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Florian Mueller Outs Himself As Oracle Employee

timothy posted about 2 years ago | from the hey-it-beats-not-saying-it dept.

Businesses 285

eldavojohn writes "So you're commenting on your highly visible blog about patent case after patent case that deal with corporations battling over open source stuff, what does it matter if you're taking money from one and not the other? If you don't see any ethical problems with that, you might be Florian Mueller. Groklaw's PJ (who has been suspicious of Florian's ties to other giants like Microsoft for quite sometime) has noticed that Florian Mueller has decided to go full disclosure and admit that all his commentary on the Oracle v Google case might be tainted by his employment by Oracle. It seems he's got a bunch of consulting money coming his way from Oracle but I'm sure that won't undermine any of his assessments like Android licenses violate the GPL or that Oracle will win $6 billion from Google and Google was "at risk" of not settling despite the outcome that the charges later dropped to a small fraction of the $6 billion. Like so many other times, PJ's hunch was right."

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285 comments

This just shows paranoid FOSS fanatics are (-1, Troll)

ProfessionalTech (2620889) | about 2 years ago | (#39733561)

I am constantly being accused of shilling for Microsoft on Slashdot just because I write that they do some good things. Seems like Mueller was accused for that too. Well, turns out that not true and these FOSS lunatics just make out some huge conspiracy theories how the whole world is against them.

And by the way, who should comment on these issues then? Someone who doesn't work in the industry and doesn't know anything about it? Yeah right. But of course it's bad when the comments contain something you don't agree with. For the free speech and freedom, yeah right!

Re:This just shows paranoid FOSS fanatics are (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#39733583)

Huh? Doesn't this news actually *confirm* what these 'paranoid FOSS fanatics' have been saying all along?

Re:This just shows paranoid FOSS fanatics are (3, Informative)

gwking (869658) | about 2 years ago | (#39733611)

Agreed. They were off on the details (works for Oracle, not MS), but they were right that something smelled rotten.

Re:This just shows paranoid FOSS fanatics are (5, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#39733653)

Actually, he's taking money from both. It was disclosed a while ago that he's taking money from M$ [techrights.org].

Re:This just shows paranoid FOSS fanatics are (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#39734169)

I just now when he'll admit to taking money from Apple as well...

What a shill.

Re:This just shows paranoid FOSS fanatics are (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#39733765)

Why is this news? Florian openly admits that he is a consultant on patent issues. I'm sure he'd consult for Ubuntu if they would pay him. As always, Slashdot considers earning money to be the equivalent of being evil.

Meanwhile, PJ is considered an unbiased source even though PJ is very, very clearly biased towards defending Linux and attacking certain companies. The double-standards abound at Slashdot. That's why year ago I stopped considering this site to be a place of intellectual discussion and instead realized that it was a place of mindless fanboyism.

Re:This just shows paranoid FOSS fanatics are (0, Troll)

hot soldering iron (800102) | about 2 years ago | (#39733979)

So you're just here to engage in "mindless fanboyism"? I think they have a spot reserved for you over at 4chan.

Re:This just shows paranoid FOSS fanatics are (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#39734223)

What fanboyism did I engage in? Please point it out to me.

Re:This just shows paranoid FOSS fanatics are (2, Insightful)

MightyMartian (840721) | about 2 years ago | (#39734337)

By giving Mueller a free pass and attacking PJ instead. PJ's done a helluva lot of good, and what the fuck has Mueller ever done other than be an apologist for companies that should taken out back and beaten for their conduct.

Re:This just shows paranoid FOSS fanatics are (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#39734475)

Bias and having an undisclosed conflict of interest are not remotely the same thing. All journalists have bias; hell all people have bias on all subjects, it's simply unavoidable. Good journalists try to minimize the effect of their personal bias on their reporting, and I think most people would freely admit that PJ is often lacking in this area. Although you could also make the case that most Groklaw articles are mix of commentary and reporting, and that it's not that hard to distinguish one from the other. However, having a blatant conflict of interest and not disclosing it is a massive breach of journalistic ethics that frankly completely destroys all credibility of the journalist. Conflicts of interest happen, and they don't necessarily preclude one from reporting and commenting on a given issue, but failure to disclose sends the message that the conflict did in fact taint his view, and he was deliberately trying to hide it. It is literally one of the worst things a journalist can do.

Re:This just shows paranoid FOSS fanatics are (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#39734523)

As always, Slashdot considers earning money to be the equivalent of being evil.

The fact that Mueller is earning money is not the issue.

