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Ken Brown Responds to His Critics

michael posted more than 9 years ago | from the nothing-but-flamebait dept.

Linux 579

An anonymous reader writes "Yes, I know it's getting boring by now, but the truth must be told... the latest Unix celebrity to come forward and criticise Ken Brown/ADTI is Unix pioneer Dennis Ritchie. The gist is that Brown is claiming an 'extensive interview' with Ritchie but this was actually limited to a single email exchange and a follow-up call from one of Brown's lackeys checking one or two facts." Reader markrages writes "Ken Brown (of the Alexis de Tocqueville Institution) replies to his critics. Dr. Tanenbaum is an 'animated, but tense individual about the topic of rights and attribution'. The GNU/Linux naming issue also makes an appearance."

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WHO CARES? (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#9340828)


What a fucking idiot. (-1, Offtopic)

sulli (195030) | more than 9 years ago | (#9340838)

That is all.

Re:What a fucking idiot. (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#9340904)

Why was this marked as a troll ? It is a valid comment - at least as valid that anything Mr Brown comes out with.

second post (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#9340840)

gnu is teh sux, wot?

Re:second post (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#9340857)

you must be gnu here

Comparing Apples and Oranges. (5, Informative)

bjarvis354 (319402) | more than 9 years ago | (#9340845)

Comparing the MINIX kernel to the Linux kernel is like comparing a microkernel to a monolithic one...Hey wait a minute!

OMG. (5, Funny)

jhill (446614) | more than 9 years ago | (#9340854)

A village is out there, crying, like baby jesus, because it's idiot ran away...please send him back.

The GNU/Linux naming issue, as I see it. (0, Offtopic)

byolinux (535260) | more than 9 years ago | (#9340862)

GNU project sets out to create Free Software OS.

Various parts are already complete, a la X.

Kernel needed, as GNU project kernel not finished... ... along comes Linux kernel, under GPL.

GNU project could have just taken this as their official kernel, but they'd put too much work into Hurd to stop really, and Hurd is a better design, so they choose GNU/Linux, to offer credit to themselves and all the work they've done in creating a Free Software OS, but also to Linus Torvalds.

It's not X/GNU/Apache/MySQL/Linux/etc because non of those other things ever set out to make a Free Operating System, not even Linus.

Re:The GNU/Linux naming issue, as I see it. (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#9340879)

But Linus maintains Linux, GNU doesn't. So he gets to pick the name. Which he has.

GNU maintains HURD, which has oh so many users.

Re:The GNU/Linux naming issue, as I see it. (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#9340945)

But GNU also maintains much of the core system. And the part of Linux that Linus maintains (the kernel) is indeed called Linux. Why should Linus get to decide the naming of the entire operating system?

Re:The GNU/Linux naming issue, as I see it. (5, Insightful)

Nasarius (593729) | more than 9 years ago | (#9340981)

He shouldn't. That's up to the people [suse.com] who [mandrakesoft.com] package [redhat.com] and/or sell the OS. Using "Linux" to refer to a UNIX-style system built with the Linux kernel, GNU tools, etc. has caught on. It may not be "proper", but it's certainly not illegal. In other words: who cares?

Re:The GNU/Linux naming issue, as I see it. (2, Interesting)

ron_ivi (607351) | more than 9 years ago | (#9341066)

More importantly he owns the trademark, so in the worse case couldn't he tell people that GNU/Linux is just as bad trademark dilution as Lindows?

Re:The GNU/Linux naming issue, as I see it. (1)

Brandybuck (704397) | more than 9 years ago | (#9341055)

Various parts are already complete, a la X.

I'm sorry, but that should be "GNU/X". If X is a part of "The GNU System", then we have to give credit to GNU by calling it "GNU/X".

Embedded systems.... (5, Insightful)

kidgenius (704962) | more than 9 years ago | (#9340870)

Does he not realize that Linux runs on embedded systems. He makes a comment that:
"Software is also embedded in hardware, chips, printers and even consumer electronics. Should embedded software become 'free' too, it would be natural to conclude the value of hardware will spiral downward as well." Let's see....PDA's, routers, cell phones, dvd players....yup, they all run Linux, and I don't see the value of these pieces of hardware spiraling downwards. The "cost" may drop, but the "value" could stay the same, or increase due to the possibly increased functionality (among other things) that running Linux on these devices allows.

Re:Embedded systems.... (4, Interesting)

The Lynxpro (657990) | more than 9 years ago | (#9341004)

"Let's see....PDA's, routers, cell phones, dvd players....yup, they all run Linux, and I don't see the value of these pieces of hardware spiraling downwards."

Consider the source (and I don't mean code). That foundation receives monies from Microsoft. You bring up the PDA market. Both Microsoft and PalmOne receive $10 in royalties for the use of their operating systems (PocketPC and PalmOS) and intellectual property per licensed machine sold. Linux does have the potential of degrading those royalties down to nothing. First, licensees will pressure M$ and PalmOne into lowering their payments by using the "we can use Linux for free" argument. It could be argued that eventually, this means the PocketPC and PalmOS licenses will go down to $1 or less per machine sold. Microsoft would wave the licensing fee just to save face against Linux, but that would cripple PalmSource completely.

Re:Embedded systems.... (2, Interesting)

kidgenius (704962) | more than 9 years ago | (#9341048)

You make a good point, but I never said cost couldn't drop, I merely said value, and there is a big difference between the two.

