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Dana Dana Blankenhorn has been a business journalist for over 25 years and has covered the online world professionally since 1985. He founded the "Interactive Age Daily" for CMP Media, and has written for the Chicago Tribune, Advertising Age, and dozens of other publications over the years.
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May 14, 2005

A Publisher's Ethics

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Posted by Dana Blankenhorn

fuat kircaali.jpgBy and large publishers do not share journalism's ethical sense.

Instead they apply business ethics.

While a journalist's ethics, like that of any other claimed profession, may hold them well short of what's illegal, businessmen must go right up to the legal line, even risk crossing it, to stay ahead of the competition. Businessmen who don't think that way are easily crushed by those who do.

In journalism, business ethics often push journalists over lines they should not cross. Robert Novak practices business ethics. The National Enquirer practices business ethics. Those who choose to believe Novak or the Enquirer accept it.

And Fuat Kircaali (right), CEO of Sys-Con Media, has apparently chosen to apply business ethics in the Maureen O'Gara scandal. (He has hinted at this before.)

This weekend this blog was told that Kircaali accepted the resignations of three senior LinuxWorld editors -- James Turner, Dee-Ann LeBlanc, and Steve Suehring, rather than personally release and renounce O'Gara.

UPDATE: "We were unpaid editors but we devoted a lot of time and energy to it," according to Suehring's blog. This makes sense given Kircaali's business model, as we will discuss later on.

Apparently, Kircaali even approved O'Gara's assault on Pamela Jones of Groklaw in advance. Here's what he told Free Software Magazine.

"The language of the story is in the typical style of Ms. O’Gara, generally entertaining and easy to read, and sometimes it could be regarded as offensive, depending on how you look at it. I decided to publish the article. It was published because it was an accurate news story."

More after the break.

Sys-Con is one of the most powerful computer publishing companies in the U.S. While rivals Ziff-Davis, CMP and IDG have fallen on hard times while paying editors well and preaching the value of ethical journalism, Kircaali has become the industry's low cost provider.

In the poverty that is 21st century computer publishing, Kircaali's strategy has made business sense. He has delivered large quantities of papers and low ad rates.

Readers and advertisers must now decide how they feel about this. Kircaali says Maureen O'Gara, the Robert Novak of the computer press, is A-OK by him. After all, she's delivering highly readable content at a very low cost to Sys-Con, bearing the editorial costs at her own G2 Computer Intelligence.

Personally I will not write for any Sys-Con publication, I won't read one, and if I knew their advertiser list I'd boycott the lot of them. That's just my personal feeling, as a consumer, as a writer, as a journalist. When a business offends me I can choose not to trade with them.

This is the risk any business runs when it applies business ethics in the face of a professional scandal. Often the market is forgiving . CNN still uses Novak and is still on the air. The Enquirer is still being published.

How do you feel? More important, if you feel strongly, what do you plan to do about it?

Comments (37) + TrackBacks (0) | Category: Business Strategy | Internet | Journalism | Linux | e-commerce | ethics | law | marketing | personal


COMMENTS

1. Dee-Ann LeBlanc on May 14, 2005 06:58 PM writes...

I just wanted to say that the entire senior editorial staff has resigned, not just a few of us. Some of them have situations that make it a bit trickier for them to go out with a bang as it were. :)

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2. TomCS on May 14, 2005 09:25 PM writes...

This is important, though from the Eastern bank of the Atlantic I"m not sure I can do anything personally to help. It's important because it can allow bloggers and journalists (there are good and bad of either) to agree on where their ethics lie. There is little or no difference between the print media and the web media, between the good, ethical writers on the one and on the other. The medium is not the message. There are supermarket tabloids on the internet, and ethical and unethical publishers.

"PJ" has an interesting link on Groklaw to the US Professional Journalists Code of Ethics: perhaps web writers could voluntarily adopt the same standards. I know this would cause a problem for the political rants, but would you really miss Power Line? Surely the web should not tolerate lower standards than the MSM?

The other irrelevant difference (ethically at least) is that the normal remedies against writer abuse, such as a libel suit, are less effective in the virtual world of web businesses. Suing a man of straw will not help. But if the bloggers want to carve a niche, it needs to be on the ethical rather than the tabloid side of reporting: those are after all the standards which the OSS community tries to maintain in its development efforts.

One to me of the defining differences of proper blogging is the interaction, like this. In the print media, there is at least a letters editor between my comments and the writer. On blogs you the writer agree to listen, and possibly answer back, but not to filter or censor the polite and reasonable. And you agree to allow your readers to follow the discussion. (Which incidentally is my concern about your intention to publish in the Huffington vanity space: any on-line forum which does not support dialogue does not deserve any credibility over the traditional media.)

But then as you acknowledge in your recent piece on blogonomics, one of the issues is how to make money out of blogs. There are no free lunches. Which is fair enough, but totally wipes out any prior assumption that bloggers are in some mystical way ethically sounder than the MSM.

So let's use the O'Gara tragedy to build ethical standards for the informal end of web publishing, and accept that there is, at least to start with, not much between Murdoch and Kircaali.

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3. bobby on May 14, 2005 10:59 PM writes...

Dana,
I have always appreciated your level headed approach.. & I now have reason to further appreciate it. As long as M. O'Gara stuck to what were obvious lies for her sensationalism, I simply laughed & looked the other way. Her unconscionable action the other day was un-acceptable, and, therefore, Faut's initial & subsequent actions are, also, un-acceptable.
Thank you for continuing to give us a reason to appreciate your actions.

For me, I will no longer give Faut money thru 'ad hits'. Ditto for M. O'Gara.

