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    Section: News and Trends

Ken Brown's corporate-funded FUD
Tuesday May 25, 2004 (01:00 PM GMT)   Printer-friendly   Email Story
Topics: Linux , Software , Operating Systems
By: Jem Matzan

Pages:< 1 | 2 >

Ken Brown's forthcoming book, published by the Alexis de Tocqueville Institution, is embarrassingly mistitled Samizdat: And Other Issues Regarding the 'Source' Of Open Source Code. No doubt you've heard of it by now, although more than likely you've only heard Andy Tanenbaum and others respond to it more than anything else. It's basically the world's largest troll, seasoned with more than a hint of flamebait. In the history of publishing there has never been a less scrupulous work than this book. It's a stinging insult to real books and genuine authors everywhere, harming the credibility of all of us who write for a living.

this foul drain pure gold flows forth. Here it is that humanity achieves for itself both perfection and brutalisation, that civilisation produces its wonders, and that civilized man becomes again almost a savage."

That was said in the 1830s about Manchester, England, but we could also say that it applies to the World Wide Web today, with its treasure trove of information and its piles of horrible drivel. I'll give Ken Brown a dollar if he can guess who originally said the above quote (without looking it up).

The quote brings to light the fact that opposite extremes are a reality and a consequence of freedom; if you give people the freedom to say anything, eventually they will. While good ideas are passed around and improved upon in the tradition of the scientific community, there is also a dark side to free publishing: that of the corporate agenda. I think the main difficulty that some corporations are experiencing is the rough transition from the Industrial Age of big powerful businesses and smoke-filled board room meetings to the Information Age of work-from-home CEOs and the general sharing of ideas and technologies. They're scared and they're fighting to keep their way of life.

It wasn't all that long ago that corporate buffoons realized that they could use the Internet to do some guerrilla marketing for their company or product, but the unethical and immoral tactics now used by the corporate world seem to be aimed primarily at influencing political policy. Never before has freedom of speech ever threatened itself so ferociously; here we have people speaking out in order to attempt to limit what others can say through software.

It's not that political pieces haven't been written in the past, some -- like Thomas Paine's Common Sense -- are superbly written, well-researched, astoundingly observant, and recommend sensible and effective action. It's works like these that advance society by stirring the emotions of the complacent and energizing political change, sometimes on the scale of a revolution.

To really pull off this kind of coup d'etat you have to first be an extraordinary writer. You have to have an insight into what you're talking about -- you need to present compelling and convincing evidence to suggest that change is necessary. There needs to be some great problem that has not been properly addressed and you have to have the best solution for it. And then you write, publish, distribute, and wait. That's how it's done; that's how a genuine political piece comes into being.

The aim of a political piece is generally to spark a phenomenon known as the "grass-roots" effort. This is when an issue or ideal is so important or influential that a large group of people collectively decides to promote and support it. It's been the magic behind the sudden success of underdog political campaigns and starving artists and musicians for hundreds of years.

What we have in Ken Brown's book is a poorly crafted attempt to author a political piece whose sole interest is the corporate agenda of proprietary software companies and fanatical right-wing organizations. Its goal is to destroy the grass-roots efforts of the GNU/Linux community. If it were well-written, expertly researched, and shockingly observant, it might accomplish at least part of its goal; however, it is none of those things. Free Software is not in any danger from this book, but the institution of printed books has been irreparably harmed.

Show me the evidence

"A new world demands a new political science."

The concept of fear, uncertainty, and doubt (FUD) is not new, but it has become such a popular battle tactic on the Internet that you can hardly read tech news anymore without seeing it somewhere. Ordinarily, most people recognize it for what it is -- corporate propaganda meant to stop a genuine grass-roots effort -- and ignore it. But with Samizdat we have a whole new kind of attack. Instead of aiming at the end-users and potential customers of the world -- which has proven ineffective thus far -- the target is now the United Stated government and those in charge of determining public policy. Having lost the battle for public opinion, the war has now gotten more desperate and moved on to attempting to influence the laws that we live by. This goes beyond the usual lobbying that corporations do because it's disguised as an independent study by an impartial third party and published as a book instead of a bound report, white paper, or traditionally published study (in a peer-review publication).

