Friday, July 24, 2009

What a wacky web we weave

This is a list of people associated in some way or another with BoycottNovell. Collectively called – quite tongue in cheek – BoycottBoys. The purpose here is to have a centralized place that folks can refer to when they encounter these seemingly independently tireless advocates that magically appear pushing a specific line whenever certain topics are being discussed on the internet. Disclosure is important. I figure as important as it is with them, and seeing how much they don’t practice it, a decent reference was in order.

Handle: _Hicham_
Aliases:  
Websites:  
Real name:  
Status: Active
  Has not been observed to be active outside of their IRC channel, at least not with that handle. He’s a rather disturbing individual. [1]

Handle: twitter
Aliases: 14+ known, although those seem to have been used only on Slashdot so far.
Websites: http://www.hillnotes.net/
http://slashdot.org/~twitter
Real name: William H. Hill
Status: Active
  Not to be confused with the website.

Handle: oiaohm
Aliases:  
Websites: http://oiaohm.blogspot.com/
Real name: Peter Dolding [^]
Status: Active
  Has not been observed to be active outside of their IRC channel. Probably the most level-headed of the cadre.

Handle: trmanco
Aliases:  
Websites: http://trmanco.com/
Real name: Tony Manco
Status: Active
   

Handle: Balrog
Aliases:  
Websites:  
Real name:  
Status: Active
  Has not been observed to be active outside of their IRC channel. Regularly quoted on articles.

Handle: balzac
Aliases:  
Websites: http://www.disruptech.com/
Real name: Paul Gaskin [^]
Status: Comes and goes
  Provides poetic quotes, claims to have a rather active social life, got banned from Fedora and Ubuntu IRC channels for “minor things”. Says RedHat is just another company run by greedy hacks. Actually doesn’t like RH that much at all.

Handle: neighborlee
Aliases:  
Websites: http://ubuntuforums.org/member.php?u=3941
http://www.heartseed.org/
Real name:  
Status: Active
  Very active in the Ubuntu community, where he claimed to have been “censored” because he was prevented from disrupting discussions about Mono and maintainers closed “bugs” he filed demanding for its removal. See this for more information. Spirited defense of poor neighborlee was in a way the catalyst for the Mark Fink episode. Lulz.

Handle: MinceR
Aliases:  
Websites:  
Real name:  
Status: Active (actually seems to live on IRC)
  Seems to hate everything. Wants to run HURD but cannot.

Handle: tacone
Aliases:  
Websites: http://www.stefanoforenza.com/
Real name: Stefano Forenza
Status: Active
   

Handle: Goblin
Aliases: GoblinRFD [^]
Websites: http://openbytes.wordpress.com/
Real name:  
Status: Active
  Went trolling Neowin with some help. He “exposed” Neowin as a “Windows shill site”, which is akin to exposing fsf.org as a “Stallman shill site”, but you can’t beat investigative journalism of this caliber. Goblin is quick on the trigger but a bit slow on the uptake. He also patrols the ‘net for evil and reports back.

Handle: ushimitsudoki
Aliases:  
Websites: http://meandubuntu.wordpress.com/
http://mono-nono.com/
http://ushimitsudoki.com/
http://www.the-source.com/
Real name: Jason Melton [^]
Status: Active
  Long active on IRC, he recently created mono-nono.com, which is useful because it’s proof that the desperate cry for the destruction of Mono isn’t coming from one person anymore, but rather two. Liked because it drives people “up the wall” and keeps the “UsefulIdiots” from… well, whatever. The ‘the-source’ blog is another good source of “independent” support for Schestowitz. Of course no mention that both are run by the same good buddy.

Handle: Omar87
Aliases: OmarSHafez
Websites: http://omarsflosscorner.blogspot.com/
http://omarsdaydreams.blogspot.com/
Real name: Omar Hafez
Status: Active
  And really, I feel so sorry for that bloke [who bought a Mac], he'll be spending his loot here and there and feeding Steve Jobs' vampiric lust for money…” [^]

Handle: Jose_X
Aliases:  
Websites:  
Real name: Jose Veloso
Status: Active
  Jose_X can be identified by his long-winded comments, often broken up into two or more posts. Regular content contributor as well. He comments everywhere on the internet (e.g., [^] or try to read through this), pushing the same lines as BN. His motto is Victoria qui com verbo, which is Latin for “I will write stuff until you collapse and admit defeat”.

