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LinuxTag To SCO: Detail Code Theft Or Retract Claims 531

Posted by timothy
from the schadenersatz dept.
RoLi writes "Heise has a story (The babelfish translation sounds like a speech from Yoda, but the important facts are translated correctly.) about LinuxTag taking legal action against SCO. SCO will either have to retract their claims, disclose their "proof" (if it exists) or be fined. That's certainly good news." Update: 05/26 17:25 GMT by T : Reader Fizz points to the more understandable LinuxTag press release (in English and German), and adds: "The notice, dated Friday, May 23, maintains that SCO Group is sowing uncertainty among the community of GNU/Linux users, developers and suppliers."
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LinuxTag To SCO: Detail Code Theft Or Retract Claims

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  • Maybe now we won't have a SCO/Linux story every day.
    • by Chexum (1498) on Monday May 26, 2003 @01:49PM (#6041050) Homepage

      Every day... I keep wondering, why do we have to even *think* about SCO until they come forward? The age old saying, "don't feed the trolls", comes to mind...

      But for a bit more informativeness, I don't hear about the few software releases that have strong Caldera/SCO bonds, even as a new release, or a revived tool from way back then: OpenSLP [openslp.org], CSCOPE [sf.net] (gee, cSCOpe [advogato.org], advogators will kill me) and something similar (not trivial) which eludes my mind just now...

      • >>I keep wondering, why do we have to even
        >>*think* about SCO until they come forward?

        Because they are effectively customers of open source solutions saying that they could be legally responsible. All the bewan counters will ask, is could this have been avoided using MS?
        • Could this have been avoided using Microsoft? No, and it's important to make sure people remember that.

          Customers of Microsoft were exposed to lawsuits when Microsoft breached Timeline's copyright with code in SQL server.

          I don't see any Linux customers having their business disrupted and confidential information disturbed by an SPA raid, driven by a rumour from a disgruntled ex-employee. That happens to Microsoft customers regularly.
    • by tijnbraun (226978) on Monday May 26, 2003 @02:22PM (#6041218)
      Well I missed this one today on slashdot:

      Advise from Gartner:

      The lawsuits against IBM and Linux users could take a year or more. Minimize Linux in complex, mission-critical systems until the merits of SCO's claims or any resulting judgments become clear.

      SCOs Threat to Sue Linux Users Serious butRemote [gartner.com]
    • From secret SCO documents:
      Lawyers using advnaced pattern matching software have found that the ENTIRE LINE:

      "main() {"

      occurs in both SCO UNIX 'source code' and Linux 'kernel' 'source code' numerous times.

      Coincidence? SCO thinks not...

  • by SeanTobin (138474) * <byrdhuntr&hotmail,com> on Monday May 26, 2003 @01:19PM (#6040908)
    The english translation of the english translated version (just a sensible cleaning up of babel fish translating. I assume warned means file some kind of legal document. I didn't want to push the interpertation that far though.)

    LinuxTag [linuxtag.de] warned SCO that it is engaging in anti-competitive behavior. SCO has stated that Linux contains patented Unix source code whose patents are owned by SCO. SCO has also warned end users and companies that they could be held liable "for the use of Linux." SCO has not explained which parts of Linux are believed to contain the patented code.

    The warning by Linuxtag now forces SCO to submit proof that Linux contains patented code, or to retract the statements. The unproven statements by SCO are causing economic damage to competitors that use GNU/Linux and are tarnishing its reputation.

    Hans's Bavarian of SCO Germany has confirmed that the warnings have been recieved. SCO's attourneys are examining them. SCO however only wants to respond with a small statement clarifying its position. It does not want to divulge the proof until the trial against IBM. SCO sued IBM at the beginning of march for $1,000,000,000.

    The expresso version:

    LinuxTag is mad because SCO is saying to its customers that you could be sued because we might own some of the linux IP and you haven't paid us. LinuxTag called SCO out saying that is anticompetitive and either prove or retract your statements. SCO now caught between a lie and a legal brief doesn't want to until the trial with IBM. LinuxTag will probably tell SCO 'tough cookies' and possibly blacken the sky with paratrooping attourneys... maybe with some air support from IBM.
    • by aepervius (535155) on Monday May 26, 2003 @01:28PM (#6040951)
      It is a writing (or a writ) given by a lawyer to somebody. I think you call it "cease and decist" letters.
    • by Anonymous Coward
      The problem with this is that forcing SCO to disclose evidence in a civil trial before the appropriate time will harm their ability to make their case against IBM in court. Now, I assume that SCO has sued IBM in the US, but that this action is happening in Germany, but I would imagine treaties between the US and Germany would prevent a German court from doing anything that harms SCO's case in the US.

      Basically, the worst that could happen is that the German court might enjoinder SCO not to make public state
      • The problem with this is that forcing SCO to disclose evidence in a civil trial before the appropriate time will harm their ability to make their case against IBM in court.

