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50K Linux Man Bites At 248

magnany writes "In a recent article, former TRG CEO Jeff V. Merkey had offered to pay 50K USD for a BSD-licensed Linux. Groklaw did a followup on his offer, to which Jeff responded by notifying the FBI of Groklaw's 'hate crimes violation.' Merkey doesn't exactly have a great record, either, which is made even more apparent by his recent threats to file suit against for slander and trademark infringement, amongst others. In addition, he has also reported to the FBI's hate crime department. What could do to get Jeff V. Merkey off their backs?"
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50K Linux Man Bites At

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  • by Gil-galad55 ( 707960 ) on Monday November 01, 2004 @04:56AM (#10684028)
    There are numerous spelling and grammar errors in the letter that Merkey supposedly posted, and note the blatant CC to Maureen O'Gara. I don't know, my troll alarm is going off. Is it legit?
  • by rokka ( 631038 ) on Monday November 01, 2004 @04:57AM (#10684031)
    Offer him 50K USD to make him behave as if he was released under a BSD-license.
    • Re:Give him 50K USD (Score:3, Interesting)

      by TheRaven64 ( 641858 )
      That would let us make copies and derived works and distribute them (with or without the source code). Somehow, I don't think the idea of making copies of this guy would be entirely popular. I suspect that more people would be interested in `modifying' the original...
      • Netcraft confirms it, Jeff V. Merkey is dying...

        Oh I cant even do it in jest, lets just print out the entire Linux kernal and force feed it to him page by page.
        Should keep him semi quiet for a while.
      • I don't think the idea of making copies of this guy would be entirely popular.

        I'm sure that if you studied him enough you could figure out where to tweak him to make him run. More stable, I mean.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday November 01, 2004 @04:58AM (#10684034)
    Related Links
    Best deals: Censorship
  • Sue him for libel (Score:5, Insightful)

    by n0alpha ( 686555 ) on Monday November 01, 2004 @04:58AM (#10684035)
    He's clearly trying to defame GrokLaw and put it's credibility into question. Why not sue him for libel, and tack on a charge that he's trying to con the Linux community into selling their nestegg to him for a mere pittance of what he would make if the deal went through?
    • Re:Sue him for libel (Score:2, Informative)

      by downbad ( 793562 )
      tack on a charge that he's trying to con the Linux community into selling their nestegg to him for a mere pittance of what he would make if the deal went through
      that's not a crime.
    • Been done before. In fact Groklaw posted bits from the previous ruling. I had a good laugh reading it. After all, you do not see a court ruling saying that the defendant has delusions every day. It is something more often found psychiatric paper.

      One thing which Groklaw missed in their analysis at the time - the ruling did not prevent him from doing similar things later on.
      • One thing which Groklaw missed in their analysis at the time - the ruling did not prevent him from doing similar things later on.

        I don't think that's too surprising - who would think that he would do it all over again after a judge issues a ruling saying he's delusional?? On the other hand, maybe his delusions include a belief that the judge was talking about someone else... :)

  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday November 01, 2004 @04:58AM (#10684036)
    After weeks of spreading FUD to the point you would think the guy is mentally challenged, he posted what might be seen as an apology: /0410.3/0506.html []
    • by iota ( 527 ) * on Monday November 01, 2004 @05:15AM (#10684075) Homepage
      Interesting bit:

      Linus Torvalds (and myself) are entitled to apolgies from GrokLaw, and SCO regarding
      their false and misleading claims Linus missappropriated trade secrets or infringed their
      copyrights and that I was involved in a scheme with SCO to further their false,
      misleading, and libelous allegations. Groklaw has also posted numerous emails and
      comments attributed to me which I did not author which libel Linus and myself, and
      were designed to create and perpetuate animosity in the Linux Community.

      ... and ...

      I thank Linus Torvalds for being a true friend and working with me to resolve these
      issues, despite all the heat and mud flying around.

      Seems like he's just trying to associate his name as closely as he can with Linus (and thus represent an "official" linux line) ... Or maybe he and Linus really are buddies...

    • Not really. (Score:5, Interesting)

      by WindBourne ( 631190 ) on Monday November 01, 2004 @05:48AM (#10684135) Journal

      Merkey is with dr dos. Dr Dos is another one of the companies owned by the Nordas, and is actually controlled by Brian Sparks. Brian is the same guy who started this whole fiasco with caldera. It should be obvious that this will be where the next major attack is going to be coming from.

      Jeff can be easily googled and his affiliation seen.

