Dan Lyons, Then and Now

Monday, August 13, 2007

Dan Lyons has an article on Novell’s victory over The SCO Group, in which he starts:-

At long last, the SCO Group’s ugly, often farcical legal crusade against Linux appears to be over.

It’s interesting to compare what he writes now with what he wrote in 2003:-

SuSE Linux, a German company, claims customers aren’t scared by the SCO lawsuit. “Everyone has seen through this,” a SuSE spokesman says.

In other words, like many religious folk, the Linux-loving crunchies in the open-source movement are a) convinced of their own righteousness, and b) sure the whole world, including judges, will agree.

They should wake up. SCO may not be very good at making a profit by selling software. (Last year the company lost $24.9 million on sales of $64.2 million.) But it is very good at getting what it wants from other companies. And it has a tight circle of friends.

A “tight circle of friends”? Who might they be? Is, or was, Dan Lyons one of them? Anyway, the article ended with this:-

These guys in Utah are no dummies. The crunchies in the Linux community should be paying more attention.

Well, PJ and Groklaw have, or course, paid an awful lot of attention to all this stuff. And you know what? Well, let’s let Lyons tell us himself, from his latest article:-

Passionate fans of Linux, a free operating system developed collaboratively by programmers from around the world, have argued from the start that SCO’s claims lacked any merit. On pro-Linux Web sites, they’ve been celebrating since Friday, viewing the ruling as vindication.

Yes, Dan. We told you so.

SCO’s claims against Linux angered the passionate fans of the free operating system, prompting pickets outside SCO’s offices and loads of heated invective. Linux is arguably the biggest thing to happen in computing in the past 20 years. Its fans are celebrating now.



Dan Lyons – Identity Thief!

Monday, August 6, 2007

PJ’s got the news at Groklaw, about Dan Lyons masquerading as Steve Jobs.

Basically, Dan Lyons has another blog, The Secret Diary of Steve Jobs, in which he’s been trying his hand at parody. But, according to the New York Times, Lyons has “clearly used the Fake Steve persona to further some of his own interests and positions.”

Dan Lyons is amazing.

Lyons on Dell, Ubuntu, Microsoft and Novell

Tuesday, May 8, 2007

Well, it’s been a couple of weeks, or so, since I last blogged. I remembered I had other stuff to do, and so I did it. I’ve still got other stuff to do, but Dan Lyons has a new(ish) article on Forbes.com: Dell’s Linux Problem. Nothing particularly interesting, really. It’s basically just mentioning that Dell have done a deal with Microsoft and/or Novell in relation to that notorious deal that Microsoft and Novell did.

And importantly, Microsoft and Novell also agreed not to sue each other over intellectual property.

Did they? Really? I thought it was that Microsoft and Novell had agreed not to sue each other’s customers. Or did Lyons simply get it wrong, months after such confusion was cleared up for the rest of us?

Let’s see what else there is.

Linux–the open source operating system that is maintained and supported by a community of volunteers

Makes it sound slightly like unpaid hobbyists, or something. Would he consider, say, RedHat a volunteer? Or those employed by RedHat to develop Linux software volunteers? Perhaps I’m being mean and picky there. Or perhaps not. After all, keep referring to Linux as “maintained and supported by a community of volunteers”, and people might start thinking that’s all there is to it.

Microsoft and Novell last year started working together to make their software programs interact more smoothly. Microsoft even agreed to help sell Novell’s version of Linux. The idea was to help customers who want to use both Windows and Linux.

Just because Microsoft and/or Novell say that, it doesn’t mean it’s necessarily true. And let’s not forget this is Microsoft we’re talking about. How well does Lyons know, or understand, Microsoft, eh? Personally, I think he’s just repeating Microsoft/Novell PR stuff. (“Public Relations”, of course, is just a PR term for propaganda. It’s how the term originated, because “propaganda” had an image problem. So does PR, these days.)

Recently, Linux supporters swarmed Dell after the company put up a Web site called IdeaStorm asking for suggestions. Like teenage girls voting for Sanjaya on American Idol, thousands of Linux fans wrote to Dell and “voted” for PCs loaded with Linux, making this the No. 1 request on IdeaStorm.

