Sunday, May 30, 2004

More Nutbar Conspiracy Talk

Think Tank Claims Torvalds Didn't Write Linux:

Linux wasn't written by Linus Torvalds, according to the Alexis de Tocqueville Institution, a Washington, D.C.-based foundation.

Instead, Kenneth Brown, president of AdTI, claims that Linux is based on intellectual property 'often taken or adapted without permission from material owned by other companies and individuals.'

The announcement offers no proof of its assertions but says proof will be provided in later announcements— and eventually in a self-published book—that are based on 'extensive interviews with more than two dozen leading technologists including Richard Stallman, Dennis Ritchie and Andrew Tanenbaum.'

It should come as no surprise that Microsoft is one of the funders of this dubious think tank. I'm sure that's merely a coincidence, though. After all, why would a sock puppet Prestigious Think Tank who is partially funded by one of the world's most draconian software providers, long suspected of monopolizing the software industry by strong-arming hardware companies into bundling its slipshod, bug ridden software with all of their machines, have anything bad to say about a pioneer of Open Source operating systems? And what does Linus Torvalds have to say for himself?

OK, I admit it. I was just a front man for the real fathers of Linux: the Easter Bunny and Santa Claus. They (for obvious reasons) couldn't step forward to admit that they had gotten bitten by the computer bug and had been developing a series of operating systems on their own during the off-season.

But when they started with Linux (which they originally called Freax—they do feel like outsiders, you know, and that's a whole sad story in itself), they felt that they could no longer just let it languish in obscurity.

They started to look for a front man, and since Santa Claus is from Finland, and thus has connections to Helsinki University, and the Easter Bunny claimed, 'He's got good ears, if a bit small,' I got selected.

Since then, I've lived a life of subterfuge, always afraid that somebody would find out the truth. I'm actually relieved that it's over, and that the Alexis de Tocqueville Institution has finally uncovered the lie. I can now go back to my chosen profession, the exploration of the fascinating mating dance of the aquatic African frog.

The irony RPMs really get flying when we stop to consider that it has long been considered one of Microsoft's dirty little secrets that Bill Gates stole the Windows OS source code from Steve Jobs (who stole it from Xerox).

The whole thing is just layer upon layer of dirty dealing and hypocrisy. But the new player in this little corner of geek intrigue is the Alexis de Tocqueville Institution (ADTI), a PR group that first gained notoriety by providing astroturf for Philip Morris Co., against President Clinton's proposed tax hike on Tabacco products back in '94. Apparently, there is no corporate cock too big to be sucked by ADTI.

And John Quiggen at Crooked Timber wonders, What would de Tocqueville Think?

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