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Groklaw Responds to Latest FUD from Florian Müller

Posted in FUD, GNU/Linux, Microsoft, SCO at 2:43 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Scraping the bottom of the barrel to fuel smears against Groklaw


Summary: Setting the record straight on SCO allegation which Müller is now (re)using in order to belittle his opposition in a fight that overlaps Microsoft’s agenda

Florian Müller continues to show his true colours this week, defending Microsoft and bashing Munich’s migration to GNU/Linux just a day or two apart. A few days ago he started reciting lies from SCO boosters, too. “He’s jumped the shark now,” Pamela Jones told us. “I’m not at all worried about Florian. He’s self-destructing. You can’t attack FSF, Groklaw, and the Linux Foundation while relying on Dan Lyons and Maureen O’Gara and expect the community to believe one word. He seems to have lost his touch.”

Regarding Müller’s allegation that IBM pays Groklaw (Müller links to the SCO crowd when he says this), Jones told us: “SCO started this, of course, and I answered it here.

“Ask him to answer the question: does he get paid by Microsoft? Has he ever, directly or indirectly? It’s certainly the case that he is channeling SCO’s talking points. It’s impossible to believe that is sincere, so why is he doing so?”

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  1. twitter said,

    August 6, 2010 at 6:25 pm


    Florian won’t fool the free software community but Microsoft cronies might be able to fool a larger group of “open source” types and business people considering a migration away from Microsoft. Already, ZDNet has come to his rescue by throwing mud on everyone as if there were any comparison to SCO trollings and reasonable questions raised here and at Groklaw. Two larger agendas are served: The preservation of software patents and the preservation of the Microsoft monopoly. Florian’s actions are more important than his intent or complicity for Microsoft to advance these goals.

    ZDNet’s article is a classic example of “manufacturing consent”. Real debate around an important issue, software patents, is replaced by a flame war parody and ridicule of participants. People who don’t look into things will agree with the level headed moderator, Dana, who pushes the corporate agenda, preserving software patents. They might also mistake Dana as an industry representative when there is almost universal professional rejection of software patents and most of the world’s governments do not recognize them. Public participation in the issue is suppressed by all the mud throwing and people get a negative impression of free software.

    It is a good thing that Big Media is losing readership because of all the excellent, real community news sites and blogs. People deserve their software freedom and the community is ready and able to help everyone take it. Big Publishers had their chance to report fairly but perferred to serve their corporate sponsors over their readers. Sites like Techrights and Groklaw are better sources of information that deliver the community’s actual message.

  2. Florian Mueller said,

    August 6, 2010 at 10:14 pm


    I’d like to know even one “SCO talking point” that I’ve ever allegedly channeled.

    Concerning Microsoft, I absolutely adhere to the EU’s transparency rules and if I ever had to announce anything, I would do so.

    Hypothetically speaking, if Microsoft asked for my help to support a good cause, such as if they one day determined that software patents should be abolished, I would consider them a possible partner just like many other players, provided that I’d have all of the independence required to pursue such good cause (in other words, no muzzle of any kind).

    By the way, people can meet me at industry events and discuss everything with me there, even including the question PJ said should be asked. That is not the case with PJ, raising questions about what she actually has to hide. Similarly, my entire professional track record is well-documented — PJ’s isn’t, which again raises questions about what she actually has to hide.

    twitter Reply:

    Roy took you to task for repeating Dan Lyons discredited accusations about Groklaw, IBM and the FSF. PJ recognized those accusations as SCO talking points and she’s the expert. Perhaps you can ask her about it by email. I’m not sure she’d answer someone who’s continuing to slander her as having something to hide.

    I am sure that you did not answer her question, so I’ll ask it directly. Are you being paid by Microsoft or any Microsoft intermediaries for any current work?

  3. Florian Mueller said,

    August 6, 2010 at 10:17 pm


    The link PJ provided is from 2004, and it’s not a clear-cut, waterproof denial that would cover all possibilities and have legal consequences should it be a lie.

    The question Dan Lyons raised about OSDL/LinuxFoundation was never answered by any of the parties — and that was long after the link PJ provided.

  4. Florian Mueller said,

    August 6, 2010 at 10:20 pm


    One more thing: The longer the IBM antitrust case in the EU takes, the more apparent it will become to a lot of people that PJ completely misinformed her audience about it. The truth will prevail. The truth she claims to be digging for while actually just creating smokescreens in any IBM-related context.

    twitter Reply:

    That sounds a lot like what the SCO boosters said. The truth did come out and it made those people look like fools and crooks. PJ is probably right about this case too.

    Dr. Roy Schestowitz Reply:

    Here is how Roger Bowler responded to the allegation:

    “IBM also accuses TurboHercules of cooperating with Microsoft. Bearing in mind that Hercules works very well indeed on both Linux and Windows, not to mention the Macintosh, we are indeed quite happy to cooperate with Microsoft, Hewlett-Packard, Unisys, Dell, Intel, AMD or anyone else who wants to work with us.”

    Notice that he does not actually deny IBM’s accusation.

    Florian Mueller Reply:

    He referred to an accusation of “cooperating with Microsoft”. Why would “cooperating with Microsoft” even be an “accusation”? You can only accuse someone of something reprehensible. IBM itself cooperates with Microsoft in many ways, such as pro-software-patent lobbying in New Zealand, the Open Cloud API, etc.

    In the Groklaw, all of this always distracts from one thing: Roger Bowler founded an open source project 11 years ago (more than PJ can say) and he’s been defending it all along. Similar thing with Monty Widenius of MySQL, actually. I founded the NoSoftwarePatents campaign in 2004, warned against IBM’s hypocrisy in terms of open source and patents in 2005, and I’m still doing it and everything I say and do is consistent with it.

