This is rumor control, here are the facts - Tobin edition

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This is rumor control, here are the facts - Tobin edition

Unread post by Moonchild » 2022-05-11, 16:06

As you all know, Tobin left the project on poor terms (understatement). He has since been on a crusade to try and spread falsehoods about his involvement, the way he exited, assumptions and accusations about my "intentions" or in what way I personally had a hand in his departure.
Since he apparently now also used the Interlink release notes (probably the largest audience he has left at the moment, so trying to maximize his reach there even if it has zero to do with release notes or the mail client) to write a long essay with half truths and lies to directly attack me, it's time to get a few things straight and put an end to this drama.

I'm providing a hopefully clear list of points here to clear up the misconceptions and lies being spread out there. This is obviously written from my personal PoV because a lot of his accusations are towards me directly, not necessarily the Pale Moon project. I have no interest in stating anything more than objective facts here so I'll avoid any opinion or speculation, where possible, and indicate speculation where prudent if it serves to show context.

"This is rumor control, here are the facts" - as stated by the warden in Alien 3.
  • Rumor: "Moonchild wanted out of the project"
    Initially, Tobin was shouting that I "wanted out", as if the escalation was some kind of planned disintegration to end Pale Moon and my involvement with it. As long-term community members and users know, I would not go about it this way and would instead be transparent about wanting to end the project, likely giving ample time and opportunity for someone else to take over in that hypothetical situation. As my continued work after the issues in March have shown, I am in no way wanting "out", and instead re-doubling my efforts to deal with the damage while still keeping security issues in mind as well.
    Curiously, this statement was changed shortly after to "Moonchild wanted me out" and having forced this escalation to make that happen, which is, frankly speaking, the polar opposite (next point).
  • Rumor: "Moonchild planned this escalation/breakup"
    This statement is just as false as the first. What did happen is that in November, I wrote a long e-mail with carbon copies to other core developers that the closed-off development as fall-out from the increasing warring was not sustainable, addressed the development issues Pale Moon was having, discussing forks/spinoffs, and in which I also directly addressed Tobin's behaviour and position in the project, especially in terms of PR, accusations being flung my way internally by him, and trying to steer everything into a direction completely opposite my vision. I posed the choice there to each go our separate ways amicably, if we couldn't work things out, or to come back in line on a single course.
    The response to that from Tobin was solidly the latter, and with that I was thinking the point was made and we could go on in a better direction that would once again place users first, not some idyllic perfect-case "living in a vacuum" developer plan that was more and more the case with Tobin's decisions made.