  • by pegasustonans ( 589396 ) on Monday November 01, 2004 @05:01AM (#10684042)
    "The mission is to rout [Merkey], to find [him] and bring [him] to justice[...] Or, as I explained to the [people of Slashdot] in Western terms, to smoke [him] out of [his] caves, to get [him] running so we can get [him]."

    Thanks George.
  • by Monkelectric ( 546685 ) <slashdot@mon k e l e c t r i c . com> on Monday November 01, 2004 @05:01AM (#10684043)
    Groklaw is biased against bullshit. And this guy seems to be mired in it.
  • by Artega VH ( 739847 ) on Monday November 01, 2004 @05:03AM (#10684048) Journal
    Why are responsible slashdotters encouraged to ignore trolls but such a blatant one gets an entire story? After the very professional way the kernel developers tore him apart [] you'd think the issue would be over.

    Don't feed the trolls!
  • Litigation. (Score:5, Insightful)

    by colonslashslash ( 762464 ) on Monday November 01, 2004 @05:06AM (#10684055) Homepage
    Ahh, another step towards this lovely age of "if it moves, litigate it, if it doesn't, litigate its next of kin".

    It's so pathetic. When does it all end?

    • by PsiPsiStar ( 95676 ) on Monday November 01, 2004 @06:30AM (#10684215)
      When we run out of money or when we nationalize and regulate the legal profession?

      • Ouch! You're cruel.
      • I think you meant to say, when we rationalize and eliminate the legal profession?
      • They are regulated []. How well is an exercise left to the reader.
        • Re:Litigation. (Score:3, Informative)

          by Dun Malg ( 230075 )
          They are regulated. How well is an exercise left to the reader.

          Well, since the American Bar Association is as much a government regulatory body as the American Automobile Association, the answer to "how well" is "only well enough to keep the government from actually regulating us". The ABA is a professional association of lawysers run by lawyers and really has no business being the regulatory body in charge of lawyer certification.

    • Re:Litigation. (Score:4, Informative)

      by dasunt ( 249686 ) on Monday November 01, 2004 @08:36AM (#10684538)

      Ahh, another step towards this lovely age of "if it moves, litigate it, if it doesn't, litigate its next of kin".

      It's so pathetic. When does it all end?

      When the nightly news decides that highlighting extreme lawsuits and creating a mountain out of a mole-hill won't increase ratings.

      When people educate themselves about "frivolous" lawsuits and see that some of them aren't that frivolous[1].

      When certain groups stop using lawsuits as the sole blame for increased costs[2].

      When Americans realize that out of millions of lawsuits and thousands of judges that yes, there will be a few cases decided the wrong way and a few bad judges, but it does't mean that the legal system is flawed.

      The very few times I've been in court, on either side, I've found that the US legal system seems to be pretty fair. Most of the "problem" cases that I've heard about seem to be, on closer inspection, not as clear-cut as one would think. Sure, there are abuses, but I wouldn't want to trade the US legal system for any other legal system in the world.

      [1]Re: McDonald's Coffee Case, for one.

      [2]Re: Medical profession, for one (or didn't you know that 5% of doctors are responsible for 50% of all malpractice claims?)

      • Re:Litigation. (Score:5, Informative)

        by Idarubicin ( 579475 ) on Monday November 01, 2004 @01:19PM (#10687466) Journal
        ...didn't you know that 5% of doctors are responsible for 50% of all malpractice claims?

        What fraction of doctors are OBGYNs? Neurosurgeons?

        Some medical specialties are more lawsuit-prone than others, because they--by their nature--perform procedures with a greater risk of negative outcome, or deal with patients who are more likely to receive large jury awards (new mothers and babies...), or both.

        In the United States, a 2002 survey revealed that 76 percent of all obstetricians have been sued at least once []. Forty percent have been sued three or more times. Does anyone seriously believe that nearly half of all obstetricians can be that incompetent?

        Other risky specialties see similar problems. Unfortunately, malpractice lawsuits take place--and are often successful--in the event of any negative outcome, rather than one caused by actual incompetence or dereliction. About 1 in 5 suits are filed where there is no negative outcome whatsoever, but these are still settled for an average of nearly thirty thosuand dollars [] apiece (mostly legal bills.)

        True--there are some problem doctors, but their numbers are decidedly few. As you say, the situation is not black and white.

  • by Gopal.V ( 532678 ) on Monday November 01, 2004 @05:06AM (#10684056) Homepage Journal
    For a really BSD licensed Linux, I'd ask for a contract with Dell to ship Linux by default ...
    And AOL to add Firefox on their CDs ...

