[lpi-discuss] Re: BS' final comments on 'spam filters' -- WAS: LPIC3

Bryan J. Smith b.j.smith at ieee.org
Wed Dec 13 21:34:59 EST 2006

On Tue, 2006-12-12 at 05:04 -0500, Evan Leibovitch wrote:
> I'm surprised that anyone would _ever_ have recommended Groklaw as
> anything more than a mildly entertaining, biased but reasonably
> objective, blow-by-blow account of SCO's legal battles. Who would take
> its commentary as advice on anything?

The Linux advocates who are often ranting at their companies, not
realizing it only makes the company more hesitant to continue Linux
projects.  I had a major Linux project shutdown at a Fortune 20 company
back in late 2003 because of it (although I ended up being placed in a
much higher position as a direct result of how I advised).

> Ah, but that's why you get paid, to serve as the garbage filter...

True.  Of course, I'm not getting paid here, so I "have fun."  ;->

> I agree, but this simply means that the open source hoardes have become
> moderately skilled at creating their own kind of FUD. Unfortunately,
> enough of the conspiracy theories regarding Microsoft come true to
> encourage the open source FUD-mongers.

Of course.  Just like McCarthy.  He wasn't wrong about communism.  He
was just wrong about how he went about combating it.  He took a lot of
innocent people down with him.  And destroyed freedom in the process.

> A much bigger impediment to the possibility of a fork is the sheer size
> and complexity of the project, IMO. It takes a lot of people to develop,
> test and document something as big as OOo -- the level of human
> infrastructure big enough to support a fork is possible, but it would be
> massive and probably impossible without a corporate sponsor such as Sun.

Which is the "rude awakening" for most vocal advocates (and they get
their foots caught in their mouth).

I wouldn't be surprised if a number of silent people on this very list
did not know all the details around OpenOffice.org before this thread.
But the difference between then and others that were vocal is that they
know when they are knowledgeable enough to comment on something or not.
I keep my mouth shut when I'm ignorant of something, or if I've already
spoken, by the second time I admit I was mistaken (e.g., the correction
on the September 30, 2008 retirement date).

The wise [wo]man is one who knows when to proliferate something or not,
and that's when they are knowledgeable on a subject, and not merely what
they fear or believe to sound right.

> Don't forget that many of these patents (and patent types) are only
> valid in the US. Trying to enforce software patents elsewhere, even in
> friendly regimes, could be problematic. Countries such as China and
> Brazil, that see Linux as a necessary strategic tool to reduce IT
> dependence on foreigners, would never tolerate the (mis)use of IP to
> destroy that tool, and WIPO can't ram this one down their throats.
> (Keeping things ever-so-midly on-topic, it should be recalled that one
> of the reasons LPI was deliberately incorporated in Canada was because
> of the different attitudes here regarding frivolous litigation.)

Oh, I can totally understand why companies incorporate outside the US,
especially community or Linux related.

I can further understand the great dislike German-based SuSE inherited
when US-based Novell first purchased them.  US-based Red Hat has fought
it all along.  Sun is in the same boat.  HP does better, as many older,
engineering-centric US firms do.

IBM is even older, and has a well established international presence
PR-wise.  There's something to be said about a company that knows how to
create commercials that don't give a sense of an American base.

But as I'm fond of pointing out to my European colleagues, we Americans
aren't "wrong," we're "different."  And that difference is why we don't
always understand each other.

Which is why the Novell-Microsoft cross-license, like the Sun-Microsoft
license before it, is so misunderstood.  IP is a real issue here in the
US.  I'll be the first one to admit that we have too many lawyers now
(especially given the "activism" and "politics" they play today, way too
many), and that drives a lot of it too.

People who theorized the end of Sun's openness towards Linux were wrong,
_dead_ wrong.

People who theorized the end of SuSE's GPL endeavors were not only
wrong, but Novell GPL'd _everything_ of SuSE's and then some of their
own!  I have many German colleagues that say, "okay, you can tell me
'you told me so' on SuSE."  ;->

Same deal here.  This will eventually blow over (and most of the market
survey's I've seen suggest that), and people will forget all about it --
just like they did the Sun-Microsoft cross-license.

> A worst-case scenario might be that certain components of open source
> software are alleged to violate patents and trade secrets in the US but
> nowhere else. (The allegation might be made in court and unproven, but
> would take many years to settle.) It would be a broader version of the
> current situation wrt getting DeCSS for your open source DVD player. In
> such a scenario, Red Hat and Novell might have problems but Red Flag and
> Ubuntu would be laughing.


The US isn't "wrong."  It's "different."  That creates confusion.

I live and work in the US.  I don't even attempt to tell European
nations or corporations involved with Linux how to solve issues in their

But that's the great thing about Linux.  Global community, local

One thing that has always cost IBM is the fact that Windows is so
US-centric.  Linux is a global endeavor development-wise, but customized
locally from an integration and needs standpoint.  It was a no-brainer
when IBM saw that.

Bryan J. Smith            Professional, technical annoyance
mailto:b.j.smith at ieee.org      http://thebs413.blogspot.com
Free, Libre and Open Source Software (FLOSS) is about pure,
individual choice.  It's the furthest ideal from communism.
Unfortunately too many Linux advocates practice McCarthyism

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