Unintended Consequences

Friday, April 13, 2007

While nosing through my blog stats thingy for this here blog, I noticed that one of the “referrers” (places from which visitors to this blog come) is none other than Forbes.com. More specifically, it’s a page of blog search results for “dan lyons”. Oops! Not what I was anticipating. But amusing, I must admit.

As I write this, the three top search results are:-

  1. What Sort of Person is Dan Lyons?
  2. Is Dan Lyons a Prostitute?
  3. Forbes Senior Editor Targetted in Smear Campaign

I don’t know what to say.


Interesting Flailing Point Comment

Thursday, April 12, 2007

While I’m blogging stuff about Lyons’ “OSDL payments to Groklaw?” stuff, I just wish to log a comment on Flailing Point. It’s just some stuff about Lyons’ sources. Could be interesting.

And while I’m mentioning Flailing Point, I’ll just mention that my entry for the Dan Lyons Fan Fiction contest has been accepted 🙂 Thanks, Tim!

PJ and The OSDL Payments Allegation

Thursday, April 12, 2007

Hooray! Hooray! AMD have donated some servers to Groklaw! Thank you, AMD!

Now, what will Dan Lyons make of that? My bet, if he responds at all, is that he’ll emphasize the lack of mention of alleged OSDL funding of Groklaw. He’ll draw a contrast between this big announcement of AMD support with the lack of response to his stuff about OSDL allegedly funding Groklaw.

But then again, maybe not.

As I write this, his “Shoot the messenger” article is still the most recent article still on his blog. It starts with this:-

Hilarious stuff on Groklaw today. A reader writes in to ask PJ directly if she actually took money from OSDL and says, “If true, that does look rather whiffy. … I’d like to know if there’s substance in that particular allegation.” Naturally the poster is called a “troll.” Then PJ responds with her own comment in which she doesn’t answer the question but tries to make the whole thing about me.

Since then, some more, relevant comments have appeared on Groklaw. A nice example is one under the “My Very Own Motion, Tra La” article. It’s an anonymous comment with the subject line, “let’s review the allegation”. In it, the commenter nicely summarizes The SCO Group’s theory of IBM funding Groklaw via OSDL, with nice references to Dan Lyons as appropriate. The commenter actually asks, “Are these allegations true?” (though goes on to express doubts).

PJ responded with a comment which starts:-

Have you ever known Lyons to get all his facts right?

As I say, in due time, I’ll tell you the whole story, but I have to get lawyered up first and all that jazz.

So, we’ve got it from PJ that, “in due time,” she’ll tell us “the whole story”. Is that okay for you, Dan?

It’s hardly surprising that PJ’s not disclosing all and sundry at this time. The SCO Group are, according themselves, seeking to depose PJ, quite possibly on just such questions. It’s entirely understandable that PJ wants to get “lawyered up first and all that jazz.”

In another comment, PJ explains:-

I was never involved as a witness before, so I can’t say too much yet. But in time, I’ve no doubt you’ll get to know the whole story.

But now that the possibility of a deposition is in the air, I naturally have to behave differently than if I were not personally involved.

Let’s not forget how incredibly flimsy The SCO Group’s funding allegations are. And let’s not forget how Dan Lyons keeps conveniently popping up in such matters.

What Sort of Person is Dan Lyons?

Thursday, April 12, 2007

Well, a few days have passed, now, since Dan Lyons removed the most recent few articles from his blog. No explanation has appeared there that I’ve seen. No answers to questions I’ve been asking.

And it’s a few days since PJ mentioned Lyons in her “Where’d They Get That? – Part One” article, in which she says, with The SCO Group’s rod in hand:-

I thought it would be fun to begin a new series, “Where’d They Get That”? in which I will carefully chronicle some obvious instances where SCO appears to have fed thoughts and documents to the press, starting with the year SCO chose, 2004. It stars, as you would expect, Maureen O’Gara and Daniel Lyons, Exhibit A and Exhibit B, but others will make cameos.

And it’s many hours since PJ’s article, “SCO Moves for Summary Judgment on Slander of Title in Novell Case”, in which she mentions Lyons a number of times. For example, she writes:-

If you were to assume that Lyons is also on the SCO team (you might find this account of a conversation between Dan Lyons and journalist James Turner of interest, where bias against me on the part of Lyons shines through), then you could also now understand the likely purpose of Lyons’ effort to rehabilitate O’Gara in the article he wrote about how bloggers are from the devil and all that.

