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More Rebuttals to AdTI's Ken Brown by Interviewees Ilkka Tuomi and Andrew Tanenbaum
Thursday, June 10 2004 @ 03:30 AM EDT

Yet another distinguished scientist, Ilkka Tuomi, has joined the growing crowd now publicly criticizing the research results recently released by the Alexis de Tocqueville Institution on the origins of the Linux kernel. The author, Ken Brown's, "research" and methodology have been seriously brought into question. Some of the arguments in the research paper were based on Mr. Tuomi's study of the credits list of the Linux kernel, which makes his rebuttal highly significant. Tuomi says Mr. Brown reached spurious conclusions and apparently greatly misunderstood the study. He says he tried to help Mr. Brown to comprehend the study, but that he had "only limited success". Tuomi is currently Visiting Scientist at the European Commission’s Joint Research Centre, Institute for Prospective Technological Studies, Seville, Spain.

Tuomi takes the time to carefully rebut Brown's conclusions. Linus Torvalds, Richard Stallman, Andrew Tanenbaum, Dennis Ritchie, Eric Raymond, historian Peter H. Salus, and the man hired by AdTI to compare Minix and Linux code, Alexy Toptygin (who found no copied code) have all gone public with reactions or corrective information. Andrew Tanenbaum has responded a second and now a third time.

That makes it unanimous, I believe. I have yet to see even one interviewee who has not complained about being misquoted or misconstrued.

It is in Section 6 of Tuomi's paper on the history of the Linux kernel's credits list that he mentions the AdTI report:

"A recent think–tank report by Alexis de Tocqueville Institution . . . used a draft version of this paper to argue that Linux could be based on intellectual property infringements and inaccurate allocation of developer credits. The report claimed that the history of Linux is too amazing to be true, and that it is improbable that a single individual without much experience in software development could have created a full operating system in just a few months. The report implied that Linux, therefore, could be derived from earlier software code and, in particular, from the Minix operating system. The report also claimed that the analysis of the Credits file shows that Linux developers may have acted against their employers’ intellectual property policies, and that missing entries in the Credits file may indicate that Linux may include copyrighted code that has not been acknowledged. Hence, the authors of the report claimed that the future of open source software and Linux is therefore threatened by the problem of assigning authorship to specific pieces of code, and potential legal costs resulting from this. As the argument to an important extent has been based on the data presented in this paper, a few observations may be useful."

Tuomi proceeds to methodically disprove the AdTI premise.

"First, as Section 2 above pointed out, the amount of code in the first release of what later became known as the Linux operating system was rather modest. It consisted of 88 files, with median size of 37 lines of code. Based on common knowledge about software development, it therefore appears that a single computer enthusiast could well have created the first Linux version in a couple of months. In fact, by reading the original source code, it is quite clear that a single author, still in the early phases of learning to program operating systems, has produced it. From the point of view of copyright law, the first version of Linux kernel therefore cannot be defined as a derivative work. . . .

"Second, the unavailability of Credits file during the early phases of Linux development does not signal unclear authorship. The fact that the first Credits file appears only in 1994, with Linux version 1.0, has a very simple explanation. During the early phases of the development, the amount of source code was small and the developers were aware of each other’s contributions. Explicit recording of 'credits' would have made little sense, as all developers knew where each piece of software came from. . . .

"Third, the Credits files do not record authorship in any legal sense. Formal copyrights and informal moral rights for the different parts of the Linux source code are embedded in the source code. The Credits file only acts as a 'hall of fame' without any direct links between copyrighted work and authorship. The Credits file, therefore, is irrelevant from the point of view of intellectual property rights. . . .

"Fourth, the affiliations given in the Credits files do not necessarily reflect the historical affiliations of the people mentioned in the file. The Tocqueville report, for example, argued that Linux developers may have harmed their employers’ intellectual property rights by releasing software to the Linux community. To make this argument, the report shows that an employer of a person mentioned in the Credits file has adopted an intellectual property policy, according to which only software that cannot be appropriated commercially may be released as open source. This would apparently imply that the Linux developer mentioned in the Credits file might have broken the intellectual property policies of his employer by providing code to the Linux kernel, and that his managers might have acted against the interests of the firm and its owners by allowing this to happen. As the Credits file is an accumulated record of contributors and as the current addresses and affiliations of the developers have changed during the years, the policies of the current employers, however, are quite irrelevant for any discussion on historically created intellectual property. For example, Linus Torvalds remains one of the main contributors to the Linux kernel project and his name will appear in the future versions of the Credits file, independent of the intellectual property policies of his current or future employers. Microsoft, for instance, could not retrospectively create copyright policy infringements simply by hiring all the persons mentioned in the Credits file, even if this would imply that all the developers would change their affiliations to Microsoft in the future versions of the Credits file, and subsequently be required to stop producing open source software."

"The difficulty to accurately allocate credit in software development projects should not, however, be automatically interpreted as evidence of misallocated credit or intellectual property rights infringements, as the Tocqueville report, for example, has done. Software products are often based on incremental innovation where existing technologies and knowledge are recombined to create new functionality. The history of the Internet, for example, shows that authorship, indeed, is often misallocated. This fact, however, could easily be used to argue that the current intellectual property regime — and specifically software related patents — may require reconsideration. In networked and combinatorial systems, intellectual property rights probably are often granted to inventors who only partially deserve the credit. Or, to put it in another way, developers may deserve much more credit than there is intellectual property available today. One way to deal with this issue is to create explicit representations of moral authorship that are only loosely connected with current concepts of intellectual property. The Linux Credits file is an example of such an approach."

If I were Ken Brown, which happily I am not, I'd be too ashamed to show my face in public. Attacking Linus' integrity and character is like clubbing baby seals. It's gratuituously and undeservedly cruel, so all the sympathy goes to the innocent victim of the bludgeoning. People despise you for doing it. Some things just should not be done, even for money. Attacking a man the world loves and admires has to rank up there in the top ten worst PR decisions of the decade. Linus' character is known internationally, as is his work, which is open to public inspection and which has ensured his place in history. People know this man and his remarkable achievement.

If I were advising Microsoft, which happily I am not, I'd tell them to rethink this boomeranging FUD and publicly disassociate the company from this think tank's Linux "research". Not that there seems to be too much thinking going on over there. And if I were AdTI, I'd acknowledge that mistakes were made, serious factual errors, and apologize for them. It's the 21st century and the old FUD ways don't work any more. Too many internet eyeballs.


