|© 2004 Enderle Group|
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. 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. 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.
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. 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. I also believe the practice to be stupid, primarily because eventually the truth does come out, but I still understand it.
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. 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.
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. 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.
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. 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. 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.
So, as much as I'd like to bash the folks who are active on Groklaw I've begun to see many as victims. The site is supported by a marketing executive whose future is tied to the future of Linux and has strong political skills. 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. 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.
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. If Linux is as good as people like this say, why is it necessary to do something as unethical as placing spies in events?
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?
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.
I've always had a sense for bullshit and bullies and have never cared for either. 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.
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?
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. Their motivation is crimes that are believed, but generally not proven. 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.
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.
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.
I then changed my career path because of a husband with a shotgun, an abused spouse, and the manager who abused her. 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.
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.
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. 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.
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. 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. Look at the countries where disagreement is unlawful, would any of us want to live there?
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. If these rights are important to you, at some point you need to stand up for them too.
Standing up for SCO and Microsoft
That is why I stood up for SCO; they were being attacked because they were 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.
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 Shit. SCO, unlike the RIAA which is targeting kids, is going after large well funded companies who are perfectly able to take care of themselves. In all cases the firms being challenged have more resources and are larger than SCO. 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.
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. 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.
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 lord take me now…
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.
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.
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.
Now, in all honesty, I already knew this. I'd had the client server software service at Dataquest and covered Linux. I believed then, that was 1994, that it was an unauthorized copy of UNIX, it wasn't a big deal because I also believed it, like Plan 9, wasn't going to go anyplace. You hit some, you miss some.
Since I'm accused so often of being a Microsoft Shill, let me explain why I do actually have a Microsoft Bias. Do understand part of being an analyst is not to be Bias free; we all have bias, but to understand it and work to eliminate it from our work.
With Microsoft my relationship goes deeper. A few years back, when I was first starting out as an analyst, I got myself into a lot of hot water by doing something I knew was wrong to prevent a crime from being committed. I am both an ex-auditor and an ex-sheriff and took the related vows very seriously and still, for the most part, live by them.
By all accounts I would have lost my job and probably had to change careers again if it weren't for Bill Gates personally coming to my defense and pointing out that what I did probably kept a lot of folks out of jail. He didn't have to do that and, to this day I doubt he even remembers he did, but I remember.
A few years later Steve Ballmer invested a great deal in our company on my word, although this agreement grew well beyond my intent and control, after taking the money, we started to destroy the value that Steve had relied upon. I made the call to Steve and suggested he move to cover his own ass and had an instant day off. I knew the risks but it was my word, and trust is also incredibly important to me. Steve protected my job in return but the project never met anyone's expectations. I should point out that for several years after that I asked what else I could do to get these "instant days off", when you are the highest performer in a small firm days off are hard to get.
Strangely enough, years ago, I had a chance to work for Microsoft before it was Microsoft but, because I had just started a job that didn't require relocation working for a bunch of guys I knew, I didn't take it. It was one of the few things in my life I regret, not because I would be richer, but because the job I did take was a waste of 7 years of my life I'll never get back.
Why I look at IBM differently than you likely do.
It wasn't until I started to work at IBM proper in 1991 that I really saw how unfeeling a big company can truly be. I had been in the ROLM subsidiary for the company and had held jobs in finance, been assigned to IBM legal, run field internal audit, and even co-managed a completive analysis lab among other things (I bore easily). I entered IBM as one of the chosen few, on the executive resources list I was, in theory, a candidate for executive management and was supposedly fast tracked.
Let me pause for a moment and share a couple of my early IBM/ROLM experiences for context. When I joined ROLM, right after that Shotgun experience, I was attracted by their Great Place to Work department and concerned that IBM, a large investor, would buy them and kill the group. I had in writing that IBM would not buy the firm, IBM made public statements to this effect, and 4 months after I joined ROLM they broke that agreement. Shortly thereafter they destroyed the GPW department. I was beginning to understand why large companies can be very scary. Later, in competitive analysis I had a run in with the head of sales, who had transferred in from IBM corporate.
He took exception to a report I issued that blamed sales quality for our declining revenue and contradicted his position that it was a combination of high prices and product quality. He requested I be fired or transferred and my VP, who hated him thank god, covered my butt. The report was then leaked and he blamed me for the leak and issued a formal request that I be terminated. What he didn't know was I also headed security for my unit and traced the leak to his own organization, he left the company taking a job at the competitor who his subordinate had leaked the report to.
After leaving ROLM and joining IBM proper I spent a year trying to spin out the IBM software company because every survey we ran came back with one result, we could not beat Microsoft if we remained part of IBM hardware. The soon to be terminated head of IBM sales killed the effort and every key executive who backed it resigned. The outcome we tried to avoid happened a few years later.
