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From "John Peterson" <john_peterso...@yahoo.com>
Subject Fraud in XML-Journal Awards
Date Thu, 27 Mar 2003 08:56:41 GMT

Hello Open Source folks,

XML-J 2002 award (and rankings) was stolen from OpenOffice, (and 
rankings from Cocoon and Batik as well) by employing unfair and illegal 
tactics. XML-J editor acknowledged on 12th September that they aware of 
the rigging, but later try to evade their obligations with shallow 
excuses.

We had noticed heavy rigging for Agileblox and notified to XML-J 
editors while the rigging was in progress. Please refer to &#8216;Evidence:A&#8217;

and &#8216;Evidence:B&#8217; given below that was provided to them several times during

past 6 months. Also, the first part of the &#8216;Evidence:A&#8217; was provided 
while the rigging was in progress. Response to the complaints (email 
dated 12th of September), the editor said not to worry, he had aware of 
it, and promised all bad votes would be removed in the audit process. 

Evidence A:
----------- 
A large block (about 150) of votes was cast on early hours of 12th 
(between 2:00AM and 7:00AM EST) in favor of Agileblox. About 90% of the 
voters from voter number 2470 to 2600, cast to the product in each of 
the 
categories it was nominated. (The web site displays voter numbers 
during the polls, which shows upto the minute count of voters.)

Then again after 40 hours of almost no activity, another large block 
(about 96% of the votes between voter number 3062 and 3115, as per the 
web site) of votes was cast on early hours of 14th (some time between 
2:00AM and 6:00AM EST). Exactly 50 votes were cast to Agileblox, in 
each 
of the categories it was nominated. 

Isn't it seems like an obvious attempt by unscrupulous people to fix 
the contest? The editors could verify the voter database to determine 
the truth. They could check the email-ids and voter ip-addresses. The 
voter database contains all the evidence they need.

Please notice the time of voting. It was during nighttime in the USA 
and daytime in India. Elansoft, an Indian company, listed no Indian 
customers on the web site. 

Evidence B:
-----------
According to an ex-employee of Elansoft, they have sold only 4 user 
licenses (between release of the product and closing date of the 
contest) 
with total revenues of about US$4,900. Also, he said that Elansoft 
management encouraged about 8 employees to cast the illegal votes. 
(Understandable, our Indian sources likes to be anonymous until he gets 
protection from reprisals.).

If the editors want 100% proof; they could ask the management at 
Elansoft to deny the allegations under oath. Ask them who are the 
customers, 
purchased licenses before September? In light of the allegations, they 
could demand this information or ask them to surrender the Award.

Readers of the XML-Journal elected the winners by casting their votes 
online. Agileblox Chart 1.0 was a contestant in three categories of the 
XML-Journal 2002-awards. In all categories they cast themselves illegal 
votes and over 80% of the total votes they secured were illegal. 

XML-Journal allows visitors to monitor-online, the number of votes 
secured by each product at any time. This contest usually lasts over 
four 
months. During the period any one could monitor the number of votes and 
each product&#8217;s ranking in each category at any time.

In a short period of about couple of days, just 1 day before the polls 
were to be closed (Sep.15th, 2002), Agileblox moved from near bottom to 
top.

The rules for voting clearly state that one person can cast only one 
vote in each category and the voting system has security features to 
discourage fraud. However, many experts agree that such online voting 
systems cannot be made foolproof, but recommend to put enough hurdles 
to let criminals know that they are committing a crime. 

If any one intentionally defrauds the system for own financial gains 
and cause material damage to others, it is a crime. In consequence of 
Elansoft&#8217;s action, OpenOffice, cocoon, batik and other genuine products 
did not get the award (or rankings) as well as the sales promotion and 
marketing gains associated with it. Also, Elansoft promoting their 
product using illegally won award and rankings to defraud unsuspecting 
businesses.

Why XML-J editors have been ignoring all the clear evidence and evading 
their basic moral obligations? Any product with almost no sales and no 
customers could sweep the awards, by employing such tactics, with out 
any impunity. Isn&#8217;t it unethical to promote such awards as 
Oscars of software industry?

Since September we have requested XML-J editors many times to take 
necessary action. The editors neither denied the allegations nor given 
any 
proper response; But evading their obligation using shallow excuses 
such as demanding phone-numbers of anonymous sources. Why do they need 
it, 
when they have all the evidence in their voter database?

All we are asking is to investigate the truth in the allegation, which 
they have acknowledged that they were aware of the rigging.  Also, many 
of you who had voted, may have noticed that OpenOffice had more votes 
than AgileBlox at the end of the contest. Under the circumstances, the 
voters disserve satisfactory answer why OpenOffice lost the Award.

The Open source products (OpenOffice, Cocoon and Batik) contested for 
the Awards must know the truth. 

Also, I request OpenOffice users to send emails to XML-J editors 
(email-ids given below) and ask them to examine the evidence. 
Please let them here the voices of Open Source folks. 

Regards,
John

jeremy@sys-con.com, fuat@sys-con.com
hitesh@sys-con.com, jevdemon@sys-con.com, ajit@sys-con.com



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