More Rebuttals to AdTI's Ken Brown by Interviewees Ilkka Tuomi and Andrew Tanenbaum | 210 comments | Create New Account
Comments belong to whoever posts them. Please notify us of inappropriate comments.
Corrections Etc Here Please
Authored by: Anonymous on Thursday, June 10 2004 @ 05:51 AM EDT
to keep them all together

[ Reply to This | # ]

Worse than baby seals
Authored by: cschoell on Thursday, June 10 2004 @ 06:23 AM EDT
Brown is not just "plain wrong". He is wrong intentionally. The
evidence shows he actively wants to deceive and cast doubt on the integrity of a
person while ignoring all evidence to the contrary. Plus it is all apparently
for money. It is despicable.

Where is the "valid criticism" that is being snuffed?

[ Reply to This | # ]

Clubbing baby seals?
Authored by: Anonymous on Thursday, June 10 2004 @ 06:28 AM EDT
Sorry, i'm with PJ on this one.

This is beneath contempt. As was the arguments for the baby seal catch.
And as the seal skinners, Brown seems to use anything remotably twisting his way
as justification. He'll carry on, as long as somebody (!) pays him.

Kim 'the Pirate' (not on my own PC again)

Ex - radio operator
M/V 'Moby Dick' of Greenpeace

[ Reply to This | # ]

Clubbing baby seals?
Authored by: PJ on Thursday, June 10 2004 @ 06:36 AM EDT
Hogwash. What they are doing has boomeranged and I merely am pointing it
out. What I wrote is true. I am not suggesting it should be true, just that it

[ Reply to This | # ]

It isn't valid criticism.
Authored by: PJ on Thursday, June 10 2004 @ 06:43 AM EDT
If it were valid criticism, the reaction wouldn't have been a unanimous
repudiation of their work. The community is not known for hero worship.
Quite the contrary.

[ Reply to This | # ]

Lighten up. Tell me where they go clubbing!
Authored by: cheros on Thursday, June 10 2004 @ 06:57 AM EDT
I mean, are seals allowed in under 18?

Keep smiling - it would be worse if we didn't have a community to start with. A
bit of adversity shows the good side even better (there's such a thing as
needing darkness to recognise a light ;-).

= C =

[ Reply to This | # ]

Lets hope the book and its refuters get lots of publicity.
Authored by: Franki on Thursday, June 10 2004 @ 07:03 AM EDT
At the very least, nobody in their right mind will listen to anything ADTI have
to say about anything in future.

After all, they have more or less proven that their version of "think"
with regards to "think tank" means to adopt the policy of whomever is
paying for the research, and if you can't prove it with fact, then smear it with
inept assumptions.
(we can say that all we want, because if they tried legal action, we can then
find out who paid for the report and why, they won't like that. :-)

I hope they got paid enough for the report, because they don't have any
crediability left, it's one thing to release a report that only the zealots can
argue against, it's quite another to release a report that anybody who can read,
and in particular anybody that knows the subject matter well can almost
completely refute.

Its made even worse, when the respected people whom you quoted all come forth
and claim that you didn't actually care what they had to say and that your
conclusion was written before the research was even started.

Worse again when you have to fill a report with "might" "may
be", "may have" and other such terms because you know you don't
have any proof or even a firm basis for the assumptions you make and you need to
word carefully to avoid litigation.

Like I said guys, hope you got paid enough, I wouldn't trust you to critique
toilet paper let alone something significant.



[ Reply to This | # ]

Talking about real research
Authored by: Anonymous on Thursday, June 10 2004 @ 07:05 AM EDT
The difference between K. Brown's 'research' and I. Tuomi's article is more fundamental than non-researchers would probably spot at first glance.
The article by Tuomi is peer-reviewed research article published in a peer-review journal dedicated to studies and research-articles about the Internet.
The key-word here is peer-review. I don't know how much credit politicians give to a research that has gone through the process of criticism by professionals and revision by author him/her-self, in comparison to a self-published and financially biased bad-spelled blur of fuzzy logic.
I think my question is: is it possible to push the noses of the decision-makers (to whom the KB research was obviously directed) right in to this particular difference and make them really see it?


[ Reply to This | # ]

More Rebuttals to AdTI's Ken Brown by Interviewees Ilkka Tuomi and Andrew Tanenbaum
Authored by: blacklight on Thursday, June 10 2004 @ 07:21 AM EDT
If Ken Brown can take a hint, then he backs off, slithers off under the rock he
came from and does not utter another peep: PJ nuked him with little more than
lifting a finger, simply by collecting the testimony of the key individuals whom
he "interviewed" and the comments of those various members of the
groklaw community who built a kernel in six months or less while still in

If we hear from KB again, then a one-page Open Letter from the groklaw community
to the rest of the world is very much an option. To state the obvious, said
letter will be available to the media and to Congress: we will not just debunk
him, we will destroy him. His fate is in his hands.

[ Reply to This | # ]

More Rebuttals to AdTI's Ken Brown by Interviewees Ilkka Tuomi and Andrew Tanenbaum
Authored by: phands on Thursday, June 10 2004 @ 07:26 AM EDT
Is there a case here for a libel or slander suit? Maybe something to delay
publication, or even prevent it?


[ Reply to This | # ]

Clubbing baby seals?
Authored by: theswede on Thursday, June 10 2004 @ 07:31 AM EDT
The problem with Brown's work is that it's a smear campaign. Not pointing this
out, repeatedly and loudly, makes it more likely that some of the poop he flings
(poop he produced himself, at that) will stick to something where it might cause

It should be pointed out, loud and clear, that not only is Brown attacking a
hard working, honest man - but he is attacking him because he expressedly can't
believe that the man *is* hard working and honest.

In short, he judges the world according to the standard of himself.

[ Reply to This | # ]

"Think Tank" Semantics
Authored by: Anonymous on Thursday, June 10 2004 @ 08:14 AM EDT
Seeing the arguments of Brown unfold over the time I'm slowly becoming convinced
that not only Brown's shoddy effort at filling sheets of papers with latin
characters is from a parallel universe, but also semantics.

Remember that "tank" also has the meaning of an armoured wagon for
securing its passengers from the outside, here, that is arguments. On another
front, Brown tries to drive its Think Tank through the community, perfectly
following "tank" semantics. It all fits.