The fact that Mueller is taking money from Oracle is also not the issue. It's also not the sole reason he's being accused of bias. It's just the latest nail in the coffin.

The issue is that Mueller has been called on his "impartial analysis" several times already. Not by random people off the street, by his fellow techies. What started as suspicions was later proven right as the facts unfolded. And might just be shown once more as Oracle v Google progresses.

He's being called biased because he is, demonstrably. His front as an "impartial analyst" among techies is shot. I hope Oracle is getting their moneys worth peddling him to the non-techie crowd, because from this point on that's the best he's good for.

Re:This just shows paranoid FOSS fanatics are (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#39734119)

Yes it does.. attack the person.. not the argument. Typical FOSS tactic.

I'm waiting for PJ to tell us how she pays her bills. She is "clearly" an IBM employee.

Re:This just shows paranoid FOSS fanatics are (3, Informative)

inode_buddha (576844) | about 2 years ago | (#39734303)

Uh, she works for a divorce attorney, and has stated this several times over the ast 10 years, groklaw was her own side project.

Re:This just shows paranoid FOSS fanatics are (0)

MightyMartian (840721) | about 2 years ago | (#39734349)

Ah look, another disgruntled SCO investor shooting the messenger.

Re:This just shows paranoid FOSS fanatics are (1)

93 Escort Wagon (326346) | about 2 years ago | (#39734579)

Ah look, another disgruntled SCO investor shooting the messenger.

I hope you realize you're basically proving his point.

Re:This just shows paranoid FOSS fanatics are (1)

davydagger (2566757) | about 2 years ago | (#39734183)

I knew some people in real life who's job it was to hype products online and socially engineer things "going viral" for anyone with enough cash to pay them.

What I presume but cannot confirm, and no one speaks of, is attack campaigns run by similar groups, again, for anyone with enough money to pay them. We DO know that many of these corporations collect intelligence on critics.

I've ran into other people who have huge botnets set up to fake a mass apeal in order to get other people to buy products out of need for conformity.

Re:This just shows paranoid FOSS fanatics are (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#39734653)

Yeah, it's like shadowrun, only without the cool future-tech or fantasy elements, just the corporate bastards taking over the world and the "free lances" raking in the dough by doing their bidding, while smugly considering themselves superior because they're on a contract instead of payroll.

Why does only the dystopian sci-fi come true?

Re:This just shows paranoid FOSS fanatics are (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#39733591)

You're right, Florian is a paragon of unbiased reporting. He exemplifies everything a truly neutral journalist should be.

Re:This just shows paranoid FOSS fanatics are (1)

Chrisq (894406) | about 2 years ago | (#39733953)

You're right, Florian is a paragon of unbiased reporting. He exemplifies everything a truly neutral journalist should be.

Yes ... he is totally neutral about who pays him to publish their opinion ... Oracle, Microsoft, or anyone else with deep pockets

Re:This just shows paranoid FOSS fanatics are (-1, Troll)

ProfessionalTech (2620889) | about 2 years ago | (#39733607)

Oh and just let me add, even this story title has something like "outs himself". Heh.

On top of that it has a blatant lie of him being Oracle employee when in the summary it's clear he isn't employed by Oracle but is an outside consultant. But let's not get the truth and facts get in the way of these paranoid conspiracy theories, even if it means twisting the truth.

Re:This just shows paranoid FOSS fanatics are (2)

SJHillman (1966756) | about 2 years ago | (#39733633)

His employment is paid for by Oracle... the net effect is the same. Money flows from Oracle to his pockets, so its in his interests that Oracle comes out on top.

Re:This just shows paranoid FOSS fanatics are (1, Interesting)

sosume (680416) | about 2 years ago | (#39733701)

Along the same line of reasoning then, since the NSA is a customer of Oracle ...
Besides, the question is if Oracle paid him for consulting services, or for marketing services. A true professional should be able to distinguish 'best interests for the client' based on what he is paid for.

Re:This just shows paranoid FOSS fanatics are (1)

poetmatt (793785) | about 2 years ago | (#39733821)

There's an enormous difference between NSA being a customer of oracle's and looking the other way in regards to oracle.

The latter being what's been happening with Florian and is expected to happen with the NSA in such an example (as we know they're corrupt/abuse NSL's, etc).

Re:This just shows paranoid FOSS fanatics are (4, Insightful)

Rakishi (759894) | about 2 years ago | (#39734019)

It doesn't matter, if he says bad stuff about Oracle then likely Oracle won't keep paying him. It doesn't matter what they were paying him for. It could have been to walk the company dogs. You don't pay people who are hurting you unless you really need them.