While I was with IBM I saw us falsify internal reports to make key units look better while putting key customers at critical risk, I saw us mistreat partners because they didn't behave the way we wanted them to, and I had first hand experience of employee abuse that, to this day, even I find hard to believe. None of this would have been known to executive management had I not reported it.
In each case I moved personally to correct the problems, and, in each case they were corrected but at a substantial personal cost. This doesn't mean that the people at IBM are bad or evil the problems were the result of a bureaucracy that had grown so pronounced that corruption had sprouted and flourished in the darkness that resulted and a lot of people lost their jobs as a result.
Most of whom had done nothing wrong at all, many had simply looked the other way, and very few got what they deserved. Rank does have its privileges, unfortunately.
This is what I refer to as the big company disease. It has its roots in power and the lack of oversight on it, it flourishes when measurements and personal goals are in conflict with the conscience of the company and it can do terrible damage when any member or group gains too much power over another. You saw the extreme of this when you viewed the pictures of that prison in Iraq.
People in power will misuse that power if there is no adequate oversight, not all people, but the majority and when that happens in an otherwise good company you have "the big company disease". These people don't think of themselves as bad, if caught they deeply regret their actions, but the damage can seldom be undone and it is in all our best interest if it isn't done in the first place.
Every company has the seeds of this problem within it, and most don't have any concept of how bad it is until too late.
If you don't think your company has it, this big company disease, spend some time with a few of the lower level employees and ask them what is going on, talk to some of your vendors and ask them how they are being treated, go out to lunch with one of your obscure customers, not one of those sales brings in, but one who isn't visible. Then talk to me about how well run your company is.
IBM had, and has, the strongest ethics policies and the most severe penalties for violating them of any company I've ever studied and I learned you can't manage by policy, you manage through leadership and oversight and if you don't have that, you either will have a sick company or you already do. In the end I learned that the vast majority of employees at IBM are really good people who don't lift their heads up and look around enough to make a real difference.
SCO and IBM
This is one of the reasons I believe SCO has a case. While, were I advising them, I would not have suggested they make some of the decisions they have made, on the other hand I know the kinds of mistakes any big company, and especially IBM, can make and to what extreme lengths executives will go to cover them up. You just have to look at Enron, WorldCom and Martha Stewart to get a sense of how power unchecked can corrupt.
I know that the only way to know whether what SCO alleges has happened is to look inside IBM and see what actually did happen. I'm an ex-IBM internal auditor, I know what kind of skeletons are in their closets, I also know, that of all the divisions, Software is the most likely to have broken the rules.
I'm fascinated by Open Source advocates, who argue that everything should be open, and who seem to have a severe problem with SCO's need to have IBM be opened through discovery. If I thought there was even a chance that IBM was trying to co-opt Linux like they tried to do with Windows, did with OS-2, and tried with AIX I'd like to know that. But, evidently, that information violates the Linux religion and the priests have spoken: "this information will simply confuse the little minds of the converted".
I believe it likely that IBM made some very bad choices with regard to Linux and SCO, that just like Apple and HP's legal teams had suggested caution or outright avoidance, IBM's legal team also made recommendations but theirs were not followed and what we are looking at with SCO and IBM is only part of the result.
Now I have no direct evidence, I'm only an ex-IBM Senior Auditor In Charge who used to have a nose for trouble but that nose seldom failed me and I smell something really rotten in this deal.
Certainly SCO has had some setbacks, BayStar continues to try to seize control of the company and their secondary litigation to Daimler and AutoZone hasn't resulted in any tangible wins. I'm reminded that Intel, who has the strongest legal team in the industry, was once given a case of beer and the headline was Intel finally wins a case. However the back-story was that when Intel lost a case the other side generally lost the war, Intel is a scary company when it comes to litigation. Daimler was a mistake, BayStar has its own agenda, and AutoZone isn't really a loss; the outcome is just tied to the IBM case that founds all of this.
None of these cases has any bearing, other than financial, on the IBM case regardless of how much the Groklaw fabricators write to the contrary. These secondary cases do pull from SCO's resources but they don't, at least so far, change the dynamics of the primary case.
A piece of advice from someone that did this for a living for awhile, watch the judge, don't focus on either side. The judge will decide the case and that is where the real action is.
IP is the new Gold, and Linux the new Mill Creek
Mill Creek in California was one of the places where gold was initially discovered and the resulting strip mining damn near destroyed the entire area. I went to private school there and it has actually recovered nicely after over 100 years.
If you've been watching, companies are slowly moving to acquire IP and they appear to be planning on recouping that investment at some future time. With Open Source software you can see, in great detail, what makes the products tick and this makes discovery relatively simple. It is my belief that people and companies are now mining this software for opportunities and then acquiring the intellectual property they will need to "mine" Linux users at some future point, granted only well funded non-government users.
