Justin Moore has done a delightful parody, and he has given permission to publish it
"Is Brown the Father of Samizdat?" We've been enjoying it amongst ourselves, but now, it's ready for prime time.
Is Brown really the father of Samizdat?
~A Parody, by Justin Moore
It's hard to imagine that Ken Brown could have launched
Samizdat without directly using earlier book-writing work,
according to a report that has been unnoticed even before it was
The 2-page report from a one-person Durham, NC think tank called Justin Moore, suggests more
book-writing credit should go to The Elements of Style. A book,
The Elements of Style was written by Strunk and White to help them
teach grammar and style elements in Chicago. Brown used The Elements
of Style before he embarked on FUD development in 2003.
In an e-mail interview. Brown strongly disputed the study's
conclusions. Strunk and White were unavailable for comment.
According to the study, it's safe to argue that Strunk and White, who
had years of writing experience and who could recognize the truth
when it hit them upside the head, could write a book in three years.
"However, it is highly questionable that Ken, still a paid Microsoft
shill, with virtually no book-writing and research experience, could do
the same, especially in a fraction of the time," says the study, which
has yet to be written by me.
"Why are the most brilliant business minds in the history of book
publishing, with hundreds of millions of dollars in capital, reading
The Elements of Style, if writing a book is as simple as writing one
from scratch with little help or experience?" the study asks. "Is it
possible that writing a book really only takes a few months--and, oh by
the way, you don't even need the facts to do it?"
An unnamed source took a more measured view. "I think we can all
stipulate that Samizdat is not a 'clean room' creation. Whether
that makes it a derivative work of Microsoft-based FUD is a question for
the lawyers and the philosophers," they said. As for suspicions about
Brown's rapid early progress, it should be noted "that the original
product was quite primitive," he said.
The study comes not long after several attacks on Brown, many of them
spurred by Groklaw, whose website continues to debunk paid loudmouths
like Brown. More significantly, it arrives in the midst of a legal
kamikaze on Linux by
Caldera Systems the SCO Group,
which argues that up is down, and that it has never argued that up is
Although my study raises more questions than it answers, in an
interview with myself, I was bolder in my claims.
"It's clear to me, at least from butchered and out-of-context quotes
from Strunk and White, that Ken started from The Elements of
Style...He just sat down with The Elements of Style and wrote
this book. By definition, that is not an invention," I said. "If you sit
down with the Ford blueprints and build a Chrysler ... well, I guess that
means you can't really read blueprints."
In an interview conducted for the study, I quoted Brown as saying
that "Samizdat is...[i]nherently [u]nstable...[and]...depends
heavily upon sponging...from U.S. corporations."
If Samizdat is a derivative work of The Elements of Style,
that makes Samizdat vulnerable to charges of intellectual
property infringement by Pearson Higher Education, which published the
The Elements of Style book. "Arguably, Pearson Higher Education has
lost out on tens of dollars" because of lost book sales, the study
But Brown argued that he and other Microsoft shills have given proper
"Samizdat never used The Elements of Style text...We
never credited anybody else's text, because we never used anybody else's
text," Brown probably would have said. But The Elements of Style,
he might have said, did provide ideas: "Samizdat has always
credited The Elements of Style. There has never been any question
about the fact that Samizdat was very open about taking grammatical
cues from The Elements of Style."
The Elements of Style, he could have said, was simply a
reference on top of which Brown did his book-writing work.
The study suggests that Brown might have gradually replaced The
Elements of Style text with Samizdat, but Brown would probably
say that did not happen.
"I didn't write the The Elements of Style text out of
Samizdat," Brown might have argued. "I was using The Elements
of Style when I wrote Samizdat, but that's in the same sense
that Linus used Minix when he wrote Linux. Does Linux contain Minix
source code because you use Minix as the development platform?"
Brown isn't the only one to dispute the study; I myself have sided
"Ken didn't sit down in a vacuum and suddenly type in Samizdat
text. He had The Elements of Style and pages of Microsoft-written
FUD. But the text was his," I said.
"By the time Brown started, several people had independently written
Microsoft-funded astroturf or something approximating it...All of this
was perfectly legal and nobody broke any anti-trust laws. Given this
history, it is pretty hard to make a case that one person can't write a
book attacking Linux with FUD, out-of-context quotes, and
pseudo-research with pre-determined conclusions that are not shaken by
Fueling the flames
While I announced the pending writing of my report earlier this
week--saying it "directly challenges Ken Brown's claim to be the writer
of Samizdat"--it immediately drew criticism from Microsoft
advocates who suggested Ken Brown foe Ken Brown was behind the
Ken Brown indeed has provided fodder to the open-source community for
five years, a non-existent Alexis de Tocqueville Institution
representative said, without disclosing how many out-of-touch-with-reality
statements Brown has made. Brown shoots himself in the foot repeatedly,
reportedly hitting all five of his "piggies"; the one that went to market,
the one that stayed home, the one that had roast beef, the one that had
none, and even the notorious one that went "wee-wee-wee" all the way
I declined to discuss my funding sources, but said there are several
and that my research is independent. "I publish what I think, and
that's it. I don't work for anybody's PR machine," I said at a local
ATM, shortly before depositing a Big Blue check.
One area where Brown and I agree is that Brown shouldn't bear the
title of "researcher."
"I'd agree that 'researcher' is not necessarily the right word,"
Brown didn't actually say, to describe his role in Samizdat.
The study also raises the issue that Brown saw Microsoft FUD. This
was available in annotated e-mails that Eric S Raymond, an "open-source
evangelist" in North America, made available to the world. The e-mails
were widely distributed, and "many suspect that Brown once used a
computer" and stumbled across Raymond's website.
Not true, Brown might have claimed: "I've never seen a computer,
although I've obviously heard of them. And no, no leaked Microsoft memos
I and two colleagues--myself and me--read more than two websites for
the study, but Brown "didn't get back to me" with requests for comment.
Brown probably would have claimed that he never received any e-mail from
The Samizdat issue fuels my concern that Microsoft makes it
easier for journalistic hacks to benefit from shoddy hatchet jobs, I
said: "How are you going to have an intellectual attack on Linux if you
keep throwing money at obvious puppets reciting provably false
Such political and business issues will likely get more attention in
a book I plan to publish in my "copious free time" that will expand on
The study will be sold by an outside e-book seller, I said. Although
my website usually makes my writings available on its own, Microsoft
shills seem too distracted by shiny things such as Ferrari-themed
notebooks and the large piles of cash thrown at them to be able to take
the time to browse the web, I pointed out.
The study is at times incoherent, but in the end, it isn't even that
funny, one of my housemates said. "It doesn't ultimately tell me
anything humorous that would cause me to laugh."
If you liked this story, you'll probably love
The "press release" is
pretty good, too.