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LinuxPlanet: .comment: Something Wicked This Way Comes

Apr 12, 2001, 12:24 (41 Talkback[s])
(Other stories by Dennis E. Powell)

"Last week a pack of lawyers (a term to which they gained rights as part of the tobacco settlement) set upon Red Hat, Inc., as earlier they had infested and continue to infest VA Linux. They will soon be seeking other publicly traded Linux companies. What to think?"

"Let me state up front that I carry no water for Red Hat, which I think has done some pretty silly things, or for VA Linux, with whom I've had few contacts, or for any other Linux company, most of whom have yet to provide any rational explanation of how they plan to make money on free software. Let me further note that the wider variety of plaintiff's lawyers would look mighty good to me covered with honey and staked over an ant hill."

"But just about everybody has picked a side in this dispute, when the fact is that no one's hands are clean. To understand this, we need to understand a unique set of circumstances and a unique set of players."

"There's lots of talk currently of the late, lamented "new economy." This was, looked at one way, the emergence of an information society that promised untold wealth. The flip side was a whole lot of people, many of them wet-behind-the-ears fund managers, throwing all kinds of other people's money at things they didn't understand (as far as they knew, "broadband" was an all-female orchestra), while all kinds of businesses went berserk getting online when they had no business doing so -- the local convenience store's sign "Visit us on the Web at . . ." was and remains laughable, and a whole lot of companies with hare-brained business plans that no one asked them to defend were lined up to receive baskets of money. It's pretty obvious and always has been that this wasn't going to work out happily."

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