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  •  Misc. Writing - Logical Critique of Rob Enderle's "Free Software and the Idiots Who Buy It" (Part 1 of 2)   
     Author:  Neil
     Dated:  Wednesday, August 11 2004 @ 01:57 AM CDT  
    TWoN - Misc. WritingOn August 3, 2004, Rob Enderle presented a keynote address at SCO Forum entitled "Free Software and the Idiots Who Buy It." In that address Mr. Enderle employed repeated logical errors, accusations without evidence, and ad hominem attacks. He materially confused the meaning of Free Software, as well as assigning physical threats to the Groklaw / Free Software community without proof.

    This paper is not an attempt to debate Mr. Enderle or the SCO Group. Instead my goal is simply to show the numerous and significant logical fallacies in Mr. Enderle's address.

    As Mr. Enderle alludes to, everyone carries bias. I will attempt to keep mine to a minimum by avoiding intense language and undue legal debate, instead focusing upon a dispassionate listing and explanation of the recurring fundamental errors in reasoning that Mr. Enderle presented. I will mention specific legal occurrences only where necessary to show logical inconsistency.

    It should be noted that the occasional fallacy does not invalidate the whole of an argument. Many times fallacies such as appeals to emotion or "loaded words" are used as supporting evidence. It is when these appeals (as well as stronger fallacies such as false dilemmas and straw men) constitute the majority of one's argument that validity should be strongly suspect. I believe that is the case with Mr. Enderle's speech.

    Italics are the original source text, while my writing is in plain face. Quotes of Mr. Enderle's source text within my writing are in bold. All profanity in the original has been replaced with "----", although I have left all spelling and grammatical errors. The original address itself is publicly available at SCO's website. The full text of my critique is available below, or as a PDF.

    Finally, it should be noted that I do not have a business relationship with Groklaw, IBM, SCO, Mr. Enderle, or any other relevant party mentioned within either Mr. Enderle's speech or my critique thereof. Public accusations from SCO's Blake Stowell notwithstanding, Groklaw and Pamela Jones are also completely independent of IBM.

    *****

    SCO Keynote

    Rob Enderle

    Project: "This is the Keynote Speech given by Rob Enderle at SCO Forum August 3, 2004

    Free Software and the Idiots Who Buy It

    HI, I'm Rob Enderle, I'm paid to hate Linux by Microsoft. I actually am Bill Gates Love slave, was fired from IBM for mooning Louis Gerstner, have a huge personal investment in SCO, and regularly steal candy from little defenseless babies.


    This introduction appears to be an attempt at a red herring. Specifically, the topic under discussion is Free Software, NOT what Rob Enderle may or may not believe others think of him. Even if Rob Enderle was the topic of his own keynote, the entire I actually am Bill Gates's love slave ... and regularly steal candy from little defenseless babies section is (illogically) conjoined to the concept of unduly hating Linux in a false dilemma. Specifically, we are led to believe that if Mr. Enderle doesn't steal candy from little defenseless babies, then it must also follow that he does not hate Linux unduly.


    OK, there I said it, I've come clean, spilled the beans, finally told the truth and if you read some, fortunately not all, of the mail that comes in after one of my Linux focused columns you would assume that much of what I said was probably true.


    Here Mr. Enderle is using an unrepresentative sample. Those who read Mr. Enderle's columns and choose to respond to him by email is not necessarily a representative sample of the users of Linux or other Free Software.


    However while I will readily admit to a bias, it is not the bias that most seem to think and, often, to understand the why behind anyone's actions it might be helpful to understand the real cause of those actions.

    I did take exception to one of the things Darl said yesterday, that none of the Pundits supported SCO. I've actually rewritten much of what I intended to say over the last 24 hours because I think we need a bit more context then simply focusing on Free Software would provide. We'll get to the free software part but first I'm going to let you see the world through my eyes as I explain why I took the incredible personal risk associated with supporting SCO.


    I took the incredible personal risk associated with supporting SCO is an appeal to pity. We are led to believe that Mr. Enderle has sacrificed a great deal personally in order to support SCO, and as such his argument has merit. This is a fallacy.

    It should be noted that an appeal to pity in and of itself does not invalidate an argument. Many times legitimate evidence is accompanied by pitiful circumstances (such as requesting a make-up exam due to a major car accident on the drive to school that day).


    Now I know that some of you are rapidly writing your own "rough interpretation" of what I am saying for Groklaw and have your hands poised over the FUD keys.


    FUD is a loaded term. Specifically, the tactic of spreading "Fear, Uncertainty, Doubt" implicitly comes with the understanding that objective evidence does not accompany the claim. In the case of Groklaw, Pamela Jones posts and references original primary source evidence (such as motions and court filings) in almost every story related to SCO. The fact that informed discussion of these primary sources leads to uncertainty and doubt regarding SCO's legal claims does not warrant the application of the term FUD to Groklaw, its editor, or its users.


