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JBoss Caught in Anonymous Posting Scheme

michael posted more than 8 years ago | from the sometimes-people-know-you're-a-dog dept.

Java 380

Reader scubabear writes "For years rumors have run rampant about employees of JBoss Inc. being actively encouraged to post anonymously, drumming up business by flooding the net with fake posts and simultaneously attacking competitors, all from behind a safe veil of anonymity. With the advent of a new feature for tracking users by IP on TheServerSide.com, the floodgates have been opened and those rumors have apparently been confirmed. The Java blog space now erupted with posts from a variety of bloggers (here, here, and here for a start) exposing a variety of anonymous/pseudonymous accounts used by JBoss employees to put forth their Professional Open Source message and simultaneously slam anyone who gets in their way in online technical communities such as TheServerSide, JavaLobby, and various personal blogs. The evidence shows how a corporation can manipulate popular opinion via anonymous personalities, that open source companies can be just as ruthless as closed source when it comes to marketing their wares, and that you should never forget that your cookies and IP address can and will be tracked online. No official response has been heard yet from the JBoss crew. Disclosure: I'm one of those bloggers erupting on this issue (see my story here)."

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380 comments

Anonymous (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#9189104)

This anonymous stuff is just a bunch of crap. Why anyone would listen to someone posting anonymously is beyond me.

Just take my advice, don't listen to anonymous posters...ever! Even if their argument is completely flawless and/or logically impermeable, ignore them.

(By the way, I don't work for JBoss, so you can listen to me.)

Re:Anonymous (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#9189139)

You fucking lier. Jboss rulez!

Re:Anonymous (5, Interesting)

sik0fewl (561285) | more than 8 years ago | (#9189258)

Wow, I think somebody from Jboss is on the same subnet as me. This is what happens when I try to post an anonymous reply:

Due to excessive bad posting from this IP or Subnet, anonymous comment posting has temporarily been disabled. You can still login to post. However, if bad posting continues from your IP or Subnet that privilege could be revoked as well. If it's you, consider this a chance to sit in the timeout corner or login and improve your posting . If it's someone else, this is a chance to hunt them down. If you think this is unfair, please email moderation@slashdot.org with your MD5'd IPID and SubnetID, which are "XXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXX" and "XXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXX" and (optionally, but preferably) your IP number "x.x.x.x" and your username "sik0fewl".

Neato. I wonder if I know them.

Truth Independent of Person (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#9189337)

"Even if their argument is completely flawless and/or logically impermeable, ignore them."

It seems to me that the truth of someone's statements is independent of the person or their character, i.e. if Hitler origionally argued that E=MC^2, it would not be any more or less true.

I actually think posting by anonymous cowards is better then arguements by 'known' people since I look more closely at what the cowards say to verify if it is true or not.

Although the ideal situation, time permitting, is you double check what everyone says :).

More common than you think (4, Interesting)

frenetic3 (166950) | more than 8 years ago | (#9189388)

I know you were being funny, but this is a very clever (albeit very unethical) and common technique. I know that at my last company (who had, well, some additional ethical concerns, but anyway) they would post on targeted message boards hyping up their site and would pretend to be happy customers. It's highly cheap, low effort, and effective.

It sucks because unlike marketing efforts and vendors' sales messages, which everyone has learned to always take with a grain of salt, I'm inclined to believe, often instantly and completely, a slashdot posting endorsing product X, because the poster seems unaffiliated and genuine and doesn't really have anything to gain from endorsing it.

In fact, it's very dangerous, because my trust can be easily manipulated this way; I usually don't have time to bother to verify the source of a given posting (Think of how many hundreds or thousands of posts you read a year). However, if I encounter product Y sometime later having read something about it before, I usually vaguely remember whether the post said the product was any good or not and that will usually determine my first impression. In that way, libelous anonymous postings are very dangerous -- I remember hearing some people post that "Python sucked" (probably because of some BS like the whitespace indentation) and for that reason I stayed away for several years until reading some very positive articles and posts -- and now it's one of my most useful productivity tools and I could have saved ridiculous amounts of development time reinventing the wheel had I known about it before. That's kind of a trivial example, but when $ is involved, it's even worse.

Sadly, it's basically the next form of spam. Most of us used to read (mostly) every word of all our emails -- now spam and outrageous commerical claims make that means of communication virtually useless. It will be a shame to see message boards and blogs, etc, filled with this kind of crap (blogs are already targeted by spammers). However, postings by these kinds of shills are often pretty blatant and easy to spot just because of their outrageous claims and distinctive style, but they will get more and more subtle. They're also virtually impossible to track, since real people are on the other end (and you can only really ban problem users after the damage has already been done). And if a company pays a few random dialup users (a tactic my old company was about to try -- yes, I've left since) to troll the net and make these kinds of postings, good luck trying to prove that the company did it or trying to track down or prosecute them.