    The only thing consistent about PJ is that she defends whatever IBM does. I’ve repeatedly challenged people to show me one example (documented with a URL) of PJ criticizing IBM. There isn’t. And no matter what the reason for that may be (whether it’s a conflict of interests or a kind of bias that’s incomprehensible), there can never be a good reason for an irrational 100% allegiance like that.

    Dr. Roy Schestowitz Reply:

    He referred to an accusation of “cooperating with Microsoft”.

    This was not the accusations though. Roger Bowler ‘dressed it up’ differently using words he could address more comfortably.

    Dr. Roy Schestowitz Reply:


    Florian Mueller Reply:

    @Roy you’re right that Roger rephrased it but I don’t think he misrepresented it. IBM talked about Microsoft’s “satellite proxies” more recently, and about a group of competitors led by Microsoft, etc. So Roger summed it up correctly by referring to this broadly as “cooperating”.

    Dr. Roy Schestowitz Reply:

    “Cooperating” is a weak term. The defendant sometimes “cooperates” with the plaintiff.

    IBM accuses TH of benefiting financially (in one way or another) from Microsoft.

    Anyway, can you please answer the simple question? If you are somehow benefiting financially from Microsoft, then I do not expect you to answer.

    Florian Mueller Reply:

    What TurboHercules can benefit from is a good outcome of the antitrust case — good in the sense of opening up the market.

    It’s not just TH who benefits from this but all mainframe customers (which indirectly includes all of us, such as every time we use a bank account) and the 11-year-old Hercules open source project, whose maintainer created the ibmvshercules.com blog and is not involved with TH in any way but also wants to ensure that his project has a future.

    Dr. Roy Schestowitz Reply:

    What TurboHercules can benefit from is a good outcome of the antitrust case — good in the sense of opening up the market.

    Calling Windows “open” is a stretch. We’ve been through this debate before. You’re just playing the same game as Jeff Gould now.

    Florian Mueller Reply:

    I didn’t call Windows open. Hercules runs on Windows and Linux. The TurboHercules offering is available for both platforms, too. Compared to z/OS being the only choice for the execution of legacy mainframe workloads, the choice between z/OS, Hercules on GNU/Linux and Hercules on Windows is certainly much more open. And I’m sure real GNU/Linux supporters don’t worry about customers having a choice that includes Windows, especially since this about the server side of things where GNU/Linux is extremely strong.

    Dr. Roy Schestowitz Reply:

    Microsoft uses TH to facilitate a proprietary software platform. Since you do not have objections to proprietary software, I suppose that’s fine with you.

    Florian Mueller Reply:

    > Microsoft uses TH to facilitate a proprietary software platform. <

    Then Microsoft also uses the Windows versions of Apache, MySQL etc. "to facilitate a proprietary software platform"?

    Again, Hercules means choice between z/OS (current monopoly for mainframe legacy workloads), GNU/Linux, and Windows. So does TurboHercules. Customers should get the choice. Of course from a FOSS point of view they should choose GNU/Linux then. But without Hercules/TurboHercules, they'd have to stick with proprietary z/OS.

    Dr. Roy Schestowitz Reply:

    I am talking about this from Microsoft’s point of view. And by the way, I stick to the premise that you willfully decline to deny a relationship with Microsoft.

    Florian Mueller Reply:

    “Willfully decline”? You would get the same answer if you asked about any other company on this planet.

    It doesn’t matter to me that Microsoft wants as many Hercules users as possible to run on Windows. They also want as many MySQL or Apache users as possible to run that stuff on Windows.

    What matters is that customers are locked in to a proprietary operating system and hardware from only one vendor as far as *legacy* workloads are concerned. I don’t think one can be against choice. Even if the choice were only between the lock-in and Hercules on Windows, it would be better than no choice, but here there’s a free and open choice available in the form of Hercules on GNU/Linux.

    If we always just care about Microsoft potentially getting a benefit out of something, we’ll also have to oppose some good things.

    I totally respect your position that everything on clients and on servers should run on GNU/Linux. But that’s not a reason to support a z/OS lock-in.

    Florian Mueller Reply:

    So PJ was right on SCO and because IBM stood on the right side concerning SCO. But both of them are on the wrong side concerning the TurboHercules case. The European Commission has been looking at the mainframe situation for a long time and has taken a very well-considered decision to launch two parallel probes of IBM’s conduct. Against that background, PJ is on the losing track and I’m on the winning track. So if you want to be realistic, twitter, you should look at the European Commission’s track record in antitrust enforcement in the IT context and then you can see the odds of how this will end.

    Dr. Roy Schestowitz Reply:

    The new EU Commission has more Microsoft sympathisers than before. We gave examples.

  5. Dr. Roy Schestowitz said,

    August 7, 2010 at 12:29 am


    Florian, can you answer her questions? You don’t. I see you say:

    Hypothetically speaking, if Microsoft asked for my help to support a good cause, such as if they one day determined that software patents should be abolished, I would consider them a possible partner just like many other players, provided that I’d have all of the independence required to pursue such good cause (in other words, no muzzle of any kind).

