[linux-elitists] The hairball speaks

Dan Wilder dan@ssc.com
Tue Sep 9 22:04:36 PDT 2003

On Tue, Sep 09, 2003 at 10:04:17PM -0500, Joakim Ziegler wrote:

> Not that I don't *really* agree with you, but it's tempting to take the
> opposite side for the sake of argument. What if anyone actively opposing
> free software, legally or technically, were automatically subject to
> massive attacks, DoS or otherwise? Patent suit against a free software
> author? Your mail server goes down. Act like SCO? You might as well just
> take your whole business offline right now.

So what's the qualitative difference between covert DOS attacks and, 
say, setting the CEO's back screen door on fire with lighter fluid or 
for that matter just burning down the headquarters?

The point is that it is not legitimate to take force into one's own 
hands in the settlement of disputes.  That's exactly what the 
kiddees in this case are doing.  In a way that differs from 
arson only in degree, not in kind.

> Sure, businesses would feel "alienated". But it'd also make a hell of a
> lot more business sense to not oppose free software, or even to just
> adopt it. It'd start influencing how much they'd pay in insurance,
> everything.

Only if such a terror campaign succeeded.  Which it would do only
in a place whose government was incapable of protecting citizens
from random use of force by other citizens.

Much more likely, those involved would all get tossed into the
slammer under strict new laws, and a wave of popular revulsion over
Open Source would leave the rest of us now making our living in that
field seeking employment as truck drivers.

> I'm not saying it's a good scenario, but it's worth thinking about how
> that sort of strategy would play out. It's what guerrilla fighters
> worldwide have been doing for a very long time, and a lot of those have
> gotten respect and influence out of it.

Guerilla fighters worldwide seek changes of government.  Those 
who succeed get respect and influence.  Those who don't get a
bullet to the head.  Hopefully that's not the game anybody here is
in; if so, please allow me to respectfully disassociate myself.

Businesses on the other hand generally try to play by the rules of
whatever field they may choose to deploy on.  If we wish 
to gain or keep the good esteem of those who play by the rules, 
we need to do so also.  Mr. Raymond has no doubt cost Open Source 
a great deal of good will with his ill-considered remarks.

Would it be too much to suggest that if ESR knows anything of the
identity of whoever has been hitting SCO's site, he should
immediately share that information with the authorities?

Dan Wilder

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