Really, the only way to tell is to view a given poster's karma/post history and to look for certain suspicious patterns.

-fren

Re:More common than you think (3, Funny)

cptgrudge (177113) | more than 8 years ago | (#9189429)

(Think of how many hundreds or thousands of posts you read a year)

You do, of course, mean hundreds of thousands, right?

Re:Anonymous (1, Funny)

BohKnower (586304) | more than 8 years ago | (#9189442)

This is not fair, they get payed to post anonymously and all I got posting with my sign is bad karma.

That's why I use JONAS and soon Geronimo.

JBOSS RULES! (3, Funny)

strictnein (318940) | more than 8 years ago | (#9189108)

JBOSS IS AWESOMEEMO!

- Not a JBOSS employee
- Really I'm not

Re:JBOSS RULES! (-1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#9189151)

oops... that was supposed to be anonymous

color me fucking stupid (that's a light shade of green)

maybe I should go work for jboss?

Re:JBOSS RULES! (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#9189194)

color me fucking stupid (that's a light shade of green)

Funny... I thought it was a shade of purple, not that there's anything wrong with that.

Re:JBOSS RULES! (1)

cshark (673578) | more than 8 years ago | (#9189172)

This is another example of dropping productivity because of putting corporate resources in places where no one except the truest of the true will ever go. Hey I wonder if something like this would account for all the anti linux stuff in comp.os.linux.advocacy. See, I did find a way to make this about microsoft! Hah hah!

Re:JBOSS RULES! (2, Funny)

ggvaidya (747058) | more than 8 years ago | (#9189187)

Mod parent down, he must be a JBOSS employee!

(anybody who mods this down is also a JBOSS employee )

(Wonder aloud about whether it's all of Santa's elves who keep moding pro-Linux posts up on slashdot ...)

One question (1, Interesting)

Hatta (162192) | more than 8 years ago | (#9189261)

WTF is Jboss?

Re:One question (4, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#9189390)

An Open Source (LGPL) implementation of a J2EE aplication server.

There is a lot more than PHP out there, you know?

Like John Coffey says (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#9189118)

I'm just tryin' to hep, JBoss.

Re:Like John Coffey says (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#9189281)

Brilliant

News flash (3, Funny)

SpaceCadetTrav (641261) | more than 8 years ago | (#9189122)

Bloggers do something useful? I don't believe it for a second.

Re:News flash (1)

proj_2501 (78149) | more than 8 years ago | (#9189207)

That's funny, as your website seems to be awfully blog-ish, especially with the sappy "my wife is the best wife ever" bits. ;)

"I changed my site so that I can update the homepage with Blogger instead of doing it by hand... it's not I am getting into this whole "blogging" thing."

Yeah, yeah, yeah, how is your site not a blog?

Be careful (0, Offtopic)

moxiez (765428) | more than 8 years ago | (#9189123)

In today's world of lawsuits you could be sued for slander... and no I don't work for JBoss. :)

Re:Be careful (3, Insightful)

ircShot_guN (737033) | more than 8 years ago | (#9189166)

Actually, in today's world of lawsuits, posting slanderous material on the internet is termed libel, not slander.

Re:Be careful (1)

moxiez (765428) | more than 8 years ago | (#9189224)

Whatever... my point is plan on spending time in court. It's too bad because it keeps valuable tools like this away from the people that need them.

Re:Be careful (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#9189493)

Actually, in today's world of lawsuits, posting slanderous material on the internet is termed libel, not slander.

Actually that was the terminology even before "today's world of lawsuits."

(Posting anonymously to save my employer's karma.)

Wrong! (-1, Redundant)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#9189124)

JBoss rocks! Anyone who says otherwise is just wrong.

These people give all AnonCows a bad name. (4, Interesting)

LostCluster (625375) | more than 8 years ago | (#9189129)

You get what you pay for in free online forums. Here on Slashdot, you're welcome to publish what you want, but if you don't want to be tied to an e-mail-confirmed user account then you have to accept that your username will display as "Anonymous Coward", be penalized in the point-based mod system (assuming the user hasn't overriden the setting from the default), and you'll still be IP and cookie tracked for whatever purposes OSDN wants.

Mainstream media outlets at least do their best to make their commentators and reporters declare any conflicts of interests they have so that viewers can know about it when considering information from that source. But, non-mainstream outlets are more direct... you get "closer" information, but you also take the risk of what happens when a source with conflicts is allowed to speak unchallenged. Which seems to be exactly what happened here.

Re:These people give all AnonCows a bad name. (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#9189199)

You know, there's no real distinction between Anon Coward and "ElitePenguin231 (771235)" who will forget his slashdot password in a couple months. I'd say than 10% of slashdotters post with personally-idenfiable information.

Sure OSDN can track you, but that's not going to stop you from astroturfing.

