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Fleury Bans "Astroturfing" at JBoss from this Day Forth

Fleury Bans "Astroturfing" at JBoss from this Day Forth

  • Crossing the Line: Deciding to Fight For Integrity
  • Fakers Need to Stop Polluting the Knowledge Space


    Here is Marc Fleury's letter to the software development community, in full:

    "Response to JBoss Fake Posting Allegations

    Fri May 21 11:20:05 EDT 2004

    You may have heard about recent charges in online forums that some JBoss employees, including me, were personally involved in anonymous postings on developer sites. The practice, known as "astroturfing", is wildly popular on sites like Slashdot that actually let you post as "anonymous coward". JBoss has the reputation as an in your face, straight up, tell it like it is company. I personally don't need a mask to speak my mind and one thing I can't stand is two faced hypocrisy. This has made us many friends and a few critics.

    As you may know, the open source community would not be what it is today -- a real challenge to traditional software models -- without the strong opinions and outspoken voices of the developers. I myself am among these voices. But we do not always see eye to eye on the evolution of the open source movement. Some prefer subsidized open source, whereby they work corporate jobs and contribute/moonlight on the side. Many others, including us at JBoss, prefer the "Professional Open Source" model, whereby it is our job to work on open source and free software all day long, all the time. We all passionately believe in the standalone potential of professional open source. JBoss' growing traction in the enterprise market, our expansion of products and services beyond the original JBoss Application Server and our recent funding from VCs have intensified scrutiny on our community and company, for good and bad.

    JBoss is transitioning as a company to deliver on our commitment to make open source a safe and viable alternative for companies such as yours. We have hired the most talented developers - many of whom are innovators and lead developers of popular open source projects. We provide them with the means to continue developing and support these products while creating value for our community and wealth for themselves. As a company we are growing rapidly to meet the expert professional services needs of our customers and partners. We want to be role models for open source developers around the world. To do so, we must hold ourselves to a higher standard. Our visibility and success puts our customers and partners in a situation where you expect and demand that employees of JBoss Inc. hold themselves to that higher standard. Let's put the professional back in professional open source. "Astroturfing" is hereby banned at JBoss, starting with me.

    Sincerely,

    Marc Fleury
    Founder, Chairman and CEO
    JBoss, Inc."

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    Most Recent Comments
    Nis 06/02/04 02:39:32 PM EDT

    "Just shows JBoss and Open Source true clueless nature. Thanks to JBoss and Fleury for confusing the software world even more beyond all recognition. It''s no wonder there''s an IT value crisis--you guys wouldn''t know a business case if it swam up and bit you on the @ss. Nobody knows what a line of code is worth anymore. To fix this start with "pay something for a line of code". Don''t flood the market with free goods essentially destroying the industry and forcing vendors to cut costs through outsourcing overseas. Nobody pays for software--some business. Thank Linus and Stallman too."

    Obviously you don't understand how it works. Just because there is a free alternative doesn't mean commercial products are left in the dust. As two examples: bottled water and cable/satellite TV. Plenty of businesses and end users still use commercial software: think of all the copies of Windows out there. Protools dominates the music market and game developers are still buying Maya. All of these have free alternatives, yet people still buy them.

    It sounds like you lost your job to outsourcing. Instead of blaming open source, blame your company for being cheap.

    Concerned Citizen 05/28/04 02:48:07 PM EDT

    "JBoss has the reputation as an in your face, straight up, tell it like it is company." This proves how Fleury just doesn''t get it. I can see the CTO of some big corporation saying "You know what I would like? Our vendors to be more in our face. That would be great."

    Chip Tyler :) 05/28/04 09:14:33 AM EDT

    Marc,
    How can you say "I personally don''t need a mask to speak my mind and one thing I can''t stand is two faced hypocrisy" when it is now clear that you DID in fact put on a mask. Doesn''t this make YOU two faced? This is not about JBoss holding themselves to a higher standard, it is about JBoss (you and others) not even meeting the LOWEST standards.

    Daniel Howard 05/26/04 06:37:31 PM EDT

    Marc Fleury is pretty strange. He apparently doesn''t know that a person can be a straight-shooter AND have tact. Being arrogant and pugnacious is orthogonal to being honest and direct.

