Saturday, June 13, 2009

When Zeal Becomes Zealotry: A Tawdry Tale

I love zeal. Zeal is enthusiasm, it's zest, it's drive, it's initiative. Zeal builds communities. Unfortunately, in some individuals, zeal turns to zealotry, and zealotry does just the opposite. This a long posting, but it provides an excellent example of what I'm talking about, and I hope you'll take the time to read it.

I've been on sabbatical in Japan for the past two weeks, with one of them spent wandering the countryside of Shikoku, in Western Japan across the Inland Sea from Osaka and Kyoto, visiting Buddhist temples, wandering through bamboo forests, documenting things on-the-fly from my cellphone, when service was available.

Sadly, my Buddhistic mellow was harshed by my inbox filling with a lot of nonsense thanks to a moronic flamewar which broke out on the ubuntu-devel list, instigated by one Mark Fink, who has a serious hate on for Mono and anything associated with it.

We've seen Mark before, more than a year ago, similarly stirring up the GNOME desktop-devel list. At that point, he was planning to write "a replacement for Tomboy" because "because Tomboy is poisoning GNOME distributions like Red Hat and Ubuntu with it's Microsoft patented MONO dependency crap". In support of his position, he pointed to articles on Roy Schestowitz's site, Roy seems to have a similar dislike for Mono, although I have to say he's a lot more careful in his phrasing of things.

This time, Mark took things up several notches, with a posting to ubuntu-devel titled, "shameful censoring of mono opposition"; in it, he essentially complains that the moderators of the Ubuntu Forums and the maintainers of Ubuntu are all corrupt for not simply agreeing to pull Mono out, as a few people have demanded. He went further and expressed outrage than Canaonical would hire Dave Siegel. None of which really has anything to do with the list.

It was a pretty pointless message, again referencing, and it got the expected reaction. Mark continued to escalate things even further, claiming that "the MONO camp has infiltrated canonical", and that people were "slandering roy schestowitz", Mark roundlt abused Miguel de Icaza, accusing him of "worship[ing] M$", of only starting GNOME because "because he couldn't get hired by M$" and of "splitting the Linux community", before going on to suggest that someone who expressed rational disagreement with this nonsense was a "typical M$ appologist [sic]", that "only stupid people who can't think for themselves fawn over MONO and follow it like a religion", that the forum moderators were "novell employees (or people who drink they're [sic] koolaid)", and so on.

None of this is unusual, we've all seen the September Effect, we've all seen dopey flame wars over silly points; what is a little unusual is what happened next.

As I said, I've been on sabbatical, and accordingly, I had an autorespond message up advising people that if they had a matter that required an immediate response, they should contact my manager, with his email address. After I expressed some unhappiness with Mark's attempts to stir up things, mostly in terms of having to plow through pointless emails on my phone from Japan at rather high international data roaming rates, my manager received some exceedingly odd email.

Most people have enough good sense not to resort to this sort of transparent attempt at intimidation, and my manager is smart enough not to take that sort of thing with much seriousness. I mentioned on the list that this was happening and that I thought it, while laughable, entirely out of line. There was general agreement, some of it in much stronger terms, but Mark's response was "no wonder you got reported to your boss, david. you are not very resptful [sic] of your users and customers." Some folks expressed (reasonable) outrage at this, but the reaction which really disturbed me was that a number of people began to post under pseudonyms for fear of finding themselves on the receiving end this kind of cheap attack at them and their livelihoods.

This sort of "chilling effect", in my view, can be a community killer. The open source model thrives on disagreement, and it lives on reputation. If people are afraid to disagree, and if they can't maintain reputation out of fear of off-list attacks, where are we?

But wait. It gets worse.

As I noted, Mark consistently points back to, trumpeting the cause espoused there by Roy Schestowitz, and in fact demanding at one point that Roy be made a moderator of ubuntu-devel to ensure "fairness". Mark gives every impression of being closely associated with Roy's cause and site.

I expressed some dismay over these shenanigans in comments over on Roy was contrite, but equivocally so, I felt. He claimed he'd never heard of Mark Fink before that very day. He apologized, but refused to post a specific disclaimer about the site not being associated with Mr. Fink or his actions.

Then things got really weird. I got a private message from Mark Fink, claiming that he was scared that he'd gotten in over his head, and that Roy had in fact put him up to the whole thing. He included as evidence a digitally signed message from Roy--and I've verified the signature as being authentic--in which Roy tells Mark the following:

Hash: SHA1
Hi Roy,

I'm sorry. it just makes me so mad when people are pro-MONO. also it
was not me who tried to get david fired so its unfair that they are
pinning it on me.

I liked what you do, but try to distance yourself from the site to give
it credibility. Make it look like a personal gripe while the site keeps
it polite.

- --
~~ Best of wishes

Roy S. Schestowitz | GNU/Linux | PGP-Key: 0x74572E8E
Freelance journalist @
Editor @
GPL-licensed 3-D Othello @
Open Source, non-profit search engine proposal @
Version: GnuPG v1.4.9 (GNU/Linux)

The signature checks, this message is definitely authentically from Roy. The tone doesn't strike me as someone who's talking to someone who's done something he thinks is damaging to his cause, just the contrary. Nor does he express displeasure with Mark's actions, but outright approval, only a wish that a "credibly deniable" sort of distance be kept.

Now, I grew up in a family of lawyers, and I learned that there's no such thing as facts, only evidence. And--even though if Mark were to tell me that he had five fingers on his right hand and an ear on each side of his head, I'd want to verify it visually, in person--this seems like pretty clear evidence to me that Roy is at least supportive of, if not the driving force behind, this sort of cheap attack on someone who disagrees with him, but doesn't want to be tarred by the backlash.

This is the kind of zealotry I mentioned at the outset: the kind that places a "cause" above the real lives of real people. Zealots will try to get you fired; if they consider their "cause" important enough (i.e. more important than you are), they'll do even worse if they can. That kind of thing can only destroy community, it can't build it or sustain it.

Now, Roy's claimed privately that he had nothing to do with any of this, and after I asked him to explain this email, he (finally) posted something disassociating Mark Fink from any connection with his site. I frankly find this hard to believe, and for one simple reason.

I'm sure Roy considers to be an "important" web site. Its traffic rank on Alexa is in the neighborhood of 55,000 over the past three months. I've got a site that isn't anywhere near the top 100,000, and I certainly track where traffic comes from pretty assiduously. It beggars my imagination to think that Roy has absolutely no idea where his traffic is coming from; Mark's messages to ubuntu-devel (and his prior messages to desktop-devel), which included regular references to, must have driven some fairly significant amount of traffic there.

So, my conclusion is that Roy is either a complete idiot or is being, shall we say, less than candid with me about not ever having heard of Mark, as the email I received also clearly suggests. The tone of Roy's email doesn't strike me as someone who's talking to someone he a) doesn't know and is b) unhappy with. It sounds like someone working behind the scenes with someone he knows rather well. As I say, no facts, only evidence, and based on the evidence, the good news for Roy is that I don't think he's a complete idiot.

If you don't like Mono, don't use it, and if you don't like the fact that a distribution includes Mono, find another distribution. But don't take the position Mark and Roy and their friends are staking out, that someone who disagrees with you is fair game for victimization: that goes against everything that community means. When you start attempting to disrupt people's lives over a disagreement regarding a piece of software, you've lost all sense of perspective, integrity and rationality. You've set yourself in opposition to actual community.


Roy Schestowitz said...

I had absolutely nothing to do with that chap. His name sounded familiar to me because he insulted Ubuntu people about a year ago and I urge you you see my responses to this (it's all public) because he's pissing me off when he shows up and does that. I don't follow Ubuntu mailing lists myself, but others do and it's the second time this happens AFAIK. He gives a bad name to the site.