    That’s exactly the type of answer TurboHercules’ manager gave when asked if Microsoft compensated him in some way (direct or indirect). Answer the question, not hypothetically.

    verofakto Reply:

    Please answer the following questions (not hypothetically):

    - When did you stop working for Netscape?
    - What is your relationship with Rob Weir and other IBM employees? You deleted your Facebook page where you were seen schmoozing with quite a few of them.
    - What is your relationship with the person known as ‘Mark Fink’, who disrupted the GNOME project and went so far as to contact people’s employers to ask that they be fired for “supporting Mono”, a fiction that you invented to explain backlash directed at Stallman’s sexists remarks.
    - What is your relationship with the person known as “AstralKnight” and “CyberPhoenix” (among others nyms), who led a massive spam operation that benefited _you_ on various social media sites.
    - Please confirm whether or not you acquiesced to allowing your collaborator “twitter” to nymshift as “your_friend” on your blog after he insulted the Ubuntu Community Manager on your IRC channel – all the while attacking _other_ people for using multiple identities. And attacking people who allegedly nymshifted here on your blog, like “Robotron” and “Sabayon User” among others. Also, please acknowledge whether or not you supported his shilling of your blog on Slashdot with more than 20 different identities.
    - Can you confirm that you have often claimed that you have a “source” about an allegation which has turned out to be nothing more than you making stuff up to spice up your daily grind.
    - Can you explain why exactly Shane Coyle (who founded Boycott Novell) left, and how you coerced him to turn over the domain name to you?
    - Can you explain why you style yourself as a “software engineer”? What exactly are your credentials in that area?

    Just a few questions to get started.

  6. Florian Mueller said,

    August 7, 2010 at 1:28 am


    @Roy You accused me of “bashing Munich’s migration to GNU/Linux” in my posting earlier this week. My posting is not negative about Munich’s migration at all. On the contrary, my posting recognizes the great support we got from Munich’s mayor against software patents.

    @Roy and twitter and to whomever else it may concern: I don’t have to answer questions concerning individual companies because the EU has transparency rules and I would never do anything requiring disclosure under them without disclosing. During the Oracle/Sun merger control process I was asked about Microsoft (and SAP and some other name at some point also came up but don’t even remember) and I consistently gave that answer. It may not be the answer you’d like to hear, but it is the only one you can reasonably expect.

    The TurboHercules statement, as far as I recall, was about them being happy to work with many companies, not excluding Microsoft.

    It’s the only rational approach: focus on the issues. If something bad is done by a Microsoft competitor such as IBM, the answer isn’t to consider it good just because IBM competes with Microsoft.

    Microsoft’s competitors are collectively much bigger than Microsoft and collectively (above all – but not only – IBM) do a whole lot of bad stuff. It’s absolutely appropriate to call those companies out for their wrongdoings regardless of whether or not there’s an issue-specific alignment of views or interests with Microsoft. As far as Oracle/Sun is concerned, Microsoft made completely different points from mine, by the way. Therefore, any questions about Microsoft and me in that context missed the point.

    Dr. Roy Schestowitz Reply:

    Why don’t you just answer the question though? Your refusal/declination does not bode well.

    Florian Mueller Reply:

    You want an answer concerning just one company and I give a truthful answer concerning all companies. I will not accept for principal reasons to get into debates over individual companies people bring up if I can give an answer concerning all of them. If I answer this concerning Microsoft, the next question will be about SAP, then about Oracle, then Google, then HP, then Intel, and here on this site probably Novell ;-) So I don’t start that in the first place.

    Interestingly, you content yourself with PJ pointing to an answer that is 6 years old and doesn’t cover all possible direct and indirect links between her and IBM.

    Apply the same standard to everyone, please.

    Dr. Roy Schestowitz Reply:

    If I answer this concerning Microsoft, the next question will be about SAP, then about Oracle, then Google, then HP, then Intel…


    Jones was not asking for much. She did address your reused claim that she was paid by IBM. Now she asks a simple question, “does he [you] get paid by Microsoft? Has he ever, directly or indirectly?”

    Florian Mueller Reply:

    To add to the answer concerning all companies, I can rule out categorically doing anything (in the past, now or in the future) together with any company that would go against the principles I’ve been defending ever since taking political action (for the first time in 2004). I’ve been absolutely consistent all along and therefore have had agreements and disagreements with many of the big players in this industry.

    I’ve seen you, Roy, at least being critical of pretty much every major IT company at several points; and there’s only one company about which I’ve never seen you say a positive thing but they wouldn’t be able to always come down on the bad side even if they tried hard. Anyway, that’s your choice. In terms of issue focus, you’re hugely better than PJ, but the Microsoft bogeyman prevents you from taking a fully differentiated perspective on everything that’s going on.

    Dr. Roy Schestowitz Reply:

    Why are you so reluctant to answer the simple question? You answer questions that were never asked.

    Florian Mueller Reply:

    > Why are you so reluctant to answer the simple question? <

    I gave the reason before: once I depart from the principle of answering this generically and start to comment on an individual company, it won't end with one company name. And it's not just that questions can be brought up by all sorts of people about all sorts of companies, it's also that people can ask again every day or every hour whether this has changed. My answer is better. I say that if I ever have anything to disclose under the EU's transparency rules, I will. So people don't have to ask again day in, day out.

    Dr. Roy Schestowitz Reply:

    The question is about Microsoft though, not other companies.

    Dr. Roy Schestowitz Reply:

    Also, you keep referring to “EU’s transparency rules” as though you’re some sort of a registered lobbyist.

    Florian Mueller Reply:

    > The question is about Microsoft though, not other companies. <

    Roy, these are the kinds of situations where it becomes very hard to discuss the issues with you, even though I'd like to do so.

    I explained twice — without that preventing you from bring it up again and again — that if I comment on any attempt to link me to company A, I'll have to answer questions concerning B, C, D, … and people could always ask again and again whether it's changed.

