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Linus Not The Father Of Linux, According to Report 867

Posted by Hemos
from the fear-uncertaintity-and-doubt dept.
MrIrwin writes "According to this article on Yahoo, Linus is not the real father of Linux and Open source software is really just code nicked from other sources. " Groklaw has done a dissection of the press release. It's a press release by the Alexis de Toqueville Institution, who gets funding from MSFT, as well as believes that US IT troubles are because of free software. Oh, and terrorism works better because of open source, and the "Star Wars" program was a good idea.
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Linus Not The Father Of Linux, According to Report

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  • by MrIrwin (761231) on Monday May 17, 2004 @09:39AM (#9172629) Journal
    .....and seeing as how they have such close ties to MS, perhaps they could run a study as to how Microsoft came to be born.
    • by 2names (531755) on Monday May 17, 2004 @09:47AM (#9172715)
      Does this mean Linus can stop paying child support?

      *ducks*

    • by kryonD (163018) on Monday May 17, 2004 @09:48AM (#9172724) Homepage Journal
      Yeah...based on the logic presented in that article, he is going to come to the conclusion that Linux was really the result of a gay marriage between Charles Babbage and Alan Turing.

      This is almost as funny as that "5 year study" on the Total cost of ownership of Win2K vs Linux that was released in 2001.
      • I love the Linux Mainframe comparison, they compare Linux on an IBM mainframe to Windows 2003 Server on a dual Xenon server. Then cite the Linux machine as having a higher TCO becuase of the cost of the mainframe, the power bill, the maintenance contract, etc.

        Or how about the Windows vs. Linux report that does not put a cost on the security breaches and malware attacks on Windows systems?
        • by sharkey (16670) on Monday May 17, 2004 @11:25AM (#9173681)
          Windows 2003 Server on a dual Xenon server.

          Just wait until you see it on a Neon server. It'll be a glowing review!

      • by superpulpsicle (533373) on Monday May 17, 2004 @10:24AM (#9173102)
        Well the 5 year study is still far better than the M$ commercial having 1 IT guy run the entire IT department because he now has one windows 2003 server replacing many win2k boxes. Then he claims to have saved the company $$$. At the same time M$ goes about saying they help create IT jobs. Wait... your 2003 server allows 1 person to run the IT department.
    • by southpolesammy (150094) on Monday May 17, 2004 @09:49AM (#9172742) Journal
      And related to the article, perhaps they can also shed light on the "questionable beginnings" of MS Windows [osix.net].
      • by Handyman (97520) * on Monday May 17, 2004 @10:53AM (#9173404) Homepage Journal
        Boy, that's a lousy article:

        1. Since when did NT stand for "Network Technology" instead of "New Technology"?

        2. It calls Windows 3.1 "the second OS with a GUI" (after the Mac), as if 3.1 was the first version of windows ever.

        3. I quote:

        Windows 3.1 was still based on MS-DOS because it was really just a front end. All it did was pass commands to MS-DOS which then passed commands to the kernel.

        Excuse me? What is this "MS-DOS" thing that passes things to "the kernel"? The only thing I can think of is that he might mean the MS-DOS prompt. This sounds as if Windows 3.1 did everything by simulating typing on the DOS prompt (i.e., "pass commands to MS-DOS") and letting the DOS prompt pass things on to "the kernel". My take on this: the kernel is actually what "MS-DOS" really is -- the command prompt is just the equivalent of a shell. I have no clue what separation between "MS-DOS" and "the kernel" this guy had in mind.

        4. Since when did Windows 98SE stand for "Special Edition" instead of "Second Edition"?

        5. Since when was Windows ME a bugfix release for the Y2K problem? I quote: The Y2K (Year 2000) problem was discovered and fixed with the release of Windows ME (Millennium Edition). This is actually funny, so it might be intended as a joke, but I don't think it is.

        6. If Windows NT was really based on the source of VMS, M$ would have definitely been sued. And they haven't AFAIK. Instead, M$ had just been done with the OS/2 cooperation debacle, and it's pretty probable that they took quite a bit of code from that to get them started on NT.

        There's more I could say, but I think this enough.

        • by PonyHome (625218) on Monday May 17, 2004 @11:24AM (#9173673)
          6. If Windows NT was really based on the source of VMS, M$ would have definitely been sued. And they haven't AFAIK. Instead, M$ had just been done with the OS/2 cooperation debacle, and it's pretty probable that they took quite a bit of code from that to get them started on NT.

          AFAIK, they were sued, and they lost, which is why DEC was allowed to modify NT to run on Alpha systems, and to distribute it themselves. It wasn't an outright theft, but code that migrated into NT with several coders that had come from VMS development.
        • 3. MS-DOS has a kernel which is an executable loaded into memory first and a shell, e.g. command.com. Windows 3.1 carried everything out via assorted software interrupts and BIOS calls, except for video access, which was done by the driver and probably primarily involved direct video access. By "pass commands to MS-DOS" it means use interrupt 21h, MS-DOS services. The heavy use of the DOS interrupt and BIOS calls meant that windows could support anything dos could support. If you had a special keyboard which operated via a TSR, which in turn was typically activated by INT 16h (keyboard bios functions) as it had patched the vector table, it would work in windows, too.

          Thanks to "Assembly Language for Intel-Based Computers" by Kip R. Irvine (ISBN 0-13-091013-9) for keeping me factual...

          6. Windows NT definitely contains some code from OS/2, which Microsoft ended up licensed to have because of the event you allude to. And, it was authored primarily (in the core) by VMS developers. I'm to lazy to look up which, unfortunately, but the information is readily available.