In that same vein, you're more likely to get paid even more if you report favorably on Oracle even if you're not paid to do so.

All of this is basic human nature and companies are in the end run by humans.

So the very fact that Oracle was giving him money means he now has a monetary incentive to report favorably for Oracle.

Re:This just shows paranoid FOSS fanatics are (1)

LordLimecat (1103839) | about 2 years ago | (#39734123)

To be quite fair, no, its not the same. As an IT consultant, our company is paid by a number of firms. Over the years Ive done work for far right organizations, as well as for far-left groups. That doesnt mean my opinion on those matters is invalid necessarily; it would depend on the level of involvement with them.

But a consultant isnt necessarily the same as an employee, thats just overly broad and inaccurate; theres a reason they are two distinct terms.

Re:This just shows paranoid FOSS fanatics are (2)

SJHillman (1966756) | about 2 years ago | (#39734165)

It's not a question as to whether the opinion is invalid, just that it may be tainted and that should be disclosed. You could hate the company you work for or be truly objective, but Average Joe will avoid biting the hand that feeds him. The disclosure is necessary for readers to decide whether or not you're unbiased.

Re:This just shows paranoid FOSS fanatics are (5, Insightful)

jedidiah (1196) | about 2 years ago | (#39733635)

"paid by" versus "employed by" is a pretty irrelevant semantic distinction in this case.

Re:This just shows paranoid FOSS fanatics are (1)

voss (52565) | about 2 years ago | (#39733889)

Its not irrelevant. An example of this. Someone who works for Publix may be pro Publix but noone at Publix has asked for him write his stuff and hes not being paid to do so.

Re:This just shows paranoid FOSS fanatics are (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#39734147)

Maybe, but I think you are missing some fundamental concepts like bias and conflict of interest. It doesn't mean it always applies, but it should always arouse suspicion. And if someone does not immediately disclose some of those potential conflicts of interest, that is an immediate and glaring red flag. i.e. "paid by" versus "employed by" is completely irrelevant.

Re:This just shows paranoid FOSS fanatics are (1)

MightyMartian (840721) | about 2 years ago | (#39734371)

And generally where there is a conflict, a journalist should say so right from the outset. But we've seen this time and time again, mainly because guys like Mueller are not actually journalists at all. They're shills.

Re:This just shows paranoid FOSS fanatics are (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#39733743)

I got to the truth and facts rather easily by reading beyond the headline and Slashdot's summary. I have a hard time taking you seriously if you suggest that "Oracle has hired him [Florian Mueller], for his analysis of FRAND issues" is only supposed to be a concern for what you label 'FOSS lunatics' when Mueller positions himself as some sort of patent expert supposedly giving objective analysis of the Oracle vs Google case, and isn't willing to be up-front about one of the parties *actually having hired him*. Also, I believe 'being hired by Oracle' means he does work for Oracle in return for pay. How does that make him being employed by Oracle an outright lie?

Re:This just shows paranoid FOSS fanatics are (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#39733629)

hey dick cheese.

the issue is not about whether he's entitled to voice his opinion. it never was.

the issue is about sorting out the commentators. the insightful and informative commentators will have have a track record of transparency, honesty and being relevant.

go fuck yourself.

Re:This just shows paranoid FOSS fanatics are (3, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#39733641)

What? I seem to read a summary/article that proves that FOSS fanatics have been vindicated in their paranoia in this case. How do you figure the opposite?

Re:This just shows paranoid FOSS fanatics are (4, Interesting)

gstrickler (920733) | about 2 years ago | (#39733651)

RTFA, he works for both MS & Oracle.

... and he is now analyzing FRAND issues for both Microsoft and Oracle.

Re:This just shows paranoid FOSS fanatics are (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#39733705)

Nobody is denying it, Microsoft do indeed do some good things. Hell, this websites current design would be impossible without Microsofts push for "global dominance" since it is built on their proprietary extensions.
Well, I take that back, everybody just loves those iFrames, amiright?
I hate them, but not nearly as much as most people do, improvement to iFrames would be better than stagnation and likely deprecation, they are very useful where scripts embedding fails horribly, period. Things such as disabling popups from them, or reading the parent container, many others. (as attributes that can be toggled!)

But half the time you really just spout some completely inane bullshit.
This post certainly ain't helping you in that regard.
Tone it down a little, bub.