It is my belief that there will be no vacuum. New 'magazines' will appear to cater to an industry/audience which wishes to read News & Rational Commentary. (caps intended) The presence & popularity of Groklaw shows the need/desires of the people for such a creature. Perhaps the ex-editors of LinuxWorld will be the creators. I, for one, will give them 'ad-hits'.

thank you

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4. bobby on May 14, 2005 11:04 PM writes...

Dana,
I have always appreciated your level headed approach, even should we disagree, & I now have reason to further appreciate it. As long as M. O'Gara stuck to what were obvious lies for her sensationalism, I simply laughed & looked the other way. Her unconscionable action the other day was un-acceptable, and, therefore, Faut's initial & subsequent actions are, also, un-acceptable.
Thank you for continuing to give us a reason to appreciate your actions.

For me, I will no longer give Faut money thru 'ad hits'. Ditto for M. O'Gara.

It is my belief that there will be no vacuum. New 'magazines' will appear to cater to an industry/audience which wishes to read News & Rational Commentary. (caps intended) The presence & popularity of Groklaw shows the need/desires of the people for such a creature. Perhaps the ex-editors of LinuxWorld will be the creators. I, for one, will give them 'ad-hits'.

thank you

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5. Nnyan on May 14, 2005 11:56 PM writes...

I would like someone to track the advertisers for all of sys-con's tabloids and start a grass roots boycott of these companies.

Since Fuat seems to worship the all mighty dollar then that is how to demonstrate our displeasure at his deplorable ethics.

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6. Brad Hutchings on May 15, 2005 12:10 AM writes...

A little bit of the pot calling the kettle fat here, no? What is your issue with Novak? Not that he was born Jewish and converted to Catholocism, I hope. Is it the Plame affair? Funny how everyone forgets that his column, where he mentioned that she is in the employ of the CIA, was the first to draw the connection that the Administration might have discounted certain real field intelligence in making the conclusion about yellow cake uranium. Yet, the focus is on outing Plame (married to a retired diplomat and more than likely an analyst rather than a field op like Jennifer Garner plays on TV).

And in a way, it's a lot like O'Gara's column. Self-righteous FOSSers are upset that O'Gara invaded PJ's "privacy", maybe concerned that Darl's gonna put a hit out on her because that's what commercial vendors do.

Here's the problem. PJ, through the community she created, has exerted negative influence on SCO's ability to license its IP and exerted downward pressure on its stock price. One can imagine that there are valid stakeholders with reasonable cases for wanting to know where PJ is coming from. They may not be in the FOSS echo chamber, but they do exist. O'Gara, as a reporter, and SysCon, as a publisher, serve a wider community with wider interests than people who hate Microsoft and have paranoid delusions of commercial software vendors rounding them up and executing them or prying away their beloved Linux kernel source code.

Because PJ has the kind of influence she does on a marketplace and on a public company's stock price, she necessarily needs to be more transparent and more forthcoming about her qualifications and background than she has in the past two years. She claims to be a paralegal. Where is her certificate from? Why don't we just start with that? Her reluctance to have any information about her subject to any kind of review creates the vacuum in which this story happened and makes it news.

A second element beyond the "outing" that people seem to be responding to is O'Gara's snarkiness. Nobody likes to be laughed at, and frankly, O'Gara was laughing at the PJ she found (while raising the interesting possibility that maybe PJ was a prop, etc.). You know what? Nobody likes to be called a thief or a sheister, caracatured as the borg, lectured on being immoral for (gasp!) charging for software which took significant blood, sweat, and money to create, etc. Nobody likes it insinuated that "their philosophical side" would arrange someone's suicide (PJ did this recently). It goes on every day in all the FOSS echo chambers, and Groklaw is as hostile to commercial attitudes as any of them. Just don't do it to our poor, little, old, paranoid, pamphelt pushing PJ. Puhhhhh-thetic.

So what am I going to do about this? I'm going to wait to read O'Gara's next column and prepare to laugh some more. At PJ, at Groklaw, at Slashdot, at the self-righteous FOSS community, and on and on. This will be chapter 6 in my forthcoming book, 10 Reasons to Stick Geeks in Closets and Lock the Friggin Door.

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7. just an interested party on May 15, 2005 01:11 AM writes...

Brad Hutchings likes to say 'who' a person is is important to the story they tell..

and so it may be. It appears ( Google is your friend (;-)) Mr. Hutchings is a Ph.d whose alma mata is byu.edu.. hmmm, Brigham Young University.. And we are surprised that he is such a 'fan' of SCO & Mr. McBride??

BTW, Groklaw has not simply exerted negative pressure.. they show that SCO does NOT own the IP which it claims! OTOH, SCO is attempting to 'leverage' the market to prevent other companies from making a fair profit.. and you find this acceptable??

hmm, methinks Mr., Hutchings is all wet.

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8. Sean DeBurgh on May 15, 2005 01:21 AM writes...

"Brad Hutchings" got it backwards when he wrote:

> [PJ] has exerted negative influence on SCO's
> ability to license its IP and exerted downward
> pressure on its stock price.

How can PJ possibly exert negative influence on something that doesn't exist in reality? So far SCO has not shown one iota of evidence that its "IP" has been abused by IBM's contributions to Linux. Judge Dale Kimball himself has called the lack of evidence presented by SCO "astonishing".

This reminds me of a previous exchange in Jonathan Krim's Washington Post take of the subject:

The GPL has this sucking effect of grabbing your IP [intellectual property], sucking it in and destroying your property rights McBride said.