    Of course that question here is now about company A. You want me, however, to depart from a principle of answering it only generically. Even if you promised not to bring up other questions, others could. Even if you promised not to ask again in a week, month, year or decade, someone else could. That's why it's an important principle for me.

    Concerning "a registered lobbyist", the EU expects "interest representatives" (including NGOs by the way) to register, which is a broader definition than "lobbyist". That transparency initiative is a good one. It doesn't make people bad that they may (or may not) at some point in the future fall under that rule.

    Dr. Roy Schestowitz Reply:

    Concerning “a registered lobbyist”, the EU expects “interest representatives” (including NGOs by the way) to register, which is a broader definition than “lobbyist”. That transparency initiative is a good one. It doesn’t make people bad that they may (or may not) at some point in the future fall under that rule.

    So what is it you’re affiliated with? Not just an individual?

    Florian Mueller Reply:

    > So what is it you’re affiliated with? Not just an individual? <

    Those EU rules concern individuals as well as organizations. I can assure you that I'm not employed by any organization, so I didn't mean to deflect the question on that basis.

    I used to have a limited liability company with which I charged for my work on software patents (2004-2006) and professional sports policy (2007). I had founded it in 1992 as a legal umbrella under which I provided consulting services (most important client: Blizzard Entertainment, 1995-1998) but I dissolved it right after the sports policy project because I wasn't going to do that kind of work too often. At the relevant time there were no transparency rules in the EU, and at this stage it's all about me as an individual.

    Dr. Roy Schestowitz Reply:

    So you’re not paid by Microsoft in any way?

    By the way, people wonder why you decided to close all comments in your blog after getting challenged.

    Florian Mueller Reply:

    On the Microsoft question, I’ll always give the same generic, timeless answer.

    Concerning comments on my blog, it became too time-consuming. I’ve now written 56 blog postings in about four months. That’s a lot less than what you do. PJ may not post much more frequently but her postings are extremely long. I simply don’t spend that much time on my blog. I want my blog to stay focused, but I do participate in discussions in other places, including Slashdot, where a part of the die-hard Groklaw crowd behaved just as despicably as those “conservatives” on digg.

    Dr. Roy Schestowitz Reply:

    So what you’re saying is that the comments in your blog were too many and took away valuable time from your participation in Slashdot discussions?

    Florian Mueller Reply:

    Not exactly. I just feel a stronger sense of responsibility for discussions on my blog than on other people’s sites, and that affects my flexiblity whether or not to spend time. I like to be flexible about that. That’s part of the reason I appreciate your hospitality here :-)

    Unlike Groklaw, you don’t appear to censor. You’re better than Groklaw in many respects but you have in common with Groklaw that you see Microsoft in everything. In Groklaw’s case, you see how absurd the idea of Microsoft being behind Psystar and being for a weakening of IPRs (!) is (just the opposite of Microsoft’s political agenda as the FFII could confirm to you if you ask them).

    From a software freedom point of view (and GNU/Linux is not the only free software, though its key foundation at this stage), focusing overly on Microsoft makes it too easy for the others – and all major IT corporations have a closed core business – to get away with their wrongdoings. That’s the sad part of the story.

    Dr. Roy Schestowitz Reply:

    I’ve always been more focused on operating platforms and that’s where Microsoft is by far the most aggressive adversary of freedom. This includes mainframes by the way (like servers).

    Why are you trying so hard to defend Microsoft?

    Florian Mueller Reply:

    On mainframes, IBM is the adversary of freedom as far as legacy workloads are concerned. Microsoft welcomed a European Commission investigation that includes a complaint from a company that can make such legacy workloads executable on a free software configuration (Hercules on GNU/Linux). So in that area, Microsoft is actually closer to software freedom than IBM, as odd as it may sound.

    Concerning your question, what I want to defend is my position on Microsoft. That’s a different thing than defending Microsoft.

    Dr. Roy Schestowitz Reply:

    So in that area, Microsoft is actually closer to software freedom than IBM, as odd as it may sound.

    With claims like this you only lose credibility.

    Florian Mueller Reply:

    > With claims like this you only lose credibility. <

    Yes and no.

    The claim is factually accurate. Unbiased people can see that. Biased people may also see it, but it may take more time and more information to surface.

    I'm fine with some people holding that kind of assessment against me. Further down the road, that approach will build real credibility.

    Forget IBM's GNU/Linux strategy when mainframe *legacy* workloads are concerned. z/Linux can't run *legacy* stuff.

    Dr. Roy Schestowitz Reply:

    The claim is factually accurate.

    I guess this boils down to a BSD vs GPL “freedom”-type debate. When I say freedom I refer to the code’s licence; you seem to be confusing that with Microsoft’s distorted notion of “choice”.

    Florian Mueller Reply:

    > When I say freedom I refer to the code’s licence; you seem to be confusing that with Microsoft’s distorted notion of “choice”. <

    Freedom of choice in this case includes a free software option, and that one means software freedom. I said Microsoft is in this case closer to software freedom than IBM (note: software freedom, and when I say that, I don't just mean choice).

    Dr. Roy Schestowitz Reply:

    You mean something else by “freedom”. English is not helpful here.

    Florian Mueller Reply:

    I mean Microsoft is closer to free software, according to Richard Stallman’s Free Software Definition, in this particular case because IBM wants customers to be locked in while Microsoft welcomes an antitrust investigation that has a free software element (Hercules). One can argue whether Hercules on Windows is free software, but Hercules on GNU/Linux certainly is.

    Dr. Roy Schestowitz Reply:

    One can argue whether Hercules on Windows is free software…

    War is peace.

