Feeds

Alien puppet Linus swiped Linux from SCO, says balanced study

Well, almost...

  • alert
  • submit to reddit

Remote control for virtualized desktops

The Washington think tank responsible for 'Linux aids terrorism' claims two years ago is at it again. The Alexis de Tocqueville Institution is now casting doubt on Linus Torvalds' authorship of Linux, and implying that it's a knock-off of Unix.

ADTI's latest atrocity appears to be following the pattern of the previous, where highly-spun and contentious pre-publicity preceded the publication of a decidedly rickety report. This time we have only a press release headed "Torvalds claim to 'invent' Linux probably false, says new study," and the promise that the study itself will begin to emerge on 20 May, when it will take the form of a "series of excerpts" from a forthcoming book by AdTI president Kenneth Brown.

Microsoft confirmed that it provided funding to AdTI after the 'terror' study (also written by Brown), but it's entirely unclear why anyone at Beast Central might believe that this sort of thing helps. According to the release Brown, producing "one of the few and extensive critical studies on the source of open source code... traces the free software movement... from its romantic but questionable beginnings... [and] directly challenges Linus Torvalds' claim to be the inventor of Linux."

According to Gregory Fossedal of the AdTI, the report "raises important questions that all developers and users of open source code must face.

"One cannot group all open source programmers together. Many are rigorous and respectful of intellectual property. Others, though, speak of intellectual property rights - at least when it comes to the property of others - with open contempt."

Brown, says the release, "suggests the invention of Unix is an integral part of the Linux story. 'People's exceptional interest in the Unix operating system,' he writes, 'made Unix one of the most licensed, imitated, and stolen products in the history of computer science...'

"'For almost thirty years, programmers have tried to build a Unix-like system and couldn't. To this day, we have a serious attribution problem in software development because some programmers may have chosen to unscrupulously borrow or imitate Unix.'"

It seems pretty clear from the way all that is phrased that the study will not come flat out and claim Linux was originated by Torvalds' evil twin Richard "Skippy" Stallman in furtherance of his secret agenda to overthrow property via the Free Software movement, or that open source is all swiped from Unix anyway. But as we read the AdTI's words, The Register's extensive legal department can distinctly hear the sonorous tones of an English barrister's summing up: 'On reading these words, members of the jury, what might you deduce regarding the author's motives? And what would a reasonable person deduce to be the likely conclusions of the 'extensive 30 years study' it describes?"

Jury comes back inside five minutes, judge dons black cap, defendants commence thin chorus of 'You're going home in a Black Maria.' Brrr...

We hold no brief for the UK's defamation laws, but in this case it does seem rather difficult not to agree with our hypothetical barrister. The bona fides of Torvalds, of Linux and of open source are quite clearly being questioned in the advance publicity, and if the study itself doesn't turn out to back this up, then the only conclusion one can draw is, surely, that it is a deliberate smear. So we look forward to the study, and indeed to the book, with interest. ®

Related links:

AdTI release
Anti-open source ‘whitepaper’ devastated
Open source invites terrorism – study
MS-funded think tank propagates open-source lies

Internet Security Threat Report 2014

More from The Register

next story
Euro Parliament VOTES to BREAK UP GOOGLE. Er, OK then
It CANNA do it, captain.They DON'T have the POWER!
Download alert: Nearly ALL top 100 Android, iOS paid apps hacked
Attack of the Clones? Yeah, but much, much scarier – report
NSA SOURCE CODE LEAK: Information slurp tools to appear online
Now you can run your own intelligence agency
Post-Microsoft, post-PC programming: The portable REVOLUTION
Code jockeys: count up and grab your fabulous tablets
Twitter App Graph exposes smartphone spyware feature
You don't want everyone to compile app lists from your fondleware? BAD LUCK
Microsoft: Your Linux Docker containers are now OURS to command
New tool lets admins wrangle Linux apps from Windows
prev story

Whitepapers

Seattle children’s accelerates Citrix login times by 500% with cross-tier insight
Seattle Children’s is a leading research hospital with a large and growing Citrix XenDesktop deployment. See how they used ExtraHop to accelerate launch times.
Forging a new future with identity relationship management
Learn about ForgeRock's next generation IRM platform and how it is designed to empower CEOS's and enterprises to engage with consumers.
How to determine if cloud backup is right for your servers
Two key factors, technical feasibility and TCO economics, that backup and IT operations managers should consider when assessing cloud backup.
High Performance for All
While HPC is not new, it has traditionally been seen as a specialist area – is it now geared up to meet more mainstream requirements?
Business security measures using SSL
Examines the major types of threats to information security that businesses face today and the techniques for mitigating those threats.