Another observation: as Brown uses latin characters, and since we
"all" know that it took centuries to invent them and make them useable
(remember, the Phoenicians failed to establish their version, the Romans later
picked up their Intellectual Property), Brown with his few years of experience
can't have by any chance been able to write the report.

Second observation: didn't Linux once had a "Brown Paper Bag" day when
releasing a buggy kernel? So AdTI should think about celebrating another
"Brown Paper" Bag day in their near future...

[ Reply to This | # ]

Caution.... adti may be playing a different game than we think
Authored by: Anonymous on Thursday, June 10 2004 @ 08:28 AM EDT
A bit of caution and reflection may be in order, in dealing with adti. This may
be a different game.... or at least a different front in a war.

Think in terms of a small time "beltway bandits" mercenary and/or
zealot think tank that has figured out how to deliberately generate and benefit
from such outrage, with deliberate disregard for facts and feedback.

Purely profit and/or agenda driven, without scruples. But wise to the twilight
zone ways of Washington.

[ Reply to This | # ]

Successor to Joseph Goebbels
Authored by: Peter Smith on Thursday, June 10 2004 @ 08:32 AM EDT
Ken Brown's cynical distortion and manipulation of the facts can be likened to
Joseph Goebbel's work in the service of Adolph Hitler as Minister of

As one journal said:

"No other name is so firmly associated with the term propaganda, conjuring
lies and deceit, than that of Dr. Joseph Goebbels".

[ Reply to This | # ]

The fruits of MS money
Authored by: Boundless on Thursday, June 10 2004 @ 08:34 AM EDT
PJ: > If I were advising Microsoft, ... I'd tell
> them to rethink this boomeranging FUD ...

If MS is behind this (as seems likely), they are no doubt
doing just that. But don't expect the FUD to stop. It may
instead become more sophisticated.

MS has a huge amount of cash available to invest in
securing their monopoly status. They are probably
contacting any number of industry spokespeople, looking
for those who might be willing shill the MS line.

With the cash available, the shameless and the unprincipled
will cave, and say whatever MS wants them to say. Those
with the lowest integrity will be corrupted first (and
probably at the lowest rates). I doubt that the recent
spectacle represented a high-price sell-out.

As time goes on, expect the apparent quality of the shills
to improve (as the bidding goes up). Don't be terribly
surprised if (gasp) some big name former open source
stalwart capitulates to an offer they can't refuse.

Perhaps MS should turn to the United Nations. Several
players there are no longer getting their Oil-for-Food
kickbacks from a certain ex-dictator. No doubt they could
be persuaded to support a UN statement that the future of
World Peace depends on enslaving everyone to Windows.

IANAL - And "World Peace" is a registered trademark of the
Kofi Annan Syndicate, Ltd.

[ Reply to This | # ]

One phrase makes me think, I think....
Authored by: Anonymous on Thursday, June 10 2004 @ 08:40 AM EDT
Every time I read the phrase:
The report claimed that the history of Linux is too amazing to be true, and that it is improbable that a single individual without much experience in software development could have created a full operating system in just a few months.

I have to think:
Well, I could not have done it and I doubt you are smarter than me, so you could not have done it, either.

[ Reply to This | # ]

Let's start our own "Think Tank"!
Authored by: Totosplatz on Thursday, June 10 2004 @ 08:42 AM EDT

Many can play this game! I suggest "The Copernican Institute", consistent with the notion of a new world view. Set it up, get some Nobel prize winners to join the advisory board, and off we go!

Seriously! Publish a little peer-reviewed internet-only journal, issue critique and commentary and rebuttal.

Ask the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation for a contribution - how could they possibly refuse?

All the best to one and all.

[ Reply to This | # ]

More Rebuttals to AdTI's Ken Brown by Interviewees Ilkka Tuomi and Andrew Tanenbaum
Authored by: Anonymous on Thursday, June 10 2004 @ 08:49 AM EDT
The sad thing is, it's all irrelevant.

Some middle manager, some CEO, some senator, will hold up this book and proclaim it to be gospel.

Anyone remember Marty Rimm? You know - the guy that said that 90% of the Internet was Porn? Marty was just as bad as Ken.

Yet Marty got the cover of Time magazine. His report did make it to the Senate (or House?) floor.

Everyone who knew better did know better, but it didn't make a difference.

[ Reply to This | # ]

Two more interviewees speak out
Authored by: Anonymous on Thursday, June 10 2004 @ 08:50 AM EDT
Charles Mills and Henry Jones also dislike the way their comments were misused.

We are getting pretty close to every single interviewee disowning the book.

[ Reply to This | # ]

A book I would like to see...
Authored by: Anonymous on Thursday, June 10 2004 @ 08:57 AM EDT
Astroturfing and Corporate Shilling: An Exercise by Example of Ken Brown's,

[ Reply to This | # ]

OT - Innovation and Cost
Authored by: blacklight on Thursday, June 10 2004 @ 09:19 AM EDT
The Darl et al keep complaining that Open Source is cutting down the proprietary
software industry. My first counterpoint would be: could the movies, radio, TV
and computer revolutions have happened without the availability of cheap
electricity? I don't think so. My second counterpoint would be that Open Source
software does not scratch every end user itch, so it is a given that Open Source
and proprietary software will be coexisting. In other words, assuming that the
value of the proprietary software industry drops, it won't be dropping to zero
any time soon.

I am predicting that the availability of Linux and key supporting Open Source
software will be the "electricity" that will make innovation both more
likely and more sweeping. And the most exciting part is that we don't know yet
what those innovations will be.

[ Reply to This | # ]

Ken Brown boarding on libel?
Authored by: Anonymous on Thursday, June 10 2004 @ 09:36 AM EDT

With all these complaints about his "research" when does it cross
the boarder into Libelstan with his visa stamped?

[ Reply to This | # ]

AdTI: Paid whores
Authored by: Anonymous on Thursday, June 10 2004 @ 09:50 AM EDT
What else do you call it when you sell yourself to the highest bidder?