    His letter to the software development community comes across to me like all his behavior: absurd. Like others had said, the no-brainer response would be to simply admit the mistake, say that he''s sorry and say that he''s taken steps to stop it in the future. No biggie. But, instead, his letter comes off as arrogant. He takes time to try to recast boorishness as a virtue. The whole thing reeks with self-justification and denial.

    He must not understand how people will perceive these kinds of antics. As I re-read it, I wonder what kind of reaction that he was hoping to get. I cannot imagine anybody, no matter what their background, reading it and coming away with a positive opinion. That''s the strange thing about him: he does all these weird things, clearly hoping to influence people and their opinions, but those weird things always lower people''s opinion of him and make them more resistant to what he has to say.

    Parasher 05/25/04 07:08:24 PM EDT

    Its nice to notice that the "CEO" spent more time on morality and high standars of JBoss, etc. as a reason to stop the coward act (which in his own word he has participated).
    And not a single line explaining why he/JBoss did !
    But in his long speech about morality he did come up with reasons to look down upon others outside JBoss for his supposed high chair.
    Hope he has gone to sleep with a safety harness, else he is in for a painful time on waking from his pipe dream ;-)
    Cheers

    anonymoose 05/25/04 01:09:23 PM EDT

    Just shows JBoss and Open Source true clueless nature. Thanks to JBoss and Fleury for confusing the software world even more beyond all recognition. It''s no wonder there''s an IT value crisis--you guys wouldn''t know a business case if it swam up and bit you on the @ss. Nobody knows what a line of code is worth anymore. To fix this start with "pay something for a line of code". Don''t flood the market with free goods essentially destroying the industry and forcing vendors to cut costs through outsourcing overseas. Nobody pays for software--some business. Thank Linus and Stallman too.

    anonymouse 05/25/04 06:48:07 AM EDT

    Joe, anonymous posts are one thing. Taking on fake personas to discredit others is quite another.

    Joseph B. Ottinger 05/25/04 06:29:03 AM EDT

    There''s nothing wrong with paying them for support. They''re certainly able to do it. I have their paid docs; they''re not as bad as they could be, which is sort of a backhanded compliment, but that doesn''t mean they''re the worst available by a long shot, or that they''re worthless at all. (I found them useful, for example.)

    BTW, you can tell an application to not use a shared classloader...

    (And note that I am not anonymous here at all, because I am proud to stand up for my values, regardless of whether you approve of them or not. I have to say, the number of anonymous posts excoriating JBoss on a topic where THEIR use of anonymous posts is discussed is amusingly hypocritical.)

    Toto 05/25/04 03:44:19 AM EDT

    Sigrney, are you working for JBoss to suggest paying them for support ? At least it means their sold documentation sucks.
    BTW the comment tells problems arise when using different versions of the same library among different applications. Your "working case" is not that one.
    I guess if "no astroturfing" is applied there will be far less JBoss zealots in blogs all around. They might take only actions to make it undetectable. The market of compromised computer is very healthy these times ;-)

    Par Eklund 05/25/04 03:35:47 AM EDT

    Agree with Ivan Handler. Marc Fleury''s post is very rethoric. 99% of it is marketing JBoss''s (silly) term "Professional Open Source" (with this term he is either saying that all other Open Source is unprofessional or he admits that "Open Source" for JBoss was just another market gimmick to break into the commercial Java application server marketplace), and not in any way admitting anything about their "anonymous fakers" strategy. Then again, the fact that he is not taking this issue head on and disputing or admitting it clearly is just a proof as good as any that Rickard, Mike, Hani and Cameron were right.

