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JBoss Caught in Anonymous Posting Scheme 380

Posted by michael
from the sometimes-people-know-you're-a-dog dept.
Reader scubabear writes "For years rumors have run rampant about employees of JBoss Inc. being actively encouraged to post anonymously, drumming up business by flooding the net with fake posts and simultaneously attacking competitors, all from behind a safe veil of anonymity. With the advent of a new feature for tracking users by IP on TheServerSide.com, the floodgates have been opened and those rumors have apparently been confirmed. The Java blog space now erupted with posts from a variety of bloggers (here, here, and here for a start) exposing a variety of anonymous/pseudonymous accounts used by JBoss employees to put forth their Professional Open Source message and simultaneously slam anyone who gets in their way in online technical communities such as TheServerSide, JavaLobby, and various personal blogs. The evidence shows how a corporation can manipulate popular opinion via anonymous personalities, that open source companies can be just as ruthless as closed source when it comes to marketing their wares, and that you should never forget that your cookies and IP address can and will be tracked online. No official response has been heard yet from the JBoss crew. Disclosure: I'm one of those bloggers erupting on this issue (see my story here)."
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JBoss Caught in Anonymous Posting Scheme

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  • Anonymous (Score:5, Funny)

    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday May 18, 2004 @04:19PM (#9189104)
    This anonymous stuff is just a bunch of crap. Why anyone would listen to someone posting anonymously is beyond me.

    Just take my advice, don't listen to anonymous posters...ever! Even if their argument is completely flawless and/or logically impermeable, ignore them.

    (By the way, I don't work for JBoss, so you can listen to me.)
    • Re:Anonymous (Score:5, Interesting)

      by sik0fewl (561285) <<xxdigitalhellxx> <at> <hotmail.com>> on Tuesday May 18, 2004 @04:31PM (#9189258) Homepage

      Wow, I think somebody from Jboss is on the same subnet as me. This is what happens when I try to post an anonymous reply:

      Due to excessive bad posting from this IP or Subnet, anonymous comment posting has temporarily been disabled. You can still login to post. However, if bad posting continues from your IP or Subnet that privilege could be revoked as well. If it's you, consider this a chance to sit in the timeout corner or login and improve your posting . If it's someone else, this is a chance to hunt them down. If you think this is unfair, please email moderation@slashdot.org with your MD5'd IPID and SubnetID, which are "XXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXX" and "XXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXX" and (optionally, but preferably) your IP number "x.x.x.x" and your username "sik0fewl".

      Neato. I wonder if I know them.

    • by frenetic3 (166950) * <houston@alum.mi t . edu> on Tuesday May 18, 2004 @04:42PM (#9189388) Homepage Journal
      I know you were being funny, but this is a very clever (albeit very unethical) and common technique. I know that at my last company (who had, well, some additional ethical concerns, but anyway) they would post on targeted message boards hyping up their site and would pretend to be happy customers. It's highly cheap, low effort, and effective.

      It sucks because unlike marketing efforts and vendors' sales messages, which everyone has learned to always take with a grain of salt, I'm inclined to believe, often instantly and completely, a slashdot posting endorsing product X, because the poster seems unaffiliated and genuine and doesn't really have anything to gain from endorsing it.

      In fact, it's very dangerous, because my trust can be easily manipulated this way; I usually don't have time to bother to verify the source of a given posting (Think of how many hundreds or thousands of posts you read a year). However, if I encounter product Y sometime later having read something about it before, I usually vaguely remember whether the post said the product was any good or not and that will usually determine my first impression. In that way, libelous anonymous postings are very dangerous -- I remember hearing some people post that "Python sucked" (probably because of some BS like the whitespace indentation) and for that reason I stayed away for several years until reading some very positive articles and posts -- and now it's one of my most useful productivity tools and I could have saved ridiculous amounts of development time reinventing the wheel had I known about it before. That's kind of a trivial example, but when $ is involved, it's even worse.

      Sadly, it's basically the next form of spam. Most of us used to read (mostly) every word of all our emails -- now spam and outrageous commerical claims make that means of communication virtually useless. It will be a shame to see message boards and blogs, etc, filled with this kind of crap (blogs are already targeted by spammers). However, postings by these kinds of shills are often pretty blatant and easy to spot just because of their outrageous claims and distinctive style, but they will get more and more subtle. They're also virtually impossible to track, since real people are on the other end (and you can only really ban problem users after the damage has already been done). And if a company pays a few random dialup users (a tactic my old company was about to try -- yes, I've left since) to troll the net and make these kinds of postings, good luck trying to prove that the company did it or trying to track down or prosecute them.

      Really, the only way to tell is to view a given poster's karma/post history and to look for certain suspicious patterns.

      -fren
  • by strictnein (318940) * <strictfoo-slashdot&yahoo,com> on Tuesday May 18, 2004 @04:19PM (#9189108) Homepage Journal
    JBOSS IS AWESOMEEMO!