The fact that he opposes Mono is something that I cannot deny agreeing with (that's what I meant by "like", though it lacks context), but as someone whose opposition tried to pull the "report you to your boss" stunt several times before, I'm utterly disgusted by his behaviour and I sympathise with you.

If there is anything else I can do to discourage that person from trolling the mailing lists and harassing you, let me know. There is not so much I can do. I was never in touch with him until you asked me to, at which point I grabbed the E-mail address from the mailing lists.

Am I responsible for every Dick and Harry who merely links to my site and falsely claims being associated with me? I didn't even know about it until someone told me (Tony Manco, who lurked in the Ubuntu lists).

Anonymous said...

But Roy, that email exchange shows that he has been talking to you. You most definitely did not instigate that conversation and you most definitely did not make your displeasure at his carry on known. So why do you claim that you got in touch with him and also that you were displeased with his carry on?

Unfortunately, those emails make a mockery of your entire response here. He clearly did not disgust you before you were found out, you're just in damage control mode now trying to distance yourself from the backlash.

Lefty said...

Well, thanks for presenting your explanation here, Roy. I still don't buy it, but people are welcome to look at the evidence and make up their own minds.

I've made up mine. I don't think you help community, I believe you do it a disservice. As the Russian proverb goes, "If you want to pray for potatoes, pray with a shovel."

Folks like you and Mark Fink like to dignify what you do with the term "advocacy". Less "advocacy" and more "work" would get better results, with less aggravation all around.

Sandy said...

Why do you guys believe that the above poster is Roy? He did not PGP sign his comment!

Anonymous said...

Roy doesn't mean it - of that, I'm pretty sure. I have no doubt this wasn't pre-meditated.

BoycottNovell is its own little paranoid world. They're in a war, and they can't see out of the trenches. I would bet that Mark and Roy talked, but not in terms of planning. He's not that smart, and spends most of his time day-in day-out reposting crap to Usenet / Propeller / Digg / BoycottNovell, etc.

This is just the act of people who've been drinking the kool-aid for far too long.

Anonymous said...

The thing that's missing from the alleged message from Roy Schestowitz is the date and time when it was sent. If it was sent recently, which isn't at all clear from your otherwise lengthy and detailed post, then you're correct that it looks like he is not condemning Fink and he merely asks Fink to tone it down. I would agree that Roy Schestowitz's repudiation should have been clearer.

On the other hand, I am suspicious of your tone here. It looks very much to me that you are drawing the conclusion that you wanted to draw and you completely marginalise the possibility of any legitimate problem with including Mono in the default Ubuntu installation. You also fail to include the possibility that "Mark Fink" is actually a provocateur whose true aim was to make Boycott Novell and Roy Schestowitz look bad. Why else do you think he so conveniently provided you with correspondence directly from Schestowitz? If he was truly "loyal", he would never have done that. I'm not so fast to draw conclusions as you are.

Anonymous said...

The PGP signature verifies that roy sent it. If Marks true aim really was to make Roy look bad, Roy managed to tar himself quite nicely with that response.

When it was actually sent, who knows. However it was clearly sent after the job threats were made and Roy still thought Mark was quite the fine fellow.

So if you disagree with the conclusion drawn, please present your own conclusion.

Roy Schestowitz said...

@Anonymous #6:

No, I never spoke to him before (unless he used some other nym). As I explained to David before (David and I exchanged like 10 messages but he only quotes _one_ in isolation to increase drama value), the reason I was not _attacking_ Fink in my (first-ever) message to him is that he's obviously foul-mouthed and aggressive, so I don't want him on my back, too. It's also hard to slam someone who have been saying good things about you.

I think "Fink" is misguided. He doesn't like Mono, but he's doing more harm to the cause than anything else.

As I said before, people must stop thinking that everyone who links to the site has something to do with me. And he lied to David when he got scared, although I don't know the full story there.

Not everyone who links to Groklaw is 'pals' with PJ (even those who claim they are) and people who hang out in Slashdot are not necessarily buddies of Rob Malda.

This is a mountain made out of not even a molehill. I've nothing to do with it and I've hated it from the start (as you'll find in IRC logs). It's damaging to everyone.

David looks for someone to blame. It's a shame that he picks me as a scapegoat. And if he wants to believe this, then he'll piece together some things that seemingly /fit/ the hypothesis and present them separately, without broader context.

Anonymous said...

Gosh, Roy, it sure is frustrating when some blog villainizes you, and you feel they haven't done sufficient research or are misrepresenting simple facts!

Looking forward to subsequent Boycott Novell post which quotes this comment, with the following insinuations:
* Content sounds vaguely like a threat, and indicates that Lefty's entire post is a clever ruse to smear Roy's pristine reputation.
* Since it was posted anonymously, the author could only be a Microsoft or Novell employee.

And don't forget links to previous Boycott Novell stories to serve as credible references!

Anonymous said...

More lies from Roy, oh dear.

"I never spoke to him before" - clearly, Roy is mis-remembering the number of conversations he's had with Fink on his own site.

Example: , where Roy not only talks to Fink but asks him to maintain a page on BoycottNovell.

Roy, your postings are all in Google, no point trying to deny the obvious :)

Anonymous said...

My own conclusion is that "Mark Fink" is a provocateur who is actually one of Roy Schestowitz's enemies. His aim was to discredit Boycott Novell by offensively trolling the Ubuntu forums and associating the Boycott Novell name with his posts. This also coincides timingwise with the recent DDOS attacks on the Boycott Novell Website and the increase in the number of trolls in its forums and IRC chatroom. If you want to conclude that "Mark Fink" actually was tight with Roy Schestowitz, then it will be necessary to present stronger evidence.

Anonymous said...

On the theme of impartial evidence: Mark Fink's contributions to Boycott Novell

Unless Google's in on the conspiracy, too?

Roy Schestowitz said...

It was only later that I did a Google search on the site to find that this name commented before (there are 20k comments, I don't keep track of names).

Anonymous said...


So many people on your site that you deny knowledge of many of them?

Would have thought the fact you have to keep denying your link to him might make his name stick in your mind somewhat....

Roy Schestowitz said...

All you're showing are talks _about_ him. I saw his name before when he abused the Ubuntu lists. I didn't think I had talked to him.

Roy Schestowitz said...


You're pointing to a comment which says (from me):

"I don’t know Mark Fink. What I do know, however, is that imposition can come with products that offer you no ability to keep you (and your wallet) away from the abomination which is software patents. "

Are you sure it supports your point? For all I know, it's some rabid poster from the Ubuntu lists. I didn't noticed he commented in BN as well, until days ago.

Anonymous said...

No, Roy, you can't spin out of this one.

That's you talking _directly_ to him, not about him.

That fact that you had to deny your links to him last year just goes to prove that people had their suspicions about what games you two were up to back then.

Roy Schestowitz said...

I reply to many people. I don't recall everyone's name and I didn't recall ever talking to him. And that's just true.

Anonymous said...

So we're to believe:

* you often ask random people to maintain a page on your site;
* you forget the names of all those people you have to disassociate yourself from;
* you checked your conversations with Fink on your site "days ago", yet you said above "No, I never spoke to him before (unless he used some other nym)"

Spin, spin, spin.

The plan falls apart, nothing else to do I guess.

Roy Schestowitz said...


I wrote: "Would you like to maintain a page that lists these people?"

yes, I invite people to contribute to the site. Some pages were made by other people. You can find me saying the same thing to other people whom I don't know (some submit anonymously)

sivester said...

There is evidence to show you were aware of who Fink is as far back as a year ago.

I find it hard to believe that you were suddenly blindsided a few days ago by this, and seeing your attempts at spinning this, I find it very hard to believe you were not involved. Oh wait, I have a PGP-verified email from you, egging this person on. I don't have to *believe* anything.

Anonymous said...

