The most effective terror weapon against its own work force

I have written in this post: http://penguinday.wordpress.com/2010/08/10/only-become-less/

the following:

“His [Stallman's] explicit desire to put programmers financially into the mud, is because of that incident. That’s exactly why he mentions so many times that programmers should be paid less, and why he even wants to close other ways to generate money, like books and wants to BANN corporations with higher wages. GNU is the eternal revenge against all corporate programmers of the world. It’s not “freedom”, it’s revenge.
Paying programmers less and treating them bad is exactly what big corporations like IBM don’t mind, too, this is why the FSF gets backed by them. To achieve a common goal, alliances can happen between two unlikely partners. History shows that. FOSS (the Stallmanite kind) creates a devaluization of the programming work force – the desired effect of both sides. [...] he biggest FOSS backers have the worst policies regarding their employees (with the exception of Google)”
 

 

I will demonstrate this today with HP. HP is a paying patron of the FSF:

https://my.fsf.org/donate/patron/

Place three I think. And a good example.

Note: I will quote sometimes from heise.de, because it provided a nice chronology of all the job cuts. Since it’s a German site, I have used google translator for the quotes. It’s not pretty, but it works.

So, let us begin:

2001:
Open Source involvement:
 

 

http://www.computerweekly.com/Articles/2001/06/12/180812/hp-taps-collabnet-for-open-source-project.htm

“HP taps CollabNet for open source project
Hewlett-Packard is supplying more arms to the open source development community, announcing on Monday that it has built an internal developers network based on an open source software platform from CollabNet, a software and consulting company launched by Apache software co-creator Brian Behlendorf.”
 

 

Layoffs begin:

http://news.cnet.com/Layoffs-may-spoil-HP-workers-allegiance/2100-1017_3-270656.html

“Employees and their families are already showing signs of bitterness. On Thursday morning, after HP announced it would lay off 6,000 workers, the angry spouse of an HP employee sent a fiery e-mail to CNET News.com. She was bitter because her husband–who generously agreed to a 10 percent pay cut to help HP save money–is now in danger of getting a pink slip.”

2002:
Open Source involvement:
 

 

http://findarticles.com/p/articles/mi_m0PAT/is_2004_July/ai_n6148580/

“The breakthrough came in June 2002 when HP followed through on Fiorina’s fine words with its first collaboration with Red Hat. The two combined engineering resources to certify and deliver Red Hat Linux Advanced Server on the Oracle9i Real Application Clusters environment running on the HP ProLiant DL580 servers. HP was the first to deliver such a certified configuration, its first step to offering integrated Linux-based solutions rather than spot products.”

Layoffs begin:

http://translate.google.com/translate?u=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.heise.de%2Fnewsticker%2FHewlett-Packard-plant-weitere-Entlassungen–%2Fmeldung%2F31006&sl=de&tl=en&hl=en&ie=UTF-8

“25.09.2002
Hewlett-Packard plans further layoffs”
 

 

2005:
Open Source involvement:
 

 

http://www.hp.com/hpinfo/newsroom/press/2005/050808b.html

“HP Further Extends Open Source and Linux Into the Data Center
New expertise centers, products and services aim to simplify integration of open source and Linux
SAN FRANCISCO, Aug. 8, 2005
——————————————

HP today announced new products, services and programs to help customers simplify and accelerate the adoption of Linux and open source in the data center.

http://www.hoise.com/primeur/06/articles/monthly/AE-PR-02-06-8.html

“HP teams with Symas to deliver open source directory across HP server platforms
Palo Alto 20 December 2005 HP has signed an agreement with Symas Corporation to expand its certification and services for an open source directory across all HP industry-standard platforms. “
 

 

Layoffs begin:

http://translate.google.com/translate?u=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.heise.de%2Fnewsticker%2FHewlett-Packard-plant-Restrukturierung–%2Fmeldung%2F61730&sl=de&tl=en&hl=en&ie=UTF-8

“15.07.2005
Wall Street analysts expected after the report, HP “significant” job cuts in the range of 5000 to about 25,000 of the Group, approximately 150,000 jobs. An analyst for Sanford C. Bernstein & Co. said in May the expectation that HP could be deleted from 7500 to 15,000 jobs, thereby saving 750 million to 1.5 billion U.S. dollars. Other market experts had indicated the job losses of up to 25,000.”
 

 

http://translate.google.com/translate?u=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.heise.de%2Fnewsticker%2FHewlett-Packard-will-auch-in-Deutschland-Stellen-streichen–%2Fmeldung%2F61765&sl=de&tl=en&hl=en&ie=UTF-8

“16.07.2005

“Hewlett-Packard plans to cut jobs in Germany
delete 350 of the first 9600 jobs in Germany. 150 positions were eliminated by the closure of an office in Cologne, the rest would disappear through attrition.”
 

