Florian Müller (the English spelling of Müller is Mueller) has a problem. He has no provenance. To quote Wikipedia:
Provenance, from the French provenir, “to come from”, means the origin, or the source of something, or the history of the ownership or location of an object. The term was originally mostly used for works of art, but is now used in similar senses in a wide range of fields, including science and computing. Typical uses may cover any artifact found in archaeology, any object in paleontology, certain documents (such as manuscripts), or copies of printed books. In most fields, the primary purpose of provenance is to confirm or gather evidence as to the time, place, and — when appropriate — the person responsible for the creation, production, or discovery of the object. This will typically be accomplished by tracing the whole history of the object up to the present. Comparative techniques, expert opinions, and the results of various kinds of scientific tests may also be used to these ends, but establishing provenance is essentially a matter of documentation.
The problem is, no one really knows who or what Florian Müller is.
Pamela Jones (known affectionately as PJ) was totally unknown when she started Groklaw at Radio Userland. She had no provenance. No one knew who or what she was. All we knew was that a blog on Radio Userland was talking about the Caldera v. IBM case (Caldera later change the company name to The SCO Group – I’m including the original company name for those not familiar with the lawsuit), and making sense. And being funny – titles like SCO FALLS DOWNSTAIRS, HITTING ITS HEAD ON EVERY STEP were worth reading for themselves.
While PJ came out of nowhere as far as most of use were concerned, she proved herself over time. In other words she built up her own provenance.
Mad Mike Magee also proved himself. He was one of the founders of The Register, later founded The Inquirer, and now runs Techeye. He was a relative unknown when he founded The Register, but when he left and founded The Inquirer, many of us dumped The Register to follow him. Mike had proved his ability. I stopped reading The Inquirer when he left, it just wasn’t the same, and I celebrated when I found out that he’d started Techeye. Love him or hate him, Mike Magee delivers tech news like no one else. He’s proved himself.
So Where Does Florian Müller Come From?
That’s a damned good question. From his blog, FOSS Patents:
Florian Mueller is an award-winning intellectual property activist with 25 years of software industry expertise spanning across different market segments (games, education, productivity and infrastructure software), diverse business models (proprietary software, free and open source software, advertising- and subscription-based online services) and a variety of technical and commercial areas of responsibility.
The problem is that most of this is totally uncheckable. For someone who’s experience in the software industry supposedly goes back 25 years, he’s left remarkably little trace. Then there’s his blog, which only goes back to March of 2010.
His other problem is what he is saying. He’s singing the same song that Darl McBride, Ken Brown, and a whole bunch of other people have sung, and by now most techie geeks have gotten damned suspicious of it. We just don’t believe it. We ask questions like Does Florian Müller Work For The Alexis de Tocqueville Institution?
And we check with people that we trust. Like PJ. Who wrote How Not to Get Snookered by Claims of “Proof” of Copyright Infringement. Or Doctor Roy, who has been chronicling Florian Müller for some time now, ending with this. When Roy started tracking Florian a lot of people thought he was crazy. Crazy like a fox maybe. Of course agreeing with Roy will get me a ton of hate mail, but hey, I’m a big boy.
So what does Florian do now? The very people he’s trying to convince are Mostly certain that he works for Microsoft. I’m holding out for ADTI myself, I can’t see Microsoft being quite that stupid. On the other hand…
Whatever goodwill he once had in the community is gone. He’s become a laughing stock. Which means that whoever is behind him (and believe me, someone is) will find another sock puppet.
And because I know that certain people are going to call my ‘Provenance’ into question because of this, here it is:
- California Air Resources Board
- Environmental Defense (PDF Warning)
- Industry Canada – I’ll have to call them, been off work for over a year
- LinkedIn Profile
- Manufacturers of Emission Controls Association – PDF Warning
- West Coast Diesel Collaborative – PDF Warning
- Western Regional Air Partnership
OK, I think you get the picture. I’ve mentioned several times in the past that I used to design and sell catalytic converters. You can see the evidence for yourself. I’m one of less than a hundred people in North America with the skills to do that.
Anyway, that’s me. So where’s your provenance Florian?
Wednesday January 26, 2011
I was in a rush to get this done, and just realized that in writing my provenance, I missed a couple of points. Most of the links mention Nett Technologies Inc., a manufacturer of emission control systems for Internal Combustion Engines. I worked for Nett for over ten years. I’d still be there if my body hadn’t decided to fall apart. Great job, great company, and fantastic people. If you ever need an emission control system for any sort of off-road equipment, call Nett Technologies.