Re:Embedded systems.... (5, Interesting)

chad9023 (316613) | more than 9 years ago | (#9341108)

Obviously he's never heard of BusyBox [busybox.net], or seen the list of products [busybox.net] which run it. Or the list of products [busybox.net] which run it without giving it credit. While some companies certainly seem to enjoy using F/OSS and giving credit where credit is due, others seem to have no problem ripping off the work others have done, atleast when they don't think they'll get caught.

A good point was made on GrokLaw the other day: it's easy for commercial companies to make sure that none of their code has made it's way into F/OSS, but it's monumently harder for members of the open source community to make sure none of their code is being misused in commercial software and/or products.

USPTO respected? (4, Insightful)

TwistedSquare (650445) | more than 9 years ago | (#9340875)

The United States is the home of the United States Patent and Trademark Office, an internationally respected agency

Says the article... I'm sure a few round here would disagree.

Re:USPTO respected? (5, Funny)

Compholio (770966) | more than 9 years ago | (#9340932)

It's more like internationally laughed at for approving anything that shows up on its doorstep and not even checking its own database for conflicts.

Re:USPTO respected? (2, Insightful)

bstone (145356) | more than 9 years ago | (#9340941)

The United States is the home of the United States Patent and Trademark Office, an internationally respected agency

And the United States Copyright Office is also an internationally respected agency, so when the "Star Registry" places a copy of their book there, it immediately gives you ownership to the "star" they named after you.


Re:USPTO respected? (5, Funny)

ValentineMSmith (670074) | more than 9 years ago | (#9340956)

The United States is the home of the United States Patent and Trademark Office, an internationally respected agency

Says the article... I'm sure a few round here would disagree.

Well, I don't disagree that the United States is the home of the United States Patent and Trademark Office.

I'm a little iffy on the "...internationally respected agency..." part, though

Here it is, exactly what Brown is up to! (4, Insightful)

shatfield (199969) | more than 9 years ago | (#9340878)

Its purpose is to provide U.S. leadership with a researched presentation on attribution and intellectual property problems with the hybrid source code model, particularly Linux. It is our hope that leadership would find this document helpful with public policy decisions regarding its future investment in Linux and other hybrid source products.

So they are writing a book of lies to give to non-technical politicians in order to persuade public policy.

So who is going to step forward and write a book, of researched FACTS to counteract this work of FICTION?

Re:Here it is, exactly what Brown is up to! (4, Insightful)

Rimbo (139781) | more than 9 years ago | (#9340995)

That's a great idea, and now that we know their motives, we know to whom this book should be addressed.

My God, reading this thing... Ken Brown assumed his conclusion from the start. He has a rabid religious fervor to his response; I can see the spit flying from his lips just reading the text.

What's clear is that like all True Believers, Ken Brown will do anything possible to win, and he will never give up. He will not rest to his dying days to fight what he has started. He has put himself in a position he must defend. He is going to shout what he wants to anyone who will listen, and as most people are ignorant of the issue, many of them will.

The only proper response is to educate the masses with the truth before Ken Brown can spread his lies.

Re:Here it is, exactly what Brown is up to! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#9341122)

Someone could certainly step forward and pay pj to write a book.

Re:Here it is, exactly what Brown is up to! (2, Insightful)

raidient (751898) | more than 9 years ago | (#9341038)

It's generally accepted that politicians prefer lies (and liars), as it puts them at their ease to know they are around like minded people.
Honesty, in any form, leads to angst, and is therefore avoided at all times.

More importantly (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#9341112)

Who is going to pierce the veil in the public's mind to make people realize that this is NOT an independent institute, that the institute has compromised its objectivity in the most extreme way possible, and this book is a product paid for by Microsoft?

And that statements like "Linux is a leprosy" are NOT coming from a public policy think tank, they are coming from a paid representative of Microsoft?

another stupid kike (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#9340881)

fuck computer faggots.

unix is fucking gay.

What a hatchet job (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#9340884)

What a fucking hatchet job that the OSS community, in particular PJ and her FUD site groklaw, have done on Ken Brown.

Do you zealots really imagine that by attacking this guy personally and deleting posts in defense of him from groklaw (thanks PJ), that you are going to silence him?

He makes great points and has a solid case, and all the personal attacks and censorship in the world by the OSS community isn't going to change that.

Re:What a hatchet job (5, Insightful)

raistphrk (203742) | more than 9 years ago | (#9340964)

Um, while this is a blatant troll job here, it's certainly not a good one.

The problem is, Ken Brown HASN'T made a great case. The guy contacted a bunch of Unix hackers pretending to be writing a book about the Unix timeline, when in reality his only agenda was to come up with some load of hooey about Linus stealing source from Minix. And the sad part is, he was repeatedly given information quite to the contrary, and completely ignored all of that data. I mean...when Dr. Tanenbaum comes right out and says "Well, while I don't approve of Linus adding tons of functionality to Linux, because I'm a minimalist, I will say that Linus didn't steal any of my source code", and yet, Brown completely disregards Dr. Tanenbaum's answer, you know the guy is hardly a credible author.

