And you thought Microsoft's open source FUD was bad

TeleSoft International wins the 2008 "Worst Open Source FUD" award.

If we were going to award a proprietary software vendor for the "Worst Open Source FUD of 2008," TeleSoft International, not Microsoft, would take the prize. Indeed, in a year that has seen Microsoft embrace open source to an increased degree , TeleSoft has gone on a full-frontal assault, claiming in a video that open source is poorly tailored to customer needs, ruins their profitability, and delays their time to market.

In other words, TeleSoft is claiming that open source will do precisely the opposite of what companies normally find that it delivers.

Open source FUD Telesoft

Perhaps recognizing that not everyone will buy into its FUD, TeleSoft claims to support the popular Linux operating system, but with a kernel-loadable module approach that keeps its IP safe from that voracious appetite of IP-stealing Linux. Nice. TeleSoft wants to have its cake ("open source is terrible!") and eat it, too ("but our open source is not so terrible!").

TeleSoft provides protocol stacks to the telecom industry, and from the sound of things it's getting sick of losing to open source. I used to work in this embedded Network and Communications market years ago and open-source adoption was exceptionally high. Threatened by open source's low price and high functionality, it's not surprising to see TeleSoft fight back.

But it might want to use factual information next time. The developers it's targeting with this FUD campaign will struggle to understand TeleSoft's point that "no documentation and quality testing means no guarantee of interoperability." (What does quality testing have to do with interoperability?) They'll scoff at the notion that open source isn't (or can't be) "tailored for [customers'] unique hardware and operating system." In fact, the opposite is, or can be, true.

And so forth. This FUD is egregiously bad. Fortunately for open source, TeleSoft doesn't have a big enough megaphone to spread the FUD very far.

Tech Culture
About the author

    Matt Asay is chief operating officer at Canonical, the company behind the Ubuntu Linux operating system. Prior to Canonical, Matt was general manager of the Americas division and vice president of business development at Alfresco, an open-source applications company. Matt brings a decade of in-the-trenches open-source business and legal experience to The Open Road, with an emphasis on emerging open-source business strategies and opportunities. He is a member of the CNET Blog Network and is not an employee of CNET. You can follow Matt on Twitter @mjasay.


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