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Open source... rat race ?

Any comments on this topic here ?
http://news.com.com/2100-1014-5168921.html?tag=nl ...
Any pertinent ones from open source zealots out there ?

Demotivator
Wednesday, March 03, 2004

I'd suggest you visit the huge Slashdot thread on this for the open source zealot perspective  :-)

Joe Hendricks
Wednesday, March 03, 2004

Mostly SCO is grasping at straws, trying to save their sorry selves. Their business hasn't been hurt by Linux, but by the fact that they have consistently produced a poor product. They've been embarassed by the fact that a college student and a bunch of hobbyists could produce a superior product in their spare time.  Not that I'm biased or anything, but I've never met an SCO system that couldn't be improved by pulling the plug.

Clay Dowling
Wednesday, March 03, 2004

What's going on right now is a really bad cycle, where SCO persist in presenting lose-lose situations for everyone and playing the bully. I don't know if their tactics will buy them much of anything.

Whenever I see the SCO CEO speak I wonder what it must be like when Bill Gates spoke out against the copying of his company's source back in the haydays--which basically makes way for the lot of us to bring home the bacon using closed-source software "right of usage" licensing. The difference between what BillG was arguing about is light and day from what I am reading from the SCO CEO--so I am not making direct comparisons.

Most everyday open source contributors lack (to one degree or another) the sort of legal foresight that would have prevented this whole mess. Compare to the SCO folks though, the SCO arguments are completely wacked.

The open source world is as a whole happy to receive some leaky-license immunization out of this whole fiasco and will take extra care in utilizing certain phrases in their licenses or to make their development process less prone to such legal attacks.

Li-fan Chen
Wednesday, March 03, 2004

Darl McBride is to be commended for having the vision and bravery to pursue this issue in the face of hostility from a global cabal of open source zealots.

In a few years time, popular culture, including the media, will see McBride's assessment of the GPL as being inspired and logical.

It's a pity most politicians and journalists don't understand the full consequences of the GPL.

Call me Bill
Wednesday, March 03, 2004

>Darl McBride is to be commended for having the vision and bravery to pursue this issue in the face of hostility from a global cabal of open source zealots.

Let's try to rephase what you said, for example:

The British Empire is to be commended for having the vision and bravery to pursue this issue [of the american independence] in the face of hostility from a global cabal of colonial anti-taxation zealots.

Yes, the americans read the same bloody books to build the same bloody farms, and a few british scholars was surely involved in getting a ship/bridge/castle/black smithing facility/town or two built, but does this mean that britain owns the united states? Who's hammer and sweat did all the work? Would you say the work is completely unoriginal?

What's at stack is not just a few header files, what's at stake is a lot of original code written by the open source folks. You may not like them, but I don't see how that makes Darl McBride original for trying to claim all of it.

Li-fan Chen
Wednesday, March 03, 2004

Hey.. the dudes a troll.. and a rather bad one at that

Eric Debois
Wednesday, March 03, 2004

The objections to SCO's claims are, for the most part, not about open source, free markets, or any of the other smoke & mirrors they've been throwing around. At least, everyone rational (which, granted, is a fairly small number of people) should ignore the FUD.

The big problem with the SCO claim is:

1) They claim they own certain IP.
2) They refuse to clearly identify what this IP is.
3) There is no evidence that that actually do own any of this.

The basic problem is that SCO's basic claims are, for the most part, bald faced lies.

Chris Tavares
Wednesday, March 03, 2004

>>>The basic problem is that SCO's basic claims are, for the most part, bald faced lies.

Yes. One has to wonder what the heck they are really thinking. Is there a plan behind it or is it just the desperate flailing of a dying company?

As if the situation with Novell, IBM and RedHat wasnt sufficent to dismember SCO completely, they have to go and pull new enemies into the mix. For what? If they had any solid evidence up their sleeves we would have seen it in the IBM suit by now.
All they are producing is more FUD.

I cant see any other outcome of this than SCOs death. Either as a direct result of the lawsuits, or because noone in their right mind will ever buy their system again.

Eric Debois
Wednesday, March 03, 2004

So there will be some good to come out of it. If SCO disolves, they won't try foisting off any more of their bad operating systems on people for a lot of money.

Clay Dowling
Wednesday, March 03, 2004

Check out the chart on SCOX:

There was good support at $14, but the down-trend has broken through that level solidly.  Certainly an indicator of investor sentiment: noone buys the story, and if they did they're looking to get out.

The next real test of support is at $10, and if it doesn't hold there, its going to $4, and fast.

I wonder if McBride is taking notes on the the Ebbers/Skilling stories?