No, the only hatchet job I've seen is one carried out by Ken Brown against Linus. Brown set out with an agenda: to try and say that Linux was pirated, so that he could lend credence to the SCO case, to Microsoft, and to all of the anti-open source/free software zealots out there. The guy got lambasted by computer scientists because he was dead wrong, and he should've seen it coming. I mean...his claims are about as good as the wackjobs who routinely crop up to claim that the Earth is flat. Those guys get tons of PR, because EVERYBODY AND THEIR DOG KNOWS THEY'RE WRONG. Then, after they're properly put in their place, they leave the spotlight and we resume our lives, until the next idiot comes along with another worthless and asinine assertation.

Re:What a hatchet job (1)

Faies (248065) | more than 9 years ago | (#9341117)

From the info snippet at the bottom of Brown's response: [Ken Brown] is reportedly "not the sharpest knife in the drawer," but nevertheless is able to converse with many intelligent people, and is accepted at fine restaurants and hotels around the world.

Well, doesn't that just say it?

In other news... (4, Funny)

raistphrk (203742) | more than 9 years ago | (#9340888)

Ken Brown was recently offered a position at the Jason Blair Institute for Fabrication and Fraud. Officially duties include making up interview transcripts and inventing names for alleged contributers.

Does he think Linux was completed overnight? (5, Insightful)

Brackney (257949) | more than 9 years ago | (#9340900)

Am I missing something, or is the implication made that Linux became a fullblown and mature OS overnight? The earliest version that Linus put together was incomplete and immature. No one ever claimed that Linus got from version 0.0 to 2.x.y all by his lonesome. We all know (now) that he had plenty of help from Santa Claus and the Tooth Fairy...

He writes like a tool (1, Redundant)

CaptainSuperBoy (17170) | more than 9 years ago | (#9340906)

The United States is the home of the United States Patent and Trademark Office

Linux is a leprosy; and is having a deleterious effect on the U.S. IT industry because it is steadily depreciating the value of the software industry sector.

Ironically, Professor Tanenbaum's recent comments only recapitulate many of the substantive contradictions regarding the early Linux kernel AdTI decided to discuss in Samizdat.

What an idiot.

Re:He writes like a tool (4, Insightful)

tweek (18111) | more than 9 years ago | (#9340931)

It's funny. I read this line and wondered to myself...if it is having such a terrible effect on the IT industry, why the hell did my company just spend alomst 1 million dollars on IBM software (websphere, db2, tivoli) and IBM hardware for our new datacenter all running on RedHat Enterprise Linux which we also PURCHASED?

Surely we can't be alone in that regard?

Brown says it all here: (5, Interesting)

roystgnr (4015) | more than 9 years ago | (#9340907)

Isn't fair to question the character and ethics of individuals that espouse contempt for intellectual property? Isn't fair to question their character, when the core of their business strategy is trust?

I certainly agree.

The difference is that I'm smart enough to recognize that when Linus Torvalds is telling a joke it isn't an expression of contempt for intellectual property, but when Ken Brown is viciously slandering an innocent author in order to try and sabotage the use of that authors creation it shows utter contempt for IP law.

Unfortunately, although everyone has questioned Brown's character, Brown doesn't want to answer any of those questions. This is just another "Linus couldn't have written Linux himself!" rant, which posts all of Browns leading questions and attempts to trap people into misleading soundbites, but which doesn't answer the most obvious question everyone has been asking: who is paying him to write this crap?

Re:Brown says it all here: (2, Interesting)

The Lynxpro (657990) | more than 9 years ago | (#9341032)

"This is just another "Linus couldn't have written Linux himself!"

I agree completely with your post. When people claim the Linux kernel was too difficult to write by one person, I would remind those very naysayers that television was created by a 13 year old. Individuals can do extraordinary things.

Contratiction #1 (2, Informative)

jm.one (655706) | more than 9 years ago | (#9340914)

""Hybrid source code" is a phrase coined by former Tocqueville Chairman Gregory Fossedal. The term refers to any product with a license that attempts to mix free and proprietary source code at the same time. While hybrid software appears to be the same as open source, it isn't. Hybrid source code can never be true intellectual property. The actual purpose of hybrid source is to nullify its value as private property, which makes the hybrid source model significantly different from true open source. " If read this again and again. It just won`t make sense. Or did I really miss anything?

and a flaimbait: (1)

jm.one (655706) | more than 9 years ago | (#9341035)

Samizdat concludes that the root of attribution, IP misappropriation, and acknowledgement problems in Linux is ---in fact--- the trust model. Basically, Torvalds and other Linux advocates are admitting to using a 'three monkeys' policy for software development: see no evil, speak no evil, hear no evil. Isn`t this what trolls are tellings all the time? This guy is going to sell a book of this.

Hmmm... (5, Insightful)

Reteo Varala (743) | more than 9 years ago | (#9340924)

"Linux is a leprosy; and is having a deleterious effect on the U.S. IT industry because it is steadily depreciating the value of the software industry sector."

I think I read a phrase once that fit quite nicely... what was it again?

Oh, yeah, that's it...

"Tough. Adapt or die."

Re:Hmmm... (1)

Art Tatum (6890) | more than 9 years ago | (#9341109)

"Tough. Adapt or die."

Exactly. Let the free market decide what solutions are best and at what costs. But besides all that, what's this business about Linux "depreciating the value of the software industry"? Linux often makes the IT industry more efficient and effective. Even software businesses can profit from it. Hell, even Microsoft can profit from Linux by writing and selling software for it. Ignorance, we have met thee, and thy name is Ken Brown.