    - Not a JBOSS employee
    - Really I'm not
  • News flash (Score:3, Funny)

    by SpaceCadetTrav (641261) on Tuesday May 18, 2004 @04:20PM (#9189122) Homepage
    Bloggers do something useful? I don't believe it for a second.
    • That's funny, as your website seems to be awfully blog-ish, especially with the sappy "my wife is the best wife ever" bits. ;)

      "I changed my site so that I can update the homepage with Blogger instead of doing it by hand... it's not I am getting into this whole "blogging" thing."

      Yeah, yeah, yeah, how is your site not a blog?
  • by LostCluster (625375) * on Tuesday May 18, 2004 @04:20PM (#9189129)
    You get what you pay for in free online forums. Here on Slashdot, you're welcome to publish what you want, but if you don't want to be tied to an e-mail-confirmed user account then you have to accept that your username will display as "Anonymous Coward", be penalized in the point-based mod system (assuming the user hasn't overriden the setting from the default), and you'll still be IP and cookie tracked for whatever purposes OSDN wants.

    Mainstream media outlets at least do their best to make their commentators and reporters declare any conflicts of interests they have so that viewers can know about it when considering information from that source. But, non-mainstream outlets are more direct... you get "closer" information, but you also take the risk of what happens when a source with conflicts is allowed to speak unchallenged. Which seems to be exactly what happened here.
  • by detritus` (32392) * <`awitzke' `at' `wesayso.org'> on Tuesday May 18, 2004 @04:21PM (#9189136) Homepage Journal
    Seriously, who is going to take a company that prides itself on being a Proffesional Open Sourse Company.... have to wonder what marketing genious came up with that one...
  • My heart is forever broken. To think that this kind of crap would go on within the open source "Community". Newsflash : This happens everywhere. On every review site, on every opinion forum - EVERYWHERE. I have competitors anonymously bashing me on Yahoo Shopping, E-Pinions, Shopping.com etc. It is done for one reason - profit. J-Boss is trying to make money, and they are willing to use all the tools at their disposal to discredit everyone who does not share their opinions. This is nothing new and nothing that will not happen again.
  • "...that open source companies can be just as ruthless as closed source when it comes to marketing their wares"...What is the point of this sentence? Why should an Open Source company be above such diabolical behaviour? Because OSS folks are pure of heart? This is really pushing the Zealot button now. Ergh.
  • JBoss (Score:4, Insightful)

    by LoneWlf (228331) on Tuesday May 18, 2004 @04:22PM (#9189148) Homepage Journal
    Isn't doing anything new. This particular technique was around long before the internet, or blogs...
    • Or the First Amendment... or the Constitution for that matter.

      Even though most of us learned the authors of The Federalist Papers in history class, when they distributed them at the time names were not attached.

      Anonymous writing with a self-serving agenda has been around for a long time...
      • Re:JBoss (Score:3, Insightful)

        Worth remember is Shakespeare's play, Julius Caesar. Cassius does something similar, placing anonymous letters to Brutus on Brutus' windowsill. Of course, the anonymous letters lead Brutus to believe that caesar's death is something wanted by many.

  • Customers (Score:2, Interesting)

    by mindstormpt (728974)
    Will Accenture want to keep that big logo on their home page?

    I wouldn't, but then again, it's accenture.
  • by t_allardyce (48447) on Tuesday May 18, 2004 @04:22PM (#9189157) Journal
    Im actually working for 7 governments and 14 large corporations to spy on the slashdot community and try to sway their opinion. also i sometimes spell things wrong to make it look like im just an average person.
  • by WwWonka (545303) on Tuesday May 18, 2004 @04:23PM (#9189160)
    ...that all of /.'s "Anonymous Coward" postings bashing SCO can be backtracked to Linus now?
  • by LostCluster (625375) * on Tuesday May 18, 2004 @04:23PM (#9189165)
    You can't really publish anything truely anonymously. You never really could anyway. The closest thing is to find somebody who is willing to know who you are who is willing to accept your writing and publish it without crediting you while disclaiming that somebody else wrote it. Of course, that person has to accept the legal liability that comes with publishing that work as if they wrote it themselves.

    Yep, some speech does come with a legal liablity attached. "Free speech" is a great ideal, but it is also subject to the greater ideal of "Your rights end where somebody else's rights begin." That is, you can't use free speech to give instructions that put somebody else into danger or spreads lies about somebody else. That's just not your right to do because it ends up damaging somebody else's rights.

    People who oversimplfy the Bill of Rights... such as those who claim that the 1st Amendment protects all expressions of speech from all authorites everywhere, or that the 5th Amendment means you'll never have to tell of your own crimes in court if you don't want to are making sophomoric mistakes. They sound right, but they're not.

    The same goes for this suposed "right" to be annonymous. You can try... but there's always somebody who can squeal on you if they want to.
    • by gricholson75 (563000) on Tuesday May 18, 2004 @04:27PM (#9189209) Homepage
      What about something like Freenet?
      Someone in this group of thousands of nodes published this, but none of us can tell you who.
      • What about something like Freenet?
        Someone in this group of thousands of nodes published this, but none of us can tell you who.


        oh, IANAL, but...

