[linux-elitists] Help request -- terminology for Caldera FUD tactics

Karsten M. Self kmself@ix.netcom.com
Mon Jun 30 08:34:12 PDT 2003

on Mon, Jun 30, 2003 at 08:18:36AM -0600, Willy (willy@linuxgazette.com) wrote:
> > I'm trying to find a good word/phrase to describe what Caldera/SCO and
> > its press organs are doing currently regarding GNU/Linux and allegations
> > of copyright infringement.
> >
> > First it was "favor currying publicity stunts"
> >
> >     http://twiki.iwethey.org/twiki/bin/view/Main/SCOvsIBMResources#Favor_currying_Publicity_Stunts
> >
> > Now it's argument by repetition of "What if SCO is right?".  My favorite
> > response (not sure if it was Slashdot, LinuxToday, LWN, or Newsforge)
> > was "What if SCO is right about _what_?", given that the story has
> > changed, and been vague, from day one.
> >
> > So:  something to capture this whole tarring the GNU/Linux community by
> > SCO in a topic?
> >
> > Peace.
> How about "SCO and commentators continue pleonastic litany of
> FUDstigation"?
> FUDmentation also could be used, although the sense might be less
> active.
> Droning might be an alternative to pleonastic, although slightly
> different in sense.

Still isn't what I was thinking of.

It's more along the lines of:

   - Ad hominmen arguments -- attack free software and its supporters.
   - Argument ad nauseum -- repetition.  The "what if SCO's right" story
     has been repeated at least three times, and each of those played i
     in several places.
   - Shifting burden of truth -- from "what is Caldera/SCO's evidence" to
     "what if Caldera/SCO is right".
   - Straw man -- several commentators (Rob Enderle comes to mind) have
     criticised the FLOSS community based on its most extreme and/or
     inflammetory supporters (who may themselves be plants).
     Conveniently ignoring any meaningful, intelligent critics.
   - Argument by question, begging the question.
   - Argument by half truth.
   - Argument by selective observation, generalization.
   - Error of fact, Lies, Hypothesis contrary to fact.
   - Ambiguous assertion.
   - Affirming the consequent (Cooper's "unauthorized incorporation of
     intellectual property")

   (see:  http://www.don-lindsay-archive.org/skeptic/arguments.html)

I think the best characterization of this is "Question Dodging" or
"Issue Dodging".  Caldera/SCO are repeatedly trying to dodge the issue

  - What their claim is -- "all rights to Unix", "intellectual
    property", "keystroke-by-keystroke copies".  The first is
    demonstrably false (e.g.: trademark), the second vague, the third
    meaningless without provenance information, and likely based on
    unsupported claims to propriety in the work of IBM and others.

  - What their evidence is.

  - The character of their own (and their supporters) actions.

OK, I'm getting a handle on this, I think.


Karsten M. Self <kmself@ix.netcom.com>        http://kmself.home.netcom.com/
 What Part of "Gestalt" don't you understand?
   Unless you are very rich and very eccentric, you will not enjoy the
   luxury of having a computer in your own home.
     -- Ed Yourdon, _Techniques of Program Structure and Design_, 1975
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