Yeah but .. (5, Insightful)

kbsingh (138659) | more than 9 years ago | (#9340936)

Mr Brown, seems to have made loads of statements with no real basis to back him up at all - much unlike his critics who have used real facts and figures to build upon. Where did he come up with statements like 'Linux is a leprosy' - and have nothing at all to say as to why he thinks its like that. He has no answer to his critics, so he will evade the real issues and facts, just try to keep people thinking about different things by such a response.

Okay, so he says that Linux might not be good for the s/w industry ( uneducated and uninformed as he is, he is most likely wrong ) - but is that the only industry there is in this whole world ? dont the other industries ( who have been held to ransom, more or less by organisations like MS and Sage ), also have a right to benefit ? If you look at the reality - the user base is many many times higher than the provider base. So how does the economy suffer ?

All in all, its not even worth commenting on this anymore. Mr. Brown is the hall mark of a paid dog, who is going to make a fwe bucks from his backers who want to see Linux down - cause they are incapable of doing that in real terms, tech terms or in direct compeition - so they must resort to people like Ken Brown to create this fascade and false FUD.

Look around you - does any of this work ?

If Linux wasent as big a threat to MS and such companies, they would leave it alone. But they cant, because Linux IS very much a threat - and its breaking them down.

You don't fucking get it! (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#9340983)

What brown says is the truth, and no matter how much you whine and cry on slahdot will change that.

Thank God I work with MS systems so I don't have to listen to idiots like yourself all day.

He is talking out of his ass. (2, Informative)

timlewis_atlanta (195776) | more than 9 years ago | (#9340940)

Ken Brown's writings are garbage. By publicising this you're just giving him free press. Ignore him. As Alexey Toptygin said : "pay no attention to this man" ... "he is talking out of his ass".

What is this noone word? (1)

SiChemist (575005) | more than 9 years ago | (#9340948)

What's up with Brown's consistent use of noone? I don't think it means what he thinks it means.

Re:What is this noone word? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#9341016)

He's referring to his old college buddy, Alfred "Nooner" Prendergast. "Noone" (pronounced noo-nie) was rather infamous for leaving class early for lunch, much to Ken's chagrin. Don't mind any non-capitalization of the nickname, it's just informalism.

Newsforge comments as primary source (5, Interesting)

ozten (112610) | more than 9 years ago | (#9340960)

This guy actually uses Newsforge comments as a primary source! He is commenting on Cisco code theft and that open source zealots are happy it happened, his footnote 3 points to a Comments page.

Sooooo gooood.

Mispellings ruin one's credibility (2, Insightful)

jlowery (47102) | more than 9 years ago | (#9340962)

It's hard to take a guy seriously when in a semi-formal publication he repeatedly uses the non-word 'noone'. Doesn't this guy know english?

Re:Mispellings ruin one's credibility (1)

kidgenius (704962) | more than 9 years ago | (#9341011)

Didn't you read at the end where he says:
"He is reportedly "not the sharpest knife in the drawer,"

Re:Mispellings ruin one's credibility (1)

jlowery (47102) | more than 9 years ago | (#9341047)

He's supposed to be a writer, FCOL. I'm an occasional writer, too, and look: I've misspelled 'mispelling'-- but I'd catch that before I formatted an article all pretty by running it through a spell checker once or twice. Sloppy. Like his research.

Ken Brown, Anonymous Coward (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#9340966)

This guy has no more credibility than me, the Anonymous Coward.

If you don't believe me, try to find out anything at all about him. Their site isn't offering up any clues about his credentials. Searching for his generic (and IMO probably fake) name along with appropriate keywords hit just about nothing.

Loser, Idiot, Nobody.

Likely bought and paid for by the Conspiracy who created him.

Yes, I RTFA ... (1)

Professor D (680160) | more than 9 years ago | (#9340970)

And noticed this at the bottom ...

Kenneth Brown ... is reportedly "not the sharpest knife in the drawer,"

Feel free to provide your own punchline ...

But as soon as we DO find the sharpest knife (4, Funny)

IshanCaspian (625325) | more than 9 years ago | (#9341012)

But as soon as we DO find the sharpest knife, I can guarantee you we'll make sure it gets to him. >:)

Re:Yes, I RTFA ... (1)

Yobgod Ababua (68687) | more than 9 years ago | (#9341030)

That's probably the only actual response to the comments people have made questioning the validity of his research.

From scratch... (5, Insightful)

Brandybuck (704397) | more than 9 years ago | (#9340980)

Yet Tanenbaum vehemently insists that Torvalds wrote Linux from scratch, which means from a blank computer screen to most people. No books, no resources, no notes -- certainly not a line of source code to borrow from, or to be tempted to borrow from.

Mr. Brown is deliberately playing his audience for fools. Of course Linus didn't create Linux from tabula rasa. He didn't start with a blank harddrive and manually toggle in hex until he managed to get it booted up to an editor to start typing in Linux source! Duh!

When Linus "used" Minix and GCC, he used them as tools. Is this so hard for Mr. Brown to get through his skull? Apparently so.

Is it likely that a student (Linus Torvalds) with no operating systems experience, a non-Unix licensee, without any use of Minix or Unix source code, could build a functioning kernel in six months

Mr. Brown seems to be making the argument later than Linus couldn't of possibly have written Linux 2.6 in six months. Of course! He came up with version 0.1 instead. Although it was functional, it wasn't terribly useful.

