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New Examples of Questionable Press Coverage

Posted in Free/Libre Software, FUD, GNU/Linux, Google, Microsoft at 7:12 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Smoking gun

Summary: Assorted brow-raising items in the news

There has been something fishy about LinuxInsider ever since ECT took over (mentioned here). This is actually pointed out by other independent observers as well because the whole news network gives the impression that GNU/Linux is problematic, either because it serves the advertisers better or because the editor was not even a GNU/Linux user until some time ago (true story). Last week it was claimed that an article sought to give the impression that Mono opposition is irrational and hateful and this week we find an article starts with phrases like “Conspiracy Theories” in the headline (we wrote about this dismissive term before).

It basically seeks to dismiss Groklaw's fundamental claims that Microsoft worked behind the scenes to derail GNU/Linux. Groklaw may have not offered the piles of evidence that we have, but it does put forth a claim which is obvious to those who have been following the saga closely enough.

Groklaw’s reaction: “Mystery solved. Totally blatant… next time you hear Microsoft bragging that people *prefer* their software to Linux on netbooks, you’ll know better. If they really believed that, they’d let the market speak, on a level playing field.”

To discredit Groklaw, the author uses comments from people with names like “hairyfeet” and “drinkypoo”. And since Microsoft has PR folks patrolling Slashdot, to just pick arbitrary quotes like this would be as careless as discrediting valid convictions based on gut feeling or guesswork. To support this whole storyline, the author is again quoting “M$” from the other side, thus discrediting this whole side of the debate. Maybe it is not intentional, but either way, the outcome seems biased.

Elsewhere on the Web, in a news site that we mentioned earlier for its propagation of Microsoft studies, routine guest posts from the Microsoft-funded Rob Enderle (LinuxInsider/ECT allows him to publish too), and other patterns of obvious bias suddenly comes this Google-hostile article, which gently tries to put the “evil” label on Google. Watch who is cited:

Consumer Watchdog managed to get hold of the slides that Google is touting around earlier this month, and it’s clear that Google wants us all to think that it’s just a minnow compared to giants like Microsoft and IBM. Interestingly, it doesn’t include Intel in the figures – Paul Otellini, Intel’s CEO is on Google’s board.

We wrote about Consumer Watchdog last month [1, 2]. It hardly gets more suspicious than this and the Microsoft advertisements do not contribute to confidence in the publication’s motives, either.

Yesterday we wrote about ACT’s report, which was the latest Microsoft-commissioned attack on Free software. IDG gave this some obedient coverage, but Glyn Moody at the UK section of IDG tried adding balance by reminding people what ACT really is.

There you have it: that well-known friend of teensy-weensy companies everywhere, Microsoft, is a “sponsor” of ACT. That would probably explain the fact that ACT’s position, notably in Europe, has been resolutely pro-Microsoft, and anti everything that is anti-Microsoft.

ACT was created to serve as a Microsoft front amid antitrust trouble, just after ATL had been exposed for participating in “letter from dead people” and engaging in corrupt tactics. Jonathan Zuck was behind both fronts. More information about ACT we have already accumulated in [1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8], so it would be wasteful to repeat it.

Last but not least, watch how one Microsoft-funded site (TechFlash) promotes another (MSNBC).

Zumobi, a Microsoft spin out, has been on a roll lately with a number of high-profile apps for media brands and retailers. It also recently unveiled the iPhone app for the Today show, also a property of NBC.

It all stays in the family.

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  1. G. Michaels said,

    June 29, 2009 at 8:50 pm


    the author uses comments from people with names like “hairyfeet” and “drinkypoo”.

    As opposed to “slated” and “twitter” and “trmanco” and “ohiaohm” and “daemonxp”, all of whom are constantly passed off as authoritative sources by you?

    To support this whole storyline, the author is again quoting “M$” from the other side, thus discrediting this whole side of the debate.