    Robotron Reply:

    I’m late to the party, and this might not get through, but I’ll try anyway. Roy certainly does censor. I routinely left him hard with questions and statements he didn’t like. Questions meant to expose his bias, lies, and spin. Every time I’d create an account he would block it, forcing me to create another. Roy most certainly does censor. He just gets away with it easier because there is much less activity here than sites like Groklaw. Few people bother to register at all, so there aren’t enough getting banned to create a big stink. A few times I remember him appending his own red text to messages he didn’t like.

    Point is: this is Roy’s world. You cannot win here. It’s like fighting inside the Matrix except you aren’t Neo, no one can be. Roy’s beliefs are above any evidence, logical reasons, or suggestions you might bring to the table. I don’t share many of your beliefs or support the same things you do, but you seem to have some integrity. Roy doesn’t have integrity. Stick to your guns and rest assured that the only reason there aren’t more people coming to your defense is that they aren’t listen to the likes of the good doctor here.

  7. Florian Mueller said,

    August 7, 2010 at 1:51 am


    Roy, you wrote:
    > She did address your reused claim that she was paid by IBM. <

    For the record, I did not "claim that she was paid by IBM".

    You can scour this site, Slashdot, Reddit, my site, and you won't find any such claim anywhere.

    Dr. Roy Schestowitz Reply:

    I said “REUSED” claim. Don’t omit words.

    Florian Mueller Reply:

    What relevance does “reused” have here? It’s a characteristic of a claim. The word “reused” doesn’t change the fact that your statement suggested I made the relevant claim (whether originally or by reusing someone else’s claim).

    Dr. Roy Schestowitz Reply:

    “Reused” means you lean on someone else’s libel for safe comfort.

    I remember when Microsoft staff (confirmed) used some anonymous comment to compare me to Unabomber.

    Florian Mueller Reply:

    All I did is that I pointed to Dan Lyons blog, said that I don’t doubt that a journalist with such a background of writing for high-profile high-quality publications will indeed have asked the questions he claimed on his blog to have asked, and pointed out that the OSDL/LinuxFoundation, PJ and IBM all refused to comment. PJ didn’t answer him; the other two did, but with a refusal.

    By pointing you to a statement from 2004, PJ didn’t answer Dan Lyons’s question either because he brought it up years later with reference to something that might have happened in 2007.

    Florian Mueller Reply:

    It’s really interesting to compare PJ’s refusal to address Dan Lyons’s claim and my insistence on a generic and timeless answer.

    Even though I take the same positions as I always have (which included a lot of confrontation with Microsoft at different points), I’m expected to comment on a link to Microsoft. There’s neither a document nor a source nor a high-profile journalist referring to a source he considers reliable; there isn’t any claim of a point in time and a given amount; it’s just out of the blue (or Blue) that the link is made, while in PJ’s case there’s a lot more smoke and, potentially, fire.

    Dr. Roy Schestowitz Reply:

    It’s really interesting to compare PJ’s refusal to address Dan Lyons’s claim..

    There is no such refusal.

    PJ’s case there’s a lot more smoke and, potentially, fire.

    You’re trying to divert attention rather than answer the question.

    Florian Mueller Reply:

    I admit that I used an unfortunate wording: PJ didn’t answer Dan Lyons. It was OSDL/LinuxFoundation and IBM who did answer him but refused to comment.

    I’m not diverting attention. I’ve answered the question generically; I’ve explained two or three times why I only answer it generically. So I don’t have to divert from it. This here is a discussion under an article that’s about Groklaw. The URL contains the keywords “record straight on groklaw ibm” as you can see at the top of your browser window…

    Dr. Roy Schestowitz Reply:

    But you never answered the question (although you claim you have).

    Florian Mueller Reply:

    I leave it to all readers of this discussion thread here to read my statements and draw their conclusions from it.

    I believe I’ve made a lot of effort to discuss the issues. Interestingly, under an article that’s about “record straight on groklaw ibm” according to the URL, you don’t seem to care too much if someone highlights that PJ referred to a statement from 2004 (!) when Dan Lyons’s story is about 2007. You don’t seem to care too much about PJ never having said who her past employers were and current employer may be, that she never appears at industry events to present her views and engage in discussions, etc. You don’t seem to care too much about the difference between her consistently siding with IBM and defending IBM’s actions without any exception as opposed to me taking differentiated views on all players in the industry.

    I recommend that you do care more about those issues and would like to leave this discussion here now after all the effort I made to explain.

    Dr. Roy Schestowitz Reply:

    You’re still avoiding the question by making more innuendo claims about someone else.

    Your failure to answer the question tells me that it’s likely Microsoft pays (“compensates”) you in some way. You can deny this, but you haven’t yet touched this subject by answering the simple question.

  8. Florian Mueller said,

    August 7, 2010 at 3:35 am


    According to the righthand column, you now have about 6,500 taggings of Microsoft and the #2 keyword is Free/Libre Software with less than a quarter of that number. So you tag pretty much everything and everyone with Microsoft.

    Even if your tagging was right in my case, you still wouldn’t have addressed any of my factual statements on the IBM antitrust case or on the way major players use patents.

    You do, however, show quite a reluctance to play your corporate watchdog role with respect to Groklaw.

    Dr. Roy Schestowitz Reply:

    Even if your tagging was right in my case, you still wouldn’t have addressed any of my factual statements on the IBM antitrust case or on the way major players use patents.

    This post is not about that (unless you’re referring to other posts).

    You do, however, show quite a reluctance to play your corporate watchdog role with respect to Groklaw.