[ Reply to This | # ]

Another GrokLaw project in the making?
Authored by: Anonymous on Thursday, June 10 2004 @ 09:58 AM EDT
It seems to me that we are witnessing the emergance of another collaborative
Groklaw project .. "Samizdat - What they really said" ... or
something to that effect. It would rebute the Brown 'research' with statements
from the actual 'interviewies'. We already have many of those statements in
hand. They just have to be assembled into a single document. As Brown
continues to so thoughtfully provide us with forwarning of his material, we can
more completely research the sources and build the true story from those same

Of course, there should be the additional chapter about why Brown so completely
distorted the sources and at whose behest he did it.

[ Reply to This | # ]

It's a little disingenuous...
Authored by: Anonymous on Thursday, June 10 2004 @ 10:14 AM EDT
to compare attacking Linus to attacking an infant anything. I'm sure that, as a
veteran of usenet-flame-wars of years past, Linus has a thick enough skin to
withstand such a clumsy thrust. It *is* insulting, not just to Linus, but to
any programmer who wants to write good code and get paid in like kind.

That's the part that Ken Brown's overlord doesn't get: it's not about power in
return for your work, it's about respect.

[ Reply to This | # ]

Where I Think Ken Brown Is Going With All This [Please read]
Authored by: raynfala on Thursday, June 10 2004 @ 10:26 AM EDT
First off, let me issue a disclaimer: this is an opinion, nothing more. Oh yeah, and while we're at it: this post may not be reproduced -- in whole or in part -- in any other publication without the consent of myself or Pamela Jones, administrator of Groklaw (hell, I don't know if that will hold water, but what the hey...). Now then, let's try to approach this with some good, old-fashioned logic:

First off, I'm going to be as careful as I can in my wording, lest this post end up on Ken Brown's dissecting table in his never-ending quest for more self-serving quotes.

First off, I believe that Ken Brown's obtuseness on the issue of the origins of Linux is all an act. Consider:

  • Despite being told by Minix's creator that using Minix code in Linux would be counter-productive, Brown insists that Linus used Minix code.
  • Despite being told by a hired contractor that there is no evidence of Minix code in Linux, Brown insists that Linus used Minix code.
  • Despite Linux Torvalds going on the record to explain Minix's role in the development history of Linux, Brown insists that Linus used Minix code.
  • Brown's writings contain the hallmarks of sneakiness and underhanded cunning (using the term "clever" would be too complimentary). In addition to ignoring and omitting evidence in his works, he uses overt flattery when it suits his needs, he uses underhanded literary techniques such as knocking down strawmen, begging the question, quoting out-of-context, and using "weasel words" to keep things just within the realm of legally protected speech. This is not the product of a high-school dropout; it is the product of somebody familiar with the more dubious methods of persuasion. To anybody who would say, "Yeah, but what about all of those misspellings and typo's and 'Arthur Tanenbaum'", I would say that those were the by-product of hastily written responses. Who here hasn't accidentally submitted a post with typo's or irregular sentence construction, especially when they're excitable or in a hurry? Sloppy production values, sure, but not wholesale stupidity.

    Could Brown just be suffering from cognitive dissonance? No, I don't think so. There's just too much testimony and evidence that counters Brown's assumptions, so much so that I cannot believe that his opposition to the evidence is some psychological phenomenon. Also, when one considers the circumstantial evidence (e.g. the Microsoft funding connection), it paints a very clear picture.

    This is calculated; this is deliberate. I hope I've convinced you of that. Now, given that...

    So what's the plan?

    I believe that Brown has/had a plan from the start. I think he studied the players before entering this fracas, and I think everything that's happened up until now was not entirely unexpected in his mind.

    First, he had Plan A:

    Issue a report that casts fear, uncertainty and doubt about the legality of using Linux, and taint the image of Linux's figurehead in the process.
    Samizdat, then, was Brown's Plan A. Were Samizdat to go unchalleged, he could have considered it mission accomplished. However, it was not.

    So, now we're seeing Plan B in action:

    If the bulk of Samizdat fails to go unchallenged, engage and enrage the open source community, paint them with mud and a broad brush, and reap the benefits of the exchange.

    Consider what he is doing now. He's turned his obtuseness dial up to 11 (I'd even go so far as to label it doublethink). He takes even more quotes out of context (despite rumblings from some of the people he's quoted out of context up to that point), knowing full well the effect it has on us. He accuses us of taking down his website (how a Yahoo-hosted web site could be taken down while the rest of Yahoo hums along unimpeded is beyond me). He insults our collective intelligence with his writings and web pages, and then what does he do:

    He invites comments and feedback from, well, pretty much anybody!
    What kind of feedback do you think he's going to get? Certainly, he will get: (1) well constructed feedback that counters his arguments, and (2) flames, insults, inaccurate information and childish rants. He will then hold up this feedback as baseline samples of the ethics and intelligence of the open source community.

    Two guesses as to which category of feedback will get front-row, center in his future tracts.

    Brown is a troll that wants to be fed. Notice how he sent a preview of the work to, of all people, Eric S. Raymond, a man well-known for his rants and hotheadedness. Why else would he send something to a person that was obviously going to tear into him, except to generate more "quotables"? Look at the general tone of his latest writings. He's having fun with this. He's positively gleeful about this.

    I will now reiterate what I once posted before:

    I think that it is a serious mistake to continually engage him in the manner we've been doing. Some of the more hot-headed among us have been engaging him in a flame war, and by using his patented Broad-Stroke Brush (tm), he's bringing us all down to his level. Instead, I think we need to try to collectively reign in our tempers, stop all of this long-distance sniping (we know he's not a nice guy, okay... let's stop beating a dead horse), and just keep tabs on who he's trying to get to swallow his tripe. No doubt, they will turn out to be decision-makers of one form or another, and it is those people we need to educate. Forget about Joe Sixpack. Ken's going to come forward with a lot of hocus-pocus about theft, lying, terrorism, and the end of the American Way. We're going to be coming forward with microkernels vs. monolithic kernels, iterations, open source development, etc. Zzzzzzzzzz. Let's face it people, sexy lies will win over the dull truth when you're dealing with a somewhat apathetic audience. So let's not waste our time.

    All of this self-back-patting Ken-bashing is just giving Ken grist for the mill. Let's get more constructive about this. Let's find out who the intended audience is, and engage them. But be polite, okay? ^_^

    Thanks for your time.