Re:This just shows paranoid FOSS fanatics are (2, Insightful)

poetmatt (793785) | about 2 years ago | (#39733805)

There's nothing wrong with commenting and working in the industry.

there's plenty wrong with 100% of your comments having a clear bias (as your does) and quoting misleading or incomplete information, while at the same time denying that you have any connection to them. This is like when the counter to "google doesn't lose in court" is mentioning a case where google only lost before an appeal happened in which case they consequently won. That is the same sort of misleading FUD that you among others are known for - aka lawyering around providing a false answer.

Which, again, you have done here. Why can't you just get the cancer you act like (not unlike Florian) and pass away?

Florian basically admitted he's on the payroll for microsoft and oracle, the two parties of which he magically has posted explicitly positive comments about and explicitly negative comments about their competitors. We've always known this.

Re:This just shows paranoid FOSS fanatics are (1, Interesting)

Chrisq (894406) | about 2 years ago | (#39733925)

I am constantly being accused of shilling for Microsoft on Slashdot just because I write that they do some good things. Seems like Mueller was accused for that too. Well, turns out that not true and these FOSS lunatics just make out some huge conspiracy theories how the whole world is against them. And by the way, who should comment on these issues then? Someone who doesn't work in the industry and doesn't know anything about it? Yeah right. But of course it's bad when the comments contain something you don't agree with. For the free speech and freedom, yeah right!

Does that mean that you are being paid by Microsoft in the same way that Mueller is being paid by Oracle, but you also think it is OK?

Re:This just shows paranoid FOSS fanatics are (5, Informative)

phantomfive (622387) | about 2 years ago | (#39734167)

You're constantly being accused of shilling? You've only had an active account since yesterday. How many accusations can there be??

Re:This just shows paranoid FOSS fanatics are (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#39734483)

Whoops! I think he logged in with the wrong sockpuppet account. He really should get a better persona management app. [echelon2.org]

Re:This just shows paranoid FOSS fanatics are (3, Insightful)

mister_playboy (1474163) | about 2 years ago | (#39734507)

He's just openly admitting what many have claimed all along, that these shill accounts are all run by the same small group of people.

Re:This just shows paranoid FOSS fanatics are (1)

MightyMartian (840721) | about 2 years ago | (#39734307)

I've just got to ask, are you mentally handicapped, because the article demonstrates that Mueller's pro-Oracle articles have an explanation. He's in their employ.

As to you, well, it's clear you're just a moron.

PJ has her own biases (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#39733625)

Groklaw's coverage of the case has been massively one-sided as well, and appears to contradict the general feeling / impression left by news sources.

Not to excuse Florian's earlier non-disclosure, but it's important to note that PJ has her own agenda and bias that influences Groklaw's coverage.

Re:PJ has her own biases (5, Insightful)

Spad (470073) | about 2 years ago | (#39733713)

Everyone has biases, as long as we know what they are and why they are we're able to make informed decisions about the information they provide us. The problem comes when people don't disclose things like employment by somebody they're biased in favour of because then we lack the information we need to make our decisions.

Re:PJ has her own biases (-1, Flamebait)

man_of_mr_e (217855) | about 2 years ago | (#39733715)

Exactly. This is rich coming from her. After all, she refuses to disclose her biases. She refuses to disclose who she works for (or even just if she works for anyone that could be a conflict of interest). It's been exposed in the past that she receives services from IBM, and she strongly supports people like Rob Weir and Bob Sutor, both of which have very strong ties to corporate interests in what they espouse.

This is way beyond the pot calling the kettle black here, this is the pot complaining that the kettle boils water.

Re:PJ has her own biases (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#39734207)

It's been exposed in the past that she receives services from IBM

You're gonna need to back that statement up, Sparky.

Re:PJ has her own biases (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#39734589)

It's from the smear campaign that SCO used against PJ way back when, at the start of their 15 minutes of glory. AFAIK it's never been proven... but that doesn't stop some people from trying.

Re:PJ has her own biases (1)

MightyMartian (840721) | about 2 years ago | (#39734431)

Bullshit, you liar. Time and time again this accusation has been made, but not once has anyone ever proven it.

Go back to using your SCO stock to wipe your ass, mouth, and anywhere else the excrement leaks out.

Bias is not a problem,ethics is (5, Insightful)

voss (52565) | about 2 years ago | (#39733721)

Anyone can have an opinion. Muellers problem is he was getting paid for his opinions and didnt disclose that to his readers.

Re:Bias is not a problem,ethics is (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#39733767)

Ok, but PJ never disclosed anything about her employment either. But that's okay cause she says things we like, right?

Re:Bias is not a problem,ethics is (2)

inode_buddha (576844) | about 2 years ago | (#39734339)

She has stated several times over the last 10 years that she works for a divorce attorney. Groklaw was just a side project that went viral. I'm pretty sure there are legal ways to find out *which* firm she works for.

