Linux Containers Authors: Jignesh Solanki, Yeshim Deniz, Karthick Viswanathan, Pat Romanski, Mehdi Daoudi

Related Topics: Linux Containers

Linux Containers: Article

Let's Turn the Tables on the Meaning of FUD

Time for the Linux community to get busy

'Don't wait for years while IBM and SCO slug it out,' Tyler Jensen tells the Linux community. His advice? 'Get proactive.'

Now SCO Group has really kicked over the hornet's nest. Nobody cared when Caldera (SCO's former incarnation) sued Microsoft for damaging the market viability of DR DOS, but how dare they target IBM and drag Linux through the mud? The audacity of it all.

SCO suing IBM and suggesting that enterprise Linux users pony up for a license to avoid litigation are actions that have roused frenzied and passionate reactions from Linux users and the press. Responses range from pooh-poohing SCO's claims to nearly libelous attributions of subversive and gang-like actions and intentions. Such rhetoric harms the defense of Linux and illustrates the ill-advised act of self-representation in the adversarial process.

Impassioned retorts like, "SCO's subversive claim on Unix is false," and rallying cries such as, "We need a court-ordered injunction on SCO's threats to Linux users," do nothing useful. They merely add kindling to criticisms of the Linux community alleging that it's full of anarchist technofreaks incapable of understanding the principles of law and business that govern the modern enterprise.

Industry gadflies spewing vitriolic nonsense into the public discourse unwittingly expose the void in their credibility and damage, not help, the case of Linux. Such inflammatory arguments only confuse the question of whether Linux is a viable enterprise operating system, free of significant market and legal risk. The participation of dispassionate, well-reasoned professionals, journalists, and academics – and maybe even a few lawyers – is clearly required.

Like a dragon that should be defending its vulnerable underbelly from the knight's sword, the Linux community has struck out blindly, ferociously at its would-be assassin, leaving itself exposed and ignorant of the danger of such a puny enemy.

Is the knight the enemy, or is the true enemy the dragon's pride and arrogance? Cavalier assertions from Linux community leaders that users have nothing to worry about are naïve and irresponsible. Reliance on SCO's history of Linux distribution and the provisions of an untested GPL is based on an equally unsure foundation.

Now the Linux community considers SCO Group its enemy. This emotional reaction is understandable, however much misguided. But the elephant in the room here is the dangerous assumption that SCO has concocted a scheme to defraud IBM and the Linux community. This assumption is as vulnerable to collapse as the premise upon which it is based.

That premise is that the Canopy Group (SCO's largest shareholder) and many seasoned executives hatched and approved this plan, put their names to it, then recruited the lawyers, including the highprofile David Boies and his Washington, DC, law firm. This includes convincing them to go along with this bold scheme and ignore the risk of exposure and damaged reputations.

The grandest flaw in the premise is the idea that this gaggle of executives and lawyers could have convinced a judge and panel of appellate court justices certain to hear the case...that, despite having no case, these judges would accept and participate in this evil plan. The premise is absurd.

If SCO prevails and the Linux ship is scuttled, the true enemy of Linux will be found in a Linux community mirror. The first face you'll see there will belong to IBM. Assuming SCO's allegations are true, the damage done to Linux will be directly attributable to IBM, not SCO.

Don't look for the government to step in. Linux is not a protected political child like prescription drugs for seniors. No politician or judge will make his political bones stroking the geek vote. The only thing you'll get by chanting "Free Linux" and marching on the court house steps is laryngitis.

Legislators are equally predictable. You won't see "geek vote" on demographic histograms in political campaign offices. Don't expect your congressman to get enthusiastic about upsetting the intellectual property apple cart – a tax cash cow for government programs.

In the end, the United States will do what is in its best economic interest. Generating virtually zero tax revenue, Linux does not fit into that picture. A capitalist society protects its streams of revenue first, a protection Linux will not likely enjoy.

So what can the Linux community do? Get proactive. Throw out the reactive nonsense. Don't wait for the next several years while SCO and IBM slug it out.

Individuals and companies who have access to both code bases should start digging. If there is a smoking gun, don't wait for the court to find it. Show it to the world then fix it, so the world can continue enjoying the benefits of Linux.