Torvalds, the Linux founder, ridicules that notion. "Having a hole in your head has this sucking effect," Torvalds said, firing back at McBride. "The GPL doesn't 'grab' any IP at all. The only thing that is desperately trying to grab other people's IP is Darl McBride and company."

Thanks to PJ for exposing the truth.

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9. Brad Hutchings on May 15, 2005 01:53 AM writes...

Cute, interested party... You found the wrong Brad Hutchings. He's (likely) a decendant from the side of the family that stayed in Utah after my 5th great uncle got scalped on the way to LA from Philadelphia. I've e-mailed him a couple times a decade ago and he seems to be a nice guy. I actually have a BS and MS from UC Irvine (go Anteaters!). Didn't have patience to do the Ph.D. thing. And now you know more about me than you do about one of the key leaders (as she has actually referred to herself) of today's FOSS movement. Wanna know more? I have two cool dogs, own a condo in So Cal, have a Mustang GT and a Chevy Blazer in my garage, and write software that thousands of people enjoy enough to spend a little money on. I have an open source product for developers that I wrote from scratch on my web site, and some licensees actually pay me for it. My business turns 14 next month. I grew up in the slums of Danville, CA right next to the freeway (that is a joke, my FOSS friends). Finally, I used to model and, um, act, yes, that's the word for it, under the name "Ron Mexico".

If PJ were half as transparent, this we wouldn't even be talking about this.

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10. still interested on May 15, 2005 02:54 AM writes...

Strange Brad, you said a lot, yet still we "know" nothing about you..
example, what is your company? the software product? (I notice your name doesn't link to a company as so many do.. hiding something??)

is this you? and/or this? I see MS & Mac software.. No Linux.. hmmm... an agenda?? (arguably, Mac OSX is BSD, I'll partially defer that point)

Oh, yes, this - Hutchings Software consists of Brad Hutchings, programmer and doctorate student at UC Irvine;
hmm, no patience for a ph.d?? seeing as how the page is some 8 years old.. Congratulations! You have your Ph.d!

uci.edu shows you as staff, as did (past tense) byu.edu. It is interesting that the Brad Hutchings at byu is also in computer science..as are you.. Same name, same specialty.. hmm, what are the odds?? (is That your specialty?? (;-))

Finally, I Know MUCH more about "one of the key leaders (as she has actually referred to herself) of today's FOSS movement".. I Know that she publishes FACTS, Verifiable even. I Know that she does Not evade questions concerning FLOSS/SCO/IBM, only questions about her personal life.. that's hers. I don't want it. Just the Facts.

BTW, sorry to hear about your 5th great uncle..
(that is a joke, my (non)F(L)OSS friends) (;-)

p.s. code of ethics notice.
I have published NO addresss, phone #s, pictures etc. The information included is for one (two?) Brad Hutchings.. IF that is whom is doing the postings...

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11. Brad Hutchings on May 15, 2005 04:03 AM writes...

Oh, I get it now, "still interested". You are 1337 funny guy! Let me ask you this... PJ and Groklaw are privvy to all the filings (minus the redacted portions) of SCO v. IBM. Are PJ and Groklaw privvy to the actual discovery? Curious... I don't think you can claim that Groklaw is dealing solely in facts when it doesn't actually have the important ones relevant to the case ;-).

BTW, Dana has previously posted a picture of this very blog. And in the blogosphere, I'm just a caller, not a host. My schtick is not to make or incite thousands of derogatory comments about any company, talk about or be talked about on Yahoo! stock boards, or do anything that could possibly have material affect on the price of a publicly traded stock. I also sign my name to all of my comments. Consider that my ethics lesson to you, Señor Interested, and the rest of the blogosphere.

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12. Brad Hutchings on May 15, 2005 04:36 AM writes...

P.S. No, I did not have patience to finish my Ph.D. If you had done any research, you might have learned that the program I was in did not accept Master's students at the time, but gave the degree as a boobie prize for not falling asleep in class too many times in the first 3 years. Mr. Interested, dude, you are seriously freaking me out with this exposé of my personal life, especially the Ph.D. thing. It's as if my Dad, both grandmothers, old neighbor, and countless others have put you up to shaming me for not getting my doctorate. Dad, if that is you, you are soooo out of my will.

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13. Musicus on May 15, 2005 05:59 AM writes...

Thank you Dana for providing a sane voice from outside the immediate events. Mr. Kircaali's view that the article was "accurate" and "news" is alarming if, as you say, Sys-Con is one of the most powerful publishing firms today. Having a public information source run by such an acute lack of ethics is downright frightening. The more people who are willing to stand up and say "this is wrong", the better.

To Mr. Hutchings: "PJ, through the community she created, has exerted negative influence on SCO's ability to license its IP and exerted downward pressure on its stock price."

What IP? As the holder of quite a few copyrights, I am well aware that if you are pressing copyright claims, the first thing you do is identify the copyrights and the infringment. After two years, the SCO Group has been able to do neither, either in the IBM case, or in the Novell case, and I don't need Groklaw, or to be party to the discovery to figure that out.

As for their stock price, it was less than $1 in Feb 2003. They now have less product, fewer employees, whopping legal bills (in part from suing their own customers!), and zero credibility in the industry, none of which are signs of a strong company. Their stock is badly overvalued at its current price. Do you honestly believe it was worth the $22 it hit (likely at least partly due to the additional publicity provided by Groklaw, hardly downward exertion) last year? If so, no wonder you are so bitter. You must be having a hard time selling that bridge the nice man in Brooklyn sold you.

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14. Anonymous Coward on May 15, 2005 05:59 AM writes...