“Like teenage girls voting for Sanjaya on American Idol”? Is he trying to insult Dell’s potential customers? (Perhaps if I knew who Sanjaya was, I might know.) Perhaps it’s just flame-bait. Or, perhaps, he’s just painting part of that old, misleading picture that’s been painted before of us Linux users being, well, the sort of crowd most people might not want to have much to do with, etc. But anyway.

Still nothing new on his Floating Point blog.

Off-Topic: Encountering Windows Vista

Sunday, April 22, 2007

So, on Thursday, the 19th of April, I upgraded from Xubuntu 6.10 to Xubuntu 7.04, on the very day of 7.04’s release. It was nice being able to do it over the internet, with no CDs to burn, and whatnot. It did not all go smoothly, though:-

  • The mouse stopped working. I had to choose an older kernel from GRUB’s boot menu to get a working mouse.
  • Xfce’s terminal window, xfce4-terminal, somehow crashes the X server. Fortunately, Gnome’s terminal works okay.

It took me at least a few hours, or even several, to overcome those initial problems. Other than that, there’s not much to say. It’s still Xubuntu, and I don’t notice much difference between 6.10 and 7.04. I wonder if USB will start working, now?

Perhaps I should also mention that this upgrade was on a rather old PC, which is nine years old this year. Yep, it’s from 1998. Not exactly the newest thing, though it has more RAM than it originally had, and an extra, larger hard drive, too, along with some other upgrades. It’s still the original, 366MHz Celeron, though. But Xubuntu runs quite okay on it.

So, on Friday, I assisted someone who’d just bought a new laptop and a new printer (and scanner, etc, combined). On the new laptop was Windows Vista. On his old laptop was Windows XP. The tasks for the day, though in no particular order, were: set the new laptop up; set the new printer (scanner combo thing) up with the new laptop; transfer stuff from the old laptop to the new; and prepare the old laptop for reuse by a new owner/user. It did not all go well.

Once the new laptop was up and running, and had an internet connection (dial-up), I decided it would be a jolly good idea to transfer stuff across from laptop to laptop. Vista provides some sort of “Easy Transfer” thingy for that – groovy! There were a few options, but only one was viable. Burning CDs to transfer stuff across was ruled out by the old laptop being unable to burn CDs. Floppies were ruled out by the new laptop not having a floppy drive. A network was ruled out by the old laptop not having a network port. That left USB-based options, including an “Easy Transfer” USB cable thingy. So, off my client went to buy one, while I continued getting things set up.

When my client returned, with cable, we turned our attention to the printer (as I’d already started setting it up while waiting for him to return). Following the instructions, I soon found that the printer driver software did not support Windows Vista. It looked like it just wasn’t going to work. But, just in case Windows Vista supported that printer anyway, I tried skipping the driver software installation step – it worked! Yes, installing the printer was actually easier than the instructions indicated. But, because the instructions didn’t take Vista into account, the whole process was more complicated, and more difficult, than it would have been if it had worked as the instructions said. Hidden difficulty in the form of hidden easiness. Some test pages confirmed the printer was working, and so we moved on to transferring stuff from old laptop to new.

I followed Vista’s “Easy Transfer” on-screen instructions, and installed the cable driver software on the old, Windows XP laptop (you need special driver software for what we used to call “null modem cables”?!?). That went okay, so then I was at the step where Vista was supposed to automatically identify the new cable. It didn’t. It did not recognize it. It just sat there.

So, I thought, perhaps, I should try installing the driver software on the Vista laptop as well. But, as with the printer, the driver software didn’t support Vista. Or, at least, it said it didn’t support Vista. But my client had been told, by the cable seller, to ignore such things. So, I tried ignoring such responses (like with the printer), and it seemed to work.

I tried the “Easy Transfer” thing again, but still it just sat there. It just wasn’t going to work.