Proper FUD requires knowing the facts and then distorting them for your purposes. In other words a FUD-spreader is a liar, although frequent liars generally lie to themselves about their lying, so I don't think they consider FUD to be dishonest. Any distortion of the known truth is a lie, no matter how little it has been changed or altered. In the absence of facts to support beliefs or agenda, FUD goes from lying to implying. There is, for instance, no evidence to suggest that Linus Torvalds improperly used code from Minix or Unix in order to build the Linux kernel, but by talking around the subject you can create uncertainty and doubt about the situation. You can say it's highly unlikely that someone with Linus's experience at the time could write their own operating system, that it's impossible to make Linux work like Unix without breaking the law, that Linus had access to the Minix code at the time of his Linux-writing. Of course the truth of the matter is that Linux is not a whole operating system, it's just a kernel, and the author of Minix has said that it's impossible to have copied the Minix code because it's of a totally different design philosophy. FUD-throwers take every piece of information they can find and put a negative spin on it, and although they never manage to come up with any facts, proof, or evidence to support their claims, they do paint a grim portrait of their subject. I believe that any FUDder should be labeled and treated as they truly are: an outright liar.

The term "FUD" has been overused lately. It has come to mean any information that is contrary to the reader's opinion. As a tech journalist I see it all the time -- people accuse me of FUD when I say things that they disagree with. The key to look for is whether facts or logical conclusions are being drawn based on experience, or whether the author is talking around a subject trying to get you to create doubt about something without any decent evidence to back it up. In this article I discuss verifiable facts that you yourself can obtain by contacting or reading the listed sources, so even if you think I'm wrong in my reasoning or conclusions you must concede that this is not FUD by the proper definition. Kenneth Brown cannot make the same claim -- not remotely.

The only shocking aspect of Ken Brown's book is that it contains not one shred or iota of evidence to back any of his implications. While he doesn't directly accuse, he also doesn't present any good reasons to believe that we should listen to him. The bibliography, for instance, has 81 items of reference, less than five of which are traditionally recognized reference sources. The greater part of Brown's sources are personal Web pages of people who are not considered experts in the field of Unix, Linux, GNU, or other related subjects, home pages of people who are considered experts but were speaking generally about the subject of the history of Unix, and quotes taken grossly out of context from interviews that Brown did not conduct or take part in.

You don't have to be an author or professional writer to know that when presenting an argument professionally, the strength of your sources is the strength of your position. With no reliable sources, a position paper, thesis, or essay carries no more weight than the Anonymous Coward comments on weblogs and message forums -- in other words, it's bunk. For entertainment purposes only. Read at your own risk. Worse than bunk, it's FUD because it pushes an agenda without presenting any proof.

To better illustrate my point about FUD, I'd like to specifically show an example of the kind of things the Brown does in this book. At one point he quotes Linus Torvalds in an interview with Eric Raymond, an Open Source community leader and the founder of the Open Source Initiative (OSI), as saying, "I'm basically a very lazy person who likes to get credit for things other people actually do."

Ken Brown never comes out and accuses Linus of stealing copyrighted code or reverse-engineering or trade secret theft or anything else that would get him sued. But he does talk around those subjects, and in this quote Brown has taken Linus's words out of context in an attempt to make it look like Linus smugly admitted wrongdoing. Taken on its face, it's rather damning. But let's look at the context as quoted from Eric Raymond directly, from his essay, The Cathedral and the Bazaar:

In fact, I think Linus's cleverest and most consequential hack was not the construction of the Linux kernel itself, but rather his invention of the Linux development model. When I expressed this opinion in his presence once, he smiled and quietly repeated something he has often said: "I'm basically a very lazy person who likes to get credit for things other people actually do." Lazy like a fox. Or, as Robert Heinlein famously wrote of one of his characters, too lazy to fail.