Dear all, t

there is no point in just boycotting. What is worthwhile is _telling_the_advertisers_ who you have or were planning to have a business relationship with that you are unhappy with their choice in advertising and following up with consequences visible to them if they don't withdraw from using sys-con for advertising.

See this post and some of the followups to identify sys-con adverisers.

http://linux.slashdot.org/comments.pl?sid=149489&cid=12528824
(clickable link above)

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15. PeteS on May 15, 2005 06:06 AM writes...

Ignoring the flame war above [ ;) ], Dana reasonably asked what we shall do (if anything) about Sys-Con media's apparent ethics.

Little as it is, I shall 'vote with my feet'. They won't get my hits, and thus, one by one (the same way as FOSS projects are done) it will feel the weight of opinion.

Note I am not a FOSS 'zealot', as some like to put it - I use (and write, on occasion) both FOSS and proprietary software, depending on the task - in this I must be a pragmatist for my immediate business needs, but where no free solution exists, I have been known to suggest it.

My issue with Sys-Con is not FOSS vs. the world, but ethics.
There's an old saw: It takes a lifetime to build a reputation and 10 seconds to destroy it.
In engineering, your reputation is everything, so I have found. I am free to associate (or not) with publications depending upon my view of their reputations based on those ethics.

Disclosure note : I am a registered user at Groklaw, and have been known to pick apart many documents in the case, and do other tasks as I can which help it, in some small way, to be what it is.

Keep up the good work, Dana

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16. anonymous on May 15, 2005 07:10 AM writes...

I have read most of the stories related to this rather distasteful fiasco, and despite Kircaali's apparent recant on his position on publication of the article, I think he is merely applying more business sense and business ethics once he realised how many readers found O'Gara's article offensive and perhaps it was really getting through to their advertisers.

I, for one, would definitely boycott Sys-con publications and their sponsors.

However, having said that, one could argue what more does he have to do to show that he is in fact repentant of his previous stance than a public quasi-apology he made on LBN:

"To Our Valued Readers: (May 13, 2005) - Our syndication arrangement with LinuxGram has recently ended after ethical questions raised by our readers in one of the stories published in last week's issue. I agree with their view on this matter; therefore I pulled the article shortly after it was published earlier this week. I apologize to our readers, to the open source community, our LinuxWorld editors, and Ms. Pamela Jones for publishing the article.
Fuat Kircaali Publisher, SYS-CON Media"

But see, even with this he was not being completely truthful. During the interview he claimed that he pulled the article because it was somehow causing the DoS attacks:

"We did not pull the story because there was anything inaccurate in the report, we did it because it somehow led to the DoS attacks, which I repeat, I believe are criminal acts."

So how does he reconcile the two statements?

It was such blatant lack of ethics that, I believe, riled so many people. So I think he is going to have to do a lot more to convince me at least.

And considering the trollish comments above, I think Dana was absolute correct on the different sets of ethics. To some people, ethics seem to equate money...

What SCO IP? Since when is debunking fairy-tale claims of a publicly listed company "exerting negative influence", as if it's some kind of extortion act? Has JP violated privacy of any SCO employees/executives by posting pictures of their private residences or details of their family? Does knowing a person's religion change facts that she presents?

One must wonder if Mr. Hutchings is one of those bitter "stakeholders" that he writes about when he can so blithely wave away the issues of ethics and dismiss them as rantings of Microsoft haters. Since when does ethics have anything to do with Linux or Microsoft? Does a company that choose to use Linux mean they have more ethics than one that uses Microsoft? or vice versa?

As for O'Gara, well it was bound to happen, she had never been all that fact-bound and the only real news she ever brought was what SCO was feeding her, and sometimes they were highly inaccurate, or at least in conflict with the rest of the world.

And you know what? I am going to stay anonymous, because I feel like it, and I believe it is my right to have my privacy.

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17. Brad Hutchings on May 15, 2005 07:57 AM writes...

This Mr. Hutchings (the one I am anyway, I have no idea about the one I am not) does not and has not ever owned SCOX. I really love how when someone upsets the FOSS echo chamber, the group response is to question the heretic's ethics without gathering the required information to raise the question. Whatever makes you guys feel good inside...

You know the old question about whether 10,000 monkeys, armed with typewriters, would eventually produce the works of Shakespeare? I have a hunch that 10,000 IANALs cannot try a case when they don't actually have the relevant facts (e.g. 3000 personel files froms IBM) of the case to evaluate. But they can have lots of group hugs.

Peace.

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18. Vrimj on May 15, 2005 10:36 AM writes...

An interesting thing happens when you remove credentials from journalism (which is essentially what PJ did by staying in the semi-dark) you can't appeal to authority for acceptance of your work, it must stand on its own.

We are in a world of data, but we still rely far to much on the twin logical fallacies of an appeal to authority and the ad hominim attack. This is usually a sign of laziness, it indicates a focus on the messenger rather then the message.

The world is big and we cannot be expert in all areas. Sometimes we have to count on others to make value judgments for us. This lead to the creation of name brand journalism. This should play the same role that Hilton once played for hotels, a guarantee of minimum quality. If it does not play that role you have to wonder, in a world where media is increasingly distributed, what role do they play. Owning the printing press is no longer enough.

In the modern journalism landscape ethics and quality are core business issues. They are usually the keys to selling your publication as a brand. If your band is not trust worthy there is little reason to pay it mind in a sea of information.

Given Sys-Con's model, essentially trying for free content, integrity would be even more important. If being in his publications is not profitable, is should at least be an honor. This can work. Some of the best academic journals use similar models, but it only works when there is a dedication to quality.

