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The Partner Group Smears Free Software Under Complimentary Disguise

Posted in Deception, Free/Libre Software, FUD at 8:24 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Without much in terms of attribution or upfront disclosures, the British Computer Society has published “Open-source policy ‘required’.”

‘Companies must have a policy for procuring OSS, deciding which applications will be supported by OSS, and identifying the intellectual property risk or supportability risk associated with using OSS,’ she said.

“Intellectual property… risk…”

Yes, that’s the sort of reassuring things people love to hear, eh?

It all comes from Gartner, which spins the success of Free software as some sort of danger or a failure.

We won’t comment on the Gartner Group’s total lack of credibility, as we have done so before. Chalk up another one to the ‘portfolio’ of Gartner :

Boycott Novell is not the only Web site that noticed the latest FUD from Gartner. ComputerWorld UK has a short new article about it.

Gartner’s FUD


So let’s just unpick this statement a little. Unfortunately, I can’t find any details on the Gartner site, so I’ll have to make general statements about free software and licensing.

First, if companies are simply using open source software as-is, there are no “potential liabilities”: none, zero, zilch. I’d be willing to bet that this covers 90% of open source in companies today. You can even make changes to the code and not make them public – provide you don’t circulate them outside your company. It’s only when you start combining open source code with other code that licensing issues might arise, but even here, the spectre of “huge potential liabilities” is nonsense.


Gartner’s negative spin on the inarguable facts of a massive and increasing open source uptake in companies is FUD, pure and simple. Ignore it.

As Glyn says, ignore Gartner. Ignore them at every opportunity and encourage others to do the same. Sean writes:

85 percent using open source – but still frustrated?


The obvious question – is if Open Source Software (OSS) is so frustrating in Gartner’s view – than how do they explain that 85 percent now and 100 percent within a year are using open source?

Apparently it’s not so frustrating that people won’t use it.

Selling out is profitable and the only way to stop this is to never feed those who do. Who is paying the Partner Groups’s bills this time around? Money does not fall down from the sky to help professionals conduct so-called ‘studies’, as seen demonstarted the other day and noted by ComputerWorld (IDG):

This time around it’s a study by ClickStream Technologies, which found Microsoft Office, to be far more popular than OpenOffice.org, which in turn was far more popular than Google Docs. What Microsoft doesn’t mention is that ClickStream is headed by Microsoft’s former head of Microsoft Office research. Very independent, eh?

Boycott Novell did some digging about this latest Microsoft study, and found, just underneath the dirt’s surface that ClickStream’s senior research analyst is also a former Microsoft Corporation researcher and strategist for the Office product. If you buy that this study will say anything except what Microsoft wants it to say, I have some early-release, Detroit Lion SuperBowl tickets you might also want to buy. Cheap!

Always follow the interests. Based on experience, they typically move in the same direction as the money.

“Analysts sell out – that’s their business model…”

Microsoft, internal document [PDF]

Hands grab money

Addendum: See “Gartner Report Exaggerates Open Source IP Concerns”

In a report on enterprise open source usage released this week, Gartner research director Laurie Wurster stated in rather strong language that companies could face a big intellectual property issue because they are using the software without understanding the IP implications of the licensing language. But is she exaggerating the danger and is there less complexity with open source licenses than with proprietary ones?

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