        I think that is an incredibly oxymoronic statement. If the public disclosure of evidence threatens the merits of a civil lawsuit, the grounds of that lawsuit should be questioned...publicly.

        Yet another infinite while() loop in the legal code?

        --K.
      • by B'Trey (111263) on Monday May 26, 2003 @01:59PM (#6041107)
        It appears that the warnings were delivered to the German arm of SCO, leading me to speculate that they were cautioning German companies who use Linux of possible culpability much as SCO has been doing in the US. I fail to see how disclosing their evidence can harm SCO's ability to to sue IBM. (They are required to provide the evidence to IBM prior to trial anyway.) What it will do is harm their ability to take advantage of the FUD their suit is causing. It also allows the Linux community to immediately get started in rewriting any code in the unlikely event that some part of their claims actually have merit.
      • by WCMI92 (592436) on Monday May 26, 2003 @02:33PM (#6041273) Homepage
        "The problem with this is that forcing SCO to disclose evidence in a civil trial before the appropriate time will harm their ability to make their case against IBM in court. Now, I assume that SCO has sued IBM in the US, but that this action is happening in Germany, but I would imagine treaties between the US and Germany would prevent a German court from doing anything that harms SCO's case in the US."

        Why? How would disclosing the "evidence" in advance damage their case? If they have allegations and evidence to BACK IT UP, it will not be changed by public exposure. Even if there were infringing code in the kernel that were disclosed by SCO and changed tomorrow, there'd still be evidence that it WAS there.

        Indeed, Caldera has to disclose their evidence IN ADVANCE to the defendants anyway, it's called discovery.

        The ONLY way advance disclosure would "harm" Caldera is IF THERE IS NO EVIDENCE, that all their case is are lies, inuendo, smoke and mirrors. Which I suspect that it is. Disclosing REAL evidence of infringing code in public would only STRENGTHEN their case, and put pressure on IBM and others to buy them out.

        No, the purpose of this suit is to keep the "facts" secret as long as possible to drag it out as long as possible to cause economic damage to Linux and businesses that do business in Linux so as to put pressure on them to buy out Caldera.

      • The problem with this is that forcing SCO to disclose evidence in a civil trial before the appropriate time will harm their ability to make their case against IBM in court.

        Actually no.

        If their trade secret claim had any merit, disclosing the evidence of it now would not void or reduce their claims for the misappropriated code in the first place. Although they are not obligated to dislose this information now, by failing to do so they are actually furthering damage to their own company because of th

    • Human translation (Score:5, Informative)

      by Anonymous Coward on Monday May 26, 2003 @01:47PM (#6041039)

      Here's a human translation:

      LinuxTag e.V. sent an "Abmahnung" [a legal document somehwat similar to a cease-and-desist letter, I think, but IANAL] to SCO because of anti-competitive behavior. SCO is claiming that Linux violates the company's intellectual property because Unix source code has been copied into the Linux sources, and they're warning Linux users that they might be liable when using Linux. However the company has not yet disclosed, which parts of Linux are actually affected.

      The cease-and-desist forces SCO to either prove their claims or to take them back. "We cannot accept that SCO trys to use unproved claims to harm competitors by intimidating their customers and to damage the reputation of GNU/Linux as an open platform", said Michael Kleinhenz, LinuxTag e.V.'s spokesperson.

      Hans Bayer, director of SCO Germany, confirmed having received three ceases-and-desist letters. They are currenlty examined by a lawyer. He could understand that the current uncertain legal situation is problematic for Linux companies. SCO would also aim for a quick resolution, however they will not present their proof until the court case against IBM. In early march, SCO had sued IBM for one billion dollars damages.

    • by gearheadsmp (569823) on Monday May 26, 2003 @02:22PM (#6041220)
      LinuxTag will probably tell SCO 'tough cookies' and possibly blacken the sky with paratrooping attourneys... maybe with some air support from IBM.

      I hope this means I'll get to fly that A-10 I have sitting in my back yard and peg some SCO attourneys with the beloved .30 cal DE rounds.
  • Babelfish.. (Score:5, Funny)

    by grub (11606) <slashdot@grub.net> on Monday May 26, 2003 @01:20PM (#6040911) Homepage Journal

    You don't need babelfish [altavista.com] to understand "Hey SCO; shit or get off the pot!"
  • I mean... SCO claimed code theft and they will have to prove it... DUH!
    • by Crashmarik (635988) on Monday May 26, 2003 @01:30PM (#6040966)
      Not in the good old USA.

      Under our system they can make the allegation threaten people, file suit, delay forever causing pain and suffering for all involved and never actually prove anything.