    [ Reply to This | # ]

  • Clubbing baby seals?
    Authored by: Don on Thursday, June 10 2004 @ 10:32 AM EDT
    I guess I don't mind the clubbing seals analogy. Linus doesn't have to be as
    cute as a baby seal to have some analogous virtues. In particular, Linus chose
    to release linux and adopt a development model that benefitted many with no
    great financial reward for himself. There's an aspect of benevolent selflessness
    in that which contrasts mightily with the heavy hand of Brown's accusations.
    Linus is being attacked exactly because of that selflessness and openness and
    the results from it. I say the analogy may be dramatic but it's not too far off.


    [ Reply to This | # ]

    Possible Corrective Actions
    Authored by: Scorpio on Thursday, June 10 2004 @ 10:32 AM EDT
    We cannot stop the Brown book from being self published. He has a
    constitutional right to make an ass of himself.

    We can punish the AdTI for supporting Brown's actions. Step one is to identify
    the contributors to the Institute, a matter of public record, Second, provide
    massed feedback to these contributors that their money is being wasted and that
    you are removing that company from your approved supplier listing. I suspect
    that would slow down future Browns.

    [ Reply to This | # ]

    Dropout Gates = Genius; Graduate Torvalds = Liar & Thief?
    Authored by: Anonymous on Thursday, June 10 2004 @ 10:47 AM EDT
    Amazes me that a college drop-out named William H. Gates, Jr. can build an
    empire and possess a vast, unspendable personal net worth today off of nothing
    much more genius than simply porting to the PC platform what already existed,
    and appropriating, misappropriating, finagling, and shrewdly hanging onto
    redistribution/marketing rights to it and other acquisitions. And yet, some
    want to paint him a saintly genius but Linus Torvalds is obviously a thief and
    liar because nobody short of bonafide genius could EVER write their own
    operating system?

    Can you loan Ken Brown a dollar so he can buy a clue?

    (Anonymous computer tech supporting Windows for the military & Beginning
    Linux tinkerer)

    [ Reply to This | # ]

    Think Tanks and Brown
    Authored by: Don on Thursday, June 10 2004 @ 11:10 AM EDT
    AdTI resembles a "think tank" like Brown's polemic resembles
    "research" or "a study." It isn't just because AdTI produces
    papers with a blatant agenda. It's also because in both cases there's no
    apparent "there" there.

    With AdTI, has anyone yet found a set of offices? Do these 'thinkers' have a
    home base with a water cooler to stand around while mulling over the important
    issues regarding freedom and democracy? Are there secretaries tidying up their
    prose and running it through spell-checkers for them?

    There are some real think tanks in the world and some shams. Even the shams
    typically exhibit more material substance than the AdTI. They tend to be shams
    in terms of their intellectual credentials or their independence from outside
    influences but they're not so often a shell game of mail drops and paper

    At some point I saw a several year list of remuneration paid out to Brown and
    associates. Year by year the salaries and bonuses exhibited no particular
    correlation to the previous year. So, we could assume that "Da Boss"
    comes by and resets salaries each year on a totally arbitrary basis. Or, as I'm
    guessing, maybe they sit next to the pile of money that came in from
    contributions and they divvy it up attributing some to salary and some to
    bonuses. Sounds like a scheme to me.

    The term is form over substance. All appearance, no reality.

    Similarly, Brown's paper takes on the form of a study or white paper but the
    details fall far short of that. Not the most significant, but glaring
    nonetheless is Brown's lack of credentials, expertise or even effort spent in
    background research to qualify him to undertake this "study." He might
    as well be investigating the development of quantum mechanics and who should and
    should not receive the credits for that body of intellectual work.

    I'm not saying that someone of talent could not produce a useful analysis of
    linux development without a background in UNIX, computer science and so forth.
    However, if you come to a project without the background you are dependent on
    your sources to educate you. You must trust them to know their field and its
    history because you don't know it. Therefore your work product should reflect a
    synthesis of what your sources tell you. Brown hasn't synthesized the responses
    of his sources. He's distorted them or scoffingly disregarded them. That's not
    research. That's compiling a list of interviewees so you can claim to have done
    research without actually being bothered to take the input of your sources.

    The point of his effort seems to be to produce a targeted polemic. There's no
    effort to have the output remotely resemble the input Brown got from his
    sources. It obviously doesn't matter to Brown that in our eyes he makes an
    absolute fool of himself. Why not? For the same reason that talk show hosts can
    make outrageous statements that are patently untrue and not worry about it. The
    point is to put out the bullcrap so that others will bat it around in the echo
    chamber of opinion. Soon we'll have the WSJ's and Forbes's of the world writing
    articles about Brown's paper and using it to support the notion that Linus is a
    thief and linux is stolen goods. They don't have to worry about implying that in
    print because they will just be citing Brown. Around and around it will go and
    contribute to the mountain of BS that underlies fluff in the press about the
    "industry worries over the legitmacy of linux."

    It's the update of the Big Lie. Instead of telling the whopper over and over,
    you tell the whopper in a lip-stick painted pig of a pseudo research paper. Then
    you sit back and let the lazy press tell it over and over for you. You let them
    add it to all the reasons why one of their big advertisers should be trusted
    more than Linus and linux.

    All the above is just my opinion.


    [ Reply to This | # ]

    "Release Samizdat"
    Authored by: Ares_Man on Thursday, June 10 2004 @ 11:28 AM EDT
    I know that it's kind of early for a "Christmas" parody, but I had to get this out of my head. This is a parody of Feliz Navidad. I'm sure it can use some work, so so anyone can suggest changes.


    Release Samizdat!
    Police Samizdat!
    Release Samizdat!
    Saying Linus used UNIX code a lot!

    Release Samizdat!
    Police Samizdat!
    Release Samizdat!
    Showing history has been wrongly taught!

    I wanna wish that he stole from Minix.
    I wanna hope that he stole from Minix.
    I'm gonna preach that he stole from Minix
    From the bottom of my heart!

    I wanna wish that he stole from Minix.
    I wanna hope that he stole from Minix.
    I'm gonna preach that he stole from Minix
    From the bottom of my heart!

    Believe Samizdat!
    And read Samizdat!
    Believe Samizdat!
    'cause kernels rank up in the corp'rate spot.

    Believe Samizdat!
    And read Samizdat!
    Believe Samizdat!
    It ain't invented from a student's plot.

    I wanna wish that he stole from Minix.
    I wanna hope that he stole from Minix.
    I'm gonna cry that he stole from Minix
    From the bottom of my heart!

