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SCO Extorting Unixware Licenses to Linux Users? 576

Posted by CmdrTaco
from the but-i-don't-want-unixware dept.
An anonymous user noted that SCO will sell you Unixware if you want to "Legitimize" your usage of Linux at your company. If you buy the license, you will be held blameless for your transgressions against SCO! Pricing has yet to be determined for the special licenses, but I suspect that for any value greater than zero, there are going to be a fair number of angry users.
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SCO Extorting Unixware Licenses to Linux Users?

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  • by cruppel (603595) * on Tuesday July 22, 2003 @09:31AM (#6498976) Homepage
    It will now offer ... run-time, binary use of Linux for all commercial users of Linux based on the 2.4 kernel and later.

    Ok, maybe I don't understand, but isn't supplying a binary-only copy of Linux w/o source the exact opposite of every ideal GNU and the FSF stand for? Maybe I read the article wrong, if anyone can clue me in I'd appreciate. Is this a violation of the GPL?

  • by heironymouscoward (683461) <heironymouscoward&yahoo,com> on Tuesday July 22, 2003 @09:32AM (#6498984) Journal
    is it possible that microsoft are paying sco to become 'most hated business ever' so that we stop beating up on the redmond boys? i'm running out of logical alternatives for this story. i mean... does sco really believe that anyone believes that linux belongs to them?
  • by yamla (136560) <chris@@@hypocrite...org> on Tuesday July 22, 2003 @09:38AM (#6499063)
    Rather than buying a license, why not just go to their ftp site and download the source code to the Linux kernel? SCO is still distributing the Linux kernel sources under the GPL.
  • by countach (534280) on Tuesday July 22, 2003 @09:39AM (#6499068)
    Even giving SCO the best case argument. Even arguing that their distribution of of Linux didn't put their IP into the GPL domain.... Neither did their distribution of Linux absolve them from obeying the GPL surely?

    What I mean is, even if they didn't put their IP into the public sphere automatically by distributing Linux, surely they are now contractually obliged to do so by the GPL, at risk of being sued by 10,000 angry kernel developers?

    i.e. They distributed under the GPL, mustn't they now follow the entire GPL at risk of severe IP violation to kernel rights holders? Surely their agreement to the GPL by their act of distribution is a stronger case than whatever they've got against IBM and their contract?

  • by TheRaven64 (641858) on Tuesday July 22, 2003 @09:40AM (#6499082) Journal
    Not quite. They are not selling or licensing the binary (which would be in violation of the GPL, unless they accepted the GPL in which case they could only sell one of these licenses then the person who bought it could give away as many as they wanted). What they are doing is selling indemnity frm prosecution.

    They are still claiming that the Linux kernel (or whatever part of SCO/Linux they are claiming today) contains their code, and that it is being used illegally, however if you give them money then they will ignore your violation. I'm not convinced that this is legal, since it sounds a lot like blackmail to me, but that doesn't seem to stop SCO.

  • by walterbyrd (182728) on Tuesday July 22, 2003 @09:42AM (#6499100)
    At what point can SCO finally be charged with fraud, extortion, and stock manipulation? When can SCO at least be sued in a civil court?

    This is the most blantant racket I have ever witnessed. And the USA legal system seems to be completely incapible of doing anything about it. Frankly it is beginning to look like another huge failure of the USA legal system.

    Germany shut down SCO a long time ago. Germany said put up or shut up - show us some evidence or stop making claims. Predictably, SCO ran away with it's tail between it's legs.

    I have always been a bit patriotic. Honorably discharged from the US Air Force and all. It pains me to see how patheticly inept the US legal system really is.
  • by Shiblon (25972) <shiblon@@@gmail...com> on Tuesday July 22, 2003 @09:43AM (#6499109) Homepage
    Even if the price is zero, then I'm personally likely to be angry enough as it is. This is all about accepting that SCO is in the right...