So first of all, it was not an interview with Raymond -- it was a casual encounter and it was relayed via anecdote, and it was used to illustrate the importance of having users as co-developers. When we see the context of this quote it is clear that what Linus meant when he said that (and what Raymond was talking about here) was that Linus' great invention was not the Linux kernel but the development model by which it is enhanced. Linus wrote the kernel but other people are improving it; since he's the boss and since it was his idea to begin with, he gets the credit for the final product even though the contributors own the rights to their own code and are properly credited for it within the kernel code. Is that such a revelation -- or more appropriately, is that a crime or immoral deed? This is the way the kernel is developed, this is the way Open Source development works. Authors of code get credit for what they contribute, Linus does not -- you don't have to do much research to discover that. This is part of what Tim Witham of the OSDL calls the quid pro quo of the Open Source development model. By inventing the kernel, Linus's return on that investment of time and skill is that other people get to improve it for him for free.

When I asked Linus about this quote he replied:

Heh. I _like_ that quote.

Of course, the context there is that I've been getting a lot too much credit for Linux, considering that there literally have been thousands of people involved.

No "stealing of code" anywhere, but the simple fact that it's much too easy to forget that Linux has been a collaborative project, and that especially for the last five years I've been acting as a _manager_, not so much as a code writer.

The fact that Brown seems to take it out of context and try to make it be something it isn't is his problem, quite frankly. I don't know when (or even if) I said the above, but honestly, it sounds like me, and it's accurate.

But yes, facts can be used out of context, and twisted. Too bad. I don't actually want to have anything to do with that Brown person, he seems to be a slimeball.


When good sources go bad

Brown repeatedly refers to Linus' work with Andrew Tanenbaum's Minix operating system as an example of some kind of wrongdoing. I'm not sure if Ken Brown wants us to think that Linus stole some of Tanenbaum's Minix code or whether he wants us to think that it's wrong to create a workalike program. The latter is definitely a theme throughout the book; time and again Brown implies that workalikes are somehow morally and legally wrong.

Andy Tanenbaum provided no useful ammunition for Brown despite the fact that he flew to Europe just to interview him, a rather puzzling fact. Why would Ken Brown fly to Amsterdam to interview someone peripheral to his book and then totally ignore Linus Torvalds, who is practically the main character in this corporate fantasy novel? When he does interview Tanenbaum he digs for dirt on Linus, probably figuring that Tanenbaum held some grudge against him because of a silly debate the two had some years ago about kernel architecture. Tanenbaum instead tells him that it was impossible for Linus to have copied Minix code or design because Minix used a totally different architecture -- if Brown had read the initial debate that I mentioned previously, he would have known that. Stealing any significantly useful portion of Minix code to put into Linux is as fruitless as stealing diesel fuel to put into a gasoline engine.

Tanenbaum then noted that there were "some extremely serious errors" in Brown's book and published a note relating his strange and unusual experiences with Brown, followed by a somewhat lengthy addendum, none of which reflected well on Kenneth Brown and his odd and unprofessional methods.

The Minix source code was published as part of a book that Tanenbaum wrote on operating system design, published by Prentice Hall. Ken Brown's ridiculousness moves on to the publisher, stating that PH has probably lost its ability to sue Linus for imaginary copyright infringement. He says that "it is unclear if ATT or Prentice are paying attention to Linux development," but really all he had to do was ask if he really wanted to know the answer to that. It's not like AT&T and Prentice Hall are unapproachable to the media.

Maybe he realized that it doesn't matter what AT&T thinks because they don't control the rights to Unix anymore and haven't for some time. The Open Group owns the trademark for Unix, the SCO Group claims to own the copyright to the last edition of "true" Unix (System V Release 4) and Novell claims to own both the copyrights and the patents involved with it (this is in dispute as of this writing; it is unclear whether SCO or Novell own the copyright to the code). SCO would have provided Brown with some rather juicy quotes -- I'm surprised that he didn't make an effort to contact them, difficult as it is these days. In fact neither SCO nor The Open Group is mentioned even once in the copy of the book that I had access to. This is yet more evidence to suggest that Kenneth Brown is a poor researcher.

That he mentioned Prentice Hall is a joke. PH is one of the world's largest GNU/Linux distributors (by including CDs with books) and makes more money off of GNU/Linux than it ever did off of Minix. I contacted Prentice Hall and asked for a comment on Brown's book but did not receive a response before this article went to press.