Re:These people give all AnonCows a bad name. (1)

LostCluster (625375) | more than 8 years ago | (#9189398)

Sure OSDN can track you, but that's not going to stop you from astroturfing.

I wonder, should Slashdot have an anti-astroturfing exception in its privacy policy, under which it could potentially flag all posts that have ever come from known JBoss IP space?

Re:These people give all AnonCows a bad name. (1)

Erasmus (32516) | more than 8 years ago | (#9189273)

Yeah, but just because a person has a Hotmail address and a username doesn't mean they actually are who they say they are. For that matter, even if someone IS who they say they are, that doesn't mean they are trustworthy.

I'll agree totally with what you have to say about non-mainstream sources. When they work, if they work at all, it's because for every shill out there, there are a dozen real users who can provide an honest opinion.

Jboss's slogan (4, Funny)

detritus` (32392) | more than 8 years ago | (#9189136)

Seriously, who is going to take a company that prides itself on being a Proffesional Open Sourse Company.... have to wonder what marketing genious came up with that one...

Re:Jboss's slogan (1)

d4v3v1l (728709) | more than 8 years ago | (#9189244)

...Proffesional Open Sourse Company...
Yeah, /me wonders what this "Open Sourse" - thing is all about...

Re:Jboss's slogan (3, Insightful)

LostCluster (625375) | more than 8 years ago | (#9189423)

Any company that has to make a marketing effort to declare themselves "professional" most likely is not. Afterall, real professional companies just act that way and everybody else applies that term to them.

Re:Jboss's slogan (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#9189449)

When we were getting our new health plans, the HR guy gave me a form to fill out, from which I had to elect which plan I wanted, but we were, in fact, only offering one:

Me: So, I'm supposed to check the Aetna Piece of Shit?
Him: (Bristling) It's not a piece of shit! It's a really nice plan!
Me: Then why's it say POS here?

I troll myself on Slashdot! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#9189140)

I post under 10 different accounts on Slashdot on my work time!

I am crying big fat crocodile tears of this. (5, Insightful)

LPrime (752625) | more than 8 years ago | (#9189143)

My heart is forever broken. To think that this kind of crap would go on within the open source "Community". Newsflash : This happens everywhere. On every review site, on every opinion forum - EVERYWHERE. I have competitors anonymously bashing me on Yahoo Shopping, E-Pinions, Shopping.com etc. It is done for one reason - profit. J-Boss is trying to make money, and they are willing to use all the tools at their disposal to discredit everyone who does not share their opinions. This is nothing new and nothing that will not happen again.

Re:I am crying big fat crocodile tears of this. (1, Funny)

grazzy (56382) | more than 8 years ago | (#9189345)

So there you are.

I have been waiting for those wedding rings now for over two months! My fiancee has broken up with me because the rings I told her would "soon" arrive has been lost! She thinks I'm cheating on her because of you.

On my way to the postoffice I walked in a pile of dogpoo.

See you in court.

Re:I am crying big fat crocodile tears of this. (1)

BK425 (461939) | more than 8 years ago | (#9189402)

They may think they're doing it for profit but long term this kind of behvaviour ends badly. Sounds like JBoss is getting is a fine example; if they were really as profitable as their online spin claims, then they would be spending their time coding instead of spinning. They're doing it because they're unethical.

Zealotry (not a Troll) (4, Insightful)

darth_MALL (657218) | more than 8 years ago | (#9189146)

"...that open source companies can be just as ruthless as closed source when it comes to marketing their wares"...What is the point of this sentence? Why should an Open Source company be above such diabolical behaviour? Because OSS folks are pure of heart? This is really pushing the Zealot button now. Ergh.

JBoss (4, Insightful)

LoneWlf (228331) | more than 8 years ago | (#9189148)

Isn't doing anything new. This particular technique was around long before the internet, or blogs...

Re:JBoss (1)

LostCluster (625375) | more than 8 years ago | (#9189229)

Or the First Amendment... or the Constitution for that matter.

Even though most of us learned the authors of The Federalist Papers in history class, when they distributed them at the time names were not attached.

Anonymous writing with a self-serving agenda has been around for a long time...

Re:JBoss (2, Insightful)

driftingwalrus (203255) | more than 8 years ago | (#9189430)

Worth remember is Shakespeare's play, Julius Caesar. Cassius does something similar, placing anonymous letters to Brutus on Brutus' windowsill. Of course, the anonymous letters lead Brutus to believe that caesar's death is something wanted by many.

Besides... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#9189271)

Somehow this is all Microsoft's fault. If they weren't anti-competitive, no one would have to lie, puppies would never grow up, and everyone would have a pony.

Re:JBoss (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#9189274)

Oh. Okay then, nothing to see here, let them carry on.

Customers (2, Interesting)

mindstormpt (728974) | more than 8 years ago | (#9189152)

Will Accenture want to keep that big logo on their home page?

