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Caldera Software Linux

OSCON Panel: SCO Lawsuit About the Money 252

Posted by CmdrTaco
from the well-there's-a-shocker dept.
viewstyle writes "Just when you had heard enough, the ongoing controversy about SCO vs. Linux has popped up over at the O'Reilly Open Source Convention (OSCON). According to Eweek's story, the panelists agreed that SCO is targeting companies like IBM in an attempt to raise cash. Most importantly: "if a company is not after money, suing is not the way to go.""
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OSCON Panel: SCO Lawsuit About the Money

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  • stating the obvious (Score:1, Interesting)

    by stonebeat.org (562495) on Thursday July 10, 2003 @04:52PM (#6409635) Homepage
    wasn't that pretty obvious from day 1???
  • DUH (Score:5, Interesting)

    by mlyle (148697) on Thursday July 10, 2003 @04:53PM (#6409640)
    There are only two reasons you sue-- for injunctive relief of some kind, or to receive damages.

    And there is one reason for profit corporations exist-- to make money. This is a surprise why?
  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday July 10, 2003 @04:57PM (#6409680)
    who thinks the point of the lawsuit is to bleed money
    out of Caldera/SCO. Create a pointless lawsuit, and have the company
    pay a ton of money in legal bills to a lawfirm that the
    CEO is a part of. A nice way to bleed a company dry.
    When all done, McBride will move onto the next company
    with too much money and suck that one dry also.
  • by Krapangor (533950) on Thursday July 10, 2003 @05:04PM (#6409762) Homepage
    In the light of the SCO lawsuit Apples engagement for FreeBSD as a basis for their new system come into a totally different view point.
    We all know that Jobs is a Unix expert mainly due to this economic adventures with Next.
    So why did he decide to choose FreeBSD ?
    The GPL is not the real problem. Apple has released the Darwin source anyway and it's interface framework is not touched by the GPL. And FreeBSD is today neither more stable nor faster than Linux. In fact with a bigger userbase Apple might have caught much more customers for their new systems when choosing Linux.
    So, it seems that there must be a very different point which spoke against Linux.
    Indeed FreeBSD is freed and therefore immune to such lawsuits due to the power of the AT&T vs. Berkeley ruling. This doesn't hold for Linux.
    The main question is:How the fuck did Jobs know this ages before the SCO suit ?
    The only explanation would be that Apple knowing both codebases saw similarities they didn't like and therefore ditched Linux. Note that it is not surprising that didn't make any fuzz about it: they might oblidged by NDA etc. to keep silent and they couldn't provide the code to back such stuff up anyways.
  • And in other news... (Score:1, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday July 10, 2003 @05:11PM (#6409808)
    ... CNN is reporting [cnn.com] that Stonehenge is actually a big stone representation of a human female reproductive orifice. I kid you not. Now that *is* News for Nerds. ROTFLMFAO!
  • by Pendersempai (625351) on Thursday July 10, 2003 @05:15PM (#6409837)

    From the article:

    "[Microsoft's recent Unix license deal with SCO] proves that Microsoft and proprietary software vendors have a great deal to fear from intellectual property held by others. Maybe Microsoft felt it had something in its software to fear, and perhaps that's maybe why it took out that license."

    Or perhaps, maybe, dare I suggest, that Microsoft's public endorsement of SCO's products are meant to reward its loyalty in dealing OSS in general such a blow.

    MS leaked an internal memo a while ago that reported on some consumer focus groups they'd conducted to find which arguments against Linux were most effective. People largely ignored philosophical appeals about the nature of OSS, and they didn't really care about the so-called "viral nature of the GPL." The only thing that really worked was MS's suggestion that they could be legally liable for using OSS if -- unbeknownst to them -- it had been tainted by copyright infringement. That result was documented, and MS is well aware that legally-inspired terror is their best weapon against OSS.

    Lo and behold, a puppet dances onto the stage and engages in an outrageously publicized lawsuit against a company backing Linux. Maybe I'm crazy, maybe there's no connection, maybe SCO really is just in it for the money. Nevertheless, I think I'm catching glimpses of a four-color butterfly pulling SCO's strings.

