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Lawyer's Funny AntiLinux FUD Turns Out to be Not So Funny - Updated 2Xs
Saturday, August 09 2008 @ 04:54 AM EDT

I put this article from Law.com's Legal Technology page, "Commentary: The Penguin Doesn't Fly, Avoid Linux" in News Picks because I found it hilarious, in the Rob Enderle kind of way. But then I thought I'd look up the author on Google, and lo and behold, I find he said something that appears to be not exactly true. I'm not talking about the FUD stuff. I'm talking about his assertion that he couldn't get any answers to a request for help from Mandriva Forum:
And, Linux proponents claim that if there is any kind of problem, or a viral threat or other OS disaster, there is an army of Linux programmers standing by to remedy the situation.

But these claims do not reflect my experience. I tried to install Puppy Linux without success -- and my e-mails to the developers were ignored. Ark Linux developers could not explain why my computer’s Wi-Fi card didn’t work. The Ubuntu forum could not explain why a DVD player would not eject. The Mandriva support site did not respond to queries at all. And it took a tech support person from Wine, a program supposed to allow Windows applications to run on Linux computers, 6 days to finally respond to my requests for help; which he was unable to resolve.

I know. I love that touch about a viral threat in Linux. Hilarious. But look what I just found: two pages of responses to a request for help from someone with his name. If it's the same individual, it's not so funny now.

The concern in the post was about a hidden folder he found, which he viewed as a security threat. He had deleted some pictures, and later he found the hidden folder of thumbnails where the deleted pictures still remained as thumbnails. Here's his concern:

Posted: Fri Jul 04, 2008 7:59 pm

Post subject: Breadcrumbs for the boss or the Goverment

Reply with quote I dabble with Mandriva, not a Linux fan at all, and am not a computer expert.

Yet I found what looks like a major, major security gap not in programming but in basic functionality that may apply to other distros. It is especially problematic for newbies or people who are just casual users, not really interested in much administration or programming.

Please advise, here are the facts. If there is a way to turn this off, I'd like to hear about it, and it should be front and center with every Linux housekeeping tool menu and without the need to have administrative powers.

I had many pix saved on my desktop from time to time, and trashed them as warranted, and from time to time purged the trash.

Somewhere along the line, while browsing with Konquerer for something else, and well down into my pathfiles, I find a folder named ".thumbnails" and subfolders inside there labeled "Large" and "Small" and find my trashed pics, or at least thumbnails of them. Because the folder name starts with a dot "." it has not appeared on the left pane of Konquerer and I didn't know it was there until I found it by accident in a manual search (one level at a time).

Having looked thru the Large and Small folders, I trash the pics I find in there, thinking copies were placed there because they were on the desktop.

Sometime after that, it is time to empty the trash again, and I pick thru it to see what is there, and the pics are there; I see them as thumbnails in display mode, which I am using instead of details mode to readily identify what is there. I then purged the trash, assuming all that was in Large and Small is now gone for good, and annoyed that it has taken 4 steps to delete the pix -- the originals moved to trash, trash purge, Large and Small thumbnails moved to trash, trash purge again.

Then get the bad news:

Picking thru trash in display mode to make sure everything going is supposed to be going causes the thumbnail pix seen in the trash to jump back to .thumbnails folders with no warning or option to decline that happening.

As I don't know this is happening, I don't find out about for months until I browsed my paths again looking for something else. I also find out that putting pix on the desktop isn't the only thing that copies them also in .thumbnails -- anytime that a thumbnail pic appears in Konquerer in any display mode dialog, such as picking thru trash or doing routine file reorganizing or picking one to open within a program, a copy of the thumbnail pic gets saved in .thumbnails. It happens every time the pic is viewed as a thumbnail. I found perhaps 20 or 30 copies of thumbnails of any given pic there, having been copied there over and over, as I figured out where they came from and how they got there.

Complicating matters, these all had a *.png extension, which I never heard of before, and different filenames than the originals, so they (i) would not be convenient to find by bulk searching later and (ii) didn't overwrite and just multiplied over and over as separate copies of the same thing with different names in that folder.

The upshot is that Unless users know about the .thumbnail folders and that the the pics inside too have to be purged, there are the breadcrumbs for a boss or the gov't to find out about in two seconds, without them ever knowing the computer leaves them to tell the authorities what the computer user has been up to. And it fills up plenty of storage room to boot with copies of each pic shown for each time it was encountered.

So my issue is (i) that it is extra hard to trash pix; they have to be trashed from where they are and the trash purged; trashed again from .thumbnails in multiple copies after hunting the folder down without the benefit of a search term, and then purged from trash without picking thru the trash first to make sure you have not thrown something away that you really need, and, necessarily, in that order; (ii) no newbie or casual Linux user, like a clerical employee or college premed is going to know this; and (iii) the underlying process it loads a user up with junk that doesn't go away.

And it also leaves open the question whether other material, ie downloaded music and video and so on remains concealed somewhere too, and findable by someone who knows about breadcrumbs.

My situation was a little more complex: my install gave me two partitions instead of one, and the pix showed up in .thumbnails on each one, so I had to do the .thumbnail purge twice. Of course, each time I picked thru Large or Small to see what happened, that caused the contents to be cloned to the .thumbnails folder on the other partition. Eventually I just had to purge everything blindly and hope for the best, and that took more time than I had allotted to it.

In this era where we are so bothered by hacks and viruses and unreformatting programs that allows malicious data mining and recovery, and the possiblity that Google can tell the government what searches a specific person has made, the multiple step Mandriva dance needed to trash stuff and make sure it stays trash is a humongous flaw in the design at least with respect to the Linux promises of privacy and Internet security, and IMHO, even more so if this is common to other Linux distros and desktops, because it just invites the government to seize computers and see what the user has been up to.

The risk of lost privacy is really very intolerable and I'm not even talking about stuff requiring a real and proper government wipe, but to keep the stuff away from readily prying eyes who barely know more computing than the next guy. Leaving breadcrumbs is way too easy for anyone who wants to be Big Brother. A better system has to be devised if this is it.

Rod Kovel

Joined: 18 Feb 2008
Posts: 50

Note the date. He joined in February of 2008, and it's now July 4th when he posts this, at 7:59 PM. It's his 50th post. His first response arrives the same day at 8:41. "You can always just turn off thumbnails in Konqueror," someone suggests, providing detailed instructions.

He wants thumbnails, but he doesn't want "breadcrumbs" left behind. That's a valid interest. Of course, it's not a security threat in the normal computer sense of the word, so some just told him that. But he was thinking in terms of an RIAA kind of security threat, a subpoena. He's correct that anything on your computer that is visible is reachable that way, but what he may not know is that deleting on a Windows computer doesn't erase the material at all. It just renames the file so the space can be reused. I hope no one tells him about metadata in Microsoft Word, described on this page like this:

What is Document Metadata?

Microsoft Office is perhaps the most powerful production software on the market today. With this power comes the responsibility of understanding and managing document metadata risks. Metadata risks are managable provided your document stays within the firm’s electronic “walls.” Documents sent outside the firm walls require different levels of metadata management based on the intended recipient.

For example, Microsoft Word documents contain hidden data and information peripheral to the content, such as deleted text, revision authors, and file system information. When these files are shared outside of the firm, there is a high risk of unintentional disclosure of private information (metadata risk).

I'm afraid he'll have a stroke if he finds out about metadata risk. He'll probably write an article all about it for Legal Technology once he learns about the danger he's in using Windows. You think? That metadata site recommends a product to clean up metadata, one they offer, and there are some case studies and articles on the site's news page. I see Keker & Van Nest uses their product, and they're an excellent firm, so it's likely a good product if you are stuck in Windows. I don't see pricing, although they say it's priced on a per seat basis, so it's certainly not free. They tell you more about metadata on that page too, and explain why it's a real concern for law firms. When I used to use Microsoft products, I just followed their instructions on how to "minimize" metadata, but I eventually got so concerned about it, I stopped using their software. SCO's firm, Boies Schiller, is by no means the first or the last to get caught with its metadata showing.