Handle: The Mad Hatter
Aliases:  
Websites: http://crankyoldnutcase.blogspot.com/
Real name:  
Status: Active
  Pimping his blog on articles about Mono.

Handle: ml2mst
Aliases:  
Websites: http://ml2mst.googlepages.com/
http://osgeex.blogspot.com/
Real name: Marti van Lin
Status: Comes and goes
  Also active on comp.os.linux.advocacy, where he fights the good fight and all that. Collaborates with “neighborlee” on bringing purity to Ubuntu. Another bizarre one.

Handle: CyberPhoenix
Aliases: AstralKnight/BoycottMicrosoft/DiamondWakizashi/NastyMicrosoft, etc.
Websites: Just read this, if you’re feeling adventurous.
Real name:  
Status: Active. Very. Very. Active.
   

When one of the BoycottBoys has proven him/herself by feeding Schestowitz enough clever quotes for his blog posts, they receive an award. Tell me you don’t totally want one of those?

This next group are people who are keen on scratching BN's back, so to speak, and are in turn rewarded with linkage, quotes, etc. Although they do sometimes make appearances on his IRC channel, they are not "regulars" and have their own blogs or sites.

Handle: Homer
Aliases: [H]omer, Slated, Homer101010 (this is cute)
Websites: http://slated.org
Real name: Keith G. Robertson-Turner [^]
  The relationship between Slated and BN is… complicated. Worthy of being explored in detail later.

Handle: The OpenSourcerer
Aliases:  
Websites: http://www.theopensourcerer.com/
Real name: Alan Lord [^]
  Lord is another anti-Mono activist, which would be all well and good if it wasn’t for the fact that he shows up in discussions without proper disclosure.

Handle: einfeldt
Aliases:  
Websites: http://christianeinfeldt.sys-con.com/
http://www.digitaltippingpoint.com/
Real name: Christian Einfeldt
  Einfeldt’s vlog (?) is regularly linked to from BN. Here he is for example on Mad Hatter’s blog doing the usual “if I don’t like what you’re saying then you must be employed by Microsoft” routine. Here he is scratching Alan Lord’s back, so to speak.

Handle: David Gerard
Aliases: Red Drag Diva, etc.
Websites: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/User:David_Gerard
http://davidgerard.co.uk/
http://reddragdiva.livejournal.com/
http://reddragdiva.co.uk/
http://slashdot.org/~David+Gerard
http://notnews.today.com/
  Gerard is one of the powers that be at Wikipedia. Very active obviously there and on Slashdot, where his activities can be gently described as spamming. He’s also gets the link treatment from BN once in a while, does some back scratching and posts comments regularly.

Handle: Robert Millan
Aliases: robertmh
Websites: http://robertmh.wordpress.com/
  A lesser boi, Millan likes to troll people who oppose the Jihad against Mono. Apparently a good buddy of tacone. He runs goodbye-microsoft.com, where he has a screencast that shows how to execute untrusted binaries in Windows (heh). He helpfully created a Wikipedia article for his own project as well.

This next group are “journalists” (yes, those are quotes) that are also associated with BN in a sense.

Steven J. Vaughan-Nichols
Blogger provocateur employed by ComputerWorld. Famously claimed that a Google interruption of service should be blamed on Microsoft, even going so far as to explain that a possible reason for the problem he had seen somewhere didn’t “hold water”. A day later Google confirmed what didn’t hold water. SJVN is regularly quoted on BN, and he regularly quotes Schestowitz as well – he even went so far as to claim that the alleged DoS suffered by BN was the work of Microsoft (that was received very well. Will it make the Digg front page? Stay tuned!). He’s also good at putting together amazing conspiracy theories about how he just can’t get on the Digg front page (duly parroted), possibly ignoring the fact that his self-submitted articles are simply not that interesting. Well, at least not all of them. Er, I mean at least the ones Microsoft forgot to suppress. Sometimes he confuses the BoycottBoys as well.