        The thousands of people behind those nodes end up just sharing the liability. I can't wait for the first lawsuit that forces a cluster of nearly-annoymous people together into a single defendant, finds that joint defendant liable for something one member of the group did, and then gives them the option of either having each member paying their equal share of the v
        • [...]
          then gives them the option of either having each member paying their equal share of the verdict, or turning against each other and trying to piece together from any actual clues available who did it.

          However, the problem with that is that Freenet doesn't keep any logs. You can't trace back what there is no record of.

          Of course, this assumes that Dubya's cronies weren't watching your computer when you published it...

          • How can you trust the software/network you know which is out there as "FreeNet" which actually keeps you anonymous as it is supposed to? It is not possible to trust that the software which others have got does what it is supposed to do.

            This is one of the problems even DRM faces. Manufacturers can't trust their own deployed software as these can be patched/cracked to bypass restrictions.

            Even with strong cryptography, it's just not possible to trust an implementation which is in another's hands.. with end-t
            • DRM (Score:3, Insightful)

              by dmaxwell (43234)
              DRM is a farcical use of encryption. Until a bunch of corporate lame-brains decided they were smarter than Alan Turing, the accepted use of encryption was to secure comm channels. An alternative use is to limit access to data to whoever possesses the keys. Specifically, it was intended to allow Alice to talk and share info with Bob without Eve listening in.

              Even that well defined chunk of functionality is rife with botchable details. Anyone with half a clue also knew that even if the channel was secured c
    • Sure you can! (Score:3, Insightful)

      by warrax_666 (144623)
      You can't really publish anything truely anonymously. You never really could anyway.


      Linky [sf.net]. There's no guarantee anyone will read it, though. Them's the breaks.
    • by Grrr (16449)
      True words, and it's a shame. There is a source of help that's lost to some groups, such as sexual abuse survivors, when there is no truly anonymous forum (anon.penet.fi, we miss ya...).

      The tragedy-of-the-commons aspect is that it takes responsible adults who respect each other to preserve anonymized communication. Fraudsters always get their fingers in the pie, as well as those who promote ever-increasing surveillance ("It's for the children !")

      Freedom's just another word for nothing left yto lose...
    • by nate1138 (325593) on Tuesday May 18, 2004 @04:51PM (#9189488)
      This topic has been beaten to death, but it bears repeating anyway. Free speech cannot exist without a degree of anonymity. This has been repeated throughout the history of this country, from Deep Throat and watergate to the Federalist papers of revolutionary times. It may not be a "right", but its importance cannot be understated.

      • >> Free speech cannot exist without a degree of anonymity

        Why is that? I don't see how they are tied together.

        Not wishing to be help accountable for your speech might make you want to be anonymous. Not wanting to be held responsible for what you say might make you want to be anonymous.

        But neither of those are infringing on your right to free speech. You are given the right to speak freely, you are not given the backbone to do it.
  • implications (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Wellmont (737226) on Tuesday May 18, 2004 @04:23PM (#9189167) Homepage
    This is interesting, because if you can remember the stock market has even been swayed by posts on the yahoo economic forums in the past...I think this is a step in the right direction, anonimity is great and all, but when your using it to ruin the competition and make yourself look better (or in the case of the stock market to weasel people out of their money) then someone has to crack down on you....in this case I'm even more excited because it seems to be public/private intervention rather then the government, so these people DEFFINATELY are going to get what's just deserts for their actions.
  • I wonder how well we'll be able to trust what we read on the Internet. Oh wait. Do we trust everything we read, as it is today?!
  • It's sad (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Roland Piquepaille (780675) on Tuesday May 18, 2004 @04:25PM (#9189190)
    Sad for Open Source primarily. Astroturfind is the sort of activity you expect from corporations like Microsoft [flutterby.com], but I would much prefer F/OSS (and the industries it created) to flourish on its own merits, just to prove to the world that there is no need for dirty tricks when the software and development methods are good.

    This is just sad. Shame on JBoss...
    • Re:It's sad (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Moraelin (679338) on Wednesday May 19, 2004 @01:39AM (#9193075) Journal
      Actually, it's also something I would fully expect from someone who has a crap product or is otherwise losing. Microsoft did it because they thought they were losing to the DOJ, for example. (Turned out they could have just waited for a retard who bends over to the corporations to be elected president.)

      JBoss is doing to J2EE what Microsoft was doing to Java back then, only worse. They implement only whatever parts of the standards they feel like coding, and in whatever incompatible way they feel like implementing them.

      (Nothing against coding your own framework from scratch. Lots of people did that. E.g., Cocoon, Struts, Springs, etc. Very useful some of those. But FFS, don't call it a J2EE application server unless it actually implements the J2EE specs to the letter.)

      Their official response to any complaints was basically "then you suck." E.g., when we complained that under JBoss 3.0 an application loads classes from another application (and then throws an error), their response was basically "then it's your problem. You should recompile all those apps to use the exact same versions of all libraries." The problem that in an enterprise environment someone deploying a totally unrelated application can break your app that worked for months, never seemed to sink in.