    And BSD a Linux 2.0 kernel ...

    After all I'm not in this for the money :)
  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday November 01, 2004 @05:14AM (#10684073)
    Dear slashdot,

    I demand you rename your "IT" section reachable from "" or I'll sue. I'll kick and scream too. Oh and I'll probably get my friends not to visit

    Ian T. Slashdot.
    • You forgot to add into you lawsuit the hate crime because of the color of Even though we don't know your ethnicicity/creed/religion we intended it to be hateful torwards you anyway.

      Also, make sure you disgrace your actual heritiage by constantly trying to us it to your advantage in a court of law.
  • by bani ( 467531 ) on Monday November 01, 2004 @05:29AM (#10684098)
    What could do to get Jeff V. Merkey off their backs?

    assuming sendmail...

    # cd /etc/mail
    # echo " REJECT" >> access
    # make
  • by bersl2 ( 689221 ) on Monday November 01, 2004 @05:32AM (#10684105) Journal
    I don't think he understands (or wants to understand) the narrowed definition of the word "hate" in that phrase.

    I hope some FBI employee had a good laugh over this one.
  • I'll pay... (Score:3, Funny)

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday November 01, 2004 @05:41AM (#10684117)
    I'll pay 500 Convertible Pesos for the latest version of Windows licensed under the GPL

    Hey! they say you lose nothing by trying...
  • Hate crime?! (Score:5, Informative)

    by Dachannien ( 617929 ) on Monday November 01, 2004 @05:49AM (#10684141)
    Here's the FBI's take on hate crimes []. Who knows, maybe Jeff Merkey will read it and learn something.

  • by j.leidner ( 642936 ) <> on Monday November 01, 2004 @06:00AM (#10684171) Homepage Journal
    ...for a BSD-licensed 2.0 Linux kernel is not evil at all. The guy is free to offer whatever he wants, but of course his bid might be too low. Note, though, that since his request for a BSD-licensed instance of the code doesn't necessarily have to be exclusive. Making available an old version of Linux BSD-style could raise a lot of money from e.g. embedded development companies, so the question whether $50K is appropriate depends on whether
    • (a) there is some consensus among the developers about the price, which in turn depends who many such private licenses are likely to be granted (which in turn depends on whether Mr Murkey plans about sharing his acquisition with others), and
    • (b) whether he can practically manage to locate and convince all developers. Not all developers might be known, but that's not HIS fault. If people contribute to the kernel without leaving a comment of what they did and who they are, I'm not sure what copyright law says about claims those people can make. Think about somebody who came out in 2004 claiming to have authored your favorite folklore song; I don't think any court would assign rights a posteriori, with the song being printed in thousands of song books marked "traditional".
      Even the unknown authorship in Linux sources could be solved by asking all known authors to delineate sections of code in Linux they have developed. Regions that have no known owner would have to be re-implemented. (Does such an ownership map exist? How many LOC are owned by 'Anonymous'?)
    Would such a procedure harm the open source/free software world? I doubt it. The main development will be on the GPLed branch. And it is not a particular snapshot of the source code that constitute the value of Linux, it's the process of continuous incremental innovation, refinement, and debugging watched my more competent and sceptical eyes than any company could hire for quality control. Without such a powerful task force behind it, a BSD-licensed branch would of verly limited value, because quickly out of date. PANTA RHEI!

    Try Nuggets [], the mobile search engine. We answer your questions via SMS, across the UK.

    • by IBitOBear ( 410965 ) on Monday November 01, 2004 @07:05AM (#10684275) Homepage Journal
      One of the big problems is that the BSD license, which is parahprased: take this and do what you want, of some otherwise GPLed code could dangerously muddy waters.

      Right now there is one License for Linux, so it is *known* that all Linux is accessible only via that license.

      Were you to add a second license then you would add plausable deniability to the war-chest of people determined to "steal" the code (by not allowing access to the source code for "their version.")

      In short, you would end up with a bunch of people who could then say "yes, this is Linux, but its from the can-be-secret version of the license."

      It just muddies waters *WITHOUT* *NEED*. Since the existing license is sufficent, adding a second provenance to the blood line would only serve to make things complex.

      Plus, even the effort would be devicive. You could never _find_ and get the aproval of all the copyright holders in order to create the new provenance.

      In a way it would be like a fudal lord having illegitimate idential twins, then deciding to recognize one and not the other. It (1) wouldn't make sense and if you did it, it (2) would only lead to problems.