    • by Zak3056 (69287) on Monday May 17, 2004 @10:03AM (#9172884) Journal
      I happen to like the headline of this story from The Register [theregister.co.uk]: Alien puppet Linus swiped Linux from SCO, says balanced study. Trust the Reg to put this story in the proper context.

      Of course, what REALLY burns me is the line that says For almost thirty years, programmers have tried to build a Unix-like system and couldn't, somehow suggesting that UNIX is like the the tinfoil hat version of the pyramids of Egypt--some mysterious advanced technology that no one understands and couldn't possibly replicate.

    • by Aexia (517457) on Monday May 17, 2004 @10:11AM (#9172954)
      OSAMA BIN LADEN!

      Thus, by using Linux, you're supporting the terrorists.

      Everyone please report to the near Homeland detention center for "reprogramming".
  • Shenanigans (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday May 17, 2004 @09:39AM (#9172630)
    the "Star Wars" program was a good idea.
    Is that the one where they destroy all copies of Episode 1 and 2 by firing lasers from satellites orbiting Earth? I still think that's a good idea.

    TFA also mentions that Kenneth Brown (braindead author of the book about the study) interviewed RMS, but I fail to see any references to GNU/Linux in the write-up. I call shenanigans. Is it April 1st?

    And finally, cheers to Hemos. There five times as many links in the editorial insert than there are in the actual submission. Someone buy this man a beer.
    • I wish... (Score:5, Interesting)

      by Xenographic (557057) on Monday May 17, 2004 @12:33PM (#9174281) Homepage Journal
      And finally, cheers to Hemos. There five times as many links in the editorial insert than there are in the actual submission. Someone buy this man a beer.

      *Ahem* I hate to spoil that nice thought, but Hemos appears to have taken all of those links from my (rejected) submission last night, and then forgot the media transparency [mediatransparency.org] link on where they get their funding. The rest appear to be exactly the same ones I submitted...

      Speaking of which, here's an other good source [iwethey.org] of links to information.

      Oh, and here's my other post from Groklaw, concerning what I think they're up to by throwing out inane nonsense like this press release:


      Oddly, the word "misdirection" is all I can think of just now. For
      those who do not know, it is a fundamental principle of illusionists to
      misdirection with flashes and loud noises so that you will miss where the slight
      of hand is actually going on. By managing the attention of the crowd, focusing
      it on something noisy and exciting, one misdirects them so that they are
      surprised when the magic happens.

      It was Enderle who gave me this idea, of all people. You may remember him, for
      all his claims about "Linux terrorists" and then trying even to
      provoke Linux vs. BSD flamewars in a snotty aside at the end of one of his
      articles.

      You see, it should be obvious to anyone that this is all designed as flamebait.
      One would expect people to react vociferously, as is the nature of flamebait.
      But what is its use? For our "analysts" in the institute here, it
      means money, either in donations from the like-minded, or even hype for their
      book. Even those who hate it might be tempted to read it, simply to find out
      what they say in it.

      As for Microsoft, what do they gain from negative PR, you might ask? I suspect
      they want to make themselves out to be a victim. Oh, of course, we certainly
      won't buy it, but if voices like Enderle's prevail... well, that's another
      matter. The general public, and thus many of Microsoft's customers, probably
      won't hear about all this, but they might hear the news Microsoft helps put out,
      say on MSNBC or other channels...

      How might they become a "victim" you ask? By portraying us as
      "reactionary" (even when there may be no "us" to speak of)
      and trumping up those who come up with the crazy conspiracy theories to
      discredit those who can envision more plausible scenarios. I suspect that they
      would simply say that their funding of this group was innocent and incidental,
      then some up with some wildly inaccurate conspiracy theory from some random
      person on the internet, and use that to discredit all those who see any
      significant involvement between the two.

      Worse, if (God forbid) anyone got upset enough to do something illegal, we would
      all be maligned for it. In such a hostile environment, they may blame even
      unrelated misfortunes (such as one's server crashing, or random hardware
      failures) on unknown "hackers" ...

      So don't get distracted by patent nonsense. Refute it, yes, but always with a
      level head, knowing that there are "journalists" like Daniel Lyons of
      Forbes who will even stoop to quoting random anonymous comments off the internet
      to make it look as though everyone with a differing opinion is a moron, while
      SCO has invented fake protesters with fake signs claiming to support communism,
      among other things.

      So remember, they're not trying to convince us of anything. They're trying to
      convince those who know little about these issues and who haven't taken sides
      yet.
  • by Drathus (152223) * on Monday May 17, 2004 @09:40AM (#9172633)
    "No... I am your father!"
  • What a farce. (Score:5, Interesting)

    by grub (11606) <slashdot@grub.net> on Monday May 17, 2004 @09:40AM (#9172637) Homepage Journal

    Read to the bottom of the article:
    Brown's study is part a book he is writing on open source software and operating systems. Excerpts from the book will be published at www.adti.net on May 20, 2004.
    That says it all. Inflammatory statements preceding the release of a new book. This latest FUD is nothing more than a book promotion in the guise of a press release.
    • Re:What a farce. (Score:5, Interesting)

      by yo303 (558777) on Monday May 17, 2004 @09:51AM (#9172760)
      To this day, we have a serious attribution problem in software development because people have chosen to scrupulously borrow or imitate Unix

      The author even contradicts himself, as to the motive of open source programmers. Perhaps he meant unscrupulous.

      yo.

    • Re:What a farce. (Score:5, Insightful)

      by swordboy (472941) on Monday May 17, 2004 @09:55AM (#9172802) Journal
      The article lost all credibility when they used the word, "invent" to describe the process by which software is created.