Of course, proving a negative is difficult, but this is not mission difficult, Mr. Hunt, it's mission impossible. So quit complaining and get busy.

This is a community full of intelligent participants. It's time they got busy defending their work intelligently, cleaning their own house. It's time to meet Fear, Uncertainty, and Doubt with a Factual, Useful Defense.

More Stories By Tyler Jensen

Engrossed in enterprise application architecture and development for over ten years, Tyler Jensen is a senior technical consultant in a large health intelligence company, designing and developing claims processing and analysis software. In his spare time he does a little writing and outside consulting.

Comments (8) View Comments

Share your thoughts on this story.

Add your comment
You must be signed in to add a comment. Sign-in | Register

In accordance with our Comment Policy, we encourage comments that are on topic, relevant and to-the-point. We will remove comments that include profanity, personal attacks, racial slurs, threats of violence, or other inappropriate material that violates our Terms and Conditions, and will block users who make repeated violations. We ask all readers to expect diversity of opinion and to treat one another with dignity and respect.

Most Recent Comments
Dr Paul J Brewer 12/08/03 01:37:04 AM EST

Mr. Jensen:

Thank you for inviting me, as an academic, to comment on this issue.

The article perpetuates several myths, but I will focus on one in my area of expertise (economics) that Linux, being "free" (like free beer), produces no tax revenue and thus is undeserving of protection by self-interested government.

This fallacy stems from a static analysis rather than a dynamic one.

Assuming that large profit oriented companies are indeed attempting to maximize profit, those who choose to include Linux in their O/S portfolio must believe that in the proper applications, it contributes to Total Profit = Total Revenue - Total Cost. When companies make more taxable profit, they do pay more tax.

This additional profitability could occur in a number of ways: improving or enabling productivity in a narrow, but important, niche to the company like specific kinds of web services or cross-platform communications.

I do not dispute that Windows may be cheaper to maintain for very basic uses, but for advanced applications, Linux often has an advantadge in that most of its basic components are well-identified and at least partially documented. This makes possible the design of Linux applications which are not possible on Windows either because the necessary hooks to low level functions do not exist or are unavailable to the small to medium size enterprise without very rare, expensive talent or insight.

That the Linux community more or less publishes all of the know-how means that over time, the supply of knowledgable linux programmers will increase whereas the limitation and expense of knowledge and know-how in proprietary systems will mean the supply of professionals in those systems will either stay flat or increase at a much slower rate.

Fredrich Hayek wrote that the wonder of the free (as in liberty) market is that no one person has the totality of knowledge necessary to understand or direct what is going on within the economy. Attempting to take control destroys the very economic system that generates fantastic benefits. I wonder what he would have thought of free software....

One can make rough inferences from observing the marketplace, and I for one believe that officials do take notice when a large well-respected company like IBM stands behind the Linux O/S.

Incidentally, IBM has one of the largest collections of technology patents in the USA. While IBM mostly uses this collection defensively, company officials certainly understand the value of intellectual property and understand fully the stance on intellectual property that GPL and Linux advocates represent.

And that IBM stands behind it, must mean, at the very least, that it is good for IBM's business and that of their clients. And, to borrow a tired cliche, what's good for business is good for America :-)

Dr. Paul J Brewer
Economics Department
Hong Kong University of Science and Technology

NeilL 12/08/03 01:25:49 AM EST

There has been plenty proactive activity. Unfortunately it is difficult to fight such an elusive foe on the facts alone. Groklaw is busy transcribing and swarming over every contract and motion in the public domain. I'm sure the kernel developers are ready to act on any incorrect submissions that may ever have happened.

An inevitable part of being deliberately kept in the dark is that every paranoid possbility will be explored. And guess what, we find out things like the fact that TechCentralStation, a supposedly libertarian site with a surprising pro-SCO/anti-OSS agenda, is owned by a company that has received payments from Microsoft to further its aims.

I see no reason for the linux community to beat itself up too much. Most of the responses I've seen have been far more reasonable than SCO's executives and their cohorts have been. The diversity you find in the linux community is one of its gratest advantages. I don't expect to agree with Richard Stallman, or Eric Raymond 100% of the time, but I value their opinions.