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19. arch_dude on May 15, 2005 10:56 AM writes...

Mr Hutchens: You seem to think O'Gara's article was acceptable, even laudable.

I have a simple question for you: What is your mother's name, address, and phone number?

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20. Mark Poffenberger on May 15, 2005 11:20 AM writes...

I want to refer to a comment that Brad Hutchens said a little way up towards the top.

Brad said "Cute, interested party... You found the wrong Brad Hutchings".

I have been reading about this whole Maureen vs PJ thing with some awkward interest, but have always wondered. What if the PJ that Maureen found is not really the PJ from Groklaw? There are already many nuts on both sides of the fence in this SCO-vs-IBM-vs-Opensource-vs-???? and it concerns me that some nut in all this will go to that house and do something of an unpleasent nature. I really have never heard of anyone express this possiblity before.

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21. Laughing Vergil on May 15, 2005 01:43 PM writes...

Mr Hutchings:

I believe that you share a mistaken belief in what Journalism is. Your ideas come from today's television-and-radio driven publicity form of journalism. Historically in the USA, anonymous commentary was the accepted form of comments when talking about controversial subjects where you did not want personality interfering with message.

Ever hear of the author Publius? How about Cato, Brutus, or Federal Farmer (In relation to the United States of America). These are probably the most famous anonymous commentary pieces in the world. Would you have had them print their biographies, addresses, and addresses of their relatives for all to see?

As for your original comment, the writing makes some assumptions that, in my opinion, are not true, and are the "red flag" running throughout your comments. For example, let me edit one small section from your comment, placing my opinion in place of yours. The comments of yours that I removed are in italics -- My added comments are in bold:

"Here's the problem. PJ, through the community she created by making the legal filings in the SCO-IBM lawsuit (and others) easily available, and by providing commentary on those papers, has exerted negative influence on SCO's ability to license its alleged IP and exerted downward pressure on its stock price. One can imagine that there are valid stakeholders with reasonable cases for wanting to know where PJ is coming from."

Do you see the difference? In the opinion of the people I personally know who are concerned about this lawsuit, it is the facts and filings, not the person behind the website, that are important. PJ could be a little old goatherd from Burkina Faso (to take an obscure reference from another forum), but what difference would that make? It is the information, not the person behind the information, that is important.

And yes, I saw your earlier snide comment:

"Oh, I get it now[...]. [...] PJ and Groklaw are privvy to all the filings (minus the redacted portions) of SCO v. IBM. Are PJ and Groklaw privvy to the actual discovery? Curious... I don't think you can claim that Groklaw is dealing solely in facts when it doesn't actually have the important ones relevant to the case ;-)."

This is a logical fallacy. One can in fact deal "solely in facts" without having *all* relevant facts (consider science, for example). No one outside the court and the involved parties *should* have access to discovery. That's how the legal system works.

But we can get hints as to what is contained in discovery. For example, the Judge essentially said in a recent filing that SCO had filed, to date, no substantive evidence that IBM had violated their copyrights, even though they had been directed to provide all such evidence no later than the early part of last year (2004). This is a good indication that SCO has no relevant information inside the discovery provided to the court, and may not have a copyright case (which may be a core reason why they are desperately trying to amend the complaint for a third time - to take the remaining copyrighted-code-in-Linux claims out of the case).

Groklaw also provides something else - access to the public statements on the lawsuit of both sides, and analysis of their veracity. IBM doesn't have many, preferring (apparently) to try the case in court, but SCO has many, many such statements. Few of them have held up (such as the amusing comment prior to discovery that they had enough then to go to court without conducting discovery, or the one where they had proof of millions of lines of SCO IP in Linux).

Finally, your comment was designed to elicit a flaming reaction (fairly well designed at that - did you ever do significant amounts of posting on USENET?) Filled with logical fallacies and inconsistencies, taunting comments, and ending with a stereotyping insult to people who participate in the Free/Open Source Software community, it is in many ways a stereotypical firestarter post. So, why would you care? What is this to you? You have no interest in SCOX, you allegedly have done F/OSS work before, and you may or may not have read any significant amount of information or articles on Groklaw. What makes this spo significant to you that you will go out of your way to post a firestarter message in hopes of starting a flame war?

Inquiring minds want to know. Going to be open on this?

L.V.

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22. interest fading on May 15, 2005 03:01 PM writes...

Mr. Hutchings..
I don't want to scare you. That is not my purpose. What I am trying to do is show you several things. One, of course, is having more information about oneself made public than one does on ones own. You don't like it, I wouldn't like it.. & PJ doesn't like it. Most 'public' people put out a 'professional front', sometimes including address & phone numbers. PJ's biggest mistake is she failed to create a 'target' for people to focus on, hence, they created their own. So she is 'innocent' (pun intended (;-)).

Another thing I am trying to point out is you offer no facts. None, Zilch, Nada! All inflamitory opinion. One piece of which is your statement (a fallacy as LV observed) that Groklaw doesn't deal in facts as they (being not privy to discovery) don't have ALL the facts. While the 'proof' of yours is accurate (Groklaw does not have ALL the facts), it does not 'prove' your point. Groklaw deals in the facts which ARE available. You, however, offered what is basically a mistruth, certainly bad science. Yet you are trained in the sciences?? hmm?? Makes a thinking soul wonder..

