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'No More Mr Nice Guy,' Warns Eric S. Raymond

'ESR' uses his Sunday to throw down the gauntlet to Darl McBride

"The confrontation between SCO and the open-source community," Eric S. Raymond wrote at the weekend, "has now escalated to open war."

Taking time out from his Sunday, the President of the Open Source Initiative, known simply as 'ESR' to large proportions of the open-source community, took the time, trouble, and considerable energy to write a follow-up to his Open Letter to Darl McBride, published on Friday all over the Web. 

The immediate trigger for the follow-up was the sudden non-performance of the SCO Group's Web site, which Raymond attributes to what he describes as the "slanderous" interview given by SCO president and CEO Darl McBride to Robert McMillan of IDG's news service ("SCO CEO Says IBM Behind Open Source Attacks").

While ESR drafted his rebuttal, the Slashdot community wrestled with the technical niceties of how accurately to decide whether the SCO site was down because of a denial of services attack by aggrieved open-sourcers...or whether the Utah-based company had perhaps taken it down themselves ("SCO's Website Down: It's Not A DDoS").

Raymond was particularly galled at this passage from the IDG-published interview (LinuxWorld's italics):

"Even though IBM looks like they're not really involved in it, they're very involved," [McBride] said. "From a PR standpoint, they're able to extract themselves from [the dispute], and so they throw Red Hat at us, they throw Novell at us, they have Eric Raymond on their payroll. They have all these guys that they fund and then they just step back and watch the fracas go on."

"SCO is its own worst enemy," Raymond declared, with conviction. "Every time its spokespeople open their mouths, they dig their company's grave a little deeper."

He went on to specify: "Consider their statements at SCOforum and what followed. [Members of the Linux community] are in an even stronger position than we were three days ago."

"We *want* [SCO] raving in public," Raymond affirmed. "It helps us. Everything they say is more rope to hang them with in a courtroom, but they're too trapped in their own propaganda-based strategy to do the smart thing and shut up. Their problem is that the moment they stop FUDding long enough for people to get a clear-eyed look at the facts their credibility will evaporate and their stock price will crash hard. Even all the legions of Microsoft's press shills, captive analysts, and astroturfers won't be able to rescue them."

But for all that, Raymond also wanted the DoS attack, if that is what is was, to stop. On the contrary, he argued, "Let SCO speak out and hang itself."

Not only did he make the stop-the-attack plea. He also served notice on his imminent entry into the battlefield against SCO.

"McBride's personal accusations against me bother me very little."

"It appears," he wrote, "that my response [on Friday] articulated what many of us have been feeling for months as SCO's public rantings grew ever wilder and more destructive."

"McBride's personal accusations against me bother me very little," he continued, "but I am nevertheless honored and humbled by the heartfelt support many of you have e-mailed. A good number of you seem to want to elect me your war-leader in this crisis -- maybe it's time for me to dust off that Obi-Wan Kenobi costume the SVLUG people made for me to wear on the original Windows Refund Day. I will strive to be worthy of your trust."

More Stories By Jeremy Geelan

Jeremy Geelan is Chairman & CEO of the 21st Century Internet Group, Inc. and an Executive Academy Member of the International Academy of Digital Arts & Sciences. Formerly he was President & COO at Cloud Expo, Inc. and Conference Chair of the worldwide Cloud Expo series. He appears regularly at conferences and trade shows, speaking to technology audiences across six continents. You can follow him on twitter: @jg21.

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