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Australian Linux User Group Fights Back Against SCO 504

Posted by timothy
from the sounds-sensible dept.
ashitaka writes "The Sydney Morning Herald is reporting that an Open Source group has gone on the offensive in response to SCO's latest demands that Linux users must buy a Unixware license to avoid any possible future unpleasantries. 'Open Source Victoria today filed a complaint with the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission, asking it to investigate SCO's activities in light of 'unsubstantiated claims and extortive legal threats for money' against possibly hundreds of thousands of Australians.' I especially like the last bit: 'One feels that this whole fiasco is the IT industry equivalent of a Nigerian scam or internet extortion ploy.' Oh yeah.."
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Australian Linux User Group Fights Back Against SCO

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  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday July 23, 2003 @01:44AM (#6509070)
    Aussie Aussie Aussie!! OI OI OI!!
  • Good job! (Score:2, Redundant)

    by ultrabot (200914)
    Expect to see more of this in the future! And more publicity these counterlawsuits get, the better...
    • Re:Good job! (Score:5, Insightful)

      by ultrabot (200914) on Wednesday July 23, 2003 @01:51AM (#6509103)
      ... and before anyone starts whining, this is of course not technically a lawsuit (yet). But investigation by a public commission might be even better, as things there are not dictated simply by who's got the most money.

      Someone (Mad Dog?) said that Linux and OSS are international treasures that should be protected, and government intervention might be just what we need. Obviously US government would never intervene (Bush & all), but there is hope that e.g. EU or Oz might have something to say.
      • Re:Good job! (Score:5, Interesting)

        by phorm (591458) on Wednesday July 23, 2003 @02:23AM (#6509240) Journal
        e.g. EU or Oz

        What about Canada? We use linux too eh?

        Maybe somebody needs to go out and help dig up the various ways we can legally fight back against SCO et al. Various countries, various investigative bodies, various laws.... it's confusing. If somebody in the legal "know" gives us the options, then perhaps more groups will form together as an organized coalition again the "evils that be (tm)".

        Yes, I already know about donating to the EFF, etc... but how about organized legal or political opposition? What are my options there

        p.s. from experience I can say that Linux is gaining ground within various branches/sectors of the Canadian gov't... so perhaps they'd be more open-minded about such things?
      • Re:Good job! (Score:5, Informative)

        by arivanov (12034) on Wednesday July 23, 2003 @03:05AM (#6509390) Homepage
        EU

        In germany SCO is already under an injunction for anticomptetitive practices. All it takes now will be for Linuxtag to go into courts again and make it stick. 300000 per case will drain the SCO battle chest very very fast.

      • Re:Good job! (Score:5, Insightful)

        by evil_roy (241455) on Wednesday July 23, 2003 @03:40AM (#6509486)
        This is actually better than a lawsuit. The ACCC has real teeth in Australia and can demand and enforce instant compliance. The fact that they use these powers for somewhat dubious outcomes is a point of contention here, but a referral their way has to be at least investigated.

        These guys love publicity and this is win/win for them. They get to flex some muscle and no Aussie company(read Packer or Murdoch) will be asked to do anything.
      • Re:Good job! (Score:4, Informative)

        by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday July 23, 2003 @04:21AM (#6509617)
        The ACCC, should they choose to follow through, are one of the better government funded Consumer/competition watchdogs. They have an almost free reign on who they investigate. A year or two back, they placed so much pressure on some major petroleum companies that the same companies were screaming for them to stop. They went through all the paperwork more thoroughly than a dose of the salts.

        If SCO are bending the truth, this organization has the power to force them to submit all relevent documentation to prove their case without NDA, or alternatively they can forget about pressuring Australian Businesses into the licencing agreements. If the latter happens, it won't look too good for SCO elsewhere.

        I hope they still have the teeth they had when Professor Allen Fels was in charge.
      • Re:Good job! (Score:5, Interesting)

        by saitoh (589746) on Wednesday July 23, 2003 @06:37AM (#6509971) Homepage
        It may be true that because of the current Bush administration appearing to favor corperate interests over the common good of the country may prevent them from interfering, but if IBM were to do any ammount of real lobbying, something would happen. I mean, look at it from the eyes of an elderly bumbling technologically incompetent public official. The odds they recognize IBM's muscle over whatever SCO appears to have seems to be a preatty clear cut answer IMHO, and with the appearance that "bigger is better" for corperation size to this administration, I think its rather evident who they would side with. Just sit back and watch the fireworks *if* it happens (doubtful, but interesting if it did).
  • The joke is on them. (Score:2, Informative)

    by niko9 (315647)
    I especially like the last bit: 'One feels that this whole fiasco is the IT industry equivalent of a Nigerian scam or internet extortion ploy.' Oh yeah.."

    It would almost be funny if this whole mess were not true. sigh
    • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday July 23, 2003 @02:22AM (#6509236)
      I got a few interesting pieces of spam today.

      The first, "Your IP address is being broadcast to the entire world every time you use the Internet! Send us money!"
      The second, "You are using Linux! Send us money!"
      And apparently someone thinks my penis isn't long enough so I should pay them for that too.

  • This is welcome news (Score:5, Interesting)

    by harryk (17509) <harryk20022002@yahoo . c om> on Wednesday July 23, 2003 @01:50AM (#6509099) Homepage
    This is truly welcome news. The community there is actually standing up, which, honestly, is more than I can say for the general LUGs here in the states. I am not referencing IBM, I know that they've got to keep quite until their day in court. But aside from the random ranting, I haven't read very much about Linux standing up against SCO. Understandably, there is little to defend, since SCO has been too vague.

    Additionally, I really enjoy Linus' comments in his recent interview.

    Good work guys!
    • by raehl (609729) *
      We all recognize that SCO is blowing hot air. Why not just ignore it? You get a nastygram from them, throw it out. There's no reason to prevent SCO from talking if no one is listening in the first place.