    Actually, it's a bit more than that. Since nothing has yet been proven and all of this is allegation, isn't this just a form of blackmail? Isn't that illegal? Here is a definition of "blackmail", which I find very interesting indeed:

    Extortion of money or something else of value from a person by the threat of exposing a criminal act or discreditable information.

    It isn't much of a stretch to see how today the threat of "exposing a criminal act or discreditable information" has the same effect as "threatening to sue the pants off of someone for alleged and unproven wrongdoing." Perhaps even more interesting is the relationship of this next definition to SCO's current approach:

    Tribute formerly paid to freebooters along the Scottish border for protection from pillage.

    (All of these from dictionary.com [dictionary.com]) That last one is all about what SCO wants: "We're the pirates, pay us and we won't harm you."

    I may be wrong (hey, it's happened before), but I find it interesting that the people who shout most loudly about their legal rights are often those quickest to disregard the rights of others.

  • by ajs (35943) <ajsNO@SPAMajs.com> on Tuesday July 22, 2003 @09:47AM (#6499170) Homepage Journal
    Check out this posting [slashdot.org] from yesterday. You can download a GPLed copy of the Linux kernel from SCO, if you feel you need a license from them.

    Problem solved, let's go back to writing code.
  • by rindeee (530084) on Tuesday July 22, 2003 @09:49AM (#6499197)
    ...things are not always as they appear.

    I am confident (though possibly wrong of course) that SCO is doing ALL of this for one reason and one reason only. Stock price manipulation. Look at the following issues and contrast them with the timing on this whole fiasco.

    52 week stock price of SCO (SCOX)

    Price of stock after each insane press release (while SCO has yet to show anything of substance, press releases feed the hungry speculative buyers out there).

    Issuance of stock options at very low ($.6x) prices.

    Exercising of options.

    Sale of stock from exercised options.

    I mean come on, most of these guys got options when the stock was at $.66 just before all of this craziness started. Then they crank up the stock price (fueled by nothing more than baseless accusations in the form of press releases) to $10-$12/share, exercise and dump. Where the heck is the SEC on this!!!

    I believe that basically the execs at SCO new the ship was going down. They are doing what they're doing to squeeze what blood they can out of the turnip that is SCO. Once they have gotten what they can from stock games, they'll pull an "Oops, I guess we were wrong about that whole Linux intellectual property thing.", turn out the lights and call it quits...money in the bank.

    Anyone disagree?

    ER
  • by bc90021 (43730) * <<ten.12009cb> <ta> <12009cb>> on Tuesday July 22, 2003 @09:53AM (#6499256) Homepage
    You can mod me down as a paranoiac, but think about this for a second...

    What is the one major difference between MS software and OSS software from a business standpoint?
    Licensing.

    What has Microsoft had so much trouble getting their customers on board about?
    Licensing.

    What is the one thing that SCO is now saying that Linux users must now purchase from them?
    Licensing.

    If you're the average run of the mill CTO, and you were thinking of switching to Linux... you now must think about licensing.

    Furthermore, you must think about licensing it from a company embroiled in a lawsuit with IBM, whose future is uncertain.

    So, given the choice between free software with no one company behind it, or closed-source software with a company behind it, and licensing on both sides... which do you pick?

    The answer is obvious. And that is why Microsoft must be sitting pretty, grinning to themselves - they have effectively nullified the main argument for going with OSS. (Since some of the software can be at least considered on par, technical merits are equal.)
  • by ajs (35943) <ajsNO@SPAMajs.com> on Tuesday July 22, 2003 @09:53AM (#6499261) Homepage Journal
    They are saying that they will license your existing binary version of Linux. They will not grant you a source license, however.

    This is perfectly legit. Only SCO's silly and rather toothless claims are bogus, the licensing idea is fine. Keep in mind that if SCO's claims were true, the GPL goes poof on Linux, and no one has a license to distribute. What's more, everyone would have to destroy their existing copies, since they got it in a manner that is legally equivalent to downloading a copyrighted song from Gnutella.