But nothing has appeared on Lyons’ blog in response – except for one of the mysteriously disappeared articles.

But so what?

So, if I’m holding Lyons’ measuring rod the right way round, there would seem to be something fishy, to say the least, about the recent disappearance of his most recent articles.

Would it be fair to say that Dan Lyons has been banging on about PJ not writing an article about IBM’s patent lawsuits? And yet he’s posted no response (that he hasn’t then swiftly, with no explanation, deleted) to PJ’s recent articles raising questions about the much-theorised connection between him and The SCO Group. By Lyons’ own measuring rod, is that not downright fishy?

PJ, as quoted above, mentioned “the article he wrote about how bloggers are from the devil and all that.” The Grauniad had an article about it, which conveniently links to a printer-oriented version of Lyons’ infamous article.

In it, he paints a picture of (some) bloggers as “an online lynch mob spouting liberty but spewing lies, libel and invective.” But, apart from (I think just) one brief mention that “Attack blogs are but a sliver of the rapidly expanding blogosphere”, he writes as if blogs generally are used for “spewing lies, libel and invective.”

PJ and Groklaw get special mention, in a sidebar entitled, “Who is Pamela Jones?” Clearly, Groklaw, et al, are to be regarded as a prime example of “an online lynch mob”. (That would include me!)

Which nicely brings us back to the old theory that Dan Lyons is acting for The SCO Group.


The answer’s in the other sidebar, “Fighting Back”. “You Can’t stop bloggers from launching an allout attack on you or your business if that’s what they decide to do”, he says, “but you can defend yourself. Here’s how.” And then he proceeds to give his advice, which includes these tasty bites:-

START YOUR OWN BLOG. Hire a blogger to do a company blog or encourage your employees to write their own, adding your voice to the mix.

BUILD A BLOG SWARM. Reach out to key bloggers and get them on your side. Lavish them with attention. Or cash. …

Dan Lyons has a blog.

BASH BACK. If you get attacked, dig up dirt on your assailant and feed it to sympathetic bloggers. Discredit him.

Has Lyons ever bashed Groklaw? Oh, and who or what are his sources, again? Who or what are his sources?

ATTACK THE HOST. Find some copyrighted text that a blogger has lifted from your Web site and threaten to sue his Internet service provider under the Digital Millennium Copyright Act. That may prompt the ISP to shut him down. Or threaten to drag the host into a defamation suit against the blogger. The host isn’t liable but may skip the hassle and cut off the blogger’s access anyway. Also:Subpoena the host company, demanding the blogger’s name or Internet address.

(Emphasis mine on “The host isn’t liable”.) He’s actually advising ill-founded or unfounded lawsuits?!?!? What’s a SLAPP? Why does it matter?

What sort of person is Dan Lyons?

Bruce Perens on Dan Lyons

Tuesday, April 10, 2007

And, while I’m linking to other blogs that mention Dan Lyons, I’ll just mention Bruce Perens’ Technocrat item, “Dan Lyons gets obsessed”. Is Dan Lyons getting a bit of a reputation?

Dan Lyons Fan Fiction at Flailing Point

Tuesday, April 10, 2007

I should, of course, mention “Dan Lyons Fan Fiction” at Flailing Point

Hang on: “Floating Point”, “Flailing Point”, “Sinking Point”… Is there a theme?

Forbes Senior Editor Targetted in Smear Campaign

Tuesday, April 10, 2007

Senior editor at Forbes, Daniel Lyons, has become the target of a vile smear campaign. The campaign against Mr Lyons is run by one Simon G Best, a known “internet stalker” and contributor to IBM cheer-leading blog Groklaw.

The campaign takes the form of a blog named “Sinking Point”, a weak pun on the name of Mr Lyons’ personal website. Launched late last week, the blog could easily be described as dedicated to slinging mud, with Lyons as the only target. Nearly every article contains the name “Dan Lyons” somewhere in the title, often in ways that could only be described as slanderous. For example, one such title ironically asserts, “Dan Lyons Implicated in Groklaw Smear Campaign”.