"Mark Fink" appears to be a provocateur in his Boycott Novell comments. If I were managing that site, I would be suspicious and condemn such "modest" proposals as stalking Novell employees and trying to make people who support Mono lose their jobs. I'm not convinced that Roy Schestowitz actually approves of such behaviour, only that he didn't address it early on and that he didn't condemn it strongly enough in the published email. Free software advocates have no need of "friends" like "Mark Fink", who definitely sounds more like he is culturally a better fit for a certain large proprietary software vendor.

Roy Schestowitz said...

I see it now. I knew he was causing trouble in the mailing lists (that's nothing new), but I didn't recall speaking to him. Turns out he showed up in the comments where I replied to him.

Roy Schestowitz said...

Anonymous (comment #22),

There are worse people hanging out in the comments, like the one whom Shields uses to vilify the site. Remember we have a "no censorship" policy (Shane has always insisted on it).

Anonymous said...


Come come with the egging on comments, Roy's not guilty of that!

Well. At least as far as egging on death threats, anyway, I guess he draws the line there.

Roy Schestowitz said...

@anonymous (#25)

We don't ever delete comments and we DO have troublemakers. We can't get rid of that without censorship.

Anonymous said...

This is brilliant:

"David looks for someone to blame. It's a shame that he picks me as a scapegoat. And if he wants to believe this, then he'll piece together some things that seemingly /fit/ the hypothesis and present them separately, without broader context." -- Roy

Pot, kettle, black!

Anonymous said...

@Roy: the point isn't lack of censorship.

The point is someone wishing a firey death and eternal damnation on _actual human beings_, and the best you can do is "I wouldn't go that far".

You whip people up and you simply don't get it. You think you have nothing to do with Mark Fink. Sorry, you do.

Lefty said...

For the record, here are the message headers, exactly as I received them:

From: Roy Schestowitz <>
Date: Fri, Jun 12, 2009 at 10:04 AM
Subject: Re:
To: Mark Fink <>

Roy Schestowitz said...

@Anonymous (#28)

No, David wants to hold someone accountable for some perp who obviously reads Boycott Novell and takes it too far. I've nothing to do with that person and he's among among many who commented (we have over 20k comments, so I don't keep track of names and what each of them do).

As for censorship policy, it's hard to draw the line. Censorship is censorship. Period.

Some people hypothesise that these vile comments and bad behaviour arrive from people who intentionally try to ruin the site and 'plant' some ugly stuff in it.

Chris said...

we DO have troublemakers.

Is it normal for you to tell these "troublemakers" you like what they do? I ask because on the email produced here that's exactly what you did, but now Fink is a "troublemaker"? What about all the people who post corrections or challenge what you say and receive nothing but abuse and smears in return? Are those people "troublemakers" as well? You not like what they do, I suppose?

Roy Schestowitz said...

"like what they do" refers to criticism of Mono in general. David already knows that.

It's hard to privately attack someone who puts you alongside RMS (see mailing list).

What would you have done?

Anonymous said...

@Roy: I'm not asking you to censor posters, stop misdirecting.

Let me clue you in. You complain about troublemakers, but what do you actually do?

Someone makes a death-threat on your website. You don't tell them that it's immoral, unjustified, and completely at odds with what you stand for. What you said was, "I wouldn't go that far".

Exactly how far _would_ you go, Roy? (that's a rhetorical question, just to be clear - as in, think about it, and about the impact the hate and bile that collects on your site has on actual people on the receiving end of it).

Anonymous said...

What would I do? Well, I wouldn't 'lie' to the fellow and tell him I like what he's doing. I'd tell him straight up that he's taken it too far. In fact, I did. That's because I've got integrity. I wouldn't dream of condoning actions that are despicable (to me) even if they advanced my agenda.

You however appeared quite happy to do so. Maybe if I had the full context of all your email dealings I'd be able to reach a more balanced conclusion. I doubt that the rest of the emails will ever surface, so from the evidence presented, it looks very much like you supported this guy until you got found out. Nothing really has disuaded me from that opinion yet, though I'm open for discussion on that if more evidence could be presented.

Roy Schestowitz said...

> Someone makes a death-threat on your
> website. You don't tell them that it's
> immoral, unjustified, and completely at
> odds with what you stand for. What you
> said was, "I wouldn't go that far".

These were not death threats and I tend to just ignore such comments. We now have comment-modding.

This is turning out to be a waste of time. Short story -- some zealot who reads my site posts a rant to the Ubuntu ML, links to the site, then gets scared after attacking a person (and threatened with legal action) and tries to accuse me to escape liability.

David takes the perp's bait and wants really hard to prove I have something to do with it.

And here I am wasting my time because time zealots use the site's name to pass accountability.

This thread it pointless. And the censorship policy stays the same ("no censorship") because we favour freedom, as in speech.

Anonymous said...

Oh, i forgot to append to the end that i put 'lie' in quotes because I don't believe for a second that you were just saying that to placate him. You said it because you meant it.

Otherwise that'd make you a liar... right?

Chris said...

This thread it [sic] pointless.

Well, you should count your blessings. You've gotten far more air time than most of the people you've victimized with your half-assed, badly-researched "articles" which are nothing more than smears. Too bad you can't defend any of this.

By the way, should we expect the Mickey Mouse Club to descend here shortly to insult everyone and fight the good fight for you? You know, "Jose_X" and "tacone" and "Hicham" and "twitter" and "neighborlee" and all the other trolls and nymshifters (like Fink) you employ to "further the cause".

Lefty said...

Roy, I told what I would have done well in advance of Mark's outing your apparent behind-the-scenes encouragement: I'd have posted a prominent disclaimer, right on the front page, disassociating the site from anything to do with Mark Fink, his statements and his actions.

You didn't do that; if you had, I might be more likely to buy these after-the-fact attempts at explanation. I guess the glow of being mentioned in the same sentence as RMS got in your eyes or something.

Roy Schestowitz said...


Lefty said...

Sigh. Roy's doing just fine on his own here without any need for stunt clowns, thanks.

(H1 B1FF!!!1!!)

Anonymous said...

@Lefty: Actually, Schestowitz did post a disclaimer that Mark Fink has nothing to do with Boycott Novell and that he does not condone Fink's behaviour. Apparently, he did not post the disclaimer soon enough for you.

Lefty said...

Yes, that would be exactly correct: he didn't post that disclaimer until some several hours after I asked him what the story was with that email that Mark Fink had forwarded me.

And, yeah, that was too late.

Roy Schestowitz said...

I'm not going to comment here anymore, but the message saying "LOL GUYS I WAS JUST KIDDING NOVELL IS PRETTY OK!" is NOT ME. It's a forger!

I've suffered from many agent provocateurs recently, including such forgers who insult my friends _under my name_. There's also the DDOS attacks, the mod-attacks from "linsux" and flooding of our IRC channel by the same people

Lefty said...

Yes, I'd actually intuited that, Roy, as a careful reading of my response may reveal.

James Cape said...

Wow, the comments on this post are absolutely *insane*. Hating a Linux port of a programming language means you must become the victim of agents provocateur? Microsoft *infiltrated* Canonical by having someone totally unassociated with them write a very awesome tool using a runtime you disapprove of?

Sweet Jesus, I'm half-tempted to start writing free software in C# (which is a very nice language to code in, BTW) just to poke you crazy fuckers.

Anonymous said...

Mountain out of a molehill.

David "Yay Microsoft!" Schlesinger is looking for as much vilification millage of the pro-Freedom community as he can possibly squeeze in order to promote his pro-Monosoft agenda.

Anonymous said...

i really appreciate mono in default since i use windows and C# .net etc. It provides a cheap free webserver with linux and apache to customers, so i make money and dont owe nothing!! But personally if i were in ubuntu's shoes i'd go fedora's route.

Lefty said...

"Yay, Microsoft"...? I have a "pro-Monosoft agenda"...?

Now, that's funny. It could only be funnier if anonymous posters had to leave their comments in crayon.

Michael Gauthier said...