      Note in federal court civil and criminal cases share the same pool of judges. Because the constitution mandates a speedy trial for criminal cases, there is a minimum 2 year wait for civil cases to come to trial in federal court So SCO theoretically could be crapping on everyones day for the next 2 years or longer before ever having to put up or shut up.
      • So we can look forward to 500 or so more articles on /. about the SCO issue? I'm sure glad /. is giving them so much press to the exact market SCO wants their FUD spread to. SCO is already winning.
        • From the bounce page in your homepage URL:
          Referrals directly from /. are disallowed for some reason.

          Well, for an obvious reason. A bunch of slashdot reader clicking on Bugzilla URLs brings Bugzilla to it's knees. Remember: 1) It's database driven. 2) it's a development tool, and having it unusable during a slashdot storm really doesn't help the programmers much.
    • by waterbear (190559) on Monday May 26, 2003 @01:34PM (#6040988)
      I mean... SCO claimed code theft and they will have to prove it... DUH!

      It's more than that. In Germany, intimidating your competitors with unfounded threats to harm their business can amount to unfair competition and again in Germany there's a law against that. The threatener can himself become liable. IMO it's the kind of law we could use in other countries too ....
    • by terraformer (617565) <tpb@pervici.com> on Monday May 26, 2003 @01:34PM (#6040989) Journal
      Unfortunately under the law (US) they have every right to hold back evidence until sometime just before the trial. Their close lipped nature, given that this (the copyfight infringement) could be so easily proven, is what is fueling the speculation that their evidence is weak and they are just doing this to be bought out.
  • by Quasar1999 (520073) on Monday May 26, 2003 @01:24PM (#6040933) Journal
    This feels like the OJ trial... boring, pointless, everyone knows the verdict... unless we put too much media coverage on it... then we'll all of a sudden have a surprise twist at the end of the trial... for ratings... it's all about the ratings...
    • by TheRaven64 (641858) on Monday May 26, 2003 @01:43PM (#6041022) Journal
      Yeah, but I read a leaked copy of the script. Apparently SCO are going to win, in a dramatic plot twist in the final episode of this season. The writer is quoted as saying 'It was the only way we could see a chance at getting funding for a second season'. When asked about the probability of a second season, a network executive who whished to remain anonymous stated 'Well, it's been a lot more popular than we expected, but we're still not sure yet.' There are no known plans for syndication yet.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday May 26, 2003 @01:24PM (#6040938)
    The article, this is from:

    Hans's Bavarian, Geschaeftsfuehrer of SCO Germany, confirmed, three warnings to have received.

    German, Yoda is?

  • by Kaemaril (266849) on Monday May 26, 2003 @01:26PM (#6040944)
    From the Babelfish translation: three warnings to have received

    In related news, George Lucas confirms that LucasArts is to sue AltaVista for stealing trade secrets relating to proprietary Yoda Speech Mannerisms v3.1 algorithms.
  • What kind of pull do they have? I mean, I'd certainly like to see SCO "shit or get off the pot". But other than the letters, what can they do? Are they a German EFF (or is the EFF an American LinuxTAG)?
    • by j7953 (457666) on Monday May 26, 2003 @02:04PM (#6041135)

      They organize a yearly Linux exhibition, called "LinuxTag" (which means "Linux day"), which according to them is Europe's biggest Linux exhibition. They're not direct competitors to SCO, however if SCO causes less people to visit the trade show or causes exhibitors to shy away from actually displaying Linux products, that will harm LinuxTag e.V., so that's why they can take legal action.

      I don't know what they can do other than writing letters. In fact, I have to say that I'm quite surprised to see this move. I don't expect SCO to simply accept their demands, so unless all they wanted is some free press coverage, they'll have to sue SCO.

      • They organize a yearly Linux exhibition, called "LinuxTag" (which means "Linux day"), which according to them is Europe's biggest Linux exhibition. They're not direct competitors to SCO, however if SCO causes less people to visit the trade show or causes exhibitors to shy away from actually displaying Linux products, that will harm LinuxTag e.V., so that's why they can take legal action.

        Actually, if they do this, they are direct competitors to SCO, because they are distributing Linux. Likewise since SCO

  • by h00pla (532294) on Monday May 26, 2003 @01:29PM (#6040960) Homepage
    I'd be interested to know if this kind of thing constitutes libel. This is a page [sco.com] that SCO has posted that tries to make Stallman and Perens look bad. The use it to back up their "case".

    • I get it now.

      ESR is sending out press releases and posting on /. because Dickie and Brucie were important to SCO and he wasn't.

      Makes perfect sense.
    • I'd be interested to know if this kind of thing constitutes libel. This is a page that SCO has posted that tries to make Stallman and Perens look bad. The use it to back up their "case".

      Hehe. As if Stallman needs help from SCO to look bad...

    • I'd be interested to know if this kind of thing constitutes libel. This is a page that SCO has posted that tries to make Stallman and Perens look bad. The use it to back up their "case".

      I took a look at the statements, they are quotes from Perens and Stallman. It is not likely that a libel suit could succeed unless the quotations are false. But it is a somewhat odd tactic, Perens and Stallman are hardly the core of the Linux project. OK so they certainly have a connection, but they are not spokesmen for

      • Agh.. somehow hit submit early...