The most recent example, “Is Dan Lyons a Prostitute?”, questions Mr Lyons’ integrity as a journalist on the basis of nothing more than unsubstantiated speculation. Citing no evidence to support such a slur, Best makes some disparaging remarks about free market capitalism before copying chunks of text from Mr Lyons’ own articles.

Remarkably, for someone copying chunks of other people’s material, Best had previously accused Mr Lyons himself of copyright piracy. The basis for such piracy allegations was simply that Mr Lyons, in some of his articles, had quoted some comments that others had made. As anyone who’s read a newspaper knows, that’s completely normal. It’s what all journalists do. It’s called “fair use”, and is a well-established part of law that protects free speech and freedom of the press.

Interestingly, Best only makes the copyright piracy allegation in relation to quotes from comments on Groklaw, a “Free Software” blog that opposes the commercial use of software. According to the activists who frequent Groklaw, Intellecual Property should be abolished. Yet Best wastes no time in appealing to copyright – a common form of Intellectual Property – when it suits him.

When asked, for this article, about his blog, Best said, “There is a theme,” as if the theme of slurring the name of Mr Lyons isn’t already obvious. But he explains, “‘By their rod shall they be measured.'”

But who are “They?”

“The SCO Group and Dan Lyons,” Best says. “It’s just a matter of seeing how their own material – court filings and articles in the media – measure up when measured by their own standards.”

When I put it to him that he seemed to be doing exactly what he accused Mr Lyons of doing, he said that he was just doing it “rhetorically”.

“I know that what I’m doing might superficially appear hypocritical, but I’m applying ‘By their rods shall they be measured’ at more than one level.”

Best has previously been listed as an “internet stalker” and linked to terrorism by networking legend Jeff V. Merkey.

Is Dan Lyons a Prostitute?

Tuesday, April 10, 2007

Thank you for the welcome, Walt Hucks of Opportunity Knocks 🙂 It does seem that Dan Lyons has made himself an easy target for criticism. Is he just trolling? Is it all an exercise in flame-baiting? Is he just doing it for the hits?

There are some who take the following attitude towards journalism: give the people “what they want”, where “what they want” is measured by sales figures, website hits, and the like. It’s a kind of “let’s let the market decide” attitude, appealing to notions of free market competition, and that sort of thing. If a certain style of journalism brings in the readers, then that’s taken as being what the market wants. The Market Has Decided. If you don’t like it, blame the market.

Okay, on the basis of all that rubber-necking on motorways (freeways, autobahns, etc), let’s have more car wrecks.

But is that “market driven” attitude the basis for Lyons’ style of journalism? Let me just try a cheap ploy. I know Dan Lyons knows of the existence of this here blog, because I’ve told him about it in an email, and he replied to that email. He must know this blog exists. So, if I ask him, on this here blog, what his underlying principles of his journalism are, he can either answer, or let his silence speak for itself. A cheap ploy, of course, as he’s not actually under any obligation to read my blog. If he doesn’t answer, that doesn’t constitute damning silence; it’s just that he might not even know I’m asking the question.

PJ doesn’t read his blog. She generally ignores him, and Dan Lyons may well ignore me. Yet he still bangs on about questions he says she doesn’t answer.

So, is Dan Lyons just giving what he measures to be what the market wants, regardless of what it does to his own reputation? Is he, metaphorically speaking, a prostitute?

Oooh, that was naughty of me! Such a mud-slingy question! Such a slanted article. I should be ashamed of myself.

Okay, I admit it: I just wanted to write an article with “Is Dan Lyons a Prostitute?” as the title.

Actually, there is sort of an answer, sort of, or indications of an answer at least, in his older article, “Confession #2: I don’t care who wins the SCO v. IBM case”. He starts by saying:-

I don’t know who’s right, and I really don’t care. … As I’ve said over and over, no matter what happens, this is a great story to cover. If SCO wins, it’s a long-shot victory, against all odds. If IBM wins, and shows the SCO guys to have been running a scam, an even better story.

It’s basically about how, according to him, he’s just a journalist reporting the news. But I did like this bit:-

Also, bear in mind that whatever “evidence” you’re reading on a blog is not all the evidence in the case; you’re being presented with a slice that is intended to persuade you in one direction. If you’ve decided that SCO has no case based on what you’ve read on a blog that is only presenting certain pieces of evidence and holding back others, and adding a spin on top of that, and if you have no idea who is doing the spinning, you may be rushing to judgment.