    All SCO is saying is that THEY won't come after you for continuing to use Linux, if you pay them up front. It's a protection racket, but a legal one.

    Still, pointless and ignorable. See my previous comments on why [slashdot.org]
  • Darl McBride's word (Score:5, Interesting)

    by bigjnsa500 (575392) <bigjnsa500.yahoo@com> on Tuesday July 22, 2003 @10:00AM (#6499324) Homepage Journal
    I think we should hold this guy to his word. For those of you who didn't get this month Linux Journal, here's a quote:

    "Obviously Linux owes its heritage to UNIX, but not its code. We would not, nor will not, make such a claim."

    Darl McBride, CEO, The SCO Group, August 2002 Linux Journal Article #6293 [linuxjournal.com]

  • Re:Haha (Score:3, Interesting)

    by jbottero (585319) on Tuesday July 22, 2003 @10:00AM (#6499329)
    Unfortunately, we will have to wait until April 2005 before we know exactly how far the term 'derivative work' encompasses. Is merely seeing Unix code enough to make any additional coding a derivative work? I say no, SCO is saying yes.
    I don't think Linux can afford to wait until 2005. The way corporate suits think, SCO will (and this is their aim) scare them away from Linux forever.

    In the end, (puts tinfoil hat on) I think we will see that there is some deal between M$ and SCO. I think in the end, we will see M$ gobble up SCO, but not before M$ completely whores out SCO. Have you ever been to Red West? It's the way these people operate (removes tinfoil hat).
  • by ch-chuck (9622) on Tuesday July 22, 2003 @10:01AM (#6499332) Homepage
    While funny, the Brooklyn bridge is a pretty good analogy. Here's the plan: File suit claiming that, due to some mixup in the past, you are the rightful legitimate heir and owner of the Brooklyn bridge. While this suit slowly winds it's way thru the halls of justice toward an inevitable dismissal, set up a toll both and start collecting. Simply act like you're the owner while the outstanding judgement gives it an air of potential legitimacy and you can probably make a few bucks.

  • by overshoot (39700) on Tuesday July 22, 2003 @10:02AM (#6499339)
    If they'd just offered an "SCO License" for Linux, they'd be up against fraud (they don't have the right to license Linux).

    This gives them a nice out: they don't offer a "linux license" but they threaten you if you don't have a Unixware one.

  • The system works (Score:3, Interesting)

    by FreeUser (11483) on Tuesday July 22, 2003 @10:15AM (#6499481)
    I have always been a bit patriotic. Honorably discharged from the US Air Force and all. It pains me to see how patheticly inept the US legal system really is.

    The system works.

    It is the best in the world.

    We are a shining beacon of justice to humanity.

    As we recall, when we demonstrated to the world how perfectly the American legal system works, showing the rest of humanity once again How to Live Properly(tm, Bush & Co.) with the historical supreme court ruled that a Florida recount really wasn't necessary through the most convulated and strained logic quite possibly ever set to paper and handed the presidency to a man most of the world correctly recognizes as not having been elected by the American People (but "it was a victory for democracy" quoth the spinmeisters).

    America has the best system in the world. I know. I saw it on TV.
    [/sarcasm]

    The legal system in America is so broken, and in such disrepute among the common man, that even my republican voting mother has absolutely no faith in it. As a liberal voter on the other end of the spectrum I share her lack of confidence in that system fully, as does everyone I know or have spoken with, a couple of attorneys and one retired judge excepted.
  • by The Slashdolt (518657) on Tuesday July 22, 2003 @10:21AM (#6499557) Homepage
    I work at a software vendor who produces software for numerous large commercial instituations such as banks, telco's, etc. We have recently had a number of these companies request that we sign an agreement stating that software we have provided them DOES NOT contain any "Free Software". This has been a headache as of late, especially for my team. We work in Java and have used numerous LGPL libraries from various locations in our product to save time during development. We now have to get rid of all of these and rewrite it ourselves. Not fun.

