During the morning break, a group of 5 or 6 guys came in dressed in Revolutionary War get-ups representing the NYLXS, or New Yorkers for Fair use. They are passing out flyers entitled "Beware the False Advocate" which denounce Tony Stanco, the organizer of the event because he has allowed people to come who don't preduce open source software (notably Microsoft). The flyer reads, in part:
The sponsors of this gathering, in the person of their representative Tony Stanco, Esq., have elected to include participants whop neither produce Open Source Software not support it. in fact these organizations are actively opposed to Free and open Source Software, as it threatens the archaic structures upon which their criminal businesses are based. Any free-thinking individual can kno in advance what their message will be, so why must we suffer their appearance today?
I suppose that the irony of them dressing up in Revolutionary War costumes to espouse a position that denies free speech would be lost on them. Besides, from the looks of this crowd, FOSS supporters outnumber any detractors by an overwhelming margin. I think there's little chance that the message will be corrupted.
Michael Bernstein was kind enough to send me the URL of the NY for Fair Use position. I don't think its particularly well argued. I disagree with their fundamental position. I think that Microsoft can and should be engaged in discussion. I also believe its patently unfair to castigate Tony for engaging them. Tony is doing more to promote open source that any amount of rhetoric will ever do.