        I think the SCO quotes page makes SCO look bad rather than Linux. It is the sheer desperation of the tactic. The quotes are clearly taken out of context.

        Attacking minor figures inevitably makes you look small. Whether justified or not, Bush made a major error calling for a boycott of the Dixie Chicks, it made him look like a small minded bully. He should have laughed it off. A President with real class would have called them up and talked to them in person.

        I think the

    • I'd be interested to know if this kind of thing constitutes libel. This is a page [sco.com] that SCO has posted that tries to make Stallman and Perens look bad. The use it to back up their "case".

      This page seems to contain a number of direct quotes. If Stallman and Perens indeed said those things (in a public forum) then there is no way to keep SCO from repeating them. Libel doesn't even begin to think about entering the picture unless the quotes are false.
    • by Otter (3800)
      I'd be interested to know if this kind of thing constitutes libel.

      Under US law, truth is an absolute defence against libel. (Although I seem to recall reading that one of the Stallman quotes is misattributed, but he'd still have to demonstrate that they knew that.)

      No, reminding others of embarassing things someone once said is entirely legal. Again, in the US -- other legal systems undoubtedly vary, just as German law is being used against SCO's German arm here.

    • The funny thing is that Stallman isn't even a friend of Linux and has never contributed a single line to Linux.

      Does this really make you a Linux-leader?

    • by BJH (11355) on Monday May 26, 2003 @02:00PM (#6041114)
      Richard Stallman

      "Linux is a copy of UNIX. There is very little new stuff in Linux."
      Linux kernel forum


      I'd like to see a date put on this. Anyway, Stallman's position has, for a long time, been that the Linux kernel is only a stopgap measure until the HURD reaches the appropriate state of perfection (although he seems to have relaxed that stance a little lately).

      "I consider the law prohibiting the sharing of copies with your friend the moral equivalent of Jim Crow. It does not deserve respect."
      Richard Stallman, Free as in Freedom, Richard Stallman's Crusade for Free Software: O'Reilly (2002) at p. 72


      And what, exactly, are SCO trying to imply with this? In case they didn't notice, he said "friend", not "multi-billion-dollar corporation". I fail to see how it has any bearing on their case against IBM.

      "The whole GNU project is really one big hack. It's one big act of subversive playful cleverness..."
      Richard Stallman, Revolution OS (DVD)


      Now, this one's just plain old misrepresentation (intentional or not). RMS's use of the word "hack" here corresponds to the second sentence - i.e., a clever piece of work. It would seem that SCO thought he meant it to imply a giant tangle of spaghetti code.

      Bruce Perens

      "This is becoming a tradition. I go there and break the law every year in the name of free speech."
      Bruce Perens, explaining his plan to demonstrate how to modify DVD technology to attendees of an Open Source convention.


      Again, I fail to see how DVD copy protection has any bearing whatsoever on SCO's case against IBM.

      "We have to remember that Linux is a follow-on to UNIX. It's not just a UNIX clone. It's actually a UNIX successor."
      Bruce Perens, mpulse magazine, December 2001.


      This is a bit of a strange quote to put up - perhaps they're trying to imply that Bruce was saying that Linux builds on UNIX, but I suspect what they really wanted emphasize was the "... a UNIX clone" line; i.e., while it might currently be more than a clone of UNIX, it is at the core just a UNIX copy, perhaps in more ways than one.

      Summary: Yet more FUD. Thanks, SCO, now please disappear off the face of the Earth.
  • by astrashe (7452) * on Monday May 26, 2003 @01:33PM (#6040980) Journal
    If SCO ignores the German suit, how long will it take for them to be fined, and how big will the fine be?

    If they produce documents in the German suit, will they be available in the US suit against IBM? Or can they stick to their original timetable for releasing docs here in the states?

    It's amazing -- I didn't think it would be possible to dislike SCO any more than I did after I had to work on their OS a few years ago, but here we are. They pulled it off.
    • by Reimer Behrends (464673) on Monday May 26, 2003 @06:27PM (#6042416)
      First, an "Abmahnung" is not a lawsuit. It's an out-of-court attempt to enjoin somebody (in this case a competitor) from doing something, in this case presumably continuing dishonest business practices. The case goes to court only if the competitor does not agree to discontinue the objectionable activity.

      In essence, an "Abmahnung" is a cease-and-desist letter with teeth. If you receive one, you have the option to either agree to stop doing something AND to pay a heavy contractual fine if you violate this agreement; if you refuse, that the plaintiff can ask for temporary injunctive relief from a court.

      This process is fast: typically you are given only 1-2 weeks to respond, and after that, temporary injunctive relief can be granted. Unless SCO can provide evidence for their claims, they will eventually be permanently enjoined from pursuing current anti-competitive practices.

