PJ Wins

Story: SCO's Legal Wrangles Take an Odd, Personal TurnTotal Replies: 23
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May 11, 2005
10:46 AM EDT
Odd that on the one hand you have Laura Diodio[t] describing Open Source "Terrorists", and then in firm reality land, you have this prime example of what is wrong with this equation. It seems that O'Gara, the "journalist" in this transaction, gave out PJ's personal details in an article in a explosive display of exactly how to make a bombshell -- one that blows up in your face. Fortunately, the owners of the publication came to life, and in a rare display of sentient thought, removed O'Gara and all of her work in what can only be referred to as an "ethical clensing".

Oh, and don't forget the hinting that the morons at SCO are doing to try and cast PJ as an IBM shill.

Which reminds me of another Wagon-Wheel-Egg-Storm (not the firms real name -- the name indicates the PR firm of a large software monopoly) tactic: accuse the competition of tactics you yourself are using. I'm sure that SCO isn't doing this (paying journalists to be shills for them).

Just so sure of it.

Congrats PJ, you deserve to win. --FeriCyde

May 11, 2005
12:27 PM EDT
Well, Sys-Con has made no mention of the situation anywhere other than in 2 of their employees' blogs. No public appology. And All of O'Gara's existing stories are still on the site, minus last Sunday's flagrant violation of journalistic integrity.

I know that a number of people are cheering Sys-Con's action. But in my view, their reaction to the O'Gara gaffe has not yet even reached the level of common human decency.

PJ is left to wonder just what the purpose was. There is a reasonable argument that the message was: "We know where you live. We know where your mother lives."

Pretty creepy stuff after the recent Canopy Group related "suicides".

Now, whether or not I'm spinning a wild conspiracy theory here is really irrelevant, as I am not the one that came up with it. PJ has already had the scenario presented to her, sought out professional council, and been advised by them to make it quite public that she absolutely does not intend to end her life.

By all means, read her comments on Groklaw if you have not already.

This is creepy stuff, and I'm not sure I'd call it a win for PJ. Surely it is a publicity loss for SCOX. But whether such was intended or not, it goes beyond simple invasion of privacy and violation of journalistic ethics.

May 11, 2005
4:38 PM EDT
Makes you wonder about the mental state of society today this kind of stuff. Shilling seems to have been established as a modus operandi of corporate thugs (and certain right wing politicians) however O'Gara seems to have taken it to a new "level" Very disturbing stuff.... If I was PJ I would be suing (and other things) the arse off her.

May 11, 2005
4:53 PM EDT
richo123: There was a time a long time ago when reporting the news had some connection to ethical behavior.

With the wide acceptance of the internet, a couple of nasty things happened at the same time:

1) Print publications that used to have a real revenue model to pay honest journalists (poorly, but it was a living) ran more or less onto dry ground. Everyone was suddenly going on-line and trying to figure out how to make this new medium profitable. Some print publications even accelerated this demise.

2) On-line publications hit dry ground. This happened around 2001 -- it was a hard landing, and heavy objects were tossed overboard (if the ship even floated -- most sank).

What was left was the few publications that were either run shrewdly, or run with, how can I put this delicately -- funded content.

For those of us that thought that ethics were somehow connected to journalism, it was an interesting ride (and yes, I'm speaking very much from experience here). There are exceptions to the general descriptions I've put forth here -- some formal content still survives in niches and let's not forget the new journalism -- blogging.

The problem is that the content-consuming public does not intrinsically understand the difference. Like neo in the movie, The Matrix, they sense that something has changed and is wrong with what used to be "printed reality". They do, however, feel it in their gut. This is because the truth has a ring to it that is undeniable. The soul itself is homing the signal -- which is ultimately why blogging scares the living daylights out of people at the "funded editorial" side of the equation.

They know, deep in their hearts, that they cannot compete with the truth, and that there is no putting the internet/blogging genie back into the bottle. People are going to find the truth, ultimately, and the shilling is only going to go so far before "ethical issues" cast doubt upon what once might (at one time) have been reliable sources of information.