Re:Bias is not a problem,ethics is (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#39734667)

IIRC, didn't SCO hire a P.I. to spy on her? I definitely remember that sorry excuse for a reporter, Maureen O'Gara, trying to out PJ. Neither found any links between IBM and PJ. In fact, IBM submitted court documents denying any connection (direct, or indirect) whatsoever between her and the company.

Re:PJ has her own biases (4, Interesting)

UnknowingFool (672806) | about 2 years ago | (#39733753)

PJ might have her own agenda but it is not motivated by one side paying her. I've always questioned Florian's stance as well as his logic. Read his posts in lwn where he tried to frame it that Google violated the Linux GPL and copyright by using creating new header files in Android. When told repeatedly by others (including some who have code in Linux) that Google creating new headers does not violate anything because (1) the header files in question were created for compatibility which is allowed, (2) header files unless they contain some sort of unique logic (which they did not) are not copyrightable, and (3) for there to be violation, the Linus et al must object (which they did not).

Re:PJ has her own biases (3, Interesting)

HarrySquatter (1698416) | about 2 years ago | (#39733787)

How do you now that when she doesn't disclose who she works for?

Re:PJ has her own biases (1)

UnknowingFool (672806) | about 2 years ago | (#39734155)

How do I know you didn't rape and murder a young girl in 1990? I see that you're not denying it.

Re:PJ has her own biases (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#39734699)

Oh, let's not be so quick to judge. There's probably a good reason that HarrySquatter may have raped and murdered a young girl in 1990. The real question is why HarrySquatter's not saying why HarrySquatter may have raped and murdered a young girl in 1990. If HarrySquatter raped and murdered a young girl in 1990, he probably had his reasons. I just want to know what the reasons could be for HarrySquatter to have raped and murdered a young girl in 1990.
 
(To anyone who doesn't get it: We're just making the point that insinuating something nefarious over and over, as has been done to PJ in this thread, doesn't actually make it in any way factual or worthwhile.)

Re:PJ has her own biases (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#39734721)

Silly, it's Glen Beck who hasn't denied that. This guy could have raped and murdered a young girl in 1989 or 1991 (and you notice these allegations are out there, but he still hasn't denied it, but as long as Glen Beck isn't denying having done it in 1990, I don't see how HarrySquatter could have. Unless they tag-teamed it or something...

Re:PJ has her own biases (1)

inode_buddha (576844) | about 2 years ago | (#39734373)

By noticing that she has backed up her statements with proof 100% of the time, even if it took years to find out. And I don't mean "some website" proof, I mean legal filings proof.

Re:PJ has her own biases (1)

Mr Z (6791) | about 2 years ago | (#39734519)

I'm pretty sure Florian is the only LWN user I've ever marked as "hidden by default", simply because any branch of a thread that starts with one of his comments almost invariably turns into a trainwreck. It becomes a game of Immovable Object vs. the Irresistible Force.

Re:PJ has her own biases (1)

Zerth (26112) | about 2 years ago | (#39733861)

It is a well known fact that reality has a lib^H^H^H^Hn anti-MS/Oracle bias.

Re:PJ has her own biases (1)

phantomfive (622387) | about 2 years ago | (#39734113)

The biggest problem with Florian isn't that he's employed by someone, it's that his opinions are idiotic, and often demonstrably wrong. The fact that he's employed by Oracle is just icing on the cake, and should make you smile, because now you know why he's so dumb.

And hopefully it will get the press to stop listening to him, because they're a gullible lot.

Re:PJ has her own biases (4, Insightful)

MightyMartian (840721) | about 2 years ago | (#39734417)

And PJ has never hid her bias towards open source. That's why Groklaw was founded, for goodness sake. Sadly, she is also the favorite whipping boy (girl, sorry PJ) of every shill and astroturfer, particularly when they're outed. She's been honest from the beginning, but these guys, well, they're paid liars.

Yeah... So? (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#39733645)

I'll give a shit about his employment when Slashdot and Groklaw stop kissing Google's ass.

Great. Just Great. (1, Funny)

Petersko (564140) | about 2 years ago | (#39733663)

All those people accusing half the internet of being paid shills have finally actually caught one. Even if it's a "stopped clock" moment, it fuels the fire.

Re:Great. Just Great. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#39733773)

All those people accusing half the internet of being paid shills have finally actually caught one. Even if it's a "stopped clock" moment, it fuels the fire.

