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Laura DiDio

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Laura DiDio
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Laura DiDio

Laura DiDio is a senior analyst, formerly with Giga Information Group (now Forrester Research) and currently (2004) with The Yankee Group consulting firm in Boston. She received a B.A. in communications from Fordham University and worked for many years as a reporter and editor covering computer networking. Her recent work has included an assessment of Microsoft Windows.

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Open Source

DiDio is often viewed as being very critical of the Open Source movement and community due to her early support of SCO and frequent referencing of those studies comparing the TCO of Microsoft and Linux where Microsoft appears to have performed well.

An example of her opinion on how Open Source Software is handled shows in this remark (quoted from a phone interview from her home in Massachusetts): "The thing about Linux is, you can talk about a free, open operating system all you want, but you can't take that idea of free and open and put it into a capitalist system and maintain it as though it is some kind of hippie commune or ashram, because if you can do it like that, at that point I'm like, 'Pass the hookah please!'" [1]

Even recently, after admitting that a SCO victory in their case against IBM seemed like an extreme longshot, Didio said, "There is a larger issue, though: Even if the SCO case gets dismissed entirely, it does not remove the copyright cloud hanging over Linux and open source." [2]

Unsurprisingly, Linux advocates have in response heavily criticised DiDio. Typical criticisms are a lack of formal Computer Science qualifications and promoting studies funded by Microsoft; frequently this has resulted in questioning of her integrity and her being characterised as "a Microsoft shill". [3][4] In April 2005 she struck back at this criticism [5], denying having received any money from Microsoft or that the surveys had been funded by them. In the same interview she objected to the way she had been attacked in certain forums (particularly Groklaw), as well as having elsewhere been nicknamed "Didiot" and "Dildo" (particularly on Yahoo's SCOX board), claiming "There's an extremist fringe of Linux loonies who hang out on forums and are disrespectful and threatening because you disagree with them" and "I've had these nut jobs calling me at 11 o'clock at night" [6] - comments which have only served to increase the antagonism.

SCO affair

In June, 2003, she was invited to view snippets of the code that SCO Group claimed had been inserted into the mainline Linux Kernel. She stated that "It appeared as though the Unix System V code complete with the developer notes had been copied and pasted right into Linux. OK now, that said, that is not empirical proof of anything. It's just what it looked like to me, and they showed us snippets of things, so I can't state with absolute certainty what it meant. But what I came away thinking was that if this is what it appeared to be, then SCO has a credible case." [7]

Half a year later she said: "You cannot draw a definitive conclusion from seeing snippets, you need the whole picture, and that's what we haven't seen yet. With that said, you'd have to be really crazy to try and sue IBM if you didn't have something." [8]

In 2005 she noted SCO's financial difficulties, stating that "SCO's delisting by NASDAQ is clearly a red light; If I were an investor, I would be very concerned." [9] In April, 2005 she also noted its legal difficulties: "As the party that launched the suit, the onus is squarely on The SCO Group to prove its claims. And yes, Judge Kimball's remarks in rendering his ruling were a scathing indictment against SCO—on the surface, the deck appears to be stacked higher than the Sears Tower against SCO." [10] However, she compared the situation to the Red Sox near-elimination from the pennant race before coming back to win the World Series. [11] "SCO could still pull out a long-shot victory if it has the evidence it claims it does, and if the evidence stands up to the scrutiny of jury and judge. Or this case could turn out to be the biggest nothing since Geraldo Rivera opened Al Capone's vault on national TV and didn't even find cockroaches!" [12]

The Amityville Horror

Ms. DiDio made a splash on the national scene many years before she turned to reporting the computer industry. She was intimately involved [13] in the alleged haunting referred to as The Amityville Horror. Two months after the Lutzes moved out, she held what she called a "psychic slumber party" involving herself and a number of paranormal investigators. During this time, pictures were taken in which some claim to see a small child in a window. There is also some evidence to suggest that DiDio encouraged the Lutzes in their initial reporting of the story. Also involved was Hans Holzer.

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