    I find this ironic given Groklaw is an Anti-SCO FUD propaganda site but I understand the need for those that are deeply political or religious to misrepresent their opponents so that their own positions appear well founded.


    Propaganda is a loaded word. It carries with it connotations of mind control, group think, and false beliefs.

    The entire second half of this sentence (past propaganda site) is an ad hominem attack. First, Mr. Enderle is categorizing those associated with Groklaw as being deeply political or religious. This is a fallacy for it assumes that people who are deeply political or religious are unable to present cogent arguments, or are driven by fervor as opposed to objective truth. (It should be noted that Groklaw is neither political or religious, as I have not seen Ms. Jones introduce either topic directly or indirectly.)

    Second, Mr. Enderle states that the users of Groklaw misrepresent their opponents so that their own positions appear well founded. No evidence whatsoever is provided or even attempted for this accusation.


    I also believe the practice to be stupid, primarily because eventually the truth does come out, but I still understand it.


    This sentence is a straw man. Specifically, Mr. Enderle misrepresents the practices of Groklaw users, then believe[s] the practice to be stupid.


    For those that really want to understand the why behind my position on Linux as a Free software scam; let me tell you a little of my own history.


    Scam is a loaded word, implying fraud and illegality.


    Please understand, what I'm going to share is not easy, it brings up memories that I would just as soon forget, but I think it important, before you listen to any analyst or advocate, that you understand the foundation for their beliefs before you decide if they are valid or not.


    What I'm going to share is not easy is an appeal to pity. The truth and validity of what Mr. Enderle is about to state is (supposedly) strengthened by the (supposed) pain that is caused to him in the retelling.


    We'll start with a not so brief background

    If you've looked at my BIO you know I've been ranked number one in influence for most of the last decade.


    I've been ranked number one in influence is an unwarranted appeal to authority. Mr. Enderle's profile (at his site) lists him as being "ranked #1 since 1995 in press coverage world wide." However, the methodology or statistics used to create this claim are not given on that page or in this keynote. Additionally, mere press coverage does not constitute authority. In addition to that, an appeal to authority can only be logically brought when there is an adequate degree of agreement among the other experts in the subject in question. This is most definitely not the case when it comes to Mr. Enderle's views on Linux, Free Software, Groklaw, SCO, and other topics.


    It turned out the experiences I've had coupled with a knack for taking the complex and making it simple and a rather extensive knowledge of human behavior made a huge difference in an industry dominated by engineers.


    Industry dominated by engineers is an appeal to emotion, as Mr. Enderle attempts to draw upon the emotional belief that engineers do not posses Mr. Enderle's knack for taking the complex and making it simple, or his rather extensive knowledge of human behavior.

    Gord Deinstadt also notes that "it is not just an appeal to emotion, it is an appeal to prejudice and thus an ad hominem attack."


    Like a hot knife through butter, who knew?

    Everyone is driven and formed by the experiences they have. Some strive for greatness, some choose to do nothing with their lives, and some revel in infamy. We are measured by what we do, how we are perceived, and, at the end of the day, what kind of difference we really make. My personal view is that those that don't strive to make a difference, to favorably impact the world around them, have wasted the time they were given.

    There are people who get up every day, work a 9 to 5 and go home to their families trading their lives for varying degrees of cash. In my view, though clearly not theirs, they are selling their lives very cheaply. These are wage slaves and the difference between people like that and a zombie is generally lost on me.


    Slaves and zombie are slightly loaded terms. Additionally, Mr. Enderle is implicitly creating a false dichotomy between his wage slaves and those who favorably impact the world around them that he referenced in the previous paragraph. You are not forced by nature or other constraints to either be one or the other.


    Do you realize that many, I'm not saying all or even most, of the Linux supporters are like this, they have never coded anything in their lives, have never even played a video game, in fact the only reason they are supporting Linux is because it is a cause and their life lacks one.


    Mr. Enderle appears to be playing to emotion by insinuating (within a room full of professional coders and sysadmins) that many Linux supporters have never coded anything in their lives. The professional coders are supposed to look upon that lack of coding as a negative trait.

    Mr. Enderle provides no evidence whatsoever for his accusation that the only reason they are supporting Linux is because it is a cause their life lacks one. This is also an ad hominem attack.


    That is an incredibly sad group of folks, and I wonder what their reaction will be when they finally understand they are supporting software and not the second coming.


    This is a false dichotomy, requiring us to decide between "it's just software" and "Free Software is the second coming." Many Free Software advocates believe they are not only supporting software but a philosophy that has implications beyond software itself. This philosophy does not necessarily have to carry the emotional burden or baggage of referencing the second coming.

