John Quiggin has a heuristic to help detect outfits like The Alexis de Tocqueville Institute.

ADTI claimed that Ken Brown’s attack on Linux was based on “extensive interviews” with “Richard Stallman, Dennis Ritchie, and Andrew Tanenbaum”. We already saw Tanenbaum’s repudiation of Brown. Now Groklaw has Stallman‘s and Ritchie‘s. The one from Ritchie is particularly interesting because it lets us see the leading questions Brown was asking:

In my opinion, Linus Torvalds did NOT write Linux from scratch. What is you opinion? How much did he write? I talked to a Finnish programmer that insists that Linus had the Unix code (the Lyon’s Book) and Minix code. Without those two, who could not have even come close to writing Linux.

By “the Lyon’s Book” Brown is referring to my late colleague John Lions‘ commentary on the 6th edition of Unix that he used for teaching operating systems here at UNSW. (His office used to be three doors down from mine.) The notion that Torvalds copied Linux from John’s commentary is pretty silly. By the time Torvalds was writing Linux, the version of Unix in John’s book was fifteen years out of date and was written for a different architecture in any case.

Meanwhile, Brown’s book has gathered a few negative on-line reviews. I know someone who could help him with that.