      If SCO claims copyright infringement in the middle of a deserted forest, does the claim make a press release?
      • by LinuxGeek (6139) <djand.nc@gmOPENBSDail.com minus bsd> on Wednesday July 23, 2003 @02:13AM (#6509201)
        Because this is a battle of credibility at the moment. With no actual evidence on the loose, people will believe what appears to be the most credible information. The more people that fight and the fewer that roll over for SCO, the better it will be for the Linux community.

        The more Linux groups fight back, the more the casual and business users will disregard the threats from SCO. The more dignified resistance we put forward, the more credibility the non-computer press will give us. I think this is great news coming in from Australia.
      • by ultrabot (200914) on Wednesday July 23, 2003 @02:16AM (#6509211)
        There's no reason to prevent SCO from talking if no one is listening in the first place.

        On the contrary, a lot of people and companies are listening. If they are allowed to say anything they want, with nobody providing counterarguments, the unwashed will start believing that they are right.

        I am almost happy that they are openly attacking Linux right now (it was bound to happen sooner or later). At least this forces everyone to wake up, instead of just ignoring the case as a contract issue between IBM and SCO.
      • by LinuxGeek (6139) <djand.nc@gmOPENBSDail.com minus bsd> on Wednesday July 23, 2003 @02:28AM (#6509257)
        Why not just ignore it? You get a nastygram from them, throw it out.
        I have to respond again to add this:

        If a lawsuit happy company contacts you directly, do not just 'throw it out', show it to a good lawyer. Since you are linking to college-paintball.com, it appears you may still be in college. That usually means a limited exposure to the Real World(tm), remember these important items.

        - Any lawsuit can be bad news, even if you are right.
        - Most good liars can convince judge and jury.
        - A half-hearted defense looks like a guilty defense.
        • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday July 23, 2003 @07:26AM (#6510184)
          Actually, no he's not.

          Chris Raehl is the President of the NCPA, the National Collegiate Paintball Association. His bio on that site says he attended the University of Illinois.

          Incidentally, the paintball industry is in the middle of a very similar case of SCO-ism. The company "Smart Parts" recently got an old patent broadened to cover basically all guns that are electronic, which includes just about anything you see on the tourney circuit. They want to license their 'innovation' to all the other manufacturers now. Sound Familiar?

          The owners of this company have gotten in trouble with the FTC for patent scams in the past, and there is plenty of prior art out there, but who has any confidence that a judge is going to make a sane decision about this given their track record lately.

          The best place for up to date info on all this is http://www.automags.org

          See you on the field!
      • by Black Parrot (19622) on Wednesday July 23, 2003 @02:39AM (#6509303)


        > We all recognize that SCO is blowing hot air. Why not just ignore it? You get a nastygram from them, throw it out.

        Surely it will be a valuable collectors' item in a couple of years?

        > There's no reason to prevent SCO from talking if no one is listening in the first place.

        Problem is, they're not spouting this nonsense for the benefit of well informed geeks. They're either targeting clueless PHBs (kamakazi attack on Linux hypothesis) or else clueless suckers wanting to make a quick buck on the stock market (finance golden parachutes hypothesis), and those people are going to listen whether we do or not. Far better that we should listen carefully and then point out the bullshit very publicly.

      • No we shouln't ignore it because there are many who really believe SCO ! Why did SCO's stock jump 20 % ? All can't see the bluff of SCO .
      • by stephanruby (542433) on Wednesday July 23, 2003 @04:18AM (#6509607)
        Why not just ignore it? You get a nastygram from them, throw it out.

        I used to work for a Fortune 500 company and they were taken in by the International Business Directory scam. Some employees/managers preferred paying them off instead of receiving more harrassing phone calls. I have no doubt those same employees/managers who paid off those scammers would also pay off the SCO scammers as well.

      • Because SCO sure is. Evety ounce of FUD SCO can generate, every column inch they can get in the press without clear and credible rebuttal makes their clais more credible in the eyes of the PHB. The Laura Didios and Charles Coopers of this world are making SCO's job easier by lending an air of legitimacy to this farce. The press in general have NOT been doing a good job of presenting the true facts of this case, and often print SCO's assertions about UNIX ownership, among other lies and half-truths, as given
    • by falonaj (615782) on Wednesday July 23, 2003 @02:13AM (#6509199) Homepage
      But aside from the random ranting, I haven't read very much about Linux standing up against SCO.

      In Germany, SCO was already stopped by a court to continue unproven claims about copyright violation in Linux - on the grounds of law against unfair/untruthful marketing.

      If the Australians are successful with their complaints, then hopefully North Americans will be at last inspired to do similarly.

      • by quigonn (80360) on Wednesday July 23, 2003 @02:52AM (#6509345) Homepage
        A sign that clearly shows how successful the legal action against SCO Germany was is SCO Germany's website [www.sco.de].

        And I can tell you, SCO is going to get even more big problems with the assertion that SCO will license Linux to companies. Since SCO doesn't own the complete copyright to Linux, licensing it under a different license than the GPL and earning money with these licenses is a crime in Germany and Europe. This can get the CEO of SCO Germany 2 years in prison.
        • Der deutsche Web-Server der SCO Group GmbH ist derzeit nicht erreichbar.

          My German is a little rusty. Can someone help me with this. The german web server of the SCO group is definitly not an Irish bar??

          • Der deutsche Web-Server der SCO Group GmbH ist derzeit nicht erreichbar.

            The German Web server of the SCO Group GmbH is not at present attainable.

            And even if you don't know German, I believe Google language tools is available in America these days.

          • Der deutsche Web-Server der SCO Group GmbH ist derzeit nicht erreichbar.

            My German is a little rusty. Can someone help me with this.

            "The german Web Server of SCO Group is presently not available."

            The german web server of the SCO group is definitly not an Irish bar??

            LOL!!

            (The German suffix -bar is very similar to the English suffix -able. Erreichbar means available here.)

    • by DaBj (168491) <dabj&dabj,net> on Wednesday July 23, 2003 @04:57AM (#6509726) Homepage Journal
      I am not referencing IBM, I know that they've got to keep quite until their day in court.