Next: The man behind the mask

Pages:< 1 | 2 >


Related Links

· Slash
· Online Operating System Books
· Online Linux Books
· Intel
· Linux
· Red Hat
· Slashdot
· The Cathedral and the Bazaar
· the importance of having users
· published a note
· somewhat lengthy addendum
· The Open Group
· SCO Group
· Novell
· he posted messages
· apparently unmasked
· an interesting analysis
· Our own Roblimo also had some things to say
· his initial response to Brown's book
· his CV
· Fossedal recommended that investors buy SCO stock
· Open Source Development Lab
· many more
· Microsoft funded them in the recent past
· this email
· Media Transparency
· As you can see here,
· The Lynde and Harry Bradley Foundation
· Christopher Cox
· John Norquist
· The Jem Report
· Andy Tanenbaum
· troll
· Linux books online
· Best deals: Linux
· More Linux stories

The end days of Ximian? | A model for open source software development  >

Comments:  Ken Brown's corporate-funded FUD

Top  |  45 comments  |  Search Discussion  |  

War hymn of the free republic (Score:0)
by Anonymous Reader on 2004.05.25 10:17 (#92488)
Ken Brown's effort lies a moulding in its grave, but the truth is marching on!!

[ Reply to This ]
    Check out ADTI (Score:1)
    by peragrin (187259) on 2004.05.25 10:40 (#92490)
    Yahoo's Finance Message board for SCOX is a buzz about ADTI ad they spent the past several days trying to actually find the place. All addresses listed appear to be UPS drop boxes. They have in the past 6 years had their corporation revoked in Va, and possibly Maryland as well. Phone Numbers generally resolve into Cell phone numbers. This corporation appears to be nothing but a front, for something else. They have no central point, and their Tax returns are appearing with questionable information. Since they are non-profit all this is public information.
    I thought once I was found but it was only a dream
    [ Reply to This ]
    Spoiler Alert!!!! (Score:0)
    by Anonymous Reader on 2004.05.25 12:18 (#92499)
    Hey Ken the quote, um........

    Never mind. You wouldn't listen anyway!
    [ Reply to This ]
      well written (Score:1)
      by WarPengi (155584) <{Iaargh} {at} {shaw.ca}> on 2004.05.25 12:30 (#92500)
      "Stealing any significantly useful portion of Minix code to put into Linux is as fruitless as stealing diesel fuel to put into a gasoline engine."

      What a great little metaphor/simile.
      [ Reply to This ]
      What?! (Score:0)
      by Anonymous Reader on 2004.05.25 12:36 (#92501)

      the institution of printed books has been irreparably harmed.

      Unless you don't like to be taken seriously, you should try not to be so melodramatic, the value of the books in my bookself hasn't decreased one iota because of this book. And they will still be valuable after this book has been completely forgotten, six months from now or so.

      The quote is specially silly considering that later you mention that this Brown is: nothing but the latest....

      [ Reply to This ]
      this is bill's idea of a perfect world (Score:0)
      by Anonymous Reader on 2004.05.25 15:25 (#92521)
      make the gpl illegal and put all the gpl software in a bsd style license so I can use and steal it and then sell to the american saps so I can even be richer and more powerful. Look at windows nt - it has bsd software in the kernel.

      Bill Gates is nothing but a business man - he couldn't code anything original if his life depended on it. And his friend Steve Balmer should be an accountant somewhere - does he even have any technical skills. Bill, Steve, and Ken all probably had lunch/dinner sometime and came up with this idea of writing a book. and why doesn't good old Ken disclose where he gets paid - does his check have billy's signature on it. Why hide how you are being funded?

      Billy can't beat linux technically so he is going to try to get it outlawed and limited to university use only. what a joke!! and billy by the way have you set a date for longhorn yet?

