More than two decades ago, the internet was powered by a variety of operating systems from a large number of vendors, such as Novell Netware, FreeBSD, AIX and Windows. Today, only a single operating system dominates the most popular internet sites and supercomputers, the Linux operating system which was started by Finnish programmer Linus Torvalds in 1991. Throughout the years, it has faced intense competition from Microsoft, often resulting in extremely anti-competitive behavior. Linux is also the operating system behind Google's Android, which is currently the most popular mobile platform and has completely smashed Microsoft's mobile venture, costing it billions of dollars in its wasted acquisition of Nokia.
Despite everything Microsoft threw at it, Linux had two major advantages that no amount of deceit could shake off: it was both open-source, meaning that anyone could examine or modify the source code, and it was free. All of the corporations that Microsoft has destroyed were profit-driven and would not survive the anti-competitive "embrace, extend, extinguish" strategy. This was a sharp contrast compared to Linux, which was the product of a collaborative effort of programmers from all around the world, each with their own individual motivation.
Unlike commercial software development, open source development is done without the expectation of compensation for the programmer's time. Other than personal satisfaction, the only potential gains are reputation or at the very least an enhancement of user experience. Nevertheless, many people, with a large variety of personal political opinions, gave away decades of their lives towards the development of Linux. Linus himself, was an abrasive but fair leader of the project he started, only accepting the best from his contributors. In 2013, Sarah Sharp (an Intel employee), demanded that Linus behave in a more professional fashion after he playfully bullied a highly ranked leader within the Linux contributor community. Linus' response was unforgiving and highlighted the spirit of open source collaboration:
Because if you want me to "act professional", I can tell you that I'm not interested […] I'm also not going to buy into the fake politeness, the lying, the office politics and backstabbing, the passive aggressiveness, and the buzzwords.
In spite of all the bad press generated by this skirmish, Linus was widely supported for his position, except by a few radical leftists with very loud voices within the programming sphere. This made Linus a target of social terrorism organizations such as the ADA initiative. In 2015, another famous voice within open source, Eric S. Raymond, warned that a honeypot was being arranged for Linus. This is why it should not have come as a shock that Linus has not only backed down from his previous position but took an entirely different turn in an email posted on September 16th:
I need to change some of my behavior, and I want to apologize to the people that my personal behavior hurt […] I am going to take time off and get some assistance on how to understand people's emotions and respond appropriately."
After more than a week of silence, Linus gave an interview to the BBC, Linus took a large dump on anyone opposed to social terrorism:
I may have my reservations about excessive political correctness, but honestly, I absolutely do not want to be seen as being in the same camp as the low-life scum on the internet that think it's OK to be a white nationalist Nazi, […] people were complaining about too much political correctness too, and in the process just making my public stance look bad.
One would have hoped that Linus could at least avoid making a guilt by association fallacy. To rub salt on the wound made by these out-of-character statements and indefinite departure from the project, Linus applied a patch to the Linux source tree that adopted the so-called "covenant code of conduct" that was written by the freakazoid social terrorist Corey Dale Ehmke. This CoC has a divisive clause that enforces a whole range of rules on the human behavior of anyone wishing to write code for Linux:
"In the interest of fostering an open and welcoming environment, we as contributors and maintainers pledge to making participation in our project and our community a harassment-free experience for everyone, regardless of age, body size, disability, ethnicity, sex characteristics, gender identity and expression, level of experience, education, socio-economic status, nationality, personal appearance, race, religion, or sexual identity and orientation."
This probably wouldn't have been a problem before, given that the majority of productive contributors were white males, but nevertheless the CoC does not only restrict their communication within official project channels but in any form of public communication. The punishment for not adhering to the CoC is expulsion from the project. This forces everyone who wishes to contribute to Linux to adopt the ideology espoused in the CoC. But many won't, and this will act as a fracture point within Linux, driving many developers away. No rational person would contribute their time to a project that can, at any time, excommunicate them for frivolous reasons. Just days after the CoC was inserted into Linux, a resident social terrorist attempted to get a long-time contributor Theodore Tso ejected from the project:
The real justification was that Theodore did not, at least initially, sign on to the CoC insertion. Theodore was terrorized enough to later claim he intended to all along. In the meantime, social terrorist Corey made a victory lap around twitter after the CoC announcement:
The end of open source?
Anyone working on Linux who opposes the social terrorists can be removed through manufactured moral outrage using social media, the mainstream media and any moneyed parties with motivation. But this is sadly not limited to Linux, the CoC has been making rounds, getting inserted into so many projects that Corey announced the creation of a CoC beacon, with an intention to enforce the rules of the CoC on all the projects that adopt it through a centralized system.
What was once a project lifted off the ground on the backs of volunteers, who hoped to change the future of computing, has now been turned on its creators. Arriving at this point didn't happen suddenly, it was a gradual process with various "diversity outreach programs" and foundation-driven funding. Being such a central operating system, it is natural that it would attract the attention of state entities, who tried to backdoor the operating system with bad patches. With this CoC change, attempts like this would be trivial. The same Theodore Tso that was threatened with expulsion by the social terrorist Corey, has previously fought the pressure from Intel to inject exactly this kind of back door into Linux. It's not difficult to imagine large corporations like Microsoft also abusing this mechanism that is now in place.
Microsoft declared in 2015 that it is no longer seeing open source in a hostile light. It later purchased GitHub, revealing that there was a huge amount of financial resources behind the strategy. Linux now runs on Microsoft's cloud solution Azure and as a shell on the Windows operating system. Microsoft has clearly embraced Linux at this point and is actively extending it. Richard Stallman, one of the original programmers of a Linux-based GNU operating system, warns that Microsoft intends to extinguish Linux. With the CoC changes, some developers on the Linux mailing list suggested revoking their copyrighted material from the Linux kernel should the CoC ever be applied to them. Should this be successfully tested in court, this would spell doom for open Linux collaboration as all copies would need to have code removed from them. This leaves room for companies like Microsoft to conveniently market their own, copyright hardened version of Linux, finally doing away with their adversary.