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'Not the sharpest of knives' - praise heaped on Linux study author By John Lettice


'Not the sharpest of knives' - praise heaped on Linux study author By John Lettice

Published Thursday 20th May 2004 17:11 GMT

Previous suggestions that the Alexis de Tocqueville Institution would be publishing excerpts from its damning indictment of Linus Torvalds today would appear to be inoperative. According to the AdTI front page free copies are available for "Tocqueville supporters only", the study will be available for purchase from around 20:00 GMT today, and free review copies can be obtained by working press and academics "(copyright agreement required)".

That last bit will have an obvious effect on a pretty large number of people who might be expected to take some issue with the opus, but considering how slick the rest of the AdTI marketing operation has been, we feel sure this was entirely unintentional. The AdTI first published a press release implying great things from a forthcoming work from Institution president Kenneth Brown. It was however couched in sufficiently weasel terms for one to deduce that the final work would not actually claim flat-out that Linus Torvalds is a liar. Subsequent claims along the lines of there being "a high probability that Linux is a derivative work" (Gregory Fossedal of AdTI to Newsfactor) seem to support this view. Newsletter

The release trailed a study by Brown challenging Torvalds "claim to be the inventor of Linux", said that it was part of a forthcoming book on open source software, and that excerpts from the book would be published at today. Shortly after the publication of the release, the AdTI site fell over. Brown tells CNET that 'outsiders' have crashed his web site twice in recent days, however The Register's observations of said crashed site led us to believe that it was merely the site of an outfit which had not bought enough bandwidth to cope with the amount of publicity it had actively solicited. But Brown's right - there really is a shocking number of outsiders on the internet these days, and there should be a law against it.