 

http://translate.google.com/translate?u=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.heise.de%2Fnewsticker%2FComputerpionier-Alan-Kay-muss-HP-verlassen–%2Fmeldung%2F61971&sl=de&tl=en&hl=en&ie=UTF-8

“22.07.2005
Of the massive savings on Hewlett-Packard will be also affected by the HP Laboratories. … A total of 70 of the world’s 700 jobs in HP Laboratories to be deleted”
 

 

http://translate.google.com/translate?u=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.heise.de%2Fnewsticker%2FHewlett-Packard-baut-6000-Stellen-ab–%2Fmeldung%2F63783&sl=de&tl=en&hl=en&ie=UTF-8

“10.09.2005
According to the French trade union representative, Marc-Antoine Marcantoni the U.S. computer … Hewlett-Packard (HP), delete in Europe 6000 points.”
 

 

This is a bad translation, with “points”, jobs were meant.

and so on. There were more in 2005.

2006:
Open Source involvement:
 

 

http://www.hoise.com/primeur/06/articles/monthly/AE-PR-02-06-60.html

“HP boosts Open Source Alliance with JBoss on Linux and HP-UX 11i platforms
Palo Alto 17 January 2006
HP has extended its agreement with JBoss to offer an expanded portfolio of open source solutions and services that customers can deploy within their existing data centres.”

 

http://www.hp.com/hpinfo/newsroom/press/2006/060425a.html

“HP Extends Open Source Services to MySQL Software
HP and MySQL AB today announced that HP will offer new services for MySQL® database software.”
 

 

Layoffs:

http://translate.google.com/translate?u=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.heise.de%2Fnewsticker%2FHewlett-Packard-schliesst-Sparte-Global-Operations–%2Fmeldung%2F74507&sl=de&tl=en&hl=en&ie=UTF-8

“21.06.2006
Hewlett-Packard closes division of Global Operations”
 

 

http://translate.google.com/translate?u=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.heise.de%2Fnewsticker%2FHP-will-weltweit-Niederlassungen-schliessen–%2Fmeldung%2F75187&sl=de&tl=en&hl=en&ie=UTF-8

“07.07.2006
HP wants to close offices worldwide
he consolidation measure is an extension of the overall strategy agreed in the summer of 2005 restructuring program, a total of 14,500 jobs will fall victim”

 

2008:
Open Source is still on the agenda:
http://www.hp.com/hpinfo/newsroom/press/2008/080623a.html

“HP Contributes Source Code to Open Source Community to Advance Adoption of Linux”

As are the layoffs:

http://translate.google.com/translate?u=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.heise.de%2Fnewsticker%2FHewlett-Packard-streicht-nach-EDS-Uebernahme-fast-25-000-Stellen–%2Fmeldung%2F116002&sl=de&tl=en&hl=en&ie=UTF-8

“16.09.2008
Over the next three years, 24,600 jobs would be eliminated. These were 7.5 percent of all agencies of the two companies, HP said”
 

 

Since HP began its involvement in FOSS, its layoffs are skyrocketing. The same with IBM, Novell and SUN.  As I said: FOSS (the Stallmanite kind) creates a devaluation of the programming work force. It doesn’t even matter if the resulting product is good, it has to be just adequate.

Stallman’s hate against high paid programmers is welcomed with open arms in big tech corporations. FOSS is the biggest control tool that companies like HP have against their employees.

The FSF doesn’t get its donations because the bosses at HP and IBM believe in the church of Emacs.

Companies like Adobe, Microsoft, SAP etc. who didn’t venture that much into Linux didn’t have such skyrocketing layoffs. This is especially true in the years 2001-2006. Many layoffs happened despite the company making profit by the way:

http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?file=/chronicle/archive/2002/05/15/BU168400.DTL&type=business

—-
“May 15, 2002

“HP’s 2nd-quarter profit rises 400%
Fiorina said she expects to see technology industry growth of 8 to 10 percent next year.

HP also announced that employees will be getting a performance bonus for the first time in 18 months, even though the maker of printers and computers also began its first round of layoffs as part of its plan to cut 15,000 jobs.”
—–

A performance bonus? The carot and the stick, eh? It’s a common pattern – as soon FOSS enters the picture, jobs will get cut, even despite profit, because it’s a long term strategy. And usually bonuses don’t enter the picture too.

That’s why employees of companies like HP should start to pray, once FOSS enters.

