Jeff V. Merkey


Jeff V. Merkey

Infobox Celebrity
name = Jeffrey Vernon Merkey


caption =
birth_date =
birth_place = Oklahoma City, Oklahoma
residence = Lindon, Utah
nationality = USA
known_for = Netware, Novell, Linux
employer =
occupation = Computer Scientist
spouse =
children =
parents =
relatives =
website = [http://www.wolfmountaingroup.com Wolf Mountain Group]
footnotes =

Jeffrey Vernon Merkey is an American computer scientist and 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
url=http://news.com.com/Short+Take+Wolf+Mountain+Group+now+Timpanogas+Research+Group/2110-1033_3-279747.html
title=Short Take: Wolf Mountain Group now Timpanogas Research Group
work=CNET News.com
date=1997-05-13
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 Microsoft over the NTFS source code TRG licensed from the company in 2000,cite web
url=http://www.windowsitpro.com/Windows/Article/ArticleID/16436/16436.html
title=NTFS Licensee Reports Microsoft Threat, Apology
month=February | year=2001
work=Windows IT Pro
first=Paul
last=Thurrott
accessdate=2006-05-25
] Merkey set out to develop an open source, NetWare-compatible operating system, one that would run the Linux kernel atop a NetWare microkernel, called GaDuGi.cite web
url=http://opensource.sys-con.com/read/47773.htm
title=GaDuGi To Rewrite its Linux Side, Says Merkey
first=Maureen
last=O'Gara
work=Enterprise Open Source Magazine
date=2005-01-17
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
url=http://www.linux.com/articles/41805
title=GaDuGi and free software share one fire
first=Joe
last=Barr
work=Linux.com
date=2005-01-18
accessdate=2007-09-25
] work=Linux.com
date=2005-12-30
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
url=http://news.com.com/Novell+sues+ex-employees/2100-1023_3-279425.html
title=Novell sues ex-employees
work=CNET News.com
date=1997-05-01
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 Group became a Microsoft Independent Software Developer. In an interview, Merkey suggested he left Novell because it didn't go far enough with its Windows NT support. 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 library and portable executable formats. [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 property rights (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 Cherokee word 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
author=Maureen O'Gara
url=http://opensource.sys-con.com/read/47716.htm
title=Cherokee Indians To Encircle Open Source?
work=Enterprise Open Source Magazine
date=2005-01-10
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 Torvalds stated 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
url=http://lkml.org/lkml/2004/10/23/186
title=Re: Linux v2.6.9 and GPL Buyout
publisher=LKML
Date=2004-10-23
accessdate=2008-08-23
first=Linus
last=Torvalds
] In an interview, Richard Stallman said, "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
url=http://www.linuxdevcenter.com/lpt/a/5491
title=Freedom, Innovation, and Convenience: The RMS Interview
first=Federico
last=Biancuzzi
work=Linux DevCenter
date=2004-12-22
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.

Lawsuits

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."

On June 21, 2005 Merkey 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
url=http://www.it-director.com/blogs/Robin_Bloor/2005/6/cardsystems_mdash_a_breach_too_far_.html?cid=&page=1
title=CardSystems – A Breach Too Far, Wrong Information?, The GPL and the Litigious Cherokee
first=Robin
last=Bloor
work=IT-Director.com
date=2005-06-28
accessdate=2006-05-26
] cite web
url=http://www.ip-wars.net/special/merkeylaw
title=Jeffrey V. Merkey v. The Internet et al
work=ip-wars.net
accessdate=2008-08-08
]

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"

On 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
url=http://www.wolfmountaingroup.org/pub/legal/206CV839.pdf
title=Merkey v. Delta Airlines, Inc., Natural Selection Foods, LLC, and Natural Selection Foods Manufacturing, LLC
work=www.wolfmountaingroup.com
accessdate=2007-01-29
format=PDF
The "Natural Selection" claim in on pages 22 and 23 of the linked file.] cite web
url=http://www.insidecounsel.com/section/litigation/737
title=Couple Sues Over Tainted Spinach
work=www.insidecounsel.com
accessdate=2008-03-12
]

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 counsel and 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.

Wikipedia controversy

In March 2008, Merkey alleged that Jimmy Wales edited Merkey's entry in the English Wikipedia to 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 Press news 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]

References

External links

* [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 archive.org archive


Wikimedia Foundation. 2010.