      There is anit-value in even discussing the possibility.

      It would be better if Linux got so popular that the big companies decided to fight the movie/music industry to reduce copyright terms. If we were back to the original 14 year terms then in about five years (?) 2.0 would be public domiain anyway. That is how Copyright was _SUPPOSED_ to work in the first place. The ??AA(s) of the world have just managed to really screw the software industry a-priori. If M$ wants Linux, they should just just buy some senators and get the whole thing fixed anyway.

      [Side Note: patents cannot let microsoft (etc) steal linux, they could make it mighty uncomfortable, but even if they had a patent on every single concept on every single line, they could never take possession of it for themselves. As long as it can live in free countries like Brazil it will be unkillable. The same unstealability goes for coercing a license change, or buying one. As long as Copyright is at these untenable extremes, everything GPLed is irrevocably public unto the Nth generation. If copyright were back where it belonged M$ (etc) would be "free to innovate" (liberate?) (e.g. steal) some of the older versions in like 2006. If you follow my hyperbole.]
      • Like a Slashdotter says in his sig: "IANAL, but I write like a drunk one."

        If Microsoft were to reduce copyright terms (boy, Disney would get mad!), it would mean the older Linux versions would become public domain, which means they might get proprietary forks.

        I don't think Disney would actually have much to fear from the old Mickey Mouse cartoons going into the public domain, because anyone who were to copy or modify those cartoons, would still be in murky legal waters considering trademark infringement (
        • by IBitOBear ( 410965 ) on Monday November 01, 2004 @10:07AM (#10684948) Homepage Journal
          yes, like I said, or meant to imply anyway... 8-)

          I suspect that part of the return-swing of the pendlum of IP will be large numbers of companies deciding/discovering just how useful it would be for a lot of code and information to find itself in the public domain where it belongs.

          The watershed events, as I see them, would be

          1) Software patents don't pass in Europe.

          1a) they pass in Europe and so India and South America, and maybe Asia start kicking economic butt. Signaled by a sharp rise in U.S. and European students rushing abroad to study.

          2) Trademark Saturation critical mass in about 15 years, where essentially no useful noun-like words remain viable for even old companies to persue markets without fear of significant legal exposure.

          3) The "useful life" of IP workers drops to about eight years due to NDA/no-compete actions causes a serious disruption in the realestate markets.

          Then corporations and politicians will begin to fall all over themselves to roll-back the IP boom-time legsliation of the eighties.

          (Barring a "proper war" of couse) I figure 22 to 40 years. I may actually live to see it.
    • Yup.

      From this [] Groklaw thread, one estimate put it at $176 million, while another (more realistic) at ~$612 million for Linux kernel 2.6.

      And this, the redevelopment costs alone.

      I'd wanted to post the actual figures, but ofcourse Slashdot's _brilliant_ lameness filter blocked it.

      Heh, funny - Slashdot these days seems to block more content than it allows for.
      • I'd wanted to post the actual figures, but ofcourse Slashdot's _brilliant_ lameness filter blocked it.

        Heh, funny - Slashdot these days seems to block more content than it allows for.

        That's what you get for trying to present the figures in an easy to read tabular format. What you should have done is what everyone else does: scatter them throughout a long sputtering diatribe full of misspellings, typos, and bad punctuation; being sure to call everyone else fucktard and asswipe; and ending with a few choic

    • Making available an old version of Linux BSD-style could raise a lot of money from e.g. embedded development companies

      Why? Embedded developers are free to use it as is or do whatever they wish the one of the *BSDs. Embedded developers value-add with their hardware or the software that sits on top of the OS, so they're not going to gain much by getting a BSD licensed version, other than maybe being able to talk some CEO into it a little easier.

      Furthermore, the "a lot of money" argument goes right out th
    • I thought it was conventional to sign over copyright to the code maintainer?
    • Not all developers might be known, but that's not HIS fault. If people contribute to the kernel without leaving a comment of what they did and who they are, I'm not sure what copyright law says about claims those people can make.

      In that case, copyright law allows the owners to sue to stop infringement. That is, while they cannot sue for damages unless they have a registered copyright, they can sue everyone who is distributing and have the court order them to stop. In the United States, you hold copyright

    • Isn't the whole issue of trying to buy the source-code completely moot?

      If the code was released under the GPL voluntarily, even the authors of the code can't "take it back" as long as the code is being used under the spirit of the license.