Of course, if you are really worried about privacy, you shouldn't use computers at all. He may not know about computer forensics, but I'm guessing the RIAA does. If he has some incriminating pics, or plans to get some, I'd suggest he use a Knoppix live CD, view them without saving them or save them on a thumb drive he can later smash with a hammer and toss in a couple of nearby lakes. Or he could do what I do: I don't download anything I would need to worry about the RIAA finding. That's a foolproof system. And I highly recommend it.

Anyway, some on Mandriva Forum acknowledge his concern and they tell him how to purge files in Linux, how to turn off thumbnails, and one person writes a script for him to make it easy, after he complains he doesn't know how to write a script.

Does that sound like you can't get help on Mandriva Forum? Incidentally, that is the free forum, where no one has to answer at all. If you buy Mandriva it comes with 90 days of support, so you can ask a question and you are certain to get an answer.

A lot of the problem is that he's new, as he acknowledged, but what he doesn't see is that he leaps to negative conclusions that are not warranted. His rather odd claims about getting two partitions instead of one, which worries him, is the default for Mandriva. You get a root partition and a /home partition, which is, by the way a security plus. If something goes wrong in root, you can reinstall your system, while retaining your /home partition, and if /home is contaminated in some way, it doesn't generally impact anything but that partition, so you can create a new user, move your stuff over, like documents, and then delete that old user and that home space. I can't make sense of his claim that he viewed the hidden thumbnails folder in both partitions. It sort of doesn't make any sense to me. There are two partitions, but you don't access them in the way he describes. And folders that start with a dot are hidden folders, which you can make visible.

Finally, I downloaded a picture, Tux, in Mandriva. Then I deleted it. Then I emptied trash, then I looked for it in the Trash with view hidden files activated. Nothing. Totally gone. So evidently he not only got his question answered directly, with directions to help him as an individual, the matter was apparently solved for everyone, after his concern was expressed. Try getting service like that from Microsoft.

So when you read the article, I suggest you extrapolate. And while we are at it, if you see other mistakes in the article, do point it out in the comments. Please be respectful, factual, logical, and accurate. He's a lawyer, after all, and he may not have a geek sense of humor.

[ Update: PS For the author, who complained that there is no grammar checker for OpenOffice.org, here it is. Enjoy!]

Update 2: The plot thickens. He has issues with the GPL, answered for him in the Mandriva Forum thread by the editor, Adam Williamson, and he has issues with FOSS in general. He imagines that if the military uses FOSS, they'll have to give a copy of the software to "the enemy". Actually, the GPL is quite clear. If you don't redistribute, anything you write modifying GPL software is yours to keep private, which is why the Department of Defense loves FOSS and can use it without fear. He's had some issues with the FCC recently also. It seems a local radio station didn't return his phones calls regarding questions he had about an ad and some other issues he had that the FCC declined to act upon in the way he hoped.

Groklaw member Tufty found some other comments a Rod Kovel posted to Mandriva Forum, and you can see for yourself the helpful answers he got:

  • Kmail -- Is it me or the installation [He gets help, and he wrote: "That did it! It begs the question about how a page can run a couple of inches off screen with no ability to slide, but it worked like a charm. Thanks!"]
  • Is there software to utilize monitor's pivoting ability? (2 pages of replies)
  • Bash??? Ash?? [" What is Bash, or Ash, and why and how does somebody use it?" He is immediately directed to Wikipedia, but he doesn't understand it, and asks if bash is a calculator program. He is told no, it's like DOS in Windows, but better, to which he replies, "What are you guys talking about? What power? What speed? When I back up, I do "copy" and "paste." It takes seconds, and I don't have to know [redacted]. What am I doing with ash or bash or Korn that I can't do with Windows Explorer with no training or instructions whatever, and usually just holding down my left mouse button?" He is provided with more information, a link to more, and they explain to him that if his system needs rescuing, bash can come in handy. He says, "Thanks for the help..."]
  • Linux can't find the ethernet card on my old Dell Pentium 2 [He is told that in fact the driver is available in Mandriva 2008, which he has, and he's asked to provide info to figure out why it wasn't automatically detected, but he never replied with the information. He has already mentioned that YouTube doesn't work well in XP on that old computer.]
  • What is a cooker? What is X server [He gets both questions answered.]
  • Mixed purpose disks, and CD ripping [He gets his question responded to.]
  • Software Management is gone [2 pages of replies, but the very first two replies answered his issue, and he wrote, "Thanks to both of you, your help was excellent."]

If indeed this is the same individual that wrote the Law.com commentary, it's hard for me to put the two together without dissonance.


  


Lawyer's Funny AntiLinux FUD Turns Out to be Not So Funny - Updated 2Xs | 521 comments | Create New Account
Comments belong to whoever posts them. Please notify us of inappropriate comments.
"Its only peoples games that you've got to dodge"
Authored by: Anonymous on Saturday, August 09 2008 @ 05:03 AM EDT

Bob Dylan said it all really.

[ Reply to This | # ]

Corrections thread
Authored by: Aladdin Sane on Saturday, August 09 2008 @ 05:05 AM EDT
Please post corrections to the story here by replying to this comment.

Please summarize the correction in the Title: field of your comment.

Thanks.

---
"Experience is what you get when you didn't get what you wanted." --R. Pausch

[ Reply to This | # ]

[NP] Discuss Groklaw News Picks.
Authored by: Aladdin Sane on Saturday, August 09 2008 @ 05:10 AM EDT
Please post comments on Groklaw News Picks here.

Please fail to keep a secret which News Pick you are commenting on, by citing the story headline, preferably in the Title: field of your comment.

Thanks.

---
"Experience is what you get when you didn't get what you wanted." --R. Pausch

[ Reply to This | # ]

[OT] Off Topic thread
Authored by: Aladdin Sane on Saturday, August 09 2008 @ 05:15 AM EDT

Post non-topical comments here.

Look, here in the "Post a comment" editing page where I am now, there is red text below the Post Mode: field. The last line is an example clicky link, just copy and paste it and change the 2 parameters to make a clicky link!

Thanks.

---
"Experience is what you get when you didn't get what you wanted." --R. Pausch

[ Reply to This | # ]

"I'd suggest he use a Knoppix live CD, view them without saving them"
Authored by: Anonymous on Saturday, August 09 2008 @ 05:16 AM EDT
Pardon my ignorance but I read somewhere that all pictures that are viewed in a
browser are downloaded to the user's hard disk before being displayed on the
screen. If so, surely traces remain on the hard disk?

[ Reply to This | # ]

Lawyer's Funny AntiLinux FUD Turns Out to be Not So Funny
Authored by: Anonymous on Saturday, August 09 2008 @ 05:28 AM EDT
I guess that his double partition problem could be explained if what he calls
partition is in fact the 'root' account. This confusion is easy for a beginner
because the root home directory resides on the so called root partition.

If he tried to clean his user account thumbnails from his root account then the
thumbnails were indeed recreated on the root account (so on the other partition)
after he visualized them in the root Trash.

To make things even more confusing, there is a specific trash directory on each
partition (the behavior may be different on KDE and Gnome). This is a known
problem on USB keys where the deleted files remain on the .Trash directory of
the USB key (thus invisible by default but still consuming place).


[ Reply to This | # ]

Looks like Mandriva listened to him
Authored by: delboy711 on Saturday, August 09 2008 @ 05:31 AM EDT
Reading that forum thread I would say he got remarkably good support considering
he paid absolutely nothing for it.

The only thing that surprised me was that no-one pointed out that if he was so
terrified of government agencies discovering what images he had on his computer,
then maybe he should not be saving that sort of image.

In any case the next release of Mandriva 2009.0 has a new tool called 'Sweeper'
which clears the thumbnail cache and all the other traces he does not know
about.

Maybe they put it in just for him? Now that would be good support!

[ Reply to This | # ]

How utterly bizarre
Authored by: Anonymous on Saturday, August 09 2008 @ 05:54 AM EDT
If he'd never bothered to go back to his own thread, then it might be
understandable to claim that he'd received no help. But he responded several
times, so presumably he's just... uh... I think the lay term for it would be
"lying through his teeth."