      I'll go further and say: JBoss and IBM are also the main reasons I'm weary of the mantra "you don't need to sell software, you can make money by supporting it." Both JBoss and IBM's WebSphere (even though IBM's software isn't OSS) make their creators more money from selling expesive consultants than from selling software that works. And gee, in both cases, the software quality is _total_ _shit_.

      And I can see how they have no incentive to improve it. Good software that just works, also doesn't need tons of support and consultancy. Crap software, on the other hand, needs tons of it.

      On the flip side, they need tons of marketting to get more people to buy it... and end up needing expensive consultants to even just make it work. IBM has an army of salesmen to sell it to retarded managers. JBoss, turns out, has astroturfers. Why am I not surprised?
  • Ya da da da da da da
    Secret Smurf!
    Astroturf!

    The thing that really makes me laugh is that the last slashdot article [sdtimes.com] featuring SCO getting an award for FUDdism also has some nice comments about JBoss.

    Don't be evil, please.

  • by jelwell (2152) on Tuesday May 18, 2004 @04:29PM (#9189227)
    I guess I don't see the problem. Whether the posters were anonymous or not, don't their opinions and refutations of the facts matter?

    "When these masked marauders enter a discussion, you are no longer debating facts and opinions; instead, you are fencing with a phantom"

    So the people are masked, their motives are unknown, but the discussions are still real, yes? Here at Slashdot, people can post anonymously, or with presumed pseudonyms/identities; I still don't see the problem.

    If some engineer tells you that you should implement some feature you either agree or disagree, it shouldn't matter that the engineer is from company X or some guy in a basement.

    This whole post seems like a rant from people who have a grudge so deep against JBOSS that they have made a policy of disagreeing with the company as a whole. Is it any wonder that such a flagrant policy has made JBOSS go undercover? How ironic is it that these people can have a normal discussion with "faceless individuals" but as soon as they realize those individuals were from JBOSS they want to scream bloody murder?

    Joseph Elwell.
    • by Mongoose Disciple (722373) on Tuesday May 18, 2004 @04:39PM (#9189347)
      Anonymous or not opinions count. (Score:2, Interesting) by jelwell (2152) on Tuesday May 18, @04:29PM (#9189227) I guess I don't see the problem. Whether the posters were anonymous or not, don't their opinions and refutations of the facts matter?

      It depends on the nature of what they're posting anonymously.

      Suppose I work for JBoss and I write up various posts of the form: "I used (fill in JBoss competitor here) for my business. Not only did they not do the work I paid them for, but they anally raped my mother while pouring sugar in my gas tank! Next time I will go with JBoss for sure."

      Or, suppose I work for JBoss and I write up a glowing review of JBoss's work, glossing over the problems or bugs. Then I post a few times agreeing with myself about how excellent they/we are. Astroturfing may be as old as the Internet (if not older) but that doesn't make it particularly ethical business.

      • Wouldn't that start to fall under truth-in-advertising laws? Commercial vs. personnal speech? (I know that discussion has come up before on slashdot, as to whether or not it's fair to have different rules for each.)

        If they're working for their company, posting things in favor of their product and against other products, then it can be seen as equivalent to statements made by the company itself, promoting their software and bashing others. In that case, what's said has to conform to some rules about what's
      • Called out (Score:3, Interesting)

        by SuperKendall (25149) *
        Usually though if someone did something like that on a public forum, they would be called out if the statements were untrue (if the readership is large enough to have anyone that would care). So it still balances out to some extent, by people posting they had no problems with a product someone else did not like, and perhaps disagreeing with rosy assesments of other software.

        In the end I'm not sure how much effect comments like these really have, as there is balance.
    • I guess I don't see the problem. Whether the posters were anonymous or not, don't their opinions and refutations of the facts matter?

      Well, it's like when you start having cybersex with somebody. It does indeed matter whether they're an 18 year old hot chick, or a 50 year old fat guy. Even if they both say the same thing, like "I wanna get with you, baby!"

      More seriously, it matters because it matters who you're speaking for. When I stand up in a developer community and say my company is using ___ and the speed has gotten better between versions, that it crashes less often, or that the new features work as advertised, then I need to have something behind those claims. While people usually claim they're not speaking for their company, it still means more when someone is actually employed.

      Furthermore, nobody wants to make enterprise software decisions based solely on the vendor's recommendations: you want to find a group of users that can verify the stuff works correctly. If I looked up JBoss's users to find out how it's working, and it turns out the entire JBoss user community consists solely of their employees posting under pseudonyms, you'd better believe we've got a problem.
      • by SuperKendall (25149) * on Tuesday May 18, 2004 @05:14PM (#9189817)
        Well, it's like when you start having cybersex with somebody. It does indeed matter whether they're an 18 year old hot chick, or a 50 year old fat guy. Even if they both say the same thing, like "I wanna get with you, baby!"

        Here's a hint - if you are having cybersex you can rule-out right away that it's a hot 18-year-old.

        But why does it REALLY matter? You have no way to know, so if you are doing this by definition you do not care.