I wouldn't, but then again, it's accenture.

Re:Customers (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#9189262)

Accenture was hired by JBoss to do the blogging. JBoss got charged $200 an hour for kids out of college to try to figure out what a blog is.

I wonder... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#9189153)

I wonder if this story is true...

Its true, check my ip (3, Funny)

t_allardyce (48447) | more than 8 years ago | (#9189157)

Im actually working for 7 governments and 14 large corporations to spy on the slashdot community and try to sway their opinion. also i sometimes spell things wrong to make it look like im just an average person.

So do this mean... (5, Funny)

WwWonka (545303) | more than 8 years ago | (#9189160)

...that all of /.'s "Anonymous Coward" postings bashing SCO can be backtracked to Linus now?

Re:So do this mean... (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#9189370)

No! I told you, Santa Claus! Santa Claus!

JBoss (1)

Chuck Bucket (142633) | more than 8 years ago | (#9189164)

that's weak, it's as bad as posting on /. for Karma or just to advertise your!

CB (view my website, view my website)

Annoymous is a myth... (5, Interesting)

LostCluster (625375) | more than 8 years ago | (#9189165)

You can't really publish anything truely anonymously. You never really could anyway. The closest thing is to find somebody who is willing to know who you are who is willing to accept your writing and publish it without crediting you while disclaiming that somebody else wrote it. Of course, that person has to accept the legal liability that comes with publishing that work as if they wrote it themselves.

Yep, some speech does come with a legal liablity attached. "Free speech" is a great ideal, but it is also subject to the greater ideal of "Your rights end where somebody else's rights begin." That is, you can't use free speech to give instructions that put somebody else into danger or spreads lies about somebody else. That's just not your right to do because it ends up damaging somebody else's rights.

People who oversimplfy the Bill of Rights... such as those who claim that the 1st Amendment protects all expressions of speech from all authorites everywhere, or that the 5th Amendment means you'll never have to tell of your own crimes in court if you don't want to are making sophomoric mistakes. They sound right, but they're not.

The same goes for this suposed "right" to be annonymous. You can try... but there's always somebody who can squeal on you if they want to.

Re:Annoymous is a myth... (3, Interesting)

gricholson75 (563000) | more than 8 years ago | (#9189209)

What about something like Freenet?
Someone in this group of thousands of nodes published this, but none of us can tell you who.

Re:Annoymous is a myth... (2, Interesting)

LostCluster (625375) | more than 8 years ago | (#9189359)

What about something like Freenet?
Someone in this group of thousands of nodes published this, but none of us can tell you who.


oh, IANAL, but...

The thousands of people behind those nodes end up just sharing the liability. I can't wait for the first lawsuit that forces a cluster of nearly-annoymous people together into a single defendant, finds that joint defendant liable for something one member of the group did, and then gives them the option of either having each member paying their equal share of the verdict, or turning against each other and trying to piece together from any actual clues available who did it.

Oh, you most certainly can't convict a group of people of a crime that way... but slander and libel aren't crimes, they're just a cause for civil liability.

I wonder if they'll end up calling the concept "common law companies." Just like a common law marriage, the law usually has a principle where if you keep doing something you should have filed paperwork for but didn't, we'll just pretend you did and keep going...

Sure you can! (2, Insightful)

warrax_666 (144623) | more than 8 years ago | (#9189252)

You can't really publish anything truely anonymously. You never really could anyway.


Linky [sf.net]. There's no guarantee anyone will read it, though. Them's the breaks.

Re:Anonymous is a myth... (3, Interesting)

Grrr (16449) | more than 8 years ago | (#9189275)

True words, and it's a shame. There is a source of help that's lost to some groups, such as sexual abuse survivors, when there is no truly anonymous forum (anon.penet.fi, we miss ya...).

The tragedy-of-the-commons aspect is that it takes responsible adults who respect each other to preserve anonymized communication. Fraudsters always get their fingers in the pie, as well as those who promote ever-increasing surveillance ("It's for the children !")

Freedom's just another word for nothing left yto lose...

<grrr>

Re:Annoymous is a myth... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#9189481)

The same goes for this suposed "right" to be annonymous. You can try... but there's always somebody who can squeal on you if they want to.
That's not true, the goats never squeal on me...

Re:Annoymous is a myth... (4, Interesting)

nate1138 (325593) | more than 8 years ago | (#9189488)

This topic has been beaten to death, but it bears repeating anyway. Free speech cannot exist without a degree of anonymity. This has been repeated throughout the history of this country, from Deep Throat and watergate to the Federalist papers of revolutionary times. It may not be a "right", but its importance cannot be understated.

implications (4, Insightful)

Wellmont (737226) | more than 8 years ago | (#9189167)

This is interesting, because if you can remember the stock market has even been swayed by posts on the yahoo economic forums in the past...I think this is a step in the right direction, anonimity is great and all, but when your using it to ruin the competition and make yourself look better (or in the case of the stock market to weasel people out of their money) then someone has to crack down on you....in this case I'm even more excited because it seems to be public/private intervention rather then the government, so these people DEFFINATELY are going to get what's just deserts for their actions.