    Incredibly sad group of folks is another loaded phrase, as well as an ad hominem attack.


    So, as much as I'd like to bash the folks who are active on Groklaw I've begun to see many as victims.


    First, Mr. Enderle has already and repeatedly bash[ed] the folks who are active on Groklaw. Second, Mr. Enderle portrays these individuals as victims, which is a slightly loaded word.


    The site is supported by a marketing executive whose future is tied to the future of Linux and has strong political skills.


    This is simply false on two counts. First, Pamela Jones is a paralegal, not a marketing executive. The latter carries with it negative connotations. Second, her future is not tied to the future of Linux, as her strong legal and communication skills provide her ample comparable employment opportunities in a variety of fields.

    Strong political skills is an equivocation of the word "political." The implicit insinuation is that Groklaw has some unworthy ("political") end simply because the evidence presented on the site is persuasive.

    It has been noted by several individuals that this remark could perhaps be directed at Dan Egger, Founder and Chairman of Open Source Risk Management. OSRM is Pamela Jones's current employer. This interpretation does not make Mr. Enderle's statement any more valid, as Pamela Jones has retained full ownership and editorial control over Groklaw.


    It is a well done propaganda site and these folks, instead of doing something truly productive are tricked on a daily basis into using their time, a resource they should value dearly, to help generate this propaganda.


    Propaganda (used twice here) is a loaded term. Additionally, tricked on a daily basis is a straw man. Groklaw tricks no one, as the original source material is made available. All, including Mr. Enderle, have the ability to get the same source materials from the courts themselves.


    It's a shame, but it is also their choice, eventually they will look back and realize that this time could have been better spent improving their own lots in life, or improving the lives of others, but instead they spent it as they did.


    This is a false dichotomy between using Groklaw and improving their own lots in life, or improving the lives of others.


    We have folks in the audience supporting Groklaw, they are probably thinking they are fighting the good fight by reporting the "truth", but they are only filtering what they see through their own bias and making it harder for people who work for a living to make valid decisions.


    Referencing folks in the audience supporting Groklaw and people who work for a living separately insinuates that those who use Groklaw do not work for a living.


    If Linux is as good as people like this say, why is it necessary to do something as unethical as placing spies in events?


    Unethical is loaded, and spies is extremely loaded as well as false. It is not espionage to attend and report on an event that is open to the public.


    To the Groklaw spies, look around, these are people who work for a living, why do you feel that hurting them helps you or your cause?


    The above-mentioned insinuations apply here as well.


    You are given a set of tools when you are born, and largely through luck and choices these tools are enhanced through your life, and that life is a fixed commodity. When it is done, it's done, and forcing people to say you're right when you aren't doesn't enhance or increase your life. It just makes you a villain in your own life story.


    Villain is a loaded word. Additionally, forcing people to say you're right when you aren't is a red herring, as Mr. Enderle is yet to reference a single piece of evidence in support of that statement.


    I've always had a sense for bull---- and bullies and have never cared for either.


    Another red herring, as bullies have nothing to do with the users of Groklaw or the parties being sued by SCO.


    In college, both graduate and undergraduate, I was fascinated with human behavior. I watched the tapes of the Nuremburg experiments that showcased how people put in positions of authority could be ordered to torture and kill other people and that the majority of those tested in the study failed the "humanity" test. Groups of people can do really bad things and not failing the humanity test became a personal goal.


    As Jim Haungs and a few others noted, Mr. Enderle has gotten his history mixed up. The Nuremberg Trials dealt with Nazi war crimes, while the Milgram Experiment "was intended to measure the willingness of a subject to obey an authority who instructs the subject to do something that may conflict with the subject's personal conscience."

    The connection between Mr. Enderle's statement and Godwin's Law is left as an exercise to the reader.


    Stop for a moment and take the macro view, how does the behavior of the Linux attack force that has been focused on SCO and Microsoft really differ from other hate groups. If I even named these groups I would lose you so I won't, but isn't the behavior similar?


    No, the behavior is not similar. This is an attempt at guilt by association, with an extremely tenuous association. Alternately (or additionally), this could be viewed as argument by false analogy.


    They are attacking because they disagree with the legal rights of these companies, they are handing out punishments designed to destroy livelihoods, and often making physical threats.


    They disagree with the legal rights of these companies is a straw man. Groklaw and its users disagree with the legal arguments and public behavior employed by SCO. The right to enforce a contract or defend copyright / patents is not at issue. At issue is the evidence (or lack thereof) employed by SCO, as well as their public statements in regards to this (often non-existent) evidence.

    They are handing out punishments designed to destroy livelihoods is loaded and an appeal to fear. It is also an accusation made without reference to evidence of either punishments or destroy[ed] livelihoods.