Sorry, I don't speak legaleese, but I do understand bull when I read it.

[ Reply to This | # ]

No intent to be funny
Authored by: Anonymous on Saturday, August 09 2008 @ 06:08 AM EDT
Hidebound and willfully ignorant.
Or perhaps payed to be so.

[ Reply to This | # ]

He does have at least one legitimate complaint
Authored by: Aladdin Sane on Saturday, August 09 2008 @ 06:15 AM EDT

That bit about KDE's Konqueror not showing hidden directories in the left hand pane, even when you've unhidden everything, annoys me too.

KDE developers please listen: Not being able to do the browsing in the left hand pane simply because of dot-appended directories is seriously annoying.

For me, who's comfortable at the command line or in the GUI, I can work around it; for a GUI-only user, they are at a serious disadvantage. Since KDE is a GUI, it should not be putting the GUI-only user at a disadvantage (and is certainly an argument against GUI's in general).

---
"Experience is what you get when you didn't get what you wanted." --R. Pausch

[ Reply to This | # ]

The most important thing ...
Authored by: Anonymous on Saturday, August 09 2008 @ 06:16 AM EDT
... is that the problem he reported is to get fixed.
Question is why nobody else spotted it.

[ Reply to This | # ]

Lawyer's Funny AntiLinux FUD Turns Out to be Not So Funny
Authored by: iraskygazer on Saturday, August 09 2008 @ 06:33 AM EDT
PJ,

It looks like you need input from a computer forensics expert, of which I'm
not. Regardless of what anybody wants to do on a computer, expecting not to see
any trace of information processing on a computer is just a panacea for the
general user. Every operating system has hidden, traceable files located
throughout the file system. If anybody wants to complain about traceability have
them talk with a forensic expert about all MSWin OS's. The latest MS product
hides records of your internet activity that can include all URL history and
time. At least most of the Linux based file systems don't make a conscious
effort to keep a history of computer activity.
The person that makes a comment about a hidden folder in his Linux folder is
'CLUELESS' about how all Unix's work. I hope the author of the article you
quoted from has no real political power because his lack of knowledge could
create further problems for the entire software industry.

[ Reply to This | # ]

Lawyers are funny people
Authored by: Anonymous on Saturday, August 09 2008 @ 06:41 AM EDT
They tend to look at the world the same as nerd walking into a biker bar with a
gun. "Someone's about to try and beat me up. Whom do I shoot
first?"

What is the first thing lawyers tell you -- hire a qualified lawyer.

And yet, this guy thinks he's qualified to install an operating system on all
the computers in his office. Micromanager? God complex? Just plain stupid?
Either way this is the kind of thing you hire your office computer guy to do.

"But anyone can install linux". Yes. Works great at home, but when
your livelihood depends on it, and when you're a whiny-ass lawyer, hire youre
$75/hr computer guy to do it right.

It amazes me how these guys say "What? You hired a $200/hr lawyer and he
didn't work out for you? ha ha ha ha. You should have hired me!" and then
they go try and do computer stuff and don't want to pay for it.

Expertise costs money.
Incompetence is free.
Welcome to the real world.

Ehud

[ Reply to This | # ]

Flame bait
Authored by: Aladdin Sane on Saturday, August 09 2008 @ 06:42 AM EDT
PJ:
Please be respectful, factual, logical, and accurate.
PJ's right, I think.

But despite all admonitions to the contrary, the author will attract flames. It seems to be the nature of the Internet. Gets rather depressing at times, but there it is, it is what it is.

I hope the author will do a good study of proper Netiquette to understand how to minimize the phenomenon.

Wondering if Slashdot is going to pick this one up (rolls eyes)...

Mmm, RFC's [RFC 1855], not just for breakfast anymore.

---
"Experience is what you get when you didn't get what you wanted." --R. Pausch

[ Reply to This | # ]

Very Odd Article
Authored by: sk43 on Saturday, August 09 2008 @ 07:15 AM EDT
The guy claims to be an attorney, but he leaves out several
"disadvantages" that he ought to be an expert on:

1. The legal cloud cast by SCO's lawsuits;
2. The lack of legal indemnification of end users;
3. The flawed development model;
4. The unconstitutional licensing model.

Not a single mention anywhere. SCO's message is just not
getting out anymore. Perhaps it is time for another "Dear
Linux User" letter?

[ Reply to This | # ]

  • clicky - Authored by: Alan(UK) on Saturday, August 09 2008 @ 09:01 AM EDT
so lets review the claims
Authored by: LaurenceTux on Saturday, August 09 2008 @ 07:44 AM EDT
I tried to install Puppy Linux without success -- and my e-mails to the
developers were ignored.
[ why did he not use the forum??]
Ark Linux developers could not explain why my computer’s Wi-Fi card didn’t
work.
[without exact chipset data you can't do this (and sometimes with)]

The Ubuntu forum could not explain why a DVD player would not eject.
[previously unknown hardware issue does the actual hardware button work?]
The Mandriva support site did not respond to queries at all.
[sco logic used]
And it took a tech support person from Wine, a program supposed to allow
Windows applications to run on Linux computers, 6 days to finally respond to my
requests for help; which he was unable to resolve.
[unless you are paying said person maybe it took 6 days to not come up with a
correct and right answer??]

so i don't see his problem is a problem

[ Reply to This | # ]

His 'free' Win software
Authored by: Anonymous on Saturday, August 09 2008 @ 07:46 AM EDT
He claims that lawyers can use win-equivalents and/or other types of 'free'
software to secure their Windows box, so that, as is the case when using Linux,
they don't have to pay money in order to have security.

Well then, let him or another lawyer install any of the 'free' A/V,
anti-spy/mal/adware apps, and what are they going to do when they see the big
"This software is NOT free for commercial use." terms during install?

Based on what I read of/in his writing, I'd give you odds that in his office are
'free' win apps with just such EULA's, running in a commercial environment, but
that the dev's have seen nary a dime...

He's proof that you don't have to be intelligent (or honest) to be a lawyer.

[ Reply to This | # ]

Irony
Authored by: Anonymous on Saturday, August 09 2008 @ 08:16 AM EDT
It's ironic that a lawyer complains about having to memorize "the 800-page list of computer commands to program discreet actions" as a "rite of passage". As a rite of passage, didn't he have to memorize chunks of a legal library that might fill a wall in hard copy, much of that involving words in another language? (hint: Latin)

In any case, I never memorized that 800-page document. Anyone have a copy they can loan to a n00b? I've worked with various flavors of Unix/Linux for only a decade or so and "squeek by" with only one memorized command: "man".

[ Reply to This | # ]

Stop the press! Breaking News! A lawyer lied!
Authored by: Anonymous on Saturday, August 09 2008 @ 08:24 AM EDT
Now that is something never heard of before. A lawyer lied, who'd think this
could ever happen? Incredible!

[ Reply to This | # ]

Lawyer's Funny AntiLinux FUD Turns Out to be Not So Funny
Authored by: Anonymous on Saturday, August 09 2008 @ 08:39 AM EDT
Gotta say, while I agree that this attorney seems to be over-reacting to the
issue, as well as ignoring the well-known fact that MSWin is even worse when it
comes to hidden breadcrumbs, he does point out a little-known privacy issue with
Linux-based OS's that I'll bet few of us were aware of (I certainly wasn't).

I just typed "slocate .thumbnails" in a terminal on my Ubuntu desktop
machine and was surprised by the volume of files that scrolled by. There's
probably a copy of every picture I've viewed on the machine in there. Of
course, getting rid of them is much easier than the attorney described, when
done from the command line.

If, as the attorney says, a new thumbnail is generated every time the same image
is accessed (and my experience waiting for the gui to build thumbnails when I
browse to a folder full of images suggests he's right about that), then I wonder
why the .thumbnails directory should be placed in a /home directory rather than
in /tmp. If the gui can't re-use thumbnails it previously generated for image
files it has previously accessed, why keep them around indefinitely in a hidden
directory? Wouldn't it be better to purge them on shutdown? And not just for
privacy reasons -- the thumbnails in my "normal" subdirectory run
about 20 - 30 kB apiece and there are thousands of them, so it's wasting
probably 100 MB or more of disk space.