Sam Varghese
Varghese is another blogger link exchange for BN and occasional defender of the cause. Sometimes his tone is frighteningly similar to Schestowitz’ (others have noticed that). He also has it in for Miguel de Icaza, complete with the same constant clever suggestions that he is an agent of evil bent on smashing Freedom. The comments on his blog are a sight to behold, and routinely feature appearances by the BoycottBoys. Famously, he wrote an extremely detailed and quite unnecessary four-page rebuttal to an anti-Stallman blog post made by a Microsoft intern. This is something I’ll revisit later as well.

Carla Schroder
Manages LinuxToday.com. Schroder is actually rather balanced in what she does, so perhaps she is more deserving of the journalism tag than others. I include her here because she links to BN often, and vice versa. Still, LinuxToday is really just a link aggregator on any given day. Schroder has written books about Linux and seems to be a generally nice person and honest FOSS advocate.

And finally, a list of minor contributors and lesser hanger-ons, some of whom are inactive but should be mentioned just in case someone runs into them outside of BN.

Eruaran Shilly con carne.
NeonFloss Seems to be associated with this site (probably NSFW). Active on Reddit and Digg (a few people have ended up on BN via Digg)
DaemonFC Also went by DaemonXP and DaemonMVD for a while. Used to go by TheAlmightyCthulhu on the Ubuntu forums. Kicked out of IRC, inactive. Interesting story I’ll revisit later. This is the guy that broke the story about the FoxConn motherboards allegedly screwing up Linux, which made the rounds last year. This is his blog.
saulgoode Doesn’t seem to get on IRC, but shows up to make comments regularly.
tessier Tracy Reed [^]. Used to be just a regular, but now his company hosts the domain after the “denial of service attack” they suffered and couldn’t resolve with the old shared host.
seller_liar Mystery man. Probably Portuguese and possibly associated with trmanco and/or Rui Seabra. He helps distros find reasons to remove Mono and so on.
wallclimber Apparently helps with transliteration of PDFs from the Comes vs. Microsoft material.
wispygalaxy Another Digg transplant. She shills^w helps out with perception management.
PetoKraus Seems to be affiliated with the FSF and/or Phoronix. Inactive for a while now.
kentma Mark Kent. Also active on comp.os.linux.lunacy^Wadvocacy. Interesting relationship here too, probably worth exploring. Kent provides Schestowitz’ internet access using resources owned by the University of Manchester.
libervisco Used to be very active on IRC, but later disappeared. Apparently became disillusioned with the whole thing. This is recent and bears repeating:
“… I'm still trying to think of ways how to politely say what my problem with BN is, but it's too long so I think I'd sum it up with this: BN is a place you go to if you need more reasons to hate MS and that's the kind of crowd that it attracts, which may or may not be intentional (though it's hard to miss), but as someone who believes that the whole war with MS and the whole case for Free Software purism is one huge straw man […] and often a self contradiction, it's simply hard to take too much of it seriously […] I keep seeing people fight for the opposite of what they passionately believe they are fighting for […] and it's sometimes funny in a sad way and sometimes just frustrating [...] because I wanna tell them that, but don't know how to express it without looking like an enemy
thenixedreport Thomas Hoolbrook II. Relative newcomer. Seems like a nice guy actually.
Chips B Malroy Another hunter of “M$ shills”. Seems to have found a permanent home on BN with the rest of ‘em. Surprising? You bet!
Ed Lavanderi Prolific commenter, although I’m not sure if he gets on IRC.
Lyle Howard Seave Another prolific commenter and defender of the cause. [2]
Victor Soliz His other nym is vexorian. Active on Slashdot as well.
aeshna23 Big fan. Really big fan. Probably knows Schestowitz in meatspace.
CoolGuy Interestingly generic handle with a nack for appearing at times of great need to post encouraging comments that can be used to veer off topic and ignore difficult questions. Probably just a useful nym operated by one of the bois or BoycottBoy himself.
subsonica Another minor boi.
fewa Very active on IRC.
zoobab Seems to be involved in ECMA, ODF and/or the slog against OOXML. Amazing coincidences!
Needs Sunlight Prolific commenter. Probably the alter ego of MinceR or one of the other bois.

References to shilling and such are welcome. You can send me an email or something if you want. I do not want or need personal information on these people. I don’t care where they live, where they work or what color underwear they use. So please don’t even bother. I won’t publish any of that.

