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Archive for the ‘Open Source’ Category

A Tale of Bossware-at-Home in Company That Rejected Free Software

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When Sirius Abandoned Jabber for Bossware
Creative Commons Attribution-No Derivative Works 4.0

Summary: The company known as Sirius ‘Open Source’ generally rejected… Open Source. Today’s focus was the migration to Slack.

THE above video discusses the migration/transition/downgrade from Jabber to a truly terrible, centralised, proprietary and vulnerable platform known as Slack. Aside from technical problems and various glaring limitations, Slack was a risk not just to Sirius ‘Open Source’ but also to its clients.

No matter the hard evidence and how much I pointed this out (maybe a dozen times, at personal risk), that always fell on deaf ears. The company was already governed by incompetent people.

It was abundantly clear that many colleagues did not like this. Some opposed this. Some faced disciplinary action for antagonising. That would include me. So in a company called “Open Source” we’re meant to assume that adopting proprietary software — and not because some client requires it — is considered acceptable. Whereas insisting on the company’s values is considered an offense.

From what we can gather, Red Hat staff was subjected to similar treatment after IBM had bought the company. It’s hard to believe that later this year it will be 5 years since that announcement.

ISO Certificates Are Junk (and Sirius Proves This)

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ISO as Meaningless Certificates Mill
Creative Commons Attribution-No Derivative Works 4.0

Summary: Sirius ‘Open Source’ has used “ISO” as a catch-all talking point since 2019 in spite of doing illegal, unethical and truly dubious things while failing really badly at security

IN OUR last post we started the first part of several parts about ISO, commencing a separate (sub)series of posts that may take about a week to finish.

Sirius ‘Open Source’ disregards security advice, deems commentary that it lacks security staff to be “defamatory” (actually it’s perfectly factual), and moreover it is ignoring advice from technical people who do have a clue — all this while failing to do basic things like change passwords after a major breach.

If ISO considers that to be “OK”, then that says a lot about ISO.

ISO perception; ISO reality

A Culture of False Pretences at Sirius Open Source Inc./Ltd.

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Sirius False Pretences
Creative Commons Attribution-No Derivative Works 4.0

Summary: The Sirius ‘Open Source’ CEO built his repertoire on lies; technical staff did antagonise these lies, but it did not help; today I show how he lied about what had initiated his “investigation” and the company lied about his predecessor, too (they’ve managed to ‘normalise’ deceit all across the board)

THE company I left last month is a lot dodgier than I had realised (from within). We shall see where the shells go… US? Another residential address in the UK? How far does the nepotism go and can any Sirius worker be honest about what’s going on? A company that is honest to staff and to clients doesn’t have such issues; it doesn’t need to hide lots of skeletons in a closet. Just be honest and consistency will follow (as opposed to shuffling excuses and phony timelines).

A lot went wrong with the company when the CEO took money from the Gates Foundation under an NDA; proving a correlation is hard, but things have never been the same. The bullying against my wife and I started only weeks later (same time I was investigating extremely damning things about Bill Gates).

The video above focuses on one rather obvious example of lying. It starts with me showing our Cisco phone (now obsolete) and lousy copy-paste job by the CEO, in effect reusing accusations against two different people. Towards the end it shows the latest meme and article. That article shows how the CEO was stalking IRC and when he saw a name mentioned he decided to use that as a sort of pretext (to make it seem like a client had complained). He not only used this unrelated mention to allege somebody had complained; he took it further than this to do the same to my wife. But I spoke to the person in question. The person did not complain. The CEO of Sirius is lying. The company is basically built on a thick layer of lies.

To conclude the video, it’s worth mentioning that the ‘original’ terrible manager (not the wife of the CEO, who was the predecessor, but a former colleague of his from the Open Source Consortium) already damaged the morale of all the staff. Many left weeks/months later and those who stayed were suffering abuse. We’ve mentioned it many times, as that is how things deteriorated 4 years ago, but we need to emphasise it again.

The company said that she went away for a long holiday and then silence… she would never come back. How mysterious. That was a lie. Months passed and not a word was spoken; then one of the colleagues, who had suffered abuse from her, asked if she is ever coming back. The rest of us also wondered, “Where is she? Is she still on a holiday?”

The company didn’t even bother to reply. She just vanished without a trace… good riddance. But why lie about her going on holiday? This wasn’t the only time colleagues were just vanishing without an explanation. We gave examples last month. In short, the predecessor and the current CEO are the same awful imposters, only the gender has changed, and some of the workers might say the current one is even worse. Worst ever.