[ Reply to This | # ]

Cant respond on the blog, but there is a contact form.
Authored by: Kilz on Saturday, August 09 2008 @ 09:29 AM EDT
The sad thing is, the blog on law.com doesn't allow comments to correct the misinformation presented. But Law.com does have a contact form. :)

[ Reply to This | # ]

Lawyer's Funny AntiLinux FUD Turns Out to be Not So Funny
Authored by: Anonymous on Saturday, August 09 2008 @ 09:31 AM EDT
It is funny, I LoLed when he said OOo is not ready for lawyers because it
doesn't have grammar check. I said to myself I KNEW IT! Lawyers can't do no
grammar...

[ Reply to This | # ]

A critique of the article by ThrPilgrim
Authored by: ThrPilgrim on Saturday, August 09 2008 @ 09:48 AM EDT
Par 3: 'Linux fans begin with this claim -- that freeware costs nothing'

Objection - Irrelevant Linux is FOSS not Freeware

Par 5: 'The learning curve for Linux and freeware is enormous, because it
involves relearning computing from scratch with software that is not user
friendly. Add in the extensive efforts needed to install it on a DIY basis, and
the time lost nullifies putative cost-savings.'

Objection - Learning computing from scratch. I would suggest that he has never
learned computing. Ok so awk, sed and grep are not the easiest of tools to
learn, however I think even Rod could, once informed, use locate.

Par 6: little or no emphasis on personal profit or glory

Objection - One of the reasons why there is so much FOSS is because of personal
glory. The ability to put worked on project X on your CV gives a massive boost
to your employability. Oh look personal profit.

Addendum. Is this the Long Haired Smellies attack re-heated?


Par 6: The reality is that much freeware is written by free agent developers who
waive most of the intellectual property interests normally accorded them.

Objection. Intellectual Property is one or more of; copyright, trademark or
patents. Lets see if Groklaw has taught me anything useful.

Copyright:- Not waved as without it the GPL would not work. Also c.f. All those
Copy right notices in all that FOSS code

Trademark:- Not waved c.f. trademark on the use of the name Linux.

So that leaves Patents. Which, despite Microsoft's best efforts, aren't globally
allowed on computer software and have a nasty habit of being overturned when
exposed to public scrutiny.

Par 7: But freeware’s impact on the marketplace is stark.

Objection - Rod is an attorney and not an economists which explains why

Par 7: Freeware makers cannot expect to generate a profit from R&D
investments. So instead of coming from large reputable companies, freeware comes
from students, underemployed programmers and fly-by-nighters from distant
continents

Objection - He must be thinking of such minuscule companies as IBM Market Cap:
US$174,516.95M, Red Hat Market Cap: US$4,377.71M, Novell Market Cap:
US$1,910.89M and SUN Micro Systems Market Cap: US$7,697.75M

Par 8: Linux is the centerpiece of freeware

Objection - Linux is not freeware

Par 9: In fact, Linux is not really cheaper for lawyers or anyone whose time is
money. Whereas Windows is typically bundled with the purchase of a new computer,
buying it that way really only adds about $75 under bulk licenses to computer
makers. And that is money that can’t really be saved by avoiding Windows because
computers sold without any OS or with Linux as an alternative are hard to find,
and don’t sell cheaper.

Ok he may be on to something hear. It would appear that because Microsoft is
abusing its monopoly status you can't get a computer with an OS that retails for
$0 at a cost of $75 less than one that has MS Windows on it. Well he was on to
something until he blamed Linux for Microsoft's predatory pricing. Note also
Rod seams to be comparing a computer with just Windows on it with an entire
Linux distribution. I wonder what the cost difference is when you include all
the things you have to buy from Microsoft that come free with a Linux
distribution.

Par 10: Meanwhile, a Linux DIY installation like a DIY auto repair, is extremely
complex, convoluted, time consuming and often dicey, something a lawyer may not
want to bet his or her practice on.

Objection - I know Rod is an attorney, but even attorneys should be aware that
we live in the 21st Century, Installing Linux is a lot less difficult than
installing MS Windows. For one. I don't need to keep all those device driver
disks lying around. And for two I don't need to leave my PC unsecured and open
to the Internet for the two hours or so it takes to update to the latest service
pack. I agree that a lawyer may not want to bet his practice on his own
inability to install Linux, but in that case he should hire a specialist for the
job. Unless of cause he belongs to a medium to large practice, in which it
should be their IT departments job.

Par 11: given the fact that a fully loaded and presumably much more powerful
refurbished Windows computers can be purchased for $219.00

Objection - I hope he got all the disks and licenses with that purchase,
otherwise he is going to get a call from the BSA.

Par 11: tune-ups or re-installations of Windows may restore the desired level of
functionality at minimal cost,

Objection - Rod states in Par 9 that if you spend more than 15 minutes
installing Linux it is cheaper to buy a new computer. I would love to see his
sub 15 minute reinstall of Windows.

Par 12: In fact, no Linux distributions would install on any computers that were
6 years or older in my office

Objection - Which version of windows does he run on those boxes. Did he try Damn
Small Linux? Did he try pruning the install or did he select install all
packages. Just which version of MS Office is he running on those boxes?

Par 14: hardware manufacturers do not uniformly provide Linux drivers.

Objection - which hardware is he talking about? The last 2 paragraphs talk about
computers 3 to 6 years old. Are we still talking about those or is Rod talking
about mor moden computers again.

Par 14: There may be no way of knowing whether a given peripheral is supported
except by trial and error.

Objection - Ask the sales person if the hardware supports Linux. If they don't
know take your custom else where. Failing that ask for recommendations on the
Linux hard ware web sites.

Par 15: Instead of providing good and relatively easy-to-learn housekeeping
tools for certain kinds of chores, such as installing new programs or fonts --
tasks that even marginal employees can pick up readily

Objection - marginal employees should not be installing *ANYTHING* on a
computer. Oh and I have a file Rod might like called LeagleFonts.exe It adds
some new fonts to his computers, honest.

Par 15:

I'm sorry I just can't be bothered to sully PJ's Blog with the rest of this
paragraph. I will say that installing a new program can be a pain. I use Gentoo
and, as Rod says, I do have to go back to the command line. And typing 'emerge
openoffice' to get open office to install was very complicated.

Par 17: Open Office does not have grammar check and does not have an envelope
maker,

Objection - Rod just recommended Open Office in Par 16 as something you can use
on MS Windows. Is there some major discrepancy between the Windows and Linux
versions that I was unaware of.

Par 17: Additionally, law practice management applications and e-discovery tools
supported under Windows are unavailable to Linux users. For example, there is no
CT Summation or conflicts checker.

Objection - Unlike everything else in this article Rod may be on to something
here. I am a Geek and not a Lawyer, so I have no knowledge of these tools.

Par 20: But these claims do not reflect my experience. I tried to install Puppy
Linux without success -- and my e-mails to the developers were ignored. Ark
Linux developers could not explain why my computer’s Wi-Fi card didn’t work. The
Ubuntu forum could not explain why a DVD player would not eject. The Mandriva
support site did not respond to queries at all. And it took a tech support
person from Wine, a program supposed to allow Windows applications to run on
Linux computers, 6 days to finally respond to my requests for help; which he was
unable to resolve.

Objection - See PJ's intro to this story.

Par 21: And as far as freedom from attack, the jury is still out. As Linux
remains under the radar with only a small percentage of the computing community
using it, the best that can be said is that it provides “security through
obscurity” because miscreants, like hunters, seek out mostly big game.

Objection - Has Rod herd of this Internet thing. From what I hear there are a
lot of Linux systems connected to it and they don't get hacked all the time.
IIRC the last time a Linux system was hacked it was a major IT story. And
miscreants do not hunt out big game, they hunt out easy marks. Also I don't get
this “security through obscurity” bit. How can it be obscure when the source
code is published.

