Garrett: Linux Foundation Says Let Them Eat Cake

by Ostatic Staff - Jan. 21, 2016

Matthew Garrett, kernel contributor and social activist, today posted of his discovery of a little change at the Linux Foundation. The foundation left regular users and individual developers behind for large corporate sponsors years ago, but today Garrett said they made it official. One little clause was removed from the by-laws, but it removes so much more from the foundation.

Garrett explained, "Up until recently individual members ($99 a year) could also elect two board members, allowing for community perspectives to be represented at the board level. As of last Friday, this is no longer true." He said these changes happened right after Karen Sandler, a lawyer and executive director Software Freedom Conservancy, "announced that she planned to stand for the Linux Foundation board during a presentation last September." He noticed the "individual membership" level was renamed to "individual supporter," again quite the signal that lowly community peasants are no longer welcome. Then last Friday the Linux Foundation quietly removed the bit that allowed individual members/sponsors to vote in elections. Waifs be gone.

Garrett thinks all this has to do with enforcement of the GPL saying, "it certainly looks like the Linux Foundation was willing to throw out any semblance of community representation just to ensure that there was no risk of someone in favour of GPL enforcement ending up on their board." He said a lot of Linux code was written by individuals and now they have no representation or say in representation at the Linux Foundation anymore. 'The Linux Foundation is interested only in "promoting, protecting and standardising Linux and open source software" if doing so benefits their corporate membership rather than the community as a whole.'

In related news, Karen Sandler announced Sunday that she was running for the board of the Linux Foundation. She said herself in her announcement that the Linux Foundation does the best job of representing "companies" and "corporate members." But then she continues to tout the "Linux Foundation by laws allow for two Board Seats elected by individuals." A later edit said the link she provided to by-laws at the Linux Foundation "broke," these being the same by-laws that Garrett said was changed right about that same time. She then provided a link to the Google cache copy.