    Often making physical threats is a misrepresentation of the population. Simply because Mr. Enderle may or may not have received isolated threats, that does not warrant the statement that these physical threats were made at all, let alone often, by users of Groklaw or Linux in general.

    (Note: I do not believe that physical threats are excusable. Neither does Pamela Jones of Groklaw, or any other leader in the Free Software community. Individuals who make such threats should be subject to the full force of law. Instead of pursuing that remedy, Mr. Enderle attempts to fallaciously leverage these threats in his speech. Referencing the community as lawless individuals who make physical threats will be a recurring theme in his keynote.)


    Their motivation is crimes that are believed, but generally not proven.


    Mr. Enderle is making an accusation in regards to motivation without providing any evidence.


    They appear to lack confidence in the legal systems that hold their own countries together and, even though some of them are themselves behaving criminally, they often refuse to address their own failings or even admit they have them.


    The statement that Groklaw users appear to lack confidence in the legal systems is at odds with the overwhelming evidence available at Groklaw itself. Specifically, the legal system (filings, motions, briefs and all) is put forth and explained. If anything, Groklaw has been pushing for a court resolution of this matter, as opposed to delay and press releases.

    Mentioning that this legal system holds [our] own countries together is true, but ultimately is an appeal to fear. Specifically, Mr. Enderle ties this national stability through to the (false) idea that Groklaw users lack confidence in the legal system, and hence do not support our national stability.

    Even though some of them are themselves behaving criminally is a misrepresentative sample. As mentioned before, I do not dispute that Mr. Enderle has received threats. There is even an outside possibility that at least one of these threats was a true threat, and not idle chatter. What Mr. Enderle has failed to prove is that these threats have come from the community that he is now labeling as criminal.

    They often refuse to address their own failings or even admit they have them is another ad hominem attack without evidence. Instead of considering the legal arguments put forth on Groklaw or other sites, Mr. Enderle instead chooses to make baseless accusations.


    I've been at the wrong end of a weapon and it shouldn't take us long to realize the some folks who make threats, whether it be in school or against governments or against companies, do, in fact, intend to carry them out.


    This is an appeal to authority. Since Mr. Enderle has been at the wrong end of a weapon we are supposed to consider him to be an expert on when threats are real or not.


    I traveled armed for 4 years under constant threat of death, fortunately it turned out just to be that, a threat and nothing more, but none of us knew that at the time. This was the result of a business gone south and I was simply missioned to protect the assets of the folks that had backed that business.


    This is yet another appeal to emotion as well as authority. Since he traveled armed for four years under constant threat of death we are supposed to accept his interpretation of recent threats he may or may not have received. Conspicuously lacking in all of Mr. Enderle's recounting is actual evidence of the threats he received, the tracing of said threats, and legal action against the supposed perpetrators. Instead we have nothing but emotional appeals.

    Also noteworthy is Gord Deinstadt's observation that travel[ling] armed for four years is possibly "romanticizing the mundane. For all we know he worked as a security guard for four years. Later he says he was a sheriff at one time so this is actually quite likely - many ex-policemen work in private security. The way he states it suggests that he was involved in the business gone south but avoids saying so. Hence the appeal to authority may be based on passing-off."


    I then changed my career path because of a husband with a shotgun, an abused spouse, and the manager who abused her.


    This is an appeal to emotion. Mr. Enderle attempts to tie himself to the issue of spousal abuse and the outpouring of (deserved) sympathy that is afforded to those victims.


    I'd come to the Silicon Valley to take over as head of HR for a manufacturing site, the husband had shown up at his wife's work with a shotgun to teach her manager the error of his ways, the manager was on vacation, so he figured the head of HR would do, he was my predecessor. I decided there were better ways to spend my life.


    Still more appeals to emotion. It should be noted that this keynote has strayed completely from the concept of Free Software, assuming it ever was there.


    I have a serious problem with people who are abusive, particularly those who use any excuse to cross the line into physical, emotional or verbal abuse. In my view this is uncalled for and the people who utilize this practice, this is a direct quote for Groklaw, aren't worth the air they breathe.


    Mr. Enderle, Pamela Jones, the Groklaw community at large, and I are in complete agreement on this point.


    You would think that after 911, Columbine, the east coast sniper, the people who have gone to work, their law offices, government offices, and killed others we would have all lost our tolerance for those that resort to physical threats.


    We have yet more emotional appeals, flawed analogies, and attempted guilt by association by attempting to tie Groklaw and Linux users to events like 9/11, Columbine, the east coast sniper, and...[those who] killed others.

    We would have all lost our tolerance for those that resort to physical threats is a fallacy of composition. Specifically, Mr. Enderle is attributing to Groklaw as a whole the (alleged and justly condemned) actions of a few. This fallacy is exacerbated by Mr. Enderle's complete lack of evidence for actual threats received.