People would take Ken Brown more seriously if he didn't write a book that was nothing more than his attempt to discredit his own erroneous assumtions.

His idiocy is his arguement (1)

michaelggreer (612022) | more than 9 years ago | (#9340985)

The guy just keeps repeating over and over his own inability to understand the material, and his amazement at Linus's ability to write the kernel. He has no comprehension of any of the technical issues, and no experience, so it is hardly surprising that the Linux story is so "unbelievable" to him. That he thinks this is a convincing argument is what is truly unbelievable.

From Scratch? (2, Insightful)

gnugie (757363) | more than 9 years ago | (#9340987)

Ken has a funny definition of "from scratch".

I guess in Ken's mind, in order to bake a cake "from scratch", you couldn't use a cookbook to devise a recipe, would have to grow your own wheat, crush it into flour with your bare hands, add sugar from your own sugar beets, and bake it on a rock in the sun.

Previously, I'd just thought him a shill. This is sheer idiocy.

Re:From Scratch? (1)

kidgenius (704962) | more than 9 years ago | (#9341029)

Well, back in my day, that's how we had to make our cakes, and we couldn't have been happier. You young-ins have it easy these days.

wondering why people take AdTI seriously (2, Interesting)

nomad63 (686331) | more than 9 years ago | (#9340988)

Haven't we figured that out yet this organization has one goal in mind, which is to spray FUD over open source movement, which we all know funded by a big corp in Redmond ?
More the name gets discussed among the geek squad (a.k.a. /.ers) more publicity they get from the not-so-clever mainstream media, authors of which think "oh, since their name is out there so much, they must have a good point in discussion"
Playing ignoramus against these clowns is the best strategy in my opinion.
These guys are like the talentless idiot who draws Boondocks. Nobody knew neither him nor his strip, until the day he attacked the Sean Hannity in an anti-war interview, where Hannity was absent. The next day, in his program, Hannity chewed him out but he succeeded at his goal. He was known by so many millions of Americans in the course of a few minutes.
Screw AdTI.

Good point with a bad foundation (2, Insightful)

lukewarmfusion (726141) | more than 9 years ago | (#9340989)

Aside from his rants and the conclusions that lack any logical progression, there is a good point underlying much of his "reasoning." Linux is not an entity, and cannot be held responsible any more than "P2P" can.

This isn't just a legal issue; in order to gain significant market share, earn the trust of potential users, and develop with a strong backbone in a reliable direction, Linux must be accountable. Users have to be able to turn to someone/somewhere for support, for resources, for guidance; because there is no single authority over Linux, many companies and users are uncomfortable with it.

As for the legal issues, we've seen this play out already. SCO claims to own IP, and without a single entity to fight back it has been difficult to put and end to that nonsense. Because there's nobody to sue directly, SCO resorts to picking on individuals/corporations. The RIAA sued Napster, MP3.com, Kazaa, etc. because they put a face to a problem (P2P). While P2P thrives on the "anonymity" factor, Linux does not. This Ken Brown realizes this, perhaps unconsciously, and while he does not attack that directly he does recognize the consequences.

What's the solution? I dunno. But companies like RedHat are a traditional solution - form an entity that can be held responsible, and hope that the rewards are worth it.

Ownership of code? (1)

bstone (145356) | more than 9 years ago | (#9340993)

The reality is that, noone, including Linus Torvalds, can ever guarantee that code in the Linux kernel is free of counter ownership, or attribution claims.

And, of course, if you buy software, that does guarantee that it is free of "counter ownership"?

I guess that means that SCO is immediately going to drop their suit against IBM, given this new information.

I am shocked and - yes - ANGRY! (2, Funny)

mkro (644055) | more than 9 years ago | (#9340994)

Much of this questionable borrowing is a) not in the best interest U.S. corporations b) not in the best interest of IT workers in America c) at a serious expense to the investment community, an entity betting on the success of intellectual property in the marketplace.
Mr. Brown seems to leave out the ties Linux has to international terrorism, and even fails to mention the negative impact Linux has on the oil price. How are we supposed to take him seriously? Seriously, Microsoft should ask for their money back.

Nobody visit the AdTI website! (4, Funny)

Chmarr (18662) | more than 9 years ago | (#9341005)

Please... noone visit the AdTI website... we wouldn't want Mr Brown to think that his web site is being attacked again, would we? :)

What's the real motive? (1)

fred fleenblat (463628) | more than 9 years ago | (#9341006)

It's entirely possible that Ken Brown is just creating an artificial controvery in order to get AdTI into the headlines and drum up more business for himself.

The crux: Tanenbaum's statement (1)

nerdb0t (712755) | more than 9 years ago | (#9341008)

On March 8, 2004, Professor Tanenbaum sent me the following e-mail:

"MINIX was the base that Linus used to create Linux. He also took many ideas from MINIX, including the file system, source tree, and much more."

this is it. this is the most important statement in the whole freakin big deal. if this is true, then there is a case. if it is not, then it's all bogus.

Re:The crux: Tanenbaum's statement (2, Informative)

The Grey Mouser (14648) | more than 9 years ago | (#9341098)

this is it. this is the most important statement in the whole freakin big deal. if this is true, then there is a case. if it is not, then it's all bogus.

Have a look at Tanenbaum's web site [cs.vu.nl], where he discusses this. He believes that the ideas came from MINIX (which is almost certainly true), but is quite convinced that none of the code was stolen (which is the issue at hand).