    I like Groklaw and I trust its editor. I have not had reasons to feel differently, except the recent defenses of Apple (an opposition to which I expressed openly).

    Florian Mueller Reply:

    You may like Groklaw and trust PJ, but that appears to have lowered your standard to the extent that a statement from 2004 can answer a question relating to 2007. I’ve never seen a past answer to a future question, except in movies like Back To The Future.

    Dr. Roy Schestowitz Reply:

    I’m not in a position where I can speak for someone else. You could direct/post these comments elsewhere (where Jones would respond).

    I am still asking, are you funded by Microsoft in any way?

    Florian Mueller Reply:

    You got the generic, timeless answer to that question.

    I don’t expect you to speak for Groklaw, just to apply the same corporate watchdog standard to everyone. If you did, Groklaw, SFLC and others would have some important questions to answer.

  9. Florian Mueller said,

    August 7, 2010 at 3:39 am


    Actually, I double-checked and GNU/Linux has more taggings than Free/Libre Software, but just about half as many as Microsoft. Novell a similar number.

    Didn’t check which other company besides those bogeymen Microsoft and Novell is the most frequently tagged one here, but those numbers seem to be around 10% of Microsoft’s number of taggings (Google).

    Dr. Roy Schestowitz Reply:

    The tagline of this Web site ought to remind you that this site’s focus is the attack on software freedom. Microsoft almost has a monopoly on that.

    Florian Mueller Reply:

    That near-monopoly is a big fallacy. IBM’s mainframe business is extremely anti-freedom where IBM makes money (legacy workloads, which has nothing to do with z/Linux). Google’s core business isn’t about freedom, not even about neutrality according to the NY Times. Apple is much more restrictive than Microsoft as RMS told a major Spanish newspaper. In terms of pro-software-patent lobbying, if Microsoft does it, IBM is almost always involved as well, and in Europe, usually SAP as well. Red Hat co-founded with IBM and others the Open Invention Network, which is not open. The OpenForum Europe isn’t open and lobbied for software patents in the name of open source.

    Believe it or not, I do believe that corporate watchdogs are needed and can contribute to keeping companies and affiliated organizations honest. It’s good that you look closely at whatever Microsoft does. What’s not good is to make connections that are often unconvincing and to apply different standards. It makes you appear paranoid. I guess your site would have a whole lot more credibility with serious people if you didn’t see Microsoft in everything and if you occasionally recognized where Microsoft does good stuff (even if maybe for bad reasons from your point of view). For an example, Eric Raymond has recognized that repeatedly, and his leaking of the Halloween documents was something that’s very much along the lines of the TechRights approach to transparency.

    You have no factual basis on which to link me to Microsoft and to expect me to depart from my generic, timeless answer. On the contrary, you know the issues and where Microsoft stands on them, and you know my blog and my LinuxTag slides etc. There are issues where they want something completely different; and there are issues where I may partially agree with what they want but then for very different reasons.

    Dr. Roy Schestowitz Reply:

    This still does not explain why you cannot answer a simple question.

    Florian Mueller Reply:

    It’s not that I cannot answer it. It’s that I reject to answer a question where without any factual basis I’m linked to a company when I actually assure everyone that if I ever have to disclose anything under EU transparency rules, I will, which is an answer covering all companies and timeless in nature.

    I won’t let anyone bully me (by means of drawing conclusions) into departing from that principle, which I upheld during my entire involvement with the Oracle/Sun merger control process as well.

    I challenge you: What reason does anyone (including PJ, who said people should ask the question) have to even bring up the question, other than Microsoft paranoia?

    Dr. Roy Schestowitz Reply:

    There is no “Microsoft paranoia”. Microsoft is a real threat to GNU/Linux.

    Florian Mueller Reply:

    I see GNU/Linux and Windows as competitors, and I want to have the choice between both of them and therefore want both of them to be as good as possible in terms of functionality, performance, security etc. That’s simply the consumer point of view.

    I can’t imagine that Microsoft is on a mission to destroy GNU/Linux.

    Dr. Roy Schestowitz Reply:

    If you study Microsoft’s history, you’ll see that it’s not “competing”. The courts are on my side when it comes to this one.

    Florian Mueller Reply:

    I want everyone – including but not limited to Microsoft – to have to compete fairly. I’m a big believer in competition enforcement.

    Looking at the impact of the EU decision on Microsoft’s behavior, I have the impression that a couple of other major players in the industry need that kind of experience now, too.

    Dr. Roy Schestowitz Reply:

    You’re confusing competition with corruption.

    Florian Mueller Reply:

    Fair, effective competition is the opposite of corruption.

    The European Commission is impartial. If it takes a decision anyone wants to appeal, there’s still the EU’s General Court, and above that one, the Court of Justice. I have tremendous faith in that system.

    Dr. Roy Schestowitz Reply:

    What does “fair, effective competition” mean to you? In Microsoft’s case, there’s sabotage, bribes, intimidation of individuals, etc.

    What has IBM done?

    Florian Mueller Reply:

    You probably realize that you asked a very broad question by discussion forum standards.

    Should Microsoft engage in sabotage, bribes, intimidation of individuals etc., then they should be pursued. That’s what the rule of law is for. But that must also apply to everyone else.