This may be offtopic... (0, Troll)

IchBinDasWalross (720916) | more than 8 years ago | (#9189168)

But I just found a really great [google.com] website offering low prices and an excellent interface with a non-invasive privacy policy, and useful products. Just thought you guys might like to know.

Pervert. (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#9189169)

Disclosure: I'm one of those bloggers erupting on this issue

Why would we care that you're erupting on a particular tiss... ah... issue.

Never mind.

And this is news because??? (1, Interesting)

Bomarc (306716) | more than 8 years ago | (#9189174)

This has been going on for years. What makes a company with it's hand caugh in the cookie jar news?

Re:And this is news because??? (1, Informative)

Stevyn (691306) | more than 8 years ago | (#9189405)

Yeah, but this is about computer stuff so it's on slashdot. If you expect to see "real" news on every article then you haven't been here for a while. I'll do my best to sum it up to you so you don't have to waste your time reading the articles, but just the headlines:

SCO, Microsoft, William Gates Foundation, RIAA, MPAA, Government, big companies not mentioned already, patents: bad

Linux, Linus, Apple (with regards to BSD), BSD, Java (with regards to Sun opening it), Freedom of Speech, Natalie Portman: good

There are probably a few I've missed (and they will be posted below along with complaining how I missed it) but you get the idea.

Were they that successful? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#9189180)

Were they successful in convincing anyone to buy their product? I don't know anybody who uses it, although I have been a Tomcat/Java/J2EE developer in a previous life. What on earth is JBoss?

Re:Were they that successful? (1)

0x0d0a (568518) | more than 8 years ago | (#9189279)

What on earth is JBoss?

I always wondered what it was, but the official site, instead of giving a concise description, has a bunch of corporatese crap.

This story means that I won't ever have to worry about finding out, which is just good for me.

As P2P news moves into the realm of possibility... (2, Funny)

saskboy (600063) | more than 8 years ago | (#9189182)

I wonder how well we'll be able to trust what we read on the Internet. Oh wait. Do we trust everything we read, as it is today?!

All tomcat users? Np PHP... (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#9189188)

Serve side, ha. I thought there'd be mention of PHP somewhere.

All these people who are pissed off appear to be Apache/Tomcat users.

This is like communist splinter groups all fighting each other over philosphical righteousness, but to an outsider like myself, i don't care.

It's sad (5, Insightful)

Roland Piquepaille (780675) | more than 8 years ago | (#9189190)

Sad for Open Source primarily. Astroturfind is the sort of activity you expect from corporations like Microsoft [flutterby.com], but I would much prefer F/OSS (and the industries it created) to flourish on its own merits, just to prove to the world that there is no need for dirty tricks when the software and development methods are good.

This is just sad. Shame on JBoss...

My own opinion.. (-1, Redundant)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#9189193)

Hey guys! Go check out JBoss...they're awesome. I'm not a JBoss employee, just a happy customer!






Honest!

Astroturf! You got the cutest little astroturf! (2, Interesting)

Dr. Smeegee (41653) | more than 8 years ago | (#9189198)

Ya da da da da da da
Secret Smurf!
Astroturf!

The thing that really makes me laugh is that the last slashdot article [sdtimes.com] featuring SCO getting an award for FUDdism also has some nice comments about JBoss.

Don't be evil, please.

Anonymous or not opinions count. (5, Interesting)

jelwell (2152) | more than 8 years ago | (#9189227)

I guess I don't see the problem. Whether the posters were anonymous or not, don't their opinions and refutations of the facts matter?

"When these masked marauders enter a discussion, you are no longer debating facts and opinions; instead, you are fencing with a phantom"

So the people are masked, their motives are unknown, but the discussions are still real, yes? Here at Slashdot, people can post anonymously, or with presumed pseudonyms/identities; I still don't see the problem.

If some engineer tells you that you should implement some feature you either agree or disagree, it shouldn't matter that the engineer is from company X or some guy in a basement.

This whole post seems like a rant from people who have a grudge so deep against JBOSS that they have made a policy of disagreeing with the company as a whole. Is it any wonder that such a flagrant policy has made JBOSS go undercover? How ironic is it that these people can have a normal discussion with "faceless individuals" but as soon as they realize those individuals were from JBOSS they want to scream bloody murder?

Joseph Elwell.

Re:Anonymous or not opinions count. (4, Insightful)

Mongoose Disciple (722373) | more than 8 years ago | (#9189347)

Anonymous or not opinions count. (Score:2, Interesting) by jelwell (2152) on Tuesday May 18, @04:29PM (#9189227) I guess I don't see the problem. Whether the posters were anonymous or not, don't their opinions and refutations of the facts matter?