  • I mean come on, most of these guys got options when the stock was at $.66 just before all of this craziness started. Then they crank up the stock price (fueled by nothing more than baseless accusations in the form of press releases) to $10-$12/share, exercise and dump. Where the heck is the SEC on this!!!


    Fine, so let's all get together and contact the SEC and request they look into this. If they get enough e-mails and phone calls, they might just take it seriously... at worst, it gives SCO executives a few sleepless nights, and all of us, a good laugh. At best, SCO realizes the gig is up, and backs down.
  • by PetoskeyGuy (648788) on Tuesday July 22, 2003 @10:39AM (#6499806)
    The real question here is what is more viral - SCO's Unix licenses or the GPL.

    SCO's license is for Derivitive Works of UNIX. IBM developed AIX from the Unix source tree. They can't just come up with AIX version 2 and decide not to pay SCO.

    The GPL says that any software released under GPL must be released under GPL in any and all future versions and source code must be given. BOTH says all Derivative works must fall under the same license.

    SCO is implying that IBM tried to take UNIX technology, put it into Linux and then ditch SCO licenses. Assume they are correct in their allegations. IBM, SCO or someone else released some code from a SCO Derivitive Work into the Linux Kernel.

    Does Linux then become a Derivitive work of UNIX? Do parts of UNIX suddely become GPL? What if the code was originally from a 3rd party and in UNIX first, but freely available elsewhere? How much code must be transferred for these licenses to apply? Do the licenses cover the actual implementation or the algorithms used? Is removal of the code an acceptable solution when the order to do so may come down years later? What person or method could we trust enough to audit the code bases and decide what goes and stays?

    Whatever the case may be, this long and drawn out lawsuit is bound to set some important precedents. The longer we wait, the more work that will be required *IF* code must be removed in the future after being built upon. The results of the Microsoft Monopoly case may have been disappointing, but this is IBM vs SCO battle with a Billion dollar prize.

    In the end only the lawyers will be left standing.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday July 22, 2003 @10:43AM (#6499861)
    http://news.com.com/2100-1011_3-5051603.html

    SCO said that it will incorporate the Vultus software into SCOx, a set of tools for building Web services applications. Web services is a set of XML-based standards that make it easier to share data between disparate systems. Using Vultus' WebFace tools, a software programmer or SCO reseller can build a Web interface for a deskop PC to Web services applications that run on corporate servers.

    According to SCO, the Vultus acquistition will be a "strategic" step to its Web services play. "SCO is targeting Web services as a platform for growth," Jeff Hunsaker, senior vice president of marketing at SCO, said in statement.


    Does SCO actually believe someone would purchase a product from them going forward ( not that it was done to often in the past for that matter) ?

    The guys are amazingly clueless......

  • by Sanction (16446) on Tuesday July 22, 2003 @10:59AM (#6500045)
    Actually, when Microsoft was taken to court for not following licensing terms for software they packaged in their dev kit and sold to customers, the company went after the end users as well. The law often does not do what seems reasonable.
  • by stud9920 (236753) on Tuesday July 22, 2003 @11:29AM (#6500471)
    stating that software we have provided them DOES NOT contain any "Free Software".
    Buhahahahahahaha ! I guess once you have purchased a special non existing MSWindows version without MIT Kerberos and BSD TCP/IP (and possibly other I ignore), you will have to rewrite those for your customers. Where do I sign up for a IT job in your company ? It seems they will need all the available help.

    I do not know of ANY OS that doesn't contain at least a bit of free software.
  • by HotNeedleOfInquiry (598897) on Tuesday July 22, 2003 @11:43AM (#6500665)
    I'm not a lawyer, but I've been around a lot of contracts and contract disputes. It's my understanding that if you sue someone, it's your responsibility to make a good faith effort to mitigate the damages.