    Receive Samizdat!
    Believe Samizdat!
    Receive Samizdat!
    'Cause FOSS is "hybrid" and their theft's been caught.

    Receive Samizdat!
    Believe Samizdat!
    Receive Samizdat!
    'Cause SCO is right and their pursuit is hot!

    I wanna wish that he stole from Minix.
    I wanna plead that he stole from Minix.
    I'm gonna scream that he stole from Minix
    From the bottom of my heart!

    Recede Samizdat!
    Reprieve Samizdat!
    Recede Samizdat!
    'Cause "Arthur"'s blabbing and my work's been shot!

    Recede Samizdat!
    Reprieve Samizdat!
    Recede Samizdat!
    Now PJ's ranting and I feel distraught!

    I'm gonna prove that he stole from Minix.
    Or that it came from some kind of UNIX.
    'Cause there's no way that one man made Linux
    From the bottom of his heart!

    I'm gonna prove that he stole from Minix.
    Or that it came from some kind of UNIX.
    'Cause there's no way that one man made Linux
    From the bottom of his heart!

    Heck, no. I won't SCO!

    [ Reply to This | # ]

    My $.02 worth
    Authored by: ray08 on Thursday, June 10 2004 @ 11:36 AM EDT
    I think there is some truth in both sides to this debate. First, we all need to
    realise that Linus is not a "hero", but an ordinary guy like
    ourselves, just much more busy and involved than most of us. No hero worship
    allowed, for Linus or anyone else. That's just nonsense. Second, I'm not
    convinced that PJ was actually doing hero worship, but it does sound sometimes
    like that. I suspect it's more like community defense of a community leader.

    We need to focus on defending not just Linus/Linux, but also the whole open
    source movement. These attacks are more than just Linux, it's a campaign to
    obliterate a new way of doing software. Let's get focused on that.

    Caldera is toast! And Groklaw is the toaster! (with toast level set to BURN)

    [ Reply to This | # ]

    More Rebuttals to AdTI's Ken Brown by Interviewees Ilkka Tuomi and Andrew Tanenbaum
    Authored by: minkwe on Thursday, June 10 2004 @ 11:41 AM EDT
    It appears every attempt SCO and MS make to discredit Linux, backfires. Now
    anybody who had any doubt about the origin of Linux would put them to rest once
    and for all.

    Thank you AdTi.

    SCO: Your honor, they are trying to confuse us with the facts!

    [ Reply to This | # ]

    More Rebuttals to AdTI's Ken Brown by Interviewees Ilkka Tuomi and Andrew Tanenbaum
    Authored by: fxbushman on Thursday, June 10 2004 @ 11:50 AM EDT
    PJ writes "Some things just should not be done, even for money." Especially for money, one could also say. Though of course money trumps all other goals in the thinking of men like Ken Brown. He will not understand the principled fury he has stirred up.

    [ Reply to This | # ]

    AdTI's goals...
    Authored by: Anonymous on Thursday, June 10 2004 @ 11:56 AM EDT
    People, look at what AdTI's goals must be here. Most educated people can easily
    see the bias in KB's report and the flaws in his logic, and that his paper is
    merely a twisted justification for his personal opinion. I submit that KB knows
    full well there would be a swelling of criticism on this, that is the way with
    all things that attack Linux these days.

    AdTI accomplished their goal, and frankly all this public bickering about the
    accuracy of KB's data is only making them more successful. We can debate who
    paid for this, although IMHO it's pretty clearly one of three candidates (you
    know who if you follow this site), but they were paid to publicly add credence
    to an argument that Linux is somehow tainted and should not be touched by

    No matter how much individual people complain about being misquoted or
    misconstrued in the report, 1) no one is suing Ken Brown or AdTI over this issue
    and 2) the intended audience doesn't care to listen to the likes of Eric Raymond
    and Andrew Tannebaum. All they hear is "Linux is tainted" from a
    company with a fancy name and it's enough to scare them. The public argument
    just reinforces their inability to decide whether Linux can be used or not, it
    adds to the insecurity felt by many CIOs and CFOs out there whom are thinking
    "better not to touch it until it's status is defined". No one wants to
    be the one that gets their company sued.

    That folks, is excatly what AdTI was paid to do, keep adding fuel to an albiet
    false argument that Linux is not suitable for business use. As for who paid for
    it, well, who benefits from this argument? It's a pretty limited number of

    Lastly, while it's important to debunk AdTI's claims, it's not that hard to do
    and it's not undoing any of the real damage. All of this hoopla serves to buy
    time for other companies own goals that do not include Linux.

    If someone's looking to undo the damage, they need to sue AdTI for saying
    something knowingly false. And from what I've read so far, Ken Brown very
    expertly got little tidbits and off handed quotes from many people and assembled
    them into a context in which twists the meaning. AFAIK, he didn't misquote
    anyone word for word, only took things out of context to change their meaning.

    [ Reply to This | # ]

    UNIX timeline
    Authored by: Ares_Man on Thursday, June 10 2004 @ 12:29 PM EDT
    Here's a link to a rather small UNIX timeline that I posted on Grokline. ory.html

    Heck, no. I won't SCO!

    [ Reply to This | # ]

    What's up with AdTI?
    Authored by: Anonymous on Thursday, June 10 2004 @ 12:34 PM EDT
    What the hell is going on at AdTI, anyway?

    This is from their home page, at Thu Jun 10 09:29:23 PDT 2004, anyway...

    "...Open source tip of the day. Open-sourcers hate to pay for copyrighted material -- even when it's the much-admired prose of Lee Gomes at The Wall Street Journal. How to read Gomes for free, given the strict copyright policies at Dow-Jones? Answer: click here, to be whisked to Linux Today, where there's a large archive of links to many of Gomes's magazine and Journal articles, posted free at sites such as,, and even "I always read Gomes off the Linux Today links," chirps a correspondent to AdTI's message boards. Warning: Sometimes the links go down, as the DJ barristers comb the world for pirated Journal content. "I have one word for you in that case," another Gomes fan writes: "google cache." Well two words. "But it beats having to shell out $300 for the d--- Journal..."

    I really don't know what to say...

    "Juvenile" comes to mind, as does "trying to pick a fight".

    ps: I pulled down a local copy of this drivel, just in case it should "go away" later...