Alexis de Tocqueville once observed... (5, Insightful)

eggstasy (458692) | more than 9 years ago | (#9341015)

Alexis de Tocqueville once observed that it is easier for the world to accept a simple lie than a complex truth. So now you know where they got the name. We live in a world of greed and spin, and AdTI is out to make a buck... brainwashing the people... being paid to hide "complex truths" from their view, replacing them with whatever simple lies the people will prefer to believe.
They aren't very original in this respect, but they should be feared rather than scorned.
You never know exactly how many influent people will buy this crap, not to mention the masses.
People cling to silly myths and urban legends for decades!

About Alexis de Tocqueville's rotational velocity (0, Redundant)

Linux_ho (205887) | more than 9 years ago | (#9341020)

As reported by practically every five-sentence-or-greater biography of the man, Alexis de Tocqueville once observed that "it is easier for the world to accept a simple lie than a complex truth".

Apparently Ken Brown feels it's his duty to test this observation.

Another code borrowing article (1)

xyote (598794) | more than 9 years ago | (#9341025)

here [com.com]. Not about Linux per se but I'm suprised ADTI hasn't picked up on it and tried to use it to bolster their case.

You linux guys are cheap (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#9341027)

I think that most people are too eager to bash anybody who questions the free software's gravy train.

It's all about money. Exactly how many people are looking at source and improving linux? There are a few guys slaving away and there's a larger crowd that stands to benefit from their work and keep cheering them on to their doom.

It's really odd that the rise of Linux has caused the tech industry to cave in - all started around April 2001

Linux took my UNIX job and now Linus Torvalds owes me a paycheck.

Huh? (3, Insightful)

Ponkinator (466952) | more than 9 years ago | (#9341031)

"The United States is the home of the United States Patent and Trademark Office, an internationally respected agency which contributes to the worldwide effort to protect and govern intellectual property."

It may have been respected in the past but now with the USPTO issuing patents without proper review I'd say it isn't worthy of respect today. Also, wasn't the intention of patents to give the inventor a 17 year limited period of protection? Its main goal, however, was to have the invention end up in the public domain for the benefit of its citizenship. He doesn't seem to understand that and I'll bet he doen't understand the concept of public schools or libraries either. Ken Brown has a very pueril view of the purpose of goverenment.

Ken's Logical Fallacy (1)

lakeesis (325621) | more than 9 years ago | (#9341041)

One of the things that disturbs me about the originally released material, as well as this rabid little tid-bit, is the reliance that the author has on a classic logical fallacy. His assumptions follow this pattern.

1. many programmers cheat 2. Linus must have cheated

I may be just an English graduate, but there's a basic problem with this pattern. In an essay of even dubious academic merit, an author would be required to fill in several steps before claiming either of these conclusions. Rather, the author of this article relies on the assumption [again] that if everyone says:

1. average programmers can only write so fast 2. Linus must write at the same [or slower] speed without help

If you want to make a scholarly paper, book, pamphlet or press release about a certain subject, it is probably better to not rely on "he-said she-said" arguements - or accuse the very movement spawned by the subject to be like a disease. Some may argue that you show a lack of perspective.

AdTI and the other paid 'Think Tanks'... (4, Interesting)

Vancouverite (227795) | more than 9 years ago | (#9341046)

... would be the subject of some national investigative news show, if I had my wish come true. Just think... national, prime-time coverage of how, if you have enough money, you can get a "highly respected conservative/liberal/defense/technology think tank" to say pretty much whatever you want them to.

Perhaps, just perhaps, this would lead to more critical examination of the 'studies' coming out of all of the think tanks....

[I wish]

This IS dangerous stuff (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#9341049)

not because of the ridiculous claims about Linux's origin. That doesn't matter.
The problem is that these guys are a US conservative think tank.
And what these guys spread today might be tomorrow's legislation.
The dangerous point in their argumentation, which is not based on rubbish, is that they extend the definition of intellectual property from the work, i.e. the code - which is covered by copyright, to the ideas and logic behind the work.
If put into laws this implies protection of ideas via a copyright mechanism. So instead of a patent process with limited lifespan, checking by a more or less competent agency and disclosure we get a virtually forever lasting, unverified and undisclosed protection of ideas.
Furthermore their interpretation is much more far reaching than the patent principle itself:
a patent is limited to the written description of the patent office. But by their interpretation any similar work
would be crushed by IP protection.
And yes this stuff might be put into laws someday.
Some people would say now "Bush is not all that stupid" or "Kerry is going to 0wnz0r Bush".
But most US politicians might follow this path in some years:
In the last decade the pool of competitors to the US research and innovation was pretty limited: Europe and Japan. Russia was behind the iron curtain and after that it was pretty fucked.
But now China and India are rising. Europe is growing by countries with cheap and good research/IT workers. Russia is moving upwards again.
So facing this growing competition together with economical problems in their own country US politician might really considers to implement such broad "IP" interpretation just for protectionistic reasons.

I'm not even going to try (2, Insightful)

3rdParty (719962) | more than 9 years ago | (#9341050)

to dispute points made by Ken Brown. The AdTI is nothing more than a conservative "think tank," which means they come up with ideas, some of which, or all, are not worth the paper they are printed on.

Devoting any time to dispute the Brown POS is foolish, given the place it comes rom. One needs to merely read a few paragraphs to determine that the writers have no interest in the truth, but see themselves as some sort of policy makers, twisting facts and making unsupported statements purely for the benefit of what they see as "their" society. A little too much Socrates, and not enough hemlock, I think.