        More seriously, it matters because it matters who you're speaking for. When I stand up in a developer community and say my company is using ___ and the speed has gotten better between versions, that it crashes less often, or that the new features work as advertised, then I need to have something behind those claims. While people usually claim they're not speaking for their company, it still means more when someone is actually employed.

        Possibly. The thing that bothers me about the accusations of foul play are this - what are the exact contents of the posts being made by JBoss employees? There's nothing wrong with having an opinion and being employed all at the same time. Sometimes I just want to give quick technical advice without bothering to identify myself. The links seem to be /.ed so I cannot find out more. Itsure seems like anyone going to these lengths to track down anon IP's and such have some kind of personal beef so I'm not sure how much to trust them either! The truth is probably somewhere in-between.

        I can also see the possibility of people wanting to defend thier company being bad-mouthed on forums without nessicarily revealing they work there. Sometimes you do that so you don't get in trouble at work, sometimes because if it gets out you work somewhere you have a lot of people contacting you for various things related to the company and you don't want the hassle. There are a number of legitimate reasons to conceal identity when posting online.
    • by Timesprout (579035) on Tuesday May 18, 2004 @04:42PM (#9189389)
      Is it any wonder that such a flagrant policy has made JBOSS go undercover?

      You obviously have no familiarity with JBOSS. Shy retiring innocents they are not. For years now they have been haranging anyone who listen that JBOSS is the best Application Server in the known universe, this despite substantial evidence that some of their critical systems were well below standard.

      I have no problems with an organistion hawking their wares. I do have a problem with it being turned into propaganda and stuck down my throat when I know it to be patently false.

      The JBOSS organisation are doing the OSS movement a serious disservice.
    • by quantaman (517394) on Tuesday May 18, 2004 @04:53PM (#9189519)
      How ironic is it that these people can have a normal discussion with "faceless individuals" but as soon as they realize those individuals were from JBOSS they want to scream bloody murder?


      Because now they know that those "faceless individuals" were not there to help them but instead were there entirely for their own profit and deliberatly misleading, even lying, to them in the process. If I found out someone whom I'd been turning to for advice because they claimed to be an honest individual had been lying about who they were the entire time to conceal a conflict of interest so they could sell me something I'd be pretty pissed off too!!

      (and although I suspect my company *might* make something that may compete with JBoss that doesn't have any affect on my opinion)
    • Can't read jroller's sad little EV1, SCO supporting page right now, but I can imagine a few things Jboss could have done to make their posts really anonymous.

      They could have hired PR firms. This would be cheaper than spending engineering hours. The results might not be as good because engineers know what they are doing and can give you honest answers. If they really wanted to post crap and act like, oh M$ term, "net thugs", they could have offshored it!

      They could use anonymizers.

      They could have

      I'll h

    • I think people have grudges against JBoss because of these online forum practices. I've followed a couple of flame wars in the past and believe me, the JBoss guys just do not shut up. I remember looking back at how often they would post and wonder how much spare time they had on their hands - and that didn't include any of these 'anonymous' posts.

      They always shoot people down, telling them to put their money where their mouth is but their problem now is that people are actually starting to do this - eg. Ge

    • by pavon (30274) on Tuesday May 18, 2004 @05:06PM (#9189723)
      Well lets turn this question around. If it doesn't matter who the opinion is comming from then why do the JBOSS employees have to hide behind anonymous psuedonyms? Why don't they just admit that they are JBOSS employees and let the peole judge the merit of their posts in that light rather than pretending to be satisfied customers? The fact that they do hide thier identity shows that they believe that there is an advatage to misleading people as opposed to telling the whole truth. If they are willing to mislead people about their credintials, why should the content of the post be considered trustworthy?

      And besides, an opinion is only as valid as person giving it, and a "hard data" is only as valid as the method in which that data was collected. So if company X says their product works great that is less valid then a third party saying it works great. Furthermore, if I know that group X is conducting a study I will be more on the guard for things that might might tilt the results in thier favor.

      This behavior is deliberatly misleading and thus unethical. Period.
  • by md17 (68506) <<james> <at> <jamesward.org>> on Tuesday May 18, 2004 @04:32PM (#9189270) Homepage
    I don't mean to start a flame war, but honestly... TSS is a great spot to find articles related to J2EE, but I don't hang out there much simply because they do not have moderation, karma bonuses, etc. I would post and read comments a lot more if there were those features. Until then, /. is my home.
  • No way! (Score:5, Funny)

    by thebra (707939) * on Tuesday May 18, 2004 @04:35PM (#9189314) Homepage Journal
    I must say that I am shocked to hear that some thing like this could take place, and on the internet of all places. I thought that every thing I read on the internet was true and that I would make millions from forwarding emails and that hot 18 year old on AIM that wants me is not a man.
    Oh wait, I'm retarded...

    Trust nothing you read on the internet...I am sexy!
  • by C10H14N2 (640033)
    It looks more like the parent poster is just pissed off that the guys/gals of JBoss have different opinions. None of the referenced posts appeared to be FUD or PR. Every post I saw in that thread was what I would expect the personal opinions of those individuals to be. What, if you participate in business, you must at all times put your professional reputation -- and that of your entire corporation -- on the line? Bull.

