Alexis de Tocqueville Institution
|Named after||Alexis de Tocqueville|
|Formation||29 July 1985|
|Headquarters||New York, NY|
|Mission||Applying "Tocqueville's balanced ideals of civil liberty, political equality, civic vitality, and economic freedom to current public policy questions."|
It was named after the French historian Alexis de Tocqueville. Founded in 1988, its president was Ken Brown and its chairman was Gregory Fossedal. It had 14 staff researchers at its peak. It largely ceased operations in 2006. It issued its last press release in 2007 announcing that its former Chairman was running for President of the United States.
Intellectual property studies
The AdTI published a series of studies beginning in 2002 on the theme of intellectual property in the software industry. The Institution authored Opening the Open Source Debate (June 2002), a report critical of Microsoft's open-source rivals. This report claimed that open source software was inherently less secure than proprietary software and hence a particular target for terrorists.
These studies culminated in Samizdat: And Other Issues Regarding the 'Source' of Open Source Code (prereleased May 2004), questioning the generally accepted provenance of Linux and other open source projects, and recommending that government-funded programming should never be licensed under the GNU General Public License but under the BSD license or similar licenses. While the book called for increased investment in open source development, it criticized what it called "hybrid" source models, in which true open source code is mixed with proprietary code, with the result that intellectual property rights are nullified.
To illustrate potential problems with this approach, the book cited the case of Linus Torvalds, creator of Linux. It claimed Torvalds used source code taken from Minix, a small Unix-like operating system used in teaching computer science, to create Linux 0.01, on the theory that no mere student could write an entire Unix-like kernel single-handedly — although writing a kernel of similar size and capabilities is a standard part of many computer science degrees. These claims have been seriously questioned, including by many of those quoted in support, such as Andrew S. Tanenbaum, author of Minix; Dennis Ritchie, one of the creators of Unix; and Richard Stallman, leader of the GNU project. Others have said that quotes attributed as being from an "interview with AdTI" were in fact from prerelease papers (Ilkka Tuomi) or from message board posts (Charles Mills, Henry Jones). Alexey Toptygin said he had been commissioned by Brown to find similarities between Minix and Linux 0.01 source code, and found no support for the theory that Minix source code had been used to create Linux; this study is not mentioned in the book.
It cited a number of arguments for the claim, including an email from Tanenbaum saying MINIX "was the base" Torvalds used to create Linux. Tanenbaum later published a refutation of the book's interpretation, wherein he recounted an interview with Ken Brown while the latter was researching the book, during which Tanenbaum had emphatically stated his belief that Torvalds wrote Linux single-handedly and provided examples of other people or small teams who had performed similar feats in the past.
A Microsoft spokesman called the furor over the book "an unhelpful distraction from what matters most—providing the best technology for our customers."
The AdTI was preparing a new study in November 2004, tentatively titled Intellectual Property Left, to argue that "the IT industry sector's reluctance to pursue rampant IP infringement against public domain software developers and users is going to precipitate billions of dollars in balance sheet downgrades by Wall Street." The later papers stand in contrast to the Institution's 2000 paper, The Market Place Should Rule on Technology, which discusses Linux as a direct competitor to Microsoft Windows.
The AdTI produced a number of papers on education policy.[which?]
When the B-2 bomber program was threatened in 1995, the AdTI organised a letter to President Bill Clinton signed by seven former Pentagon chiefs: Dick Cheney, Caspar Weinberger, Frank Carlucci, Harold Brown, James Schlesinger, Donald Rumsfeld and Melvin Laird.
AdTI was a member organization of the Cooler Heads Coalition which asserts that "the science of global warming is uncertain" and is focused on "dispelling the myths of global warming by exposing flawed economic, scientific, and risk analysis".
- AdTI. "Mission". Archived from the original on June 1, 2006. Retrieved 26 May 2015.[dead link]
- Brown, Kenneth (June 4, 2004). "Samizdat's critics... Brown replies". Archived from the original on September 11, 2010. Retrieved September 11, 2010.
- Tanenbaum, Andy (May 20, 2004). "Some Notes on the "Who wrote Linux" Kerfuffle, Release 1.5". Archived from the original on September 11, 2010. Retrieved December 13, 2015.
I said that to the best of my knowledge, Linus wrote the whole kernel himself, but after it was released, other people began improving the kernel, which was very primitive initially, and adding new software to the system--essentially the same development model as MINIX. [...] By the time Linus started, five people or small teams had independently implemented the UNIX kernel or something approximating it, namely, Thompson, Coherent, Holt, Comer, and me. All of this was perfectly legal and nobody stole anything. Given this history, it is pretty hard to make a case that one person can't implement a system of the complexity of Linux, whose original size was about the same as V1.0 of MINIX.
- (WSJ, 14 June 2004)
- Stapleton, Lisa (December 1, 2004). "ADTI: Ready for Round Three with Open Sourcers". Linux Insider. ECT News Network, Inc. Archived from the original on September 11, 2010. Retrieved September 11, 2010.
- "The Best Defense: The B-2 Bomber". OpenSecrets.org. Archived from the original on October 15, 2007.
- Gingrich, Newt, Dana Pavey, and Anne Woodbury. Saving Lives & Saving Money: Transforming Health and Healthcare. Washington, DC: Alexis de Tocqueville Institution, 2003. ISBN 978-0-9705485-4-2
- "The Cooler Heads Coalition". GlobalWarming.org. GlobalWarming.org. February 4, 2004. Archived from the original on April 27, 2006.
- news.cnet.com: Linux makes a run for government
- Carney, Dan; Borrus, Amy; Greene, Jay (May 15, 2000). "Microsoft's All-Out Counterattack". BusinessWeek.com. Bloomberg L.P. Archived from the original on September 11, 2010. Retrieved September 11, 2010.
- Lambert, Tim (June 23, 2004). "When Think Tanks Attack". Deltoid. ScienceBlogs LLC. Archived from the original on September 11, 2010. Retrieved September 11, 2010.
- Archived official site[dead link]
- Did MS Pay for Open-Source Scare? (Wired News, 5 June 2002)
- Accusatory Study: Many Open-Sourcers Steal Code (LinuxInsider, 19 May 2004)
- Is Torvalds really the father of Linux? (ZDnet, 19 May 2004)
- AdTI notes recent attacks on web site (press release, 3 June 2004)[dead link]