At first, learning about this, it's probably going to piss some people off... That's another story. Anyway, I've ranted enough here. I'll leave it.

For now.


May 12, 2005
4:05 AM EDT
Interesting analysis Paul! (I am a scientist not a journalist). One wrinkle seems to be that certain publications such as the NY Times (Jason Blair not withstanding) and Washington Post appear to be more ethical than others (eg the NY Post). Of course these former publications are now constantly painted as "liberal rags" by the likes of Fox News (same owner as the NY Post, say no more).

What disturbs me is that lying now seems generally accepted as a public relations tactic by many in the political and commercial fields. What is important to these folks is creating the appropriate public perception about certain subjects that then enables them to get from Point A to Point B.


The Swift Boat Veterans: The lies here essentially undermined Kerry's campaign. Mission accomplished as far as the Bush Campaign was concerned.

The Iraq War: Chaney and Co.distorted highly uncertain intelligence data on WMDs to portray Iraq as a threat to the US which it never was. Objective here was a pretext for the US to intervene militarily in the Mid East. Mission accomplished (so to speak).

Microsoft Get the Facts: M$ pays a whole bunch of tech firms to conduct slanted studies claiming to establish that M$ is cheaper than Linux. Here I think their success has only been partial (witness last quarters rise in M$ server income) as many medium-large sized businesses have enough tech savvy employees to see through the FUD.

May 12, 2005
3:19 PM EDT
Sys-Con is a horrible company. All of their "Linux" sites are trash- MOG was a perfect fit. LinuxWorld the print magazine is bizarre, too, because the editors and writers are unpaid. That's right, they work for free. WTF do they do that? The publisher makes money, and drags their good name (assuming it is a good name) through the mud. The whole deal is bizarre. I agree with sbergman- this is not a win at all.

May 12, 2005
3:23 PM EDT
Now if PJ can just stop contradicting herself and using deceptive tactics via her blog...

May 13, 2005
6:44 AM EDT
devnet: I haven't noticed her using deceptive tactics.

But I will agree -- deception is a horrible thing. You never really know who is at the other end of the stick. The thing to keep in mind though, is that running a web site puts you in a position of trust -- you as the site owner may know more about a particular reader who thinks that they are operating under some guise for example. You often cannot share this information publicly -- but that doesn't mean that people don't know.

I trust PJ and Groklaw. I wonder aloud about the things I do for a different reason; I've been, in some similar regards, in similar situations. Bringing to light the problems exposes them further, and hopefully warns the utter morons who would attempt this.

But don't get me wrong -- some people think they are really clever and believe they will never be exposed doing something so horribly deceptive and stupid as, say, astroturf.

I made a prediction long ago that things were only going to get worse for people that think they're going to play the deceptive end of this game:


Granted, at the time I would shortly be one to provide a stunning example of this -- still, the rant stands on its own and is still telling how I feel about deception. Here's a portion from the above talkback entitled "Machiavelli was an idiot":

The internet age has wrought a lot of things, and one of them changes the rules.

Information, the free flow of it, rather, is king. Talkbacks on LinuxToday.com are a way for the community to discuss and react to current events. It's true we get into flame fests and we duke it out (in the case of me and Dinotrac, we often compete for the title of "class clown") -- but in the long run it's this interaction -- this conversation -- that makes us a powerful bunch.

I don't agree with Tom about shutting up, I guess I'm trying to say. I do think the flamage at times is over the edge, and the amplitude and frequency of personal attacks should drop somewhat -- it's tiring. But overall, discussion is a great thing -- it makes us a community and I've said as much in the past so I'll spare you all a sermon now.

All the chinese proverbs in the world won't change the fact that people can converse now in real time in bunches of thousands if they desire. Microsoft can try and overcome that conversation -- but they may as well be swinging nuclear weapons at a ghost -- because the "war" tactics of the past no longer apply.

It's about cooperation now -- and that's the gosh-awful truth. They can ignore it, fight it, laugh at it all they want. In the end, we'll continue to hold together over the distances of thousands of miles and know the truth, build our new worlds -- with or without them. The "war" stuff is irrelevant. The idiots of the past (Machiavelli among them) don't live today. I suspect if they did they would be finding a lot of jail time somewhere -- the truth is hard to hide in these times.

