- Jeff V. Merkey
name = Jeffrey Vernon Merkey
Oklahoma City, Oklahoma
nationality = USA
Netware, Novell, Linux
website = [http://www.wolfmountaingroup.com Wolf Mountain Group]
Jeffrey Vernon Merkey is an American
computer scientistand entrepreneur. After working as a chief scientist for Novell,cite web|url=http://www.itworld.com/Career/1882/ITW2341/pfindex.html|title=Protect yourself against an inevitable-disclosure lawsuit|work=ITworld.com|first=David|last=Essex|date= 2000-08-30|accessdate=2006-05-25] Merkey left to create his own company, Wolf Mountain Group, to develop a set of clustering technologies.cite web|author=CNET News.com Staff|url=http://news.com.com/Confusion+reigns+on+Wolf+Mountain/2100-1033_3-279324.html|title=Confusion reigns on Wolf Mountain|work=CNET News.com|date= 1997-04-29|accessdate=2006-05-23] Later renamed Timpanogas Research Group (TRG),cite web
author=CNET News.com Staff
title=Short Take: Wolf Mountain Group now Timpanogas Research Group
accessdate=2006-05-23] Merkey and his company were sued by Novell, who alleged misappropriation of
trade secrets. When the legal battle with Novell ended, TRG announced its intention to develop an open source, NetWare-compatible operating system.cite web|url=http://www.vnunet.com/vnunet/news/2113408/open-source-NetWare-compatible-unveiled|title=Open source NetWare compatible OS unveiled|first=John|last=Geralds|work=vnunet.com|date= 2000-08-22|accessdate=2006-05-24]
After a brief spat with
Microsoftover the NTFS source codeTRG licensed from the company in 2000,cite web
title=NTFS Licensee Reports Microsoft Threat, Apology
month=February | year=2001
work=Windows IT Pro
accessdate=2006-05-25] Merkey set out to develop an open source, NetWare-compatible operating system, one that would run the
Linux kernelatop a NetWare microkernel, called GaDuGi.cite web
title=GaDuGi To Rewrite its Linux Side, Says Merkey
work=Enterprise Open Source Magazine
accessdate=2006-05-25] According to at least one report, Merkey became a controversial figure on the
Linux kernel mailing list, for announcing that he would purchase a version of the Linux kernel without the GNU General Public License, among other things.cite web
title=GaDuGi and free software share one fire
accessdate=2007-09-25] Wolf Mountain Group later announced plans for a new file system for Linux and Windows, called the Wolf Mountain File System.
Merkey is recognized as the principal inventor of three issued patents. Method and apparatus for strong affinity multiprocessor scheduling on Intel based SMP computers http://www.patentstorm.us/patents/6728959.html Strong Affinity MultiProcessor Scheduling Patent] , Dual axis RAID systems for enhanced bandwidth and reliability [http://www.patentstorm.us/patents/6795895/claims.html X-Y MultiPlanar RAID Systems] , and Redundant storage for multiple processors in a ring network [http://www.patentstorm.us/patents/6862609.html Redundant storage for multiple processors in a ring network] .
Branch off from Novell (1995–1997)
As a chief scientist for Novell and an architect for its Wolf Mountain project since 1995, Merkey worked on the company's development of clustering technologies and a new operating system, Wolf Mountain Operating System, whose intent was to increase Novell's sales in the server market These clustering technologies would give Novell's software the ability to have several computers with different operating systems running as a single machine.cite web
author=CNET News.com Staff
title=Novell sues ex-employees
accessdate=2006-05-23] Merkey left Novell in March 1997 with his coworker Darren Major, a senior research scientist at Novell, to create a new company called the Wolf Mountain Group to work on similar technologies.
Immediately after its creation,
Wolf Mountain Groupbecame a MicrosoftIndependent Software Developer. In an interview, Merkey suggested he left Novell because it didn't go far enough with its Windows NTsupport. He said at the time that he would have clustering technology out on Windows NT before NetWare or Unix.
Two months after Wolf Mountain Group was founded, Novell filed suit against the company, saying the two founders had breached their employment contract, misappropriated trade secrets, and infringed on Novell's Wolf Mountain project's trademarked name. (Wolf Mountain "project" was the project Merkey was working on at Novell, while Wolf Mountain "Group" was the company he subsequently founded). A court restraining order in the case prevented Wolf Mountain Group from using that name, and the company was later renamed Timpanogas Research Group.
Venturing into open source (1998–2000)
In August 1998, Timpanogas Research Group (TRG) settled out of court with Novell. TRG agreed to a permanent injunction against using or disclosing Novell trade secrets, and to pay Novell an undisclosed sum. The settlement included a dismissal of all claims filed between the parties. With the suit over with, the company headed in a new direction. In August 2000, TRG announced it was developing an open source, NetWare-compatible operating system, again with clustering technology. The new operating system was scheduled to include features from other prominent operating systems, such as the ability to load the
Windows 2000 dynamic libraryand portable executableformats. [cite press | author=Novell | url=http://www.novell.com/news/press/archive/1998/08/pr98100.html | title=Timpanogas Research Group Agrees to Permanent Injunction and Payment to End Trade Secret Litigation with Novell | work=Novell Press Release | date= 1998-08-28| accessdate=2006-05-23]
The company was also working on various NTFS-related projects for Linux. In September 2000, TRG announced it gave up its license for the NTFS source code after receiving "threatening messages" from Microsoft, suggesting a possible lawsuit over
intellectual propertyrights (similar to the earlier Novell suit). Several weeks after that announcement, a Microsoft lawyer apologized and stated there was no lawsuit, and Microsoft itself denied ever having threatened TRG with a lawsuit.