  • by Knife_Edge (582068) on Thursday July 10, 2003 @05:17PM (#6409856)
    I thought it was mostly because the licensing terms of the BSD license were more liberal, allowing commercial use of the FreeBSD code with hardly any restrictions. Whereas the GPL contains more restrictions on the user that are intended to keep the code free no matter what.

    Maybe this is what you just said, but I think what I am saying is a different reason. I think Apple went with FreeBSD because it was easier to use for commercial purposes than Linux, rather than because it was immune to lawsuits.

    I also do not think that Apple could possibly be familiar with all the code bases of the commercial Unixes out there, of which SCO is one. That is where the lawsuit is coming from, a commercial Unix vendor, not the Linux community!

    Incidentally, Apple approached Linus about working with them, but he refused because he thought MacOS 9 was a 'piece of crap' (direct quote).
  • More SCO News (Score:4, Interesting)

    by joncarwash (600744) <jonathanwhodges@@@gmail...com> on Thursday July 10, 2003 @05:18PM (#6409867) Homepage

    Here is another story [com.com] on SCO, from CNET, focusing on their recent licensing deals and the impact on its earnings.

    Also, in this story [cnet.com] our "favorite" CEO claimed he was in Japan not to invade the Consumer Electronics Linux Forum [cnet.com] but instead "just" to get more Japanese firms to license code from SCO.

    By the way, when is that code you always talk about going to show up in court? I'm still waiting to see something, anything... yeah...

  • by mec (14700) <mec@shout.net> on Thursday July 10, 2003 @05:27PM (#6409927) Journal
    Those are the classical two reasons to sue. SCO has developed an innovative third reason.

    Look at SCO's revenue and income for the past quarter. They recorded $13 million from sales of products and services and $8 million from SCO Source. SCO Source has two customers: one is Microsoft, and the other is an unnamed large Unix company (I think it's likely to be Sun).

    On the income side, SCO lost money on products and services, but made up for it by making money from SCO Source.

    SCO has found a way to monetize anti-Linux FUD. This is not just a sideline. It's the only profitable activity The SCO Group has ever had in its corporate existence.

    SCO doesn't need to win the lawsuit. They just need throw enough FUD so that Microsoft keeps cutting them checks. I think it's important that open source people understand this business model.
  • Poison Pill Scenario (Score:3, Interesting)

    by David Hume (200499) on Thursday July 10, 2003 @05:38PM (#6409999) Homepage

    This quotation from the article:

    The FSF's Kuhn advised free software writers to register their copyrights in the United States, even if they do not reside in the country.


    But Eric Raymond, co-founder and president of the OSI, cautioned that the industry should not respond to the SCO matter by trying to further regulate the open-source code and contribution process.

    The volume and quality of contributions to open source are very sensitive to the "overheads of submission and increasing these overheads to the development process could do long-term damage to the industry," he said.


    got me to thinking. Has anybody considered a poison pill scenario?

    Bad Company wants to slow down Linux, the GPL, open source software, etc. Bad Company uses Bad Agent to take secret, closed-source code owned by Bad Company and "contribute" it to Linux. Bad Company then waits six months, a year, two years....

    Bad Agent vanishes (with his $ millions....)

    Bad Company then asserts its copyright claims. "OMG! It seems our former employee, (Bad) Agent, contributed some of our copyrighted, closed-source (and for that matter, trade secret) code to Linux two years ago, and we didn't know about it! Everybody has to rip out the code... and pay us....

    While I understand Raymond's concerns, I think Kuhn is right. I'm not sure he goes far enough.

  • by PacketMaster (65250) on Thursday July 10, 2003 @05:48PM (#6410067) Homepage
    I think that this story is a horribly atrocious rendering about what happened at the panel. 99% of the time, the panel was focused on why SCO isn't a real, credible threat to Linux itself and also on the need for clear copyright inheritence for open source projects. There was also general discussion on the burden of proofs in various lawsuits.

    There was also a BOF in the evening that was a very fun session later on that discussed the roles and needs of copyrights and patents.
  • by spitzak (4019) on Thursday July 10, 2003 @11:02PM (#6412129) Homepage
    1. Jobs is already very familiar with BSD from his work on NeXT.

    2. Although their current use of BSD would not violate the Linux GPL, they may want to reserve the ability to modify the kernel and keep their modifications secret.

    3. Linux's main advantage is in drivers. Since Apple is doing all their own hardware this may have eliminated this advantage.

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