The above talkback should have served somewhat as a warning, and I truly suspect that the intended target read it, and was likely somewhat confused (the person for whom it was intended arrogantly thought he was hidden from view at the time).

This kind of stupidity is unfortunately, still going on. Different fools have decided to take up the same, or similar, attempts at deception. I will not pity them when they are exposed as well.

This is the thing to bear in mind: I truly believe that Groklaw is a target in a "battle". PJ, however, believes (along with others) that Groklaw is a community gathering spot.

Pity the idiot that confuses the two.

May 13, 2005
6:59 AM EDT
I can't say i agree with some of PJ's editorial comments but thats just a difference of opinion, I can't say i've ever noticed any deception she seems pretty upfront (maybe a bit to much, don't think diplomacy is in her vocab), honest and consistent to me, is their anything specific you can point to?

One of the things i have noticed and is definatley not PJ's fault is that some of the regular posters seem just a bit to fan boyish to me or maybe im just jealous :)

May 13, 2005
9:14 AM EDT

I Liked your reply to devnet. Thanks for the link to your Linux Today article and the "Machiavelli" talkback.

I'm not sure if you're familiar with the works of Zoologist Richard Dawkins, in particular his book "The Selfish Gene", but I think we are seeing some profound things happening in cyberspace.

Dawkins' book is mainly a common language explanation of how geneticists and other biological scientists look at the process of evolution, and how the 'gene' is the smallest unit of evolution (for the most part).

Towards the end of the book, Dawkins talks about a social concept that parallels the gene, he coins the term 'meme' (rhymes with cream). It seemed hard for scientists to explain why altruism and cooperation develop in animals, when genes are really 'looking out for number 1", and are "selfish". It turns out that the best strategy for genes to increase their numbers in future generations is a strategy that involves mutual cooperation and altruism towards others to some extent.

The book even uses examples such as the classic "prisoner's dilemma" game to show how cooperation is the best long term strategy.

Dawkins' memes are still like genes replicating in the primordial soup. They have not evolved as long as genes have and do not have the best winning strategies worked out. However the evolution of memes is going at a much faster rate than the evolution of genes does.

I think what we are witnessing a battle of cooperative memes versus uncooperative memes. In nature the grudgingly cooperative always win in the end.

The uncooperative 'cheats' who only take, and never give die out, as well as the 'suckers' who always give, even to those who don't give back (the cheats).

The 'grudgers' will give, but if you don't give back they will never give to you again. In the end this turns out to be the most stable and successful strategy for a population.

This is so much like the GPL...

Yes, I give you permission to use this code that I own. I own it, I have copyright in it, you can use it if you follow my rules. They are not selfish rules, but if you break them you lose your permission to use something I own.

The selfish cheat genes usually spike early in a population, and have great success at the expense of the suckers. But both the suckers and cheats end up dropping towards extinction in a population that also includes grudgers.

I think that Machiavelli and other proponents of memes that emphasize cheating do have early success, but in the end the grudgingly cooperative win. Their gains are less per 'win', but they continue to win steadily and don't create a pool of enemies that hold a grudge against them.

At least that's how it always works for nature.


May 13, 2005
12:24 PM EDT
I think this (grudging model) has been shown to be optimal in game theory using fairly rigorous methodologies.

Social interaction has always struck me as having a substantial emotional as distinct from purely tactical component. In other words there has always been a strong place for love/hatred and hence what is known by some as karma. You could phrase this as what goes around comes around.

In terms of the present case O'Gara has just had a massive karma mugging,,,,

May 13, 2005
4:38 PM EDT
number6x: interesting analogy! Never heard this -- will have to take a look and read up on it sometime. --FeriCyde

May 14, 2005
8:01 AM EDT
In case anyone hasn't noticed, the senior editorial staff at LinuxWorld.com has resigned effective immediately. They site poor journalistic standards at Sys-Con.