    Ivan Handler 05/24/04 11:15:59 PM EDT

    It seems that Fleury acknowledges his role but only tangentially. Why not say straight out that "what I did was wrong and that I apologize". That he could not bring himself to do that (like Bush can not admit to any mistakes in Iraq) causes me to be suspicious. I think he is still in denial which means he thinks he can somehow "get away" with this without having to confront what has been uncovered. I need to use products that I believe will be around. If Fleury can not fully accept responsibility for his actions, why should I believe he can continue to lead JBoss? If he needs to change direction because the market changes, can he admit that things are changing or is he going to stay with his views because they are his? This letter makes me think that JBoss is not in good hands

    Sigrney 05/24/04 06:33:40 PM EDT

    I agree that this behavior is very unprofessional and puts a blemish on the face of JBoss. However, I firmly believe in the product *AND* open source. Just a quick comment to this post:

    tbien commented on 21 May 2004:
    It''s maybe possible to use JBoss in an 1 Server - 1 Application environment, but forget it if you want to use more than one application using the same libraries in different versions... In that case you''re screwed!

    I would have to disagree. My company is using JBoss in a clustered environment (>1 server) and quite a number of apps with shared libraries, including EJB library, and other shared libraries. If you have purchased support from the JBoss group, I would suggest you use it to solve these issues.

    Sharon 05/24/04 11:18:29 AM EDT

    JBoss got its hands caught in the cookie jar so they then come up with an ethics policy. Business ethics starts at the top. Business ethics are easy when everyone is watching you; it is hard when no one is watching you. So, the PR is great and the announcment is really great by Marc, but you've got to wonder about an organization and a leader who supports and partkaes in this behavior. What other unethical behavior do they participate in? One can only assume the worst.

    Anonymous 05/24/04 08:48:10 AM EDT

    Yep. agree with Mike. You Fleury and your gang are among the worst specimens ever existed in the software space. Shame that there are some amongst you that don''t deserve the bad name you are giving them. Like Gavin. Stop lying to people you freaks

    JBoss above all in the world 05/24/04 04:03:51 AM EDT

    According to various "contributions" of jboss people, their product is so good one cannot even undertand why god created something else. The jboss folks are simply ridiculous. Their attitudes show they cannot be trusted. They cannot be said to be "Professional" ! (Moreover the documentation they are selling is poor)

    This is meaningless bs... 05/21/04 04:51:44 PM EDT

    Maybe instead of a PR piece, he could have actually been a man, stepped up, took responsibility, said yes we _did_ do it and were caught and we are sorry that the upper management felt the need to organize an undercover smear campaign against our competitors. But the Open Source world is becoming exactly the same as big corporate America - deflect and deny, deflect and deny. What a load of crappy platitudes.
    Personally, I used to think JBoss was the best alternative to Closed Source Middleware, but I will now be actively promoting other projects that are managed and run more ethically and with a better attitude towards those who don't buy the documentation or the "approved" book.

    tbien 05/21/04 03:20:27 PM EDT

    It's maybe possible to use JBoss in an 1 Server - 1 Application environment, but forget it if you want to use more than one application using the same libraries in different versions... In that case you're screwed!

    Fjord 05/21/04 02:23:30 PM EDT

    JBoss has no license fees which is awesome, and there are things that make it easy to develop with over other J2EE containers. But if you are expecting a lot of users, it's not the way to go. When doing the performance improvements on a J2EE application, I couldn't get 200 simultaneous users to be able to use the JBoss system. Websphere 5 was handling 1300 (that was it's limit, though that ended the improvement work I did, since that was the target goal).

    BiggerIsBetter 05/21/04 02:22:00 PM EDT

    I'm not overly surprised that JBoss was doing this, I've always found the product to be good but the company to be, um, not focused on the users. Newbies have a *very* hard time getting started (check the forums for examples, or try asking a question on IRC) and there's a lot of gaps in the doco that I presume are there to drum up support business

    MikeSpille 05/21/04 02:01:22 PM EDT

    I personally don't care if it's common or not - no matter how prevalent it may, it's still wrong and it should be rooted out and exposed when it's discovered.

    The JBoss fake posters publicly called the technical skills of the CDN/Geronimo folks into question. They did exactly the same to the other major open source Java server, the Jonas people.

    The purpose is simple: generate interest and market share for JBoss, get the residual interest that pays their training/services/support bills. Do it by boosting your own stuff, and trying to do verbal hatchet jobs on your competitors and detractors. Make regular people who happen to disagree with you or compete with you look like the bad guys, make you look like poor besieged victims and underdogs.

    Moraelin 05/21/04 01:59:27 PM EDT

    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.

    Their official response to any complaints was basically "then you suck."