Fortunately, the cable had come with its own transfer software. It was just like the days of connecting computers together with null modem cables, again. But what to transfer? And where to transfer it to? I just decided to transfer whole swathes of stuff across, and then put the right stuff in the right places afterwards. But there was a lot of stuff, and the transfer was taking a long time, so we left it running. I returned home, and I am returning there again tomorrow, to finish things off.

My client remarked on how difficult it all seemed to be. He wondered how those without someone like me available to help were supposed to cope. It had taken a few hours, with things just not going as they were supposed to, and still it wasn’t all finished. And he was paying me for my time, too – a hidden cost of Microsoft Windows Vista?

Let’s see. New laptop with Windows Vista. New printer. Old laptop with Windows XP with stuff to be transferred to the new laptop. Shouldn’t it all “just work”? How many years have Microsoft been developing Windows, now? How many years have they been developing their relationships with hardware vendors? Why did the “Easy Transfer” thing just not even work?

I noticed that Microsoft had invested in visual aesthetics in Vista. All very nice. All very pleasing to the eye. The window frames no longer look like they’re made of cheap plastic. I actually wished my desktop environment looked so nice. (Maybe it could, but I suspect my processor and graphics “card” just aren’t powerful enough, so I stick with simpler, less resource-hoggy stuff.) If only Microsoft had put as much effort into getting things to actually work and work properly.

That seems to be the thing with Microsoft. It’s superficial appearances that count, not how things really are. They seem to make things even more complicated by trying to make things seem easier. The printer was a beautifully perverse example. It really was just like how “Plug’n’Play” was always supposed to be after all, but when you followed the instructions, it ended up seeming like it just wasn’t going to work. And the “Easy Transfer” thing, which was supposed to “just work” on the Vista side, didn’t work at all on that side. I’m sure these things used to be easier before Microsoft tried making them easier.

And now I have a cat on my lap 🙂

The SCO-Lyons Connection

Wednesday, April 18, 2007

I would have blogged this yesterday, but I had a meeting in London. A meeting right next door to the British Library. And then I went to the Tate Modern. I saw some bricks, some Bacon, and a case of not taking the piss.

On Monday, PJ published an article in which she mentions “one of SCO’s lawyers speaking directly to Lyons about the case after Judge Wells told the parties to tone it down.” She refers to a Forbes.com article, “SCO Claims IBM Destroyed Crucial Evidence”, which includes this:-

However, an attorney for SCO says the code deletion is one reason why the Lindon, Utah, software maker has been unable to comply with a demand that it produce examples of allegedly stolen code.

“It’s kind of hard for us to do that,” says Brent Hatch, an attorney with Hatch, James & Dodge in Salt Lake City, “because we don’t have it. It was destroyed before it could be given to us.”

A lawyer for The SCO Group talking to Dan Lyons? Yep. And there’s quite a bit more of Hatch saying things to Lyons in that article.

I could do my usual thing and refer to Lyons’ allegations, suggestions, or whatever they are, of IBM “feeding” stuff to PJ. I could take this as another opportunity to measure Lyons and The SCO Group by their own rods. After all, one could point out that Lyons himself had made it clear that Hatch was telling him stuff. But the thing that this old article really brought to my mind was one of Lyons’ recent, but mysteriously deleted, blog articles.

Just before he deleted the most recent few articles on his blog, he published quite a long one about (if I remember correctly) how okay it was for journalists to get told things by litigants, and that sort of thing. But then he deleted it. Why?

As it happens, someone informed me that they’d saved a copy of that article.


That means there may be at least one person who’s still got a copy of that deleted article. One wonders if IBM, or the court, might be interested.

I, myself, do not have a copy of that article (in case anyone’s wondering). And I only read it rather quickly, when rather tired, before he deleted it, so I can only remember it rather vaguely.

Anyway, why did Lyons delete that article? Does it have something to do with that Forbes.com article in which Brent Hatch had clearly been telling him stuff? Was it something else? Did Lyons reveal something that he wished to hide? Or did he just realise that it significantly undermined all that stuff about Groklaw supposedly being a propaganda front for IBM?