May 14, 2005
8:24 AM EDT
So I guess Sys-Conn's linux business is now looking almost as shaky as a SCO balance sheet (joke!).

May 14, 2005
8:32 AM EDT
Sys-Con wishes to thank James Turner and Dee-Ann LeBlanc for their outstanding service over the past years, and is pleased to introduce the new Senior Editor of LinuxWorld, Ms. Maureen O'Gara.

(Just kidding!)

May 14, 2005
10:38 AM EDT
Maybe they'll find jobs with paychecks this time around!

It's long overdue- for many months now LinuxWorld the print magazine has expended a lot of energy trying to explain that they are not like everyone else at sys-con.com. That doesn't work very well, 'cause mud doesn't splatter selectively. Better to completely disassociate from them.

May 15, 2005
8:03 AM EDT
tux: yeah, it's kind of amazing that such an inversion would even exist. I wrote James and wished him something more intrinsic: that he would find someone who respected his integrity. Speaking from experience, it's the best thing you can hope for -- it's one of the reasons I primarily put my stuff here. --FeriCyde

May 16, 2005
9:51 AM EDT

Just come on over to my webpage...click the 'groklaw' section and do a very detailed reading of all links. Then come back and we'll talk about how groklaw and PJ are or aren't deceptive.

I don't trust PJ...because she doesn't admit when she's wrong...and she doesn't respond to criticism well at all. OH sure she says snappy things in journalistic style to make sure that everyone knows how smart she is...but if she doesn't like a comment...she deletes it or worse, she makes it visible only to the person posting it...so they think it is viewable to the public but it isn't. Really nice eh? She's thinking, "I'll deceive this person into believing their comment is visible and they'll shut up and color".

Yet everyone flocks to her banner. HER banner. Not Linux. Not open source. Sure she touts it and says she ascribes...yet deletes comments on her blog that are stated as 'property of the poster'. So...talk the talk, but when it comes to walking the walk...it's a nogo.


On a side note...the people PJ is doing all this stuff to are people who run sites that supplement her information and even provide access to resources that she uses. They've always been after the same thing that she is/has which is to inform people about SCO and the legal proceedings/actions that follow. Read the Al Petrofsky article for full info on what I'm speaking of.


May 16, 2005
10:59 AM EDT
There are posters on this site that also ignore criticism. Moreover, despite their protests and claims of large skill sets give me the impression that there is a discordance between their demands and their supposed skills. Are they just shills walking in the guise of Linux true believers? Is their purpose to give a bad name to those that do not need the stridency? Many may think Free software is just superior.

It has reached a point with me, that I wonder if LXer site is already graced with a MS plant or two.

I too am skeptical of words that are not attuned to real deeds. You made many good points.

May 16, 2005
12:54 PM EDT
I can tell you TxtEdMacs...I'm no MS plant. Nor a SCO Shill (having not been involved with groklaw or the entire SCO thing...I missed that boat).

I've been involved with open source software since 1995 when I discovered Phoenix/Gargoyle and Combot's on IRC. Whenever I hear that someone is 'oh so fantastic that they can't do wrong' I take a second look at them and rattle skeletons in their closet. If they stand up under criticism...I move on. PJ's haven't stood up yet. I haven't moved on either.

May 16, 2005
1:35 PM EDT
TxtEdMacs: Used to happen on a popular web site I used to moderate -- sometimes the posters were extremely careless -- see "Believable lies" for more:


I can tell you that this article's talkback was not exactly rare -- just interesting from the perspective that the poster admitted what was going on and that they gave us permission to reveal that their IP was from Microsoft domain space.

something to ponder, though. What if the poster had simply been some moron who discovered an open Microsoft proxy. I've always wondered about that. :/

Anyway, let's assume (as I did) that it was in fact a Microsoft employee. This would not be their typical style -- the typical style is to come on, gain some credibility, then start talking trash about the competitors product (look up Steve Barkto sometime and get Joe Barrs take on the whole thing). The idea is simple -- weaken the product -- or in our case -- the community. Take one side and getting fighting against the other -- then we're all weaker.