      [ Reply to This ]
      Borrow it from your local library instead (Score:0)
      by Anonymous Reader on 2004.05.25 16:35 (#92526)
      It's (not-so) cleverly disguised flamebait designed to irritate anyone who appreciates free software so much that they actually buy it in order to be able to quote its poorly-written inflammatory material back at the author. Get your county government to buy it for you instead, and share it with like-minded others. Don't let this fool get any more royalties than necessary.
      [ Reply to This ]
      Why they fear the GPL (Score:0)
      by Anonymous Reader on 2004.05.25 17:30 (#92532)
      The BSD License permits the old Embrace, Extend ... tactic with no problem. But the GPL was specifically designed not to. They've had their lawyers go over the GPL, and they can't find a way to break it in court. So they have to try to change the laws.
      [ Reply to This ]
        any reaction from Ken Brown since? (Score:0)
        by Anonymous Reader on 2004.05.25 19:50 (#92547)
        Since the (excellent) articles by Andy Tanenbaum has there been any reaction from Ken Brown anywhere?

        Keeeeeeeeeeennnnnnnnnnn !!!!!!! Are you just bowing your head in shame like a 5 year old caught stealing from the cookie jar or are you going to answer something?
        [ Reply to This ]
          A Noble Work (Score:1)
          by waynesworld (188082) on 2004.05.26 0:41 (#92559)
          Thanks Jem; you have gone well above & beyond "speaking"  in represenation for many in the techincal & literary communities. I couldn't have said it better myself. :)

          I have often wondered why:
          Men who have never been west of Kentucky can tell you about the mentality of the Japanese?

          A man who can't pay his credit-card bills has a plan for dealing with the national debt?

          Men who aren't on speaking terms with their families know how to achieve peace in the Middle East?

          And in this case, a man who flunked high-school physics can explain what went wrong at NASA?

          Men who haven't had a date in six months know what women really want?

          And now; AdTIs Kenny Brown has blindly fallen prey as yet another whore to the "Power of Bills Gold"; all so common, these days, for those that have no other marketable skills worth mentioning nor even a remote sense of truth & ethical, moral values that decide that fine line between true unique intelligent genius, and the pure mediocrity of blatant idiocy. Then their are those that fall into a category of utter stupidity that it has yet to be defined.

          Daemons @ the Jersey Shore
          Daemons @ the Jersey Shore
          [ Reply to This ]
          MS wants BSD OSS only to profit from OSS (Score:0)
          by Anonymous Reader on 2004.05.26 15:00 (#92597)
          You might have missed a point in the following paragraphe:

          "So wait a minute -- he spends dozens of pages attacking the GPL and Linus Torvalds and Open Source, and then he wants the government to give money to colleges to fund Open Source development, even going so far as to suggest that corporations that support Open Source programs at universities should be given tax breaks? While it may sound like a paradox, he's actually pulling the old good cop/bad cop trick. He claims that Open Source devalues programs and eliminates due credit for invention. He doesn't seem to understand that GNU's Not Unix, consistently equating all Unix-like operating systems with the original trademarked copyrighted Unix source code. But then he ends the book, by saying how great free (as in price and rights) source code is -- as long as it's "true free source" and that it's only used in an academic environment where no one needs to (or is able to) make any money from it because it's all public domain."

          The difference betwenn GPL and BSD style licenses is that MS cannot use GPL code (which they call "viral") but they can use BSD code (which doesn't force them to republish derived works), so MS has an interest in an BSD-only OSS movement. In fact, MS actually did include BSD code in Windows versions.

          There is some background to consider on a societal level. Many GPL programs are distributed via university mirrors. However, universities are publicly funded (at least partly). As far as open source efforts are funded by state's taxes, MS might understandably feel disadvanteged if parts of these funds are going to GPL-OSS which (more or less...) excludes them from using it. Of course, universities are only part of the OSS movement's resource.

          The reason for this might be the MS feels helpless when confronted to that big an armada of programmers producing free code. So having the state allow BSD OSS only (and call all the rest terrorists, of course) will enable them to tap into that resource. That would be a kind of state funded robbery, because it would try extracting something of all these people which they don't want to give. And it's a very hypocritical move, because IP law is all about interdicting others to use their ideas, but with the GPL MS is at the receiving end of the IP stick.