      Software is developed, not invented. This is also one of the main reasons that the patent world is all screwed up.

      Oh well...
      • Re:What a farce. (Score:5, Insightful)

        by Giant Panda (779279) on Monday May 17, 2004 @10:48AM (#9173348) Journal
        Yes. This is sort of like saying one architect stole a building design from another because it has four sides and a roof.
      • Re:What a farce. (Score:5, Interesting)

        by Tin Foil Hat (705308) on Monday May 17, 2004 @11:09AM (#9173537)
        And lets not forget their belief that ideas may be owned. You'll find it in point number one at this document [adti.net], published on the the AdTI website. It contains all sorts of factual errors, misconceptions, and outright lies. It was this quote, in particular, that really set me off:

        "Unfortunately however, the belief in free exchange characterizes a core disagreement with models (ie. proprietary software) that strive to own and protect ideas, to later leverage their value in the marketplace. Thus, mixing the open source world and the patent world has all the makings of an explosive relationship."


        Last time I checked, ideas themselves are not property and cannot be owned. Now, one may secure a right to capitilize exclusively on a new idea (patents), and one my reserve the right to copy original works (copyright), but nobody can own an idea. You may as well try to own the wind.

        In my mind, this is the crux of the matter. Many proprietary software companies want to be able to own ideas, to say, that's my idea and you can't use it unless you fork over all of your dough. They hire pundits and paid-for researchers to make absurd claims as though they are obvious truths.
    • by FreeUser (11483) on Monday May 17, 2004 @09:56AM (#9172808)
      Linus Torvalds should sue the author for libel and defamation of character (and extend it to slander if the author is making oral statements publicly).

      This is not only obviously false (and easilly provable), it is likely that it can be shown that anyone purporting to write a book on the subject (free software) should have had enough brain cells to rub together to do a modicum of background research that conclusively demonstrates what they are saying is false (groklaw for starters, fsf, eff, etc.).

      Any profits from this libelous publication should go to the injured parties: Linus, whose professional reputation has been viciously besmirched.
      • by jdreed1024 (443938) on Monday May 17, 2004 @10:25AM (#9173117)
        Linus Torvalds should sue the author for libel and defamation of character (and extend it to slander if the author is making oral statements publicly).

        If you RTFA, you'll see there's a whole lot of conditionals in there. AdTI might be a bunch of idiot sheep, but I bet they have a halfway competent legal department that would make them stop short of anything that could get them sued. And we don't know the sources. I mean, I could go find a bunch of conspiracy mags and websites and use them as a source to write a press release that says "Surgeon General might be controlling minds with flu shots". Heck, I have my "sources". And I didn't make any accusations, just threw the idea out there. I'm pretty sure the surgeon general can't sue me for that. (The government can throw me in Guantanamo Bay, but that's different).

        What Linus _should_ do is write a well-thought-out rebuttal and get it into the major news outlets to let everyone know how ridiculous these claims are. This is one of the few times when something ridiculous does merit a response. If it was from some wacko on Usenet, sure, ignore it, no one will care. But rebutting their claim and providing solid proof will help publically discredit this istitute, which is exactly what is needed.

        • by TrekkieGod (627867) on Monday May 17, 2004 @10:52AM (#9173389) Homepage Journal
          What Linus _should_ do is write a well-thought-out rebuttal and get it into the major news outlets to let everyone know how ridiculous these claims are.

          I don't think Linus should bother. As it is, everyone who matters can see how ridiculous that is. If Linus places a rebuttal in major news outlets, it'll give credibility to these people (or at least more public controversy, as they will post a response themselves, then Linus will have to reply, and this will continue to go on fueling publicity for Brown's book). They WANT people to take them seriously and reply. They're powerless if we don't.

          Really...I'd just rather see Linus's usual witty replies in a board somewhere, definitely not in a major news outlet. It won't give them fuel to their campaign and I'll be able to laugh, perhaps as much as I laughed after reading their press release.

    • After many interviews with astronauts and rocket scientists, I have determined that the moon is probably made of cheese.

      I tell all in my soon-to-be-released book.

      Find out how NASA lied!

      Excerpts to be published on my website.

      (Note: This is not a shameless self-promotion gimmick. It's not. Really.)
    • by Lodragandraoidh (639696) on Monday May 17, 2004 @10:03AM (#9172885) Journal
      I can see the fat cats at the De 'Tokerville' institute, sitting around their conference table, thick smoke overloading the air ventilation system:

      "Yeah - we can kill two birds with one stone: write a book to make more money for our 'institute'.."

      "..I thought it was a 'foundation'..."

      "Whatever..."

      "...and throw out more FUD at the OS communists!!"

      "BRILLIANT!!"

      "Dude!! Are you goin' to Bogart that?"
    • Re:What a farce. (Score:5, Insightful)

      by cshark (673578) on Monday May 17, 2004 @10:23AM (#9173095) Homepage

      To karma whore for a little and quote the article

      While you cannot group all open source programmers and programs together; many are rigorous and respectful of the intellectual property rights, while others speak of intellectual property rights with open contempt."

      But just because you think software patents are evil doesn't mean that you're breaking the rules with your stuff. It just means that you have an idology, and possibly a big mouth. Open source code depends on people obeying the rules on IP. Saying that linux is an unlicensed or "stolen" dirivitive work based on Unix is an awfully big claim to make without showing a line of code. I think this guy is either an idiot, or trying to capitalize on the mess with SCO. Obviously there are people that read this stuff.