Sirius Open Source Inc. (US) Against the First Amendment

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Sirius Against Freedom of Thought
Creative Commons Attribution-No Derivative Works 4.0

Summary: Sirius ‘Open Source’ was either lying to us or trying to bribe us after we had left the company; just 10 days after writing about these affairs two nearly-identical letters were fired off with astounding chutzpah and yet more lies (one of the main reasons we left the company)

We have only just mentioned how Microsoft gags former staff. Sirius ‘Open Source’ has no NDAs and non-disparagement clauses in separation contracts, so — to paraphrase an associate — Sirius cannot really “suppress public knowledge of what is really going on there in the hive.” It’s still trying anyway.

In the coming days we shall show managers hiding under the table while asserting others do not enjoy the same rights. One manager struggled to explain why he was digging for low-grade ‘dirt’ in the first place, looking to start a self-defeating witch-hunt, then boasting about “privacy” (while violating the privacy of others). As it turned out, he had lied. The usual. There are cases of hypocrisy and double-standards all over it, aside from gaslighting and pathological lying.

Enough. We’re out!

As noted in the video above, they still try to gag us and remove what we wrote, but in the coming few days I’ll show how the witch-hunt basically blew the face of the stalker, who had very different and unrealistic expectations of how it would pan out.

Sirius Open Source Inc. as a Rogue Shell of a Failing Company

Sirius track record statement

Summary: Our report about Sirius ‘Open Source’ (as longtime insiders at the time) is available for reading by anyone who wishes to understand what Sirius ‘Open Source’ Inc./Limited/Corporation truly is

TODAY we publish a PDF version of the original report as sent to the company’s management a little over a month ago and just before my wife and I resigned. There are some typos in the document, which was prepared in a rush (just a couple of days’ work), but the series as we’ve covered it so far offers a lot more details, even some screenshots and better, additional context. It’s more suitably organised and adapted to an audience who knows too little or nothing about the company.

Download the statement/report (transmitted December 1st, 2022)

The series is far from over. Thus far we’ve only mentioned the stuff that was put in the report. We’ve since then remembered additional aspects and angles, which ought to be explained more properly, starting with the ‘gun-slinging’ by the CEO. Of course it backfired very badly.

Expect this series to last at least another month.

Sirius Corporation Was Never the Same After Bill Gates Gave Money to the Boss Through a Newly-Created Shell in the US (First Client, Deal Signed Under a Non-Disclosure Agreement!)

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Sirius Became as Dodgy as It Gets
Creative Commons Attribution-No Derivative Works 4.0

Summary: A look at half a dozen posts published here yesterday, ranging from security failures to dodgy business practices and status (or several shells registered and accommodated under false pretences)

THE past few years at Sirius ‘Open Source’ were somewhat horrifying not just to me personally; we’ve already shown some hard evidence that colleagues suffered abuse from managers only months after a new shell in the US had bagged money from the Gates Foundation at a very mysterious time (we explained this mystery yesterday). My wife suffered similar abuse — something which according to Tim Bray has some history when it comes to Microsoft.

The video above shows some very dodgy things the company (its management) was doing and saying in recent years. The video limits itself to stuff we covered in the past 24 hours alone. Later this month we’ll provide more detailed and ample evidence.

While it’s totally unclear whether there’s a correlation between the Gates money and the way the company was managed (denial would definitely be possible and there’s an NDA) the reality of the matter is, Sirius was gradually moving away from Free software — including infrastructure it had already had for more than a decade! In turn, the company was becoming several shells (at least 3) and at the moment everything is registered with some accountants rather than a real address of a director or an office.

This series will hopefully become a cautionary tale not just about openwashing companies (or formerly Free software companies). A lot of these things can happen and do occasionally happen in other “IT” companies. It’s important to know when to leave.

Isolated and Gagged Workers at Sirius ‘Open Source’

Don't mind vicious boss; I will always remember

Summary: Staff of Sirius ‘Open Source’ still remembers how badly managers have treated workers in the past 4 years while keeping them isolated, sometimes even gagged

IN yesterday’s video (“Sirius Open Source Uses ‘Privacy’ as a Weapon Against Truth-tellers (Can’t Speak Outside Work)”) we sought to highlight endless hypocrisy and disproportionate powers managers gave themselves. It was not about leadership but about control. Those aren’t the same thing. Leaders motivate people, but the managers Sirius attracted in recent years are power-hungry and don’t know how to manage power; they get drunk on power. Some lack actual experience in management; no, babysitting toddlers or being an assistant of an assistant doesn’t substitute training and experience at leadership. Companies would struggle to compel adults to be managed by babysitters. Programmers and sysadmins are grownups, not toddlers.