An aside.. 10,000 IANAL's CAN do the work of as many Paralegals, researching the FACTS and providing tools for Lawyers to use. That, in a nut shell, is what SCO (& you?) fears. (& we love the group hugs when we find new 'stuff' (;-))

You say..
"My schtick is not to make or incite thousands of derogatory comments about any company, talk about or be talked about on Yahoo! stock boards, or do anything that could possibly have material affect on the price of a publicly traded stock."

Hmm, It looks like you are MAKING the 'derogatory comments'.. I would say you also are trying to affect the price of several publicaly traded stocks (SCO (up) IBM, NOVELL, REDHAT (down)).. by casting false innuendo & aspersions on a group who is exposing facts, facts which ultimately will prevent SCO from seeing any positive results from their legal farce.

Finally, a reference to PJ 'making money'.. Yes, so? We are supposed to be incensed that a person should make a living dealing with FLOSS?? Yet SCO (MS & others) claim one can NOT make a living with FLOSS, indeed, that FLOSS PREVENTS one from making a living.. Hmm.. Can't have it both ways.. Which is it.. Do IBM, Redhat & Novell (among hundreds if not thousands of others) make a living based on the existence of FLOSS?? or don't they?? If PJ does too, I say, YEA!, may the FLOSS be with her! (;-)

And Dude, you are Seriously failing in being NOT talked about on the 'boards'!

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23. Nick Bridge on May 15, 2005 03:05 PM writes...

Brad Hutchings,

You seem to be under the misapprehension that attributes of a person somehow relate to the truth of their statements.

Whether PJ is male or female, black or white, lives in the US or Mars, are all completely irrelevant to the articles she (whatever) produces.

What you are trying to help SCO and others do is prejudice people against PJ.

It's a tactic used by people who cannot attack the facts.

It is entirely clear that whoever PJ is, she writes clear, concise, acurate articles and is never affraid of posting her sources. Nor is she affraid of correcting her mistakes - unlike many others...

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24. Jason Smith on May 15, 2005 03:12 PM writes...

Mr. Hutchings, First, I apologize for may spelling. second, I appreciate your reply and don't agree with your comment. Re. the "Echo Chamber" effect, it does exist and we do see it on occasion. However there is another force at work.

"Public Outcry". The comparison I am going to make is not ment to offend anyone, nor is it ment to seem to equalize the current issue with past atrocities. Would you classify The World as an echo chamber in the outcry of Nazi horrors, ENRON, Nixon, Nigerian call scam, Rodney King beating, identity theft, or any other offensive issues? Just because many people have the same response it can't be classified as an "Echo Chamber". Might it be that people have been offended that as you put it "software which took significant blood, sweat, and money to create" is being STOLEN. Yes, stolen. And the Courts are slow to justice? And that those people fighting for their own works are being slandered and called names? The reasonable people in this group agree that you have a right to make money off your hard work. The reasonable people in this group would be offended if someone was trying to claim your work as their own. Why should you not expect an outcry if SCO is trying to claim many peoples work as their own and all the while calling these people names. We that donate to FOSS don't have a voice in this court battle to fight for our work, our only voice is GROKLAW or other blogs. Why is it offensive to you that we our outraged in general that people are trying to steal our work and claim it as their own. Sould we that are wronged stay silent, Should we not defend ourselves? Lots of people are speaking up because our "software which took significant blood, sweat, and money to create" is being stolen. Would you stay quiet? Would you expect silence from another in our position?

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25. been interested (;-) on May 15, 2005 03:27 PM writes...

Dana.. new record?? (;-) thanks for the forum!

It is amazing. In addition to what appears to be a small amount of FUD, there were many well thought out opinions (I refer to those other than mine (;-)). What I find truly fascinating is that they are all individual views of the many sides of what is essentially one issue. No single entity saw them all. but together.. We see much!

the 'counter culture' has a saying.. "many minds are better than one"..

thank you all (you too, Brad (;-))

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26. Brad Hutchings on May 15, 2005 03:55 PM writes...

Mark-- you are very quick. That's the ironic point that "interested party" was trying to make. Or at least let me be kind enough to recognize his cleverness even if unintended. However, assuming that O'Gara did not make up any "facts", she has tied a phone number to the place of residence. So it's looking very likely that either this is PJ or this Pamela Jones is someone's prop. In all of these discussions, I have yet to see any other possibility offered! I have tried to offer you KoolAid drinkers some clues as to why the latter is more likely. I have also tried to make a case as to why you should be interested, why the interest should come from within instead of from the outside.

L.V. -- My interest in this is a complicated sum of thoughts and observations and experiences over the last decade and more. Things like seeing business models of "give it away for free and make it up on volume" burn through millions of dollars, make no return, and even more sadly, leave no mark. I do think it's possible that in IBM's march toward all open source, they fudged things a little bit to get where they needed to go, because it happens too often in the rest of the industry. It's why I think PJ's "Open source people are so nice they would never do anything illegal or unethical" schtick was tired and suspect from day 1. Whoever she is, your pandering detectors should have gone off.

Should PJ turn out to be something different than she contends, the whole Groklaw community gets an instant reputation problem. IBM lawyers running an astroturphing site? People trading SCOX stock? Someone playing you all with the "innocent lil old me" schtick in order to make a buck on the rest of the Grok* franchise? What if it's the Open Source Indemnification Company (I forget the exact name) that briefly "employed" her? There is no legal right to anonymity, and there is no reasonable expectation of it when you start to have influence in public events or on public marketplaces. In fact, the more influence you manage to exert, the more accountable you become whether you want to or not. Nor is there a right not to be laughed at. That's what deep down really has most of you upset about O'Gara's article. She's mocking you.

interest fading... Do you really think I give a damn what you post about me in a forum? The only thing that makes me uncomfortable is if you're climbing on the "Brad, you shoulda finished your Ph.D." meme. It was a tired taunt to begin with in 1997 and I guess I have to put up with it from family and friends who desired vicarious credentialling, but not from complete strangers.

arch_dude-- You're not only a moron, you're a bad speller. The "Hutchens" were the hooligans that were sent to Australia way back in the day. And you are friggin crazy if you want to mess with my Mom. I live out of firing distance for a reason.