As for the more excitable elements of the community, as long as they do not claim to speak for us all, all power to them. Who knows where the next revelation will come from. Might the tin hat brigade hit paydirt? They well might.

Anonymous 12/08/03 01:20:08 AM EST

"Industry gadflies spewing vitriolic nonsense into the public discourse unwittingly expose the void in their credibility..."

Yeah, I think I see what you mean.

Alex 12/07/03 11:58:03 PM EST

Mr. Jensen,

Your intentions are obviously good, but your approach is clearly misguided, and it is insulting to those of us in the community who've been doing good anti-SCO work for some time. Let me point you, if I may, to the work by Eric Raymond, Eben Moglen, Lawrence Lessig, and most important of all, Pamela Jones and the whole crew at www.groklaw.net.

You'll also find good anti-SCO work at www.mozillaquest.com, Frank Sorenson's page, Tim Ransom's page, and in the work of several good journalists, such as Sam Varghese, Robert McMillan, and Steve J. Vaughn-Nichols

To start learning what the community has already been doing, I'd suggest starting at the Groklaw site, where important anti-SCO work has been taking place since May 17th. This site is run by Pamela Jones, a community organizer and paralegal who's put together a team of lawyers, kernel hackers, sysadmins, ordinary Linux users and knowledgable researchers who prowl the Internet looking for clues into an anti-FUD powerhouse. After you've read the good, SCO FUD debunking work that's been taking place at Groklaw, and after you've caught up with those of us who have been debunking SCO FUD for the past six months, you'll be well equipped to discuss what the community is actually doing.


Tim Ransom 11/30/03 01:32:00 PM EST

It appears that the only research you did on this flame bait was reading Rob Enderle's Per$pective$ 'articles'.
I suppose Columbia Law Professor Eben Moglen doesn't qualify as an academic or lawyer in your opinion (sigh). Also, the brilliant research and commentary found on Groklaw, while perhaps a little to dense and sophisticated for laymen like yourself, stands as a monument to cross disciplinary professional collaboration, and has proven effective in countering FUD such as that found in this piece.
After Groklaw published their Letter to Darl, did you happen to notice that the invoicing campaign suddenly withered into dust, in spite of Enderle's assertions that the letter was counter productive?
The Linux community seems to be doing quite well without the transcendant and seering insight you seem to think you have, yet are unwilling to share, considering the complete lack of it here.
I could be ANYBODY. Pretending that the wingnuts who respond to your FUD are somehow ambassadors of the OSS or Linux 'communities' is ridiculous - please tell Rob E if you run into him.
Thanks so much

Anon 11/30/03 01:31:18 AM EST

"If SCO prevails and the Linux ship is scuttled, the true enemy of Linux will be found in a Linux community mirror. The first face you'll see there will belong to IBM. Assuming SCO's allegations are true, the damage done to Linux will be directly attributable to IBM, not SCO."

There are plenty of misperceptions in your article. The above quotation illustrates a common misperception deliberately and deceptively fostered by SCO and its representatives.

A SCO win in the IBM case, unlikely as that may be, does not necessarily, or even probably "scuttle" Linux.

SCO admits that the code IBM contributed to Linux is owned by IBM, not SCO. If IBM had an agreement not to contribute its own code to anyone and IBM broke that agreement, SCO is entitled to be compensated for monetary damages done by IBM.

In that case, far from "scuttling" Linux, IBM would pay SCO and that would end the case. Darl McBride predicts up to 15 years of legal back and forth before that happens if it ever happens. Darl may be right about that.

Did the contributions IBM made openly in early 2000 with the full knowledge of Caldera (now-SCO) and now-Tarantella violate any contracts? We'll let a judge decide. Caldera seemed to think not in all of 2000, 2001 and 2002.

If those contributions did violate SCO's contracts, Linux will be much closer to unaffected than to scuttled.

Thomas Frayne 11/29/03 10:00:42 PM EST

I took your suggestion to get proactive last September. I filed a complaint with the SEC, accusing SCO of stock market manipulation.

Since then, I have actively participated in GrokLaw, helping to analyze and refute the many lies publicly stated by SCO's officers and lawyers.