Par 22: Going beyond the poor quality of applications and the complexity of
acquiring and installing Linux,

Objection - It must be really hard to use Red Hat or SUSI's web sites then. And
the poor quality of the software must be why Microsoft keeps talking about it in
their Quarterly reports.

Par 22: The desktop environments -- the layer of housekeeping software between
the operating system and the applications used -- are particularly unfriendly
and much too convoluted to be successfully used by marginal staff.

Objection - FOSS is about Choice. If your staff still expect to use MS Windows
95's look and feel then install KDE and use the MS Windows 9x Style

Par 23: that fail to suggest where files are saved.

Objection - Has Rod ever tried to locate a file by name in MS Windows. Can
someone please tell me how I find the hosts file on any Windows box from Win 95
to Vista. PS. its in /etc on every version of Linux.

Par 23: That makes locating files a treasure hunt

Objection - learn to use the locate program.

Par 23: with a pathname like \homearklinuxhdcusrshareMy
Documentsclientnameclientprojectdocumentname.

Objection - This is not a Linux path Rod, its a Microsoft Windows Shared Folder.
Linux paths use / not and, as far as I know no Linux path starts \. Also
which distribution, by default, mounted your 'C' drive in you home directory.
And which distribution gives you a 'My Documents' directory. I'm sorry Rod, If
you want to create lot of subdirectories that's up to you but please note
Windows won't stop you either.

Par 24: To make Linux hum, its proponents have, almost as a rite of passage,
memorized the 800-page list of computer commands to program discreet actions.

Objection - I'm not that bright, and My Linux Distribution hums. It also speaks
and plays tunes.

Par 25: But that is their entertainment, not their livelihood.

Objection - Er, sorry Rod. It *IS* my livelyhood.

---
Beware of him who would deny you access to information for in his heart he
considers himself your master.

[ Reply to This | # ]

Be careful in critiquing critique of online help
Authored by: pterandon on Saturday, August 09 2008 @ 09:53 AM EDT
I once made a public complaint that I wasn't able to get help in the online help
forum of a group putting out a FOSS product. The enthusiasts of that product
replied with URLs to postings showing me getting replies from the group's team
leader himself. This was proof to them that I was merely a FUDder.

Problem is, there WERE days when I signed on to that FOSS group's IRC channel
and politely asked questions. And I was completely ignored by a raging
conversation going on in another language, despite several prompts over the
course of half an hour. How long are you supposed to wait for an answer to an
IRC channel question for a dead-in-the-water problem[*]? Granted, my batting
average for getting help from those guys was way over 0.750, but my experience
on that night was a reason to go try out another FOSS group's product, one with
a larger user base. How many times are we supposed to "take it" when
there's no help before we ourselves may go tell the world, "Hey folks,
consider another FOSS group because these guys are less helpful than
others."

I support FOSS and GNU/Linux as a political and humanitarian movement. Everyone,
please use linux! But FOSS enthusiasts' response to critique can be like
conservatives' response to critique of America. The person who points out
problems is accused of being a supporter of the evils of the Exact Opposite
Extreme. If you point out the counterproductive nature of Bush's actions, you're
a terrorist sympathizer.

In other words, did the guy of the Groklaw posting have a batting average of
only 0.750 ? I so far have only seen evidence in your article that it was
>0.000. Do we tolerate "0.750" for computer things which want to
call themselves "enterprise-ready" ?

[*] I've got two hobby PC's; I usually try to keep a different distro on each.

[ Reply to This | # ]

It's a really hostile, damaging article
Authored by: Anonymous on Saturday, August 09 2008 @ 09:57 AM EDT

This article shows more outright hostility to the GNU/Linux community than even the typical Enderle/O'Gara articles. Biased though Enderle and O'Gara clearly were, they did not normally publish direct lies, like the one in this article, saying that a question on a forum received no responses. And since this purports to be written by an ordinary user, it will probably make more impression than their articles.

It is probably the most damaging attack on GNU/Linux that I have ever read.

[ Reply to This | # ]

What he turns out to be is a nitwit
Authored by: Anonymous on Saturday, August 09 2008 @ 10:27 AM EDT
The ".thumbnails" directories are caches of the thumbnail images. I'm not aware of any GUI on any OS that doesn't cache thumbnails somewhere. A GUI would be unbearably slow if it had to regenerate the thumbnails every time you looked in a directory. A lot of programs cache other information as well. Web browsers for example cache a lot of stuff. When forensic examiners look over a computer, they look in the caches.

There are programs for MS Windows that clean out the various caches on that OS. I believe the main market for that is for husbands who don't want their wives to know what sorts of naughty web sites they've been visiting. That might be viewed as a "security problem" if you are worried about getting hit over the head with a rolling pin.

[ Reply to This | # ]

There are reasons...
Authored by: Anonymous on Saturday, August 09 2008 @ 12:00 PM EDT
There are reasons that I vowed never to work for Lawyers, Stock Brokers or Human
Resource departments. Every time I tried, I ended up losing money, largely due
to the types of misrepresentation of assumptions that are made in this article.
It was never worth my time to nail down every part of a specification so tightly
that they could not be twisted.

There are probably reasons that this particular lawyer cannot purchase competent
technical support to help him with computer installs and evaluations.

-- Alma kc0hdr

[ Reply to This | # ]

Lawyer's Funny AntiLinux FUD Turns Out to be Not So Funny
Authored by: Anonymous on Saturday, August 09 2008 @ 12:10 PM EDT
What a Lawyer possibly playing ball with M$ to write an article slamming linux
to avoid the migration away from M$? No way! Impossible!
What a Lawyer who isn't up on his IT skills, which are easy to learn over time,
that can not find things from a command line?
What a Lawyer, who can find some IT help, to do simple IT tasks and low level
training?
Give that Lawyer a personal injury lawsuit, against himself and those whom he
negatively influences.
All the better for us.

Besides, *BSD often is better for some IT needs, and is a better system.
What, the Lawyer didn't even get that far? He had to find and pick a puppy to
kick.
All the better for us busy *BSD people.
Keep up the good reporting PJ. If only though more on IBM OSS, and how IBM
would start to expand to deal with M$...

[ Reply to This | # ]

Try installing Vista
Authored by: Anonymous on Saturday, August 09 2008 @ 12:25 PM EDT

OK, he tried installing Linux on some random PCs he had lying around. He didn't buy a computer with Linux preloaded. Now he should buy Windows Vista, the boxed product at $299, and try the same thing. I want to see a video of him doing a cold install of Windows on some random PC. Especially where he calls Microsoft support ((866) 234-6020) for help.

[ Reply to This | # ]

  • ROFL - Authored by: Tufty on Saturday, August 09 2008 @ 01:32 PM EDT
Lawyer's Funny AntiLinux FUD Turns Out to be Not So Funny
Authored by: Anonymous on Saturday, August 09 2008 @ 12:37 PM EDT
Look at Here

He complains about Konqueror.


Linux is different from windows and that's creating some problems and so he blames the software. This kind of things could happen more when more computer illiterate people are going to use Linux. I don't think it's FUD but the way some people response to certain situations.

[ Reply to This | # ]

Lawyer's Funny AntiLinux FUD Turns Out to be Not So Funny
Authored by: Anonymous on Saturday, August 09 2008 @ 01:42 PM EDT
It's possible he didn't mean the Mandriva forums: he may have posted a question
at Mandriva Expert which didn't get answered, or sent a mail somewhere. This
does sometimes happen, unfortunately.

You get 30 days of installation support (i.e. we don't guarantee to be able to
fix every problem ever, we just help you get it installed) with a Powerpack
purchase, not 90.

When installing you get a root partition and a /home partition, not a /root
partition and a /home partition. :)

Adam Williamson
Mandriva

[ Reply to This | # ]

He's telling an untruth
Authored by: jeevesbond on Saturday, August 09 2008 @ 02:11 PM EDT

What he got in response to raising a valid concern was a mixture of WorksForMe(tm) and ReadTheManual(tm). Which is probably worse than receiving no replies, as he then had to wade through all the scorn and defend his point. I loved the 'I just use the terminal' response, wow, that's just not helpful to a new user.

