Thursday, August 12, 2004

I finally understand Rob Enderle

Rob Enderle is an IT/IS industry analyst. His job is to look at the industry and try to figure out what it's doing and where it's going and to report on that. This way businesses and people can use his reports to help make decisions without having to sift through the mounds of information themselves. Rob Enderle is, to my knowledge, the sole employee and owner of The Enderle Group. From it's web site,
The Enderle Group provides an unparalleled look underneath breaking technology events to identify the core reasons that buyers and builders of this technology should care. Enderle Group strives "to bring diverse and challenging views into technology advisory services and consulting".
In the Linux and open source community, however, Rob Enderle is someone who is hated and vilified and, more recently for me, become someone who is just to be ignored. Like a gnat buzzing around your head in the summer. Occasionally it buzzes near your ear and you shoo it away. This is what it's like now when Rob Enderle published an editorial or presents a speech. Normally I just see his byline and summarily move on. Why? There's a long list of reasons that could be easily discovered by a good google search. But the bottom line is that he violently hates open source and, specifically, Linux.

Anyone who is even remotely involved with the Linux community knows that there are many real wackos on the fringes. This is because there are many wackos out there in the general populations and any community will have their portion of the wackos from said general pool. Some of the wackos have attacked and threatened Rob Enderle, even to include his life. On this I strongly disapprove. Rob Enderle is not worth the effort of writing a death threat letter or making a phone call. [And besides, death threats are illegal and not very intelligent things to do]. I knew he'd received a little hate email and snailmail from the wackos but I never really understood how he could keep taking the position on Linux, the SCO Group and Microsoft that he has been under the tremendous flood of sane, calm rational evidence that has come out through groups like Groklaw and others. I mean, if someone were to present you with irrefutable proof of the objective evidence that you were spending all your time defending and supporting a lie you might think twice about continuing your course, wouldn't you? Not Rob Enderle. It only seemed to fuel his fire against the truth. And this is something I couldn't understand.

But just this evening I finally had the chance to read the key note speech that Rob Enderle gave at the SCO Forum August 3, 2004. To be more accurate, I read half of it. I wasn't able to make it all the way through [something that often happens with things he writes or says]. But in it he talks about an event where...
I got myself into a lot of hot water by doing something I knew was wrong to prevent a crime from being committed. I am both an ex-auditor and an ex-sheriff and took the related vows very seriously and still, for the most part, live by them. By all accounts I would have lost my job and probably had to change careers again if it weren't for Bill Gates personally coming to my defense and pointing out that what I did probably kept a lot of folks out of jail. He didn't have to do that and, to this day I doubt he even remembers he did, but I remember.
Between this and the death threats he's gotten, plus his strangely described "eye opening experiences" at IBM [like this is only prevalent in IBM and no other mid- to large size companies. Or political parties, I might add], one can see that his vision of the world is so distorted by these events that he couldn't accurately analyze a bowl of fruit let alone an industry as complex and fast moving as IT/IS. Back before Linux and open source hit the consciousness of the world outside the community, he'd already made up his mind that they were bad and evil things to be destroyed no matter the cost! He is doubtless spending long days and nights feverishly working over any information that comes out positive about Linux and negative for the SCO Group or Microsoft in order to twist it around. See, it's become personal.

As the old saying goes, he can't see the forest for the trees. While he talks about transcending his bias', his speeches and writings strongly reinforce the fact that he is totally incapable of this. He can't form a coherent thought except that which has himself as the poor victim of this evil Cult of Linux. It has nothing to do with technology or facts or evidence.

I am reminded of a line in the movie The American President. To paraphrase it here... I always thought Rob Enderle spent so much time screaming at the rain because he just didn't get it. But it's not that he doesn't get it. It's that he can't sell it.


  1. Joe Barr posted an excellent and insightful commentary about this very thing on NewsForge. You can see it at -

  2. I was reading a thread in the Fedora Linux Users list, About Rob Enderly, it led me to Grocklaw. After reading that article, I read your comment, which lead me to this article. After reading this article, I read the SCO Key Note speech.
    I will admit it was some of the most painful content I have read in a long time. I don't know if Rob realizes that the article pretty much voids all the points he attempts to make buy using contradictory reasoning.
    I had to read parts of it over and over to figure out what he was trying to convey. It seem unimaginable that anyone has been through what he claims to have been through.
    One of the points he stresses is his absolute ability to pass the humanity test and be the only person with the fortitude to stand up against the bully. He then negates that by attacking volunteers on behalf of SCO.
    He was almost successful in making one point, unfortunately most people had likely snuck out of the speech or were daydreaming to avoid brain damage from listening to the speech. The point was that there is no such thing as free. Eventually everything costs, unfortunately he doesn't understand that when people talk about Linux being free, it doesn't mean that it does not cost anything to purchase and or use. As many people have said, it is free as in speech not beer. His claim that supporting Linux will eventually lead to collapse of governments due to lost taxable revenue doesn't hold up. Just because Bill Gates or some other individual in the USA doesn't get a royalty for every licence sold, does not mean that there aren't many individuals that make a good living consulting, supporting and developing in house solutions for Linux, all taxable and supporting the local government and economy.
    I have attended a few conferences and if I had sponsored him for that one, I would certainly be worried about my job. Nicholas Negrepont he is not. His ramblings were not worthy of a Republican luncheon {:-)}, let alone a corporate seminar. He did not talk to his audience until the end of his speech. He could have talked to his audience, and made his misinformed positions clear at the same time, but instead it was just a rambling rant about his unwaivering humanity against all odds at the hands of evil empires and Linux zealots.
    Through out the whole article I could not help but, see him in the poor light he was casting on others who he believes are with blind faith following the rhetoric of unsavoury Linux zealots. Unfortunately his own blind faith in his perceived righteous understanding of economics and humanity, he himself is the same as the so called poor victims of Linux that he pities.
    Best of luck, and keep up the good fight.
    Edmonton, Alberta, Canada.

  3. You also seem to have found the "true identity" of Enderle. I give you credit... I was not able to make it through the entire keynote no matter how many times I tried to read it.