      In a way IBM already has told SCO to bugger off [theregister.co.uk].
  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday July 23, 2003 @01:50AM (#6509100)
    A dingo ate my license! And, at their LUG meetings, do they serve Bloomin' Onions? Because if so, I'm moving there and joining.
    • do they serve Bloomin' Onions?

      What the hell is a "Bloomin' Onions" ? Some kind of cockney foodstuff ?
      'cause it ain't Australian.
  • Bravo Ozzies!! (Score:5, Insightful)

    by haruchai (17472) on Wednesday July 23, 2003 @01:54AM (#6509121)
    I hope that they put the boots to SCO. Whatever their contributions to Linux as Caldera, this is flat-out extortion, built on as yet unsubstantiated accusations. All this to drive up their stock price and extort money from IBM. No matter what the outcome of this, I will never do business with any future incarnation of SCO ( let's hope there are none) nor with any company that their executives end up leading. I hope that the rest of the community remembers this for a long time to come.
    • Re: Bravo Ozzies!! (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Black Parrot (19622)


      > I hope that they put the boots to SCO. Whatever their contributions to Linux as Caldera

      These aren't even the same people. These are ambulance chasers who bought the body in hopes of suing on its behalf.

      • Uhm.. The "ambulance chasers" were Caldera and the "body" was SCO. The ambulance chasers then quickly assumed the identity of the body and pursued a new career as evil undead...

        Yes, there's new management, and I'm sure the engineers at SCO are good enough guys, but the company suing is what used to be Caldera.

  • by cliffy2000 (185461) on Wednesday July 23, 2003 @01:55AM (#6509128) Journal
    Then I'm all for it! I just collected my $23 million dollars from the Nigerian government last week! I mean, seriously, what is there not to believe about such an offer? Now I'm all in favor of SCO! Maybe they'll give me ANOTHER $23 million! So I can buy some overpriced movie tickets! Boo MPAA ! (+5 Anti-MPAA)
  • by arvindn (542080) on Wednesday July 23, 2003 @01:56AM (#6509131) Homepage Journal
    Just like many eyeballs make bugs shallow, the distributed nature of the community could work to our advantage here. If we fought them separately in each country, we would be fighting from a position of strength, wouldn't we (not to imply that we aren't already...) Just a thought.

    BTW, /. should probably stop posting SCO stories every few hours and have a "Weekly SCO digest" feature (or "SCOback" like slashback) or something like that.

    • Just like many eyeballs make bugs shallow, the distributed nature of the community could work to our advantage here.


      A bunch of little lawsuits would force them to reveal the "stolen" code piece by piece.

  • by patch-rustem (641321) on Wednesday July 23, 2003 @01:57AM (#6509133) Homepage Journal
    From the article:
    "They're basically saying 'you owe use money'. But if someone asks 'why do I owe you money', they reply, "we can't tell you why, but you have to pay us anyway'," he said.
    so that's:

    1 you owe us
    2 why?
    3 ?
    4 Profit

    These SCO guys are really [uklinux.net] onto something.
  • by Anonymous Coward
    MR. MCBRIDE. Lads, in the previous weeks, I have made vicious accusations and threats against you! Now, I demand that you pay me a large sum of money! If you do not, I shall make further outlandish threats!

    AUSTRALIAN LADS. Sir, this is unacceptable! If you do not desist immediately, we shall take action of our own! So stop, sir, or we shall file a complaint immediately!

    [[MR. MCBRIDE makes further outlandish threats.]]

    [[AUSTRALIAN LADS file a complaint.]]

    - Exeunt -
    • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday July 23, 2003 @03:07AM (#6509397)
      What you have to realise though is that the ACCC actually has teeth - they can ban SCO from doing any business in Australia, and slap whopping great multimillion dollar fines on SCO subsiduaries in Oz. They can also petition the Courts for Prison Terms for Company Officers.

      OK, so maybe all SCO would do is stop doing business in Oz, well then Oz becomes a leader in OSS development and consulting to the USA's detriment.
  • SCO posts numerous redundant articles about Slashdot.
  • by Rude Awakening (691567) on Wednesday July 23, 2003 @02:00AM (#6509147)
    More news from the SCO front: Recent revelations that SCO copyrights did not extend to the NUMA, SMP and RCU code in Linux has lead to a new copyright audit by SCO's legal team to investigate the copyright status of Synchronous Queue Utilization Auto Tracking code (SQUAT).

    "It appears from our latest audit that we may not have aquired SQUAT when we purchased AT&T's System V code."

    When asked how this would effect SCO's plan to license the Linux kernel, "We never really believed that SQUAT had been copied from the UnixWare source code into Linux, so the fact that we don't own SQUAT has little bearing on our plans to sell Linux kernel licensing"
  • by kuwan (443684) on Wednesday July 23, 2003 @02:00AM (#6509150) Homepage
    I suggest that those of us that live in the US do the same and file a complaint with the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC).

    You can file online here [sec.gov].
    • by slobarnuts (666254) on Wednesday July 23, 2003 @02:21AM (#6509233) Homepage
      actually i dont think america has any particular agency like the ACCC. Its a consumer/business watchdog. They also have anti-trust powers. The closest we have is the broad agency called the DOJ

      I think

  • by cyanide (5741) on Wednesday July 23, 2003 @02:01AM (#6509152) Homepage Journal
    From the website:

    "OSV is a marketing, advocacy and focus group, which aims to raise the profile of Open Source Software (OSS) in Victoria."
  • Evil! (Score:5, Insightful)

    by urbanbrian (691670) on Wednesday July 23, 2003 @02:02AM (#6509157)
    SCO..
    Microsoft..
    DirecTV..
    MPAA/RIAA..

    Did I miss something? Is this the Chinese "Year of the Evil Corperation"? Is modern business even legitimate business anymore? When did the underlying ethic behind fair competition become, "Enlist your friends, sue your enemies"?

    Maybe if we stuck all SCO/Microsoft/MPAA/RIAA/etc's lawyers in a Monty Python worthy blender, grinding them into a fine red (or black, as some might claim) paste, we'd have enough environmentally friendly biodegradable waste to restore a rainforest somewhere.