  • BLASPHEMY! (Score:5, Funny)

    by imidazole2 (776413) on Monday May 17, 2004 @09:40AM (#9172639) Homepage Journal
    Thou shalt be excommunicated from the church of *nix!
  • by SocietyoftheFist (316444) on Monday May 17, 2004 @09:41AM (#9172655)
    Acutal out loud laughter. I don't think that I need any more proof that Microsoft feels very threatened when I see puff pieces like this.
  • "New Study" (Score:5, Insightful)

    by thedillybar (677116) on Monday May 17, 2004 @09:42AM (#9172658)
    Let's face it, if you're funding one of the thousands of "new studies" going on, you can always make the result turn in your favor. If it's not, throw that study away and have someone else do it.

    There are so many studies on the same topics that the public never hears about, what good is the information in the few that the media choose to cover?

  • by wviperw (706068) on Monday May 17, 2004 @09:42AM (#9172661) Homepage Journal
    Yeah, and Gates is not the father of the BSOD.
  • by AtariAmarok (451306) on Monday May 17, 2004 @09:42AM (#9172663)
    Isn't Darl McBride the true father of Linux? This is why he wants his $699. Effective immediately, Linux will be renamed to Darlsux.
    • by JaredOfEuropa (526365) on Monday May 17, 2004 @09:51AM (#9172762) Journal
      Isn't Darl McBride the true father of Linux? This is why he wants his $699
      Funny, but the claims in this press release are much like SCO's claims: "Linus used stolen code in Linux! No, I'm not going to tell you which lines of codes he stole exactly, but I assure you they are there!". Only their money-spinning schemes differ. Darl says: "I own the stolen code and you owe me $699", whereas Brown says: "Buy my book to learn more".

      By the way,Darl is becoming more and more like that paperboy from Better off dead. "I - want - my - 2 dollars!!!". I wonder if he will meet a similar fate in the end?

  • AdTI: -1 Troll (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Xipe66 (587528) on Monday May 17, 2004 @09:43AM (#9172666) Homepage Journal
    They're obviously trolling. Don't feed.
  • Strawman.. (Score:5, Insightful)

    by k98sven (324383) on Monday May 17, 2004 @09:44AM (#9172674) Journal
    Interesting how the whole report seems to be one big straw-man argument.
    (i.e. claiming the other is saying something they're not, and then showing that it is false)

    Their straw-man seems to be the idea (which noone, of course, has claimed) that Linux somehow was created in a vacuum.

    From there they proceed to show how Linux was (*shock*) a clone of Unix!
    (Probably leaving out the fact that there are literally dozens of them.)

  • Publicity Stunt (Score:5, Insightful)

    by lukewarmfusion (726141) on Monday May 17, 2004 @09:45AM (#9172693) Homepage Journal
    The Yahoo! article ends with a mention about this guy's (from AdTI) upcoming book. It sounds to me as if his claims are nothing more than a publicity stunt, generating interest in his book.
  • by Ryosen (234440) on Monday May 17, 2004 @09:49AM (#9172741)
    and the "Star Wars" program was a good idea

    ...but not the "Christmas on Endor" version.
  • by idfrsr (560314) on Monday May 17, 2004 @09:51AM (#9172761)

    As far as I can tell, the true father of Linux is in fact Al Gore. He invented it shortly after his fledgling idea of a net-inter caught on and became what we know now as the internet. It was originally called Alix, but had to be renamed due to copyright issues involving a book [adti.net] about wonderland....
  • De Tocqueville (Score:5, Insightful)

    by colmore (56499) on Monday May 17, 2004 @09:51AM (#9172768) Journal
    De Tocqueville was a late French Enlightenment writer who traveled America and wrote in praise of American civil society, as opposed to French (which after having just gone throught the first revolution, and the dictatorship of Napolean, was looking pretty shitty.)

    Anyway, it's way too early in the morning for me to pull out a page reference, but one of the major themes in his _Democracy in America_ is that American society functions well due to the large number of volunteer organizations that Americans joined in, fire departments, sewing circles, sports clubs, free publications and that sort of thing. These things raise community awareness, and allow the democratic process to work, since he believed that it would fall apart if all democracy was was everyone voting their own pocketbook.

    Anyway, I'd say the Free Software movement in America is certainly a continuation of that civic spirit.
    • Re:De Tocqueville (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Fnkmaster (89084) on Monday May 17, 2004 @10:21AM (#9173066)
      I agree with your take on De Tocqueville and that it is taking his name in vain to associate it with the conservative/big business shill institute. I am not sure that I'd say that the Free Software movement is as much about volunteerism though as I'd like. Definitely the Open Source movement, and other efforts like the Creative Commons project are about volunteerism and the idea of contributing to the commons for both selfish and common benefit. The Free Software movement, unfortunately, seems to alienate more conservative audiences with its association with RMS and others who seem more interesting in subverting the entire existance of closed source software and intellectual property in general.


      This concept scares away potential conservative allies - I know that people like the FSF probably don't care since they have a "with-us-or-against-us" sort of attitude that denies the middle ground. Anyway, I just wanted to make sure the ideological connections being drawn here fit - this condemnation of Linux and Linus as a person is despicable and I hope to God these people take a massive public beating over making these kinds of rhetoric-filled accusations.

    • Re:De Tocqueville (Score:5, Interesting)

      by b-baggins (610215) on Monday May 17, 2004 @10:32AM (#9173186) Journal
      Another one of De Toqueville's major themes was that it was America's being steeped in Christianity that helped keep it free. He made extensive reference to the vast number of churches and the moral character they instilled in Americans. De Toqueville was of the same opinion as John Adams. Basically that American government could only work with a moral people.
  • Mods? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by slycer9 (264565) on Monday May 17, 2004 @09:52AM (#9172777) Journal
    Mod story -1 Troll.

