The professional open-source company JBoss Inc. and its flamboyant leader Marc Fleury are taking heat in the Java and open-source communities for allegedly posting fake messages around the Internet promoting JBoss and its business model and blasting competitors.
According to sources and published reports, JBoss employees, including Fleury, the chief executive of the so-called "professional open source" company, posted messages to popular Java sites such as TheServerSide and JavaLobby under anonymous or bogus names.
In fact, according to one source, when the IP address of more than one poster to TheServerSide and JavaLobby was checked, it turned out that the address appeared to be that of Marc Fleury.
The tactic of anonymously attacking competitors or artificially fomenting tides of support for or against a cause, also loosely known as "astroturfing," is not new although some view it as unscrupulous.
However, despite the flurry of disdain for the alleged acts of bogus posting, Fleury needs no pseudonym or anonymity to promote his company and his brand of open source, or even to disparage his competitors.
At the recent ServerSide Java Symposium in Las Vegas—sponsored by The Middleware Co.—Fleury dressed up as the Joker villain from the Batman comic and delivered a talk extolling JBoss expertise and belittling the competition.
In fact, Fleury outright "dissed" some of JBoss primary competition during his talk, saying, "We had some B players that we replaced with A players and our vision of professional open source."
Fleurys comments were met with a smattering of boos from the crowd. The comments appeared to be aimed at Core Developers Network LLC (CDN), a Bloomington, Minn., company started by two former JBoss employees—the so-called "B players" Fleury boldly referred to. And Dain Sundstrom, a CDN partner and former JBoss employee, was in the audience.
Neither Fleury nor JBoss responded to requests for comments by the time this story was initially posted.