    Finally, a practical use for lawyers..
    • Re:Evil! (Score:4, Interesting)

      by frank_adrian314159 (469671) on Wednesday July 23, 2003 @03:36AM (#6509476) Homepage
      Is modern business even legitimate business anymore? When did the underlying ethic behind fair competition become, "Enlist your friends, sue your enemies"?

      It's the end of capitalism. The US corporate complex has cut costs by outsourcing, downsized, and generally f*cked people and each other over to the point where its largest customer base (i.e., the US consumer, corporate and non-) can no longer afford to buy its products. Because of this, deflation is becoming a very probable result. Once the housing market collapses under the weight of refinace-happy consumer debt, it's all over, baby. But I digress...

      Since the companies cannot keep raising their prices to the customers, they need a new business model to keep the money coming in and growth appearing to happen. Hence, the "sue everyone and hope some of it sticks" strategy. SCO, being a weak sister, is one of the first to try this ploy. Look for IP (and other) lawsuits to get even more flakey and corporations to reach ever further down the strategic toilet because they can't make and sell product anymore. This kind of crap is admission of the same and just another sign of the slide towards economic collapse leading to either anarchy or a fascist state.

      Gosh, I'm cheery tonight! Good luck to all - we'll need it during the next few years...

      • Re:Evil! (Score:5, Insightful)

        by Azghoul (25786) on Wednesday July 23, 2003 @07:01AM (#6510077) Homepage
        It's hardly the end of capitalism. It might be the end of unchecked greed (which you anti-capitalists will say IS capitalism). I don't see very many people who "can no longer afford to buy" stuff. Go to Home Depot on any Saturday morning, the place is packed. Look on the highways, new cars are all over the place (maybe not in your garage, sorry).

        I think the pessimism running unchecked around here is getting, well, out of control. The world is NOT coming to an end, sorry to break the news to you.

        I could go on, but at some point, I figure, what the hell's the point, the anti-capitalists and pessimists will never be convinced.

  • FTC complaints? (Score:4, Interesting)

    by smokeslikeapoet (598750) <wfpearson@NOsPAM.gmail.com> on Wednesday July 23, 2003 @02:02AM (#6509158) Homepage Journal
    Maybe U.S. users should start taking the same action. Would the FTC listen? [ftc.gov]
    • Re:FTC complaints? (Score:5, Interesting)

      by Hanno (11981) on Wednesday July 23, 2003 @02:39AM (#6509299) Homepage
      In fact, the FTC accepts international complaints about US companies, as well. I just filed mine against SCO. :-)


      Subject of Your Complaint: Investment
      Name of Company You Are Complaining About: The SCO Group
      Street Address: 355 South 520 West, Suite 100
      City: Lindon
      State or Canadian Province: Utah
      Country: UNITED STATES
      Zip Code or Postal Code: 84042
      Company Web Site: http://www.sco.com
      Phone Number: (801)7654999 Ext.

      Explain Your Problem:

      SCO is under new management which is currently engaging in a scheme that appears to be an elaborate "pump & dump" scam.

      I urge the FTC to investigate recent stock market events and related SCO press releases and SCO legal threats against Linux users.

      Thank you.
  • by canning (228134) on Wednesday July 23, 2003 @02:04AM (#6509164) Homepage
    You could be heading for a booting.
  • by jkrise (535370) on Wednesday July 23, 2003 @02:07AM (#6509176) Journal
    US : Lots of noise, only 3 sane voices so far. ESR, RMS, Linus. Okay, Bruce.
    Germany: LinuxTAG kicks SCO, gets injunction.
    Australia: Fightback - no FUD please, we're Aussies.
    New Zealand: InstallFest proceeds smoothly despite arm twisting from big gorillas.
    Poland: Injunction.
    India : Please use OpenSource (President of India)
    Japan : Consortium of Electronics firms pledge to adopt Linux. Bride's personal visit futile.
    UK : Refer US, above.
    France: Do the French use computers?

    Please fill up for remaining countries....

    -
    • France: Do the French use computers?

      Yes, they do [libertycomputers.com].

    • China: If you see SCO and SARS, kill SCO first.

      -
    • by ratfynk (456467) on Wednesday July 23, 2003 @02:42AM (#6509311) Journal
      Living next door to a country that mostly dictates our economic policy, and the interpretation of our business law, is like sleeping next to an elephant. You hope it hasn't eaten too much green grass, and that it doesn't roll over on you. We have a regular habit of putting up with excrement from south of the border so it doesn't matter what we think. We wind up going along with the situation. The only company that is benefiting from this fiaSCO in Canada is Microsoft. By the legalised theft of good ideas by leveraging their OS to work better with their office and communication software, Microsoft have successfully modeled their business relationships on corporate despotism. Almost a Conquistador style conquor and plunder of the competition. As such Microsoft software in Canada has become like a business religion. YOU USE IT OR YOU DO NOT GET WORK, plain and simple, there is no choice.

      From what I see and hear in computer stores everyone is hedging that Unix, SCO and IBM will self distruct and take Linux and open source with it. Such is the business attitude in Canada, they are all good MS sales people and will not rock the boat even if it sinks. The situation has become so monopolistic that it stinks.

    • by Black Parrot (19622) on Wednesday July 23, 2003 @02:47AM (#6509330)


      > France: Do the French use computers?

      Yes, they just call them something else.

  • I would if I did (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Kris_J (10111) on Wednesday July 23, 2003 @02:10AM (#6509186) Journal
    We call on any Australian Linux users who feel pressured by SCO's actions to immediately contact the ACCC and file a complaint.
    As an Australian Linux user I must say that I don't feel so pressured.

    Meanwhile, on Monday the company where I work received two fake "renew your domain" letters. Welcome to the modern business world...

  • This is what I sent (Score:5, Informative)

    by nihilogos (87025) on Wednesday July 23, 2003 @02:10AM (#6509187)
    You can file a complaint supporting OSV at http://www.accc.gov.au/about/fs-contact.htm - look for the complaint form.