    Jesus Christ, posted on the front page of /. for chrissakes.

    Next story::
    Tinfoil hats, snazzy wardrobe accessory or anti-M$oft mind-control device?

    Or::
    Bill Gates wants to control your fridge with NT4.0.

    [/rant]
    • Re:Mods? (Score:5, Insightful)

      by kju (327) on Monday May 17, 2004 @10:17AM (#9173018)
      Of course this needs to be on the front page of slashdot. Why you ask? Because now you know about this bullshit story and book, and be prepared, when someone (like a stupid executive) aproaches you with that FUD and you already know whats in the book and can explain that its nonsense.

      You should always be informed about the moves of your opposites.
  • by Trailer Trash (60756) on Monday May 17, 2004 @09:54AM (#9172790) Homepage
    I've wondered aloud why Microsoft had pulled the rug out from underneath SCO, and now it's obvious. They're going to start using these idiots, and probably others, to spread the same stupid message.

    Get used to it, folks, it's not going to get any better anytime soon. That's good news, too, since the credibility of this sort of stuff has been mostly destroyed by Darl's loud mouth.
  • Obvious problem (Score:5, Insightful)

    by tonythepony (716819) on Monday May 17, 2004 @09:54AM (#9172799)
    While you cannot group all open source programmers and programs together; many are rigorous and respectful of the intellectual property rights, while others speak of intellectual property rights with open contempt.

    Here's one immediate problem with the way this guy thinks - the two groups of programmers he mentions are not mutually exclusive as he implies. One can speak out about the problems with IP rights and still be respectful and careful about not violating them.
  • Register article.... (Score:5, Informative)

    by southpolesammy (150094) on Monday May 17, 2004 @09:56AM (#9172809) Journal
    tells it like it is.... [theregister.co.uk]
  • by LordDartan (8373) <dthiery&gmail,com> on Monday May 17, 2004 @09:57AM (#9172822)
    I think it's far more likely that open source coded is in closed source software. Since open souce, by defintion, is open for all to see, wouldn't companies have lawsuits (SCO excluded) over their stolen code? Since nobody can see the code to closed software, I think it's far more likely that open source code has been taken to be used in closed source software (since nobody that isn't involved in the project will be able to see it).
  • by cheesedog (603990) on Monday May 17, 2004 @09:59AM (#9172844)
    The basic argument is:

    1. Linus was a crazy communist college kid
    2. Linux has succeeded where billion-dollar software developments have failed

    And since Lemma 1.7 says "no communist is worth his own weight in dog excrement," it naturally follows that Linux must have originated elsewhere.

    I propose one of the following:

    • Space aliens implanted Linux into Linus as a trojan horse against humanity. After Linux becomes ubiquitous, our intergalactic "friends" will return to harvest our bodies for food.
    • Soviets stole AT&T Unix, used hybrid nordic programmers to improve it with stealth soviet cold-war technology, and unleashed it as a trojan horse against humanity. After Linux becomes ubiquitous, our Russian "friends" will return to harvest our bodies for food.
    • Artificial Intelligence experiments from MIT escaped the lab and created Linux. They then implanted Linux into Linus as a trojan horse against humanity. After Linux becomes ubiquitous, our AI "friends" will return to harvest our bodies for food.
    • Darl McBride created a pile of cotton swabs. He named them "Georgie" and claimed that Georgie was a new type of advanced television technology for watching reruns of the Smurfs. Good for him!

    I think you'll see the logic in all of this immediately.

  • by Bob9113 (14996) on Monday May 17, 2004 @10:03AM (#9172878) Homepage
    people have chosen to scrupulously borrow or imitate Unix.

    I guess he's saying this to contrast the way Microsoft unscrupulously imitated CPM/DOS, Lotus 1,2,3, Macintosh, WordPerfect, Stac . . .
  • Ok, I'll bite (Score:5, Insightful)

    by jaymzter (452402) on Monday May 17, 2004 @10:05AM (#9172893) Homepage
    <sarcasm>the "Star Wars" program was a good idea</sarcasm>

    _Star Wars_ was a good idea. The same way successive U boat campaigns against the British were a good idea, the same way Sherman's march to the sea was a good idea. IOW, hit them in the wallet or flatten their production capability. Because of the great debate on Star Wars and the intransigence of the Reagan administration on the issue, the Sovs had to take it as something plausible, and thus we were able to force them to divert funds and resources to a possible chimera.

    It doesn't matter whether you think Star Wars can work now or not, it's been almost 20 years since it was first proposed, so the reality now has no bearing on then. For what it was used to accomplish, Star Wars was a great idea.

  • by Tarantolato (760537) on Monday May 17, 2004 @10:06AM (#9172902) Journal
    Fact: AdTI employs James Kilpatrick as a senior fellow [adti.net]. Kilpatrick made a career defending segregation and apartheid [64.233.161.104].

    Fact: AdTI employs John Norquist [adti.net], the not-so-big-time younger brother of big-time conservative activist Grover Norquist [mediatransparency.org].

    Fact: AdTI president Ken Brown's sole research qualification is a BA in English from George Mason [digital-law.net]. He has built a career out of milking shady publications [washingtontimes.com], agent-of-foreign-power lobby groups [americanswiss.org], and dubious business-academica-government incest groups. [city.ac.uk]

    Half of the links from the AdTI front page are broken. The other half send you to repositories of op-eds and recorded radio shows.

    This is not a research institute. Not even a bad research institute. This is a demi-journalistic hack shop where goldbricking bottomfeeders of right-wing policy studies and editorial-writing filch cash from gullible corporations in return for hastily-written hokum.