You guys all have too much lead in your drinking water. It's disturbing.

Scott said...

I haven't seen this much fighting over mono since that time in high school.

Anonymous said...

Hey Roy,

How exactly do you explain the PGP signature on the e-mail checking out?

Anonymous said...

Roy, don't give us that nonsense about censorship - you're perfectly willing to plaster warning notices on the comments of people you don't like, and no-ones asking you to censor comments anyway. It's a diversion because you don't want to answer the real questions.

You claim to have never spoken to Mark Fink, but then you're caught:

* talking privately to him via e-mail
* talking to him publicly on your site
* talking about him on FSDaily

... which is pretty good going given that "Mark Fink" doesn't exist. "Mark Fink" does claim to have had discussions with you, though!

Lefty said...

One of the nice things about telling the truth consistently is that there's so much less to have to keep track of.

I don't get the impression that Roy and his friends have managed to work that one out yet.

There seems to be no shortage of evidence whatsoever that, contrary to his protests and representations, Roy knows Mark Fink plenty well.

If someone will lie to you, right to your face, about something, then it's a pretty good assumption that he'll lie about pretty much anything if it suits him.

Anonymous said...

In his first post, Roy asked what he could do to discourage the person trolling.

Previously, he has marked out comments by people he doesn't like on his site with a big red warning, like this:

In this example, Roy marked the posts of "G. Michaels" because another user, "twitter", asked him to:

"twitter" is another well-known BoycottNovell attack dog who is, of course, absolutely nothing to do with BoycottNovell:

Poor Roy. All these sock-puppets, attacking the people he doesn't like, and besmirching the good name of BoycottNovell. What can he do?

Lefty said...

What I'm actually finding more interesting is stuff like this entry, which contains fairly wholesale character assassination of various commenters who happen not to agree with Roy, but also the general invasion of privacy, clearly led in this particular case by Roy.

I don't get the impression from this that meddling in people's private lives is actually quite as reprehensible to Roy as he's been making out.

I'm absolutely no fan of OOXML--as is no surprise to folks who know me--but when you take a dislike of OOXML and/or Microsoft, and extend it into digging up and broadcasting someone's personal information--for no clear reason other than a sort of ham-handed intimidation, out of pique that they might have the temerity to hold a different view of things than you do--you're over the top and out of line.

shevegen said...

"If you don't like Mono, don't use it, and if you don't like the fact that a distribution includes Mono, find another distribution."

Ok I am getting annoyed about this.

First, as I wrote many times, I am not at all opposed towards Mono. I think it is a fine solution, and I would not mind if Gnome would decide to use Mono more readily than they used in the past IF there are more advantages associated with it (other than solely companies pushing for that). For example, if developer time could be reduced by a lot, this would be a solid argument _for_ using mono.

But what you write here is really unfair. How should a user _AVOID_ Mono if i.e. Gnome decides to use it?

Distributions can be changed easily but if Gnome relies on a whole ecosystem of Mono, a user SIMPLY _CAN NOT_ AVOID IT, unless he wants to stop using Gnome. And in this regard you would suggest them to go away and dont use gnome if they dont like Mono, when they very well were using it for a long time before that ...

Anonymous said...


Not the first time he's done it, e.g.

Roy's strangely unwilling to fess up to who pays for the 24x7 posting he does, though.

Anyone actually know how many articles Roy posts to the internet, every day of every year? Go count Usenet, Digg, Propeller, BoycottNovell and see how many it adds up to. I'd like to see someone argue that he's doing it in his "spare time"!

Anonymous said...

Roy is obviously working for Microsoft, helping to make sure Novell has nowhere to turn but to them :)

Anonymous said...


Please post a .txt file of the message somewhere, as I cannot gpg --verify the version that's posted inline. Thanks.

Anonymous said...

omfg, 7334 pwness

Jose_X said...

Hey, I was mentioned here (a part of the Mickey Mouse Club)!

This is why I came

I think the point of the critics here is that Roy should do more research and analysis before speaking as if certain conclusions hold no matter what. He should realize that having a wide audience (even if only for a blog) means he has the power that everything said gets magnified (even the mistakes and lapses).

I've said this before: Roy's person (and company) connections are interesting. Someone saying something a few times (or once) is different than someone that keeps coming back to the same themes or tactics. [Of course, we all judge for ourselves if there truly is a connection that has any significance.. Fink/Schestowitz!] But when you rely on that, you fail to address the topics.

I don't believe in doing deals with the "devil" (I'm not perfect, btw, but I'm talking about what I try to follow because I think it is smart for everyone), but you should always be willing to trust you can argue down the "devil", at least when you make the conversation public so it can be scrutinized by others.

I think Roy's critics here are pushing it in their accusations (especially after Roy gave his side), but I presume that was their point.

Boycottnovell has always appeared to me to be willing to give a voice to anyone (I have to imagine there are exceptions: spam and perhaps more). Sometimes people that were accused do speak for themselves. This is important, it's crucial, but it is unrealistic to expect everyone will be everywhere to put out all the fires.

And, I shouldn't have to say this, but here goes: I don't speak for or on behalf of boycottnovell or Roy or anyone else but myself. ...and FWIW, I visit the site on a recurring basis because I like the themes the site hits on. I agree with many things (many major topics) in essence. I don't agree with everything (that goes without saying). Again, I encourage people to post their criticisms and what they think are corrections to that site. That helps everyone.

>> There seems to be no shortage of evidence whatsoever that, contrary to his protests and representations, Roy knows Mark Fink plenty well.

Just in case this isn't an attempt to teach a lesson, let me address this comment.

Please don't claim to know me "pretty well" should I ever write an email to you as short as was the one we read above (assuming you don't go around reading what I post online so as to have memory of further context). It's one thing to taunt BN. It's another to adopt the less defensible aspects of that site as your standard.

>> Poor Roy. All these sock-puppets, attacking the people he doesn't like, and besmirching the good name of BoycottNovell. What can he do?

No, I think the lesson to learn is that people with common interests/beliefs don't have to collude in order to work towards similar goals and be defensive of similar things. Isn't this what some don't like about BN?

OTOH, "sockpuppet" and "Microsoft shill" are likely mostly just short-hand for saying "you are on their side".

Jose_X said...


>> What I'm actually finding more interesting is stuff like this entry, which contains fairly wholesale character assassination of various commenters who happen not to agree with Roy, but also the general invasion of privacy, clearly led in this particular case by Roy.

From what we can gather from that posting, it appears the personal info spotlight was instigated by an anonymous email.

Roy's justification appears to be "To merely give away the identity of someone who smears another would only be fair. One’s identity is not a smear; it’s information and it’s publicly accessible."

This reminds me of how the Internet does not forget (well, to some approximation). If you feel differently than in the past, .. well, here is what a commenter replied:

"Everyone should have the right to use pseudonymes and it is a matter of personal respect and knighthood attitude to respect that. It is all just about the issue at hand."

I'll leave it at that.

>> But what you write here is really unfair. How should a user _AVOID_ Mono if i.e. Gnome decides to use it?

It's called forking or supporting a different project. This is why it is valuable for Linux to be "fragmented". There is power (for many reasons) in being fragmented.

I think git makes it easier than through most other means for many people to maintain forks with almost no cost. After that, it's a matter of gaining a following and advertizing your fork (or building a brand around it). There are places to publish your fork for free I believe. [hosted download or torrents]

In any case, I think people should complain. Only after you have complained enough, giving key players a chance to re-evaluate their position after many arguments have been heard, are you likely to have the strength and help/backing to go ahead and possibly achieve a successful (popular) fork. If you gain enough momentum, you will make it easier for those that work on current GNOME (or whatever the project) who sympathize with you to help out.

Serious fragmentation is thwarted because most people prefer to compromise and join a team.

>> Distributions can be changed easily but if Gnome relies on a whole ecosystem of Mono, a user SIMPLY _CAN NOT_ AVOID IT, unless he wants to stop using Gnome.