      Standard "divide and conquer" by Microsoft and SCO here, move along.
    • Offering $50K... / Code ownership map for a BSD-licensed 2.0 Linux kernel is not evil at all.

      No, but it is absurd. Logistically, and given the ethics of many (most?) of the Linux kernel developers.

      Note, though, that since his request for a BSD-licensed instance of the code doesn't necessarily have to be exclusive.

      A BSD-style license for Linux could not possibly be exclusive, due to the nature of the GPL. You are forgetting what is known about the GPL (it is non-revokable provided the conditions of t
  • Drugs? (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Majik ( 31912 )
    I've been following him since I needed his NWFS. Shame the guy is crazy, he could have put out a useful tool.

    IIRC, he also smokes pejote(sp).. might explain a few of the more absurb claims. Evil I know, but you never know.

    • Re:Drugs? (Score:3, Funny)

      by marsu_k ( 701360 )
      IIRC, he also smokes pejote(sp)
      Well, he would certainly be crazy then, for peyote is taken orally [] (or via rectal infusion if you can't handle the nausea).
    • I have to admit that this is the best explanation of his behaviour.

      Do you know by any chance if it is just him or his employers as well?

      He used to be payed by SCO/Caldera for a while and there was a suggestion on LKM to write an open letter to Mr Love to withdraw his funding (by Al Viro methinks).
  • by cheros ( 223479 ) on Monday November 01, 2004 @06:25AM (#10684204)
    As far as I can see this guy appears to be seriously abusing the minorities aspect of the hate crime laws, but AFAIK there's only so often you can waste FBI resources before they want a small chat with you, in a nice room with little in the way of comfortable furniture.

    I mean, some of the hate crime work is really serious, what this guy is doing is almost insulting..

    And, (AFAIK, IANAL) isn't it illegal to repeatedly threaten legal action without following it up?

    Just musing ..
    • Merkey is definitely a minority. Worldwide, SCO supporters are few. They are a dying breed.

      God forbid, they might get listed under the ESA, and would be protected, along with their habitat.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday November 01, 2004 @07:43AM (#10684392)
    Dear Doctor Markley

    I write to you with a proposal of business which will be to our great mutual benefit.

    Owing to my 3rd wife who's brother's 2nd wifes uncle is the senior director of the Nigerian copyright office, we are in a special position to secure that which you so desire.

    Nigerian copyright is granted to whomever delivers to the copyright repository, a copy of said copyrighed material. In order to ensure the sincerity of the copyright applicant and provide funds for defense of said copyright, this material must be printed, one line only, per each, on $US100 notes.

    If you will kindly print your kernel source on $US100 notes (one line per note) and have it delivered to my solicitor, the honorable Snatch deMoni, c/o General Delivery, Canton Georgia, 30357, he will see that your copyright application is filed post with.

    In all sincerity and offering the blessings of god, your humble servant

    Obi Jones
  • by Eggplant62 ( 120514 ) on Monday November 01, 2004 @07:52AM (#10684418)
    ... this kook []. Regularly invents conspiracy scenarios in his own mind, creates complaints about spam and forwards them to people who shouldn't even be targeted for complaints, then blames everyone around him for his own mistakes.

    Kooks of the first water. Jamie, meet Jeff. Jeff, this is Jamie. You two should get along rather well, I'd think.
  • Merkey (Score:4, Interesting)

    by WCMI92 ( 592436 ) on Monday November 01, 2004 @07:52AM (#10684419) Homepage
    This guy is insane. IMO, Merkey is a "rabid dog" that SCaldera has tossed over our fence in the hopes he bites someone and gives them rabies.

    This guy has slandered Linus, he's slandered PJ, and everyone else who has dared question him or his motives. I bet /. gets a nastygram (CC'ed to Darl McBride of course)for daring to post this story.
  • Deja Vu (Score:3, Funny)

    by Ciel ( 622360 ) on Monday November 01, 2004 @08:08AM (#10684456)
    If this guy has some staying power, he could become the Derek Smart of the Linux community!
  • by petrus4 ( 213815 ) on Monday November 01, 2004 @08:26AM (#10684508) Homepage Journal
    If any (and I do mean ANY...I don't care if you're a janitor) of Microsoft's staff read this, then please immediately do the following:-

    1. Go to the highest person in the Microsoft heirarchy that you have access to, and persuade them to download a copy of the latest stable version of FreeBSD. I don't care HOW you persuade them, either. Use offers of drugs/various family members/their souls etc as needed. Be creative. This is important.

