Saturday, June 05, 2004

If You Repeat A Lie Often Enough...

Two things really pissed me off this week. The first was when Speakeasy/Covad/Verizon cancelled my DSL line. The garbled explanation I get is that they had a work order to cancel someone else's DSL circuit, and axed mine too while they were at it. Took 8 days to get back on line!
The second item is another volley from Kenneth Brown, president of the Alexis de Tocqueville Institution (AdTI), on his claim that Linux is a ripoff of Minix and/or Unix.

AdTI brings to mind nothing so much as Nazi Minister for Public Enlightenment Joseph Gobbles's concept of The Big Lie. Basically, this says that if you repeat a lie often enough, and loudly enough, the masses will believe it is true. This is also called propaganda. AdTI seems to be in the propaganda-for-pay business, according to For those who don't recognize the name, Alexis de Tocqueville is a somewhat obscure 19th century Frenchman who wrote a treatise called Democracy in America. Interestingly, de Tocqueville himself once noted that "it is easier for the world to accept a simple lie than a complex truth." Could this be where the Institution got its name?

Now, Brown responds to Dennis Ritchie joining the list of AdTI's sources accusing Brown of misquoting, misinterpreting and misrepresenting their statements. Brown has fired back with a new missive where he states that everyone else is wrong, and only he knows what was his sources really meant when they talked (or even wrote) to him. See my earlier posts on this.

The thing that really burns me up about this, is that Brown has the gall to call his work Samizdat. Samizdat was the voice of uncensored information in the post-Stalin era U.S.S.R., and one of the major contributors the Soviet Union's collapse. Calling Brown's writings Samizdat is the very antithesis of the meaning of the word. Like using Joseph Pulitzer's name on a prize for responsible journalism.


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