    I almost never post 'anonymously,' however, I put a pretty hefty distance between my onl
    • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday May 18, 2004 @05:14PM (#9189820)
      You don't see a difference between posting pseudonymously in order to respect obligations not to express opinions of your employer, and posting pseudonymously in order to give the impression that you are specifically NOT affiliated with your company and represent an independent viewpoint, including referring to yourself in the third-person and making up false claims that make the company look good?

      One is called discretely exercising your right to free thought and speech, the other is astroturfing and inherently deceptive.

      You sound like a shill, but that really is irrelevant (I don't want to be guilty of ad hominem). The fact is, these individuals at JBoss look like complete asses. I would be embarassed if I was discovered to be the fake identity that was writing great things about me. Gawd!
  • If you look at subroutine checkForOpenProxy [sourceforge.net] in Slashcode, you'll notice that it contains a hand-written port scanner/proxy checker built in Perl. Slashdot uses this to aggressively port scan and service map any IP address that tries to post anonymously, and saves the result in the DB. While this does have the unfortunate side affect of setting off IDS sensors across the globe and disrupting poorly hardened services on ports in Slash's scan list, it has the benefit of keeping us safe from those who would use
  • by consumer (9588) on Tuesday May 18, 2004 @04:53PM (#9189514)
    That site is full of so much flaming and mindless shrieking, it makes me wonder how Java gets anywhere. Seriously, there are a few exceptions, but the average quality of comments there make Slashdot seem like a community of polite geniuses by contrast.
  • Ugly Story (Score:5, Insightful)

    by corby (56462) * on Tuesday May 18, 2004 @04:53PM (#9189518)
    This is another ugly story that shows how little we need SCO and Microsoft to attack the open source community, because we are so willing to do their work for them.

    First, JBoss Group betrayed the trust of what should have been a largely sympathetic community in TheServerSide [theserverside.com] with their anonymous posting campaign.

    The fraud was exposed by levelheaded participants, including the submitter of this story and staff at TheServerSide.

    Then, the opportunists jumped in.

    Some bloggers gleefully joined the witchhunt, accusing their least favorite people of being anonymous posters, including real people, of course.

    When I told one blogger that he needed to offer evidence when he accused someone of being an anonymous poster, he publically implied [theserverside.com] that I supported the posting scheme.

    Several of the bloggers are themselves contributors to respected open-source projects, making this a particularly disturbing form of cannibalism.

    The net result is another wedge driven into what was already an overly polarized community. No real winners here.
  • Thorny Problem (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Bob9113 (14996) on Tuesday May 18, 2004 @05:00PM (#9189630) Homepage
    that open source companies can be just as ruthless as closed source when it comes to marketing their wares,

    An ethnic minority person walks into an ethnic majority bar and orders a beer. The ethnic majority guy next to him says, "we don't like your kind around here." Words are exchanged, and the ethnic minority guy pulls out a knife. The ethnic majority guy pulls out a gun and shoots him. Ethnic majority guy turns to the bartender and says, "just like an ethnic slur to bring a knife to a gun fight."

    So what should you do when the enemy is both more powerful and unethical? Most business people don't grasp (or care about) the long run benefits of open source software. If they don't see the open source equivalent as being better - and let me stress, they have to see it as being better, regardless of whether it is better - if they don't see it as a better product, they're not going to use it. If they're reading the trades, the open source people should be promoting their products there by all means necessary. Anonymous? Do you think Microsoft's shills on this site are adding disclaimers? This isn't pattycake, this is business. This is war. If you can't handle it, at least stay out of the way.
    • First of all, you're _not_ an oppressed minority. You're not even oppressed. When people will start throwing slurs at you on the street, cops start pulling you over for no reason all the time, you're given only crap jobs like manning the reception desk (because they need the token minority person in a very visible place, not in some well paid job), and even then at half the salary of the ethnic majority... _then_ you can claim to be oppressed.

      Second, those minorities are oppressed for something completely
  • Just wait, they will hire that Iraqi minister

    "It is all a lie, there was no blogs, there is no internet! YOU ARE NOT ON THE INTERNET I TRIPLE PROMISE YOU!"
  • Here is a copy of Hani's excellent Bile Blog.

    JBoss panties around ankles, again.

    Does the fun ever stop with these guys? It turns out that theserverside.com forums now has an interesting new feature that many of you might not be aware of. If you click on a particular user, you will see all the other users that have logged in from the same IP.
    Obviously, this method is not foolproof, and can be easily misinterpreted to mean that two people behind the same proxy are indeed one and the same.

    Having said that t
  • Does anyone seriously think JBoss hasn't been doing that same sort of thing right here for ages? Or that the reviews you read on Amazon are all on the level? Or that the reviews you'll find when you're looking for a web host are all honest? Come on. Internet astroturf has been rampant for years.