          Of course, the "bad business model" also is a lie, but here I'll give another reason for it. The software sharing business model is indeed taking ressources away from software developers -- but giving it to the companies (and individuals) using OSS. The "reinventing the wheel" and "repaying for software again and again" factors are taken away from the software industry, but the benefit is not vanishing but getting to the OSS USERS. So in fact the business model of the user companies or households is improving at the same rate as certain software industries might decline. Nobody ever says THAT. It's a fight between software users and software producers. Tell this to the small and medium enterprises, and you will have another ally.

          [ Reply to This ]
            Fair rebuttal, but lose the politics (Score:0)
            by Anonymous Reader on 2004.05.26 15:40 (#92601)
            Pretty good first draft. If the intended audience is the slashdot crowd of the converted it can stand as a final. But if it is intended for a more general audience:

            1. Lose the anti-corporate tone. Sure Microsoft has an agenda. Duh. But so does RedHat, IBM, HP and Intel. How can we point to THEIR corporate agenda as a good thing while ranting about "evil corporations and their nefarious agendas."

            2. Delete the "ultra right-wing" adjective from the description of The Lynde and Harry Bradley Foundation. Doesn't matter whether they are in fact such or not. Any conservative leaning person reading your work will hit that phrase and instantly discount the entire article as "leftist propaganda" because the ONLY time that phrase is used a leftist is at the keyboard and they tend to be sensitive to left wing media bias. Besides, from your description of the organization they sound more Libertarian that right wing.

            Since the purest Republican can be converted to the OS/FS cause with a correct education as to just what it is and who benefits from it, (Most of the Fortune 500 are using it to increase PROFITS after all.) there is no sense in politicizing what should be a politically neutral paper. Remember, the whole point of the Brown book is the launch of the next phase of the attack, Congress. And who controls Congress right now? Is needlessly alienating potential allies wise tactics?

            3. Do a little research of your own. "Astroturfing" is a much older term than you seem to believe it to be. Much older than Microsoft's use of the technique. Any Congresscritter reading a future draft of this document knows this and will therefore discount your other facts as equally suspect.

            4. Lose about half the wordcount. It gets a bit repetitive in places and is just generally too long in making what should be a simple point: Brown is a hack who was given an end result and ordered to write a book making that conclusion regardless of the facts.
            [ Reply to This ]
            Fanatical right-wing organizations (Score:0)
            by Anonymous Reader on 2004.05.26 16:08 (#92602)
            As soon as I read your comment on this being related to "fanatical right-wing organizations", you lost all credibility. You as well as Brown appear to have an agenda with no real evidence. Just a desire to spread your FUD that conservatives want to destroy everything you hold dear. For instance, Mayor Norquist whom you mentioned is a Democrat. Secondly, most of your "evidence" points to Microsoft. Bill Gates is also a Democrat. Whatever is going on here is not Right versus Left, it's about business.
            [ Reply to This ]
            • Correct by Anonymous Reader (Score:0) 2004.05.27 8:12
              • Re:Correct by Anonymous Reader (Score:0) 2004.06.01 14:54
              • Keep Reading by Anonymous Reader (Score:0) 2004.05.28 19:59
                The Ideal World according to Microsoft. (Score:0)
                by Anonymous Reader on 2004.05.26 16:51 (#92605)
                I can see the logic of a world where all Open Source was generated by academia, and not used directly in the corporate world. It seems obvious.

                The advantage of licenses such as BSD for people like Microsoft is that people like Microsoft can use that work for free. The GPL prevents this, so a lot of this winging really is just "its not fair - there's all this good code and we can't just go and take it for ourselves because of the GPL".

                If Open Source code only exists in universities, then it won't compete with Windows in commercial space. If its "true open source" (sic), then Microsoft can take that work for free, and sell it on to us for profit. Its an all take no give situation. Add in the tax breaks, and they even get paid for doing it!

                The addition of software patents only makes things worse. The corporates are complaining that they can't use GPL software for free and how unfair it is that they'll have to implement their own, whilst at the same time trying to prevent other people using basic ideas at all through patents.

                How inconsistant, childish and utterly greedy can you get? Looking at the big picture, you may expect this kind of behaviour from a three year old!