I reviewed the results of a panel of attorneys brought together by Ziff Davis a few months ago and all but one agreed that there would be a substantial amount of litigation once the SCO action was settled. No amount of covering up is going to fix this and the more challenges the platform has the less effective denial of service attacks, threats, and character assassination will be. Only HP has the power and resources to truly indemnify a Linux buyer and those of you on UnixWare, FreeBSD, and Microsoft products will probably get the last laugh.
Remember that the one thing that put me on SCO's side was that when I went to try to find out if SCO had a case and incredibly large number of resources was put in play to block me. After I was done and concluded they had a case I was ordered to never talk about this again. This was at a major firm, Forrester, who had been threatened to a level unheard of in that industry.
This was one of the reasons I resigned, as the most senior analysts, the one Senior Research Fellow, I had to set an example and the example I chose to set was to leave. Which, coincidently, has worked out extremely well, and if you look at Forrester's Financials, I'm doing a hell of a lot better than they are.
Free Software and the Idiots who buy it
The topic I'm finally getting to is Free Software and the Idiots who buy it and I imagine that many of you were wondering when I would get to this point. My reputation is to always give more then expected and I'm trying to maintain that rep.
As you would expect, with this background and this position on Linux, I'm relatively conservative and incredibly skeptical of Free. I hear Free I want to look at the small print. I don't understand how people can go on "Free" Vacations which have at their core an incredibly painful sales process that locks you into a "timeshare" you could have bought for a fraction of the price on the web. Isn't a time share always "used"?
If someone tells you something is free they are probably lying, and you should place one hand securely on your wallet. In the example above the "free vacation" actually costs relatively valuable vacation time, if you buy the damn thing you paid a premium for it, and you are now on a list that will result in unwanted calls that will continue into the late evening until you die. Free my ass.
The Cost of Free
A few years ago, when I was starting out after collage, there were a lot of interesting programs showcasing the fact that a lot of folks slept through their economics classes, if they ever took them in the first place. Pyramid schemes, multi-level marketing, coupon clipping "services", and other unique ways to part you from your hard earned money under the promise of making you rich preceded by decades the .COM insanity.
One of my own initial bad investments was in movies where you could actually deduct substantially more then you invested due to some screwy tax loophole, only problem was I was 15 and didn't exactly have a lot of income to deduct. I never said I was born smart, that's $5K I'll never see again (and back then $5K would buy you two Honda Civics).
One of the most attractive looking programs was barter. Basically you bypassed cash, you provided your products and services and, according to some screwy scale, you could purchase with "barter bucks" someone else's product or services. No sales tax, no income tax, no mark-up, only problem was it wasn't legal either. It didn't help that only some things were in the program, people were very creative when it came to what their stuff was worth, and the program was difficult to use. But what if it had worked?
No sales taxes or income taxes, cool huh? You could buy more stuff with less money. Of course the government would fail, but for the years before the country was taken over you could buy more toys. You get that don't you? When you don't pay taxes you don't pay salaries for politicians (not necessarily a bad thing), police, fire, school teachers, street repair, armed forces, public transportation, homeland security, CIA, life guards, sewage treatment, and anything funded by the government. Tax revenues decline, I'm guessing that many government CIOs can't even spell economics, I wonder who they think would be cut first.
This is the big problem with "Free" it doesn't contribute to anything, not even the salaries of the people who create it. Often people are valued according to the value of the products they provide. Doctors make more than Police Officers even though I could argue that the existence of Police Officers probably prevents more actual deaths than doctors. Defense attorneys make more than public defenders and they have similar educations, sometimes they even went to the same schools and earned the same grades, because defense attorneys that aren't public defenders charge for their services. The kids of these more lucrative professionals, if treated well, have access to better food, better education, and more opportunities then the same kids of the folks who work for "free".
Why in the world would a programmer trying to make ends meet want to drive an initiative that could only make him, or her, less valuable over time? Linux folks are not only not paid more than their UNIX counterparts, with the massive move to off-shoring, the average wage is dropping like a rock globally and the jobs are moving to places where that wage is acceptable.
Additional Cost of Free
Ever wonder who pays for things like Cancer Research and the grants that fund advanced research in Artificial Intelligence? Much of that comes from foundations funded by individuals and companies. The other very big investor is the Department of Defense. Otherwise known as the department that created smart bombs that seem to seldom actually hit their designated targets. Smart my ass….
Free software doesn't fund any of this; in fact it may not even be sustainable on a large scale. Many of the most active people backing the initiative now are ex-.COM employees who used the money they took from retirees, school teachers, and other unfortunate investors to "contribute" to the collapse of the US software business and the devaluation of software engineers. 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?
Let's wrap this up talking about the kinds of Free Software, not all of it is bad.