Frankly this is the FOSS communities fault. It is us who have touted GNU/Linux as the second coming, perfect for everyone, with wonderful community support. Then when someone tries it and they find a bug, usability problem, or some other issue, we shout them down. Small wonder the bloke is angry enough to write a damning article.

Seriously, we need to stop touting Free software as being the greatest thing since sliced bread, stop blaming users for the issues in our own software, and start listening to what people want.

Also, drawing comparisons with Microsoft software is just an attempt to divert from the real issue at hand. Just because Microsoft does something wrong, doesn't give us carte blanche to do the same.

He has misunderstood some of the fundamentals surrounding licensing, but the essence of this article is absolutely correct:

  1. GNU/Linux and Free software in general is being sold as a great solution for everyone, when it's not;
  2. the community support, touted by those advocating FOSS, isn't really all it's cracked up to be;

I use GNU/Linux on a permanent basis and find most of this article to be absolutely spot-on. It's a shame he didn't get the differences between Free software and freeware, and felt he couldn't tell the truth about the Mandriva forums response (really don't understand that, maybe he wrote the article before getting a response?). Otherwise he spotted an important usability issue: when the user empties the deleted items, they expect an item to actually be deleted. Note: it doesn't matter what technical reasons anyone can counter this with, it is still a usability issue and should be fixed.

[ Reply to This | # ]

Backups
Authored by: sciamiko on Saturday, August 09 2008 @ 02:42 PM EDT
I wonder whether he deleted his pix from his backups - assuming to he took any.

As PJ says, if you're that worried, then do not let anything so sensitive get
anywhere near a hard disk. Leave it in RAM.

s.

[ Reply to This | # ]

The guy's got some good points.
Authored by: AMackenzie on Saturday, August 09 2008 @ 03:11 PM EDT
I'm afraid I have to differ from the bulk of the replies here. Oh, how easy it
is to pour scorn and ridicule on an isolated outsider!

Let's see, it look's like Mr. Kovel made an honest attempt to install and
configure GNU/Linux, believing that all the hype couldn't be _too_ far from the
truth.

Hype? For example, (i) that you can have G/L up and running in "no time at
all", and that (ii) "the software's free, anybody can change
it".

As for (i), the only people I know who've managed this are people writing blogs
on the internet (Hi, PJ!). It's like there's this macho thing that it
"only takes a couple of hours" and nobody's willing to admit that
{s,}he actually took a bit longer than that. In fact, it took me ~22 days of
hard graft to get Debian Sarge usable 2 years ago - for example, it took a whole
day to get my printing going, including burrowing through log files, searching
out a HOWTO, recompiling the kernel to recognise the parallel port,
experimenting with kernel parameters, and getting CUPSed off with the CUPS docs
(I clicked a <help> button, and it came back with RTFM^H^H^H^H (whoops,
sorry PJ, I meant RTM :-), one of the "manuals" to read being their
test logs. furrfu! I've a couple of friends with similar war stories - and
lots of friends and colleagues who've tried to get G/L going over a weekend, and
just given up. They've got other hobbies, wifes and families, and such like.

And for (ii), yes, anybody can change free software to make it do what they
want, just like anybody can become a millionaire; enough persistence, single
mindedness and, yes, luck, and you too can adapt free software!

Somehow, Mr. Kovel just expected to be able to shove an installation CD into his
PC and have it install and run. Why shouldn't it? Whose fault is it he got
this wrong impression?

Yes, some of his ranting is at variance with reality, like having to
"memorise 800 page manuals" and free programmes being "uniformly
poor". But I think this is an honest impression formed over many days of
extreme frustration.

As for the lack of lawyers' software, he's probably right. No grammar checker
in OpenOffice? Well, somehow I feel that lawyers shouldn't need such a tool.
There's a spell checker though, but only wizzards really need one of those.

The guy's most assuredly right. Installing GNU/Linux in his law practice in
place of MS-Windows wouldn't be a smart thing to do.

[ Reply to This | # ]

Lawyer's Funny AntiLinux FUD Turns Out to be Not So Funny
Authored by: Anonymous on Saturday, August 09 2008 @ 03:36 PM EDT
Whilst the FUD isn't funny one of the things the guy is complaining about is,
somewhat valid. Neither KDE nor Gnome tally up between their thumbnail stores
and the actual files they've thumbnailed... so you could delete a file and then
discover, a while later, the thumbnail is still present and taking up drive
space.

But in terms of faults, that's a pretty minor bug and not really worth
complaining about all that loudly.

[ Reply to This | # ]

I have installed linux only to discover they act like this lawyer (liar)
Authored by: Anonymous on Saturday, August 09 2008 @ 04:04 PM EDT
I have been cursed at because shockwave will not run on linux.????
I still install for a few.
P.S. I havw also been cursed at because I removed the SPYWARE and Trojans from
WiNdOzE and it no longer worked LOL.

I use GNU/Linux daily.

[ Reply to This | # ]

His Story
Authored by: argee on Saturday, August 09 2008 @ 04:21 PM EDT
It so happens I have a friend, highly intelligent, who lives
in a cabin off the power grid. He does like taking digital
pictures and taking the SD card to the store to print out,
but he wanted a computer.

During his trip to Burning Man, he bought a Sony laptop
which he carries in his backpack. It runs Vista Home,
He got the computer and it advertised that it comes with
Spiderman and Spiderman II preloaded. "Great!," he thought.

He gets back and every time he powers up he gets these
pop up windows: Buy, buy that! Upgrade! Your
computer is NOT safe unless you pay for this thing! And
the ultimate pisser: he did not have to download the
Spider movies, but he had to pay to 'activate' them!

So he is over here comiserating, and I knew this guy was
not particularly a long time Windows user because being
off the power grid ... so he knows how to click on things,
but that's about it.

I powered up his computer and found it very annoying with
all the pop ups, balloons, and so on. In fact, as soon as
I started surfing it was insufferable.

So, I sat him in front of my computer, an older machine
(but not too old) running Kubuntu 7.04 and let him have at
it while I went on the yard to do some work. Once, he
shouted out the window a question, but all was silent in
there.

I come back in.

He not only had Seamonkey surfing the web, he had
plugged his camera into the usb, and the thing popped up
in digikam and he had his pictures displayed and was
getting set to print some out. Well.

He told me to wipe that Vista S**t of his computer and
put in this Linux thing. I did, and he sings the praises
of it to all comers. Great advertising when he goes to
a local cafe, library or just any public place and whips
out his Sony Linux Laptop (late model) and things just
work with no annoyances.

He has had a few questions now and then, and I showed him
what program to use, and he is off and running.

Difficulties? A few. Non intuitive program names is one
of the worse. Who would gues Kaffeine, Amarok, or VLC?
Who would guess GIMP, Konqueror or Firefox? Mostly all I
had to do is tell him the name of the program he wanted
and he was off and running.

Second annoyance was help. For the most part, the help in
KDE is pretty much useless or has entire sections or
program selections missing. Google is the answer here, of
course, but if you are off the grid, then it is no help.

"Still beats Windows," he says.


---
--
argee

[ Reply to This | # ]

Two pages of responses != Two pages of getting help
Authored by: Anonymous on Saturday, August 09 2008 @ 04:44 PM EDT
I've just read those two pages.
And I think it is inaccurate to say that the man lied about not getting help
because he received two pages of ... responses.

[ Reply to This | # ]

I wonder what he wants to hide from Law Enforcement?
Authored by: Anonymous on Saturday, August 09 2008 @ 06:30 PM EDT

Let me start by saying that I think that everyone has a right to some privacy. The fact that some people use their computers for Bad Things is not a justification for letting the government snoop into every picture every user stores on his computer.

But this guy seems exceptionally hot under the collar about the possibility that somebody - law enforcement, maybe? - might someday be able to discover what kind of pictures he'd been storing on his computer, and subsequently encrypted or deleted. I wonder what kind of pictures he's so concerned about.

Of course, it would be quite improper to speculate on this matter, and I hope nobody will post any conjectures that would lead to the lawyer suing Groklaw.