Thanks for the measuring rod, Dan. How does your blog measure up?

Dan Lyons Implicated in Groklaw Smear Campaign

Tuesday, April 10, 2007

I’m now having a look at The SCO Group’s stuff.

On Groklaw:-

The content and commentary of the website (and other evidence) show that Ms. Jones is not an objective commentator, but rather a vehicle through which opponents of SCO have conducted their case against SCO in the court of public opinion, where no gate-keeper monitors the reliability of content.

Keep that in mind. It’s a nice rod by which to measure The SCO Group.

… SCO has not yet served Ms. Jones with a subpoena for her deposition. Obviously aware of SCO’s designs to depose her,

Obvious, how?

Ms. Jones has neither accepted service of the subpoena nor agreed to appear for deposition, but rather appears to have fled and evaded service of the subpoena.

But The SCO Group have just said, “SCO has not yet served Ms. Jones with a subpoena for her deposition.” And they soon go on to say:-

On January 30, 2007, SCO’s counsel issued a subpoena in the United States District Court for the District of Connecticut, compelling Ms. Jones to appear for a deposition on February 21, 2007. Since that time, a process server has repeatedly sought to locate and personally serve Ms. Jones with the subpoena, without success.

So, when they say, as they did, “Ms. Jones has neither accepted service of the subpoena nor agreed to appear for deposition”: so what? The “process server has repeatedly sought to locate and personally serve Ms. Jones with the subpoena, without success.” It just hasn’t got as far as PJ not agreeing “to appear for deposition”.

Ms. Jones’s reluctance to appear for deposition in this matter is better understood in the context of certain relevant evidence. Indeed, SCO has obtained evidence through discovery of Ms. Jones’s allegiance and financial connection to Novell and IBM, which underscores her motivation to avoid having to testify in this matter.

And then there’s a “REDACTED” bit 😦

Confirming her obvious efforts to avoid the subpoena, Ms. Jones announced on her website on February 10, 2007, that she would be taking a vacation. (Health Break,
http://www.groklaw.net/ article.php?story=2007021013564542 (Feb. 10, 2007, 13:56 EST) (Ex. 2).)

Nope. There’s no such confirmation there. None.

Industry reporters immediately recognized that SCO’s subpoena had precipitated Ms. Jones’s leave of absence; postings to that effect even appeared on her own website.

Let’s pay careful attention…

(See, e.g., Dan Goodin, SCO Bloodhounds Search for Groklaw Author, The Register, Feb 15, 2007, http://www.theregister.co.uk/ 2007/02/15/sco_foe/print.html (Ex. 3);

Okay, let’s look at that article. This looks like a key bit:-

First, SCO lawyers trying to serve Jones with a subpoena were unable to locate her at a home in Darien, Conn. where she was believed to live. Suspicions were further aroused on Saturday, when the author announced (http://www.groklaw.net/article.php?story=2007021013564542) she’d be taking a hiatus for an undetermined amount of time while she recuperated from an illness.

But who, or what, was Dan Goodin’s source? Ah, this might be the answer:-

Following Forbes publishing (http://www.forbes.com/2007/02/13/groklaw-sco-ibm-tech-enter-cz_dl_0213sco.html) the details of the latest hunt, the Linux faithful wasted no time unleashing their indignation.

Ah, Forbes! And look! It’s Dan Lyons’ “SCO Vs. Blogger” article!

Back to The SCO Group’s stuff:-

Posting of John Murrell, Where (and for that matter, who) is Pamela Jones?, Good Morning Silicon Valley, Feb. 14, 2007, http://blogs.siliconvalley.com/gmsv/2007/02/where_and_for_t.html (Ex. 4).)

Okay, let’s have a look:-

Now comes word from Forbes that SCO is trying to serve a subpoena on Jones requiring her to submit to a deposition on some unspecified topics. One problem — Jones is nowhere to be found. In a post on Saturday, PJ said she was taking a “health break” of unspecified length, and acccording to Forbes, the blog editor, who has always tried to keep the lowest of profiles, was not at a house in Darien, Conn., where SCO intelligence agents believe she’s been living.

Dan Lyons’ “SCO Vs. Blogger” article, again.