    Dear Sir / Madam

    As the representative of a small business (XXXXXX) I am writing to support a recent complaint filed by the Open Source Victoria regarding the actions of the SCO Group.

    SCO is making unspecific and unsubstantiated claims that it owns copyright pertaining to the Linux PC operating system. It is asking any companies using Linux to purchase licences or face the threat of legal action.

    Would you please investigate the claims that SCO is making so that small businesses and other companies are not pressured into making unwarranted payments.

    Sincerely,
  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday July 23, 2003 @02:12AM (#6509197)
    Change of strategy-
    SCO's Darl McBride states that Linux users in Australia and Germany are indemnified from potential litigation at this moment. McBride, in his trademark bold manner of speech, continues, "cuz they are all good folks, ya'know."
  • Anyone? (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Karem Lore (649920)
    Anyone know the European equivalent of the competition and consumer office? Is there an online complaint form that I can use?

    Thanks,
    Karem
  • by panurge (573432) on Wednesday July 23, 2003 @02:15AM (#6509206)
    SCO increasingly reminds me of the fake invoice scam. The one in which you get an invoice for your entry in a "Trade directory", the idea being that many corporations cannot be bothered to reconcile invoices to orders for invoices under, say, $100. Having realised that IBM is not simply going to buy them at an inflated share price to make them go away(using FUD to try and boost the share price) SCO then proceeds to this type of scam which has the advantage that if anyone decides to pay, you can write a contract which makes it legal (include a clause that if SCO is found not to have IP rights, they will refund the licence money).

    I conclude that SCOs next step will be to write to Microsoft explaining that they have a large amount of IP tied up in a foreign software product but are unable to get it out themselves. In exchange for 15% of their share capital...oh wait, they already did that. I guess it's going to be buying Utah politicians and going round selling "insurance" against your server being ripped out of the rack and thrown out the window next.

  • by jobsagoodun (669748) on Wednesday July 23, 2003 @02:21AM (#6509234)
    See lazy zdnet press release regurgitation [zdnet.co.uk]

    Anyone else noticed this Vultus company is a Canopy funded company too? They hang out in one of SCO's buildings. Check their website [vultus.com] especially this picture! [vultus.com]

    Question: Who owns/funds ZDnet & the like?
  • Excellent. (Score:4, Informative)

    by pb (1020) on Wednesday July 23, 2003 @02:23AM (#6509242)
    It's about time someone called a spade a spade [reference.com]. Now to do the same thing in the US [usdoj.gov]...
  • SCO Seeks Lawsuit Against College of Optometry BY DANIEL BAUMGARTEN (MISINFORMATION, LTD.) MEMPHIS, TN 12:41 AM EDT - Caldera, otherwise known as SCO, has announced today that in addition to filing a lawsuit with IBM/Linux for violating its intellectual property rights, it will now be looking for monetary damages from the Southern College of Optometry for trademark infringement. "I really don't think (SCO) has a well-founded argument," commented William E. Cochran, O.D., president of the Southern College
    • whoops! Forgot BR tags.

      SCO Seeks Lawsuit Against College of Optometry

      BY DANIEL BAUMGARTEN (MISINFORMATION, LTD.)

      MEMPHIS, TN 12:41 AM EDT - Caldera, otherwise known as SCO, has announced today that in addition to filing a lawsuit with IBM/Linux for violating its intellectual property rights, it will now be looking for monetary damages from the Southern College of Optometry for trademark infringement.

      "I really don't think (SCO) has a well-founded argument," commented William E. Cochran, O.D., presiden
  • In Australia (Score:2, Offtopic)

    by dmiller (581)
    I love Australia. We manage to get organised about insipid and vexacious cases about software but are apathetic about real issues: the copyright amendment act (DMCA), anti-terrorist leglislation (PATRIOT), the continual incarceration of asylum seekers in desert gulags, etc, etc. Maybe it is because we have a chance against SCO whereas our governments (state and federal, both sides of politics) are utterly unresponsive.
  • by l0ungeb0y (442022) on Wednesday July 23, 2003 @02:32AM (#6509275) Homepage Journal
    FROM: Mr. Darl McBride

    A close business friend has given me you electonique address for communication as I have PRESSING CIRCUMSTANCES that require your assistence.
    You see, I Mr. Darl McBride Esq. have a sum of US $100,000,000,000,000.00 due to me but can not on my own acquire these outstanding funds. You see I am the PRIME MINSTER OF CALDERA IP and as you may know have been DRIVEN INTO EXILE by IBM and their TYRRANICAL LINUX CONSPIRATORS AGAINST OUR SOVERIEGN NATION. Our matter of greatest importance demands that WE SEEK YOUR HELP. In return for assisting me, I will provide you 30% of the US $100,000,000,000,000.00 (US $30,000,000,000,000.00), all you need to do is provide me with your bank account number, a fascimile of your SOCIAL SECURITY NUMBER, VALID DRIVERS LICENSE OR ID and CONSENT TO OUR NDA and LICENSING AGREEMENT.
    YOU SEE, YOU HAVE MUCH TO GAIN and I trust and pray that you will provide us the assistence we require in this time of need.
  • Phone it in! (Score:5, Informative)

    by StrayLight (30338) on Wednesday July 23, 2003 @02:50AM (#6509339) Homepage
    As someone who works down the hall from the people at the ACCC who will end up handling these complaints, I should probably mention that they generally prefer contact by phone, rather than over the website's complaint form.

    The number is 1300 302 502.