                [ Reply to This ]
                Not A Danger? (Score:0)
                by Anonymous Reader on 2004.05.26 17:15 (#92606)

                If it were well-written, expertly researched, and shockingly observant, it might accomplish at least part of its goal; however, it is none of those things. Free Software is not in any danger from this book, but the institution of printed books has been irreparably harmed.

                This statement is wrong on many levels. It's been disproven by Ann Coulter and Sean Hannity, among others. If badly researched, inobservant screeds posing as serious research complete with bogus footnotes were no danger, then Al Gore would be President right now. All a stupid idea has to do to become popular is play on the fears and prejudices of people who are ignorant of the subject. Give it an attractive and unreasonably self-confident spokesmodel, and it's off to the races.

                Don't underestimate the power of this book or its stupid idea. It's clearly not meant to persuade those of us who understand open source software - it's meant for the sort of people who start frothing at the mouth when they hear keywords like "socialism", "terrorism", or "cancer". The people who will be persuaded by this idea are stupid (assuming, of course, they have no personal interest in keeping the software industry as it is), but there are an awful bloody lot of stupid people out there. A good many of them can write letters or, at the very least, remember a telephone number that flashes on their screens long enough to phone their legislators. Some can even operate computers. Legislators listen to stupid people, because they all too frequently manage to remember to vote.

                Rebut this idea, denigrate it, or kill it, but don't underestimate what it can do to us.

                [ Reply to This ]
                  You can strengthen your argument... (Score:0)
                  by Anonymous Reader on 2004.05.26 21:10 (#92614)
                  You link to Rick Moen's analysis of Mr. Brown's participation on the licensing discussion list, yet you fail to link to Brown's actual remarks to validate it.

                  You spend some time in the article chiding Mr. Brown for his failure to interview Linus and other essential sources--- yet you don't appear to have made any attempt to speak to him directly. You are passing on hearsay to the extent that you rely on Tannenbaum's comments.

                  Twice you state or imply that Ken Brown has used racist remarks in his posts, yet you do not document this charge by linking to the item(s) that support this claim.
                  [ Reply to This ]
                  FUD needn't be stupid and illiterate (Score:0)
                  by Anonymous Reader on 2004.05.26 22:21 (#92618)
                  Brown shows that he doesn't even respect his funders enough to put forth a plausible story that's written above the 8th grade level.

                  Stupid FUD is less dangerous than smart FUD.

                  Semi-literate FUD is less dangerous that literate FUD.

                  The guy has no pride in his work and that should be significant in its criticism.

                  [ Reply to This ]
                    What SCO has to lose? (Score:0)
                    by Anonymous Reader on 2004.05.27 17:00 (#92649)
                    You state:

                    "Back to our question: who stands to lose from the GPL? Both Microsoft and SCO do, as they have directly and indirectly stated many times in the press; there seem to be no other players in the industry that have so much at stake when it comes to the success of Free Software and the legality and validity of the GNU GPL."

                    It seems dubious to me that SCO has anything at all to lose from the GPL. Their attack on it is a piece of obfuscation they are using to try and give their case some legs in the hope of wresting a settlement. However, nobody is ever going to buy their software ever again, GPL or no GPL. It's an ancient piece of junk licensed from Novell by a company that doesn't have the resources to do the necessary development.

                    That just leaves Microsoft...
                    [ Reply to This ]
                    Media Transparency is an ultra-left-wing group (Score:0)
                    by Anonymous Reader on 2004.05.28 9:10 (#92685)
                    I tend to say "a pox on both their houses", but if you go to Media Transparency's home page, you find nothing about organizations funding attacks on Bush, but lots about attacks on Kerry. You won't find anything about the Ford foundation or others who fund left wing diatribes. mediatransparency is as biased as AdTi.

                    [ Reply to This ]
                    Not ambiguous (Score:0)
                    by Anonymous Reader on 2004.05.28 12:51 (#92697)
                    "To support education-reform research and activities."

                    As a writer, you should know that this phrase is not ambiguous at all. I noticed in your feigned attempt at misunderstanding, you left out the all-important hyphen.

                    That hyphen joins "education" and "reform" because they both modify "research" and "activities." There is nothing ambiguous about that. They support research and activities that will reform education. If you couldn't figure that out, then please go back to grammar school and re-learn English.
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