TheServerSide Official Calls for Truce on JBoss Postings

The CEO of the company that runs TheServerSide communities-one place where JBoss' Marc Fleury allegedly posted fake messages-says "astroturfing" is common and "JBoss is not the only organization that should be scrutinized.**QTE

As the hoopla wanes for JBoss over anonymous and pseudonymous postings to various Web sites, one of the key players in the drama has come to the open-source companys defense.

JBoss Inc. and its flamboyant leader, Marc Fleury, were taking heat in the Java and open-source communities earlier this week—and in the weeks leading up to it—for allegedly posting fake messages around the Internet promoting JBoss and its business model and blasting competitors.

According to sources and published reports, the so-called "professional open-source" companys employees, including CEO Fleury, posted messages to popular Java sites such as TheServerSide and JavaLobby under anonymous or bogus names.

One source said that when an IP address that had been used by more than one poster to TheServerSide and JavaLobby was checked, it turned out that the address appeared to be that of Marc Fleury.

But in response to a query from eWEEK, Salil Deshpande, CEO of The Middleware Company Inc., of Mountain View, Calif., which runs TheServerSide communities, essentially called for a truce.

"Posting messages anonymously is a part of life on the Web," Deshpande said. "There is a big difference, though, between posting as Bugs Bunny or Anonymous Coward, and posting as someone posing as a legitimate practitioner in a field offering opinions or endorsing products or technology.

"In the former case, the person clearly wants to be anonymous and is open about that, while in the second case the person is attempting to manipulate the communitys opinion. TheServerSide communities is not the only place that this may have been happening, and JBoss is not the only organization that should be scrutinized.

"Practices such as authors posting glowing reviews for their own books on do occur," Deshpande said. "Over the past few years, TheServerSide Communities [which include, TheServerSide.NET and] have grown into a wonderful place for serious middleware practitioners, and we felt that we could preserve the quality of the community by discouraging these posers.

Next Page: Deshpande says its "disappointing that this has resulted in a witch hunt."