Meanwhile SCO's actions in court are pitiful.

In the Redhat case, the best they could do was to claim that there was no controversy because they hadn't threatened Redhat, after they had been publicly threatening Redhat for months. The judge is ready to rule on SCO's motion to dismiss the Redhat suit, and is expected to rule any day now.

In the IBM case, SCO has been proclaiming its case in the press since March, but has consistently refused to state its specific claims, either publicly or in court. A hearing on IBM's motion to compel SCO to answer IBM's interrogatories is scheduled for December 5. Perhaps then we'll see an answer to IBM's main question: "What is this case about?"

Speaking of FUD, that's what I think your article is, and I wonder how it happened that an article dated October 2 showed up on Google News as posted 1 hour ago.

Louis 11/22/03 11:09:40 PM EST

See http://www.groklaw.net I think you may find something interesting.

@ThingsExpo Stories
Product connectivity goes hand and hand these days with increased use of personal data. New IoT devices are becoming more personalized than ever before. In his session at 22nd Cloud Expo | DXWorld Expo, Nicolas Fierro, CEO of MIMIR Blockchain Solutions, will discuss how in order to protect your data and privacy, IoT applications need to embrace Blockchain technology for a new level of product security never before seen - or needed.
In his keynote at 18th Cloud Expo, Andrew Keys, Co-Founder of ConsenSys Enterprise, provided an overview of the evolution of the Internet and the Database and the future of their combination – the Blockchain. Andrew Keys is Co-Founder of ConsenSys Enterprise. He comes to ConsenSys Enterprise with capital markets, technology and entrepreneurial experience. Previously, he worked for UBS investment bank in equities analysis. Later, he was responsible for the creation and distribution of life settle...
Leading companies, from the Global Fortune 500 to the smallest companies, are adopting hybrid cloud as the path to business advantage. Hybrid cloud depends on cloud services and on-premises infrastructure working in unison. Successful implementations require new levels of data mobility, enabled by an automated and seamless flow across on-premises and cloud resources. In his general session at 21st Cloud Expo, Greg Tevis, an IBM Storage Software Technical Strategist and Customer Solution Architec...
Coca-Cola’s Google powered digital signage system lays the groundwork for a more valuable connection between Coke and its customers. Digital signs pair software with high-resolution displays so that a message can be changed instantly based on what the operator wants to communicate or sell. In their Day 3 Keynote at 21st Cloud Expo, Greg Chambers, Global Group Director, Digital Innovation, Coca-Cola, and Vidya Nagarajan, a Senior Product Manager at Google, discussed how from store operations and ...
Imagine if you will, a retail floor so densely packed with sensors that they can pick up the movements of insects scurrying across a store aisle. Or a component of a piece of factory equipment so well-instrumented that its digital twin provides resolution down to the micrometer.
A strange thing is happening along the way to the Internet of Things, namely far too many devices to work with and manage. It has become clear that we'll need much higher efficiency user experiences that can allow us to more easily and scalably work with the thousands of devices that will soon be in each of our lives. Enter the conversational interface revolution, combining bots we can literally talk with, gesture to, and even direct with our thoughts, with embedded artificial intelligence, whic...
When shopping for a new data processing platform for IoT solutions, many development teams want to be able to test-drive options before making a choice. Yet when evaluating an IoT solution, it’s simply not feasible to do so at scale with physical devices. Building a sensor simulator is the next best choice; however, generating a realistic simulation at very high TPS with ease of configurability is a formidable challenge. When dealing with multiple application or transport protocols, you would be...
We are given a desktop platform with Java 8 or Java 9 installed and seek to find a way to deploy high-performance Java applications that use Java 3D and/or Jogl without having to run an installer. We are subject to the constraint that the applications be signed and deployed so that they can be run in a trusted environment (i.e., outside of the sandbox). Further, we seek to do this in a way that does not depend on bundling a JRE with our applications, as this makes downloads and installations rat...
Widespread fragmentation is stalling the growth of the IIoT and making it difficult for partners to work together. The number of software platforms, apps, hardware and connectivity standards is creating paralysis among businesses that are afraid of being locked into a solution. EdgeX Foundry is unifying the community around a common IoT edge framework and an ecosystem of interoperable components.