    Tempted to respond to Ken Brown/AdTI? Remember, kids, don't feed the trolls

    [ Reply to This | # ]

    More Rebuttals to AdTI's Ken Brown by Interviewees Ilkka Tuomi and Andrew Tanenbaum
    Authored by: Anonymous on Thursday, June 10 2004 @ 12:35 PM EDT
    I don't think this assertion is in my copy of the book, but I think I have the
    2nd edition.

    It's fairly well established that Linus never used any Minix code in Linux, and
    it's also well established that Tanenbaum never used any Unix code in Minix.

    Therefore, Eric Levenez's Unix History chart is wrong to show Minix as a branch
    off of V7. And SCO's bastardization of that same chart is wrong to show Linux as
    a branch off of Minix.

    [ Reply to This | # ]

    Heart of the matter
    Authored by: scott_R on Thursday, June 10 2004 @ 12:43 PM EDT
    I can't prove every honest hour of work, nor all the charity work (organized or
    not) I've ever done. Who can, especially when it's something that developed out
    of a hobby? In Ken Brown's world, this would seem to be proof positive that I
    contribute to organized crime, terrorism, etc.

    We can only win these battles with numbers and expertise, because our opponents
    refuse to see the obvious truth. Sane, clear-eyed opponents wouldn't approach a
    battle in this way. You'd think Ken Brown, ADTi and their supporters would have
    learned this from history, but it seems their refusal to accept facts goes far
    beyond the matter at hand.

    [ Reply to This | # ]

    More Rebuttals to AdTI's Ken Brown by Interviewees Ilkka Tuomi and Andrew Tanenbaum
    Authored by: Anonymous on Thursday, June 10 2004 @ 12:48 PM EDT
    First, I hope it gets published, so then a libel suit will follow. IANAL, but a
    preview copy is just that and I believe has some "not released for public
    viewing" defenses.

    Second I visited there site again to see if the "under construction"
    pages are done. No.

    Third, they have research programs on their site, including Iraq and Defense.
    Anyone know if these are the "Iraq has weopons of mass destruction
    people" or if they are going to be paid to take the fall for that.

    I would love to see that one in congress!

    [ Reply to This | # ]

    Confusion on the main premise
    Authored by: Anonymous on Thursday, June 10 2004 @ 01:11 PM EDT
    According to Brown, it would be difficult or impossible to write 10,000 lines of
    kernel code/year without some sort of assistance, which he presumes must be

    As a professional software engineer, I find this difficult to believe. 10,000
    lines/year means (giving 2 weeks vacation) roughly 200 lines/week means
    (assuming weekends off) 40 lines/day.

    I can't speak for other people, but I was writting around 10 lines (of tested,
    etc.)/hour back when I was 12. Note, however, that such code was far simpler and
    smaller than the original Linux, and therefore is useless for a direct

    These days, I commonly estimate (including documentation, meetings, testing,
    etc.) over 80 lines of code/day, or twice the speed of the original Linux. The
    present code I write is on the rough order of complexity of the original Linux,
    and a recent project I was on included a kernel embedded in the project. This
    implies to me that:
    a) Linus is a very slow programmer, and/or
    b) he was doing a lot of research the time (into the POSIX standard, the 386
    instruction set, etc), and/or
    c) he was writting to a far higher quality than I do and/or
    d) the tools I'm using are far superior to his.

    From looking at Linus's output since the original Linux, a) seems very unlikely.
    From the problems with the original Linux, some of which he himself has noted,
    c) seems unlikely (I write code for low-defect and 0-defect embedded systems;
    Kernels are by their very nature low-defect systems). As for d), a larger
    portion of the most recent project I completed was in assembly (a language that
    takes more time to write, debug, etc. than C). However, it seems that Linus did
    not use a run-time debugger in the early versions which I do. This could suggest
    a doubling in development speed by itself.

    In other words, I view the speed of early Linux development not particuarly
    different from my own. Assuming he did the neccessary research and did not use a
    debugger, it matches my own almost exactly.

    I have modified, coded portions of, and studied numerous kernels, most of them
    are proprietary, used in embedded products, and will likely not outlive the line
    of products that they were originally written for. From what I've seen of
    kernels, the original Linux had many problems, a few of which still exist. The
    exceptional things about Linux were the following:

    1) It was the first working kernel released under the GPL.
    2) Linus stuck with the kernel, well after the initial release.
    3) It supported a major, cheap hardware platform.
    4) It supported the POSIX standard well, which allowed the GNU tools to be used
    with it easily.

    As POSIX was published at the time, I can't see any evidence of theft from this
    list of exceptional items.

    In brief:
    1) The original Linux kernel was developed in an unexceptional length of time.
    2) Nothing that is particuarly exceptional about the original Linux kernel
    required theft.

    Therefore, Linus was perfectly capable of writting Linux from scratch without
    theft of any sort. As even Brown provides no evidence to the contrary, Linus's
    claim to having created it must be taken at face value.

    P.S.: Before I get flames, I should note that my opinion is that the present
    Linux/GNU Operating system is one of the two best operating systems to develop
    under, and is presently my recommendation for the OS to use for most projects
    due to the avalibility of source code, the range of hardware it runs on, and the
    number of drivers, filesystems, etc. that are avalible. My comments above are
    about the original Linux kernel only.

    [ Reply to This | # ]

    Linus is not a baby seal...
    Authored by: Anonymous on Thursday, June 10 2004 @ 01:58 PM EDT
    Oh, no. I think that it IS more important that he is maliciously and knowingly
    wrong than that he is simply wrong. I liken it to the distinction between
    ignorance and stupidity. Being wrong can be an innocent thing, but being
    maliciously and knowingly wrong is meanspirited and despicable.

    [ Reply to This | # ]

    Clubbing baby seals?
    Authored by: kzinti on Thursday, June 10 2004 @ 02:00 PM EDT
    The problem with Brown's stuff is not that he is attacking a hero.

    No, but is the seals analogy is not about attacking a hero. Seals are not heroic images. In fact, they're anonymous - one baby seal looks exactly like another, except, maybe, to Momma Seal. PJ's analogy to clubbing baby seals was not about attacking heros, but about bashing the innocent, in particular the lovably innocent. Brown not only has an ax to grind, but he's looking to bury it in some baby seal's head; that he's dead wrong makes him look not just evil, but stupid to boot.