To fork, you can start as how was done with gnote, but that may not solve the patent problems near term.

Eg: or [You can read the whole thread at once here: ]

>> Roy is obviously working for Microsoft, helping to make sure Novell has nowhere to turn but to them :)

Novell already turned to them in a big way (before BN existed). Novell reworked their staff and their goals. Novell can turn around, but it sure doesn't seem like they will unless Microsoft were to suddenly try to flatten them [Novell is useful to Microsoft].

I started backing Red Hat much more over the last few years because of Novell's actions.

Red Hat has also submitted through official channels some really good pieces against software patents.

.....If I have made a mistake above, just reply. I have not read every link [see, everyone always has an excuse :-P ].

Lefty said...

Please don't claim to know me "pretty well" should I ever write an email to you as short as was the one we read above...

I'm going by the tone of Roy's reply as well as by several documented instances of Roy's having interacted directly with Mark on In additional, a Google search of the site shows more than 500 comments attributed to or relating to Mark Fink, some 2.5% of Roy's estimate of "20000+" comments. That's a lot from/about one person.

Beyond that, Mark's flamewars on ubuntu-devel and previously on desktop-devel and elsewhere repeatedly reference, and must have driven some spikes in traffic over there. Am I to believe that Roy is such a slipshod webmaster that he doesn't take note of surges in traffic and figure out where they're coming from...?

Jose_X said...

Hey, I googled and got about 1000, but guess what? I visited some of those pages and Mark Fink only appeared on the side bar to those pages as a news item. There is a current story (from a few days back) called: __"Mark Fink" Has Nothing to Do With US__. Apparently google's spiders/bots have pulled in many pages in the last few days (with no connection to Mark Fink) with that story on the side.

I googled "Mark Fink said," -- which is what I believe cues in an actual comment by that person -- and only came up with 17 hits. I didn't follow the links, but that would bound it above by 17.

I can't say if Roy knows Mark's family intimately or if Roy doesn't even remember addressing a few comments by a "Mark Fink" over a year ago (in February I think it was); however, it appears that those wanting to look for more dirt/evidence through google should consider getting more creative than "Mark Fink", which is what I tried initially. [1010 hits]

Jo Shields said...

There's also the other option, Jose - that the guy posts under several different names. Remember, it's okay when Pro-BN people do it (see: constant approval of twitter's behaviour). It's impossible to say without the IP address records (which only Roy has access to), but the posting styles of Mark Fink are identical to those of "Diamond Wakizashi", fr'example.

Also, why is OpenID always so broken on ?

Dylan McCall said...

Roy, mind posting up that whole email exchange?
Full disclosure and all. Extra kudos if Mark Fink happens to sign his messages, but either way could help put this matter to a close.

This reminds me of that interesting attack on Miguel, actually. Remember how you kept insinuating he was a secret agent working for Microsoft because of a few things he wrote and did?
Yeah, funny how things catch up like that...

Anonymous said...


Maybe Roy doesn't know him that well.

If that's the case, he should:

* stop giving him direct instructions about how to run his ubuntu-devel-discuss trolling company;
* not ask him to maintain pages on BoycottNovell.

Those two things in particular make it look to the outside observer that Roy has at least a small amount of trust in "Mark Fink".

Plus, as Jo noted, Roy likely knows who "Mark Fink" is for real - note that he hasn't outed this sock-puppet like he regularly does for those which post opinions he _doesn't_ agree with.. strange that!

Jose_X said...

Jo, you may be 100% correct about that individual. That doesn't implicate Roy; however, if he and Roy were very close and colluding, it might be difficult to catch that easily.

I think Roy is fairly straightforward about what he is trying to accomplish. He appears to work quite a bit at it.

In any case, what he posts that is good is good and what is bad is bad. This is true regardless of who he is. [Some of it requires trust (or is opinions). Other things do not.]

I'm hoping software patents will be made void in the US sometime late this year or next year. Even if that happens, I do wish people (that value FOSS, Linux, etc) would not follow Microsoft's lead. At least not with the tools one decides to use to create new FOSS software. Blend current mono into wine and fork mono to diverge from dotnet. Java is so similar in so many ways, anyway.

Anyway, while I love being friends with people whenever possible, I am not compromising without acceptable reasons, so it's probably best not to get too friendly for the time being. There is a significant chasm that has not been closed (except a little).

PS: I have to ask. I have been assuming you are a "he", so if you are a "she" please correct me.

Jo Shields said...

It's a "he". Not hard to find on my website though.

Jose_X said...

>> * stop giving him direct instructions about how to run his ubuntu-devel-discuss trolling company;
>> * not ask him to maintain pages on BoycottNovell.

The first point refers to a single comment in a single short email (so far), and Roy explained his position: he agreed with the general position and found it difficult to be critical at that moment towards the person's precise approach.

Yes, the email appears to condone the action to some extent. It's also clear that Roy did not feel totally comfortable with being associated with it. This can be spun to the left or to the right. In any case, that is very little info to go on. It makes more sense to pick a side as the evidence adds up. It also makes sense to criticize boycottnovell when they do the same. [I usually won't be too critical since I don't know how much truth is in some BN statements, but those getting particularly offended should complain.]

The second point appears silly to me. "Mark Fink" hardly appeared on boycottnovell. Roy, like many hosts trying to encourage the audience to contribute to a wiki, will ask almost anyone that says something that could support the site to contribute to a wiki. He is pretty liberal about where he gets information [same with, eg, wikipedia].

Lefty said...

Roy explained his position: he agreed with the general position and found it difficult to be critical at that moment towards the person's precise approach.

A position which is completely at odds with the "disgust" with which Roy told me he viewed Mr. Fink's shenanigans.

Roy can't have it both ways. If he was as disgusted by it as he claimed, he shouldn't have found much difficulty in saying so.

Lefty said...

@shevegen writes But what you write here is really unfair. How should a user _AVOID_ Mono if i.e. Gnome decides to use it?

Well, since GNOME doesn't currently require Mono, there's not really an issue. If GNOME decides to require Mono at some point in the future, then you may have to choose between GNOME and a Mono-free non-GNOME distribution.

Life is full of tough choices. I'm regularly faced with the choice of either getting a nice tattoo from my friend in Tokyo, or continuing to take advantage of Japanese bath houses. So far, the baths have won.

I can't have both, though, and no amount of wishing or whining on my part will make those two choices be anything other than mutually exclusive.

Life's like that sometimes. However, your worries about GNOME are so far baseless, so you're really mostly indulging in hand-wringing...

Anonymous said...


You said "It's also clear that Roy did not feel totally comfortable with being associated with it". I agree, that is clear.

But here's the big difference. Roy didn't say "I don't think your actions here are productive and you should stop trolling Ubuntu".

What he said was basically "I like what you're doing, but try to make sure people don't think it's to do with BoycottNovell".

It would be easier to believe Roy if he hadn't be caught lying so many times in just this one post. It's easy to find more lies from him:

"In all fairness, David is a victim here. I have just pulled the address of Fink from the Ubuntu mailing list and denounced him privately." -- , last comment

He "denounced him privately"? Er, what? Roy said here:

"The reason I was not _attacking_ Fink in my (first-ever) message to him is that he's obviously foul-mouthed and aggressive, so I don't want him on my back, too. It's also hard to slam someone who have been saying good things about you."

He didn't attack or denounce "Mark Fink", in fact all he said was "I like what you're doing, just make sure people think it's your personal gripe".

We also know this isn't the first time "Mark Fink" has trolled Ubuntu, his previous attempt was last June (weird! almost a year to the day!). Within a couple of hours, Roy had written an article about the trolling:

We further know that "Mark Fink" only turns up on the internet to:

a. troll GNOME
b. troll Ubuntu
c. read and respond on BoycottNovell :D

Roy may well not be co-ordinating these trolling attacks directly, but it sure smells bad from here.