I have more, but dinner becons.

Till afterward. --FeriCyde

May 17, 2005
12:03 AM EDT

Take one side, and get it fighting with the other side. This is a game that is played out of sight and behind the scenes. In reality, PJ won, but LinuxWorld and the Linux community lost (a bit -- I'll come back to this) -- because now the print magazine which I used to see down at the local Borders is going to suffer or dissapear.

Would we be better off with a print magazine that has a bunch of Microsoft ads and is prime future shill territory, or the way it is now?

I'd rather have the truth, and I'd rather people that find out about Linux do it via word of mouth -- not via the traditional product methods.

The Linux community is not a corporation; sounds like a title for an article -- it was at one time. The corporate versions of Linux will make their inroads into corporations, but it'd be nice if the desktop entrants were more grass-roots oriented. Small businesses and the like, I think, are more prepared to give people something they're not used to, in a good way. This will take time, but it's not out of the realm of feasability.

As for whether or not Groklaw is the horrible place, Derek, I suggest rather than talk about how bad it is you simply do something similar to GrokLaw (with your desired posting policy) and spend less time bashing. I don't see where PJ has forced you at gunpoint into contributing to her site, in other words. I've looked at your link -- it's not really very convincing given what I know about how things work. Not everyone is happy with everything on the planet. There are people that disagree with what I do all the time.

I listen to them. Sometimes they have a point, and I try to improve. Sometimes they just don't like me. Oh well, such is life. Sometimes they're actively trying to make trouble for me. That is too bad. For them.

Know a tree by its fruit. If it gives bad fruit, it's a bad tree. Groklaw has given us a lot of good fruit over the years here, IMHO. Because of the site, a lot of people understand what SCO is up to.

Sorry for the sermon (Dad's a minister). --FeriCyde


May 17, 2005
10:20 AM EDT

Thanks for your thoughts. It helps to understand why you feel the way you do.

I have always been more than willing to admit to my mistakes. I thinks it makes me a better coder. I guess it comes from a background in science, you learn very quickly that criticism is not meant to harm your ideas, but to perfect them. Whittling away the extraneous parts until the final product is produced.

But even then it is not final. Improvement can always be taken one more step.

Most people have not developed the inner confidence and maturity to use legitimate criticism as a tool to better themselves.

Nor have they learned to discern the illegitimate criticism that does no good, and just ignore it.

Me, every time I make a mistake, I try to learn something from it.

I've learned a lot over the years :)

May 17, 2005
10:54 AM EDT
devnet && Paul - cannot hit all the points you made, but while I really want to talk to the former, I will address one salient point made by the latter. Yes, there is and can be too much apparent discord within free communities, however, these are both the strength and weakness of democracies. Athens drove the authoritarian Sparta nuts until the former took on the harsh characteristics of the latter and resorted more to raw power than ideals. Closer to home one issue I had already resolved without fanfare was to avoid using OO.o 2.x as long as it was so closely being tied to Sun's Java. There was argument, discord but even the temporary resolution was an all around win. The result, I hope, is more support for the free version by a wider set of developers and a free java compiler independent of whatever Sun might decide is in its short term interest in the future. Summary: not all seeming discord and arguments are necessary destructive, c.f. the Bit Keeper blow up on the kernel development. Some nasty, misdirected accusations that dispersed rather quickly with a new project tool on the way.

devnet, what really worries me in your case is the petulant diatribe demanding all printers be Linux compatible where you discount the impact of financial power. To me talk is too cheap and gathering people whose only cost is the time to place a signature on a petition ordering manufactures to comply borders on the inane (no misspelling). What impact can that have, when cash will not suffice? It's posturing. Moreover, it could be used as a valid instance to push the idea that free people are out of touch with reality. If you can support your proposal with other less narcissistic arguments I am very willing to listen.

We should continue this by email, so it does not seem we are at each others' throats. Sorry too, I have been ill and I may not be as coherent as I would like to be. I have missed the flu for the past several years and I am unused to being out of sorts this long. So forgive my slowness to reply.

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