Acronym: Fear, Uncertainty, and Doubt
A tactic of social engineering commonly applied by corporations, governments and other powerful entitities in trying to discredit opponents. For example, Microsoft's strategy to discredit the GPL as viral and "cancerous" is intended to spread fear, uncertainty, and doubt among decision makers in companies who will then
- Fear that existing "intellectual property" might be "inefected" by the GPL
- Be uncertain about other aspects of the GPL ("if that's in there, what else might be in there?")
- Doubt the viability of open source / free software.
Sometimes, FUD can be created unintentionally. For example, the content industry has created lots of FUD by implementing DRM in media and devices, which ultimately has led many customers to fear that these media / devices wouldn't work, become uncertain whether they really need the product, and doubt that they want to have anything to do with those greedy vulture-capitalists. Hence: no purchase.