    Speculation: It is quite possible that that response (to fall in line and make serious efforts to put the user first) was not genuine from Tobin's side, and that this escalation was, instead, planned by Tobin, in turn, especially considering he did make statements after that in locations I was not assumed to be present or aware of, like the unofficial IRC channel on Libera, which I only learned of very recently:
    Dec 6th 2021
    [17:22:00] <Daisenryaku> my choices are to use palemoon, or run firefox from a ubuntu rootfs
    [17:22:14] <Daisenryaku> if you turn palemoon into a piece of shit, i'll have to do the latter
    [17:22:56] <NewTobinParadigm> I am going to do exactly that
    [17:23:16] <NewTobinParadigm> I am out to ruin the Pale Moon project. I have been for 7 years
    [17:23:19] <Daisenryaku> well, then have fun calling yourself the king of the turd
    [17:23:27] <NewTobinParadigm> to form it into MY project or destroy it out right
    [17:23:32] <NewTobinParadigm> and no one can stop me
    More context from Tobin's own admission in the "I'm done" thread on this forum (no longer public due to drama escalation) where he clearly stated that it was his plan ("this scheme of mine") with the changes to extensions to still force users into his vision of a tightly-controlled extension environment all along:
    New Tobin Paradigm wrote:
    2022-03-19, 17:01
    As part of this scheme of mine to undermine the bullshit narrative of pathetic sick disgusting hate-filled drones at reddit and elsewhere .. WE would give you users everything you wanted and return back to what was CLAIMED to be what YOU wanted even though tangibly it wouldn't be much different because Extensions still need to support the application they target and they ARE going to STILL get broken as things change and evolve.
    By forcing old version checks due to Pale Moon's application version and as a result breaking the vast majority of legacy Firefox extensions, as people have witnessed in the release of v30.0, he would still force everyone to be using and Pale Moon specific extensions pretty much exclusively, which is not what I wanted going forward what he and I agreed to. His work wasn't thoroughly checked because he was still trusted to be working towards the goal and I cannot imagine every possible contingency he chose not to even mention until it was too late. Nobody else would be involved in the add-on manager changes because it was historically his "corner" of development, between the add-ons site, update service and in-browser add-on manager all being his responsibility, as a small team has to divide tasks that way.
  • Rumor: "Moonchild stole/attempted to steal data from a Binary Outcast server with no Pale Moon relevance"
    While I don't dispute to have logged into the "Bismuth" server, this was an attempt to rescue data and configuration specifically for Pale Moon from an extremely opaque and non-standard server setup after the add-ons server (Regolith) was unceremoniously shut down and removed from the Internet. Bismuth was critically relevant to the Pale Moon project and, among other things, held the master zone files for the DNS zones for,, and several other related domains, as well as copies of critical services that were no longer available with the Regolith server shutdown.
    Even if that was considered a faux pas, it was still one made out of defence to safeguard as much data for the project as possible. I did not, in fact, get any data whatsoever in that remote session, nor did I attempt to do anything untoward while logged in. Of course it is not possible for me to prove after the fact that this data was actually contained on Bismuth as a result so it will likely remain a point of contention. Keep in mind though that if I had "no business on the server" and it was "exclusively for Binary Outcast", then I would obviously also not have had any reason to have an account there, let alone have any use for what was on there which prompted my attempted recovery. Apply Ockham's razor at your discretion.
  • Rumor: "Tobin committed a criminal act"
    While Tobin, in his "release notes essay", attempts to obfuscate what he did with some clever omission of information that would incriminate him, he did, in fact, commit a crime by logging into a Pale Moon VPS, elevating to root privileges, and deleting DNS (slave) zone data and configuration as well as terminating the DNS server.
    He says the following about it (emphasis mine):
    Interlink release notes essay wrote:I was going to allow his domains to use my DNS until he changed his nameserver entries to not use my nameserver and I did warn him of that ahead of time. However, with the crippling of my git-controlled infrastructure and restriction to my property PLUS him trying to knowingly steal Binary Outcast and personal files from a server that had NO Pale Moon related materials on it save for the aforementioned git-controlled configuration (relating to DNS which he already had via his local clone of the repo and Admin access over my repositories) I severed his control over and removed the zones from the DNS.
    He did not warn me ahead of time of anything. In fact, this all occurred within a short time of him being banned from the forum while I was in the process of revoking his access to critical infrastructure (which he was aware of I was doing). Most critical being the repository server that serves as a master for all UXP and Pale Moon/Basilisk code and websites/services content, so that is where I revoked his high-level access first and foremost.
    One critical point for the second emphasis is that was an alias for, AKA the Pale Moon website, one of my long-standing servers serving multiple unrelated domains as well as Pale Moon sites and services, and not, in fact, a Binary Outcast server as the reference would have you believe in his statement there by naming it by the alias he gave it. So he plainly admits he severed my control over my own DNS server and removed the zones from my server. Not only are there logs showing his access but he confessed right there to actually doing it. Giving a server an alias under your domain name doesn't suddenly make it yours to claim, control or do with as you please.