[ Reply to This | # ]

Lawyer's Funny AntiLinux FUD Turns Out to be Not So Funny
Authored by: Anonymous on Saturday, August 09 2008 @ 07:12 PM EDT
Surprised a lawyer would suggest violating copyright...

Check this out.. his talks about this in the scope of 'betting your business'.
OK, business.. audience is lawyers.. safe to understand that this means
COMMERCIAL USE, right?

Well, for "free" anti-virus for Windows he suggests Avast. Go look at
the terms for it... it's only free for NON-commercial use.

I wonder if anyone burned by his advice - and gets caught violating the terms -
will he will defend them? Hmm. Not so observant, this one...

[ Reply to This | # ]

Lawyer's Funny AntiLinux FUD Turns Out to be Not So Funny
Authored by: bloggsie on Saturday, August 09 2008 @ 08:27 PM EDT
Perhaps now is time to add Extended Attributes as part of the POSIX definition
of a file. O/S2 and MACOS had this file feature about twenty years ago. Yet
proposing and implementing it in a filesystem for Linux caused the Kernel folks
to have an apoplectic fit. A great shame in my not so humble opinion.

[ Reply to This | # ]

New MS fanboy strategy?
Authored by: Anonymous on Saturday, August 09 2008 @ 08:53 PM EDT

Caveat: No, I don't know if the lawyer in the original article is a MS supporter or if he's just a lay person who hasn't realised his complaints would be worse in the MS Windows world. I also don't know if any given individual who is supporting his complaints is actually part of the community or part of the potential "grass-roots campaign" MS has likely started up. The following is simply discussion on the likely possibilities of what might be a current MS attack tactic.

After the reading of posts by such individuals as Brooker ( a pleasurable read and a good dose of reality ) I started to wonder what the latest tactic MS fanboys might be employing.

I think I was wondering that because it dawned on me I haven't read anything of the normal writing styles in some time. The style of writing where the individual "decides to check out this Linux thing" and yet they only spend a couple minutes with it before denouncing it. In short they don't actually use it before spouting the MS marketing lines:

    A) Unsuported hardware where the reality is that:
  1. The current version supports more hardware then any single version of MS Windows!
  2. The hardware Linux has trouble with tends to be hardware designed specifically for MS Windows (such as winmodems).
    B) It's too difficult to get support where the reality is that support is readily available to those who are polite and do more then just whine about a problem that's within their power to fix. Compare that with the standard "help" provided by MS.
    C) That Linux is too difficult to install where the reality is the installation process is less painful then MS Windows.
    D) (Always a favorite) That Linux can't do xyz for them automatically when the reality is that neither can MS Windows (such as building a 6 partition system with an un-usual layout - this example was by a coworker who wanted a Win-Linux-Win partition layout on his first drive, followed by a Linux-Win-Linux partition on the second drive and he expected Linux to "just do it" without being told what he wanted... I pointed out Windows couldn't do what he wanted either and the default Windows would have just wiped everything and installed Windows on a single partition... I then asked him if he truly believed computers could read his mind... before you ask, yes, he was a programmer but has moved on to be a business analyst).
Those are just a few of the many examples.

Then I started thinking.... wait a second.... those tired old complaints are now showing up under at least one other different guise:

    Complete computer illiterate users who "wish to move away from Windows".
The complaints still come in the same previous forms though. That, of course, doesn't necessarily mean there aren't problems with Linux that need to be resolved. It just identifies the fact that they are seemingly MS fanboy complaints:
  1. Identification of issues to which no real attempt to actually resolve seems to occur.
  2. No indication that the same problems (or worse) reside in the MS world.
It would be refreshing if such an individual actually pointed out something like:
    I have this security problem with Linux... (description of "security problem")... Isn't it about time we got some real computers? All those virus issues with MS - or worse - at least I haven't run into any of those MS security issues with Linux yet.
Then I got to thinking.... there could be a second guise currently under play. Those claiming "to be quite happy with their Linux box having used it for X years and would never go back to Windows". These would stand up as reflective of the "FLOSS community" that agrees with the newbie's complaints. Since the obvious media campaign wasn't working against the word of mouth advertising Linux was receiving, it wouldn't be beyond MS to stage a "grass-roots" campaign a more subtle way.

I also have no idea - strictly from the writtings - how one could be sure which camp a given individual fit in:

    Actual MS supporter pretending to be grass-roots Linux user.
    Actual grass-roots Linux user who agrees with the complaint but offers no additional suggestions on how to help let alone taking innitiative to contact the individual with the issue and providing help.
One might find out where the individual fits if one could... say... trace the lawyer (for example) back to a law firm that is currently representing MS in a case.

After all... much like the RIAA lawyers stating "there is no such thing as fair use"... could you really trust a lawyer whose current allegiance is being paid for by MS?

Anyway, I've rambled enough, I'm going back to my zombie-state mode now.

RAS

[ Reply to This | # ]

Dangerous combination: noob and lawyer
Authored by: Anonymous on Saturday, August 09 2008 @ 09:19 PM EDT
> ... a major, major security gap ...
as the discussions eventually agreed it was not a security gap,
but could be a privacy issue. There appears to be a bug if
thumbnails are not deleted with the originals. Of course if
he's got pix he doesn't want others to know about, he should
bone up on computer security before downloading that kind of stuff.

> ... memorized the 800-page list of computer commands ...
Heheh, some of those forum replies reminded me of my noob days,
when the standard reply was man foo.

> ... all had a *.png extension, which I never heard of before
Lawyers, like policemen, are getting younger. He's never heard of the gif war.


> ... while browsing with Konquerer for something else,
> and well down into my pathfiles
Now, regardless of what a "pathfile" might be, how many distros
faithfully follow LFSH? This was one of the things that turned me off Linux,
and onto the true path of BSD.

The first reply on the forums was the most accurate and complete.
Turns out he didn't want to totally get rid of thumbnails, just make sure
they deleted with the originals. This bug is not unique to his distro.
The offers of scripts were not helpful to a confessed Linux non-expert.
The rest of the two pages are the cruft that fora generate, which confuses
and confounds noobs.

But he is a lawyer, and has been trained to
1. form a conclusion, then construct an argument for it;
2. disregard all evidence that conflicts with your argument;
3. if this is not possible, argue against it.
There's a paraphrase of this, something about thumping tables.

I guess if it's OK to laugh at pro se litigants, it's OK to laugh at diy
sysadmins.

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Window$ is much worse... thumbnails of everything you ever see...
Authored by: ScaredDeveloper on Saturday, August 09 2008 @ 10:00 PM EDT
I have an acquaintance who was visited at home by some law enforcement individuals who asked to look through his computer, and he allowed them.

He was using Windows XP. He had been regularly using a paid-for program that supposedly "erased all traces" of temporary files, links, urls, etc. from his computer.

He watched as they ran a program from a USB flash drive that was able to show thumbnails of every image he ever viewed on the computer (including every image ever shown on a webpage). These are not even pictures that he downloaded, but pictures that appeared on a webpage at one time since he got the computer, over the course of years (some of which, he said that he never even saw, but you know how a long webpage can load lots of images that scroll off the bottom...). Needless to say, it took quite a while. They were unable to find anything incriminating, so they said thank you and went on their way.

These were hidden somewhere, and I have not heard of any program that can get rid of them. Your best bet is to reformat and install Linux. Then, at least the "hidden thumbnails" are viewable and deletable by some means or, as PJ has suggested, boot Linux from a CD/DVD or USB flash drive that doesn't use the hard drive at all (depending upon your justified level of paranoia).

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Lawyer's Funny AntiLinux FUD Turns Out to be Not So Funny
Authored by: Anonymous on Sunday, August 10 2008 @ 03:10 AM EDT
Funny how I wanted to tell him to go to Groklaw! and I hopped here directly from
his page. I did not have a way of telling him anything. Good work PJ, May be you
have found another fudder

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He said "support site", not "forums"
Authored by: Anonymous on Sunday, August 10 2008 @ 07:13 AM EDT

For Mandriva, he said the support site did not respond. He may mean this, which is what you get when you click the "support requests" link on the main page, rather than the forums, which is where you found posts by him that had responses.