    2. Explain to Jim Allchin and the various other hardcore Windows advocates (or get someone else to, if you don't have access to him) that by making a FreeBSD-derivative core with a Windows shell, he'll actually get to have his cake and eat it too:- The security/stability everyone wants, plus Windows' strengths in the user interface dept.

    3. Round up MS's gaggle of programmers and make it happen. Don't get hung up on dumb, overly complex features that nobody needs (like WinFS) at this point. Keep the MS emphasis on user interface, (which we know Microsoft are good at) and backwards compatibility with other Windows versions (Which is half done for you - Go download Wine []) and let the BSD peeps handle the nuts and bolts stuff. (which they're scarily good at) Wine is under the GPL, so you'll need to behave yourselves there, but you're in the clear with the BSD license, since without the advertising clause now you can basically do whatever you want with it. For PR bonus points, you MIGHT want to release source of at least some of your modifications as did Apple with OSX...and given Microsoft's image over the last couple of years, it's an idea to meditate on.
    Do NOT, under any circumstances, remove/attempt to hide bash access, either. Make it so the newbs don't have to use it, sure...but leave it there for those of us who want it.

    4. Profit. Which you will, presumably to an insane degree...because while people who need lots of user-friendliness can still have it, the rest of us poor souls who have to help such people in the face of Microsoft's currently non-existent security model will have our burden considerably lightened. (and thus be far more effective at our jobs) So while the first group will continue to give you money, there's a good chance that the second group might start to enthusiastically do so as well.

    Dump the current licensing model, and profit from volume, support, and upgrades. (In terms of the number of people needing to install MS upgrades, you'd probably be a lot smarter charging for those rather than using ugly licenses and then making the upgrades freebies...the current licenses are a PR killer, if nothing else. This'd do wonders for the TCO argument, as well)

    5. Due to 4, the company will notice that although its revenue level might initially decrease somewhat, it then stands a much more certain chance of stabilising afterwards. (Linux is causing you to start to lose money now anywayz, and the bleeding is only going to get more rapid if you stay the current course)

    Because of this, eventually a realisation might be reached that it is truly unnecessary to continue to try to discredit/outlaw/otherwise neutralise those of us who just happen to like using Linux (which is hell on Microsoft's own image anywayz) especially seeing as there'd be a fair chance that this plan would convert a sizable number of them to the new product anyway. We could call off the entire Linux/MS war...Joe Sixpack would be happy, the CLI/blackbox geeks would be happy, MS would still make lots of money, and the world would keep turning.

    Think about it. For the sake of everyone, including yourselves. Please.
    • by ameoba ( 173803 ) on Monday November 01, 2004 @09:51AM (#10684861)
      What makes you think this is going to work? The core of NT is stable & secure already, it's extensions and concessions that have been made towards being more 'usable' that bring the whole system down. How is reimplimenting everything on a new OS that has a weaker/coarser security model going to make things better?
      • >The core of NT is stable & secure already

        As a demonstration of NT/XP's "security," here's a bit of homework for you. Grab a copy of an NT/XP app called Erd Commander. (I'll leave it up to your good judgement as to how to obtain it)

        Installing it takes a bit of doing in the scenario that you use, shall we say, the "online" way of obtaining software, so it's a chance to show off your leet `//areZ d00d credentials there as well.

        Then, once you've got Erd Commander burnt onto a CD, change your NT/XP pa
  • by walterbyrd ( 182728 ) on Monday November 01, 2004 @08:41AM (#10684553)
    Surprising that posters here don't know any better than to take the bait. These "kill Merkey" comments do not help. Some clown like Dan Lyons at Forbes may very well use those comments to prove that the linux lovers over at slashdot are actually a hateful, violent, crowd. Danny did that with comments from the yahoo boards - comments which were far more tame btw.
  • by irgu ( 673471 ) on Monday November 01, 2004 @08:54AM (#10684600)
    Everybody knows that NTFS is patented and dangerous to use, right?

    No. NTFS is neither patented, nor dangerous to use.

    The history. All started about 5 years ago. The old NTFS driver was written for NT4 NTFS but Windows 2000 introduced some improvements. The changes were important enough not to work with the NT4 driver. Unfortunately the driver didn't check the NTFS version, developers vanished thus it thrashed quite many people's filesystem. Unfortunately nobody cared to fix it for a long time.

