CyberTech Rambler

November 5, 2009

Many eyes means you cannot bury needle in haysack

Filed under: Uncategorized — ctrambler @ 10:39 pm

We programmers know about “Many eyes make bugs shallow”, now we have a demonstration that “Many eyes means you cannot bury needle in haysack”. It is about Microsoft trying to bury Novell under a pile of data, as described by Groklaw. This is an age-old tactic relying on the fact that the receipient has not enough man power to sift through the information you bury them under. Of course, the law courts frawn on this type of tactic, as the Novell’s filling will demonstrated. Unfortunately, Microsoft’s argument also demonstrated that determining whether someone is employing this tactic is difficult.

The best solution is of course to put in the resource necessary to uncover the fact. Frankly speaking lawyers employing this tactic know that the art is to build a big enough haystack to bury your opponent in. Too small? They will find the needle. Too large? Beside the obvious unnecessary cost of preparing the larger-than-necessary haystack, it makes it more likely the court will rule that you are deploying this tactic.

In the case of Novell vs Microsoft, the fact that the court documents they are relying on is available to the public and that there are a lot of people interested in it means the resource available to find the needle is much larger than Microsoft lawyers’ expects. And this unpaid army found one. Kudo goes to BoycottNovell for finding one, and Groklaw visitors for finding a few more. Ironic isn’t it? A website that dedicate itself against Novell actually came to its aid.

“Many eyes means you cannot bury needle in haysack” indeed. I do hope this trend continues. I do not think it is right to hide one’s wrongdoing and anything that diminishes the usefulness of this technique is welcomed.


  1. […] programmers who merely follow instructions. Regarding the above article, one blogger argues that “many eyes means you cannot bury needle in haysack.” Therein we are given credit for work that our reader/contributor has done studying many exhibits; […]

    Pingback by What Microsoft’s Brad Silverberg, Bill Gates, and Al Capone Have in Common | Boycott Novell — November 6, 2009 @ 11:56 am | Reply

  2. Thanks for the ping back. I wanted to link to a story which is not the homepage of BoycottNovell but both PJ’s article, and a net search turns out nothing. Your ping back gave me the URL I needed.

    Comment by ctrambler — November 6, 2009 @ 2:25 pm | Reply

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