Again, back to The SCO Group’s stuff:-

Similarly, postings on the Linux-Watch Forum, a website dedicated to “keeping an eye on the penguin,” extensively discussed SCO’s subpoena for Ms. Jones; her refusal to accept service; and SCO’s approaching deadline for effectuating service. (Yes, There is a PJ, http://www.linux-watch.com/ cgi-bin/board/UltraBoard.pl?Action=ShowPost&Board=talkbacks&Post= 239&Idle=0&Sort=0&Order=Descend&Page=0&Session= (Feb. 16, 2007, 03:01:06) (Ex. 5).)

Well, in the exhibit, there’s a comment from a Nigel Kneale, in which he says:-

I find it concerning that, whilst Jones is ready to lecture everyone about how the legal process is strong and valid, she feels that running away from it is the right thing to do when it comes to herself.

And another, in which he says:-

However, you cannot square Jones’ articles about how fair the legal system is (in the face of how obviously unfair it is to the innocent) with the fact that she is very probably on the run from part of the legal process.

So, who is Nigel Kneale? Well, there’s a Nigel Kneale who’s posted some comments on Dan Lyons’ Floating Point blog. Coincidence?

Interesting how it keeps leading back, one way or another, to Dan Lyons.

Anyway, back to The SCO Group’s stuff, again:-

Ms. Jones’s efforts to evade service…

Uh? They haven’t yet shown that she has been evading service. Some evidence of some people alleging – or even, perhaps, just speculating – that she’s been evading service, but no actual evidence of evasion itself. And Dan Lyons seems, prominently, to be the common connection. But anyway:-

Ms. Jones’s efforts to evade service and her leave of absence support the long-held view of industry commentators, for example, that Ms. Jones is connected to IBM’s and Novell’s arguments not simply by the commonality of their expressed opinions of SCO’s claims, but also by financial ties. (See, e.g., Goodin, supra.) Additional evidence coaffims those financial ties. Although counsel for IBM denied on February 12, 2004, that IBM was “causing” any third party, “through funding or otherwise, to make statements on its behalf about the litigation” (Ex. 6), documents exchanged in discovery and other sources demonstrate that Groklaw

That Groklaw?

that Groklaw

That Groklaw???


Poo! But there is a footnote:-



Anyway, there already seems to be a pattern of interesting, anonymous sources saying interesting things to some in the media – such as Dan Lyons – with the result that such things then end up in the media. Then, The SCO Group refers to such things, in the media, in support of the interesting things from those interesting, anonymous sources! (I know, by the way, that this is all familiar stuff to Groklaw readers, but it’s nice to emphasize it, when appropriate.)

But we soon, after another “REDACTED”, get to another interesting bit:-

Indeed, Wall Street Journal


reporter Dan Lyons

There he is again.

recently reported on his website (“Floating Point”) that, according to his sources, OSDL paid “$40,000 to $50,000” to Groklaw between late 2005 and early 2006. (OSDL Payments to Groklaw?, http://floatingpoint.wordpress.com/ (Mar. 27, 2007) (Ex. 13).)

So what? OSDL is not IBM, nor Novell.

In response to an inquiry from Mr. Lyons regarding the foregoing issues, IBM did not deny its knowledge of such payments, or of OSDL’s intent to use monies received from IBM towards supporting Groklaw; nor did IBM deny that it knew the payments would in fact be made to Grokiaw, nor that IBM expected such payments to support the consistent and strident anti-SCO message that Groklaw was communicating to the world. Instead, IBM said only: “IBM does not have any agreements or arrangements with Groklaw or Pamela Jones. IBM, like many other companies, has provided funding to OSDL in the past, and you would have to contact them about how that funding was disbursed.” (Id.) Given that Mr. Mauri of IBM was the Chairman of the OSDL during the relevant time frame, IBM’s statement rings hollow, to say the least. In addition, Novell has had a representative on the OSDL/The Linux Group Board of Directors since 2003. (http://lwn.net/Articles/62243/ (Ex. 14).) Former Novell executive Chris Stone, who worked with the OSDL for Novell in 2003 and 2004, admits in Mr. Lyons’s piece that “paying money to Groklaw ‘would not have been a good thing for OSDL. OSDL was meant to be above the fray, not investing in groups or web sites.'” (Ex. 13.)