      Note also that under German anti-competitive law not only direct competitors can pursue this kind of legal action, but also various kinds of organizations that represent consumers or competitors (so-called passive legitimization).

      (Disclaimer: This is somewhat simplified, I don't know all the details of the case, and finally, I'm not a lawyer.)
  • SCO FUD Attack (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday May 26, 2003 @01:33PM (#6040983)
    The company I work for sells network security products, some of which are based on Linux. We have gotten inquiries from a large user saying that SCO sent their CEO a "cease and desist from using Linux" letter.

    I can't confirm that SCO actually did this, and it's not just the customer's way of pushing the issue. But, either way, it shows their FUD campaign is working.
  • Not making any guarantees of validity...

    LinuxTag warns SCO

    The LinuxTag e.V. warned SCO of its anti-competitive behavior. SCO stated that Linux infringed on its enterprise Unix patent rights, since Unix source code was cpoied into the Linux source, and warns Linux users that they could be made liable "for the use of Linux". So far SCO has not disclosed which parts of Linux are concerned.

    The warning is to now force SCO to submit proofs for the alleged infringement, or retract their statements. 'With the allegations made by SCO, they are causing economic loss to their competitors through intimidation of their competitors customers and damaging the relationship of Gnu/linux as open platform', says Michael Kleinhenz, LinuxTag e.V spokesman.

    Hans's Bavarian, CEO? of SCO Germany, confirmed that three warnings have been received. The letters were examined time by a lawyer at the time. The letter states that the present legal situation for Linux companies is unclear. Also SCO wants to only submit a clarifying brief, covering its proofs of copyright offences by Linux in the lawsuit against IBM. SCO had sued IBM for a billion US dollar compensationat the beginning of March .
  • fine? (Score:3, Interesting)

    by pyros (61399) on Monday May 26, 2003 @01:35PM (#6040991) Journal
    I didn't see mention of a fine in either the babel translation or in the english version. Can anybody comment on what gives LinuxTag the ability to fine SCO?
  • IBM counter suit (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Citizen of Earth (569446) on Monday May 26, 2003 @01:43PM (#6041017)
    I'd like to know why IBM hasn't counter-sued SCO yet. If a small company can make abuse the legal system, you'd think a big company could abuse it a lot more.
  • its about time... (Score:4, Interesting)

    by josepha48 (13953) on Monday May 26, 2003 @01:47PM (#6041038) Journal
    ... that someone has said "PUT UP OR SHUTUP!"

    Which is basically what they are saying. FYI, you don't need bablefish, you just need to click on the british(or english?) flag.

    What SCO is doing is could be considered slander IF they have no proof, thus slander is finable.

    Well I say, SCO, show us what code you think Linux is infringing, and what proof you have that it came from IBM OR "SCO/UNIX IP"?

  • I've read all the English language versions (BabelFish, English press release, etc.), and don't see any mention of a fine.
  • Only connect (Score:3, Insightful)

    by tengwar (600847) <slashdot AT vetinari DOT org> on Monday May 26, 2003 @01:48PM (#6041047)
    SCO bought Xenix from Microsoft. Does anybody know whether Microsoft retained any commercial interest in SCO?
    • Re:Only connect (Score:5, Informative)

      by Watts Martin (3616) <layotl&gmail,com> on Monday May 26, 2003 @02:22PM (#6041219) Homepage

      This keeps coming up. The answer is "no."

      1. SCO actually developed Xenix with Microsoft. Microsoft sold their part of the rights back to SCO years ago.
      2. "SCO Unix" and "SCO Xenix" are different products.
      3. UnixWare was bought from Novell, and it is a different product from the other two.
      4. The current "SCO" was formed when Caldera bought all of SCO's Unix assets so SCO could focus on Tarantella, an enterprise remote computing system. SCO then changed their name to Tarantella, and later Caldera changed their name to SCO.
      5. In other words, the current "SCO" is not the SCO that worked on Xenix with Microsoft in the first place. That company is Tarantella, which isn't in the Unix business anymore.
      6. Furthermore, while Caldera-now-SCO has nothing in common with the original SCO, Caldera-now-SCO has almost nothing in common with the original Caldera. The shift toward "survival by litigation" comes shortly after an entirely new management team was put in place.
      7. Microsoft recently licensed rights to use Unix from Caldera-now-SCO. This is clearly an attempt to hop onto the "Linux = Copyright Infringement" bandwagon that Caldera-now-SCO started, but there's no evidence to suggest a larger conspiracy.
      • Re:Only connect (Score:3, Informative)

        by arivanov (12034)
        SCO Unix

        I keep reading this and every time I want to f*** cream.

        SCO Unix does not exist. SCO Openserver does not have a X-Open Unix 95 or Unix 98 certification. It has no right to be called Unix and have not had such a right at least for the last 8 years. (Unixware is a different matter).