  • Ethical?.. (Score:3, Insightful)

    by nyjx (523123) on Tuesday May 18, 2004 @05:20PM (#9189873) Homepage
    You might call people for posting anonymously - but what surely tss has more than a bit to answer for by clearly violating the notion of ANONYMOUS posts. This post on the tss regading the "new feature" makes the point perfectly:

    It's stupid and dangerous. Posted By: Mouloud - on May 18, 2004 @ 05:58 AM in response to Message #122469 1 replies in this thread

    1. Which confidence can one grant on a site which sets up such a process without informing its members as a preliminary ?
    2. It throws suspicion on the posts: how to distinguish 1 fellow with 2 users from 2 poor fellows which share the same proxy ? What happens if one member uses 2 different proxies (for example : job and home) ?
    3. This is dangerous, because it creates implicitly and insidiously a link between individuals and thus between their opinions.

    ... deleted some

    Retroactively identifying people is highly foolish - particular subsequentely linking individuals to a company. If a site provides an anonymous mode:

    • Users / Readers have their own responsability to take those posts with a pinch of salt!
    • You cannot retroactively undo this anonymity - we all live in a world we put trust in the service provider (in this case tss) to stand by what it says on the tin: this is an anonymous post.

    If people using anonymous mode in an "unethical way" may be a problem - remove it, give everybody warning and move on.

    No i don't work for JBoss, and yes i know IP/cookies etc. are tracked - however i don't expect amazon of anybody else to post what that information!

  • by cmacb (547347) on Tuesday May 18, 2004 @05:36PM (#9190048) Homepage Journal
    Now THIS is an interesting article. It touches on several issues at once: Privacy, Honesty, Openness, Conspiracy, Propaganda, Media manipulation... I could go on.

    We all want privacy don't we? Do you really want someone throwing a rock through your window because you said something negative about a group they are a member of on Slashdot?

    Open Source is all about, well, openness right? It seems so ironic that a company based on the Open Source philosophy would do such a thing. But how many times have many of us said that Open Source is about freedom to create not about anti-commerce. If it is ever proven that Open Source companies CAN'T be profitable, then I think the future of Open Source will be bleak.

    Media manipulation is both harder and easier with the popularity of the Internet. Anyone who wants to can be a publisher now. How many of you regular posters to Slashdot used to write letters to the editor of your local paper on a regular basis? I know I didn't. I've written more on issues I care about in the last 2 years than the previous ...um... thirty something, combined. OK, its drivel, but if you multiply that by all the Internet users, there is some good stuff out there that would not be out there otherwise. The trick is of course to separate out the good stuff from the drivel. You know, signal to noise ratios and all that. Systems like Slashdot's moderation system help, but they are a long way from perfect yet. In particular...

    Systems such as Slashdot are easy targets for conspiracy. We "rate" one another by name. My real identity MAY be secret, at least if I've been very very careful, but unless I do all my "Karma whoring" under this id and all my controversial posts anonymously, people are going to have a pretty good idea of what cmacb thinks about things. They may have a pretty good idea of what other Internet activities I engage in, who my online friends are, and a lot of other inferences not so easily drawn. Am I comfortable with this? Sometimes I'm not so sure...

    The other day I posted what I thought was a perfectly normal reaction to a Slashdot article. I was a bit surprised that it got quickly modded up to a 5 (I really don't care that much about mod points other than the general "acceptability" of what I've said) I was even more surprised though to find myself personally insulted several times in the 14 posts that followed and then shocked to see the posts containing nothing more than insults modded up to 3, 4 and 5 while my original post dropped down to "1 troll". There was nothing the least bit resembling a troll in my post. I didn't bother to defend it though, as I don't want rocks through my window and I had clearly offended a group who, by their own writings, is capable of doing such a thing. Hopefully the fact that they had enough mod points among them to make my post disapear and their insults at me "informative" that they won't be tempted to hunt me down as well.

    It made me realize that Slashdot, and several other systems I use just like it, are broken in a serious way. The moderation is good, but allowing me to filter posts based on WHO and individual is is just plain wrong. Some of the best posts I've seen on Slashdot are AC and some of the worst are by other people with good Karma. But I'm more interested in rating the post than the person. Why can't Slashdot (and systems like it) tally the ratings on my posts in such a way that nobody even knows what my ID is? Essentially combining the moderation and meta moderation and providing anonymity at the same time. I thiink that if you rated a particular poster poorly some number of times you would stop seeing their posts, without even knowing who they are or that you had done so. Some people ONLY want to see posts they AGREE with, and those people could rate posts accordingly and they would gradually get their wish. Others (like me) would rate on the "quality" of the posts without regard to agreeing or disagreeing with the content, and event
  • Ethics matters (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday May 18, 2004 @07:26PM (#9191172)
    I guess it's taken me like 5 jobs to realize it but ethics does matter.

    My first job, at IBM, wonderful, the only company I'll name because they were perfect. Awesome. My granddad set me down before I took it, he had 35 years there and is a true blue retiree, blue to the end. He told me something that I still remember, it may not be the best place, they have their problems but not once was he ever asked to do or expected to do something uncomfortable for him ethically. They don't speak negatively about their competitors, generally, and they don't expect anyone to. I got bored, the place didn't move fast enough for me, there were politics but I never felt obliged to do anything uncomfortable, in 5 years. It didn't seem like much at the time.

