What if the Microsoft trial was rigged?

Posted by tadelste on Jan 12, 2006 4:32 PM EDT
Lxer.com; By Tom Adelstein
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We're reviewing evidence, which with collaboration could demonstrate that Microsoft went around the legal system to influence the courts, that Linux was used as a straw man and our esteemed leadership not only knows it but fixed it. Keep in mind, all of this exists in theory. No proof exists and people who subscribe to the belief that these situations are true have nothing on which to rest but a conspiracy theory. In fact, no collaboration has ever come forth.

As a commentator, I have written enough about the connections amongst the BSA, Microsoft, Preston Gates and political figures that Congress should at least convene a hearing. No one has a smoking gun at this point, but then we have some exhibits you could present to support a strong case.

I have recently examined documents and listened to taped messages that astounded me. One investigator has collected far more information than I could imagine. But as I explained to him, people will consider all the evidence he may put up on the Internet as the ramblings of a conspiracy theorist.

At the moment, we have no deep throat to tell us where to find the ammunition needed. Did you know that the entire Enron mail archives exist on the Internet? In those emails you will find some damning evidence of relationships currently denied by defendants who have already pleaded guilty to high crimes and misdemeanors.

While the Enron email database exists on the Internet, a peculiar fact might take you back. Someone stripped all the attachments to the emails. I find that odd.

Still, we have significant evidence that cooperation occured amongst the several parites. Who knew who and what did they do together? Here's an email from the Enron database:

From: [e-mail:ralph@censtrat.com]
To: [e-mail:rshapiro@enron.com]
Date: 19 Dec 2000 15:19 PST
Subject: abramoff
Rick, good to see you today. excited about the prospects of the new office, kitchen cabinet/advisory team, etc. as we discussed, jack abramoff is joining barry richards' law firm, Greenberg Traurig, on january 1. richards was just named lawyer of the year by the American lawyer while abramoff is arguably the most influential and effective gop lobbyist in congress.
i share several clients with him and have yet to see him lose a battle. he also is very close to Delay and could help enormously on that front. raised $ for bush.
until december 31 he can be reached at 202-661-3851. he assistant is Susan Ralston.

Who is Susan Ralston? She became Mr. Karl Rove's personal assistant. But , of course, this isn't a smoking gun and proves nothing.

Any overwhelming evidence?

Overwhelming evidence exists that Free and Open Source software could save our citizens hundreds of billions of dollars. In spite of that, our government continues to impede its use. Instead of putting our high tech workers back to work, we import cheap labor and export high tech jobs.

As an economist, I am baffled by the lack of stimulation in our own eonomy by government spending on software and hardware. Where is the hardware made? In China. Where is the software created? In India.

Hundreds of thousands of experienced technology workers don't have jobs. The industry suffers from chronic unemployment. Our technology work force has been unemployed so long that they don't count in the employment figures.

The media that put Richard Nixon out of a job in the mid-1970's and helped end the Vietnam War has remained quiet through these times. Yet with a government that appears locked up because so many of its members have ties to special interests, the media remains our only hope of budging this government.

Just as Microsoft appears to have gone outside the legal system to win its case, so too, should our citizenry continue to ask questions and go outside the establishment. But, I don't believe the voters know enough about the issues to demand a voice. So, it becomes difficult to gain traction where we need it.

Apathy and Inertia

As an example of political apathy and inertia, I think about my own precinct. As a kid, I remember meetings in what looked like a town hall. People stood up and spoke about the issues of the day. I found it an amazing example for school children my age.

Over the last six years, I have attended precinct meetings where the attendees included me and the other guy breaking down the tables in the bay of a firehouse. We elect each other chairman and election judge.

In contrast, when our town proposed cutting down a half dozen trees in a park, people filled the courthouse demanding a counsel meeting. Volunteers passed out pamphlets and rallied the neighbors to attend. All this over a half dozen pecan trees near an antebellum park next to a creek at city hall.

Radical Activism

A couple of days ago, one of our readers pointed me to a couple of posts made by one of our former readers. Here's one you might like from OSNews:

Take Aldestein with a grain of salt

As a strong FL/OSS software advocate since 1995, and as a former reader of LXer, please accept whatever apology I can reasonably give for Mr. Aldestein's fanaticism and ongoing vendetta against Sun Microsystems.

I often see it written in the comments on this forum that Linux advocates are a bunch of religious fanatics. Well, we certainly tend to be idealists, and we probably do have more than our fair share of fanatics. But there is much more to our community than that.

While I will concede that Linux may have the highest number of fanatics per capita, I suspect that the Mac community is not far behind. I suppose Windows probably has a lower per capita level of fanatics than either, but on an absolute scale, probably more flakes than the Linux and Mac communities combined.

The important thing to remember is that in all three of those communities, the fanatics are simply a vocal and irritating minority. (I suspect that no one is more irritated by the fanatics than the other, reasonable, members of their own community who are trying to practice "good" advocacy.)

I like this site because it is dedicated to the idea of operating system diversity. For all the fighting between factions, that attitude of acceptance towards diversity still shines through. (OS specific forums can tend to become rather insular and it's good for members to go out for an occasional reality check, IMO.)

This is why it pains me to see members of the FL/OSS community, who ostensibly believe in diversity and open competition, attacking other members of the community who have put forth the effort to "walk the walk" by opening their code.

I did not believe that Sun would ever open Solaris but, to my amazement, they really did. McNeally and the gang may be an aggravating lot, but they really did what they said they would do this time, and I respect and acknowledge that.

I welcome them into the community. Solaris has some very definite advantages over Linux. (People have mentioned DTrace and ZFS, but I'm sure there's more.) Linux has definite advantages in other areas. (It's pretty clear that Solaris needs a lot of work on hardware support, for example.)