    In SCO's case, the damages could be easily mitigated by releasing enough detailed information so that the offending modules can be rewritten. Now we have a good idea why SCO has chosen not to do this, it is not to their short term advantage. They are relying on FUD to boost their stock prices and provide a cash stream to pay Bois and friends.

    So the real question is, how will the court interpret the fact that they have refused to mitigate damages? Any lawyers out there that can answer this question?

  • by Kymermosst (33885) on Tuesday July 22, 2003 @11:58AM (#6500889) Journal
    That's pretty close to the Unisys model:

    1. Allow your IP to be used freely for ages.
    2. Suddenly demand royalties and licensing fees.
    3. Profit!!!

    The difference was, Unisys had a real claim to the IP. SCO probably does not, or we'd see more court action, like a request for a primary injunction.

  • Re:GMV (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Directrix1 (157787) on Tuesday July 22, 2003 @11:58AM (#6500890)
    I would really hate any company to read this, and think that SCO has any legal ground vs. the linux community whatsoever, so I will repost my message, from yesterday, here to clarify SCO's idiocy:
    Here, is where I think SCOs major flaw in their argument is, the GPL circa Jan 28, 1999 explicitly states in its preamble:
    To protect your rights, we need to make restrictions that forbid anyone to deny you these rights or to ask you to surrender the rights. These restrictions translate to certain responsibilities for you if you distribute copies of the software, or if you modify it.

    For example, if you distribute copies of such a program, whether gratis or for a fee, you must give the recipients all the rights that you have. You must make sure that they, too, receive or can get the source code. And you must show them these terms so they know their rights.

    Refer to way back machine: http://web.archive.org/web/19990128195748/www.gnu. org/copyleft/gpl.html [archive.org]

    And seeing as how SCO has been distributing Linux which had their code in the kernel. They have thusly, knowingly or not, distributed their rights, to the GPLd code in question, to the public. Because, of the statement above. Or if you want to hear it straight from GNU's statement:
    ... [gnu.org]
    Moreover, there are straightforward legal reasons why SCO's assertions concerning claims against the kernel or other free software are likely to fail. As to its trade secret claims, which are the only claims actually made in the lawsuit against IBM, there remains the simple fact that SCO has for years distributed copies of the kernel, Linux, as part of GNU/Linux free software systems. Those systems were distributed by SCO in full compliance with GPL, and therefore included complete source code. So SCO itself has continuously published, as part of its regular business, the material which it claims includes its trade secrets. There is simply no legal basis on which SCO can claim trade secret liability in others for material it widely and commercially published itself under a license that specifically permitted unrestricted copying and distribution.
    ...
  • by nightsweat (604367) on Tuesday July 22, 2003 @12:11PM (#6501096)
    I don't see it. How could SCO's suit kill Open Source as a whole?

    The offending code (if there is any) will have to be identified, even if in a broad manner. The community replaces the code with new code - voila - legality is restored.

    What outcome are you envisioning that could have a nuclear effect?

  • Re:Why care? (Score:5, Interesting)

    by crazyphilman (609923) on Tuesday July 22, 2003 @12:18PM (#6501204) Journal
    As I posted in another thread, after reading a fairly good article on the subject in eWeek this morning, I think the SCO suit is going to be completely irrelevant to most people for the following reasons (IANAL, this is my opinion based on articles I've read and etc):

    1. The suit isn't due to come into court until 2005. Until the court makes some kind of judgement, SCO has absolutely zero legal power to demand anything from anyone. They can send all the letters they want; but until a court makes a decision, they're just letters.

    2. By 2005, the BSDs and Linux will have become so similar in functionality, hardware support, and applications, that migrating from one to the other will be fairly painless. Since the BSDs are unencumbered, and SCO is specifically targeting the Linux 2.4 kernel, this means we have a great big safety net.

    3. By 2005, who's going to be using the 2.4 kernel? Unabomber-like holdouts, crouching in a shed with a dilapidated old Pentium-II and a stockpile of candy bars and beer? Any code which even remotely looks like SCO code is going to be stripped out long before then. So, the code in use by the time the court convenes is going to be unencumbered anyway. What could SCO possibly charge people money for, even if they win?