This can be waved away as "I can't be responsible for what my readers do" as much as he likes; however, there's generally no smoke without fire. And there's an awful lot of smoke here.

Anonymous said...

Roy Schestowitz is a thug. He has no qualms about spreading libel about people if it helps his cause.

Take, for example, the following case of Roy Schestowitz smearing Jimmi Hughs for an edit he made to Wikipedia, claiming that Jimmi was paid to censor criticisms of Microsoft:

I am not surprised in the least by his signed email above or by his involvement in this zealotry.

sulfide said...

guys..WHO CARES. you people cat fight worse than a bunch of divas for a desktop that has for over a decade barely touched the market. If you're going to bicker at least do it about something worthwhile.

Lefty said...

Oh, you're talking about the desktop, the "Swiss Army Knife" of communication and computing devices.

The desktop's dead, dude. Mobile's where it's at, and open source is already driving nails into Windows Mobile and Symbian.

Jose_X said...

Anon, Roy said in his first reply above what he meant by "like". He also said there was more context (in other emails I presume) which would make "like" more clear.

I do wonder if he will show more of that context.

As for the Roy's "lies" or exaggerations about denouncing Fink, you are assuming that one email quoted in this blog posting was the entirety of the private "denouncing" Roy was talking about in the BN comment you linked. The denouncing (which may have been a wrist tap) could have occurred over various exchanges.

Again, it would help if we knew more than just that email above.

>> We also know this isn't the first time "Mark Fink" has trolled Ubuntu, his previous attempt was last June (weird! almost a year to the day!). Within a couple of hours, Roy had written an article about the trolling:

Roy writes about a lot of similar events (to the codec discussion) that appear on some list (forum, etc) or other. Roy gets a lot of email and irc tips. Actually, the codec issue appears to have involved Mark Shuttleworth. Did you catch that bit? Would that not be a newsworthy tip to follow? Might that not be an event that someone would be likely to report to BN quickly?

>> It would be easier to believe Roy if he hadn't be caught lying so many times in just this one post.

Well, I am not sure what you mean. I didn't agree with your interpretation of some things you said (ergo this reply).

Anonymous said...

What wierds me out about the boycott Novell website is that it doesn't render correctly in Firefox 3. I don't have a copy of IE handy, so can't see if it renders correctly with that. It would be interesting to check!

Anonymous said...

@Jose_X : you just have to put two and two together to see the lies; it's not a case of opinion.

Example: Roy claimed that "I was never in touch with him until you asked me to, at which point I grabbed the E-mail address from the mailing lists". So Roy admits sending him an e-mail.

But when Anonymous said, of the mail we see, "I would agree that Roy Schestowitz's repudiation should have been clearer", Roy's reply is "the reason I was not _attacking_ Fink in my (first-ever) message to him is that he's obviously foul-mouthed and aggressive".

Roy claims he both sent "Mark Fink" a mail after getting his address from the list, and *also* that his "first-ever" message to him was the reply that we examined in this post.

The two simply don't add up.

In each post from Roy he attempts to brush off the facts which have come to light with some explanation. Then new facts are found which directly contradict him, and he's all "Oh, I forgot about that, but everything else I said is true". Problem is, that excuse has been played too many times at this point.

We ought to start up a BoycottNovell credibility index to document all these political maneuvres. Who can forget the nonsense they post about Linux being based on Minix (a la the anti-free-software Ken Brown report) - a position that was being repeated by readers on IRC only yesterday. There is something fundamentally wrong here and we need to find out what, and who's funding it.

Dylan McCall said...

Seems fairly obvious this is all a big plot by Microsoft shills to, indeed, boycott Novel. Part of their overarching plan to wipe out Novel, and then the world :b

Anyone have some dirt on how close Roy's IP address is to a Microsoft workplace?

starcannon said...

Interesting all this anonymous posting.

Please folks, as the Mono issue, and its surrounding tissue is debated, and the carcass beaten, keep in mind that many websites, blogs, and forums are being run into the ground by linsux; who, for all appearances seem to be taking great joy in the pot they can help stir.

Remember, were all wanting good things for our OS of choice; that even means when some of us don't see eye to eye on an issue.

Anonymous said...

starcannon: I see absolutely no evidence whatsoever of linsux being involved.

Nice try at trying to pawn off the blame on someone else, though. Apparently this is a common ploy used by BoycottNovell fanatics.

I'm beginning to wonder if the "DDoS against BN" was even for real. Seems pretty fishy to me.

Lefty said...

I've been wondering how Roy would even tell that the site was suffering from a DDoS attack, given that he seems to be claiming that he has no idea where his traffic's coming from...

Anonymous said...

If you want to see how evil boycott novell really is check this out:

Boycott Novell wants people to starve to death instead of having more IE users

I found it on that Linsux site, I couldn't believe it, but the Digg link included with the story proves it.

Anonymous said...

I'm reposting what someone else wrote a while back on ComputerWorld because I think it provides a lot of insight into Roy Schestowitz and his army of trolls:

Anyone who thinks Microsoft made Hans Reiser kill his wife, claims he turned down a "six figure" job because they asked him for a Word document or posts things like these shouldn't be taken seriously. Even a broken clock is right twice a day, and that's what he banks on. The rest is really just his inexperience, insane hatred and child-like demeanor showing through.

That blog is nothing more than an endless stream of misrepresentations, thinly veiled lies, witch hunts and weird "THIS IS WHAT YOU SHOULD BE SCARED OF" prose, accentuated by what I suppose he thinks are "funny" photoshopped images of people and things he thinks are out to get him. A few days ago he wrote up a storm about all the journalists he estimated had been "bribed" by Microsoft because they got evaluation laptops with Windows 7, and a few of those people actually humoured him by stopping by and explaining why they wouldn't throw away decades of journalistic experience and reputation for a $2,000 laptop, but he just ignored them. Hey, he's right and he knows it. featured an article by Bruce Byfield on this. Roy has a retinue of about half a dozen hanger-ons why post up a storm whenever and wherever anyone criticizes his abrasive "advocacy", which can be seen clearly there... don't miss the fact that our very own favorite troll is also chummy with him (I mean if you needed an excuse). It seems he does these days is post links to Schestowitz's blog with his fourteen accounts anyway.

I'm sure it's important to keep an eye out for Microsoft and all, but by god, this guy is just bad news for the FOSS community. He brings out the worst of the "OMG I HATE MICROSOFT, I AM ANGRY AND I'M GOING TO DO SOMETHING ABOUT IT!!!" crowd. On purpose, I'm sure. Because the more abrasive he becomes, the more people dislike him and the more he can claim he's being "stalked" and "targeted" by the Evil Empire (TM). That kid is trapped in a vicious circle he built for himself. He needs to take a deep breath, go outside and play or something. He's so desperate and impatient to make a name for himself but he goes about it with such incompetence (volume != quality) that sometimes I think he must be sponsored by someone or something like that. Hell, he's already claiming Microsoft and Novell are directly responsible for all this.

Anyway, teh internet is serious business and all that...

You can find the original comment by Yggdrasil here:

Anonymous said...

Roy lies about a lot of things. We're currently investigating these things and so far, there's a lot of stuff that doesn't add up.

Hopefully this project won't die before it's finished, we intend on doing a writeup within the next month on this subject.

Roy and his little mafia at BN is becoming a threat to the credibility of the OSS Communities, we can't stand by and watch him get away with it.

Lefty said...

Actually, that's pretty amazing: "Another thing: Microsoft tries to drive its critics into a state of desperation. It’s not so funny when you see victims of this and you see this more vividly in Microsoft’s leaks (the Slog)...This is a similar strategy, based on what I am told, to what the government tried to do to those resisting unnecessary wars. Ruining their name, driving them insane or driving them to suicide. I sense that what Reiser did relates to this."