Cop a plea early and rat out your friends.

hoser
Wednesday, March 03, 2004

What's at stake is ownership of intellectual property. The stuff we create every day. It's a pretty important topic.

The analogy with American independence is interesting, but could equally apply the other way around. McBride wants to stop freeloaders. That's what the British were, in their claims for unearned taxes.

Theft comes not just from imposed payments, but also from unpaid payments.

Call me Bill
Wednesday, March 03, 2004

Bill--are you a troll or not?

The freeloader here is McBride. He claims that your software is owned by him.

mb
Wednesday, March 03, 2004

No, I'm a troll. McBride doesn't claim he owns any of my software.

Call me Bill
Wednesday, March 03, 2004

Grrr .. editing. I originally wrote NOT a troll but changed the phrasing.

Call me Bill
Wednesday, March 03, 2004

"but I've never met an SCO system that couldn't be improved by pulling the plug. "

Maybe not, but it seems a lot of retailers disagree with you.  The phrase I'd heard in the industry is you look around any shopping mall and you will find SCO customers.

Mike
Wednesday, March 03, 2004

Dear Bill,
            How do you know SCO doesn't claim to own any of your software? Or that I won't threaten to sue you because I claim to own it?

            What this case is about is extortion. If the wind blew from the South would you expect a Mexican to sue you because you're freeloading the air you breathe?

Stephen Jones
Thursday, March 04, 2004

I know that because SCO has not claimed to own any of my software.

Call me Bill
Thursday, March 04, 2004

Dude.  He's a troll.  "Call me Bill [Gates]".  Can you GET any more obvious?

...And I don't see any retailers running SCO that
a) weren't doing it a looooooooong time before Linux had any commercial support
b) aren't currently actively in progress of moving to Linux or Windows.

I suspect Linux would get more converts than Windows because a) it's an easier port and b) the whole reason they chose SCO over proprietary-hardware UNIX was probably per-unit cost in the first place.

I've never heard anything good about SCO.  Every SCO customer I ever met picked SCO just because it was a commercially-supported UNIX that could run on cheap Intel boxes, not because it had any redeeming qualities over Solaris, AIX, or HPUX.

Richard P
Thursday, March 04, 2004

So far SCO hasnt filed any lawsuits regarding copyright or patents, or even licenses, only breach of contract. None of the lawsuits has anything to do with the GPL directly. All the anti linux, anti gpl stuff SCO has been putting out is just hot air.

Eric Debois
Thursday, March 04, 2004

If they don't file criminal charges against the CEO and other execs of SCO after this fiasco, expect more scenarios like this from dying companies that have nothing to lose and everything to gain from their extortion efforts.

T. Norman
Thursday, March 04, 2004

The best way to understand this is as an elaborate pump-'n'-dump scam.

SCO is owned by the Canopy Group, a holding company controlled by Angel Investors.  They look for dead or dying companies with IP (as SCO was before all this happened), buy them, and start suing everyong in arms's reach for one of three outcomes:

1. The stock price jumps up, increasing the value of Canopy's investment, which helps them when...

2. The target of the lawsuit, a big moneybags corporation simplies buys them for less than the cost of settling the lawsuit, or...

3. They actually get a ruling favoring them--which is a long shot, but possible--and get some settlement money.

That's why SCO, a pissant vendor of a dying unix variant, is suing IBM, Chrysler and Autozone, and talks up going after Google.  They're trying to make themselves so bloody annoying that one of the parties decides its cheaper to simply shut them up with cash.  There's also the possibility that a big company doesn't want to risk an adverse ruling, and buys them to avoid that possibility.

I don't remember the other names, but SCO isn't the first company the Canopy Group has done this with.

Bill, I don't know if you're a troll or not, since you're close to the party line here on this issue, but there's no IP infringement demonstrated or even plausibly suggested.  Their arguments amount to "Linux couldn't be this good, this fast, without containing our IP".  Their specific argument against Autozone is that their transition to Linux couldn't have been done as smoothly as it was without making use of SCO shared libraries.  That's fine to say, but they have to actually prove it in court, and for the last year they've danced mighty hard to avoid doing just that.

Justin Johnson
Thursday, March 04, 2004

I'm with Justin on this one.  Right now they SCO board and the VCs who dump another $120,000,000 million into it are probably wonder "What the..."

They were betting that like Microsoft often buys irritating companies, IBM would too.  "Threaten to sue and become part of big blue"(TM)  was probably their logo.  Hoping to make a few hundred million on a company headed for Chapter 7.