This is dangerous (1)

Ramss Morales (13327) | more than 9 years ago | (#9341057)

This book is intentionally filled with lies. Knowledgeable people know that, but politicians are not knowledgeable, and they don't care.

If we are not carefull, Linux could be banned from the US, just like ephedra and pro-hormones were banned based on lies and pseudoscience.

Restaurants?!? (0, Troll)

Halueth (776646) | more than 9 years ago | (#9341059)

Kenneth Brown is president of the Alexis de Tocqueville Institution and director of its technology research programs. He is the author of numerous research papers and popular articles on technology issues, including the 2002 report, "Opening the open-source debate," one of the first papers to raise serious questions about the security of open- and hybrid-source computer software, a point recently raised by the president of Symantec Corporation. He is reportedly "not the sharpest knife in the drawer," but nevertheless is able to converse with many intelligent people, and is accepted at fine restaurants and hotels around the world. The last sentence is worth a million! What an incredible moron...

This is the *lamest* reply ever (2, Interesting)

theefer (467185) | more than 9 years ago | (#9341060)

I've never read such a plain dumb reply, it's really amazing ... Here are a few pieces :

Meanwhile, an associate of mine asked Richard Stallman, who started with the Mach Kernel, why his GNU team could not build a kernel as fast as Torvalds. Mr. Stallman provided AdTI with a credible, believable set of reasons why building a kernel was not a simple task.

It is not trivial, but neither really that hard. The reason why GNU/Hurd takes so long is that coding micro-kernels is hard (and so said AT in his own replies on this topic). I guess RMS' quote might have been tricked from "building a micro-kernel" to "building a kernel".

But recently in a ZDNet interview last month, Torvalds insisted that he didn't start with Minix, but did get ideas from Unix(7).

Maybe Ken Brown isn't even aware that Minix is a micro-kernel, and thus a completely different architecture from a monolithic kernel. Does he even know the difference ?

Coincidently in a recent interview, Linus decided he was not the inventor of Linux commenting in a ZDNet story, "I'd agree that 'inventor' is not necessarily the right word...(9)"

This is a vocabulary issue. He's obviously not saying he's not the author of Linux, as Brown wants us to extrapolate.

Linux is a leprosy; and is having a deleterious effect on the U.S. IT industry

Didn't he mean that Linux is the cancer of the software industry ? Reminds me from something ...

Ken Brown's article is really, really lame, filled with wrong arguments, misquotes and lies. He's really trying to burn the latest tiny pieces of respect someone could hold for him.

My God! It's full of fallacies. (1)

Flower (31351) | more than 9 years ago | (#9341062)

Like a GPL project can't be developed with tracked source contributions or that a BSD project could not misappropriate commercial code. Hybrid Source is such a misnomer that it isn't even funny. If you have misappropriated proprietary code into a GPL'd product it is no longer GPL'd.

It just goes on and on. I could write a frickin' paper on this if only I had the time.

A good thing to do (1)

GedConk (778704) | more than 9 years ago | (#9341065)

Would be to pass the word around the whole programming community (OSS but also all "famous" programmers, which should not be that hard considering that they now know whatever they say will be distorted to suit Brown's view) not to give interviews to anyone affiliated to the AdTI, or respond to their emails. If we can't keep them from trolling, we can at least NOT feed them.

Interest of US Corporations (1)

Malc (1751) | more than 9 years ago | (#9341068)

"Much of this questionable borrowing is a) not in the best interest U.S. corporation"

The bad grammar aside, I don't see how this computes. Perhaps Linux isn't in the best interests of the biased software corporations funding Ken Brown... but it is in the interests of US corporations purchasing software!

Ugh! Is this slashdot or c-span? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#9341073)

If I cared about politics I would be watching CNN or C-SPAN, this is REALLY getting old. Who gives a flying pig what some no-name says about Linux. Take your arguments to some BBS, and keep it off of Slashdot.

Thank you,
The Anonymous Brave Warrior...

Don't worry, this guy is experienced (1)

etnoy (664495) | more than 9 years ago | (#9341084)

"It would be skewed and bias to only quote people that are anti-Linux or anti-open source. I have done this for years, and will continue to do so, " regardless of what a source thinks of my theories."

Hm. Keep the tounge right in the mouth next time you type something on that keyboard. And, also, don't continue what you have done for years.

Profit!!! (3, Funny)

wtom (619054) | more than 9 years ago | (#9341086)

1. Observe thousands of geeks rage-filled reaction to SCO Linux IP claims. 2. Write poorly-researched, inflammatory book claiming Linus the Chosen One did not, in fact write the Linux kernel. 3. Thousands and thousands and thousands of pissed-off Linux zealots buy said book, in order to debunk it, burn it, sit it on the shelf and laugh at it, whatever... 4. Profit!!! I think the author probably saw an exploitable reaction in the Linux community and wrote this book in order to, um, exploit it... I wonder if the same strategy would work in other formats? I could write a book called "Eating Puppies", do the talk show circuit, and as long as I was not shot or something, the book would sell a million copies! I'm a genius! *starts typing up first draft*

Brown is an imbletard (3, Insightful)

The Lynxpro (657990) | more than 9 years ago | (#9341089)

I want to highlight some of Brown's flawed logic:

"The Samizdat report recommends that the U.S. government should invest $5 billion in research and development efforts that produce true open source products, such as BSD and MIT license-based open source."

