Linked by Thom Holwerda on Sun 14th Oct 2007 15:12 UTC
Legal This week's 'big' news on OSNews was about software patents. You know, those things that say you cannot stack four pixels on top of one another unless you pay money to the guy who invented four-pixel-stacks (or the guy who bought the guy who invented four-pixel-stacks). A company called IP Innovation, LLC, has sued Novell and Red Hat for infringement of the company's IP portfolio. Software patents are of course generally completely ridiculous, so I will not focus on that here. I want to focus on something else.
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non-sensical article
by bandido55 on Sun 14th Oct 2007 19:43 UTC
bandido55
Member since:
2006-10-02

Thom is creating a bunch of straw men to prove his point. The last sentences give away your bias whne you bring the issue of "innocent until proven guilty" Our legal system is founded on that principle but it doesn't mean what Thom is trying to prove. In order to be proven "guilty" one must make an accusation of "guilty" and then try to prove it as such. Groklaw is taking the position that based on MS history, the Halloween documents and all the comments and threats (past and present), MS must be guilty. PJ and the volunteers are beginning to collect information to prove their case. After all, weren't they correct all along in regards to SCO case? I think they DO HAVE credibility and PJ has the intellectual honesty to do her research.

Thom you analysis of the evidence is very faulty. You took each one of Groklaw's ppoints and analized them individually. Looking at them individually and out of context might support your point of view, but that is an icorrect way of analyzing the issue. Statistically speaking the little evidence that have surfaced already is beginning to point away from your position and more towards PJ's position. e.g. Thow a coin in the air and the chances of getting tail is 50% (1/2), Each time you throw it, the chance is the same 50%. Now throw 3 coins simmultaneaously and what are the chances of getting tail on each one of them? 1/8. same concept applies to the evidence that PJ is beginning to collect. Coincidence?

Reply Score: 4

RE: non-sensical article
by dylansmrjones on Sun 14th Oct 2007 20:10 in reply to "non-sensical article"
dylansmrjones Member since:
2005-10-02

Yeah, Thom is a master of using logical fallacies.

Just because MS has 80,000 employees doesn't mean that Microsoft has 80,000 execs with special knowledge about patent and patent ligitation. The number of employees in general is irrelevant and using that number as an argument is void. And Thom knows that (or ought to).

It is also a logical fallacy to treat parts of a larger argument as if they were separate. They can only be treated as one large argument. Ripping them out of context makes any analysis void. Thom also knows that.

When several "coincidences" fit together very well, they are no longer "coincidences".

The part about Acacia having sued Microsoft is irrelevant. This happened prior to Microsoft moving employees to Acacia. Approx. four months earlier btw.

The amount of very fitting "coincidences" is so high that believing it is "coincidences" is like claiming water doesn't boil just because you are heating it.

EDIT: Ockham's Razor does not support Thom's conclusion. Rather the opposite.

Edited 2007-10-14 20:14 UTC

Reply Parent Score: 12

RE[2]: non-sensical article
by Thom_Holwerda on Sun 14th Oct 2007 20:35 in reply to "RE: non-sensical article"
Thom_Holwerda Member since:
2005-06-29

When several "coincidences" fit together very well, they are no longer "coincidences".


They will only cease to be coincidences as soon as definitive, conclusive proof has been given that they are, in fact, not coincidences - before that, they are just coincidences, and people using them as conclusive proof are making up a conspiracy.

As I clearly stated in the article, Groklaw might really turn out to be right. I really, really, really do not know. I just tend to look at the world from a more scientific point of view, and if somebody makes claims or statements, presenting them as fact, THEY BETTER HAVE THE PROOF TO BACK IT UP. [excuse me for the caps, but that really needed emphasis] I am simply doing proper peer review - offering much more logical possible alternative explanations for the string of coincidences listed by Groklaw - it is up to you to, as a reader, to make up your own mind.

That is how peer review works. It's now your turn to make your case, as a supporter of the original premise. Sadly, you seem unable to, and only had to resort to personal attacks.

Which really does not help your case.

Reply Parent Score: 0

RE: non-sensical article
by Thom_Holwerda on Sun 14th Oct 2007 20:17 in reply to "non-sensical article"
Thom_Holwerda Member since:
2005-06-29

In order to be proven "guilty" one must make an accusation of "guilty" and then try to prove it as such. Groklaw is taking the position that based on MS history, the Halloween documents and all the comments and threats (past and present), MS must be guilty. PJ and the volunteers are beginning to collect information to prove their case.


Yeah... And the evidence Groklaw has collected (so far!) to prove their accusations are extremely weak, as I have explained in the article.

After all, weren't they correct all along in regards to SCO case?


Completely and utterly irrelevant. Just because they were right on the SCO issue does not mean they are necessarily right on this issue as well. I'm sorry, logic doesn't work that way.

I think they DO HAVE credibility and PJ has the intellectual honesty to do her research.


PJ is an advocate of open source software, which is noble, and I really appreciate her work. However, she is NOT an impartial source, and hence, her words are ALWAYS to be questioned.

You took each one of Groklaw's ppoints and analized them individually. Looking at them individually and out of context might support your point of view, but that is an icorrect way of analyzing the issue.


Five pieces of weak circumstantial evidence put together still isn't a strong piece of evidence.

Thow a coin in the air and the chances of getting tail is 50% (1/2), Each time you throw it, the chance is the same 50%. Now throw 3 coins simmultaneaously and what are the chances of getting tail on each one of them? 1/8. same concept applies to the evidence that PJ is beginning to collect. Coincidence?