    But while I'm sure that people would see that threatening a person's spouse or children is bad, I'm surprised more don't see that threatening their careers and reputations simply because you disagree with them to be equally so.


    This is another flawed analogy, as well as a straw man. Physical domestic violence (threatening a person's spouse or children) is not the same as logically and methodically showing a company's legal arguments to be baseless (threatening their careers and reputations simply because you disagree with them). The straw man is that Groklaw has not threatened anyone's career and reputation, but instead has put forth evidence and analysis showing the fundamental weakness of numerous legal and public statements.


    Throughout my adult life I've been most closely touched by those that come to the defense of others when they don't have to, and learned to hate those that take advantage of others because they can.


    This is yet another appeal to emotion, as well as a gross misrepresentation of Groklaw and its users.


    My goal is generally to get people to do what is right, not what they have the right, or more accurately, the power to do.

    I've seen up close and personal what can happen if you have massive layoffs, seen the result of miss-management and self dealing, and watched people lose their lives needlessly for the wrong causes. There is more to life than this. Simply said, focusing on attacking the people you disagree with is a bad thing, because you could be wrong. Certainly you can disagree but not to a degree where you eliminate the other view by force or threat.


    This is a straw man, as Groklaw has not attempted to eliminate the other view by force or threat.


    Look at the countries where disagreement is unlawful, would any of us want to live there?


    This is another false dichotomy as well as an appeal to fear. Specifically, Mr. Enderle is insinuating that if Groklaw is allowed to continue to disagree with SCO, or perhaps if Groklaw is simply allowed to continue existing, then the country will become one where disagreement is unlawful.

    As Curt Howland notes, "this is also a non-sequiter. Groklaw disagrees with SCO, so by [attacking] Groklaw's existence he is himself trying to prevent disagreement."


    I know a lot of you are wondering why, since you clearly are not the Linux Zealots I'm talking about, I'm focusing on this as much as I am. It is because I also believe you need to stand up for the alternative view particularly when it may, in fact be the right one. Folks, we depend on others to defend our rights too much.


    This is an implicit and fallacious appeal to pride by association. Specifically, Mr. Enderle is trying to tie SCO to the archetypal alternate view that you need to stand up for. Simply because SCO's statements are outside the mainstream does not make them true because other non-mainstream views have been true.


    If these rights are important to you, at some point you need to stand up for them too.


    This is a conjoining. Mr. Enderle is trying to tie SCO's legal battles to the need to stand up for ... rights [that] are important to you.


    Standing up for SCO and Microsoft

    That is why I stood up for SCO; they were being attacked because they were vulnerable.


    This is the fallacy of mistaking correlation with causation, as well as using the loaded words attacked and vulnerable. SCO may be vulnerable, but that is not necessarily (or even logically) the cause of their legal cases. Indeed, SCO was the initial plaintiff in all of their cases, only becoming later the defendants in counter-suits.

    The one exception to this is the Redhat case, where Redhat has sued for a declaratory judgment that Redhat's distribution does not infringe on any copyrights that SCO may or may not hold. Redhat sued only because of SCO's agressive behavior, saying that there "would be a day of reckoning for Redhat."

    It could also be argued that Mr. Enderle is committing the error of wrong direction. Specifically, that because SCO threatened (and ultimately pursued) litigation which directly resulted in counter-suits, they made themselves vulnerable.


    Those that attacked them did so because they could in a clear effort to deny the employees, the stockholders, and the customers of SCO their rights and, as a number of veterans have reminded me from time to time, heroes died for those rights and I believe it is our…. No my, obligation to uphold them.


    Here are loaded words, emotional appeals as well as conjoining. Of particular interest is the reference of veterans and heroes [who] died for those rights, a group who have collectively earned and receive a great deal of respect. Mr. Enderle attempts to tie their acts and sacrifice to SCO's legal battles.

    Also note, as shown earlier, that SCO was the agressor in these cases, as opposed to Enderle's statement in reference to those that attacked them [SCO].


    Now I hear from the Linux folks that it is SCO that is the bad guy here taking away the rights of those that worked hard to contribute to Linux and to that I say Bull ----. SCO, unlike the RIAA which is targeting kids, is going after large well funded companies who are perfectly able to take care of themselves.


    Here Mr. Enderle appears to be arguing that because a corporation is perfectly able to take care of themselves that it is acceptable to sue them, regardless of justification or lack thereof, even if the result of (hypothetical) success is that the rights of those that worked hard to contribute to Linux are impugned.


    In all cases the firms being challenged have more resources and are larger than SCO.