"Petersko" was paid by Slashdot for this post to help stir up controversy but he forgot that the "score" attached to his comment would give the game away - as a relatively low grade shill he took payment in Slashdot Karma points.

Re:Great. Just Great. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#39733785)

Why? Did they prove he was employed as a shill?

why would anybody trust this guy??? (5, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#39733679)

Have you all so quickly forgotten when he got caught out in the bald-faced lies about secret requests to the EU competition commission to force Oracle to allow him & friends to take a fork of MySQL proprietary? He is not an honest person, and has demonstrated this clearly.

Re:why would anybody trust this guy??? (4, Insightful)

dkleinsc (563838) | about 2 years ago | (#39733997)

The reason why people might trust him is because he provided ammunition to those who believe that computer software should be proprietary products created by major corporations. Some people really think that, so they'd believe him because he confirmed their own biases which helped them prove to themselves how smart they are.

It would be sort of like believing somebody who claims (with no proof whatsoever) that Microsoft is using GPL'd code in its proprietary products and should be sued into oblivion - If I think that already, somebody else saying it gives me the feeling of "Hey, I'm right, and I'm smart!" (even though really I'm not necessarily right, and not smart about believing that person)

Prior acheivements (1)

pavon (30274) | about 2 years ago | (#39734635)

Back in 2004 Florian Muller was very active in protesting against the proposed EU directive to require all member states to recognize software patents. There are some people that gained a positive impression of him based on that, and continue to quote him despite the fact that his recent "patent analysis" is heavily biased and legally unfounded more often than not. As an example, Ryan Paul, the writer and editor of the Open Source section of Arstechnica, continues to cite of Muller, and refuses to accept arguments that he is now a shrill.

LOL (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#39733691)

So an IBM employee who was blogging pro-IBM posts whines that an Oracle consultant blogs pro-Oracle posts? Pot calling the kettle black much?

If he worked for a magazine writing this stuff (4, Insightful)

voss (52565) | about 2 years ago | (#39733695)

He would be fired and escorted out of the building right about now. Since he's a "consultant" he will probably survive although I suspect his value as a shill for oracle has plummeted. Im wondering if the Cigarette industry needs a new spokesman or maybe OJ simpson?

Completely misleading headline (3, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#39733763)

Mueller is _not_ an employee of Oracle. His post says "...Oracle has very recently become a consulting client of mine." He has many clients, of which Oracle is one. And saying that one consulting client amongst many is equivalent to employment is completely bogus.

I disagree with lots of the stuff he writes. But this headline is just intellectually dishonest slander. And for the record his writings are certainly no more slanted - or frankly bogus - than PJs.

All Consultants Are Employees (0, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#39733851)

All consultants are employees by definition of employee [wiktionary.org]:

An individual who provides labor to a company or another person.

FFS, people, just because you're a "consultant" in title doesn't make you above the definition of words.

Re:All Consultants Are Employees (1)

NormalVisual (565491) | about 2 years ago | (#39734251)

All consultants are employees by definition of employee [wiktionary.org]

The IRS would beg to differ, and a Wiktionary entry won't hold up too well in court against them.

Re:All Consultants Are Employees (1)

Eil (82413) | about 2 years ago | (#39734275)

You're definitely not reading the right dictionary... Only in the most general possible sense does "employee" == "consultant". In the same way that the segway is a motorcycle because it has two wheels and a motor.

In the U.S. at least, the term "employee" is legally (and casually) reserved for someone on an organization's payroll at the non-executive level. Being on a payroll means that the organization pays you regularly and deducts taxes from your paycheck. Consultants (or their employers) must manage their own taxes. One may be both a consultant and an employee, but not generally of the same company.

Florian Mueller is not an employee of Oracle, he is a consultant. He is self-employed and is on the payroll of his own company.

Screw Your United States IRS Legalese (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#39734355)

By ENGLISH definition of the word, a consultant is a member of a set of all employees. It was never said that "employee" == "consultant" but it was said that "all consultants are employees." The piece that is missing is that the reverse is not true: "all employees are consultants." In the English definition of those words, a consultant is a special kind of employee. If you drew a Venn diagram, consultants would be a small circle inside the bigger circle of employees.

This "I'm special, I'm a consultant, I'm self employed, I have my own small business, I'm good for the economy" bullshit needs to stop.

Re:Completely misleading headline (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#39734037)

True that. Make this a freaking +5.

