Andover Moves Against Competitors
Posted 1 Apr 2000 at 07:40 UTC by kuro5hin
Predatory business practices have finally come home to roost in the
linux and free software media community. Andover.net today, in a
sweeping blitzkreig of legal maneuvering, moved to shut down it's two
most popular competitors, Advogato and Kuro5hin.org. As reported in a PR Newswire story,
Andover has filed a "look and feel" copyright injunction against
Advogato, and one or more patent infringement injunctions as well. What
has not been made public until now is that at the same time, Andover
also moved against my site, kuro5hin.org. Whether it is legal for me to
release this information publically or not, I don't care. the truth must
be known! Read on for the full story.
Early on Friday I received the following email:
From: Cordwainer Byrd <firstname.lastname@example.org>
To: Rusty <email@example.com>
Subject: Notice of Copyright and Patent Infringement
My name is Cordwainer Byrd. I represent Andover.net as general
the legal firm Bailey, Byrd, Manks, McKeen, and Anders. This email
preliminary notice that my firm has filed copyright and patent
suits against you personally, as the owner of the internet web site
As you know, one of the primary holdings of
"slashdot.org." Your web site significantly duplicates copyrighted "look
elements of Slashdot, as well violates several of our patents, including
No. 45,487,338,209, "A system for organizing user-submitted text by
collaborative ranking" and US Patent No. 46,773,228,287 "A system for
publically accessable electronic media by means of widespread individual
You will receive official notice of the actions by courier within
Bailey, Byrd, Manks, McKeen, and Anders
Of course, I immediately emailed Rob Malda, as I couldn't believe this
wasn't just a hoax. And what do you think I got as a reply?
To: rusty <firstname.lastname@example.org>
From: Rob Malda <email@example.com>
Subject: RE: You're not really suing me, are you?
rusty <firstname.lastname@example.org> wrote:
> Rob-- I got an email from somone claiming to
> be your lawyer. You're not actually suing me are you?
> Please tell me this is some kind of joke!
Every time you ask if we're suing you, I'm asking for $24 million more
| Rob "CmdrTaco" Malda | Hokey religions and ancient weapons are no
| malda(@)slashdot.org | match for a good blaster at your side, kid.
| http://slashdot.org/ | --Han Solo, Star Wars
So it's true. It's finally clear what it was that Andover had to offer
slashdot to begin with. Lawyers. Rob has long espoused a "one world, one
web, one news site" philosophy, and now it looks like, rather than
improve their code or straighten out the mess that the comments have
become, they will instead attempt to simply use legal pressure to shut
down or stymie thier competition.
I have not yet talked to Raph about the situation we're in, but I
believe that we will stick together in this, and hold firm in our
refusal to bow to the will of the Linux Media Giant, VAndoverDot. We
will be contacting the EFF, and PeaceFire in an attempt to raise a legal
Right now, we'll just have to wait and see how this all pans out, but in
the meantime, I urge you all to boycott slashdot, freshmeat,
sourceforge, and all other VA/Andover holdings, to show your support for
the freedom of internet media. What happens in these cases will have
far-reaching effects on the future of the Internet. Show them that we
will not stand for this kind of bullying within our own community!
With all due respect,
but it seems the American Bureau of Patents truly let people patent
whatever they can. I mean ``A system for organizing user-submitted text
by means of collaborative ranking'' as well as ``A system for gathering
publically accessable electronic media by means of widespread individual
reportage''. If that's true then I know of a few other sites they want
to file a suit against as well, since they also use such systems.
And frankly it pisses me off to see supposedly Open Source friendly and
supportive people and companies go the truly commercial way of filing
suit against fellow Open Source initiatives. Guess that Dollars are
worth more in the end.
Of course, nothing wrong with commercialism, I mean, I support the BSD
License myself, but things like this are just downright dirty.
After last year's episode with Rich Stevens, I basically gave up on
Slashdot. Then I find a great site (this one) that has fantastic S/N
ratio (and people who understand what that is). There's a world of
difference between the weighted graph stuff here and the "post more get
more karma" Slashdot weighting. On slashdot, you get moderation points
for agreeing with the linux bigots and posting a lot (which drives ad
revenue). Here, you get ranked by your peers - and enough of your peers
also have to agree with their peers to make a difference. There's so
much difference that the patent infringement would not stand scrutiny if
the owners can afford the lawsuit to defend themselves.
Are they going to sue Technocrat as well? That's a blatent rip off.
Maybe I'll post this to Bruce Perens, and see what he's got to say. I'm
off to moan to the SourceForge people.
Why even bother releasing the source to Slashdot (which became 1.0 just
the other day) if they're going to sue anyone who runs a site that looks
and feels like them?
I'm going to try and get pnm2ppa pulled from SourceForge. This is
fucked. Excuse my french - I'm really pissed off.
Note to Rob Malda: you are a <insert expletive> hypocrite. Call off the
knuckle dragging goons, or else you will lose eyeballs for your ad
revenue. All that ad revenue down the drain, for what? I'm so steamed.
Please do a dig or nslookup on your favorite nameserver. bbmma.com does
Good one fellas. Got me.
Insanity, posted 1 Apr 2000 at 09:25 UTC by rconover »
I cannot believe that I'm reading this. I'm appalled by these
actions. What ever happened for benefiting the open source community?
Has this entire thing been blown out of proportion?