It depends on the nature of what they're posting anonymously.

Suppose I work for JBoss and I write up various posts of the form: "I used (fill in JBoss competitor here) for my business. Not only did they not do the work I paid them for, but they anally raped my mother while pouring sugar in my gas tank! Next time I will go with JBoss for sure."

Or, suppose I work for JBoss and I write up a glowing review of JBoss's work, glossing over the problems or bugs. Then I post a few times agreeing with myself about how excellent they/we are. Astroturfing may be as old as the Internet (if not older) but that doesn't make it particularly ethical business.

Re:Anonymous or not opinions count. (1)

Unordained (262962) | more than 8 years ago | (#9189472)

Wouldn't that start to fall under truth-in-advertising laws? Commercial vs. personnal speech? (I know that discussion has come up before on slashdot, as to whether or not it's fair to have different rules for each.)

If they're working for their company, posting things in favor of their product and against other products, then it can be seen as equivalent to statements made by the company itself, promoting their software and bashing others. In that case, what's said has to conform to some rules about what's appropriate -- in some countries, you're not allowed to mention the name of the competing product at all: you can talk about yours, you can talk about "everybody else", but you can't say "us good, X bad". You're generally not allowed to outright lie either.

But then it becomes a question of jurisdiction on the internet (along with selling nazi items, etc.) -- laws differing by country are hard to enforce on something like the internet. ... as to whether or not the posters are anonymous, that has little bearing on the matter. They could be logged in as SmackThePenguin, posting on behalf of their employer -- the problem would be the same. As we don't associate names with verified certifications, statements of non-entanglement, etc. ... even if you had the person's real name, you still wouldn't have any guarantee that what's being posted is at all relevant or accurate or objective. "Don't trust anybody but me"?

Re:Anonymous or not opinions count. (4, Insightful)

Brento (26177) | more than 8 years ago | (#9189357)

I guess I don't see the problem. Whether the posters were anonymous or not, don't their opinions and refutations of the facts matter?

Well, it's like when you start having cybersex with somebody. It does indeed matter whether they're an 18 year old hot chick, or a 50 year old fat guy. Even if they both say the same thing, like "I wanna get with you, baby!"

More seriously, it matters because it matters who you're speaking for. When I stand up in a developer community and say my company is using ___ and the speed has gotten better between versions, that it crashes less often, or that the new features work as advertised, then I need to have something behind those claims. While people usually claim they're not speaking for their company, it still means more when someone is actually employed.

Furthermore, nobody wants to make enterprise software decisions based solely on the vendor's recommendations: you want to find a group of users that can verify the stuff works correctly. If I looked up JBoss's users to find out how it's working, and it turns out the entire JBoss user community consists solely of their employees posting under pseudonyms, you'd better believe we've got a problem.

Re:Anonymous or not opinions count. (4, Informative)

Timesprout (579035) | more than 8 years ago | (#9189389)

Is it any wonder that such a flagrant policy has made JBOSS go undercover?

You obviously have no familiarity with JBOSS. Shy retiring innocents they are not. For years now they have been haranging anyone who listen that JBOSS is the best Application Server in the known universe, this despite substantial evidence that some of their critical systems were well below standard.

I have no problems with an organistion hawking their wares. I do have a problem with it being turned into propaganda and stuck down my throat when I know it to be patently false.

The JBOSS organisation are doing the OSS movement a serious disservice.

Re:Anonymous or not opinions count. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#9189473)

So the people are masked, their motives are unknown, but the discussions are still real, yes? Here at Slashdot, people can post anonymously, or with presumed pseudonyms/identities; I still don't see the problem.

Flooding discussions with anonymous, biased praise presents the illusion of many happy users when they do not actually exist. It is unethical. Sure, opinions matter, but creating happy users out of thin air is deceitful.

And this is new.. how? (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#9189231)

After all, this is Slashdot.. where corporations (*cough* NYT) post advertisements as "news summaries" under fake Random Joe sounding pseudonyms. We're used to this... right?

Story is a Reminder (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#9189259)

"The evidence shows how a corporation can manipulate popular opinion via anonymous personalities, that open source companies can be just as ruthless as closed source when it comes to marketing their wares"

This story is a reminder that corporations are corporations and they will do almost anything to get money. In fact, by law they must put the bottom line [thecorporation.tv] above any other consideration. The documentary, The Corporation, discusses this fact, and how corporations are legal persons. The whole premise of the film is: Since corporations are recognized legal persons under the law, what kind of person are they?. Watch the movie to see the 'diagnosis' of what kind of person the corporation is.

Even nice corporations to open source like IBM will sell out open source in a heartbeat. To counter these corporations' bad motives and behaviour you have to punish them in the wallet, which means boycotting JBoss, M$, and any other misbehaving company. If you buy from them then you are an enabler of their wrong behaviour and, I argue, bear a part of the moral responsibility for their behaviour.

