mind Control. I see it as mostly “perception control”. Total media / information dominance. Like that saying: “Perception is reality” (at least in the mind).. especially if reinforced by ‘social proof’ consensus!

            That’s sufficient to keep most of 7+ billion people under control.

            Inasmuch as if more sophisticated technologies exist, ‘psychotronics’, they don’t seem ready for prime time yet.

            Man, kinda sucks with Globalization the whole World everyone is becoming like Americans?? Soon children won’t know what it’s like NOT growing up with a cell phone & social media glued to your face 24/7?

            Comment by Insiders'Bank | August 26, 2015

            • Swap those videos^ 2nd one’s on neuroscience. Leads to an atrophied corpus callosum.

              Comment by Insiders'Bank | August 26, 2015

  22. Bradley Kuhn gave a talk on GPL enforcement and mentions some problems with corporate violations.
    [video src="http://gensho.acc.umu.se/pub/debian-meetings/2015/debconf15/Debians_Central_Role_in_the_Future_of_Software_Freedom.webm" /]

    Comment by jim | August 18, 2015

  23. Red Hat has become the new Microsoft.

    The problem is that they have a lot of manpower work, aka hackers who work for the interest of Red Hat rather than Linux.

    We know this since many years, see Ullrich Drepper who now works for Goldman sucks, the guys who helped greece lie to the other EU states, and forced them to send money to that.

    Of course all of this is just “coincidence” – but the underlying and unifying scheme is PROFIT.

    Whether this is red hat, Microsoft or anyone else.

    I am surprised that the old jesus is silent on that matter, Mr. Stallman. I guess if Red Hat controls everything he is happy. If Microsoft open sources things he is not happy. Weird a person he is isn’t he? The alleged “freedom” he so heavily praised … all a show.

    Comment by Weghweh Hwewehwhe | August 24, 2015

  24. […] Source: Openwashing And Other Deceptions In Linux […]

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