    [ Reply to This | # ]

    Linus is not a baby seal...
    Authored by: Don on Thursday, June 10 2004 @ 02:40 PM EDT
    I don't see PJ's analogy to a baby seal as saying Linus is a hero. I only see it
    as suggesting that the AdTI's choice of Linus as a target will backfire because
    he's seen as innocent and they're seen as being crude. I think the analogy is

    It's not about heroes. It's about the heavy handed thuggery of the AdTI and Ken
    Brown against someone who's seen as having given much and not having tried to
    profit from it.


    [ Reply to This | # ]

    Clubbing baby seals?
    Authored by: Anon Ymonus on Thursday, June 10 2004 @ 03:00 PM EDT

    PJ, this sort of writing is water on the mills of people like Brown. It implies that out of some hero worship for Linus, people want to have all his faults excused and overlooked, and valid criticism snuffed.

    I've had the priviledge of meeting Linus several years ago. My impression of him was that he's a smart guy. Regardless of his level of programming skill when he started Linux, he struck me as a man who learns things quickly and thoroughly.

    I don't worship him at all. I do, however, respect him for his accomplishments. Brown really needs to understand that most people have this same opinion, and that there's a big difference between respect and worship.

    Anon Ymonus
    "Who can it be now?" -- Men at Work

    [ Reply to This | # ]

    AdTI's dirty secrets
    Authored by: Anonymous on Thursday, June 10 2004 @ 03:09 PM EDT
    I onder if IBM or Novell have given any thought of JUST BUYING AdTI. The deal
    is: $X in cash for immediate purchase, one-time offer and answer NOW. On
    acceptance freeze the "business". All letters, documents, accounts,
    equipment to remain in situ. KB is a known sellout. He would probably abandon
    his hidden buddies for the right amount of cash (probably far less than what is
    being paid the lawyers. A careful perusal of the acquired documents would be a
    gold mine of their history of underhanded PR.

    Just a thought.

    [ Reply to This | # ]

    Visual and logical aids
    Authored by: Fourmyle on Thursday, June 10 2004 @ 03:21 PM EDT
    I'm sure most of the Groklaw community knows of this site , but for the few who
    don't; . The last two days have touched on this very
    matter. I also have to say I love the disclaimer at that site.
    I do find myself torn on the issue of how do you deal with a troll. When is
    silent contempt appropriate and when can you constructively object?
    Perhaps before reading KB's "work" it would be helpful to read a
    book by a different Brown. "Techniques of Persuasion" by J.A.C.Brown (
    I appologize in advance if I got any of that wrong, lost my copy over a 1/4
    century ago ). As I recall it wasn't an easy read, but it did focus the mind
    wonderfully when it came to spotting flawed presentations and manipulated

    [ Reply to This | # ]

    Old Roblimo piece on Krazy Ken
    Authored by: Tim Ransom on Thursday, June 10 2004 @ 04:02 PM EDT

    Thanks again,

    [ Reply to This | # ]

    This can't be right...
    Authored by: converted on Thursday, June 10 2004 @ 07:38 PM EDT
    I've been googling around to see what kind of stuff I could find on Mr Brown. I came across a msg archive that seems to cover the survey that was being asked by Mr Brown, but it's dated june 2002. Some one with the wrong date on their machine? Confusing...


    He hasn't been at this for 2 yrs has he??

    [ Reply to This | # ]

    • Yes. - Authored by: Tim Ransom on Friday, June 11 2004 @ 02:31 PM EDT
    Letter to legisators better than a Post
    Authored by: nefertiti on Thursday, June 10 2004 @ 09:12 PM EDT
    Good points here (Kevin Kunreuther) and here (Thomas Frayne)

    Which say, in short, register your opinions about the analogy but be proactive at the same time. People on the Hill in general will not bat an eyelid towards GROKLAW. They will not do a Google™ search to verify whether Ken Brown did good research. They will not email Dr. Ritchie to find out whether his remarks were misconstrued. They don't have time for that. If it comes recommended by the right people they will read (skim) it and go make laws accordingly.

    That being the case, our community learning and backing up what we already know doesn't matter that's just like patting ourselves on the back because we know we are right. We are right, so what!?! big deal!! No one else knows it (or cares?)!

    We must establish a vehicle that can gather and generate a well-thought out and objective rebuttal in layman's terms. Then this vehicle must go park on Capitol Hill and put this document in the hands of lawmakers.

    As for the other issue, I agree that the comments are a bit exalting of Linus but this is PJ's blog, she says what she believes and we don't have to agree with it, or preach it. That's just how it is.

    -- insert witty comment here --

    [ Reply to This | # ]

    The Rebuttal - Ken Brown: LIAR
    Authored by: vruz on Thursday, June 10 2004 @ 09:46 PM EDT
    How about compiling all rebuttals under some
    printed work to be named something as spectacular as
    "The Rebuttal" or better "Ken Brown: Liar"

    I can think of at least a couple of books companies
    that benefit greatly from open source, and they
    could possibly publish that too. Easily.

    Not minimizing the role of the Internet at all,
    the dynamism of the Internet has its benefits,
    and we all here are every day giving great
    examples of it.

    Just noting the validity of printed works as
    a testament for the future.

    What's on ink will last, and I'd like these
    rebuttals to be conclusive.

    --- the vruz

    [ Reply to This | # ]

    Medical metaphors
    Authored by: lordmhoram on Friday, June 11 2004 @ 04:23 AM EDT
    Interesting that Steve Ballmer called linux a "cancer", and now the de
    Tocqueville Institute call it "leprosy". Maybe they're working through
    a medical dictionary. What's next, guys? Syphilis?

    [ Reply to This | # ]

    More Rebuttals to AdTI's Ken Brown by Interviewees Ilkka Tuomi and Andrew Tanenbaum
    Authored by: Anonymous on Friday, June 11 2004 @ 04:51 PM EDT
    Hey Mr McBride from SCO told me that Linux was copied from Unix. What the
    heck.... <laugh>

    OK Listen carefully ..... Linux is NOT Unix or Minix it is Linux. Linus created
    it, and with the help of thousands of very good programmers made it the best OS
    is the world. Hard to beleive it but it is true. PERIOD!
    GET IT? GOT IT? GOOD.....
    I am laughing at the poor poor folks at MicroSoft where this FUD is born, as the
    fools that follow them to there doom!

    [ Reply to This | # ]

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