If nothing else, that old Forbes.com article is yet another example of the significance of Dan Lyons as a channel through which The SCO Group has got its message out into the media. It’s a case of there being a “connection” between The SCO Group and Dan Lyons; that “connection”, in that particular case, being Brent Hatch. Might Hatch be one of the anonymous sources in some other articles?

It just strikes me as interesting that Lyons actually deleted an article in which he wrote about how normal it was, how it was all quite okay, for journalists to get told stuff by litigants. He wrote that blog article, published it, and then, soon after, deleted it. It was just odd, and, to me, this old Forbes.com article just makes it seem odder.

Off-Topic: Ask.com Being Prats

Wednesday, April 18, 2007

Yesterday, sitting on a train, I saw an “advert” for something called “information-revolution.org”. It was something about one company controlling the information on the web, or something, and that it’s bad, or something. Intrigued, I visited the “revolutionary” site, only to find it’s an advertising campaign for Ask.com. Prats.

Dan Lyons Responds, Sort Of

Sunday, April 15, 2007

Got a response, sort of, to my questions. I’d asked Dan Lyons if his Floating Point blog was abandoned. And now? Now, all comments that were on his About Dan Lyons page have gone! There were seven, but now there are done. Looks like comments on the blog articles themselves are still there, though.

Asking Dan Lyons About His Blog

Saturday, April 14, 2007

Let me just try something. I’ll ask Dan Lyons if he’s abandoned Floating Point in a comment I’ll submit to his “About Dan Lyons” page. And, for the record, I’ll put a copy of the comment here:-

In light of your recent article on Forbes.com, Easy Blogging, I’d like to ask if you’ve now abandoned this WordPress.com blog. Was this the WordPress.com blog you mentioned in that article? Is it now abandoned? And can I also ask: do you have a new (Blogger?) blog in which you’re bashing Groklaw? If so, would you tell us where it is, so we can “bash back”? (That quote’s a reference to your infamous Attack of the Blogs Forbes article, of course.) (Of course, I could search, but I’m being lazy.)


(And then I paused for a while before publishing this, because I really needed a poo.)

Just Logging Some Items

Saturday, April 14, 2007

Although it’s over a week old now, I’ve only just found Paul McDougall’s 5th April article, SCO Seeks Court’s Help In Quest For Blogger’s Deposition, in InformationWeek. I found it via an item in a blog called Dallas Computer Repair. I’ll look at them later.

And an odd one that looks, at first glance, like some product of some sort of harvesting?

Anyway, as I say, I’ll look at them later. And maybe some others, too.

Forbes.com Article Indicates Lyons’ Blog Abandoned

Friday, April 13, 2007

I think I might have just found an explanation for Lyons’ lack of recent posts.

A few days ago, on the 9th, Lyons had an article published on Forbes.com, Easy Blogging. It’s basically about him trying out some different blogging sites (like Blogger), looking for the easiest to use. He mentions WordPress.com:-

I’ve also operated a blog on a third system called WordPress. … WordPress is free, and it’s fairly easy to get started. But it is not so easy to figure out how to use the software. …

There is a help button, but it takes you to an almost impossible to navigate list of frequently asked questions. In frustration I ordered a manual called WordPress 2 Visual QuickStart Guide. But when the book arrived, I just sat there looking at it and then abandoned my WordPress blog.

Could that be the explanation for the lack of recent articles on his Floating Point blog? Is Floating Point the “WordPress blog” he abandoned?

As usual: so what?

Well, as before, if I wanted to make something of it, I might point out the interesting timing. Just a few days after I start this blog, somewhat in response to his blog articles about Groklaw, he abandons his blog. Coincidence? And look how his Forbes.com article starts:-

The goal: Find a way to share photos and adventure tales of the twins online with friends and relatives. Thus began a search for the best blog software…

“a way to share photos and adventure tales of the twins online with friends and relatives”? Does that sound like Floating Point to you?

Of course, I’m being silly. He didn’t actually say, in that article, that that’s why he’d “also operated a blog on a third system called WordPress.” I’m just indicating how easy it would be to selectively take some facts, add some questions, juxtapose things just right, and make things look like they might be other than they really are. Not that Dan Lyons would ever do something like that – would he?