    Please do not post any more from these con artists. I'm sure they get paid by the hit.
    • by ChopsMIDI (613634) on Monday May 17, 2004 @10:35AM (#9173226) Homepage
      Fact: AdTI employs John Norquist [adti.net], the not-so-big-time younger brother of big-time conservative activist Grover Norquist [mediatransparency.org].

      Using John Norquist as the example here is a bad idea, since (even though his brother may be conservative) John Norquist is in fact quite the liberal (Up until a few months ago, he was mayor of Milwaukee, where I live, for many,many years).

      Hardly the "Neocon" you claim him to be.
    • by pjkundert (597719) on Monday May 17, 2004 @11:03AM (#9173490) Homepage
      Your post begins with some promise, pointing out the dubious intellectual heritage of key AdTI fellows, but then... somehow makes the leap into generalisations about conservatives?

      Not to belabour an obvious point, but... Not everyone who is stupid is a conservative, and not every conservative is stupid. You aren't helping your cause (whatever that is), by picking up some limp hack, and shaking him about as an example of the "Evil Neocon".

      In an attempt to paint all conservatives with the AdTI brush, you have made the same error that AdTI makes -- taking a shallow understanding of a concept, and make inflamatory generalisations about a group.

      As both a conservative and a supporter of software Libre, I find your persistent rantings both tiring, and comical. Surely all "liberals" can't be as shallow as you are? If you are going to continue searching for examples of "Neocon" evil, at least try to come up with some examples worthy of disdain, instead of derision.
  • Uh huh.. (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday May 17, 2004 @10:07AM (#9172913)
    And Honda cars are a 'stolen product' because they have steering wheels and gearshifts just like Fords.
  • SCO, condensed (Score:4, Informative)

    by dacarr (562277) on Monday May 17, 2004 @10:09AM (#9172929) Homepage Journal
    What a wonderful summary of all of SCO's FUD.
  • by WCMI92 (592436) on Monday May 17, 2004 @10:17AM (#9173017) Homepage
    This "study" which is about as credible as a plagarized term paper proves it.

    Linux is Microsoft's latest, last, and to date, MOST DANGEROUS competitor. NONE of Microsoft's classic tactics can defeat it, as:

    1. Linux is cheaper (how do you get cheaper than free
    ?).

    2. Linux is regarded to be as good if not better in quality and functionality.

    3. Linux cannot be bought.

    4. Linux cannot be "embraced, extended, extinguished" because of the GPL license.

    So, what MS has tried to do over the years is slander it. Which, even they have admitted hasn't worked.

    I'm abut this cynical... I think that MS backed SCaldera merely so the could try to make the "Linux has higher TCO" argument fly... Then, when Darl proved to be his own worst enemy, they've pulled the plug and now are back to slander.

    This piece is out and out slander and defamation against Linus Torvalds. This "institute" which I won't name because they are slandering yet another great name by using it needs to be sued.
  • by yoshi_mon (172895) on Monday May 17, 2004 @10:19AM (#9173043)
    This is almost like saying Bill Gates didn't write MS DOS! ...oh wait...

    He didn't.
  • by maximilln (654768) on Monday May 17, 2004 @10:23AM (#9173089) Homepage Journal
    I have experienced, on many occasions, the burn of a scrutinous pedant seeking to demerit my efforts. In this particular case K. Brown is deliberately misunderstanding Linus' "invention of Linux". Linus has never claimed to be the father of open source nor has he ever claimed to be the father of the POSIX standards upon which *NIX-like operating systems are built. As Linux has achieved a mild popularity those in the public who are not familiar with the history of computing have begun to associate Linus with the invention of *NIX-like operating systems since they only know of one: Linux. They have associated Linus with the inception of open source software because they are ignorant of the origins of software and only know of one open source arena: Linux.

    Linus is being attacked because of common perception built upon a basis of ignorance. This is a common tactic used to discredit and undermine support for anyone who stands at the forefront of a collection of ideas which challenges the established financially successful, and often monopolistic, "powers-that-be".

    If this even bothers Linux, if he even takes more than a few moments out of his day to be concerned with it, then I can empathize with him. For his sake I hope he takes the higher road: ignore it and concentrate on what he does best.
  • Murky FUD (Score:5, Informative)

    by catdevnull (531283) on Monday May 17, 2004 @10:34AM (#9173212)
    Uh, I think Linus's claim to the first Linux kernel is quite valid and he cited prior art:

    "As I mentioned a month(?) ago, I'm working on a free version of a minix-lookalike for AT-386 computers."

    I think the lineage to Unix via minix is obvious. Linus wrote his own kernel. The other pieces may have already existed, but the kernel was new. Unless he stole it from another Linus who conveniently named the project "Linux" after himself.

    Over the last 13 years, many others contributed to the kernel and development which, according to SCO, may have included some questionable copy-paste commands, but I think the beginning is clear and the origins are clearly cited.

    See here:
    http://groups.google.com/groups?selm=1991Oc t5.0541 06.4647%40klaava.Helsinki.FI

    I'm not sure the author of the article really understands what Linux is and what Linux is not. He is right about varying degress of fanaticism and the very loose definition of "open source." No matter where you get your software, you're at the mercy of the developer to maintain it--commercial or open source. For example, I think the Linux community has been very good about responding to security issues compared to much larger corporations who have a very loose definition of quality control. When those corporations begin to loose money to smaller groups who out perform, then those corporations pay for studies that skew the truth and spread FUD.