Roy "senses" that Microsoft drove Hans Reiser to become a murderer...? Too bad Reiser's attorneys didn't come up with that one...

Anonymous said...

What's Roy up to?

* 68k total posts to c.o.l.a on usenet, 700 this month alone - source
* 6.7k Digg submissions, 13k comments, 17k diggs - source
* 25k total propeller submissions (10k "recent") - source
* 10k Youtube video views - source
* 2.6k tweets (why so few? he only started five months ago) - source

And that's just the tip of the iceberg...

Lefty said...

Hm. There's a comment on this page at FSDaily with a comment from "schestowitz" reading, "I think that Mark Fink posting to the Ubuntu mailing lists claiming that there was anti-Ubuntu thingie going on left people with the wrong impression."

So Roy has had to distance himself from Mark Fink in the past, and yet he never heard of him before a couple of days ago...?

This is getting a lot harder to swallow, Roy.

Anonymous said...

David: in that very same thread you are talking about, he claims to not know who "komrad" is either:

"I haven't a clue who "komrad" is and I see a lot of baseless accusations made against the site."

Yet if you look at komrad's submission history, all komrad does is post links to BoycottNovell - seems to be EVERY SINGLE ARTICLE. This komrad person submits nothing else.

Anonymous said...

Funny thing is, when you click on that COLA link a few comments above this one, then click on Roy's name under "Top Users" you get this:

This account has been banned because it violated the Google Groups Terms Of Use.

Lefty said...

This account has been banned because it violated the Google Groups Terms Of Use.

You're quite correct, that's absolutely true.


Anonymous said...


Yeah, it's a bit hilarious how Roy claims to not know who 'komrad' is.

Everywhere else he posts like 20 or 30 times a day, but not FSDaily. He posted _3_ stories under his username there.

So we're to believe there's another crapflooding psycho out there doing his dirty work for him? lol.

Gordon said...


Regarding the conversation you're enjoying on Roy's blog about the Jimmi Hugh article, I felt I had to stop by, since I'm the one that ripped him a new one over it. You said that Roy "won't even acknowledge" that article (or the one about the "bribed" journalists) as a topic of conversation. First off, you'll notice comments there by Shane Coyle apologizing to Hugh and agreeing with my analysis. I don't know if you're aware who Shane is - he's the person who owns the domain. He invited Roy to post about the Novell deal with Microsoft, a decision which he eventually lamented. You'll notice Shane also commented on the 'hAl' hit job, voicing essentially the same kind of argument you and pretty much everyone else has about that little piece of work.

To give you an idea of the level of petty to which this person has sunk, see this post as well. In it you'll see Shane repeating my analysis of the Jimmi Hugh smear to Roy, to which he replies that - wait for it - he didn't even read it. That's right. A little later he adds that he "needs to look into it", because you know how a post with 100+ comments is an everyday thing for him, not to mention having to take the time to mark all my posts with cute red text because I like to point out his friends' shenanigans elsewhere on the net. Later in the safety of his IRC channel (surrounded by what can only be described as his sycophantic yes men) he says things like these, which should give you a hint as to how guilty he feels about having smeared this person.

I wish I had time to put together all of the stuff I have in a more coherent form, but I find myself short of time to even finish my dinky photography articles. I despair every time I see him quoted anywhere else as an "expert" on anything. Most people have no idea how terrible this kid is, regardless of the precious few actually valuable things he does.

Anonymous said...

It seems like Roy is avoiding answering the questions, and attempting a little subject-changing while he's at it.

Anonymous said...

Someone really ought to grab a wikidot or something and start documenting all this stuff because it gets lost in the noise of blog comments and the thousands of various BN posts.

People deserve to know what he's really up to.

Anonymous said...

Roy is doing the same thing with Astralknight that he did with Mark Fink, he says "I don't know who AstralKnight is", yet he diggs up astralknight's submissions and post comments in them. Astralknight's posts show up in the IRC channel too.

He's probably been in contact with Astralknight, just like Mark Fink.

Jo Shields said...

"He's probably been in contact with Astralknight, just like Mark Fink." - consider the possibility that someone posts under two different names - one for IRC, one for places like Digg.

Then consider the possibility that one of the channel regulars, maybe even one he quotes as an authority in his "news" articles, is someone like Fink or AstralKnight.

Anonymous said...


There's no "maybe" about that. He does. And quite often.

Anonymous said...

Roy mostly gave up on Digg because people figured out he was full of it. Of course all of those people were labeled as shills. Astralknight is carrying on his legacy (such as it is). Though, astralknight does little more than copy & paste the same comments over and over defaming people who don't agree with him. BN's favorite new thing to do when people don't agree with thim is to label them as part of some imaginary Microsoft "perception management" team.

This "astralknight" character is possibly a "plant" by Roy, if not Roy himself. If his goal was to get people over to BN's side, his comments wouldn't read like some angry little kid wrote them. Astralknight posts many of the same comments, usually in response to someone calling him out on his lies. Astralknight also posts to many other sites, just like Roy. On Reddit, for example, he uses the same comments as on Digg, he just replaces references to "Digg" with "Reddit".

Lefty said...

Gordy Michaels writes in a comment here that '"Mark Fink” equals “AstralKnight” equals “CyberPhoenix” equals “Diamond Wakizashi”'...

Roy's story started out being hard to believe, but we're well beyond the "pretty much defying the laws of physics" point, I think...

Jo Shields said...

I'm not convinced by the association, unless Gordy can provide reasoning behind his analysis.

I certainly believe that "komrad" on FSDaily, "donkeypuke" on Reddit, and "AstralKnight" on Digg are all members of his IRC channel - but I don't know who. Or which of them is Fink.

Jo Shields said...

Oh, and you won't win your current argument. He's simply got more stamina than you. I tried the same when he insisted that Sun did not support OOXML, despite Sun employees adding support for it to OOo3 (a fact he simply refused to acknowledge regardless of that annoying blip known as "reality"). That one went on for MONTHS. In the end it's why I gave up commenting over there.

Coming up on Boycott Novell: "Cognitive Dissonance, and how we don't suffer from it"

Anonymous said...

Lefty, I read through the comments on BN, that story about OS/2. Roy really is unable to answer a question.

Sooner or later, someone will sue him.

Lefty said...

I wouldn't be even slightly surprised if that were to happen. Roy's on the wrong side of the line here, I'd say.

Anonymous said...

He does risk lawsuits - being in the UK puts him in the libel hotspot of the world. However, realistically, there wouldn't be an awful lot of point: you wouldn't get much in the way of damages from a student (assuming he even still is one - that PHD has been coming for years now, what's up with that?), and you'd get the hatemail from his acolytes about how he was being censored and all.

Many of his IRC friends - Mark Kent, Jose Veloso, Will Hill, Keith R-T, etc. are all very real people. However, some are obvious socks and clearly run some of these 'reposting' accounts on other services. "Mark Fink" I don't think is amongst them - the digg/reddit personas are the same person, the FSDaily is someone else. "Mark Fink" is probably Will, but the nutty e-mailers and the BN reposters are definitely different people.

Anonymous said...

I just finished reading the Left vs Roy/Jose_X thread at regarding the Jimmi Hugh libel and my mind is just spinning with disbelief.

Is it me, or can Jose_X's argument be summed up as the following:

"If you don't know the facts then it would seem like Jimmi Hugh was guilty, therefore Roy wasn't wrong in accusing him of being guilty, especially since we don't know for sure that he is innocent."

The more I look, the more I see that their arguments consist of nothing but logical fallacies.

Anonymous said...

Yeah, the Roy / Jose_X debating team is a joy to behold. Roy will hammer you with irrelevant cites and inept arguments while Jose batters you with his verbal diarrhoea.

The classic example is still

Summary: Novell purchase some extremely important and dangerous patents from a bankrupt company, and donate them to the protection of free software.