    Here comes Merkey to the picture. He generously offered people a Linux utility, free of charge that had Windows fix NTFS itself (aka run fsck during boot). Unfortunately he had an NDA with Microsoft, not to reveal internals of NTFS. According to him, Microsoft threatened him with a suit. Microsoft claims that it never threatened him or his company with a suit. More about the issue here. []

    The story got Slashdot attention but with some twists: Microsoft Litigation vs. Linux NTFS Kernel Support []. The minor problem was, that the Linux support for NTFS had nothing to do with Jeff Merkey or his company. Still, the Linux community thought they were directly threatened by Microsoft.

    Conclusion? Linux NTFS development slowed down a lot. Red Hat has removed NTFS support completely and after 4 years, they still refer to non-existent NTFS patents, even if they would be void due to laws, e.g. the project is for the purpose of writing interoperable software under Sect. 1201 (f) Reverse Engineering exception of the DMCA.

    And why NTFS isn't dangerous? Write support was disabled about 3-4 years ago and a new driver was written from scratch for 2.6 kernels that doesn't implement write, except file overwriting.

    • by latroM ( 652152 ) on Monday November 01, 2004 @09:30AM (#10684759) Homepage Journal
      Conclusion? Linux NTFS development slowed down a lot. Red Hat has removed NTFS support completely and after 4 years, they still refer to non-existent NTFS patents, even if they would be void due to laws, e.g. the project is for the purpose of writing interoperable software under Sect. 1201 (f) Reverse Engineering exception of the DMCA.

      The DMCA is only about copying controls, digital restrictions management. Patents are a completely different thing. There is no such law which says that using someone's software patent is ok for interoperability purposes.
      • The post by irgu -- the parent to yours, gp to this -- states that NTFS is not patented. As you say, while patents are different than the DMCA, are you claiming that NTFS is patented? I am not tying to be combative, I fear that I just miss your point. I cannot attest to whether NTFS is patented or not. I am genuinely interested in your opinion.

        There has been very recent activity in trying to patent the FAT filesystem. Unsuccessfully, IIRC. Slashdot, Sep 30th []

        I find the GP post to agree with my unde

    • You might also recall Jeff Merkey as the fellow who wrote the Netware filesystem driver for Linux. He ignored all the potential legal ramifications of NWFS being a work-for-hire and having access to internal Novell documents, and hence nobody is touching the code with a ten foot pole these days.

  • by Yaa 101 ( 664725 ) on Monday November 01, 2004 @09:08AM (#10684645) Journal
    In some circles, if you offer 50k for a thing that is worth many many times more, you have a large chance to get killed due to lack of respect... Merkey must considder himself lucky!!
  • ...will be a hate-crime-based one against Slashdot, for the usual reasons.
  • This Jeff Merkey guy is the enemy within. The Traitorous heritic whos blasphemies against the kernel have lead to FUD, infighting and general dismay all around. To much 40k for me.

    Maybe he was a plant. A double agent sent by outside interests to undermine the entire kernel. Perhaps others are involved!! The kernel is rotting from within!!! Tainted with patented and proprietry code!!!!!

    I would therefore like to call a vote on Proposition 2.10. That a worldwide witch hunt be started to root out all tainted
  • A Con-Man (Score:5, Informative)

    by ChaoticCoyote ( 195677 ) on Monday November 01, 2004 @10:24AM (#10685120) Homepage

    I'll let Merkey speak for himself, and let other judge who and what he is...

  • Trouble with BSD (Score:4, Interesting)

    by ajs318 ( 655362 ) <`sd_resp2' `at' `'> on Monday November 01, 2004 @10:58AM (#10685480)
    The trouble with the BSD licence is that it does not oblige you to distribute the source code with any derivative work {unless you go for the two-clause, source-only distribution licence ..... which is fine for stuff written in an interpreted language, but not much cop for something like an OS kernel}. This means that someone else can take all your hard work -- which you intended to be for the benefit of everyone -- and "fence it in" by distributing a modified version in binary form only, and not giving anybody the source code. While it may well be a trivial matter to reproduce their effort and release a functional equivalent in source code form, it's still work that you shouldn't have to do. This is one of the things meant by "the price of freedom is eternal vigilance" -- in this case, if you give other people too much freedom with your code, then you have to watch over them forever to make sure they don't compromise any further people's freedom.

    Of course, not everyone who uses the BSD licence is a fencer-in. But why give them the chance? If you think the right of the majority to make use of the code you wrote overrides the supposed right of a minority to keep that code to themselves, then use a strong copyleft licence such as the GPL or ShareAlike. If on the other hand you think that the owner of a knife {howsoever it may have come into their possession} has the right to decide who they stab with it, and you don't mind that it might be you or your friends or family they stab, then go ahead and use a weak copyleft licence such as the BSD licence. And watch your back.