TheServerSide Sucks! (2, Insightful)

md17 (68506) | more than 8 years ago | (#9189270)

I don't mean to start a flame war, but honestly... TSS is a great spot to find articles related to J2EE, but I don't hang out there much simply because they do not have moderation, karma bonuses, etc. I would post and read comments a lot more if there were those features. Until then, /. is my home.

No way! (4, Funny)

thebra (707939) | more than 8 years ago | (#9189314)

I must say that I am shocked to hear that some thing like this could take place, and on the internet of all places. I thought that every thing I read on the internet was true and that I would make millions from forwarding emails and that hot 18 year old on AIM that wants me is not a man.
Oh wait, I'm retarded...

Trust nothing you read on the internet...I am sexy!

Re:No way! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#9189377)

I know this guy in Nigeria, he's gonna give me $35 Million USD if I help him and the Royal Family escape !!!!

WOOHOO !!!!!! I'm gonna be $RICH$ !!!

Jboss? (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#9189318)

More like Gayboss if you ask me.

what is the fuss? (1)

linuxislandsucks (461335) | more than 8 years ago | (#9189332)

Lest see TSS puts a forum that allows anonymous posts..

How is Anonymous posting in of itself automatically fake, again?

I would submit that there probably is anonymous posting form other j2ee vendor groups and that JBOSS may not be certainly alone in the act of posting anonymously..

Sometimes it is the technical discussiion details of the message rather than the speaker ..

doesn't much matter (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#9189344)

Jboss can get the job done. It isn't the best tool, it isn't the worst. It's kind of like MySQL. Free, as in beer, yet capable.

It doesn't matter that the Jboss crew:
posts bs pretending to be someone else
lures you in, then you end up needing to hire them, unless you are a badass like me
or that they engage in questionable marketing.

It works, especially when you can't afford de-luxe duct tape. Bash their methods, but the product works.

not a jboss developer

Speaking of crap... (2, Insightful)

C10H14N2 (640033) | more than 8 years ago | (#9189346)

It looks more like the parent poster is just pissed off that the guys/gals of JBoss have different opinions. None of the referenced posts appeared to be FUD or PR. Every post I saw in that thread was what I would expect the personal opinions of those individuals to be. What, if you participate in business, you must at all times put your professional reputation -- and that of your entire corporation -- on the line? Bull.

I almost never post 'anonymously,' however, I put a pretty hefty distance between my online postings and my actual professional life. In fact, in many cases, my personal opinions have been restrained by contract. I can't post "I, an employee of XYZ organization involved in ABC project feel this way." That's what corporate PR departments are for and it is such standard practice to curtail officila public comments--for good reasons--that it smacks as pretty ignorant to start whining that someone isn't slapping their corporate logo on every utterance.

JBoss is a solid product and their licensing and revenue models are downright charitable. The posts addressing those issues were absolutely on the mark and perfectly justifiable. So there was some petty personal squabble. Big deal. Someone doesn't like you. Wah. This whole conspiracy theory comes off as pretty fscking childish in that context.

They want to make money AND give something away and you don't like that for some reason.

Get over it.

Re:Speaking of crap... (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#9189407)

How do we know you're not working for JBoss?

Christ.. it's like the Salem witch trials.

The JBoss Investment (1)

Virtucon (127420) | more than 8 years ago | (#9189385)

Since recently Intel invested money in JBoss, I wonder if other investors are going to think twice about investing in a company that uses these kind of unscrupulous tactics, yeah business is business. But I wonder what potential investors, who want to help get JBoss certified, think? Although this isn't as bad as that Lindon UT outfit, it has to be akin to being bad buisness. Long live Geronimo!

moed up (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#9189395)

of *BSD aaswipes and exciting; about half of the Here, please do

jroller.org down (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#9189417)

Great, now EVERY blog out there that talks about Java is slashdotted...

Re:jroller.org down (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#9189443)

Because Java SCALES for large projects....

Oh wait, i meant to say because Java sucks.

Re:jroller.org down (1)

Roland Piquepaille (780675) | more than 8 years ago | (#9189492)

Great, now EVERY blog out there that talks about Java is slashdotted...

How much do you bet they run on Java too?
This explains that...

BileBlog Mirror (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#9189466)

Since JRoller seems to be Slashdotted already, here's the text of fate's BileBlog:

Does the fun ever stop with these guys? It turns out that theserverside.com forums now has an interesting new feature that many of you might not be aware of. If you click on a particular user, you will see all the other users that have logged in from the same IP. Obviously, this method is not foolproof, and can be easily misinterpreted to mean that two people behind the same proxy are indeed one and the same.

Having said that though, it is with immense glee that I see that once and for all, the JBoss wankstains can be seen for the hypocritical, conniving, underhanded, petty and insecure little fuckwits that they are.