IBM is the biggest FSF patron:

https://my.fsf.org/donate/patron/

that’s a sure sign that the shit will hit the fan:

http://techsunite.org/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=55:ibm-abandons-us-workforce&catid=34:news-from-washtech&Itemid=60

“How many other workers have lost or will lose their jobs and are denied fair wages because of IBM’s “race to the bottom”? Only IBM knows the answer. It is clear IBM does not value or respect the skill and expertise of US workers.”

A bit more about IBM: IBM backs Open Source for around 10 years:

http://ftp//ftp.software.ibm.com/linux/pdfs/IBM_and_Linux.pdf

“In 1999, IBM announced its support for the open source Linux operating system”

this is EXACTLY the same time when IBM began to fight against its own employees:

http://www.endicottalliance.org/

—————–

for the last 10 years IBM has been hurting workers in the U.S. in order to please Wall St.
Cut your way to profitability.
While profits have been healthy – $77 Billion

since 99 :

- Jobs are shipped to other countries, and we’re forced to train our replacements in order to get severance. 10,000 jobs lost this year, 30,000 since 2004 (even with aquisitions added in)

- Pay raises are puny to none with pay-cuts for others. Bonuses are shrinking - awards for a job well done are a distant memory.

- Pensions have been frozen and stolen. We were sold on 401(k)s but those have tanked. Many can’t afford to retire.

- Appraisal ratings were lowered, affecting pay and bonus.

- Older workers are targeted for firing so they won’t qualify to collect retirement medical (FHA).

- More stress, waking up every day wondering if you still have a job.

Billions in profits  – Millions for the executives – as Thousands lose their jobs!

True, the economy is poor so employers have to safeguard their business. But consider this. Since 1999 IBM has spent $80 Billion on stock buybacks to pump up the stock price so executives can become fabulously wealthy. The company could have set-aside some of this money for a rainy day, to keep IBMers employed during this economic crisis rather than firing them. During the Depression, founder TJ Watson retained his employees because he knew he would need their experience and innovation when business picked-up. His gamble paid-off. Today, IBM instead chooses the no-brainer - retain the stock options for executives but get rid of the employees.

Obviously this isn’t a pleasant situation - it’s downright disturbing.”

———————-

The hate for the high paid programmer that is expressed in Stallman’s tomes fits exactly into the climate that IBM (and later HP.. others) began to create.

A match made in heaven.

4 responses to “The most effective terror weapon against its own work force

  1. Pingback: The Rape of Eric S. Raymond | Penguin Day

  2. This is, seriously, your best ever post. I’m not knocking the others; they’re all great. This one nails Linux in the corporate environment, once and forever.

    I just quoted it on my blog, and I’ll probably do so again. At some stage I’ll try to figure out how to get the hideous blog software to recognise links, and obviously you’re on top of the list.

    Many, many, thanks.

  3. I’ve been reading slowly through your blog, and am very intrigued by your focus on the idea that companies like FOSS because it gives them free, or even competition-paid-for R&D — which is a very valid point that I have rarely, if ever, heard from FOSS cheerleaders — and not because it’s philosophically pleasing to company leadership.

    Assuming that FOSS adoption in large corporations directly leads to layoffs and infighting is a stretch in causation vs. correlation that I’m willing to gloss over for the sake of asking: Could FOSS ever work in an enterprise-scale environment in a way that could benefit programmers as well as the corporation as a whole, and if so, why can nobody seem to make it work that way in the real world?

  4. I’ve been reading slowly through your blog, and am very intrigued by your focus on the idea that companies like FOSS because it gives them free, or even competition-paid-for R&D — which is a very valid point that I have rarely, if ever, heard from FOSS cheerleaders — and not because it’s philosophically pleasing to company leadership.

    Well, right from the horse’s mouth (Larry Ellison):

    If an open source product gets good enough, we’ll simply take it. Take [the web server software] Apache: once Apache got better than our own web server, we threw it away and took Apache. So the great thing about open source is nobody owns it – a company like Oracle is free to take it for nothing, include it in our products and charge for support, and that’s what we’ll do

    …..

    We don’t have to fight open source, we have to exploit open source

    JBoss wanted to sell the company to us. Clearly if we wanted to buy JBoss we’d have bought JBoss. Why didn’t we buy JBoss? Because we don’t have to – if it ever got good enough we’d just take the intellectual property – just like Apache – embed it in our fusion middleware suite, and we’re done

    http://us.ft.com/ftgateway/superpage.ft?news_id=fto041820061306424713

    So, this is not occult knowledge. You just have to keep your eyes open. Something that many FOSS advocates are unwilling to do.

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