  • Worker Bees (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Veteran (203989) on Monday May 26, 2003 @01:51PM (#6041062)
    The members of the opensource community are like a hive of busy bees. We need to realize that worker bees carry a sting.

    Here is how to utterly stop anything like the SCO legal action in the future.

    Each individual in the open source movement needs to file a small claims law suit not only against SCO but against the individual lawyers working for SCO. These people have defamed us, and they need to learn that they do well to leave all of us alone.

    It is impossible to fight thousands of law suits filed in hundreds of different courts. The expense is huge, and failure of the other side to respond results in a summery judgment against them.

    While each suit might be small - a few thousand dollars - the end result is a disaster for someone like SCO and their lawyers.

    • Re:Worker Bees (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Animats (122034)
      The suits would be consolidated into one big suit. That's done all the time in multi-injury claims.
      • Re:Worker Bees (Score:3, Interesting)

        by Veteran (203989)
        It is usually plaintiffs attorneys who do this - in the hope of getting a big payoff. People are not required to join those suits.

        My being defamed has nothing to do with anyone else being defamed.
    • Except bees die after they sting. Can i be a yellow jacket instead? Wasps (the bug) don't have to die.
    • Re:Worker Bees (Score:3, Insightful)

      by refactored (260886)
      SCO's dead.

      Stop flogging it.

      Flog the blighters that own it.

      Flog their partners and associates.

      But SCO? It's nailed to the perch and been so for ages now. It's part of hell's choir eternal. It would push up Daisies but the little flowers keep falling back withered and blighted.

      Track the money trail back and lash out at those who hold the purse strings.

  • by Martin Marvinski (581860) on Monday May 26, 2003 @01:54PM (#6041072)
    If this lawsuit goes against linux, could this be the rebirth of BSD to the mainstream? The lawsuits in the early 90s nearly killed it, but now it is legally clear, so if Linux has problems legally we could revive BSD.

    Although there is a problem because FreeBSD has problems with Christian owned companies in my experience. One of my clients got offended when I installed an OS whose logo was a Daemon. She made me install Solaris instead of FreeBSD because she didn't want a "Satanic" OS.

    • Tell her that 'daemon' actually means something closer to "guardian angel" than "demon".

      From the Merriam-Webster Online dictionary entry for demon:

      1 a : an evil spirit b : a source or agent of evil, harm, distress, or ruin
      2 usually daemon : an attendant power or spirit : GENIUS
      3 usually daemon : a supernatural being of Greek mythology intermediate between gods and men

      All of those daemons running in the background on your machine are attendant spirits. The name has been rationalized by calling it an acronym for Disk And Execution MONitors, but acording to the Jargon File it was originaly based on the second or third meaning quoted above.
    • Sorry, don't believe it. You're just repeating an urban legend.

      I grew up in a christian community, was raised a christian, and still am. I know christians from virtually every denomination. Here's the typical Fourth of July of my mainstream christian youth: eating devilled ham sandwiches made from Underwood Devilled Ham with devil logo, accompanied by devilled eggs, lighting off Red Devil Fireworks with a devil logo, and finishing off the evening with a thick slice of devilsfood chocolate cake.

      I know some
  • Insanity? (Score:5, Interesting)

    by malakai (136531) * on Monday May 26, 2003 @01:55PM (#6041079) Journal
    Wouldn't this be like E3 suing Electronic Arts because Electronic Arts alleges IP violation in say a ID Software Game?

    Or like COMDEX suing Motorola, because they allege Ericsson stole some technology.

    LinuxTag is a conference, a media event. I think they are grossly overstepping their bounds.

    Would a "Car Show" sue a major car manufacturer because said manufacturer comes up with some legal case that threatens to make all other manufacturers indebted to them? They might be pissed, but filing some legal suit for such a 4th party participant in the field is misuse of the system.

    -malakai
    • by Qbertino (265505) on Monday May 26, 2003 @03:08PM (#6041426)
      1st of all:
      Linux Tag *is* damaged if Linux loses reputation.
      2nd:
      This kind of thing SCO appears to be doing (falls claims and statements) actually *is* 'wettbewerbswidrig' (roughly translates to 'comerce opstructive') and thus plain and simply illegal in germany. And Linux Tag need not even be directly affected by it to have a reason, if not to say the lawfull duty of filing a notice to german officials that SCO is acting 'comerce obstructive'.
      A 'Einstweilige Verfügung' ('temporal decree') could actually force SCO Germany to publish proofs for the supposed violation or officially back down from their claims/statements and even publish a suing partys 'Gegendarstellung' ('counter statement') in the media releases SCO Germany controlls (Websites, corporate flyers & publications, etc.).
      With the Linux Tag being a rock-solid institution in the country with the highest amount of linux-users per capita (even high-ranked politicians and officials attend the linux tag) this is not just far from insane, it's also quite conclusive and weighs pretty hard in favor of the OSS community.

