Bonum Certa Men Certa

FUD Busting is Back at Groklaw

PJ takes the burden of FUD


Summary: Critical assessment and in-depth research is seen with the return of PJ

THE WordPerfect case is being further analysed by Pamela Jones (PJ) over at Groklaw. Mark Webbink has not written quite so much recently, so it seems like Jones is back in charge as the dominant writer and FUD buster (which professor Webbink is reluctant to be). We draw inspiration from PJ and from Groklaw, so it is delightful to see her back. She says that the WordPerfect case carries on, as she noted the other day (the corporate press did not make it apparent). To quote the opening parts:

When Judge J. Frederick Motz ruled for Microsoft on its motion for judgment as a matter of law the other day, tossing out Novell's antitrust case against Microsoft, he explained his reasons at length. One of them was that there was, he asserted, no evidence of any realistic middleware threat.

However, here at Groklaw, we're continuing our project of trying to provide text versions of all the PDF exhibits from the Comes v. Microsoft antitrust litigation, and a volunteer posted an exhibit [PDF] he'd just transcribed, and as I was reading it to edit any mistakes, I started to say to myself, Hey, this contradicts the judge. My next thought was that maybe Novell never saw this exhibit. After all, one of the things that happened in this case was that neither party was able to easily find what the exhibits all were. There are thousands of them, and they were identifiable only by numbers, and numbers from other litigations. That's why we started on the project, to make them more easily searchable.

But then I started to dig a little, and it turns out that Novell did offer the court this very exhibit. It's Exhibit PX 44 in this PDF collection of exhibits, attached as an exhibit to Novell's opposition to Microsoft's motion for judgment as a matter of law.

The Comes exhibits sure prove handy, even years after they were released (owing in part to Grouch). In other news from Jones, Microsoft Florian, who is now paid by Oracle for FUD, keeps deceiving. To quote Jones:

The point isn't the amount, $2 billion or $6 billion. It's the emphasis over and over, as I'll show you, that it could be *any* kind of billions. In the end, after the trial, Google didn't have to pay so much as a penny.

Did you notice how he claims that what he wrote has been repeated in the media and read maybe billions of times? If all he did was factual reporting, that wouldn't be such a problem, although I'll have more to say about that at the end. But is it the case that his reporting was purely factual? Let's see.

What Does the Record Show?

I wrote earlier today that I thought Oracle should have to pay at least some of Google's costs from the trial, if only because I didn't think Oracle should be allowed to cause so much unmerited damage and then just walk away. Let me show you what I mean by unmerited damage that shouldn't be ignored by reviewing some of what FOSSPatents wrote about the case.

By my reading, FOSSPatents at least implied repeatedly that Google was a willful infringer, going so far as to assert that the judge held that suspicion himself, along with presenting multiple gloomy analyses of what the bad outcome for Google as a result could be.

Since he is paid by foes of FOSS, journalists should just stop paying attention to him. There are many blogs out there that are not influenced by money. At Techrights, ideology might have some influence but not money. The same goes for Groklaw.

Here is Jones' analysis of the balance game: "Oracle has filed its expected Objections [PDF] to Google's $4+ million Bill of Costs. I have it as text for you. "Denial of costs is proper," Oracle argues, "where (1) the issues were especially close and difficult, (2) the case presented a landmark issue of national importance, (3) the judgment was mixed, or (4) the losing party litigated in good faith.""

Notice that no "billions" are mentioned; Google wants its legal fees ("millions") back; retracting all the FUD or getting compensated for it will never happen.

Oracle is also being criticised for its exploitative new trick against Linux contributors:

Oracle has made an interesting offer to companies using a free version of Red Hat Enterprise Linux: Switch to our free Oracle Linux instead.

Oracle hardly develops Linux. Now it has Solaris, too. Its best known Linux developer left and the open-source HPC language that Oracle inherited from Sun is being neglected. For Larry Ellison, it does not make sense if it does not make a lot of money.

The backlash against oracle [1, 2] for its attack on CentOS gets noticed and one quoted response goes like this:

CentOS penguins maul Oracle's Linux migration pitch


Forum member Spearchucker fires back:

That 'support' word, right there, is the thing that makes me stay as far from Oracle as I can. It's like "Dude, here's the software. Have it, it's cheap/free." When things go wrong you get stung for exorbitant support/consulting fees, because, hey, you're tied in. With nowhere to go.

The fact it's Oracle behind Oracle Linux is the biggest sticking point. The CentOS penguins either don't trust Oracle or hate it for throwing its weight around in the open source community, hurting their friends and other projects, and trying to control open source - the Hudson and OpenSolaris projects.

Oracle is not a friend of Linux and FOSS. It's an exploiter of those, and that is different from being a "friend". We sometimes get chastised for criticising Oracle, but many in the FOSS community will agree that Oracle has done more damage than good for FOSS.

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