    Read the article--the math isn't all that fuzzy.
  • by Jugalator (259273) on Monday May 17, 2004 @10:41AM (#9173279) Journal
    Try to reduce the Linux community by litterally annoying their followers to death. Particularly the zealots will get issues if they have weak hearts (which most have since geeks don't exercise) while composing their forum posts. A very clever plan indeed...
  • by maximilln (654768) on Monday May 17, 2004 @10:53AM (#9173405) Homepage Journal
    At first reading I saw this as a deplorable move to sway public opinion against Linus, Linux, and other open source providers. After a few moments of thought, however, I see that this may be the forefront of a larger, even more deplorable, endeavor. Consider the following quote:

    -----
    "The report," according to Gregory Fossedal, a Tocqueville senior fellow, "raises important questions...While you cannot group all open source programmers and programs together; many are rigorous and respectful of the intellectual property rights..."
    -----
    Could this be a movement to undermine Linus' right to release Linux under GNU/GPL? Could this even be the beginning of legal research to undermine GNU/GPL itself?

    If enough lawyers and businessmen can be swayed to believe that Linux itself is a product of UNIX then, though a convoluted interpretation of patent law and prior art, is it possible to invalidate GPL as it applies to programs written to conform to POSIX standards? Can the publishing rights for POSIX compliant programs then be assigned to the creators of the POSIX standards or the organizations that have implemented them first: ie. Bell Labs, AT&T, and UNIX?

    Consider that MS didn't invent HTML, TCP, SMTP, or other common standardized protocols yet they seem to have an enormous amount of intellectual property assigned to them which prevents other people from producing software which competes with them in those arenas on the MS platform. I don't know the nature of the POSIX organization, where it's funded, or how cohesive it is with respect to legal and business support. However it does seem possible that malicious lawyers could argue that *NIX type operating systems, patented by corporate entities, are the first major implmentation of POSIX standards and that any products which come afterwards are an infringement of those intellectual property rights. This then leads to the arena of the status and age of the patents and how willing the original patent holders would be in funding the legal endeavor to pursue this track.

    It sounds far-fetched but we all know that this similar roundabout claim of intellectual property has been pursued by SCO. With MS grasping for straws to slow the advance of Linux it could be a legal filibuster to sandtrap Linux. MS and their allies can afford enormous teams of lawyers that can turn out legal briefs by the thousands and the stories of their rapid acceleration of patent submission have also become popularly known. With enough patent filings and a popularly accepted, however untrue, argument about the nature and origin of Linux and its right to be distributed under GPL it might be their strategy to legally discourage organizations from adopting it.

    With enough legal clout it is conceivable that, if the legal community could assign POSIX standards and *NIX operating systems as prior art preceding Linux, that they could force Linus to legally accept being bought out by the major operating system vendors who could choose to shelf it or turn its direction into nonproductive, bloating development.

    The 100 mpg carburetor may be tin-foil but this situation is certainly real.

    Consider this analogy: intellectual property is like a liquid beverage. It's everywhere and everyone has some. One day a large corporation patents lemonade. A week later a local company begins producing lemonade and giving it away for free charging only for the cost of distribution and the container (a cup, glass, mug, whatever). A month later the large corporation claims that its lemonade patent incorporates the property of any similar beverage based on lemons and sends a team of lawyers to shut down the local lemonade company. In this analogy software is a beverage. POSIX is a lemon based beverage. The large corporations would be those who made *NIX type operating systems and the local distributor would be Linux.
  • Amazing FUD (Score:5, Interesting)

    by LuYu (519260) on Monday May 17, 2004 @11:13AM (#9173572) Homepage Journal

    Wow, that is some really amazing FUD:

    Among other points, the study directly challenges Linus Torvalds (news - web sites)' claim to be the inventor of Linux (news - web sites). In one of the few extensive studies on the source of open source code, Kenneth Brown, president of AdTI, traces the free software movement over three decades
    By this logic, MSWindows and MacOS were invented by Xerox. Notice how they do not speak about the fact that only the kernel was invented by Linus. They also leave out the fact that just because something can run Unix programs does not make it Unix and the fact that running Unix programs does not magically change the OS into Unix.

    This quote is fun, too:

    "The report," according to Gregory Fossedal, a Tocqueville senior fellow, "raises important questions that all developers and users of open source code must face. While you cannot group all open source programmers and programs together; many are rigorous and respectful of the intellectual property rights, while others speak of intellectual property rights with open contempt."
    Who cares if programmers have "open contempt" for "intellectual property"? Abiding by the law is not the same as agreeing with it. Since when does everybody have to believe that all laws are good? Is this a communist system where no dissent is allowed? I hope we still have the freedom to think and say what we want.

    To this day, we have a serious attribution problem in software development because people have chosen to scrupulously borrow or imitate Unix.
    They are trying to say "borrowing = stealing". Even copyright (as opposed to maritime) piracy is not theft.

    This article is really a work of art. The fact that someone could say this about Linux and not the BSDs, which are genetic unices, blows my mind. Then again, the BSDs have already cleared themselves in court.

  • by mblase (200735) on Monday May 17, 2004 @12:01PM (#9174003)
    SCO: Slashdot never told you what happened to your father.
    LINUX: They told me enough! They told me you killed him!
    SCO: No, Linux. I am your father!
    LINUX: NOOOOOOOOOOOOO!
  • by kitzilla (266382) <paperfrogNO@SPAMgmail.com> on Monday May 17, 2004 @01:44PM (#9174956) Homepage Journal
    I think we should all be careful about repeating the "fact" that Microsoft is a past donor to the Alexis de Tocqueville Institution. I've yet to find a primary reference to this relationship, which seems to exist primarily in the Open Source press. Of course, if anyone has a better reference, such as a financial statement ...