    This is a form of the fallacy of denying the antecedent. The symbolic form is "A implies B, A is false, therefore B is false." We can substitute in "might" (aka strength) for A and "does not make right" for B. Since might does not make right (A implies B), and SCO is not mighty relative to their opponents (A is false), therefore SCO is right (B is false). As mentioned earlier, this is a fallacious argument. In other words, just because your opponent is bigger than you doesn't make you right.


    If there is one thing firms like Daimler Chrysler don't need is a bunch of "hang'em high" bigots who think of themselves as judge, jury, and executioner.


    This is an ad hominem attack as well as attributing to the whole of Groklaw what may (key word is "may," as evidence is lacking) be true of individuals. Bigots and judge, jury, and executioner are all loaded words.


    It is really hard to maintain that the little guy on the block, who just wants his lunch money back from a bunch of line backers, is the bully but such is the twisted world some of these Linux folks have to live in to justify what they do.


    The little guy on the block who just wants his lunch money back from a bunch of line backers is a flawed analogy. Despite the linebackers having their wallets open for inspection (source code in Linux available), as well as a complete transaction history of income and spending from said linebackers (CVS / BitKeeper check-ins), SCO has failed to identify exactly how their lunch money was stolen or how it was spent.

    As Gord Deinstadt notes, the flawed analogy is also an appeal to pity.


    Now, don't get me wrong, maybe the little guy could be wrong and the Line Backers may not have his money, but, in this country he does have the legal right to find out.


    Mr. Enderle is creating an equivocation with the phrase legal right to find out. What any plaintiff has the right to do is bring enough preliminary evidence to convince a judge to allow discovery. SCO failed to bring this minimum burden of proof in the DaimlerChrysler case (and hence was all but dismissed), and has had only limited success in the IBM case.

    Again Gord Deinstadt helps out with noticing that this is "also false dichotomy and misrepresentation. Groklaw does not impede SCO from finding anything out; in fact Groklaw has helped to find out what is going on when given anything specific (such as a filename) to work with."


    How I got involved was really a fluke. I had press responsibility for Giga Information Group, not a surprise since I was dealing with the press more than most. We had an opportunity to do a debate on whether Linux was ready for the enterprise and they needed some poor fool to take the Con side. The Linux "expert" we had was very light and I didn't believe she could do it; also, I was getting bored and wanted the challenge. Challenge…. Oh ---- take me now…


    This is an interesting take on the appeal to anonymous authority. Specifically he sets up this Linux "expert" as very light and therefore not very intelligent. He doesn't name her, or provide any other evidence about why we should draw negative inferences about her.


    I spent weeks writing the piece, it was made easier because the CIO on the other side focused on subjective religious arguments rather than solid objective savings. Unfortunately I did too good a job and she backed out fearing for her job. So this debate never ran.


    Subjective religious arguments is a loaded phrase. Mr. Enderle also appears to confuse correlation with causation. Specifically he assumes that his opponent backed out because Mr. Enderle did too good a job. She may have backed out for other reasons, and no evidence or reasonable explanation is given for why she should be fearing for her job.


    A few months later Internet Week asked me to do a column and I revived this one, but I made the subject of the column properly supporting your decisions and used my piece to showcase how not doing this would expose you to valid and damaging criticism. The piece got broad coverage and I got death threats.


    The accusation of death threats is significant and warrants significant evidence in support of it. This evidence is not supplied here or elsewhere.


    During this time we were publishing a Linux newsletter for IBM and I was the editor, in the newsletter the Linux expert was saying something to the effect that SCO had no evidence and this position seemed broadly supported by the other analysts in surrounding spaces. I asked if anyone had gone to SCO and was told no. So I called and set up a meeting to see what SCO had. I have, to date, never seen more effort go into preventing me from having a single meeting then what happened after this. I had the meeting, on my own time, and confirmed that SCO did have a case.


    Here Mr. Enderle conjoins individuals (supposedly) attempting to prevent him from meeting with SCO with confirmation that SCO did in fact have a case. Neither he nor SCO have produced evidence in support of their case. In fact, Mr. Enderle will later admit that he has no direct evidence.


    END PART 1 OF 2

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  • Misc. Writing - Logical Critique of Rob Enderle's "Free Software and the Idiots Who Buy It" (Part 1 of 2) | 15 comments | Create New Account
    The following comments are owned by whomever posted them. This site is not responsible for what they say.
    Misc. Writing - Logical Critique of Rob Enderle's "Free Software and the Idiots Who Buy It&
    Authored by: japh on Thursday, August 12 2004 @ 09:37 AM CDT
    Excellent analysis.

    One quibble, though :-)
    The line from the original, "the people who utilize this practice, this is a direct quote for Groklaw, aren't worth the air they breathe", indicates to me that Mr. Enderle wanted the quote to be referenced on Groklaw (as his opinion?), not that Groklaw has used the quote in reference to him.

    Just my $0.03CDN.