    Next job. They cursed at each in the status meetings, first week there I was treated to a stream of insults during a status meeting, because that's how they are. In the two years there I saw people lie to other people I saw people intentionally break code before handing it over to business partners. I saw a whole assortment of dishonesty. That shit runs down hill. They will treat you that way by the time you're done. I remember some of the meetings with vendors, I felt embarassed, I felt like we were treating them like crap and I was ashamed to be part of it. It's one thing to hate your job and just do it because they pay you to and you're a professional; something else because you don't like the way the company makes other people feel. I'm not talking about cut-throat business or anything like that, I'm talking about making people feel bad about themselves, on purpose. There is something to be said about professional conduct.

    Insert a few good years of consulting, pretty much clean and pure capitalism. All the shit is kind of taken care of before you start. I always felt inclined to do more though. It may be some of the purist moments of my career; I did work and got paid and that was that. Not completely satisfying, I didn't get to see a lot of projects all the way through, but not all together bad either.

    Now I work for a startup with the real deal sleezy VC people pulling the strings. We take open source software, put some pretty kind of GUI on it and then oversell it to people and charge a lot of money. At first we didn't want to admit that we used open source until we learned that it was a benefit in the market place. During that time we actually tried to hide the technology under the covers. Then we started claiming that we did more to it, we took it and made it better, when in reality we never touched a damn thing. Then we placed a couple of TM's on shit that the OSS does, gave it a name and called it our own. Then when an author took exception to some of our practices we were told to go out anonymously and bad mouth him. We've done this to 2 or 3 open source authors. (Now I've done a fair amount of my own OSS coding, I'm a bit of an ideologist and I'm kind of taking a back seat in this new biz, I know what it's like to have people telling you your free code is shit and that you're no good because of it.) I've never directly disobeyed my boss until I got here, if they asked me to do something and the pay kept coming, I'd do it even if I thought it was bad engineering or something; here they have asked me on several occasions to try to influence people, use my reputation to do it, do it anonymously, to try to spread bad FUD about specific people, all while riding on their backs and I won't do it. I sit in on sales calls all the time and we pretty much lie to people, I know how sales is and you put your best side forward but we lie to people. "Do you support blah hardware?" The answer is that we support a particular model, the answer told is that we support most models. I've been tutored in the techniques, you are never supposed to say no, first you say that most people don't want that to make the customer think they are odd by asking for something nobody wants, then you change the subject, then if that doesn't w

  • Alternatives? (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Fnkmaster (89084) on Wednesday May 19, 2004 @02:38AM (#9193294)
    Okay, I know people have gripes against the JBoss Group, and Marc Fleury in particular. But really, most people just want software that works and doesn't suck, and free is a good price, and Open Source is mighty nice too. I used JBoss back about 2-2.5 years ago fairly extensively, and at the time it was substantially better than some of the trash commercial products out there (specifically Weblogic - I had the misfortune of dealing with BEA's 'support' if you can call it that on several occasions). We used JBoss for development and test, and did some smaller deployments on it. I would hardly claim it's perfect, but the commercial products at the time sucked too (there are some decent ones like Orion server, but at the time, the Orion documentation blew, and closed source product without big company behind it == possible money sink that might not be supported in a year).


    So now we are supposed to think JBoss sucks because nobody who knows better really uses it, and only shills endorse it (does anybody who knows better really use EJBs anyway? The architecture sucks, and that's Sun's fault, not JBoss'). Fine, so what the hell is the alternative? Apache Geronimo isn't off the ground yet and got off to a rocky start with licensing issues with some reused JBoss code (that whole thing left a sour taste in my mouth about the JBoss people actually, who seemed too eager to try to discredit a competing project).


    Thankfully I got out of the enterprise software world two years ago, and if I never have to see another heinous piece-of-shit EJB system for the rest of my life, I can assure you it will be too soon. Nonetheless, for my personal edification and to enlighten those I still interact with who are stuck in that world, what the hell Open Source J2EE platform ought they to be using?

  • by CountBrass (590228) on Wednesday May 19, 2004 @03:34AM (#9193473)

    If you go to their forums you'll get a taste of the sheer nastiness around JBoss:

    • Books about JBoss written by anyone other than a JBoss guru (eg the rather good "JBoss 3.0 Deployment and Adminstration Handbook" by Meeraj Moidoo Kunnumpurath) get slammed.
    • Newbies looking for help get cursed and told they're cheap for not paying for the documentation.
    • Any slight criticism: even constructive, is instantly flamed.

    Altogether a very unpleasant community. So the kinds of slimey, underhand and outright dishonest behaviour by JBoss people being reported here doesn't exactly surprise me. I guess they must take Microsoft and SCO as their inspiration.

    The bad behaviour of the JBoss community has been reported previously on Slashdot.

    Such a shame really as JBoss itself is an excellent App Server.

Stinginess with privileges is kindness in disguise. -- Guide to VAX/VMS Security, Sep. 1984

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