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Lawyer's Funny AntiLinux FUD Turns Out to be Not So Funny
Authored by: Anonymous on Sunday, August 10 2008 @ 10:54 AM EDT
PJ

The issue is not breadcrumbs. The issue is perception, and the level of
expectation. It is a matter of education. As more and more users switch from
Windows to Linux this sort of problem will crop up more frequently. While Linux
was primarily used by "power users" during the early years, one must
remember that for a large number of users, the "internet is on their
computer". It is simply a matter of education, not scorn. You are not
going to change human nature, regardless of the operating system.

These sorts of problems are a good thing. It means Linux is moving into the
mainstream.

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30% of Blue Chip Corporations Never Answer Email
Authored by: Anonymous on Sunday, August 10 2008 @ 01:00 PM EDT
One out of three USA Blue Chip corporations never answer emails! Not getting a
response from a corporation is very common throughout the business community -
which is mainly "close source". As well 80% of online businesses do
not display a telephone number for contact purposes?!

And I would guess that the "open source" businesses are no different
from the above. Although I would be happy to see a published primary study in a
journal with peer review) which shows that they "care more" and/or are
better business people.

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Lawyer's Funny AntiLinux FUD Turns Out to be Not So Funny
Authored by: Anonymous on Sunday, August 10 2008 @ 07:46 PM EDT
Never heard of png?! It's 2008! Where has he been living, under a rock? I
find it difficult to take anything he says seriously after reading that.

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Full disk encryption
Authored by: Anonymous on Sunday, August 10 2008 @ 11:58 PM EDT
If you really want the data on your hard drive to be safe from *government*
perusal, there is no other valid mechanism to affect that end but full disk
encryption. Fortunately, this feature is available in Linux with only a little
effort. Anyone who thinks he can protect himself from a government seizure and
search by purging thumbnails from deleted image directories is badly deluded.
While this article is worthless and erroneous, I'm not persuaded of the quality
of PJ's response here.

As someone who has operated a TOR node intermittently over the years, I can aver
that there are circumstances in which even a person that is innocent of any
criminal intent could nonetheless have reason for concern over possible legal
action. The idea that anyone who wants to protect his data must have
"something to hide" is not only naive but destructive to the cause of
civil liberties in the long run. Then again, I'm of the opinion that there's no
such thing as a criminal number and that any law that renders a particular
pattern of bits criminal has no moral force.

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Lawyer's Funny AntiLinux FUD Turns Out to be Not So Funny
Authored by: Anonymous on Monday, August 11 2008 @ 04:27 AM EDT
Haha. Let's sneer at the noob. But unfortunately he's 100% right; this is an important security issue; at least in the UK and I assume in other countries with related legal systems.
Note the following point below: "Do I delete or destroy personal information as soon as I have no more need for it?". The reported issue/bug means he wasn't doing this - giafly.
This short checklist will help you comply with the Data Protection Act. Being able to answer 'yes' to every question does not guarantee compliance,
and you may need more advice in particular areas, but it should mean that you are heading in the right direction.
  • Do I really need this information about an individual? Do I know what I'm going to use it for?
  • Do the people whose information I hold know that I've got it, and are they likely to understand what it will be used for?
  • If I'm asked to pass on personal information, would the people about whom I hold information expect me to do this?
  • Am I satisfied the information is being held securely, whether it's on paper or on computer? And what about my website? Is it secure?
  • Is access to personal information limited to those with a strict need to know?
  • Am I sure the personal information is accurate and up to date?
  • Do I delete or destroy personal information as soon as I have no more need for it?
  • Have I trained my staff in their duties and responsibilities under the Data Protection Act, and are they putting them into practice?
  • Do I need to notify the Information Commissioner and if so is my notification up to date?
- Your legal obligations [UK]

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Lawyer's Funny AntiLinux FUD Turns Out to be Not So Funny
Authored by: JacoG on Monday, August 11 2008 @ 05:07 AM EDT
Well, alright, let's dig a bit at this bit:
For instance, the Linux file managers reveal a confounding multitude of panes, filled with weird, tiny and meaningless graphics and icons that fail to suggest where files are saved.
I find the above comment bizarre, since file managers such as Konqueror superficially resemble Windows Explorer, with a tree on the left, and file view on the right.
It is a job even more complicated by the fact that routine files are placed in folders buried no less than eight layers down in the directory tree, with a pathname like homearklinuxhdcusrshareMy Documentsclientnameclientprojectdocumentname. It is maddening.
This bit is a pure lie. Most standard setups will have your personal files stored under /home/username ... and beyond that, subdirectories of your choice. He could save his suspicious photographs wherever he chooses. I think "eight layers down" is an exaggeration that basically comes out as a blatant lie. weird, tiny and meaningless graphics and icons that fail to suggest where files are saved. If he has trouble finding his home directory, he could just click on the little Home icon. It's usually the one that looks like a little house. I know that's weird... a little house to resemble "Home", but I think the eggplant image was already used for something else.

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He should ask his paralegal - no, reall.
Authored by: tz on Monday, August 11 2008 @ 07:39 AM EDT
It usually takes me a minute or two on google to find the answer or the place
where it can be found even for obscure questons.

I wonder if our attorney here can use Lexis/Nexis? I wonder if Lexis/Nexis
remembers searches and can be subpoenaed? But if you know how to search you can
usually find answers.

Windows has the same if not steeper learning curve (and has he tried their
support?).

What computers and systems CAN he use, or does his paralegal and/or secretary do
it for him?

Thumbnails and other caches I symlink somewhere under /tmp (so they don't backup
and I can clear them easily).

Now he said he couldn't get it installed. Did he get it installed and have a
problem with thumbnails?

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Lawyer's Funny AntiLinux FUD Turns Out to be Not So Funny
Authored by: Anonymous on Monday, August 11 2008 @ 01:57 PM EDT
Ironically, a list of links to other articles on the same page included one
titled "Catching Liars with Technology."

[ Reply to This | # ]

Sorry PJ
Authored by: Anonymous on Monday, August 11 2008 @ 11:04 PM EDT
Root can always see all. Bit by bit if necessary and important enough. You can
get root access to someone's disk in lots of ways (if you're the boss, have a
subpoena and so on). If physical security is broken, there's basically no
security -- in anything.

Live disks come to mind, as well as simply taking the subject's hard drive and
mounting on another Linux system, something I often do for forensics. Linux
will read many other file systems, so it's handy to fix or explore Windows
drives especially. Funny that Linux already interoperates, but Windows can't
read a Linux drive...unless the linux sysadmin formatted it in a Microsoft
format...At least in all my dual boot systems, Windows (any version) can't see
anything but that there are other partitions, perhaps, while Linux can slice and
dice the Windows ones. And you don't have to be root for that one.


[ Reply to This | # ]

Rod 'bugs' kde devs as well.
Authored by: Anonymous on Tuesday, August 12 2008 @ 12:59 AM EDT

You can read his rant on Konqueror, which he misspells, here. Judging by the tone and errors, I'd say it is the same person.

Mr Kovel's web site is a real gem too but it could be easily improved by most any nine year old.

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Lawyer's Funny AntiLinux FUD Turns Out to be Not So Funny - Updated 2Xs
Authored by: Anonymous on Tuesday, August 12 2008 @ 12:56 PM EDT
A lawyer of all people should know that is not how one uses "begs the question".

[ Reply to This | # ]

Lawyer's Funny AntiLinux FUD Turns Out to be Not So Funny - Updated 2Xs
Authored by: jviddekinge on Tuesday, August 12 2008 @ 06:00 PM EDT
The article now states that the text has some correction. But the contents isn't
changed that much.

[ Reply to This | # ]

Clean your KDE thumbnail directory
Authored by: SilverWave on Wednesday, August 13 2008 @ 07:32 PM EDT
Clean your KDE thumbnail directory

---
RMS: The 4 Freedoms
0 run the program for any purpose
1 study the source code and change it
2 make copies and distribute them
3 publish modified versions

[ Reply to This | # ]

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