BoycottNovell summary: Novell engage in more software patent abuse!

Note well how Roy later "admits" that he deliberately wrote the article that way in the knowledge that the patents had been donated to OIN. He owns up to lying.

Except, of course, he didn't - in order to tell those lies about Novell he would have had to do some research, and that _never_ happens - he just prefers to been seen as distorting the truth than having misunderstood it in the first place. Bizarre.

Anonymous said...

In Roy's last comment on that BSA article, Roy states:

"Thanks a lot, Alex, for all the feedback that helps me see where the post was deficient. I won’t link here (not without expressing the flaws in the anchor)."

Yet, if you scroll to just above the comment section where all the linkbacks to that article are listed, you'll find that he has not done as he promised in ANY of the later articles that he wrote linking back to that one.

Caught in another lie.

(Big surprise, I'm sure)

Onur Gümüş said...

I guess just some more traffic goes to BoycottNovell. Silence is bliss

Anonymous said...


Evidently this entire blog post is now considered libel by Roy.

tzs said...

While I have no love lost for Roy and his numerous errors and outright lies on his site, your charges are serious--especially the claim that the email you quote is from him.

You say the signature verifies, but I am unable to verify it, because the conversion of the email to HTML for your blog entry has sufficiently mangled it that I can't recover the original.

Please put the file that you verified the signature on someplace where it can be retrieved by third parties, unmangled, so we can check.

Anonymous said...

Roy didn't deny the email. He didn't even mention the email in his first comment (the first comment), so it has to be real.

When faced with the truth, Roy & Co. ignore it. Roy knows the email is real, and it makes him look bad, so he ignored it.

Though Lefty, you should go ahead and let other people verify the signature anyway.

Lefty said...

First, Roy's had plenty of opportunities to dispute that email, and he hasn't done so, not even once. He's alluded to other emails which, according to him, would change my interpretation of events, but has failed to produce a single one.

In any case, I'm in Amsterdam this week and Gran Canaria next week, and while I'm not unwilling to post the message someplace where people can verify it independently, it's going to have to wait until I return to the States on the 12th of July...

Anonymous said...

In the "Mark Fink" has nothing to do with us story, Schestowitz disabled ratings & comments. It's obvious he was afraid of more confrontation.

In the story the best part was "One has to wonder if all that disruption in the Ubuntu mailing lists was actually intended to incite people and make this Web site look bad." He just can't understand why anyone would not agree with him. He's trying to make himself look like the victim, like he always does.

When he's finally out of business. I'm sure he'll be blaming everyone except the one person who should take all the blame: himself.

Seanbot said...

Hey, just so you know, this entry is on Digg now. It's good to know that the Linux community at large is being informed of this!

Anonymous said...


Slander! Libel! Libelous slander!

Anonymous said...

Corrected the Digg link for you:

Scestowitz tries to get Canonical people fired over mono

G. Michaels said...

The relationship between AstralKnight, CyberPhoenix and DiamondWakizashi is easy to see - they're troll accounts used to push the boycotnovell bullshit on Digg, Reddit, Mixx and elsewhere. I have no definitive proof of "Mark Fink" being the same person, it's just a hunch. The "you should die because you are not as pure as me" attitude is basically the same. How many angry, insulting trolls do you figure Roy is grooming? More than one would be too gutter, even for him. And risky, as he found out in this case.

People like this invariably think they're more clever than everyone else, that they can get away with this kind of shit forever and they figure no one is going to notice. The same thing happened to his pet nymshifter on Slashdot (the "twitter" idiot), and the same thing happens to the "MadHatter" guy, "Goblin" and "Slated". Even to Jose_X, who is recognizable by his unfocused and endless verbal assaults. They all have easily recognizable patterns. You just have to look for them.

Sorry for the late reply. Microsoft pays me to "troll" the forces of freedom only at the end of each month :) The rest of the time I have to work the 9-5 job.

Anonymous said...

I've checked out astralknight on Digg & Reddit, as well as cyberphoenix on mixx. They are definitely the same person.

I haven't found much at all on diamond wakizashi other than a few hits on BN.

Anonymous said...

HA! astralknight just got banned from Digg today!

Anonymous said...

Corrected link:

astralknight's inactive digg user page

Lefty said...

Since I first posted this entry, Roy's libeled me on his site, retracted his libel and apologized, then repeated precisely the same libels within a day's time.

I've caught Roy in lie after lie after lie after lie on his cesspool of a web site. He is, in my estimation, a pathological liar and can no longer distinguish fact from fiction.

This is the retraction which Roy posted for libeling me:

"I made statements that Mr. Schlesinger was attacking Richard Stalman over disagreements about Mono, rather than over Mr. Stallman's sexist remarks at the Gran Canaria Desktop SUmmit, as well as suggesting that he used false names. This was wrong of me. I retract these statements unreservedly and offer Mr. Schlesinger a full apology for having made them. I will endeavor to avoid making such irresponsible statements in the future."

Moments ago, in a comment on his site, Roy characterized that retraction as follows: "I never admitted libel. My later post with a retraction (which you asked for) was about wrongly remembering something that had happened weeks earlier."

Roy is not only a liar, he acts in bad faith. He and I are going to end up in a courtroom.

WE ARE *NIXED! said...

@Lefty: You state that Roy libeled you, apologized for it, then removed it from his site. Anyone can type text and put it in quotation marks. Do you have screen shots of the site in question? That would be more credible for starters.

As for stating you and Roy are going to wind up in a courtroom, don't you think it's a bit petty of you? And over what? One single e-mail? As far as lawsuits are concerned, the burden is on you to prove that he intended to harm your reputation (which is what libel does). Thus far, I have not seen evidence of any intent.

Lefty said...

@Lefty: You state that Roy libeled you, apologized for it, then removed it from his site. Anyone can type text and put it in quotation marks. Do you have screen shots of the site in question? That would be more credible for starters.

Bonus points for questioning my credibility right out of the gate, thanks.

Roy's retraction and apology can be found here. Roy's face-saving misrepresentation of that retraction and apology can be found in the comments here.

Do I seem more credible to you now? Feel free to apologize anytime.

As for stating you and Roy are going to wind up in a courtroom, don't you think it's a bit petty of you?

No. As for asking whether I think it's a bit petty of me when you haven't looked into the facts, don't you think tht's a bit presumptuous of you?

And over what? One single e-mail?

No. over Roy's repeated and egregious libels, over his acting in bad faith, and over his inability to distinguish truth from fiction on an amazingly consistent basis.

There's scarcely a page on the site which doesn't contain lies.

Here's a fine example: Look at the headline. "Microsoft CEO Admits That Vista 7 is Vapourware". Wow, that sounds pretty unbelievable, huh?

Only because it is. Ballmer never said anything like that. The story Roy sources is about Google's Chrome OS, and is essentially a parody. An accurate title might be "Roy Schestowitz claims, without evidence, that Vist 7 is Vapourware".

A Microsoft employee, Jonathan WOng (who, from his comments, seems to be a much more decent person than any of the "regulars" on Boycott Novell) has repeatedly asked Roy to correct that story. As you can see.

This is not responsible journalism.

There is an ongoing pattern of dishonesty and of defamation on Boycott Novell which would be disturbing anywhere on the web, but which is doubly so in a site which purports to be a news site.

As far as lawsuits are concerned, the burden is on you to prove that he intended to harm your reputation (which is what libel does). Thus far, I have not seen evidence of any intent.

Well, you're 100% wrong there. Under British law, and especially as someone who is not a public figure, I don't have to prove too much in a defamation case. I certainly don't have to prove malice--although Roy's repeated libels of me, in spite of my repeated efforts to correct him, are a clear demonstration of malice.

Under British defamation law, the burden of proof is squarely on the defendant. When I pull Roy into court for libel, he's going to have to demonstrate to the court's satisfaction that all the things he's said about me are factual.

He's going to have some trouble there.