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27. arch_dude on May 15, 2005 04:49 PM writes...

Dear Mr. Hutchings:

1) Yes, I am a bad speller, and I sincerely apologize for mis-spelling you name.

2) No, I am not a moron. The term "moron" is a technical term relating to measured intelligence. I may have offended you, and I may or may not be rude or ignorant. I think you are incorrect to defend O'Gara, but I will not call you names.

3)I do not really think it is appropriate to harass anyone's mother, and apparently you find it upsetting and offensive, based on your reply when I asked you for your mother's contact information. I did not think you should or would supply the contact information, and had you supplied it I certainly would not have contacted your mother or given it to anyone else. The question was intended to make you think. However, you defended O'Gara's article, even though O'gara not only published PJ's Mothers address, O'Gara (or a PI) actually went to PJ's Mom's house and harassed her, and the article then made fun of an elderly woman's attempt to defend her daughter. I think that this was the most dispicable part of the whole article. Please explain the difference. Why it it OK to harass PJ's Mom but not yours?

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28. no-longer interested on May 15, 2005 05:10 PM writes...

Arch_Dude,
Brad can't help but insult.. well, everyone & everything. There's this little thing most folks know about (in the sense of 'living it') but don't know (in the sense of 'not understanding it').. "Cognitive Dissonance".. Brad's got it bad (gramma intended (;-)) Everything he sees reminds him that the life he set himself up to 'believe' is, in fact, a sham.. Must be tough being him.. Gotta feel sorry for the trolls..

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29. Brad Hutchings on May 15, 2005 05:33 PM writes...

arch_dude... If you showed up at my Mom's door with questions about me, she would probably offer you cookies. And cake. And bread. It would be a bad day for your Atkins Diet. That's the other reason I live out of shooting distance.

I'm sorry for calling you a moron. I didn't have much to work with in your original post besides what looked like a really pathetic attempt at a threat against my Mom. So you know what I did? I dismissed it and laughed at it. I didn't go to Dana and say "they're threatening my Mom, please censor them".

PJ's Mom's house became relevant because that's where PJ apparently ran to escape being found, as evidenced by the presence of the car. I don't think Ms. O'Gara was charged with harassment. She even gave her phone number hoping that PJ's Mom might pass it on to PJ and get in touch with her. If I gave my phone number to someone to be polite, and they gave it to the police, who then called me, I'd be a little miffed. Wouldn't you? See, really, you can't be upset with O'Gara harassing PJ's Mom, because it didn't happen, and if it really did, the cops woulda been on it like a frat boy on a [censored]. You're upset that O'Gara included that part in her story because people are laughing about it. I sense a a little sensitivity...

Do you guys really think O'Gara isn't taunting you and laughing at you? I mean, she writes this article, and you get her "fired", DDOS her publisher, get all the editors of a mag to resign, go on a holy crusade against advertisers, threaten to expose anyone's Mom if they dare offer an opposing view, etc. You are soooooo being played. Maybe she'll be the next editor of LinuxBusinessNews!

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30. another cookie lover on May 15, 2005 08:42 PM writes...

Some of us just, well, we visit our moms.. Strange, I know.. "Running" back to them like that.. Must be that we like the pastry?? Not that we have a relationship with them, one that started with a birth but has, thru the years, transcended that.. Naw, it's the treats! (;-)
Would PJ then be so strange for 'visiting' her mom?? (maybe she wanted some cookies! (;-)) (pun intended)

"If I gave my phone number to someone to be polite," ROTFLMAO! now THAT'S a stretch.. I suspect you are the ONLY person to consider that MOG was just being 'polite'!

"We get her fired , we DDOS her publishers site, we get the staff to resign. we go on a holy crusade, we threaten moms.. time to check a mirror buddy boy.. the holy crusade & threaten parts are definitely Not us. (think 3 letters.. SCO & MOG)
OTOH (DF), 'We' must be powerful people.. folks oughta watch us..
MOG may be the next editor of LinuxBusinessNews.. doesn't matter. We aren't reading it. And one can guess that advertisers will follow the viewer.. er, dollar.

BTW, I am SO proud of you for not running to Dana & crying on his shoulder... now, if you could just learn to not throw sticks..

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31. anon on May 16, 2005 03:46 AM writes...

Brad Hutchings: "Do you guys really think O'Gara isn't taunting you and laughing at you? I mean, she writes this article, and you get her "fired", DDOS her publisher, get all the editors of a mag to resign, go on a holy crusade against advertisers, threaten to expose anyone's Mom if they dare offer an opposing view, etc. You are soooooo being played. Maybe she'll be the next editor of LinuxBusinessNews! "

Yes, very fine taunt.

I suppose Saddam Hussein could have argued that killing and torturing people was just a joke, taunting the internationals to go on a crusade to oust him from Iraq! Can you imagine all these people getting so worked up? Ha ha, very funny! Look at all those countries sending soldiers into Iraq! Getting Saddam thrown into jail! Saddam must have been laughing his head off at the fine joke.

No, you just don't get it. Ethics is ethics. It has nothing to do with Linux or Microsoft. What O'Gara did with her rag piece and Fuat approving the publication was just wrong. They have abused their positions in public media.