    They'll want to ask you questions, and in theory they will just call you back if you put a complaint in through the web.
  • by bytesmythe (58644) <[bytesmythe] [at] [gmail.com]> on Wednesday July 23, 2003 @02:55AM (#6509356)
    Bruce: Gentlemen, I'd like to introduce a chap from across the pond who's going to be joining us here at the 'Straylian LUG.
    Bruces: G'day!
    Darl McBride: Hello.
    Bruce: Darl McBride, Bruce. Darl McBride, Bruce. Darl McBride, Bruce.
    Bruce: Is your name not Bruce?
    McBride: No, it's Darl.
    Bruce: Mind if we call you Bruce to keep it clear?
    Bruce: Gentlemen, I think we better start the LUG meeting. Before we start, though, I'd like to ask the padre for a prayer!
    Bruce: Oh Stallman we beseech thee!
    Bruces: Amen!
    Bruce: Crack tube!
    Bruce: Now I call upon Bruce to officially welcome Mr. McBride to the 'Straylian LUG.
    Bruce: I'd like to welcome the slimy bastard to God's own OS, and remind him we don't like stuck-up sticky-beaks here.
    Bruces: Hear, hear! Well spoken, Bruce!
    Bruce: Bruce here is a kernel hacker, Bruce here is a system administrator, and Bruce here checks source code for copyright infringement. And is also in charge of the BitKeeper repository.
    Bruce: What's New-Bruce going to do?
    Bruce: New-Bruce will attempt to undermine the legality of the linux source code, mislead the public about the nature of SCO's copyrighted code, question the validity of the GPL, and possibly have a secret partnership with Microsoft to reduce the spread of linux in the server and desktop markets by using a smear campaign.
    Bruce: But that's a load of bullsh%t!
    Bruce: Awwww spit!
    Bruce: Howls of derisive laughter, Bruce!
    Bruces: Australia, Australia, Australia, Australia, we love ya! Amen!
    Bruce: Another tube!
    Bruce: Any questions?
    Bruce: New-Bruce, Are you a monopolist?
    Bruce: Are you a monopolist?
    McBride: No!
    Bruce: No. Right, I just want to remind you of the LUG member rules:
    Rule 1: No monopolists!
    Rule 2: No member of the LUG is to use SCO source code in the linux kernel... if there's anybody watching.
    Rule 3: No monopolists!
    Rule 4: Now this term, I don't want to see any member of the LUG not infringing on SCO's copyright.
    Rule 5: No monopolists!
    Rule 6: There is no!--- Rule 6!
    Rule 7: No monopolists!
    Right, that concludes the reading of the rules. Bruce!
    Bruce: This here's the penguin, the emblem of our source. You can feed it nasty SCO code, if you don't get caught, of course. Amen!

    Liiiiinuus Torvalds was nearly bald and made his own O-S, and linux it was called.
    Billy Gates came to take it away, but his server couldn't cut it. Linux was here to stay!
    Big Blue, Big Blue was supporting it too, and linux's growth seemed assured.
    Then Darl McBride came along and tried to sucker punch linux in the gut.

    There's nothing Stallman wouldn't call 'em when it came to G-P-L.
    He figured all the naysayers could die and go to hell!

    Buuuut linux wasn't taken and linux wasn't shaken. It wouldn't be that easy to kill(1)
    The penguin's here to stay, and if McBride won't play he can take his silly lawsuit and go away.
    Billy Gates, Billy Gates just stews and waits for the day when his junk is obsolete.
    And come that day we'll all go play Doom 3 on our linux boxen. Sweeeeet!

    Yes McBride can take his silly lawsuit and just go away.
    'Cause the GPL will hold up and open source will save the day!

    ====

    Sincerest apologies to Monty Python. And Australia, too. And linux... And the Australian LUG... And anyone mentioned in the above spoof. I'm truly sorry. Really. (And for the fact that the song meter isn't exactly correct... and that many of the facts mentioned are probably distorted. It's all just a joke, I promise!)
  • by jsse (254124) on Wednesday July 23, 2003 @03:13AM (#6509413) Homepage Journal
    why we haven't seen such thing happen in US yet. iirc threatening someone with lawsuit without any intention to take legal action, especially when money is involved(licence fee), is illegal in countries under common laws system. This is a serious case of anti-competitive business practise, and in worse scenario it can be regarded as blackmailing. Those FUD letters and 'offers to switch' falls perfectly into both.

    I was kinda expecting the massive lawsuits against SCO from those fortune 500 companies whom SCO sent FUD letters to. Those fortune 500 lawyers are either too whimp or too lazy to actually look into the case.
  • by zander (2684) on Wednesday July 23, 2003 @03:43AM (#6509497)
    The europe equivalent can be found here [eu.int]

    I'm not much of a writer for this kind of stuff; but I hope this link will make others interested to the possebilities!

  • Mob politics (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Ektanoor (9949) on Wednesday July 23, 2003 @04:15AM (#6509592) Journal
    The way SCO is acting reminds more a mob going wild over the street.

    They come up with a full set of "services" to its customers. Their Web site just looks a Christmas tree full of that. Meanwhile, when you come up to it, the first thing you see is "Relax, worry free software" which is some sort of double-minded threat.

    The court complaint is also pretty interesting. Most people believe that SCO is threatening IBM for some disclosure of trade secrets. In fact SCO is accusing IBM of conspiring against SCO by disclosing Unix code to Linux. All the comaplaint is a mess of distortions where Linux pre-2.4 looks much like a simple hobbiyst OS without any significance for the market. Then came IBM, changed the whole 2.4 kernel by inserting SCO code and started a campaign to drive SCO from the market. Worse than that, it seems that IBM is to blame for Linux being a workable kernel on the Intel platforms, as, in SCO's claims, they were nearly the exclusive producer and distributor of UNIX for Intel architecture!..

    Among the claims filled to court one may clearly some foggy statements against the Linux community in the whole:

    "This prohibition extends to derivative work products that are modifications of, or based on, UNIX System V source code or technology. IBM and certain other UNIX software distributors are violating this prohibition, en masse, as though no prohibition or proprietary restrictions exist at all with respect to the UNIX technology."

    "As such, Linux 2.4.x and Linux 2.5.x are unauthorized derivatives of UNIX System V."

    Note that SCO, in its complaint, is eager to generalize. Besides it leaves in the dark certain things as "other UNIX software distributors". And also it seems that BSD does not exist in SCO's Universum at all.

