"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
"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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