    4. 2005 gives the market a full two years to crush SCO. The court case will probably drag on for another two or three years, giving the market even more time. How is a company like SCO going to stay aloat that long? How is it going to avoid a hostile takeover for that long? Two to five years is an eternity when it comes to software.

    5. By 2008 (when the case would probably get wrapped up and appealed, etc), do you think we're still going to be using X86 machines, anyway? It's 2003; how many of you are still using the 486's you had in '98? Who's still using a 16 bit O/S? Anyone? Bueller? Bueller?

    Add it all together, and you'll see that buying SCO right now is a sucker move. If you just continue with business as usual, keeping the option of switching to BSD down the road, or updating to a new, unencumbered kernel, or migrating from X86 to whatever new platform is the vogue in 2005, you can (I think) pretty much ignore SCO. If, and this is remote, they win, it won't matter anyway. You can still dodge their sad attempts at extortion as I've pointed out.

    This whole thing is a total non-issue.

  • by Archie Steel (539670) on Tuesday July 22, 2003 @12:43PM (#6501484)
    Perhaps, but then what of the fact that SCO continued to distribute GPLed software after they made their allegations? You can still get the 2.4.X kernels from their FTP web site. So, even if there was illegal code put into Linux, they have continued to distribute it, knowingly and willfully. Therefore, the offending code (if there was any) has since then been distributed under the GPL by SCO itself. You should ask your lawyer friend again, with this precision in mind.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday July 22, 2003 @01:56PM (#6502287)
    [I hate posting anonymously, but due to contract restrictions, I cannot post this with my name attached since that could be traced back to my employer, and I can't (nor do I want to) do anything that could attract rabid SCO lawyers.]

    I'm the IT manager for a company running close to 300 linux boxes and big plans for growth. We have no plans to send a penny to SCO, sign a contract with SCO, move from Linux (RedHat) or in any way change our strategy, tactics, or operations because of this farce SCO has perpetrated.

    The executive team is comortable with this decision. Neither the VC nor the board, AFAIK, have even raised the question - and they are all *very* tuned in to such things.

    If any of them were to want us to get in bed with SCO in *any way*, I would fight with every weapon at my disposal to keep us SCO-free.

    We use a journaling file system, but not the one IBM wrote. We have a handful of systems running SMP, but we could work around that if we had to. And I would, before I'd let SCO into this company.

    [FWIW, I have experience with SCO Unix a few years back - at the time it was abysmal. I fought to get SCO retired at that company (it worked), and I have had no use for SCO products since.]
  • by steveha (103154) on Tuesday July 22, 2003 @02:58PM (#6503249) Homepage
    ...I don't see any positive benefit to purchasing the license unless they intend to go after each business individually in court.

    However, they are hinting that they will do exactly that. They sent letters to 1500 companies they believed were running Linux, saying that the companies themselves might be liable (i.e. that SCO might sue them later).

    In practice, it would be a very big job to go after a bunch of companies, each in turn, one at a time. But that's the threat they are using to encourage companies to buy their licenses.

    steveha
  • Re:The system works (Score:3, Interesting)

    by FreeUser (11483) on Tuesday July 22, 2003 @03:18PM (#6503577)
    I see you were modded Troll. If only moderation were like on K5, we wouldn't fall prey to stupid moderators who don't recognise sarcasm even when tagged as so.

    Indeed.

    As for the legal system, there is no wonder it breaks when you have no faith in it. Faith is required to get something to work, so obviously something more than just the system is broken. Blaiming the system is childish and naive.

    Nonsense.

    There are plenty of systems that require no faith whatsoever to function, and the justice system is one such. As a point if fact, it is functioning despite widespread lack of faith in it...it just isn't functioning for the people it was ostensibly built to serve, but rather for the lawyers that populate and run it. So lack of faith isn't really interfering it its functioning at all, per se, it is merely a reflection of who the current legal system is serving, and who it is not.