To preempt the reaction that this will undoubtedly garner, I’m well aware that some of these people might be “proud” of being associated with the den of paranoia. They might not think that what they do is shilling or astroturfing, they might think that their contributions are truly helping advance FOSS, or maybe they don’t care what Roy Schestowitz is saying any given day as long as they’re allowed to hang out on his IRC channel or get some links back to their blogs. That’s all well and good. I’m not trying to shame them by association, or trying to get them to sever ties or anything like that. That would be rather stupid. No, the reason this is needed is because often they’ll show up on other websites to comment about a specific topic, and simply pointing to them and saying that they are associated with BN is not enough. There needs to be a page that people can link to and say “this person is just repeating the BN talking points” or  “this person is a regular contributor over there” and so on. Beyond that, I don’t care what they do or where they do it. Just as long as it’s well understood who benefits in the end from what they’re saying or doing.

Initially I hesitated at the idea of making comments about some of these people’s activities by referencing things they say on their IRC channel and their blogs. Inevitably that can be used to claim I am “attacking people”. However, I believe that, given the proper context, these unguarded conversations are a good indicator of what people really think. It brings out the bacon, as it were. My hesitation was completely eliminated the day I posted this as I happened to notice that Schestowitz was comparing himself to Mahatma Gandhi (!) and using something stupid someone said years ago (re: the “terrorists” quote by Enderle) to support whatever point he was trying to make. This is a common pattern for him. He has no qualms about collecting juicy quotes from people he dislikes and using them – often out of context – to emotionalize his hyperbole-laden arguments and drama queen panegyrics. One reaps what one sows.

Notes

[1] I do not hold Schestowitz responsible for comments like these, just to be very clear. Anyone can log in, shout “Hitler is teh best” and log out, and that would show up on the published log. It is however interesting to note what can get you kicked from his IRC channel and what doesn’t.
[2] There are many prolific commenters on that site. These are the ones that regularly appear to save the day and have an obvious bias. That doesn’t mean anything in and of itself, but the identities should be documented.

Revisions

  • [2009-08-04] Removed an implied alias of ‘tacone’, as per his comment. I don’t see why he would lie about that, and the association with the Slashdot account was tenuous at best. Revised the notes about the “Goblin” person, as per this. I did notice that using a latin phrase in one’s “blog” was patented at some point and I missed the memo. I’ll revisit that later, specifically the Neowin part. His honor is safe. Added some new entries as well.
  • [2009-08-06] Some tweaks here and there, additions.
  • [2009-09-16] A few additions I had pending, redirect the CyberPhoenix entry to its own article.

7 comments:

tacone said...

[1] is wrong, I only use 'tacone' nickname everywhere.

Anonymous Insider said...

There's a traditional definition of a shyster: someone who, when the law is against him/her, pounds on the facts; when the facts are against him/her, pounds on the law; and when both the facts and the law are against him/her, pounds on the table. BoycottBoys' continuing attempts to twist the facts through outlandish theories and unsubstantiated factual claims show that the old saying hasn't lost its relevance.

The Mad Hatter said...

Anonymous Insider is an interesting character. Lots of reposts, no posts.

Now I may disagree with what Left has to say, but at least he writes his own stuff.

Verofakto said...

Sez "The Mad Hatter" on "verofakto".

The Mad Hatter said...

BTW, you really need to update this. I've written several more inflammatory articles about Mono, hell, I even got Hub upset. But my website has moved to http://madhatter.ca

Go take a look, I like the new site a lot better, and yes, I'm using my real name now. Since I'm no longer employed, I don't have to worry about my writing conflicting with my employment. This week I even got my name in the first sentence of an article on Torrent Freak:
http://torrentfreak.com/cria-watches-massive-music-piracy-crisis-devastate-unknown-band-110404/

And incidentally embarrassed the hell out of the Canadian Recording Industry Association.

Wayne

Verofakto said...

Wayne,

If you are so desperate for attention, please go bother your sugar daddy at TechSpam and ask him to publish your dreck. I have better things to do.

Wayne Borean said...

Oh come on, I enjoy dropping in here every once in a while to see if you really do care about accuracy or not. I see that you don't, since you haven't bothered to update the things that I've told you about.

Another mouthpiece with delusions of grandeur.

Wayne

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