Interesting, his choice of BSD, considering that Microsoft has used BSD code in Windows before. Getting the U.S. government to pay for research that will benefit Microsoft ($60 billion in the bank) is nothing short of corporate welfare, especially when said corporation pays so little tax to the U.S. Government with the exception of campaign contributions for the Capitol Hill gang.

Then the author (similar to SCO) shoots his own foot with the following statement:

"The disturbing reality is that the hybrid source model depends heavily upon sponging talent from U.S. corporations and/or U.S. proprietary software."

How is the *hybrid source* of Linux being more of a sponge than BSD? Linux requires the community to give back improvements so the entire Linux community profits. Anyone can use BSD without giving anything back (thankfully some companies like Apple do, and unlike MSFT). So how does BSD get a free sponging pass in this guy's logic?

So I propose that Brown (in my opinion) is an imbletard. That is the byproduct of a union between an imbecile and a retard.

Based on a misquote? (2, Informative)

bw5353 (775333) | more than 9 years ago | (#9341099)

Brown quotes Tanenbaum as writing in an e-mail: "MINIX was the base that Linus used to create Linux."

There is no reason to doubt that Tanenbaum wrote that. However, what he surely meant was mainly that the OS that Linus used to develop on was Minix. To infer that this means some automatic heritage, as Brown does, is about as bright as claiming that Harry Potter would be based on Windows, if Rowling uses a word processor under XP.

Uhh... what? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#9341102)

The disturbing reality is that the hybrid source model depends heavily upon sponging talent from U.S. corporations and/or U.S. proprietary software. Much of this questionable borrowing is a) not in the best interest U.S. corporations b) not in the best interest of IT workers in America c) at a serious expense to the investment community, an entity betting on the success of intellectual property in the marketplace.

Linux is a leprosy; and is having a deleterious effect on the U.S. IT industry because it is steadily depreciating the value of the software industry sector.

It looks to me like he doesn't "address" his critics at all in this, anywhere. He just restates his thesis and then says "some people dispute my thesis. However, this is incorrect because: THEY ARE WRONG".

I just kind of skimmed this, but does he actually do anything to address the mountain of valid criticism against him, or is this actually just more of what it looks like, more uninformed blathering by a man who was paid by Microsoft to attack Microsoft's opponents?

One more reason to distrust AdTI (1)

andrewagill (700624) | more than 9 years ago | (#9341110)

The update page [adti.net] for Samizdat includes the following:

attachments, &tc.

As anyone familliar with typesetting and Latin can tell you, the ampersand is actually a ligature for the Latin digraph et (examples of ampersands can be found here [philo.de]). As such, the proper abbreviation for et cetera, etc., should be rendered as &c.

&tc. would expand to the nonsense et tcetera. You just can't trust AdTI!

Through the looking glass ... (1)

DarthBobo (152187) | more than 9 years ago | (#9341113)

It strikes me that you could reverse the words "proprietary" and "open" throughout the entire screed and it would make as much sense.

It seems highly unlikely that the programmers that wrote Windows NT did so without references to UNIX, books on UNIX, or other materials. It seems even less likely that they had never worked on UNIX machines. Yet our friend would give them a pass because their source is closed ...

Hilarious!! (1)

joebolte (704665) | more than 9 years ago | (#9341120)

This shit is hilarious! I love the phrasing Brown uses and the responses by Richie. I am just going to keep replying to myself posting all the funniest bits. This is literally one of the most entertaining things I have read ina long time. It's like watching Jerry Springer. There, but for the grace of God go I.

Okay first two

Brown's page:
The GNU team only asked that the product be called GNU/Linux, a very simple request for helping to make him famous. But Torvalds silently, but deliberately let the naming idea die.

Oh No! Linus SBD's GNU/Linux!

Q: Have you ever discussed the Minix/Linux migration or any other topic with Professor Tannenbaum in Finland? What are your thoughts about his decision to create Minix based on Unix, regardless of the efforts by ATT to restrict its use?

A:Since you've visited him, you know that Andrew Tanenbaum was and is at VU in Amsterdam.

So, Here's The Problem With Ignoring This Guy... (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#9341127)

OK, it's obvious that Ken Brown is out to do a hatchet job on Linus and Linux. Can you blame Microsoft? They have a tremendous market position and cash hoard. Why take any risk whatsoever? Spend some of your damn money to put this genie back into the bottle.

Realize that we haven't seen *ANYTHING* yet. Just imagine the death throes of one of the most profitable companies that every existed. EXPECT character assassination. EXPECT lobbying. EXPECT fronts like SCO. EXPECT software patenting and litigation. EXPECT FUD books, FUD articles, and FUD conferences.

The best thing the open source community can do is to be as squeaky clean as it can be. Open source legal teams need to be formed to independently review code carefully for patent infringement and at least be aware of the problem. Better yet, either remove the risky code or break it off into a separate module. Patent law will kill open source companies if Microsoft prepares a mega-case that only the likes of an IBM can take on.

The other approach is to have Microsoft's customer's throw down the gauntlet. "Either back off of our open source alternative or get the hell off of our servers and desktops. We won't be bullied." Once real business starts walking out the door, Microsoft will have to back down. It's probably the only thing that's prevented them from getting more aggressive up till now.
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