    So what we have here? Considering the above, and the situation among the community, we have here a case that surely will take some good time to settle. SCO is clearly distorting reality so well that I fear that the court will have to take some time to digere all the confusion they created. Yes, SCO will loose it. Everyone who have seen the evolution of Linux since its start, knows perfectly that they pushed too far from reality. But courts need facts, and need testimonies, documents and expertise. And SCO seems to know that it will be rather difficult for the Linux community to gather all developers in one court room. That seems the strategy they are trying to play. If all developers gather, then SCO will have nothing to say. All the story will just be a soap bubble without any serious ground. But can IBM gather all the developers they need to counter the oversized history of UNIX, SCO is trying to tell the court? Personally I think it will be a bit difficult... Anyway, it will take time until the court gets into some conclusion. Which may be longer the DoJ vs Microsoft.

    Meanwhile, even without court orders, SCO goes further and knocks every door with foggy threats of liability, if one doesn't pay for Linux. Now this clearly reminds mobs that created a FUD climate and then extorted money for "security" and "protection" services. In the whole this seems the main strategy SCO is playing. And, as in old times, commerces seem to bound to the new Capones of the 21th century, stocks are rising and SCOrface is getting richer.
  • by Nice2Cats (557310) on Wednesday July 23, 2003 @04:26AM (#6509627)
    This shows one very important point that is not often made: A major part of the SCO problem is the American legal system. In Germany, SCO has either had to put up or shut up (and wow did they shut up quickly), Australia and other countries are going in the same direction, but in the U.S., SCO can go on making claims seemingly forever that damage the repution (and therefore livelihood) of Linux companies and professionals.

    One commentator pointed out that the SCO farce was bad for the U.S. -- true, but more to the point, it is a symptom of a larger problem facing America. The legal system has ceased to function in any sane form, and it is hurting the U.S. bad. The lottery of trial by jury, abolished for good reason in almost all other western democracies, means that SCO could actually win this case in the U.S., while the rest of the world tells them to go jump in a lake. German companies such as SuSE won't be paying those license fees, that's for sure.

    American readers should take note that the Constitution doesn't specify the details of how courts should be set up. Congress could overhaul the system any time they choose, and give the U.S. a system that doesn't suck money and talent from American companies and waste it on millionaire lawyers and legal fees. But then, Congress is full of lawyers...

    • by kcbrown (7426) <slashdot@sysexperts.com> on Wednesday July 23, 2003 @05:33AM (#6509808)
      The lottery of trial by jury, abolished for good reason in almost all other western democracies, means that SCO could actually win this case in the U.S., while the rest of the world tells them to go jump in a lake.

      The problem isn't the trial by jury. In the U.S. it's widely believed that it's supposed to be a trial by a jury of your peers. To me, that means people you interact with regularly, or who are likely to have shared similar experiences to you, so that they have the capacity to judge you appropriately based in part on the insight their experiences bring.

      But the Constitution calls for an impartial jury, and as a result the concept of a jury of one's "peers" has completely disappeared, to be replaced by a lottery system that almost guarantees that the people sitting on the jury will almost certainly be unable to properly judge you.

      I think trial by jury may well be a sound concept when done right, but unfortunately it's not done properly at all here in the U.S.

    • I think one of the major things in issues like this is the speed at which such cases are able to move.

      When a persons life is at stake and they face the prospect of losing years of their lives or their very life itself I can understand why the US legal system might tend to seem slow, providing the defandant every opportunity to make sure that they are getting a fair trial.

      However, when a reputation is at stake there needs to be either a) a swift resolution (Which I understand might not always be possable.)
    • One of the major problems is that the US has been working to strip the power to acquit from juries. For as long as english law set foot in this country til very recently a jury could acquit for any reason. If they felt the law was stupid or the plantifs claims were asinine, they could simply acquit, and this has been held up several times by the supreme court. This is also what brought down such things as prohibition as no jury would convict so the police stopped bothering to arrest.

      Unfortunately it wa

  • by elgeeko (671311) on Wednesday July 23, 2003 @05:35AM (#6509812)
    Are you in Las Vegas on the 17th-19th August?

    Make you feelings known, drop in at the SCO Forum 2003 [sco.com].

    I'm sure SCO representatives will be very happy to answer all of your licensing questions or maybe you just want to hand over your cash in person.
  • by Empiric (675968) on Wednesday July 23, 2003 @05:58AM (#6509870)
    I'm glad to see the term "extortion" is now getting widespread press. The previous common description for SCO's activities has been "FUD" (apparently Linus' preferred term), and this unfortunately implies a semi-respectable strategy that many tech companies employ against competing products.

    It's important not to underestimate the effect that labels can have in arguing one's case in a busy, harried world of people marginally familiar with an issue. Calling something "FUD" might not sway an IT manager or politician for whom the SCO issue is not completely clear; calling it "baseless extortion" is much more likely to raise the kind of ire needed to counteract this particular FUD in the mindset of the public and relevant decision-makers.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday July 23, 2003 @06:26AM (#6509945)
    Hello. First of all, I'm not a programmer of any sort (medical registrar in Oz). I've been following this SCO thing with some interest. I was reading in eweek.com that SCO basically wants to draw this thing out (doesn't go to court until 2005) so Linux might die a thousand cuts from drawn out FUD.

    It has been suggested that SCO UNIX might actually contain tainted code from Linux. Surely with all this passion and number of talented ./ people it might be possible to create a competition where the first people to find offending code in SCO UNIX wins a prize or the most number of tainted snippets ("yes!!!.. we have found LOTS of offending code... we'll make it public any day now..." etc)wins the most money, just like the XBox and Linux thing. I'm sure the big Linux companies will help out :)

    I can't comment on how feasible it will be but if this is handled in the media properly, i.e. in a blaze of publicity just like what SCO did and looked half-way organized and leaked media reports at appropriate times, at least it will create FUD for SCO investors. Just a passing thought.
  • by voss (52565) on Wednesday July 23, 2003 @06:50AM (#6510020)
    Instead file a complaint with the
    Federal Trade Commission.
    http://www.ftc.gov and click on
    file a complaint right at the top.
    Tell the FTC that SCO is making demands
    for license fees based on unsubstantiated
    claims. Keep the nastygram as evidence
    for the FTC.
  • Something funny (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Ektanoor (9949) on Wednesday July 23, 2003 @06:50AM (#6510022) Journal
    While roaming this /. discussion I occasionally fell into US Copyright office... Once there I decided to search SCO's claim on copyright. Found it, but also I found something more interesting:

    UNIX system V : release 3.0 INTEL 80286/80386 computer version : programmer's guide.