The managers at Sirius gradually become insecure, knowing they’re not just unqualified for the job but are in fact failing at their job. Then they try to stop staff from talking about the issues (failures that repeat themselves, e.g. pension contributions not being paid). Then start bullying, intimidation etc. It begets spying and dirt-digging, even habitual insults (like aimlessly accusing staff of “cooking” without any evidence whatsoever; as noted in the last part’s meme, based on a real quote). If managers start falsely accusing staff, then the principal objective is humiliation, hoping to cause guilt and render people more submissive. That never works!

Then come impediments against dialogue. Staff is divided so as to make people feel isolated. Let’s use an example. In a grievance letter posted (reproduced) here last month, a colleague explained that people who work overnight are already isolated and feeling alone. Why add insult to injury?

Then comes suppression of speech in general, like claiming the clients and colleagues deserve total privacy (in practice, it is about censorship), even outside work where they’re mentioned not by name, yet the same people who claim this are engaging in overt acts of surveillance against staff, even outside work.

This hypocritical behaviour is also used by the EPO to basically say that staff cannot speak to one another because of “privacy”, even if the conversations are about managers’ corruption. They misuse “privacy” for cover-up. Privacy is no excuse for those who are committing crimes or engaging in all sorts of wrongdoing.

The icing on the cake is, such rogue management engages in chronic lying while bullying staff and innocent people are warned not to speak to colleagues (“divide and rule”) while managers are spying on everybody. This is all about double-standards. To put it in simple terms, a boss may allege that staff is violating privacy of people and the boss builds this allegation by violating the privacy of the accused.

Sirius has quite a tradition like this. It effectively banned staff conversations in Freenode (outside work), way back in its glory days, not in 2022. It’s as if colleagues cannot have a personal life and cannot socialise outside the workplace.

As a reminder, a decade ago the company resorted to shutting down the company’s own Jabber server, very likely to prevent workers’ solidarity/empathy towards a colleague… or even the ability to find out what had happened.

Sirius created a self-defeating culture wherein people are talking to one another inside the train to avoid detection for fear of committing the “crime” of speaking to co-workers about facts (like bosses doing unethical things, including lying, cheating, engaging in extreme nepotism… like bringing 3 sexual partners to the company in spite of a lack of relevant qualifications).

Sirius is no longer unique in the sense that after COVID-19 lock-downs many people still don’t commute to work and still don’t meet colleagues in person (or seldom do). Generally speaking, when people work from home, and they’re each based in a distant town, they can’t easily meet “down the pub” and have in-person chat, so if conversations outside the spying network of the company are frowned upon, and if spyware becomes the norm, how is staff supposed to be properly informed? Trusting liars? How can a union ever be formed? As we shall show later, the company pretends to be open to the concept of a staff union, but that’s just a convenient lie.

The company goes out of its way to prevent and impede communication between workers, usually by means of blackmail/threats. How unhealthy a work atmosphere! For instance, staff is not permitted to know if someone is investigated or disciplined and similarly staff being bullies is explicitly forbidden from talking about this to anybody. This poses a threat to people’s health and safety. The company knows that, but it does not care. People are isolated and asked not to cooperate with their colleagues. It’s not limited to “bollocking” inside the company as the same goes for salaries, work status etc. Sirius is just a very secretive company that misuses the name “Open Source” and conceals the operational aspects. It’s proprietary, intransparent, and truly dishonest. It lies about its very own people when it suits the managers. As a result, colleagues are just vanishing without anyone bothering to explain why (skeletons in the closet), we have had colleagues that say they’re under de facto gag order and cannot talk about what they know, and it starts to resemble Life Is Beautiful where nobody can speak about the gas in the showers. People just vanish, no more questions…

The workplace inevitably becomes very mentally unhealthy; as we’ll show later this month, it becomes physically unhealthy too (some colleagues got diarrhoea from the stress). These tactics of isolation are being resisted, as colleagues occasionally reach out to one another, even people who are working from home. Their safety net does not come from “leaders” but from peers. The leaders are correctly perceived as dictators, who aren’t to be trusted with anything. There’s no comforting shoulder. This should not be considered standard business practice, but this is where Sirius was heading just to ensure workers were always disadvantaged, underpaid, mistreated, falsely accused. They cannot unite, they can barely even form a coalition through which to negotiate with management. Things were so out of hand in Sirius that even to have a colleague as a witness would require prior permission from management so that the management can ‘tamper’ with the person a priori (like issuing warnings or curtail freedom of expression).