      Aside from that, if you ask me, I see a major ass-chewing for SCO at the horizon. Not just in germany. I was bound to become one of their customers, but 650 $ for their United Linux distro and now this shurely asks for serious trouble from *everybody* in the *nix world.
    • Re:Insanity? (Score:5, Informative)

      by Tom (822) on Monday May 26, 2003 @03:58PM (#6041651) Homepage Journal
      *bzzt*, wrong.

      Linuxtag is a trade fair, but Linuxtag e.V., the legal body behind the fair, is an "eingetragener Verein", which is essentially german for tax-exempt non-profit organisation.

      All german "e.V."s have a "common good" purpose in their charta. That of Linuxtag e.V. almost certainly reads something like "to advance Linux in the business world". Certainly, stopping harm against the community falls flat within that purpose.

      Also, german Wettbewerbsrecht (law about fair competition) allows almost everyone to bring a lawsuit against someone violating it. This was done to make sure that consumers, even would-be consumers (e.g. I'd love to buy that X, but company Y has driven them out of business using unfair means, so I'm not a customer of either, legally) have a standing.

      I know Till (the lawyer here) in person. He's a good guy, and he certainly knows what he's doing.
    • SCO in Germany cannot publish comments about the american case that they can't back up under German laws. That's the issue here. If SCO's german shell company is issuing letters to german companies then they have to abide by german law and "put-up-or-shut-up!" And because the case is in an american court, american gag orders don't apply to the german company branch.

      They've already made the comments and issued the letters, so under german law, they need to retract or show some evidence of their claims

  • by tootingbec (561955) on Monday May 26, 2003 @01:57PM (#6041092)
    Neither the German nor the English text says anything at all about any legal action by LinuxTag. The piece in heise.de does say that lawyers have sent each other nastygrams. Lawyers do that all the time, I hear. I get the sense that people don't know what LinuxTag is. It's a trade show. Nowhere in any of the linked articles does anyone say what the legal theory for a lawsuit against SCO would be...especially by a trade show! Frankly, it'd be more of a story if there were such information. Nothin' to see here, people, move along...
    • by rjh (40933) <rjh@sixdemonbag.org> on Monday May 26, 2003 @03:00PM (#6041397)
      It's been a few years since I took my college German classes, but if I recall correctly from that class, Germany has some very strong laws meant to protect the good names of people, companies and organizations. If I go about talking trash about you, your company, firm or organization, you have the right to present me with an Abmahnung. It's not a "cease and desist" letter, it's a "put up or shut up" letter.

      What the Abmahnung does is creates a legal obligation for me to present evidence to prove my claims--or else I'm legally enjoined from continuing my trash-talking, under penalty of a very hefty fine.

      So no, LinuxTag hasn't just sent SCO a nastygram. They've sent SCO a nastygram with teeth. From here on out in Germany, SCO has three choices: they can either prove it and keep talking, they can keep talking and pay a huge fine, or they can shut up.

      ObWarning: it's been a while since I took my college German studies, and even longer since I was a foreign exchange student in Germany (where my host father was a German prosecutor). This is all based on my best recollection.
  • by grub (11606) <slashdot@grub.net> on Monday May 26, 2003 @01:58PM (#6041098) Homepage Journal

    The SCO attorneys were seated across the courtroom from
    IBM's legal team. "Your Honour," began SCO lead council
    Henry L. Pencilneck, "we believe the defendent typed SCO
    trade secrets into the Linux kernel. Furthermore, your Honour,
    we maintain he did so whilst wearing this.."

    The courtroom went silent as Pencilneck dumped the contents
    of a brown paper bag on the table he was behind. The courtoom
    erupted in gasps and cries as a bloodied leather glove landed
    silently on the table. "Order! Order!" called Judge Shyster
    as he hit his gavel.

    "Mr. Pencilneck, why was this not brought into evidence earlier?"
    asked the Judge. Pencilneck smiled. "Your Honour, only this morning
    did we find this glove behind a small guest house owned by the
    lead programmer employed by the defendent. Furthermore, we are
    ready to prove that during the night the alleged copyright
    transgressions took place, the lead programmer from IBM's Linux
    project hit his head on an air conditioner behind the guesthouse
    which is what caused him to drop this glove! Finally, we maintain
    that in the guest house, none other than Linus Torvalds himself was
    living rent-free." Two of SCOs programmers in the courtroom
    broke into tears as they looked on the glove which was covered
    in blood they maintain was from their source code. "There's only
    one way to settle this," sighed Judge Shyster, "Have Linus Torvalds
    try on this glove." The courtroom exploded.

    A door at the back of the courtoom opened. Four armed guards
    encircled a furniture wheeler
    bearing the straight-jacketted form of Linus. Women in the courtroom
    fainted.

    Unshackling his right hand a guard tried to fit the glove on Linus.

    It didn't fit.