So essentially I think this is a bunch of crap. Since I still see that
ESR is still on VA Linux's
board, maybe he should talk to the rest of the board about these
actions. Yet since the suit is being filed by Andover.Net which hasn't
yet been fully folded into VA maybe ESR's comments won't do any good.
Anyways I'm disgusted by reading that Andover.Net is taking these
actions. I guess I'll leave it at that since I don't have anything else
nice to say.
Doh!, posted 1 Apr 2000 at 09:28 UTC by rconover »
Good one guys, you got me!
Pffffft..., posted 1 Apr 2000 at 10:13 UTC by asmodai »
I saw the date and figured something like this wouldn't be an April 1st
Drat, dub me sucker.
Great piece there! and the headlines at the end of the PR Newswire bit really takes the cake!
Bravo!! You get the award of being the first to dupe me this April fools!
just delete the frameset.html from the PRthingy link, and looks where
it takes you, "Nude Nerds"
I also recieved mail from Malda's lawyer claiming patent infrigements
with bug-buddy; specifically the method it uses to extract a stack trace
from a running application. Unfortunately Evolution 1.0 lost the mail,
so I can't post it here.
Man, they're just filing this lawsuit so that they can afford those new BSD-powered personal jetpacks.
Oh man..., posted 1 Apr 2000 at 19:13 UTC by julian »
You really really got me until I read the comments. :)
I was just about to flip out an kill myself. Oh well.
*feels dumb*, posted 2 Apr 2000 at 16:16 UTC by jdube »
I read this on April 2... didn't check advogato yesterday. I was about
to write Rob a very dirty email when I noticed some replies. Hey,
look... something written on the cieling... 'gullible'... wonder what
that means. ;)
Our little web server</a> spiked over the weekend after somebody
to slashdot a Swedish-chef version of the meantime
announcement. It would not be in the April spirit to explain
whether it was serious or not I suppose, though it *does* have a RCS
timestamp at the bottom of the page. I don't think Slashdot scales to
the level of popularity or traffic that it has at the moment.
It was kind of funny to see that Stupid Americans(tm) thought that chef.pl
output was genuine German or Spanish. Tee hee.
You can get some sense of the audience of Slashdot these days from the
fact that their linking to meantime was enough to tip the balance of
User-Agents on our site back in favour of Windows rather than Unix. :-(
1: 30515: Windows
: 14508: Windows NT
: 11178: Windows 98
: 4503: Windows 95
: 193: Unknown Windows
: 93: Windows 32-bit
: 31: Windows 16-bit
: 7: Windows 3.1
: 1: Windows 2000
: 1: Windows CE
2: 28686: Unix
: 24713: Linux
: 2115: SunOS
: 707: BSD
: 689: IRIX
: 194: OSF1
: 138: HP-UX
: 114: AIX
: 16: Other Unix
3: 9446: OS unknown
4: 8989: Macintosh
: 8075: Macintosh PowerPC
: 879: Macintosh 68k
: 35: Unknown Macintosh
5: 76: OS/2
6: 22: BeOS
7: 20: Amiga
8: 8: VMS
9: 6: RISC OS
Browser stats, posted 3 Apr 2000 at 06:00 UTC by kuro5hin »
It's really not all that realistic to claim that /.'s audience has
declined because the majority of readers run windows. The vast majority
of web users run windows. I would imagine that perhaps a page on
linuxcare.com.au would have drawn a primarily linux and unix-based
audience, but as soon as it hits a public media site (which /. most
definitely is), you're simply bound to get more windows users than
otherwise. My (www.kuro5hin.org) browser stats break down like this, by
way of comparison:
no.: reqs: OS
---: ------: --
1: 185027: Windows
: 75886: Windows NT
: 66322: Windows 98
: 40049: Windows 95
: 2520: Unknown Windows
: 172: Windows 16-bit
: 69: Windows 32-bit
: 9: Windows 3.1
2: 91817: Unix
: 83492: Linux
: 5393: SunOS
: 1556: BSD
: 919: IRIX
: 308: HP-UX
: 136: Other Unix
: 13: AIX
3: 20823: Macintosh
: 11383: Macintosh PowerPC
: 9406: Macintosh 68k
: 34: Unknown Macintosh
4: 16422: OS unknown
5: 863: BeOS
6: 83: OS/2
7: 8: Amiga
So the ratio is roughly 2 windows users to one unix user. My site would
likely be of more interest to unix-background people, so I very much
doubt that that's an accurate ratio, but more what you could expect to
see at the unixy-end of the popular media spectrum. Slashdot, I imagine,
is right about in the middle of the popular media spectrum at this
Anyhoo, I'm not really one to argue that /.'s audience hasn't gone
downhill. I just don't think that's necessarily a fair reflection of
that fact. And, did it occur to you that maybe only windows users could
read the enchefferized article? ;-)
Remeber that many folks use their lunch break to check out their favorite sites on the web, and many employer desktop machines have
Patents do not clear by databases I know,
so, for the time being, I think it is probably
a hoax. Rob's letter may be explained by
his perverted sense of humour.
User Agents, posted 3 Apr 2000 at 17:30 UTC by pudge »
Heck, Andover EMPLOYEES use Windows. A lot. Not the Slash programmers, of course.
Although I work on Slash and use Mac OS ... and Internet Explorer. Sigh. Why couldn't APPLE
have kept its OWN employees to make a browser as good as their ex-employees made for