    The Linux kernel developers collectively want to guarantee the freedom of their source code, so they have chosen the GPL. If you want a BSD-licenced kernel {and why would you want a BSD-licenced kernel anyway, if not to fence it in? What else does the BSD licence permitthat the GPL does not?}, then you have a choice: FreeBSD, NetBSD or OpenBSD.
  • by The Pim ( 140414 ) on Monday November 01, 2004 @11:14AM (#10685665)
    Just from Merkey's lkml posting history [] (go back to 2000 or before [] for more juicy stuff), it is clear that he's mentally disturbed, on way too much peyote, or both (as well as an unusually talented engineer, if he could keep his illness out of the way). Take this post [], for example. He knows himself, at some level, that he's nuts.

    Merkey came recently into the limelight due to more lkml posts, which were again clearly the product of his insanity. He's not an agent of SCO, Canopy, or Microsoft; he's just deranged. He didn't go to the press. If slashdot and (especially) groklaw hadn't picked up on the "story", this would have mercifully died away. His bizarre reversal [] should be ample evidence of that.

    The best thing for him and for us would be to ignore his unfortunate condition. I can only find the current situation wasteful and tragic.

  • Earth to Merkey (Score:3, Interesting)

    by hey! ( 33014 ) on Monday November 01, 2004 @11:15AM (#10685688) Homepage Journal

    Geez, I really need access to a Unix with source code and a license that allows me to modify it to create a closed commercial product.

    I got it! I'll pay somebody $50K to give me a copy of Linux under a BSD license!

    Does anybody else think this guy has to be a moron?
  • by Facekhan ( 445017 ) on Monday November 01, 2004 @12:15PM (#10686410)
    There seems to be a lot of these con artists pretending to be business men. Their main skill is speaking well and convincing people that doing what they he wants is in their own interest.

    I worked for Stelor Productions. which owns

    The CEO is Steven Esrig, a lifelong con man who pretends to be a businessman. After discovering what kind of scum he really is I quit and he refuses to pay me my last few weeks of wages.

    When I confronted him on this by sending him a letter telling him I intended to sue him he actually had the gall to threaten to sue me and members of my family frivolously and to accuse me of stealing documents which he knows I did not do and in fact the entire event where the accusation comes from where another former employee was accused of stealing documents was a complete fabrication on his part intended to force her to sign a release and relinquish claims on copyrighted works that she claimed she was never paid for. Of course I do kind of want him to accuse me of it because then instead of a few weeks pay I will have a million dollar slander open and shut slander lawsuit.
  • Just a nut case (Score:3, Insightful)

    by LittleLebowskiUrbanA ( 619114 ) on Monday November 01, 2004 @12:39PM (#10686758) Homepage Journal
    The guy had claimed to have a cure for arthritis, reguarly smokes and grows peyote and now this []?
  • Who let this guy off of Usenet? I'll give him points for style for using the "hate crimes" line. But, if he follows-up with a RICO threat, I'm taking them back.

    I'm not sure if we should be hating him for his stupidity or pitying him for his mental illness. Seriously.

  • by xenocide2 ( 231786 ) on Monday November 01, 2004 @05:17PM (#10692224) Homepage
    Certainly, nobody likes being slandered on the Internet, nor do we like our flaws pointed out publicly. But its something you simply have to deal with.

    Honestly, in my hasn't-passed-the-bar psychoanalysis, it seems Merkey is suffering from what a friend who also suffers the same malady called "the CEO's disease." That is, manic/depressive or bipolar disorder, or whatever you wish to call it. I personally dislike that cute title of endearment; my father suffers from the same malady. A closer description would be the "white collar felon's disease." Untreated, its a dangerous mix of activity, enthusiasm and an absolute void of self-doubt or concern. Fortunately these things are easily medicated once recognized. A few doses of lithium salts appears to do the trick, for reasons unknown.

    Unfortnately, part of being maniacal is not taking these pills. The path they lead until their own neurochemical system comes back to earth is often twisted and dangerous. Its hard to call them liars, but if you've ever met someone unmedicated in society during this state, the word optimistic is wholly inadequate to describe their worldview. What this man needs is help, before the hole he's digging becomes his grave.

Life in the state of nature is solitary, poor, nasty, brutish, and short. - Thomas Hobbes, Leviathan