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ZDNet: The FUD factor

May 28, 1999, 15:29 (10 Talkback[s])
(Other stories by Mary Jo Foley)

"Of all of Microsoft's various legal cases, the Caldera antitrust one has really gotten me thinking lately about the role of the press in perpetuating vaporware and FUD, or, fear, uncertainty and doubt.

On Tuesday of this week, during the first of the arguments held in Salt Lake City district court regarding Microsoft's nine motions for partial summary judgment, Microsoft and Caldera went head-to-head on Caldera's 'product disparagement' (a.k.a., FUD) claims. While the judge overseeing the case expressed skepticism that Caldera's FUD claims would hold up on their own in court, that doesn't make FUD any less of an issue for reporters or their readers."

"Part of the press' function, especially those of us in the trades, is to keep vendors honest by holding them to their delivery and feature promises. Hence, a big part of our jobs is to ferret out, as early as possible, information on new products, strategies, shifts in direction and the like, and continue to track this information throughout its lifecycle.

But when does publishing information on a product that doesn't exist beyond ideas on a corporate whiteboard constitute the perpetuation of vaporware? Beyond questioning publicly and privately a source's motives for sharing information, what can we reporters do to better separate fact from FUD?"

If you reply to her request, please give her concrete suggestions that she and any other journalists who really want to avoid spreading FUD can use--flames won't help here--and if you've got a good idea about how the Linux community can help journalists to avoid spreading FUD, CC us at noFUD@linuxtoday.com - Thanks, LT Ed.

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