    Searched on the Web for a little more of the book:

    Published - February 1988

    Copyrighted by AT&T and edited by Prentice Hall and Unix Systems Laboratory.

    On its complaint, more specifically on paragraph 35 and 36, SCO lawyers nearly fill the world with tears by claiming that SCO was the sole developer of UNIX for Intel platforms. But they seem to forget that SCO developed its System V Release 3 only a year after USL's work. And that by the time they were releasing their version, USL was already launching Release 4, which 3 years later became Unixware.

    It seems they the mind they have to fill new copyrights and patents is not enough to search those same copyrights and patents...

    BTW. the book can still be found for sale...
  • by salesgeek (263995) on Wednesday July 23, 2003 @07:00AM (#6510073) Homepage
    We need to fight fire with fire at this point. Please as you speak, write or post about the SCO situation use the following terms. They have stronger meaning, and are "stickier" ideas - that is they are more likely to be reproduced:

    * Use the SCO scam to refer to the situation and use extortion letter to refer to correspondence for SCO to a company.

    * always use unproven allegation and unsubstantiated claim before the mentioning copyright.

    * Describe SCO's letter: a letter that demands payment for a product I simply don't use. or this letter is asking me to pay a lot of money, speculating that they might win a lawsuit one day and then come after me. or this letter demands payment without any basis at all!

    * Be quick to point out that Linux was not written by IBM, it was written by individual programmers all over the world.

    * Point out that no industry group, supports SCO's unsubstantiated claims.

    * On SCO's motivation: SCO is failing and is desperate to make money by any means. And, SCO's core product which is being replaced by a more cost-effective solution Finally: SCO is attemting to hijack Linux because their core product can't compete.

    Finally, if you get a letter from SCO, send a copy and a cover letter the situation to your state's attorney general and secretary of state. One state AG or SecState has the budget, resources and clout to pull the plug on the SCO Copyright Scam nationally. Believe me, SCO is not the Tobacco Industry...
  • Mac Bride (Score:3, Funny)

    by jodo (209027) on Wednesday July 23, 2003 @07:38AM (#6510249)
    **** For Immediate Release ****

    Las Vegas, July 23, 2004

    Mr Daryl McBride, form CEO of defunct SCO, announced today the opening of his wedding shoppe Mac Bride. "You can't miss it on the strip," McBride said, "Look for the two Golden Circles." "I own the IP, you know."
    McBride wants all his friends, "We'll all easily fit in the chapel, a former MacDonald's location" he said, to come to his grand opening.
    Daryl indicated an IPO would soon follow and he hoped to reap billions in license fees from those selling golden rings to brides and grooms. "It's my trademark and intellectual property now", he said.
    McBride thinks his IPO will rocket further in value when investors learn he is threatening MacDonald's over their use of "golden half rings" as their trademark. "It's half mine," he said.
  • It is funny the Australian group mentioned that it was like a Nigerian net scam. I got this e-mail from SCO quite some time ago:

    ----- Original Message -----
    From: Darl McBride
    Sent: Saturday, May 31, 2003 12:05 PM
    Subject: URGENT AND CONFIDENTIAL

    ATTN: MANAGING DIRECTOR/C.E.O

    LINDON, UTAH

    REQUEST FOR URGENT BUSINESS RELATIONSHIP

    First, I must solicit your strictest confidence in this transaction. This by virtue of its nature as being utterly confidential and 'top secret'. You have been recommended by an associate who assured me in confidence of your ability and reliability to prosecute a transaction of great magnitude involving a pending business transaction requiring maximum confidence.

    We are top officials of SCO Group (formerly Caldera International -- Nasdaq: SCOX) who are interested in obtaining your services. We are presently in negotiations in a business deal we feel will be quite lucrative. Since we may leave the country quietly in the middle of the night, in order to commence this business transaction, we solicit your assistance to enable us to transfer a large sum of money into your account to hold until further arrangements can be made.

    The source of this fund is as follows: We have leveraged IP that we originally thought belonged to our company in order to solicit a rather large monetary investment by the company Microsoft. We have in turn sued IBM for contractual violations and IP violations, as well as sending out thousands of threatening letters to various corporations and Linux vendors, in a move carefully designed to drive up our stock and put us in a position for our company to be purchased simultaneously. You see, this is a carefully executed plan modeled after what some might call, "a house of cards." We hope very much that we will collect from all parties involved, sell our stock before it tanks, and head for some fun in the sun, IF all goes as planned.

    However, by virtue of our position as members of the SCO Group, we cannot acquire this money in our names.I have therefore, been delegated as a matter of trust by my colleagues of the panel to look for an overseas partner into whose account we would transfer the sum of US $21,500,000.00 (Twenty One Million, Five Hundred Thousand United States Dollars) Hence we are writing you this letter.

    We have agreed to share the money thus:

    1. 20% for the Account owner (you)
    2. 70% for us (The officials)
    3. 10% to be used in settling taxation and all local
    and foreign expenses.

    It is from the 70% that we wish to commence the importation business.

    Please, note that this transaction is 100% safe and we hope to commence the transfer latest seven (7)banking days from the date of the receipt of the following information below

    (a)company name and Beneficiary of account (b) Your Personal TeL. Number and Fax Number
    (c) Bank account/Sort/ABA/Routing numbers were the funds will be transferred to
    (d) Your Bankers Address, Telephone and Fax Number.

    The above information will enable us write letters of claim and job description respectively. This way we will use your company's name to cover our paper trail. We are looking forward to doing this business with you and solicit your confidentiality in this transaction.Please acknowledge the receipt of this letter using the above tel/fax number. I will bring you into the complete picture of this pending project when I have heard from you.

    Your faithfully,

The key elements in human thinking are not numbers but labels of fuzzy sets. -- L. Zadeh

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