FUD (Fear, Uncertainty, Doubt) is a tactic often used by vendors within a monopoly market in order to propagate their monopoly.

The purpose of this paper is to examine common FUD tactics that can be used against commodity products which threaten such a monopoly, in the context of the Linux operating system.

How did this get started?

In 1998, Linux moved from relative obscurity, known only to the members of the 'Linux community' who were using it, onto the radar screens of everyone who was paying any attention at all to computer technology: the mainstream trade press, IT managers of large corporations, venture capitalists, and computer hardware and software vendors, including Microsoft. The first two 'Halloween memos', so named because they were first leaked around Halloween, 1998, detailed one Microsoft engineer's assessment of the 'threat' posed to Microsoft's market dominance by open source software in general, and Linux in particular. The Linux community braced for the barrage of FUD--fear, uncertainty, and doubt--that most expected Microsoft to unleash--and Linux Today staffers started talking about ways to counter FUD.