What they forgot is that IBM has more IP lawyers than any other company on the planet.  If they buy SCO out, it may leave people with the impression that they did violate their contract.  They cannot let that happen or anyone with six lines of code will sue them and use SCO as precedent. 

Unfortunately, they brought David Boise into the picture after they were in the hole.  Now they are continuing to dig in hopes of reaching the other side of the planet and somehow escape.  SCO doesn't need luck, they need divine intervention.

MSHack
Thursday, March 04, 2004

The SCO argument is that intellectual property owned by SCO was stolen and made part of Linux, and that many corporations are now earning benefits from that without paying. That's intellectual property.

Secondly, I find it strange to see IBM's staff of IP lawyers being presented as if it's meritorious. Don't you guys usually condemn the use of legal muscle (whether justified or not?) Your argument seems to be that IBM will win because it's tougher, rather than because it's right.

Re the GPL connection, Darl has written on this topic quite well, and I believe something in that ties in with the SCO argument.

Call me Bill
Thursday, March 04, 2004

Here's an intereting thing:

http://www.opensource.org/halloween/halloween10.html

Microsoft has funnelled $100 million into SCO through Baystar and other referrels.  So any perspective on this whole issue has to include the fact that Microsoft is underwriting it.

"The SCO argument is that intellectual property owned by SCO was stolen and made part of Linux, and that many corporations are now earning benefits from that without paying. That's intellectual property."

A claim which SCO has struggled hard to avoid demonstrating; those parts it has demonstrated under NDA and at reseller's conferences have been quickly demonstrated not to be owned by SCO, including files for which Linus Torvalds, Dennis Richie and Brian Kernighan have all publicly asserted that they are the authors.

Bill, no matter what anyone here thinks of intellectual property, you're giving far too much credence to SCO's claims.  I spoke with our company's lawyer about this, and among IP lawyers it's viewed as a soap opera.  From a legal perspective the consensus is that SCO has no good case and that this is strictly corporate maneuvering.  To quote the lawyer I spoke to, "it's like watching a slow train wreck of clowns."

Justin Johnson
Thursday, March 04, 2004

----"The SCO argument is that intellectual property owned by SCO was stolen and made part of Linux, and that many corporations are now earning benefits from that without paying. That's intellectual property."----

And it's a bare-faced lie! SCO have repeatedly been asked to name wihich parts of Linux infringe their IP and have repeatedly refused to answer. Even where the code is substantially the same SCO need to prove that it wasn't they that infringed the GPL, or that both code bases were developed independently.

Stephen Jones
Thursday, March 04, 2004

The reason, Bill, that people keep mentioning IBM's vast IP law department isn't admiration, it's that suing IBM over a questionable (at best) IP claim is corporate suicide, a guaranteed loss with lots of fees paid to lawyers; thus, SCO's actions seem less like a self-righteous assertion of IP rights and more like a pufferfish trying to get eaten by a shark for a lot of money.

Justin Johnson
Thursday, March 04, 2004

Bill--
Given the absurd claims from SCO, the infringing lines probably include ones like this:

{

and this

}

.
Are you sure you've never used those bits of SCO's property? That's what this case is about.

(BTW, old SCO machines have nothing to do with the current entity known as SCO. There was a name swap a few years ago, just to confuse matters.)

mb
Thursday, March 04, 2004

You guys have got it wrong. The vast PR machine behind open source has of course been spinning the story that SCO's claim has no merit, but my understanding is that it does.

slashdot sits in no courts of the land, last I heard.

Call me Bill
Thursday, March 04, 2004

"Vast PR machine?"

Ha ha.  You got me.

Trol..

Justin Johnson
Thursday, March 04, 2004

Most of SCO's claim is around stuff like
SIGSEGV being signal 11 on both Linux and the AT&T
codebase.  The fact that it's also 11 in the Posix standard,
as well as Ultrix, VMS, Irix, etc means that the signal.h
header file has some superficial similarities in all these
codebases.  This was the "evidence" that SCO waved around
the one time it actually produced any evidence.

x
Thursday, March 04, 2004

There are two rules you must always remember.  The first is "never get involved in a land war in Asia".  The second is "never match wits with a Sicilian"!

Addendum: The third is "never get involved in an IP lawsuit with IBM."

It's not admiration for IBM's IP lawyers.  It's the same sense of shock and awe as watching the scrawny-6th-grade-loudmouth-nobody-likes insist on antagonizing the 8th-grade-bully-who-should-be-in-12th-by-now.  You don't like either of them, but boy is that little kid just asking for it.

Richard P
Thursday, March 04, 2004

Good. Now we agree SCO is the underdog. Go SCO.

Call me Bill
Thursday, March 04, 2004

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