Actually, FOSS Force had nothing whatsoever to do with SUSE pulling the video, but the headline piqued your interest, didn’t it?
The Every-Other-Monday Column
Sometimes the best laid plans…
A week ago Sunday I wrote and scheduled an article to be published last Tuesday. In it, I poked fun a little fun at SUSE, while giving a thumbs up to what I thought was a very well executed — and funny — parody of “Game of Thrones.” It was also very clever, insofar as it managed to paint rival Red Hat in a less-than-open light, without ever mentioning the company by name. In the parody, the not-so-open guys all wore red hats.
Those of you who’ve seen the video, however, definitely didn’t see it from the link here on FOSS Force. Lo! and behold, by the time the article and link went live, SUSE had pulled the promotional piece, so a click on it only resulted a screen full of snow (I’m linking to the word “snow” for those of you unfamiliar with the wonders and lingo of analog TV) with the words “this video is unavailable” displayed in that exact order.
Hmmm…so SUSE pulled the video without explanation. What they didn’t pull, however, was a video about the video, which I’m presenting here so you can get a weak inkling of what you missed.
So, if the Game of Thrones parody was as good as I say, then why did SUSE pull it? Who knows? But in the interest of driving insane traffic to FOSS Force, I’ve come up with a list of possible reasons.
The video wasn’t as good as I thought: This is a distinct possibility. After all, I’m the only person alive who sees a certain genius in Ed Wood’s “Plan 9 from Outer Space.” According to FOSS Force reader T. Huator, who replied in the comments to the first article, SUSE’s parody sucked raw eggs:
Saw the video before it came down. Probably the worst video they’ve done — it just wasn’t funny and makes them seem jealous of Red Hat.
Unless I am missing it, shouldn’t SUSE want MORE open source out there? Why is more open source their “enemy”? Doesn’t make any sense, but sure does make them look desperate.
Maybe Ms (or Mr.) Huator did miss the point. It seemed to me that the whole purpose of the parody was for it to serve as a commercial touting SUSE’s openness. The video, if I’m remembering correctly, seemed to be saying, if I may be allowed to paraphrase the sitting president of the United States (I’ve linked to a definition of paraphrase for the benefit of said president): “Nobody is more open than SUSE.”
Is this claim true? Of course not. This is a commercial fer chrissakes! You’re supposed to exaggerate your pluses and claim to be a country mile — or a couple of country kilometers — better than your competition. If I’m not mistaken, I think that in the US, that’s the law.
It was pulled at the advice of SUSE’s legal team: This is another distinct possibility. Maybe SUSE’s crackpot legal eagles looked at the video and had the following conversation with the SUSE’s brass:
Legal Eagles: You can’t release that.
Brass: Why not.
Legal Eagles: Because it isn’t true. SUSE isn’t the most open Linux distro on the face of the earth.
Brass: It doesn’t say “face of the earth.” What we’re saying is that we’re the most open distro in all of Germany. Well, maybe in all of Nuremberg. Maybe.
Legal Eagles: What about that deal we made with Microsoft a while back. The one that gave us and our users exclusive patent protection — in violation of the GPL?
Brass: Oh, that little thing. We haven’t done that since Microsoft withdrew the protection. Besides, that was long ago.
Legal Eagles: Not long enough. FOSS advocates have the memory of elephants.
Maybe Red Hat threatened to sue: As odd as it may seem to mention Nuremberg in an article that contains a mention of courtroom drama, that’s another distinct possibility. What if the good folks in Raleigh have no sense of humor? What if, despite the fact there’s no mention of Red Hat, Jim Whitehurst and his evil minions (calm down Jim, I’m only using “evil” for the sake of this argument — I actually have fondness for you folks) decided to unleash (again, quoting a sitting president) “fire and fury like the world has never seen” against SUSE? In a legal battle, Red Hat’s two-going-on-three billion dollars in annual revenue would definitely go a lot further than the quarter of a billion or so that SUSE takes in annually. In other words, in a court of law, Red Hat probably wins if it sues.
But how would they do in the court of public opinion? Therein lies a cautionary tale. As it happens, I have some public opinion court case law to cite — complete with evidence that I’ll be introducing as “Exhibit A” and “Exhibit B,” because that’s what they call evidence on the People’s Court, which is good enough for me.
Back in 1982, McDonald’s sued Burger King. This happened after Burger King became the first burger joint in the good ol’ US of A to run a negative television advertising campaign mentioning another burger joint by name. McDonalds didn’t like it and sued.
At this point I’ll enter the offending ad into evidence as Exhibit A. Oh, the jury is instructed to ignore the reference to 1981 in the label to this YouTube video. To paraphrase Bill O’Reilly, “I’ve done the math.” The commercial ran in early fall, 1982. And unlike O’Reilly, I really have done the math:
Not only did McDonald’s sue Burger King, they sued the adorable little five year old girl (who, as you might have noticed, turns out to be Sarah Michelle Gellar, long before she developed the…er, attributes…to become “Buffy the Vampire Slayer”). It was also reported that they banned the young Ms Gellar for life from entering any McDonald’s. The later might not have been true — that’s still open for debate — but it didn’t matter because the public thought it was true and that Ronald McDonald was bullying a poor, sweet innocent child for only wanting a bigger burger.
Long and short of it? Within months and before the end of the year, Burger King settled and pushed some poker chips across the table for Mickey Dee to cash-in. How much money? According to word-on-the-street — always a most accurate source for facts and figures — not nearly as much as the extra business the Home of the Whopper picked-up from the ad campaign.
So, who was the real winner? I’ll let you, the jury, decide, after watching Exhibit B, a video of a Christmas ad — again with
Buffy Sarah Michelle Gellar — that Burger King started running almost immediately after settling with McDonald’s.
McDonald’s didn’t sue for being wished a merry Christmas — but, dollars-to-doughnuts, they thought about it.