Linux is still my favorite OS, but I'm not afraid to see some more competition.

This post may or may not be completely on-topic in this thread. But it seems as good a place as any. Every time I see a FL/OSS advocate spout intolerance in these forums, I think "I should say something".

The post lives on OSnews.com where they posted a link to our story baffooning Marc Andreesen for saying that OpenSolaris is a better Linux that Linux. And if you recall, I wrote several stories favoring Sun posted here on Lxer where I took some flack for my position. In addition, I authored a book entitled "Exploring the JDS Linux Desktop" for O'Reilly Media. I also setup the community web site, JDSHelp.org at my own expense.

The post was written by Steve Bergman and I have no idea why he would have made the statements he did. In an email to me he once wrote here at LXer:

I know this is now ancient history, but I went back and read over your article about Michael Dell's investment in Red Hat a few times a couple of days ago, and this has bothered me a bit.

My original post, which BTW was never intended in an overly negative way, was in error. When I initially read your article, my perception was that you expected Dell's Linux in Education effort to to be a likely event. If not a sure thing, then very likely. After reading it over a few more times, I see that I misinterpreted. You were saying that it would be smart for them to do it, if only they have the courage...

Anyway, sincere apologies for my initial misinterpretation.

In a post at LinuxToday Steve wrote:

Steve Bergman - Subject: Fewer Links to LXer please ( Feb 17, 2006, 04:48:18)

Subject says it all, really.
LXer used to be a very good Linux news site.
Now it is full of paranoid delusions, and usually calls for you to write your
representatives in Congress about the gripe of the day.
It's more of an Anti MS/Big Business political activist site than a Linux news site.
That's why I came back here, despite the "Linux Reference Center" in the right sidebar.
LinuxToday is more of a Linux news site these days than is LXer.
Of course, http://www.lwn.net is still the king of Linux news sites. Shameless plug, I know, but those guys deserve mention.

Somehow, I never thought of myself as a radical activist, but someone who had a compulsion for getting at the truth. For example, at Osnews.com, where they linked to "Linux is a better Linux than Sun Solaris10", I saw some comments such as: "He does not go into any comparison about dTrace. Arguably the most sought after reason for upgrading to Solaris 10 over previous version".

True, I did not say anything about dtrace in that article even though one of our editors has asked me to reveal what we know about Solaris10: Something that very few people discuss. We could even slant it in a way that would shine an unfavorable light on Sun.

In December of 2004, I learned about a hacker in the UK that offers a root kit that creates problems for Solaris10. We saw no reason to disclose it. Brian Cantrell wrote to me about it saying:

The techniques described in the paper (given at the Chaos Computer Club in Berlin in December 2004)... are only for use on a system that one has already compromised. Of course, once a system is compromised, all bets are off; a nefarious user can:

  • Load their own daemons to act as trojan horses, potentially sniffing passwords and compromising subsequent machines

  • Examine /etc/shadow and crack it to obtain cleartext for every password on the system

  • Use the pre-existing Solaris observability tools (truss(1), gcore(1), mdb(1), etc.) to observe and modify arbitrary processes

  • Crash and/or destroy the system beyond repair

  • Load their own kernel modules to spoof arbitrary parts of the system

Yes, you can use DTrace on a compromised system to glean additional information, but everything you can do with DTrace was in principle possible before DTrace -- DTrace just happens to make it a little easier.

I happen to have a high regard for Brian's and his colleagues' work. But, how many people know about SInAR, a nasty root kit that can help a cracker do serious damage to Solaris10 with the help of Dtrace? Have you ever seen a mention of it in a security advisory?

We should do nothing

Edmund Burke once said, "All that is necessary for the triumph of evil is that good men do nothing." Many advocates throughout history have come under the ridicule of trolls. Advocates come in all shapes and sizes and cover many sides of various issues.

What we do at LXer fits more of the model of muckraking, Muckracking historically dealt with investigating and exposing societal issues such as political corruption, corporate crime, child labor, conditions in slums and prisons, unsanitary conditions in food processing, fraudulent claims, etc.

Ralph Nader provides an example of a contemporary muckraker in his book, Unsafe at Any Speed (1965). This book questioned corporate power and their ability to transfer risk to consumers which increased a company's profits. In his letter to the court in US v Microsoft, he questioned that same issue.

The Jungle (1906) by Upton Sinclair's prompted federal legislation regulating food and drug practices. Like Nader, he failed as a political candidate. He helped found the American Civil Liberties Association. He also won a Pulitzer Prize. Consider him a muckraker.

I do not consider the pursuit of truth as fanaticism and an ongoing vendetta as Steve Bergman states. He could say it to me rather than apologizing for me in a post on OSNews. But then, I didn't authorize him to apologize for me and I don't believe he represents the FLOSS community as he calls it. I also find it interesting that he's been a FLOSS advocate longer than the Open Source Initiative has been in existence.

Seeking the Truth About Microsoft

The law says that a belief is all that is necessary to bring a cause of action against another party. In my dealing with others, I have heard people say they believe the trial against Microsoft, a monopolist, had some rigging to it. Do you believe that yourself?

If so, you must recuse yourself from any activities to find or orchestrate an effort to discover the truth. Why? Because you are a fanatic with an ongoing vendetta against Microsoft. And, you have to repeat after me: Evidence be damned!

Here's what I believe: the outcome of the trial may have been rigged. Enough questions exist about the trial and the subsequent settlement to find out if Ralph Reed, Jack Abramoff, Tom Delay and others got to anyone in the administration that swayed the outcome.

So if the trial was rigged, what are people prepared to do about it? Huh?

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