The tactics employed in 2022 began to resemble authoritarian regimes and aggressive cops, more so towards the end of the year; relatives were being kept as pawns and false accusations thrown while distorting facts. Managers very well understand that scaring workers won’t make them productive; au contraire — it leads to misery.

We’ve seen these things before. At the EPO, for instance, the union (SUEPO) explained how a spouse needed to come to the Office to pick up her husband after he had suffered a mental breakdown (due to ruthless ‘investigation’). We’ll soon show that Sirius too employed a kind of Reid method/technique, which is controversial and likely illegal. This was done to Aaron Swartz.

One colleague used to joke that the company’s slogan, “stress-free technology”, took no account of how workers felt. Workers had no real voice in the company. They were barely consulted about important things.

Unfortunately, SUEPO uses the same Microsoft spyware that EPO management uses, probably because of the “installed based” (number of workers who already have that set up). But since [cref 141348 Microsoft colludes with the EPO] they can undermine communications, spy, and worse. We’ve repeatedly said that a union using the “bossware” of the boss, controlled by a truly hostile corporation, isn’t a good idea.

The reason we are writing these detailed reports is clear to those who have had similar experiences in their career. It’s important because workers would be empowered if they could identify emergent patterns of technological oppression and then respond them them, equipped with knowledge of the law in their country. Don’t let people be subjected to that; don’t be subjected to that yourself. Workers aren’t supposed to be pointed at for doing perfectly lawful things, even if their bosses aren’t happy about those things. That can lead to conflicts in one’s mind, with questions arising like, “are they telling the truth? Am I overrating or overthinking?”

Remember that sociopaths and pathological liars do this as a matter of routine; they’ve mastered all these tricks and they keep using them again and again.

The staff, they hope, may remains defenseless after all the gaslighting; when you stop receiving actual information and get fed disinformation from management, repeatedly even (and you might even start to believe it!) you may eventually lose a sense of reality.

In my personal case, working backwards to figure out where and why it started, it seems like management truly hated how I scrutinised a contract they had wanted us to sign without any legal advice, challenging the legality of it and even considering a lawyers’ consultation (advice can take weeks unless it is treated urgently).

One can assume that managers were maybe worried other people (like colleagues) would realise what’s going on and follow suit.

That’s when one manager was starting a malicious, vicious, baseless witch-hunt that backfired so badly. We’ll give more details about this later.

The portion of the report below talks about the awful, centralised, outsourced telephony system, the “timetracker” which everyone hated (except bosses who exempted themselves), and the aftermath of these misguided moves, which not only harmed the company but lowered morale. The timetracker was so counterproductive that it was quietly dropped, for the second time, a few years ago. It was more about surveillance than productivity or timekeeping.

The company ought to remove the term “Open Source” from its name; the company has presence only in proprietary platforms but none in “Open Source” ones, except maybe “legacy” systems from the “old” Sirius era. Over time it’s gravitating towards 100% proprietary, but people who run the company cannot even distinguish, so explaining the issue can be an exercise in futility. To give just recent examples, Sirius moved to a system of telephony that did not work and did so even faster as a result of it not working (example of extreme incompetence), resulting in poor service to clients that could previously make contact effortlessly. This document won’t name the systems, but it’s clear that improving the ability to answer calls or communicate was not a priority. ‘Freebies’ from Google aren’t free; they’re only temporarily available ‘free samples’.

To cite an older example, all the staff hated the timetracker and hilariously enough those who imposed it on staff refused to do the timetracker routines themselves. When challenged on this (highly hypocritical behaviour that harms morale), one of them sobbed and went away, unable to actually justify this arrogant ego trip (imposing unwanted things on people vastly more qualified). The person who sobbed later messed up the salaries (many times), then did not respond for months when question on the matter. This resulted in financial harm. The person responsible for this error was never reprimanded or punished, neither for these mistakes nor for failing to respond, which is very typical in today’s Sirius management, even the CEO lying about not receiving E-mails.

No wonder lots of workers left. Those who did not leave constantly face abuse and are being silenced. Dissent in Sirius isn’t being dealt with by grown-ups. No wonder associates were openly mocking the CEO for being non-technical and for writing face-saving cruft to clients. In fact, it seems like a lot of people either left or became cynical about the company. Those who stayed (and remains cynical) are now being maliciously targeted and it is truly sad to say that the company became a bit of a hoax, as it is neither about Open Source nor caring about the devoted staff that made many personal compromises, only pretending to care in very shallow ways like annual vouchers (worth less than one shift).

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