    One could argue that democracy requires faith to function, but that presupposes that one must have faith before one casts his or her vote. While that may be true for many, it certainly is not for me.

    I haven't had faith in our democracy since Reagan's War on Drugs in the 1980s and the requirement that I urinate for my employer or lose my summer job (I passed all the screenings, but I'll never forget that invasion of my privacy for as long as I live), with Edwin Meese and his fascist cronies cheering from the White House. Nevertheless, despite this complete lack of faith in our democratic institutions, which I strongly suspect are corrupt beyond all hope of reform, I stubbornly continue to cast my vote and watch my candidate lose election after election.

    Why?

    Because it is my civil duty to do so, just as it is my civil duty to serve jury duty every so often (which I have done twice now). If our democracy is truly failing and beyond all hope of repair, it isn't going to be so because of my lack of participation. So, while I have no faith in the system, I participate anyway.

    Unfortunately, statistics on voter turnout suggest I am a tiny minority, and that most of the silent majority that has lost faith in the process don't bother to vote and all, and thereby have become a large part of the problem which is making the system so ineffectual ... which, once again, supports the notion that democracy does in fact require faith in the system to function.

    Be that as it may, the misnamed justice system (which has devolved into merely a legal system and a forum for litigious sophism) doesn't require any faith whatsoever to function, merely the presence of a well armed police force prepared to back up their decisions with force of arms.

    So, much as you may like to call me childish and suggest that my lack of faith is somehow responsible for the widespread corruption and disconnect between the legal system's mechanations and the notions of what constitutes justice that most people commonly hold, the fact of the matter is that the devolution of our legal system and the corruption that infests it and our other branches of government has absolutely nothing to do with my lack of faith, or the lack of faith of millions of others, and everything to do with the behavior and ethical failings of those who make up that system, the vast, vast majority of whom are lawyers working to serve other lawyers first and foremost, the clients of those lawyers second, and the American people last.
  • Re:Why care? (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Physics Nobody (688399) on Tuesday July 22, 2003 @03:22PM (#6503640)

    I agree with some of your points, and I agree with ignoring SCO, but I have this compulsive need to correct what I see as some rather large oversites in your post. No offense intended.

    "2. By 2005, the BSDs and Linux will have become so similar in functionality, hardware support, and applications, that migrating from one to the other will be fairly painless. Since the BSDs are unencumbered, and SCO is specifically targeting the Linux 2.4 kernel, this means we have a great big safety net."

    Linux and BSD have coexisted for what...12 years now, and they have nevertheless maintained distinctive personalities. Do you honestly believe that in 2 more years they will suddenly be interchangable? It's not as if that's the sort of thing anyone is even working on. It's just silly.

    "3. By 2005, who's going to be using the 2.4 kernel? Unabomber-like holdouts, crouching in a shed with a dilapidated old Pentium-II and a stockpile of candy bars and beer? Any code which even remotely looks like SCO code is going to be stripped out long before then. So, the code in use by the time the court convenes is going to be unencumbered anyway. What could SCO possibly charge people money for, even if they win?"

    There are still people running 2.2 now. Heck, there are still people running 2.0 now. I'm sure in 2005 there will be plenty of people still running 2.4. 2.6 isn't even done yet. Never underestimate the power of legacy software.

    "5. By 2008 (when the case would probably get wrapped up and appealed, etc), do you think we're still going to be using X86 machines, anyway? It's 2003; how many of you are still using the 486's you had in '98? Who's still using a 16 bit O/S? Anyone? Bueller? Bueller?"

    Another case of a strange conception of time. x86 has been with us for a very long time, and it is set to be with us for longer. Particularly if AMD's x86-64 extensions take off. Talking about 486s is a tad erroneous (even ignoring the fact that many of us, including me, still have 486s in their basements doing useful things) since the processors we use today are still based on the same exact ISA that those 486s were based on. So you just disproved your own point!