DX World EXPO, LLC, a Lighthouse Point, Florida-based startup trade show producer and the creator of "DXWorldEXPO® - Digital Transformation Conference & Expo" has announced its executive management team. The team is headed by Levent Selamoglu, who has been named CEO. "Now is the time for a truly global DX event, to bring together the leading minds from the technology world in a conversation about Digital Transformation," he said in making the announcement.
In this strange new world where more and more power is drawn from business technology, companies are effectively straddling two paths on the road to innovation and transformation into digital enterprises. The first path is the heritage trail – with “legacy” technology forming the background. Here, extant technologies are transformed by core IT teams to provide more API-driven approaches. Legacy systems can restrict companies that are transitioning into digital enterprises. To truly become a lead...
Digital Transformation (DX) is not a "one-size-fits all" strategy. Each organization needs to develop its own unique, long-term DX plan. It must do so by realizing that we now live in a data-driven age, and that technologies such as Cloud Computing, Big Data, the IoT, Cognitive Computing, and Blockchain are only tools. In her general session at 21st Cloud Expo, Rebecca Wanta explained how the strategy must focus on DX and include a commitment from top management to create great IT jobs, monitor ...
"Cloud Academy is an enterprise training platform for the cloud, specifically public clouds. We offer guided learning experiences on AWS, Azure, Google Cloud and all the surrounding methodologies and technologies that you need to know and your teams need to know in order to leverage the full benefits of the cloud," explained Alex Brower, VP of Marketing at Cloud Academy, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at 21st Cloud Expo, held Oct 31 – Nov 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clar...
The IoT Will Grow: In what might be the most obvious prediction of the decade, the IoT will continue to expand next year, with more and more devices coming online every single day. What isn’t so obvious about this prediction: where that growth will occur. The retail, healthcare, and industrial/supply chain industries will likely see the greatest growth. Forrester Research has predicted the IoT will become “the backbone” of customer value as it continues to grow. It is no surprise that retail is ...
"Space Monkey by Vivent Smart Home is a product that is a distributed cloud-based edge storage network. Vivent Smart Home, our parent company, is a smart home provider that places a lot of hard drives across homes in North America," explained JT Olds, Director of Engineering, and Brandon Crowfeather, Product Manager, at Vivint Smart Home, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at @ThingsExpo, held Oct 31 – Nov 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA.
SYS-CON Events announced today that Conference Guru has been named “Media Sponsor” of the 22nd International Cloud Expo, which will take place on June 5-7, 2018, at the Javits Center in New York, NY. A valuable conference experience generates new contacts, sales leads, potential strategic partners and potential investors; helps gather competitive intelligence and even provides inspiration for new products and services. Conference Guru works with conference organizers to pass great deals to gre...
The Internet of Things will challenge the status quo of how IT and development organizations operate. Or will it? Certainly the fog layer of IoT requires special insights about data ontology, security and transactional integrity. But the developmental challenges are the same: People, Process and Platform. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Craig Sproule, CEO of Metavine, demonstrated how to move beyond today's coding paradigm and shared the must-have mindsets for removing complexity from the develop...
In his Opening Keynote at 21st Cloud Expo, John Considine, General Manager of IBM Cloud Infrastructure, led attendees through the exciting evolution of the cloud. He looked at this major disruption from the perspective of technology, business models, and what this means for enterprises of all sizes. John Considine is General Manager of Cloud Infrastructure Services at IBM. In that role he is responsible for leading IBM’s public cloud infrastructure including strategy, development, and offering m...
"Evatronix provides design services to companies that need to integrate the IoT technology in their products but they don't necessarily have the expertise, knowledge and design team to do so," explained Adam Morawiec, VP of Business Development at Evatronix, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at @ThingsExpo, held Oct 31 – Nov 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA.
To get the most out of their data, successful companies are not focusing on queries and data lakes, they are actively integrating analytics into their operations with a data-first application development approach. Real-time adjustments to improve revenues, reduce costs, or mitigate risk rely on applications that minimize latency on a variety of data sources. In his session at @BigDataExpo, Jack Norris, Senior Vice President, Data and Applications at MapR Technologies, reviewed best practices to ...