So, IBM gives money to OSDL. And, according to Lyons, OSDL gave money to Groklaw. And “Mr. Mauri of IBM was the Chairman of the OSDL during the relevant time frame”. So? Where’s the evidence of the alleged, supposed impropriety in this?

Perhaps it’s time to look at Dan Lyons’ blog article.

(Interestingly, and incidentally, he writes, “It’s odd that PJ would duck a subpoena because she says she’s a paralegal and has a high respect for the legal system.” Dan Lyons and Nigel Kneale – who’s channelling who?)

This seems to be the key bit:-

In late 2005, according to my source, Pamela Jones contacted Diane Peters, the general counsel for OSDL, and asked if OSDL would give some money to Groklaw. Peters discussed this with Stuart Cohen, who was then the chief executive of OSDL.

Between late 2005 and early 2006, OSDL paid “$40,000 to $50,000″ to Groklaw, my source says.

And then quotes his source, beginning with:-

“Diane thought it was a good idea. She talked about it with the IP subcommittee. …”

So, who is his source?

My source is a former high-ranking executive at Open Source Development Labs (OSDL), a vendor-funded organization whose sponsors include IBM.

He also says, of his source:-

My source, who was involved in making the OSDL payments to Groklaw, says he believes there was nothing wrong with OSDL helping PJ. “She needed money on some infrastructure issues. We thought it was a reasonable thing. If she’d asked for half a million that would be different.”

But there’s another source:-

Another former OSDL board member, who also represented a large IT company and spoke on the condition of anonymity, told me he’s not aware that OSDL made payments to Groklaw…

These sources who speak “on the condition of anonymity”, eh?

Oh, and there’s no mention of “Mr. Mauri of IBM”. So why did The SCO Group mention him?

Anyway, it’s basically that IBM gave money to OSDL, who then, according to Lyons’ sources, gave some money to Groklaw. So what? Is that it?


So, in this filing (unless it’s in the “REDACTED” parts), the SCO Group clearly haven’t established – or even shown any credible evidence to support the allegation – that IBM funnelled any money to Groklaw via OSDL.

So, back to The SCO Group’s stuff:-

In addition to funneling money to Groklaw through the OSDL,

An allegation that they’ve just not shown to be true…

moreover, IBM contributes to the site’s internet host.

Okay, this is the really silly stuff about ibiblio. No need to debunk that nonsense again. And anyway, it doesn’t look like Dan Lyons will be making an appearance.

Let’s go on to the next issue:-

Other evidence supports the conclusion that SCO’s opponents in litigation have been feeding information to Ms. Jones for publication on Groklaw. On August 16, 2004, for example, Ms. Jones posted for review on her website “IBM’s Redacted Memorandum in Support of Motion for Partial Summary Judgment on Breach of Contract Claims.”

Okay, that’s the stuff about different copies of court filings. I won’t bother with that, as it doesn’t look like Dan Lyons will be making an appearance there, either. Same goes for the rest of the document.

So, what do we conclude? Well, if we were to take The SCO Group’s rod, and measure this stuff by that, we’d surely conclude that this is clear proof that Dan Lyons is unmistakably in league with The SCO Group. They’re clearly feeding him stuff, that he’s then pumping into the media, in order to create superficial ‘evidence’ for them to use in court. I mean, look at all those exhibits that lead back to him! And he himself relying on mysterious, anonymous sources. What other conclusion could we possibly draw? It’s not much better if we measure it by Lyons’ rod, either. One might choose a headline such as, “Dan Lyons Implicated in Groklaw Smear Campaign” 🙂

The key question, I think, is who was the anonymous source who told him about the failed subpoena service attempts? Someone in The SCO Group? Who? Why?

Oh, and let’s not forget that bit at the start:-

The content and commentary of the website (and other evidence) show that Ms. Jones is not an objective commentator, but rather a vehicle through which opponents of SCO have conducted their case against SCO in the court of public opinion, where no gate-keeper monitors the reliability of content.

Bearing that in mind, have you read Dan Lyons’ blog, lately?


Off-Topic: Mark Shuttleworth on DRM

Monday, April 9, 2007

I’ve just enjoyed reading Mark Shuttleworth‘s blog article on DRM. If you’re in the music recording/publishing/distribution industry, and are lost amid the trees, he’ll show you where the wood is. (Found via Groklaw‘s news picks.)