GaDuGi and the Linux kernel (2001–2005)
Merkey's idea of having a NetWare-compatible operating system eventually turned into what he called GaDuGi, from the
Cherokeeword gadugi. Unlike previous incarnations, and to avoid legal troubles encountered previously with Novell, GaDuGi was to be merged with the Linux kernel atop its rewritten NetWare microkernel.cite web
title=Cherokee Indians To Encircle Open Source?
work=Enterprise Open Source Magazine
accessdate=2006-05-25] On October 4, 2004, Merkey offered US$50,000 on LKML, the Linux kernel mailing list, to anyone able to provide him a version of the Linux kernel that was not licensed under the GPL for his project.
Linus Torvaldsstated in response, "No, nobody I know (certainly not me) is willing to re-license Linux under anything else than the GPL. Quite frankly, I suspect you'll have an easier time just rewriting the whole thing." [cite web
title=Re: Linux v2.6.9 and GPL Buyout
last=Torvalds] In an interview,
Richard Stallmansaid, "It would be foolish for people to accept. Why let him provide Linux to users without respecting their freedom? If I had contributed to Linux, I would say no to him, and insist that he must respect the users' freedom."cite web
title=Freedom, Innovation, and Convenience: The RMS Interview
accessdate=2005-05-26] Merkey ran into similar issues when he proposed to give the copyright of his project to the Cherokee Nation, to be released under a "Cherokee Nation open source" license.
Merkey has been involved in at least three lawsuits to date. One is the Novell case, mentioned above. The other two are less business-related.
"Merkey v. Perens et al."
June 21, 2005Merkey filed a lawsuit against several people and organizations, including Slashdot, Bruce Perens, and 200 John Does. The suit includes various charges concerning harassment by the defendants.cite web
title=CardSystems – A Breach Too Far, Wrong Information?, The GPL and the Litigious Cherokee
accessdate=2006-05-26] cite web
title=Jeffrey V. Merkey v. The Internet et al
The number of defendants named in the case was eventually reduced to four entities and 20 John Does after two amendments to the original complaint. Merkey dropped the case in August 2005, although he subsequently filed a motion to reopen the case against one of the defendants, Al Petrofsky.
"Merkey v. Delta Airlines, Natural Selection Foods"
2 October 2006, Merkey filed suit against Natural Selection Foods and Delta Airlines, saying his son became ill after eating spinach contaminated with " E. coli" bacteria.cite web
title=Merkey v. Delta Airlines, Inc., Natural Selection Foods, LLC, and Natural Selection Foods Manufacturing, LLC
format=PDFThe "Natural Selection" claim in on pages 22 and 23 of the linked file.] cite web
title=Couple Sues Over Tainted Spinach
According to an article in the November 2006 issue of Inside Counsel, a monthly magazine based in the United States with a target audience of
general counseland in-house legal professionals, this lawsuit also accuses Natural Selection Foods of deliberately causing emotional distress (see pages 22 and 23 of the suit):
In addition, the suit accuses Natural Selection of "vile and outrageous conduct" intended to inflict emotional distress on the plaintiffs. According to the complaint, the company's use of the term "natural selection" in press releases related to the "E. coli" outbreak contained Darwinian undertones, suggesting their son's illness was part of the natural selection theory.
In March 2008, Merkey alleged that
Jimmy Walesedited Merkey's entry in the English Wikipediato cast Merkey in a more favorable light in return for a US$5,000 donation to the Wikimedia Foundation. Writing on a Wikimedia mailing list, Merkey reprinted a statement he said he had released to the Associated Pressnews agency.
It said: "Wales agreed that in exchange for a substantial donation and other financial support of the Wikimedia Foundation projects, Wales would use his influence to make Merkey's article adhere to Wikipedia's stated policies with regard to internet libel 'as a courtesy' and place Merkey under his 'special protection' as an editor".
Wales erased Merkey's article in May 2006, citing "the unpleasantness of it" and stated "we are nearing a resolution of this longstanding conflict", referring to a dispute between the Wikipedia community and Merkey over the content of the biography. Following this edit, Wales placed the Merkey article under "semi-protection", disallowing further edits by unregistered users. Wales called the allegation that the Wikimedia Foundation had accepted donations in exchange for special treatment "nonsense".citeweb|url=http://www.smh.com.au/news/web/more-woes-for-wikipedias-jimmy-wales/2008/03/11/1205125874243.html| title=More woes for Wikipedia's Jimmy Wales|publisher=
Sydney Morning Herald|accessdate=2008-03-11|author=Asher Moses] citeweb|url=http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/technology/7291382.stm| title="Wiki boss 'edited for donation'|publisher= BBC News|accessdate=2008-03-12|] A spokesman for the Foundation said it was an "absolutely false allegation" and that "Jimmy never made this offer, and of course this is a practice the Wikimedia Foundation would never condone." [cite news| url = http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/main.jhtml?xml=/news/2008/03/12/wikipedia112.xml | title = Wikipedia's Jimmy Wales in donations row | date = 12 March 2008]
* [http://www.wolfmountaingroup.com/ Wolf Mountain Group] Main website
* [http://web.archive.org/web/20021004022157/www.timpanogas.com/ Timpanogas Research Group] (Defunct as of 2006) Main website from a 2002
Wikimedia Foundation. 2010.