Really mate, you don't want to get into a statistical discussion with me. Seriously, you don't. And no, you cannot apply flipping a coin a few times to 5 pieces of circumstantial evidence. That has to be the silliest thing I have ever heard - and actually, a classical example of a strawman argument, that thing you (wrongfully, I might add) accused me of doing.

Reply Parent Score: 1

RE[2]: non-sensical article
by miles on Sun 14th Oct 2007 20:35 in reply to "RE: non-sensical article"
miles Member since:
2006-06-15

"Really mate, you don't want to get into a statistical discussion with me. Seriously, you don't."

That made my day. Seriously, even if you were John Nash, that would still sound horrible. That and having to impose us the teenager's favorite (0ckh4m's R4Z0r, man!). Even if the article was ok, please let's all have a little sleep.

Reply Parent Score: 4

RE[2]: non-sensical article
by segedunum on Sun 14th Oct 2007 22:07 in reply to "RE: non-sensical article"
segedunum Member since:
2005-07-06

And the evidence Groklaw has collected (so far!) to prove their accusations are extremely weak, as I have explained in the article.

Where? Everyone here has pretty much taken your article apart, and your argument boils down to "There is no smoking gun!"

However, she is NOT an impartial source, and hence, her words are ALWAYS to be questioned.

I take things on a case-by-case basis. Can you explain why Groklaw is wrong in this case, rather than making generalisations which you actually accused the poster of doing when you said that just because Groklaw was right about SCO, they're not right here?

Five pieces of weak circumstantial evidence put together still isn't a strong piece of evidence.

You haven't explained why. That would be considered very strong circumstantial evidence in any case.

Really mate, you don't want to get into a statistical discussion with me.

When you have a counter argument, give us all a call mate. Telling us that you're a statistical master is not a counter argument.

And no, you cannot apply flipping a coin a few times to 5 pieces of circumstantial evidence. That has to be the silliest thing I have ever heard - and actually, a classical example of a strawman argument

Which basically proves you have no clue whatsoever about statistics or probability. You're taking all of those events that Groklaw listed and are viewing them as separate, individual events that could have happened at any time, in any order, with any group of employees at any company.

Yer, I could flip a coin at any time and get heads. However, if I flip it five times and I get heads every time then the odds are pretty good that something is skewing the flip - and we're only talking about two possibilities each time there.

Basic probability dictates that you multiply the individual probabilities together to get the effective chance of it happening.

Edited 2007-10-14 22:12

Reply Parent Score: 4

RE: non-sensical article
by Obscurus on Mon 15th Oct 2007 06:16 in reply to "non-sensical article"
Obscurus Member since:
2006-04-20

To use your coin toss example, it could very well be a coincidence. A 1/8 chance of something happening is by no means improbable. A lot of people have very funny ideas about statistics that don't add up in the final analysis. Because the probability of one coin toss does not predict or affect the outcome of another coin toss, some seemingly very improbable things are actually not as improbable as they seem. For example, I could toss three coins and have them all land heads up three times in a row. That would not be terribly amazing. Now, if I tossed those coins two hundred times and they consistently landed heads up more than chance predicts, then you might say there was something odd about those coins or the person tossing them, but even then, unless you had evidence that there was something fishy going on, the laws of probability allow for random chance to produce the same coin toss results ad infinitum, because one coin toss is unrelated to another.

You cannot aggregate the probabilities of isolated events unless there is a causal relationship between them. A whole bunch of improbable things can occur by chance, and it is only when there is a common thread binding them together that you can make a linkage between them, and say it is more than just chance.

Probability alone is not sufficient to rule something out (or in). Winning the lotto jackpot is very improbable for any given ticket buyer (usually something like 1/50,000,000), yet enough people buy enough tickets that it is a near certainty that one or more of them will win lotto.

Now, in the case at hand, there is insufficient evidence to draw linkages between the isolated points and to start saying there is something sinister and underhanded going on. Thom has analysed the issue correctly IMO.

Reply Parent Score: 3

RE[2]: non-sensical article
by autocrat on Mon 15th Oct 2007 09:05 in reply to "RE: non-sensical article"
autocrat Member since:
2007-10-14

"Now, in the case at hand, there is insufficient evidence to draw linkages between the isolated points and to start saying there is something sinister and underhanded going on."

We're not talking inanimate, non-sentient objects being cast in such a manner to generate randomness - we're talking complex autonomous conscious entities/agents operating within an environment that strongly fosters self-interest via profit-motive.

Applying coin-flipping probability to such human/corporate behavior is... absurd.

There are no 'isolated points' in the situation under scrutiny, any more than the economy could be said to merely be a large aggregation of isolated events operating within a vacuum.


"Thom has analysed the issue correctly IMO."

In my opinion, he has analysed and framed the issue very poorly on every account aside from the single obvious fact that the connections and circumstantial evidence do not amount to sufficient empirical proof for MS to be held guilty of (...something) - in a court of law. Well, (to use his words) _no_shit_!

However it seems he's going so far as to actually belittle all the elements involved, as though the situation isn't even vaguely questionable - let alone suspicious in its own right. If one were to take his arguments at face value, there would never be reason to ever even _suspect_ anybody of anything without ample, pre-existing, self-evident, overwhelming evidence -- clear motive is insufficient to be suspicious, debateably plausible circumstantial evidence is insufficient to be suspicious, and past antisocial behavior/history is insufficient to be suspicious; even the combination of all three is... insufficient... to. be. suspicious. Wow, talk about a criminal _paradise_!

Edited 2007-10-15 09:08

Reply Parent Score: 1