    The courtoom exploded again. "Order! Order," cried Judge Shyster,
    "Notice how Torvalds balled up his fist? It won't fit in a glove like
    that, but.." The Judge leaned back, "Bring in the Goatse.cx guy!"


    To Be Continued
  • by small_dick (127697) on Monday May 26, 2003 @01:59PM (#6041102)
    They have called the linux developers liars and theives, plain and simple.

    They claim the "Enterprise Features" mentioned in ESR's work did not exist before IBM's involvement.

    I'm suprised a variety of lawsuits haven't been filed against SCO by now. In particular, a class action law suit by the developers of all the enterprise features.

    Of course, SCO has been planning this (probably with Microsoft) for many months, it might take time to get all the ducks in line for a major counter suit.

    This could be a violation of their terms with the DOJ as well. DOJ should be subpoenaing all notes/conversations/etc between Microsoft and SCO for the last year or so...find that smoking gun and turn it right back that Microsoft.
  • by grungeman (590547) on Monday May 26, 2003 @02:13PM (#6041177)
    SCO now has to fight on two different battlefields. One is the IBM case to which US law applies. This can take quite a while, and maybe that is exactly the purpose of the whole case, because they may want to keep the FUD up as long as possible. And since we know how bizarre US law can be, this could take a long long time.

    The other battle is fought in Germany, and here the rules (read the law) are different. The German court could really put a lot of pressure on SCO to open the questionable code ASAP, and this could have a huge influence on the case with IBM (or even make it totally irelevant), because it may show really soon if the "stolen" code exists or not.

  • by bogie (31020) on Monday May 26, 2003 @02:23PM (#6041226) Journal
    They have cleary stated that Red Hat is one of the companies infringing on their IP. If I was in charge over at Red Hat I'd being suing them right now for libel and slander. They are in effect try to destroy the reputation of Red Hat through flase claims that are in all likelyhood causing Red Hat to lose business.

    You simply can't issue press release after press release slandering a company legally.

    Either Red Hat thinks this will all blow over or they are really guilty along with everyone else. Sitting on the sidelines is stupid IMO and the longer these SCO claims are out there the more credence they will accumulate.

    Its not time for SCO to shit or get off the pot, its time for linux vendors and service providers to go on the offense and sue the crap out of SCO for the damage this is causing. That or face the music for the infringing IP.
  • by valisk (622262) on Monday May 26, 2003 @02:51PM (#6041359) Homepage Journal
    Where our mouths are.

    According to the OSDN site there are 2.9 Million Active visitors to slashdot, which means if we each pony up $50 or so into a fund we could buy the SCO Group outright and release the source into the wilds of the Public Domain or GPL it.

  • by baxterux (575852) on Monday May 26, 2003 @03:05PM (#6041412) Homepage
    it a community and i am proud to be part of it. i am part of the translation team and we translated the website to english http://www.linuxtag.org/2003/en/index.html linuxtag EV is an association registered in germany and linuxtag is a congress and expo they organize every year and its the biggest open source event in europe. so its not like comdex sueing motorola for abusing ericsson. we are part of teh open source community and we feel concerned and an association is the best way to defend our interest. i am neither german nor do i live in germany, but i have to say the guys are organized and at least someone is doing something about this!
  • by swordgeek (112599) on Monday May 26, 2003 @03:45PM (#6041588) Journal
    ...it comes to court.

    Something that FAR too many people here are forgetting, is that SCO has sued IBM. When they get to court, SCO will be legally required to provide any evidence or proof of wrongdoing on IBM's part. Until then, and release of evidence could destroy their case.

    IT DOESN'T MATTER at this point if they're telling the truth or full of shit. They CANNOT reasonably reveal their evidence outside a courtroom. Now let's all just quit ranting about how full of shit they are, and wait for the case to come to court. I expect them to end up bankrupt with egg on their face, but I'm at least willing to let them try to defend their claims properly.
    • Unfortunately. (Score:4, Insightful)

      by dmaxwell (43234) on Monday May 26, 2003 @04:23PM (#6041739)
      They are up to more than suing IBM. They are threatening every user of Linux and every seller of products and services based on LInux. If SCO were only talking trash about IBM then I would agree with you. At this point, they have threatened pretty much everybody and are doing damage in the process. They should either document their accusations or be made to pay in some way for the damage their trash talking is doing to Linux development and business.

      If they sent me one of their cease and desist letters I would tell them to either substantiate the infringement in detail (no bullshit NDA either.. I didn't sign anything to use Linux now did I?) or go straight to hell and shut the fuck up.
    • When they get to court, SCO will be legally required to provide any evidence or proof of wrongdoing on IBM's part. Until then, and release of evidence could destroy their case.

      This is false.

      If SCO's trade secrets were misappropriated and inserted into Linux, the loss of those trade secrets is an utterly irrevocable event that would not be affected in the slightest if they were to announce where they were (since the code to Linux was already in the public). The premise that they would be hastening th

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