    As for what IBM has done, they’ve got a really bad history of doing literally anything to preserve a monopoly. I encourage you to read comments from some highly credible people on http://www.ibmandtheholocaust.com/comments.php

    But on the current subject, the mainframe, they abuse their monopoly in various ways. I’ll quote from the European Commission’s press release, which points out that the investigation will now have to prove whether that’s true but the EC has spent a great deal of time looking into this already:


    (quote) IBM is alleged to have engaged in illegal tying of its mainframe hardware products to its dominant mainframe operating system. The complaints contend that the tying shuts out providers of emulation technology which could enable the users to run critical applications on non-IBM hardware.
    In addition, the Commission has concerns that IBM may have engaged in anti-competitive practices with a view to foreclosing the market for maintenance services (i.e. keeping potential competitors out of the market), in particular by restricting or delaying access to spare parts for which IBM is the only source. (end quote)

    Dr. Roy Schestowitz Reply:

    I’m familiar with IBM’s criminal history too, but that’s not the point. You are once again shifting the subject to an offence on IBM because you are trying to ‘perfume’ your defence of Microsoft (the “equally evil” defence tactic).

    Florian Mueller Reply:

    I didn’t shift the subject. You asked me about what IBM has done. I answered.

    I didn’t say “equally evil”. Frankly, I don’t think Microsoft has anything in its history that’s even remotely comparable to IBM’s strategic alliance with the Third Reich. Then, IBM is also a much older company.

    And again, I don’t defend Microsoft. I defend my positions on some issues, particularly the IBM antitrust case. And on that one, I quoted what the European Commission is concerned about in terms of anticompetitive behavior by a monopolist.

    Dr. Roy Schestowitz Reply:

    The “equally evil” defence is when you find another company and say “they did it too” (or “they started it,” which makes them “equally evil”).

    Florian Mueller Reply:

    If “evil” is the criterion, there can be no doubt that there’s unspeakable evil in IBM’s history ( and it’s so extremely bad that saying Microsoft is “equally evil” would really be utterly unfair to Microsoft.

    Dr. Roy Schestowitz Reply:

    IBM has a longer history. You try hard to launder Microsoft’s reputation.

  10. Florian Mueller said,

    August 7, 2010 at 3:45 am


    Having just read above your reiteration of the claim made on Twitter that the new European Commission has many “Microsoft sympathizers”, I guess that’s the best example of your tagging everything with Microsoft that one could imagine.

    The European Commission is not only independent from Microsoft but one of its vice-presidents, Neelie Kroes, has a history of fighting very hard against Microsoft.

    So in a way it’s an honor to be tagged with Microsoft by you.

    Dr. Roy Schestowitz Reply:

    Microsoft represents an ecosystem which extends to companies like SAP. Microsoft promotes certain policies along with GE and it needs sympathetic/brainwashed politicians in positions of power.

    Microsoft’s particularly high relevance is to do with its active and persistent attacks on software freedom (we hardly see that from GE).

    Florian Mueller Reply:

    SAP agrees on some items with Microsoft but is also a close partner of IBM’s mainframe business and ironically Oracle is SAP’s largest reseller.

    My perspective on Versata’s antitrust complaint against SAP is mixed for the time being (until I find out more) because of Versata’s history of patent-trolling against SAP on the one hand and the legitimacy of requests for interoperability on the other hand. It’s interesting that when I appear to agree with Microsoft or presumed Microsoft allies, you and occasionally Groklaw (such as on MPEG and OIN) pay attention and point people to it, but I have 56 articles up on my blog including so many where I don’t agree with Microsoft or presumed Microsoft allies like SAP.

    Dr. Roy Schestowitz Reply:

    My point was different though. Microsoft takes a leading role in attacking GNU/Linux whereas SAP is actually willing to deploy on RHEL (but mostly SLES after the patent deal).

    Let’s get back to the original point and not discuss tags (or post slugs).

    Florian Mueller Reply:

    SAP is not an operating system/platform company. They’re an application company. That explains the difference.

    I think it’s fine if Microsoft focuses on its platform as long as FOSS has a lot of opportunity there, and it undoubtedly does, and as long as there’s effective competition between GNU/Linux and Windows.

    *Any* of the companies I mentioned will in some way “attack” software freedom if its core business is concerned. IBM is the perfect example.

    Dr. Roy Schestowitz Reply:

    How so? It did not even “attack” TH.

    Florian Mueller Reply:

    Again the problem of inconsistent standards. The correspondence between IBM and TH is public, and interpretation is easy. For many of the things you write about, there isn’t any such documentation and you still see a Microsoft shadow somewhere.

    Dr. Roy Schestowitz Reply:

    TH sort of asked for a list of patents. It’s a form of provocation, which you then amplified with your blog (brand new blog at the time).

    IBM did not threaten legal action.

    Florian Mueller Reply:

    Why can’t you at some point accept that IBM accused TH of an IP (=patent) infringement? TH neve asked for “a list of patents”. After IBM said IP infringement (and IP in that case meant patents, as turned out later), TH just asked to specify.

    If someone told you that he has a right that your website infringes, and makes it clear that he views this unfavorably, that’s enough of a threat.

    Dr. Roy Schestowitz Reply:

    IIRC, the specifics are that IBM did this after TH had joined the anti-IBM lobby (Microsoft’s lobby). Correct me if I’m wrong, but I think it’s you who’s distorting the story.

    Florian Mueller Reply:

    I greatly appreciate your “[c]orrect me if I’m wrong” because this shows you want to dig for the truth.

    The chronology is this: TH sent it first letter to IBM in July 2009. IBM replied after four months with the allegation of IP (=patent, without saying so) infringement. That same month, November 2009, TH asked IBM to specify. IBM replied in March 2010. That month TH also filed its antitrust complaint – and they took IBM’s long silence (four months!) as an indication that IBM didn’t even want to specify. Well, the letter arrived just after they filed the antitrust complaint, but had an earlier date.