    I will not bore anyone with the legal statutes but if you want to look it up yourself, check out the applicable U.S. law regarding doing damage to a protected computer, punishable by prison time: 18 U.S.C. § 1030(a)(5)(B).
  • Rumor: "Moonchild sabotaged GRE™"
    The latest accusatorial narrative by Tobin seems to be that I would have somehow "placed landmines" in GRE or wilfully sabotaged it over months since I indicated the issues in November.
    Interlink release notes wrote:I knew there were some issues with it but they could be identified and fixed and what Moonchild was saying about it was just more distortions and lies. Come to find out it WAS fundamentally flawed going back some months and the person responsible was Moonchild him self. He had sabotaged it from November on in small but critical ways in massive barely reviewable code removal tasks and security updates.
    This is a direct accusation towards me that I would have been the cause of fundamental flaws in v30. Evidence against this accusation is clear: I have adopted all relevant security fixes from GRE into UXP, literally cherry-picking them from GRE since the split and going back several months; I've done the same with feature implementations in which any manual changes made while porting were as a result of Tobin's shuffling files around or being in conflict due to removed Macintosh code. UXP is obviously doing well with those changes in place. A commit mentioning fixing my "sabotage" on his repo consists of adding a few headers (likely necessary because of unified building dependency-rot) and removing some debugging code/logging that is completely irrelevant to the browser's operation, and don't even touch the areas v30 saw problems in.
    The reason I decided to drop GRE as a whole was because in turn I could not trust his commits since November (Speculation: since it became quite obvious to me this had been a much longer process than a simple escalation that one day), as well as there clearly being a lot of errors as a result of him moving almost all files around, and there being nobody around in the project knowing exactly what all he did without making a detailed analysis of hundreds of changes that would simply take a lot more time to do than rewinding and redoing things. Purely a practical decision based on facts. While I welcomed the structural changes to the source tree in a good number of places, and might use them as inspiration to improve navigation inside the source, I couldn't be sure it was all done correctly. He accuses me of having large commits he had no overview over? Well, they pale in comparison to moving hundreds of files to new locations, often with modifications. So the fact is neither of us trusted the other's work any more, but I certainly wouldn't go as far as saying that meant that any bugs as a result of big code changes were deliberate acts of sabotage. That would be rather conspiratorial thinking. Then going out and straight up accusing the other of such acts without even considering anything else is plainly wrong, and on an entirely different and unnecessary level.
    In addition, me not porting invasive code cleanup parts from GRE to UXP immediately is being presented as if those parts would have been "deliberately sabotaged", while the fact is simply that they can't be ported easily (due to GRE's code changes/relocations) and are just cleanup, i.e. low priority, so they are much further down on the "list of things to do for UXP" and not in any way a priority for early releases post-Tobin-exit.
  • Rumor: "It's all about the money"
    No, it isn't. While I am deeply grateful for the people who chipped in to immediately help out with the add-ons server and getting a new one back up as fast as reasonably possible, I am still not in this to make money, and nothing has changed in that respect, and any temporary increase in donations received in response to the damage he caused is not enriching anyone. If you're searching for that kind of morally objectionable behaviour then you should be looking at some of the more popular woke unregulated charities out there. Not naming names.
    I work hard and spend time on the project every day, usually 7 days a week (I really need to learn how to take breaks...) and any donated money goes directly into supporting the project, paying for servers, domains, certificates, electricity, and more than a few packs of coffee, as well as sustaining me for having a full-time+ job with it.
    Writing this post and dealing with this kind of unnecessary cruft does take away from more productive work I could be doing, as well, but such is one of the tasks of being a project owner.
  • Rumor: "Moonchild is in violation of the MPL"
    A very recent one in the string of accusations was that I would apparently be in violation of the MPL by denying Tobin direct server-to-server or client-to-server access from the IPs involved in his crime to the repository server. Of course this is nonsense, because the source remains fully available to anyone (including him); it's just a lot less convenient that he can no longer directly leech the git repos to include contributed code in his "Aura" stripped-down clone of GRE. Blocking abusive IP addresses does not constitute a license violation. I think a Dutch proverb is applicable here: "He who burns his ass will have to sit on the blisters" :)

    Hoping this will clarify things. I'm going to prevent comments to this post because I simply don't want to spur a heated debate or bout of drama on the forum about it. This is just rumor control. These are facts, not opinions, and need not be discussed further.
"The best revenge is to not be like the person who wronged you." -- Marcus Aurelius
"Seek wisdom, not knowledge. Knowledge is of the past; wisdom is of the future." -- Native American proverb