    [ Reply to This ]
    Rob Enderle accuses me of threatening him
    Authored by: John Robertson on Thursday, August 12 2004 @ 03:38 PM CDT

    In an email exchange yesterday with Rob Enderle he accused me of threating him. Here is the entire exchange with redundant reply echos & sig information removed:

    -----------------------------------------------------
     Subject: Your SCO keynote
     From: "John D. Robertson" 
     To: renderle@enderlegroup.com
     
    Dear Mr. Enderle,
    
    Your SCO keynote address:
    
            http://pl.caldera.com/2004forum/agenda/Enderle_keynote_SCO-Forum2004.html
    
    is the most repulsive attempt at a purely emotional appeal 
    that I have ever seen in print. You, sir, are the idiot. 
    Congratulations on ruining your own career.
    
    JDR
    
    -----------------------------------------------------
     Subject: RE: Your SCO keynote
     From: "Rob Enderle" 
     To: 
     
    My career is safe, but thanks for the threat and your 
    company name. Watch for both in print.  
    
    
         Rob Enderle
    -----------------------------------------------------
     Subject: Re: Your SCO keynote
     From: "John D. Robertson" 
     To: "Rob Enderle" 
     
    Exactly how did I threaten you?
    
    -----------------------------------------------------
     Subject: RE: Your SCO keynote
     From: "Rob Enderle" 
     To: 
     
    I'm sorry; did you miss the career thing?  You wrote it.
    
    -----------------------------------------------------
     Subject: Re: Your SCO keynote
     From: "John D. Robertson" 
     To: "Rob Enderle" 
     
    Rob,
    
    Kudos to you for answering email so promptly!
    
    I was pointing out that your keynote speech is likely to be
    devastating to your career on it's own merits. Rest
    assured you that any threats you perceive from me are 
    figments of your imagination. I have no inclination and no 
    significant capability to harm your career.
    
    Allow me to expound on why your speech is a threat to your 
    career all by itself. The keynote:
    
    a) is poorly written.
    b) is devoid of relevant factual information.
    c) uses taboo language and imagery.
    d) was delivered publicly, and now appears in print.
    
    I hereby explicitly grant you permission to publish any of 
    my communications with Rob Enderle as long as the 
    communication is used in it's entirety (no excerpts, no 
    paraphrasing), and you attribute the communication to me.
    
    Please don't make any vague references to people threatening
    your career based on our communications.
    
    Regards,
    
    JDR
    -----------------------------------------------------
     Subject: RE: Your SCO keynote
     From: "Rob Enderle" 
     To: 
     
    Let me respond:
    
    A keynote it a speech, and it was well received by the 
    audience it was intended for.
    
    A keynote is more to entertain and engage then to share 
    facts (but it does depend on the speaker).  
    
    A keynote is allowed to use imagery and it was edited to 
    insure it didn't include Taboo language.  I honestly don't 
    have any idea what you are talking about here.  
    
    
    Yes, you show me a private keynote and I'll show you someone
    who talks to themselves.  
    
    Oh, and just like you felt free to threaten my career I 
    still feel free to use your comments however the hell I 
    want.  But, honestly, I just don't do that kind of thing so 
    you can stop sweating.  You really should think before you 
    make comments like you did, others would not have been so 
    reticent.
    
    My career is fine, much of it is behind me, and I'm still 
    ranked number one in my industry despite all of the threats 
    to take me down.  It will probably be the last year I am so 
    ranked, but then I say that every year.  
    
         Rob Enderle 
    -----------------------------------------------------
    

    So there you have it. I'm one of those "rabid Linux zealots" threating poor Rob with ruin. I wonder if the other threats he has received are also misinterpreted criticism? Do you think I threatened him?

    JDR
    [ Reply to This ]
  • Rob Enderle accuses me of threatening him - Authored by: Neil on Thursday, August 12 2004 @ 04:18 PM CDT
  • Mr Enderle reveals his purpose - Authored by: Superbiskit on Thursday, August 12 2004 @ 10:24 PM CDT
  • Rob Enderle accuses me of threatening him - Authored by: numbersix on Sunday, August 15 2004 @ 11:54 PM CDT
  • Getting Paid for Free Software
    Authored by: DannyB on Thursday, August 12 2004 @ 03:57 PM CDT
    These well intentioned, I think, individuals will eventually move on to other things and then what? How many others are in the wings who will work for free?

    Mr. Enderle incorrectly assumes that those who work on Free Software don't get paid to do so.

    Increasingly it seems, Free Software is worked on by employees of corporations who knowingly pay them specifically to do so.

    Some Linux kernel hackers are employed by evil corporations. To name some of the guilty parties... SuSE (Novell), Red Hat, and perhaps worst of all, IBM.

    As if that wern't bad enough, Sun pays the salaries of most OpenOffice.org programmers -- specifically to do this evil deed.