Perhaps you enjoy taunting people, playing the devil's advocate, it doesn't matter. But sometimes there is a line that just cannot be crossed. O'Gara has bordered on that line many times before, and she has finally gone way over it.

Just because you want to see things differently from other people doesn't necessary mean that your view is superior to other people's view. Calling it "echo chamber" does not make it more correct or more wrong. Sure, you are entitled to your opinions, just like everyone else, even O'Gara and Kircaali, but that does not give you or O'Gara any right to cross the line of professional ethics.

So go on and pretend it's a big fine joke, just poking fun at the FOSS community. I can tell you that it's much more than just the FOSS community riled up. And if you have your head so far up your ****, as you have demonstrated by your inability to answer the questions, and merely deflecting them with pointless sidetracks and mockeries, then there's not much point to the continue this debate.

I can pretty much pre-empt what your next arguments are going to be, more along the lines of FOSS community being so worked up as usual over some prankish report, and more along of lines critical of self-righteousness and snide side-tracking nitpickings and so on. Think whatever you want, it doesn't change the fact of O'Gara's unethical practice and your lack of logical arguments, look who's the moron now.

And you can stop twisting facts and mis-representing truth. There was no censorship, publishers have the right to decide what they want to publish, they don't have obligations to publish every piece of article that comes their way. *You* can setup your own website and publish every O'Gara rag if you want and nobody is going to be able to tell you to take them down. If fact, if you enjoy O'Gara's writing so much, why don't you communicate with her and setup a site that will showcase the gems of her wisdom and wit?

And as for "I didn't go to Dana and say "they're threatening my Mom, please censor them".", well you DO know that this is Dana's website? it's not like it's some obscure little site written in some obscure language, you think Dana is going to miss what's being written here? So the fact that you made the comment doesn't it mean that you ARE in fact whining to Dana in a oblique sense? And so what if you aren't whining? does that make you a big big man? what are you? primary school kid?

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32. anon on May 16, 2005 04:18 AM writes...

bizarre twist to the story:
http://www.theinquirer.net/?article=23246

From the article:
"So, I was thinking that I was real smart, yup I was. I was going to be ignored, and print the letter as an open letter, or I was going to get a smarmy response. Either way, I was going to show Fuat did not really mean what he said about openness. Damn I am good.

So, this afternoon, I got a letter back, and like I said earlier, I was wrong in my assumptions. Mr. Kirkaali answered all the questions, and a few more, with detail I didn't ask for. Now, I still don't personally feel it is right to publish the info, so I will not, but he did give it all with the knowledge that I was probably going to publish it. Darn.

That said, it makes me think he really does not 'get' why some people are so upset with him, it may be a cultural misunderstanding, it may just be the way he lives his life. Either way, my impressions are that it was said genuinely. The only thing I can say for sure is that when he was asked for the same level of information he approved in his article, he willingly, quickly and completely gave it. This whole saga just takes more and more interesting twists. µ"

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33. anon on May 16, 2005 04:20 AM writes...

So, I was thinking that I was real smart, yup I was. I was going to be ignored, and print the letter as an open letter, or I was going to get a smarmy response. Either way, I was going to show Fuat did not really mean what he said about openness. Damn I am good.

So, this afternoon, I got a letter back, and like I said earlier, I was wrong in my assumptions. Mr. Kirkaali answered all the questions, and a few more, with detail I didn't ask for. Now, I still don't personally feel it is right to publish the info, so I will not, but he did give it all with the knowledge that I was probably going to publish it. Darn.
Bizarre twist:
http://www.theinquirer.net/?article=23246

From the article:

"That said, it makes me think he really does not 'get' why some people are so upset with him, it may be a cultural misunderstanding, it may just be the way he lives his life. Either way, my impressions are that it was said genuinely. The only thing I can say for sure is that when he was asked for the same level of information he approved in his article, he willingly, quickly and completely gave it. This whole saga just takes more and more interesting twists. µ"

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34. JAFO on May 19, 2005 05:10 AM writes...

Brad:

Please address Laughing Vergil's post, not all the other flame bait.

Thanks.

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35. Dave Lozier on May 19, 2005 11:03 AM writes...

I have decided to avoid Sys-Con publications and companies that advertise in them. Arguing points of interest in the tech world is one thing. Personal attacks (as I seen it) is quite another. To me it signifies that the attacker is weak on the tech front and is making up for it by taking it to a personal level.

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36. I R A Darth Aggie on May 19, 2005 03:51 PM writes...

Brad Hutchins woke up long enough to write "Mr. Interested, dude, you are seriously freaking me out with this exposé of my personal life"

Strange, then, that you ask for, nay, demand, an expose of PJ's personal life. Fair is fair, Mr. Hutchins. No? well, then, we'll have to judge PJ by the same measuring stick we have to measure you: by the written record.

As far as the case of SCOX v. IBM, I'll let you compare and contrast the statements of Darl McBride (CEO) and Dale Kimball (presiding judge)..."We have a mountain of evidence...we could go to trial with what we have" (summer 2003) "I find the lack of evidence astonishing" (spring 2005).

You were in a PHd program, you tell me who said what. Then if you'd be so kind, could you tell us what happened to that mountain of evidence. And don't say Blepp's briefcase ate it. That'll earn you a failing grade.

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37. sam allen on May 22, 2005 02:26 PM writes...

The comment 'PJ' needs to be more transparent or present her 'crednetials' is a red herring. Can you indeed state the name, let alone background, credentials, and addresses, of a single individual on you local newspapers editorial board?????? Enough said.

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