The verdict against IBM's Red Hat last week raised a lot of questions. One of the most common questions people ask is for a description of the harassment, how did it start, how long has it been going on?
The most acute example that comes to mind is my visit to Commonwealth war graves in France in September 2021. In the blog post, I included a video where some of the conversation takes place in French.
While I've given many public talks over the years and many of them have been recorded on video, I think this is the first video where I was speaking to people in a language other than English, in this case, in French.
The blog and video were syndicated on various planet sites, including WeMakeFedora.org.
A few weeks later and a whole bunch of trolls appeared on the LinuxFR.org web site. A range of unsavoury people have been trolling me in English and German-speaking web sites ever since the the volunteers elected me as a community representative in 2017. It feels like they saw me speaking to French people in a video, they didn't seem to understand the significance of the war graves and they simply decided to ensure their vendettas appear above French language blogs about the war graves in French Google searches. This behavior is truly abhorrent.
Just as I had produced a video for the first time using the French language, trolls had appeared for the first time spreading defamation about me in French Linux sites:
Maybe it is some random coincidence of course. I had published the video in French at the end of Septmeber and these Linux trolls started writing defamation in French in mid-November.
It would be foolish to say that Matthew Miller or Red Hat ordered these trolls to engage like this. On the other hand, this campaign of harassment did not arise spontaneously. Red Hat Linux is one of the oldest and most respected Linux distributions. Miller published a character attack on Dr Richard Stallman earlier in 2021. Being in a position of leadership, Red Hat's attacks on Dr Stallman have set a bad example for every troll in the Linux world to follow. Launching these attacks in French after my visit to war graves in France, they've demonstrated that there is no lower bound on their vulgarity.