    In terms of anti-IBM lobby, the problem for TH was that IBM refused after the July letter to work out a solution for the z/OS licensing issue and reiterated that refusal (after another four months) after the second letter. So they determined that they needed help from the European Commission.

    I don’t know when TH joined CCIA, but since Google and Oracle (two fierce and aggressive Microsoft competitors) and even Red Hat are members of CCIA, I don’t think that membership in such a diverse group can be held against anyone.

    Dr. Roy Schestowitz Reply:

    TH sent it first letter to IBM in July 2009.

    Can you give me a direct link to the full letter? I want to see exactly what it said.

    I don’t know when TH joined CCIA…

    I was referring to OpenMainframe.org actually.

    Florian Mueller Reply:

    TH published all four letters on its website. I linked to it from this blog posting:

    Concerning openmainframe.org, as long as they support a FOSS program that’s available for GNU/Linux *as well as* Windows, that’s free and open enough for my taste. I’ve read information about mainframe matters from various sources in recent months, and openmainframe.org provides some useful stuff. I didn’t find anything there that was like an encouragement to migrate to Windows.

    Dr. Roy Schestowitz Reply:

    I have just read the first letter. Bowler is indeed asking IBM about intellectual monopolies (licensing). Here is the letter in full.

    Florian Mueller Reply:

    The first letter related to licensing of z/OS. That’s proprietary software.

    However, IBM not only refused to grant a license to z/OS for use in emulation but also claimed that emulation of its CPU instruction set is generally an IP infringement. That would, if there indeed was one, also apply to the execution of z/Linux in emulation. The patents IBM later listed were not z/OS-related. Should (which hasn’t been proven thus far) Hercules infringe any of those, it would infringe them regardless of whether z/OS or z/Linux runs in a Hercules emulation.

    Dr. Roy Schestowitz Reply:

    IBM refused to give proprietary software, but this would not prevent TH from from making a Free platform run on non-IBM hardware. I can’t see how it’s so different from what Apple is doing (without breaking the law).

    Florian Mueller Reply:

    I’m happy to explain this now, but I move we close the discussion. I can’t prevent you from making your statements that I in your view decline to deny funding from Microsoft, although I think it’s not fair to conclude that from a generic, timeless answer.

    Anyway, on the issue here: The question of whether IBM licenses its proprietary z/OS is an antitrust matter. Those are different markets, and IBM has a mainframe monopoly. Even without the antitrust aspect (which apparently is serious enough for the EC to launch two formal probes in parallel), I think TH didn’t offend or attack or “lobby against” IBM by asking whether a license deal could be worked out.

    IBM then, however, not only refused that license but also claimed that emulation of the mainframe CPU constitutes an IP (=patent) infringement. That, again, is independent from what operating system you run on the emulated (virtual) CPU. And TH didn’t ask IBM for permission to emulate: IBM raised that issue to TH’s surprise (given that IBM had been aware of Hercules for a long time, even mentioned it in one of its RedBooks in 2002 or so).

    So the two kinds of IP issues here are different ones. z/OS licensing is one thing, threatening against emulation with patents is another and is operating system-independent.

    Let’s assume a situation in which maybe some other CPU manufacturer comes up with something vastly superior over Intel’s products and someone then writes an emulator to run software written for Intel on that new machine. If Intel then used some of its patents against that, we’d have a situation similar to the patent part of the IBM/TH issue.

    We’re now close to 100 comments and this can’t go on forever. I’ve tried to be constructive and forthcoming, but no matter how much more time I spend here, I can’t prevent you from drawing unreasonable conclusions. I can, however, express my expectation that you’ll be fair enough to recognize that I did give a generic, timeless answer and that I’d have given the same one if instead of Microsoft you had asked about, say, Oracle.

    Dr. Roy Schestowitz Reply:

    And still, that’s a way of dodging the question. It’s not hard to answer that question.

  11. twitter said,

    August 7, 2010 at 2:26 pm


    It’s fair to conclude that Florian won’t answer this question and that he’s probably paid by Microsoft for what he’s doing. It would be easy for him to deny compensation from Microsoft for all the letters he’s sending journalists, his blog and other social media posting which amount to a full time effort. If he’s meeting EU transparency laws requirements and he’s working for Microsoft there are problems with those transparency laws that should be fixed. Compensated or not, his efforts are parallel to Microsoft talking points, are good for Microsoft and a disservice to software freedom.

    It’s only fair, at this point, to link in Groklaw coverage of the TH saga:

    PJ’s justification of the IBM suit against TH, TH is the aggressor.
    OpenMainframe is some kind of anti-IBM Microsoft partner and their site is like Microsoft’s “Get the Facts” campaign.
    PJ links the SCO case, Psystar case, a MySQL dust up and the TH cases as all about “wanting to use someone else’s code without having to abide by the license, the assertion that for one reason or another, the author of software code can’t choose the terms under which he chooses to license it and that others who didn’t write it get to use it the way they wish to, instead of having to write their own”.

    PJ’s is a careful researcher and there’s a lot of merit and documentation to back her assertions. She has her facts straight and delivers the news concisely. I commend her especially for connecting the dots between these seemingly unrelated cases against Microsoft competitors. Microsoft’s would be secret funding of SCO is well documented and good reason to suspect the same in these other cases. Dissmissal by ridicule might work for school yard bullies but it does not work with adults considering the actions of a convicted felon like Microsoft.

    Someone who’s interested in hypocrisy should strongly object to these things. Microsoft expends a lot of effort in judicial harassment of competitors while flaunting the law themselves.

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