    But nevermind that. What exactly does x86 have to do with anything anyway? Linux is a many-architecture OS. That is one if its strengths. To my knowledge there is nothing in SCO's lawsuit that is x86 specific.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday July 22, 2003 @03:51PM (#6504036)
    I work for a multinational. We have been slowly replacing some Solaris servers with Linux on the grounds of cost and have even deployed Linux for internal firewall, print, file and web services.

    We are largely windows based but OS has certainly been making inroads, especially in development which is largely Java based.

    A week ago a memo went around from the head of IT saying that the use of Linux is banned and the use of any other OS product now has to be agreed at board level. This includes things like java libraries from the Jakarta project.

    Subsequently my boss has had the Microsoft account manager onto him waffling about the 'OS cancer' and how basing an IT strategy on products where the intellectual property is at best dubious is a dangerous strategy.

    So I've now been tasked with auditing every single place where Open Source is used, suggesting none OS replacements, their cost and the impact from plug-in replacement to complete redevelopment. I suspect at the end of the day we will end up dropping Java and going .Net which is already making inroads due to an evangalist.

    The fact that a Microsoft account manager mentioned - although more in passing, about the SCO vs. Linux case made me wonder whether this isn't part of a carefully planned strategy between SCO and Microsoft. I suspect it will kill Linux in our organisation, why would anyone want to take the risk on OS now?
  • Re:Why care? (Score:3, Interesting)

    by MrResistor (120588) <peterahoff@g[ ]l.com ['mai' in gap]> on Tuesday July 22, 2003 @05:51PM (#6505739) Homepage
    2. By 2005, the BSDs and Linux will have become so similar in functionality, hardware support, and applications, that migrating from one to the other will be fairly painless. Since the BSDs are unencumbered, and SCO is specifically targeting the Linux 2.4 kernel, this means we have a great big safety net.

    SCO does not consider BSD to be unencumbered, so that won't necessarily save you from being sued. As far as SCO is concerned, basically everyone who has put out an OS in the last 30 years owes them money. They've specifically mentioned Linux (2.4 and 2.5), AIX, Windows, OSX, Solaris, etc. Don't think that you'll be safe from the raving lunatics at SCO just because you switch from Linux.

    3. By 2005, who's going to be using the 2.4 kernel? Unabomber-like holdouts, crouching in a shed with a dilapidated old Pentium-II and a stockpile of candy bars and beer? Any code which even remotely looks like SCO code is going to be stripped out long before then. So, the code in use by the time the court convenes is going to be unencumbered anyway. What could SCO possibly charge people money for, even if they win?

    Linux kernel 2.0 is still maintained, and it was released in 1997 (IIRC). Think about that. Enough people are are still using 2.0 that it's still being maintained!

    5. By 2008 (when the case would probably get wrapped up and appealed, etc), do you think we're still going to be using X86 machines, anyway? It's 2003; how many of you are still using the 486's you had in '98? Who's still using a 16 bit O/S? Anyone? Bueller? Bueller?

    x86 isn't going anywhere anytime soon. Who's still using 486's? Well, TV production studios and broadcasters are using them in their media servers. The 486 just runs the OS, and everything else is done by specialized cards (MPEG encoding/decoding, disk I/O, audio processing, etc). More importantly, though, Intel has shown no interest in moving the consumer market off of IA32, much less x86 in general, and AMD is even more dedicated to x86. That covers over 90% of the consumer PC market, so what's left? Cellphones and PDAs? Nobody uses their PDA for serious work, and that isn't going to change by 2008. Even the slim chance that PPC970 will take over the world, leaving x86 irrelevant, will not save you since, as I've already pointed out, SCO doesn't consider the BSDs to be unencumbered.

"The whole problem with the world is that fools and fanatics are always so certain of themselves, but wiser people so full of doubts." -- Bertrand Russell

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