Re:Completely misleading headline (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#39734405)

Actually he describes himself as an analyst [blogger.com] Here's PJ says about them:

Analysts? Well, they get paid and then analyze stuff. For clients. I'll remind you of the frank comments of Microsoft's employee James Plamondon in his evangelism how-to back confidential memo [PDF] back in the day that surfaced in the exhibits from the Comes v. Microsoft antitrust litgation:

Analysts: Analysts are people who are paid to take a stand, while always trying to appear to be disinterested observers (since the appearance of independence maximizes the price they can charge for selling out). Treat them as you would treat nuclear weapons – as an important part of your arsenal, which you want to keep out of the hands of the enemy. Bribe Hire them to produce "studies" that "prove" that your technology is superior to the enemy's, and that it is gaining momentum faster.

Re:Completely misleading headline (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#39734413)

PJ may be... No, screw that. PJ _is_ biased, she favors one of the sides often. But she admits it openly, almost explicitly. The question is not one of bias, but of honesty. Florian Mueller has been _pretending_ to be an unbiased party, even when it was painfully obvious that he was not.

All reporters are biased. (1)

cpu6502 (1960974) | about 2 years ago | (#39733781)

I don't know why this surprises anybody. And that bias leaks into their news reports, even if the bias is as simple as not covering a candidate (showing images of Gingrich, Santorum, Romney, but not Ron Paul (who?)) or not covering an issue (repeal of right to trial under the NDAA if you are suspected terrorist*). FOX, NBC, CNN, radio news, online blogs... all have bias. It's just a matter of uncovering that bias. FOX=republican; NBC/CNN/CBS/ABC/PBS/NPR=democrat; talk radio=conservative; blogs reflect the views of the owner.

*
* suspected terrorist - As defined by the FBI is almost anyone. Pay with cash? Hide your phone from view when texting? Have a liberty/freedom-oriented bumper sticker? Own a gun, stunner, or can of mace? Et cetera.

Re:All reporters are biased. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#39733957)

Uhh....all those networks are Republican except maybe NPR which is truthful more often than not.

Re:All reporters are biased. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#39734043)

FOX=republican; NBC/CNN/CBS/ABC/PBS/NPR=democrat; talk radio=conservative; blogs reflect the views of the owner.

I hate lists like that because it makes it look like there is some equivalency between NPR's liberal "slant" versus Fox's conservative activism. Sean Hannity or Bill O'Reilly fit more bias into one half hour segment than you can find in NPR in a week. There is a difference between reporters who have personal opinions that seep into their reporting despite efforts to remain primarily neutral versus those where bias is their whole agenda. This is just more proof that Florian falls into the latter category rather than the former.

Re:All reporters are biased. (1)

larry bagina (561269) | about 2 years ago | (#39734327)

Congratulations! You are the first person, ever, to consider Sean Hannity or Bill O'Reilly to be reporters.

Re:All reporters are biased. (2)

dkleinsc (563838) | about 2 years ago | (#39734145)

FOX=republican; NBC/CNN/CBS/ABC/PBS/NPR=democrat; talk radio=conservative; blogs reflect the views of the owner.

Actually, those don't seem to be quite right. Here are the biases I generally find in mainstream media:
Fox - Republicans
NBC, particularly MSNBC - Democrats
CNN - Horse race: "Romney is polling at 48% and Obama is polling at 43%" "Romney has raised $X, Obama has raised $Y", etc without ever actually saying anything about why this might be true
CBS, ABC - the Please Pay Attention To Us bias
PBS, NPR - the Please Give us Money bias
talk radio - conservative / libertarian
Comedy Central - Somewhat liberal, but mostly funny bias

Anybody surprised? (1)

WindBourne (631190) | about 2 years ago | (#39733783)

There really is not much difference in ethics or morals of McNealy, Ellison, Gates, Balmer, etc.. They are all scum.

vp8 (1)

bigmo (181402) | about 2 years ago | (#39733859)

FM has also been extremely vocal about vp8/webm. While I'm the format certainly has its problems, both technical and legal, I can't help but believe the slow advance of the project is at least partly because a supposed expert on open source spent a lot of his time ranting about it.

I am far from unbiased on the situation since the I feel an unencumbered video codec would make the world a better place. Even knowing my bias, I can't help but be really upset at this revelation. On the other hand all's fair in love & war, so Oracle has a right to hire a shill to promote their agenda.

Maybe the real culprit in this is the wider web's need to have an expert, even a self proclaimed one, tell people what to do so they don't have to do all the work to find the truth themselves.

Re:vp8 (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#39734035)

Maybe the real culprit in this is the wider web's need to have an expert, even a self proclaimed one, tell people what to do so they don't have to do all the work to find the truth themselves.

Pay no attention to the man behind the curtain!