    But we really don't need a Microsoft link to demonstrate the Alexis de Tocqueville Institution's grotesque ideological bias. While the think-tank positions itself as an independent, libertarian research group designed to "study, promote, and extend the principles of classical liberalism: political equality, civil liberty, and economic freedom," they function, more often than not, as a shill for Big Business and the far political right.

    AdTI is a fellow-traveler of neoconservative think tanks such as the Heritage Foundation and shadowy groups like the "Defenders of Property Rights," with whom they are aligned as part of an anti-Clean Air Act hit squad ironically misnamed the Cooler Heads Coalition [disinfopedia.org]. These are the folks who have been grinding out the industrialist propaganda which has allowed the Bush Administration to roll back environmental laws a couple of decades.

    The Alexis de Tocqueville Institute can always be counted upon for a convenient white paper discounting the risks of tobacco smoking [ucsf.edu] or in favor of vastly expensive weapons programs [fas.org] of dubious utility.

    It's tough to source the funding of private institutes, but the folks at Media Transparency have taken a stab at AdTI [mediatransparency.org]. Big sugar daddies include the Bradley Foundation [mediatransparency.org], which gives away millions each year to attack social programs and support the privatization of government services. There's also the John M. Olin Foundation [mediatransparency.org], which has lavishly funded a host of robber baron nonprofits over the years.

    So it's no surprise that the Alexis de Tocqueville Institiute -- which seems to exist to provide a moral compass for the richest and most powerful interests in the West -- should be seen to carry water for anti-Open Source reactionaries. What's bad for big business must be bad for the nation. Linux must be discredited before it causes more distress for the market planners at Microsoft.

    The only freedom being defended by groups like AdTI is the feedom to buy what the Establishment is selling. And at a price they decide.

  • Turnabout (Score:5, Interesting)

    by ccarr.com (262540) <(moc.rracc.todhsals) (ta) (rrac_sirhc)> on Monday May 17, 2004 @02:02PM (#9175137) Homepage
    One of the most effective ways of countering FUD is to ask whether the arguments raised cannot be applied with equal or greater force to proprietary software. For example:
    Gates claim to "invent" Windows probably false, says new study


    Popular but controversial "proprietary" computer software, often developed on a salaried basis, is often taken or adapted without permission from material owned by other companies and individuals, our study finds. Among other points, the study directly challenges Bill Gates' claim to be the inventor of Windows. In one of the few extensive studies on the source of proprietary code, our reporter traces the proprietary software movement over three decades -- from its romantic but questionable beginnings, through its evolution to a commercial effort that draws on paid contributions from thousands of programmers. Our reporter's account is based on extensive interviews with more than two dozen leading technologists.

    "The report," according to some fellow, "raises important questions that all developers and users of proprietary code must face. While you cannot group all proprietary vendors and programs together; many are rigorous and respectful of the intellectual property rights, while others speak of intellectual property rights with open contempt."

    Our reporter suggests the invention of Mac OS is an integral part of the Windows story commenting, "It is clear that people's exceptional interest in the Macintosh operating system made Mac OS one of the most licensed, imitated, and stolen products in the history of computer science." Our reporter writes, "Over the years, many have envied the startling and pervasive success of Mac OS. For over twenty years, programmers have tried and failed to successfully build a Mac-like system and couldn't. To this day, we have a serious attribution problem in software development because people have chosen to scrupulously borrow or imitate Macintosh."

    Our reporter's study is part a book he is writing on proprietary software and operating systems.
  • by jg21 (677801) on Monday May 17, 2004 @02:47PM (#9175603)
    I can't begin to do it justice (Groklaw is already linking to it). Enjoy!! [linuxworld.com] (I will reveal in advance only that Torvalds "comes clean" about a lifetime of deception...)
  • My take. (Score:5, Interesting)

    by bgeer (543504) on Monday May 17, 2004 @05:26PM (#9177373)
    I'm seeing a lot of theories about the motivations behind this press release--that they want to smear Linus personally, that they are trying to provoke a response, and so on. I think it's much less ambitious than that, but I also think they were successful at their goal. Let's look at the very first paragraph:

    "Popular but controversial 'open source' computer software, generally contributed on a volunteer basis, is often taken or adapted from material owned by other companies and individuals, a study by the Alexis de Tocqueville Institution finds."

    I think the whole point of this was to get out the adjective "but controversial". The adjective was repeated verbatim in the Yahoo article without a quote attribution. That means that everyone who read it on Yahoo thinks that the reporter is making that characterization.

    I think MS has a new strategy, one borrowed from the Bush administration: In the run-up to the Iraq war Bush and his cronies would answer every question about Iraq using the words 'war on terrorism' and 'september 11th'. Even though they never once claimed that Iraq was involved in 9-11, just from word association 53% of Americans believe Hussein was personally involved in it [cbsnews.com] and 44% believe that most or some of the hijackers were Iraqis [csmonitor.com].

    I think MS wants to put this word-association strategy to work for itself. By getting attack dog think-tanks to put out press releases connecting Linux with words like 'controversial' or 'unscrupulous' in the first paragraph, MS would be able to damage Linux's credibility without having to put forth an actual argument. If they can get their blurbs read often enough, it might even stick.

  • by pandrijeczko (588093) on Monday May 17, 2004 @06:08PM (#9177739)
    In a world of Open Source ideologies, Henry Ford makes a car with 4 circular wheels and 100 years later, we're all driving cars with 4 circular wheels.

    In a close sourced patented world of the AdTI's making, Henry Ford makes a car with 4 circular wheels and 100 years later, we're arguing about whether the car should have 3 or 5 square wheels.

    Unix is a 30-year-old idea because Unix is a 30-year-old good idea... enough said.

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