[linux-elitists] BBC article -- Re: Factual Errors

Karsten M. Self kmself@ix.netcom.com
Thu Feb 5 11:51:25 PST 2004

Tim, thanks for your email,  To which I respond:

on Thu, Feb 05, 2004 at 07:32:39PM -0000, NewsOnline (newsonline@bbc.co.uk) wrote:
> Dear Sir 
> Thanks for your e-mail.
> I have noted the points you made - as well as the vigorous debate on
> Slashdot.org about this article.
> Well, Stephen Evan's weekly "stateside" column is not a news story, but
> an analytical look at major events and business trends in the United
> States.

This isn't clear from the presentation of the article on your website.
Clearly denoting "news", "editorial", and "analysis" content is strongly

Moreover, there has been more than one "analyst" with a clear axe to
grind, and/or affiliations with parties having significant financial
interests in the outcome of the dispute between Caldera/SCO and IBM, Red
Hat, Novell, and the other parties Caldera/SCO have threatened directly
or otherwise.  

As maintainer of a website providing background on the case, I even had
one such individual (David Politis) who runs a regular "analysis" column
in a Utah newspaper, complain that he was outed as having a prior
relationship with Caldera/SCO.  The fact of the matter is that he _does_
have a prior relationship, the relationship was in the period
immediately preceding the announcement of the lawsuit against IBM, and
Politis has written about the case both before and after his engagement,
with only one mention (September 15, 2003) that he has any interest in
the companies involved.  I might add that his coverage of the case is
anything but balanced (unless you hail from Fox News, perhaps...).

If you'll see things from the perspective of those who have an admitted
bias toward GNU/Linux, in addition to a rather copious collection of
documented facts largely disputing any material claim made on the part
of Caldera/SCO, there's a decided distrust of those whose allies wield
$6 thousand million marketing and PR budgets.  Or is it $8 thousand
million.  It's _so_ hard to keep track.

> It is, of course, debatable whether MyDoom/Novarg/Shimgapi was written
> just to bring down the SCO website, or whether the installation of
> spamming tools on numerous computers was an additional - or even the
> main - motive.

It's certainly debatable.

If you wish to publish a piece of discussion or commentary debating whether
or not there is a motive on the part of those who favor GNU/Linux, those
who would see GNU/Linux tarnished, those who favor Caldera/SCO, or those
who would see Caldera/SCO tarnished, be my guest.

However, I have rather old-fashioned appreciation to have a little news
with my news, and to have that news, sir, consist of facts.  Specific,
documented, substantial facts.

Evan's article, sir, contained no such facts.

The BBC owes a retraction.

> That was not the point of Stephen's article.
> In his piece he wanted to draw the attention of BBC News Online's
> audience - many of whom are unlikely to know the ins and outs of the
> Open Source debate - to the rapid spread of Linux as a commercial
> application, SCO's attempts to cash in on this fact, and the deep
> anger that SCO has caused within the Linux community through its legal
> actions.

If this is the BBC's position, then I would advise you to make the
aforementioned fiction section an official rather than a covert section
post haste.

> Stephen is not the first to draw the link between MyDoom and SCO's
> actions over Linux - plenty of others have done that before, including
> virus experts.

Boozy speculation of what might have been or what might be, sir, is not

> Regards,


> Tim Weber 
> Business Editor 
> BBC News Interactive - www.bbc.co.uk/businessnews 
> -----Original Message-----
> From: kmself@ix.netcom.com [mailto:kmself@ix.netcom.com] 
> Sent: 05 February 2004 14:52
> To: NewsOnline
> Subject: Factual Errors
> --------------------------------------------------
> From: Karsten M. Self
> Email address: kmself@ix.netcom.com
> Url: http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/business/3457823.stm
> --------------------------------------------------
> Hash: SHA1
> Stephen Evans's February 5 filing -- I can't tell if it's intended to be
> commentary, news, or an original submission to the Beeb's hitherto
> unknown short-story section -- makes wholly unwarranted and
> unsubstantiated accusations against the free software and GNU/Linux
> communities.
> Evans's smear is in the same light as tarring all African-Americans on
> account of the crimes of one, all Muslims on account of the terrorsism
> of a few, or all Brits on account of their cooking.
> It's certainly true that a large element of schadenfreude comes into
> play when "The SCO Group", a/k/a Caldera Linux Systems, one of the first
> distributors of a commercial GNU/Linux system, on its last legs as a
> $10m and falling company, claims $50 thousand million dollars in damages
> on the basis of a $4 million purchase and an avalanche of contradictory
> statements and outright lies.  Certainly Microsoft, whose software
> defects have severeley compromised global Internet operations four times
> in the past year, and remains an illegal, but unpunished, monopoly
> (with, I'll note, ongoing EC investigations of Microsoft's European
> activities), is unpopular to many.
> Moreover:  there's no indication that the MyDoom worm wasn't
> commissioned by parties with an interest in making either the Utah or
> Washington state dens of theives appear to be aggreived parties.  This
> certainly wouldn't be the first time an alleged "attack" has appeared at
> a very opportune time for Caldera/SCO, nor that same has failed to take
> well-known, accessible steps to avert the potential adverse effects of a
> known-in-advance distributed denial of service attack, rather than
> cueing the violins for a heartbreak tearjerk moment.
> The BBC owes the GNU/Linux and free software communities an apology, its
> readers, listeners, and viewers truthful rather than fabricated
> reporting, and Mr. Evans a severe dressing down.
> Karsten M. Self <kmself@ix.netcom.com>
> Maintainer, SCO vs IBM TWiki:  http://sco.iwethey.org/ -----BEGIN PGP
> Version: GnuPG v1.2.3 (GNU/Linux)
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Karsten M. Self <kmself@ix.netcom.com>        http://kmself.home.netcom.com/
 What Part of "Gestalt" don't you understand?
    Ceterum censeo, Caldera delenda est.
		        SCO vs IBM Linux lawsuit info:  http://sco.iwethey.org
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