    I'm sure we could find other examples of Free Software developers working for fee rather than working for free.

    Has SCO ever contributed to the kernel or other Free Software projects, other than helping support Alan Cox's early Linux SMP efforts?
    [ Reply to This ]
    Misc. Writing - Logical Critique of Rob Enderle's "Free Software and the Idiots Who Buy It&
    Authored by: tzellers on Thursday, August 12 2004 @ 04:15 PM CDT
    Congrats on an excellent critique.

    You realize, of course, that you probably spent more time on this deconstruction than he spent writing it.

    -- TWZ
    [ Reply to This ]
    Typo correction
    Authored by: fuxupyo on Thursday, August 12 2004 @ 06:01 PM CDT
    Excellent piece. Thanks for your hard work. In Section 1, you are missing an opening parenthesis.

    Specifically, Mr. Enderle ties this national stability through to the false) idea that Groklaw users lack confidence . . .

    There is a similar correction posted in the comments for Section 2.
    [ Reply to This ]
  • Typo correction - Authored by: Neil on Thursday, August 12 2004 @ 06:11 PM CDT
  • Misc. Writing - Logical Critique of Rob Enderle's "Free Software and the Idiots Who Buy It" (Part 1 of 2)
    Authored by: tjanke on Friday, August 13 2004 @ 01:47 AM CDT
    Mr. Enderle's speech is disturbingly familiar. It reminds me of something... hmmm, let's see: pompous self-aggrandizement, ad hominem attacks, logical fallacies, personal slurs, complete lack of supporting evidence for any of the above. Especially interesting is his characterization of those who disagree with him as "hate groups". Where have I seen this before? Wait... of course! $cientology.

    I have no proof, but based on this speech, I now strongly suspect that Mr. Enderle is either a current or former $cientologist. (Members of that mad sect are *trained* to use such tactics, and repeat them relentlessly, under the old Soviet theory that lies repeated often enough become the truth.) If that is true, no amount of appeal to reason or logic will persuade or dissuade this man. The best you can hope for is to warn and instruct others, so they don't fall prey to his warped, emotionally booby-trapped rantings. Thank you for trying to do so.
    [ Reply to This ]
    Misc. Writing - Logical Critique of Rob Enderle's "Free Software and the Idiots Who Buy It" (Part 1 of 2)
    Authored by: Currawong on Friday, August 13 2004 @ 06:48 AM CDT
    As an Australian who has little interest in Linux (but who finds this weird
    battle over the other side of the planet strangely fascinating), I have to say, it
    sounds like Mr Enderle is saying that that Free Software is against the
    American Dream (and maybe the American Way of Life).

    By the American Dream, I mean becoming rich, successful and famous. It's as
    if he's implying you'd have to be an idiot to put effort into something that
    earned you no money (linux) and didn't result in the American Dream. I'm
    surprised he didn't accuse it of being a form of Communism (though the war
    reference towards the end almost made it there).
    [ Reply to This ]
    the errors of his ways
    Authored by: jabgoe on Friday, August 13 2004 @ 09:17 AM CDT
    One other (of many) errors in this "speech", that is not a logical one, but shows a lack of knowledge:

    When the speaker talks about the "tapes of the Nuremburg experiment" he in fact is referring to the famous "Milgram experiment" as anyone with an encyclopedia (online as wikipedia or offline) will easily be able to verify. It demonstrates that people can be driven to a false sense of obedience and have their concience shut down and how.

    Oh, and even in English the town is called "Nuremberg".

    And even if I know that it's off-topic: I'm sick of us-americans that are shouting "NAZIS" any time they hit something they don't like.
    [ Reply to This ]
    Misc. Writing - Logical Critique of Rob Enderle's "Free Software and the Idiots Who Buy It&
    Authored by: sj2 on Saturday, August 14 2004 @ 10:31 AM CDT
    I am from India. I've been using products like Cisco's routers/switches/firewalls, Checkpoint FW, Solaris, Microsoft Windows, Redhat Linux, OpenBSD, FreeBSD etc etc as a student and then as an IT Professional since 1995. I've heard names of pioneers like Kernighan, Ritchie, Linus Torvalds, Scott McNealy, Steve Jobs, Bill Gates, Larry Wall, Larry Ellison, Bill Joy etc etc. Maybe I am ignorant, but just who is Rob Endearle? From his speech, he seems to be in some sort of deep personal pain that has totally destroyed whatever professional competence he might've had at some point in his career. I wish him all the luck with his personal and professional life - may things get better for you soon.

    Cheers,

    Siddhartha
    [ Reply to This ]
  • Misc. Writing - Logical Critique of Rob Enderle's - Authored by: Neil on Saturday, August 14 2004 @ 11:24 AM CDT