What a piece of crap. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#39733879)

Maybe if people stop paying attention to him, he'll go away? LET'S FIND OUT!

Classic logical fallacy (1)

davide marney (231845) | about 2 years ago | (#39733995)

The fact that he works for Oracle doesn't prove his arguments are wrong. Attacking the person, not the logic, is a well-known logical fallacy: argumentum ad hominem [wikipedia.org]. All his employment provides us is some additional perspective on where he's coming from. We still need to listen to what he actually has to say.

And, by the way, EVERYBODY who works "gets paid", that doesn't make us all "biased".

Re:Classic logical fallacy (1)

horza (87255) | about 2 years ago | (#39734359)

*Your* logic is faulty. Florian paints himself out to be an independent expert on patents. It is his character he is pimping out to all the news outlets as credible. The fact is that whilst blogging posing as an independent expert, he reveals in his latest post that behinds the scenes he has been negotiating with Oracle for cash. Now take a look at that post to see if it is strongly in favour of Oracle in its current case against Google. Coincidence? No.

I'm guessing outlets like the BBC must be feeling pretty stupid about now for having been duped.

Phillip.

Re:Classic logical fallacy (1)

UnknowingFool (672806) | about 2 years ago | (#39734419)

No but his pro Oracle and pro MS opinions are put in a different light. Also were reporters who solicited his opinions aware that he was paid by certain companies? If not, wasn't that a failure to disclose on his part?

Re:Classic logical fallacy (1)

CowTipperGore (1081903) | about 2 years ago | (#39734673)

The fact that he works for Oracle doesn't prove his arguments are wrong. Attacking the person, not the logic, is a well-known logical fallacy: argumentum ad hominem [wikipedia.org]. All his employment provides us is some additional perspective on where he's coming from. We still need to listen to what he actually has to say.

I'll assume you haven't been paying attention to this for the past few years and didn't bother to catch up before posting to this article. Florian has long been accused of being a mole of sorts - a paid shill on the inside, claiming to be for OSS and presenting himself a patent expert while writing everything with a pro-Microsoft and anti-Google slant. His comments on the countless Apple v. World lawsuits have been consistently against Google and anyone using Android. Same for the Google/Oracle spat. He was able to get himself quoted as an expert for articles dealing with these topics enough times that he became the go-to guy for any tech rag or news service. This despite the fact that his analysis was shoddy on the surface and regularly proved very wrong in hindsight. However, as his influence spread from a crappy blog to being quoted by the AP in every tech patent story, his ability to hide the truth shrank. He recently had to disclose that he is paid by Microsoft (something long claimed by those who distrusted him) and now we see that he is also paid by Oracle.

He had an under-the-radar career as a marketing consultant with some bigger players in the industry, then suddenly in 2005 blew up as an OSS advocate and opponent of software patents. He won countless industry awards that year for his work and used that to launch a new career as a tech patents blogger and media expert, despite no formal training or career experience in the areas. And despite his claims to support OSS and oppose software patents, his analysis consistently failed to match up to his persona. No matter the issue, he consistently sided against Google, Linux, and OSS in general. To anyone reading his blog for any length of time, it was obvious that something was amiss.

No, this absolutely is not an ad hominem attack - it is some hard proof for the suppositions that have been made for years.

He's outing himself as a contractor, isn't he? (1)

MarkvW (1037596) | about 2 years ago | (#39734093)

There is some difference between a contractor and an employee. I don't think it makes any difference ethically, but it makes a bit of a difference in the quality of a slashdot story.

The disturbing thing is not this revelation (5, Insightful)

dell623 (2021586) | about 2 years ago | (#39734099)

The disturbing thing is not this revelation itself, which would not surprise anyone who regularly reads his blog. It is the most logical thing that a paid consultant/analyst is being paid by the two companies he just happens to favour enormously in his posts.
The disturbing thing is how his comments are reproduced verbatim by the big shots of the tech-news industry like ZDNet, PC Magazine etc, but also mainstream sources which are normally known as the last bastions of real journalism like the BBC, LA Times, Reuters etc.

Thankfully now sites like Ars Technica and The Verge have stepped up their coverage of patent disputes, so he is not the only voice.

At first it may seem that Florian Mueller doesn't pretend to be a journalist or unbiased and it's everyone else's fault for assuming he is. However, not only does he make repeated claims of being unbiased and neutral in his writing, he routinely emails his blog articles to all news sources he can think of (which is why he is so widely quoted and Groklaw is not).

Don't believe me? Just search for Florian+Oracle or Florian+Google on Google News and see the who's who of journalism pop up with his quotes.

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