"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
"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
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