Types of Free Software
With software there are several kinds of "free". There are free products that come with ads and increasingly with Spyware, there are "free trials" which time out at unfortunate periods of time (time bombs), and there are free enterprise products that cost 1,000s of dollars. Guess which one Linux is?
Advertising Supported Free Software
The products that come with ads, like the games and utilities from Gain, pay for themselves with ad revenue. If the ads don't drive you nuts and you don't mind Spyware (and I have to admit there were a couple of times when a pop up actually saved me on a product purchase before I eliminated it), it isn't a bad deal but it also isn't really free. But it is much like TV.
I have a Tivo, yes I know it runs Linux, which is kind of a cheat because I scan through commercials, but I do often stop at ones (like movie trailers, technology and car ads) I like so it isn't that bad. Of course you never know when Spyware may contain something like a key logger which is what makes this class of product way too risky for me these days.
Free Software Trials with "Bombs"
Free trials are free, and they are a good way to learn about the product. However, increasingly they too contain some type of identity capturing tool so that sales can follow up. And, sometimes when the "bomb" goes off it can be really embarrassing. I was running a "free trial" for Go Back, now owned by Symantec, a couple of years ago and right in the middle of a presentation to EDS's sales force it decided to uninstall itself and reboot my machine. I can't repeat the wonderful thoughts I had of that product at that moment.
While funny, and a clearly a story I told every time I saw the Go Back folks after the event, I have a really cruel sense of humor sometimes, it wasn't something I ever want to do again. However, the use of the product is free, and often you are on your honor, if you like the product, to pay the developer for it. This is a good way to use Free, as in free trial, as in the first one is free, as in… Well you get the point.
Free Enterprise Software
Free enterprise software is a joke and the folks are not laughing with you. IBM used to regularly give Notes away for Free to compete with Microsoft Exchange. This was because IBM had a services and a hardware unit that could subsidize the sale and Microsoft did not. Nothing wrong with this, except the notion that Notes was free. They would brag externally that each "Free" notes seat got them $650 of additional revenue. Inside the company it was more like twice to three times this. They make a billion dollars off of Linux, best estimate is they have less than 1M seats of Linux, you do the math. It may be a lot of things, but it sure as hell isn't Free.
Now, you say, but I can get Linux directly for free. Increasingly that isn't so. Novell Linux isn't free, and Redhat Linux clearly isn't free. By the way, you'll notice that Redhat is currently testing out their innovation with their own financial reports, while fascinating, I would think they might want to choose someplace else to innovate.
If you develop on the platform your IP may belong to the world and the value of that IP is part of your Linux price. I'm waiting for the day that someone at GM realizes that Linux developers there regularly talk to their Ford counterparts to solve critical problems and, because may they need to, provide access and confidential information about the company in the process. The Ford executives shouldn't feel too smug because similar information is flowing out of them. And key technologies may not belong to either because of this practice.
A community process is just that and any platform that bypasses internal policy with regard to information control is a security hole you could drive an armored truck through. Who cares about the litigation risk, what is the value of the competitive information that is moving between competitors without approval. Even if it didn't move as part of the process, what employee doesn't like to brag about their company and, having been in competitive analysis, I know the best way to get information out of a company is to go directly to the employees who know it (often pretending you are someone you are not). Working with a vendor under contract is one thing, the rules are defined, and working with a group of folks with names like "butlick" is a risk that will probably seem negligent after the fact.
These are all the costs of Free Enterprise software, I'm not saying don't use it, I am saying use it with caution particularly if it is said to be "free", because you need to know the real cost and only an idiot makes a major purchase when they don't know the real cost.
FUD FUD FUD FUD FUD
I can almost hear the little Groklaw brains working. No offense, no, actually go ahead and take offense I find this practice incredibly stupid. I've opened my mouth and all some of you heard was FUD FUD FUD FUD FUD. Most of the folks that heard this FUD don't even know what it really is, let alone how to do it. It's the mantra that is used to avoid hearing anything that they don't want to hear. FUD FUD FUD FUD FUD. It's your life, these are your decisions, it is your choice to look at both sides of an argument, or not. That's called freedom, and it isn't free either. People paid for that Freedom with their lives and continue to do so.
Don't you think it wise to use that Freedom, and whether it is to vote, or to pick a product, too actually weigh both sides before making a decision rather than blindly follow any dogma. Your company, your employees, your family depends on you to make intelligent choices and you can't really do that if you refuse to look at all of the facts. I don't really care what product you pick, but sometimes the emperor really is naked. Ladies and gentlemen, we were all given brains, the fact that you are here, at least for most of you, indicates to me you are using yours.
To the SCO employees in the audience, Carpe Diem folks, continue to make a difference, to the SCO investors and supporters, you are in good company sometimes; being on the right side doesn't mean being on the popular side, and to the folks in the audience who are just here to slam the company, buy a clue, it's the best money you will ever spend.
I'm Rob Enderle, and that, is my opinion.