So, let's pick a user at random! Say..ohhh I dunno...Marc Fleury. Who else does the slimy little fleury have hidden away in this too-large-for-one-person personality of his? Why, none other than our friend Arun Patel! Arun, for those of you unfamiliar with TSS, posts incredibly offensive polemics that happen to exactly mirror the unspoken thoughts of a certain JBoss cult. To be fair, many of the posts are too eloquent to be His Royal Garlicness, what with his penchant for multiple exclamation marks, rambling sentences, and all round freakish usage of full stops.

So, who else posts from that IP? Well, we have James Hardy. James' posts are often of the 'I'm sane but lets face it, JBoss rule' variety, as opposed to another on that list of deranged psychopaths, Chip Tyler. Chippie here will eagerly pipe in in any number of threads to say how much CDN suck, as well as how every move JBoss makes is intelligent and wise. There are literally dozens of other accounts that show how widespread this behaviour is. The only thing they have in common is a surprising love and admiration for all things JBossy, and disdain and abuse for all things non-JBossy.

Needless to say, Ben Sabrin and the majority of the JBoss folks are all on the trail too. So while it's impossible to actually draw lines between the fakes and their puppetmasters, it's very very easy to spot the group of nefarious rumprangers who have embarked on this laughably incompetent marketing exercise. Having said that, some of the linkages are very clear and easy to follow to individuals who happen to not work in the same turdfactory as the fleurys do. Bill Burke has the highly dubious honour of also being Joe Murray, famous for making noises to the effect of 'Mike Spille doesn't exist!'. Let's see you uuhmm and err your way out of this one Billy! Marc'll have you back in that gimp suit pretty sharpish if you keep being this sloppy.

It all makes an awful lot of sense, if you think about it. JBoss is very very little beyond a whole lot of smoke and mirrors. I was actually surprised at how many people at TSSS for example smirked when I asked if they used JBoss. The silent majority pretty much views that server as a bit of a joke, and rightfully so!

What is stunning is how they seem to have next to no capacity for learning. Come on garlicboy, how fucking hard can it be to write a classloader? Do you really NEED UnifiedClassLoader, UnifiedClassLoader2, AND UnifiedClassLoader3? Didn't your mother teach you how to name classes? The thing is, it'd fine if you lot were just crapping out hilarious code. Sadly, it isn't enough for you, instead you feel the need to go out of your way and create a million fake accounts everywhere just to spread the word and hijack any potentially intelligent conversation. Are you that scared of innovation and a world where JBoss co-exists with the rest of humanity?

The saddest part about all this is that the most likely outcome is for these posters to now ensure they use a different IP when posting, to disguise the trail more effectively. I'm sure the very notion of 'gosh, maybe we should let our software do the talking instead of using underhanded tactics like these' is heretical in that camp.

So, the next time you see someone posting anything positive about JBoss, rest assured that it's just another one of their employees desperate to justify their pathetic existence.

UPDATE: Removed Corby Page's name since he is real. Sorry Corby, the ONE name I didn't bother double checking turned out to be real, pah!

UPDATE 2: More dups! You can actually find which employees work at the 'office' and which work remotely. Juha-P Lindfors is also Thomas Mattson (a VERY prolific JBoss wanker), C R, and Cam Teegar. Even that fat fuck Andy Oliver seems to join in on the fun (which makes his innocent 'why must you all hate us!' mewling all the more hilarious), either masquerading as or living in sin with Steve Lewis.

Also available at http://www.javablogs.com/ViewEntry.action?id=14413 8 [javablogs.com].

In soviet russia (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#9189474)

the rampant employees run for years.

Anon Cowards World Union (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#9189479)

On behalf of the Anonymous Cowards Union of the World, may I say that we are ashamed. Ashamed that we didn't think of it first and sell it to somebody.

Oh, and SCO is great.

Erupting? (1)

melee (95039) | more than 8 years ago | (#9189480)

You're erupting? My condolences. Do they have treatments for that yet?

Astroturfing is very common. Call 'em on it if you will, but I question if it's even close to unethical At worst it's probably slimy.

You set up a situation that allows this and then get upset when people use it? Really.

This can never happen on Slashdot, thankfully. (2, Informative)

sllort (442574) | more than 8 years ago | (#9189489)

If you look at subroutine checkForOpenProxy [sourceforge.net] in Slashcode, you'll notice that it contains a hand-written port scanner/proxy checker built in Perl. Slashdot uses this to aggressively port scan and service map any IP address that tries to post anonymously, and saves the result in the DB. While this does have the unfortunate side affect of setting off IDS sensors across the globe and disrupting poorly hardened services on ports in Slash's scan list, it has the benefit of keeping us safe from those who would use a proxy to maintain anonymity, such as Chinese dissidents and corporate whisteblowers.
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