    Reads to me like the “advocate” quoted there managed to discredit himself quite thoroughly. Not unlike a few of your friends. I can cite cites if you want :)

    To put it another way, imagine that the people whose opinions you disagree with repeatedly used terms like “open sores” or “linsux”. The effect is the same.

    which gently tries to put the “evil” label on Google

    Wait, I thought Intel was an evil entity. You’ve said this yourself, have you not? Literally. And don’t you have dozens of articles that smear companies that have or had or will have former Microsoft employees working for them? You know, guilt by association? Isn’t it quite natural then to extrapolate this one and claim Google is evil because someone from Intel works for them? So what’s the problem there? Seems quite appropriate to me.

    Sometimes this is too easy :)

  2. twitter said,

    June 29, 2009 at 9:04 pm


    Pure astroturf – filling slashdot up with garbage to quote later – but they have done a poor job in this case. Hairyfeet and drinkypoo are obvious troll nyms on Slashdot. They tirelessly promote M$, deride free software and are general annoyances. Here we see hairy feet praising M$ Office at the expense of OO and Slashdot in general. Here gets sloppy with nymshifting and then goes on and on about how people should not say “M$” because it annoys him. Oh yeah, you don’t want to know about his older nym, really you don’t. drinkypoo, if the name does not say it all, is of the same calibre. Any news source that would quote these kinds of people is clueless at best and suspect at worst. The case you make above points to malice more than ignorance.

    lalala Reply:

    Just like Roy. You bitch & moan about nyms on Slashdot. What about your nyms on Slashdot?

    twitter Reply:

    You obsessive harassers who read everything I write already know the answer to that question. I did this to escape the censorship that you trolls so often bragged about. These efforts taught me about the ease of subverting Slashdot’s comments system and just how connected and well organized M$ PR people are. You will note that I have not used any of my other nyms in more than six months. They failed their primary purpose and you will have to make up something else to slander me with. This one only proves your hypocrisy.

    G. Michaels Reply:

    I did this to escape the censorship

    Your primary Slashdot account was modded down because people were sick and tired of your tone, your lies and your abrasive “advocacy”. Pretending that anything else led to that is more of the same lies.

    These efforts taught me about the ease of subverting Slashdot’s comments

    Just because you’re doing it doesn’t mean everyone else is too. Right about now you’re going to paste some proof that someone else did that, for a nefarious purposes, right? Something more tangible than “I don’t like what these two people are saying, therefore they are nym trolls. Let’s go shopping”. Something along the lines of this.

    You will note that I have not used any of my other nyms in more than six months.

    You want a cookie?

    you will have to make up something else to slander me with

    I don’t think you understand what slander means, Will. Slander is when someone lies about you deliberately to discredit or hurt you. I fail to see how documenting your dozens of Slashdot accounts and how you used them to shill your own comments and generally crap all over the place is “slander” in any way. Otherwise, you’d be able to explain things like these. But you can’t, can you?

    Just because your gracious host Roy here goes out of his way to justify your trolling and nymshifting (shades of Mark Fink here) in other online communities (while of course whining that his blog is being attacked that way) doesn’t mean you get out of jail free. The reality of what you did there for years isn’t going away any time soon, especially when you actually brag about it and then insult people who think that’s lame.

    lalala Reply:

    On the up side, you actually responded (not very well though). On the down side, you resorted to the old, old, oh so old tactics of calling me a troll, accusing me of slander, and being a hypocrite. All because I dared ask you a question.

    I didn’t read everything you wrote. After the nth time seeing “M$”, I stopped, because only jealous children type it like that. I would say that if you stopped using the dollar sign, people might start to take you seriously, but the damage is already done.

    I never bragged about anything. I don’t even have a slashdot account.

    I’ll have to make up something else to “slander” you with? So, when someone doesn’t agree with you and dares to call you out, it’s “slander”?

    The “harassment” won’t stop. You brought it all on yourself by making all those accounts.

  3. notzed said,

    June 29, 2009 at 11:06 pm


    It’s a strange article (the linuxinsider one). If I wanted to read the `wisdom’ of slashdot I would just go there and read it myself … but I don’t because the signal to noise ratio is too low, and then there’s the shills and trolls and bullies.

    I wonder if the author actually got paid for that aggregation of random anonymous opinion.

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