Bonum Certa Men Certa

HeBS Digital and Black Duck Press Releases Treated Like Articles, Used to Muddy the FOSS Waters

"A man never lies as much as after a hunt, during a war, and before an election."

--Otto von Bismarck



Summary: Free/Open Source software (FOSS) is under attack again, and it's the proprietary software lobby that's responsible for that

EVERY now and then we see claims that Free software is very dangerous because of licensing obligations, as if proprietary software comes with no licensing obligations and potentially severe fines (if not a jail term!). We also occasionally hear about Free software being dangerous on the security side, despite proprietary software being far worse, merely hiding flaws and rarely patching them (or patching them when it's too late). Several Web sites published this biased 'analysis' composed by two proprietary software 'sales' people (HeBS Digital's Max Starkov and Jaan Paljasma) only a few days ago. They rely on non-technical people actually believing that there are no downsides to proprietary software. It should also be noted that, while several sites distribute this 'article' as though it's an original report, it is actually more like a press release commissioned by a stakeholder. It's not journalism and some sites fail to flag it accordingly.



In my professional capacity I have built sites using FOSS content management systems (e.g. Drupal, WordPress) for commerce, education, and more. These frameworks are so flexible and so full of modules/plug-ins that virtually everything is possible. Not even once have such sites been compromised due to security bugs (even when some existed and remained unpatched for a while).

"It should also be noted that, while several sites distribute this 'article' as though it's an original report, it is actually more like a press release commissioned by a stakeholder."Speaking of proprietary software salespeople, the Microsoft-connected Black Duck is at it again. "The study’s findings also highlighted a number of other specific ways the adoption of appropriate internal controls has not kept pace with the increasing use of open source software, leaving many organizations exposed to significant potential risks," wrote a lawyers' site, based on this self-promotional press release from Black Duck.

"As highlighted in the Information Week blog DARKReading," the lawyers' site said, actually referring to a press release, not a blog. We shall guess that it takes more than average levels of intelligence to distinguish blog posts from press releases. We can also safely assume that Black Duck hasn't changed its ways. It's a de facto FUD firm which uses scare tactics for sales of its proprietary software (with software patents on it).

Speaking of Black Duck, distrust its figures or statistics regarding software licences because by taking tiny JavaScript bits of code (typically MIT-licensed) and treating these as equal to large GPL-licensed programs they'll have us believe that copyleft-type licences are dying. They are comparing apples and oranges, but then again, that's the art of misleading with so-called statistics.

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