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Caldera Software Linux

Linus Speaks Out, Calls SCO 'Cornered Rat' 598

Posted by michael
from the tell-us-what-you-really-think dept.
dexterpexter writes "In an interview with Business Week, Linux founder and guardian Linus Torvalds had, in his usual brand of blunt humor, the following to say about SCO: 'They're a cornered rat, and quite frankly, I think they have rabies to boot. I'd rather not get too close to them,' and 'There are literally several levels of SCO being wrong. And even if we were to live in that alternate universe where SCO would be right, they'd still be wrong.'" In the same issue, there's also an interview with Darl McBride where he admits that the company was failing and the Linux-related lawsuits were a last-ditch effort to prevent bankruptcy.
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Linus Speaks Out, Calls SCO 'Cornered Rat'

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  • by ee_moss (635165) on Tuesday January 27, 2004 @04:11PM (#8103453)
    Should I leave this MyDoom worm on my machine for a few days... Sure.
  • I'm reading the article while writing this.

    I just can't imagine what it must be like to be constantly having to explain the same damn thing over and over again.

    Hang on, my first job here was helpdesk. Nevermind.

  • by madprof (4723) on Tuesday January 27, 2004 @04:13PM (#8103480)
    SCO were a few quarters away from running out of cash so...they decided to utilise their Unix IP rights, except looking at the quality of their argiument so far this looks like staggering desperation.
    • by LehiNephi (695428) on Tuesday January 27, 2004 @05:04PM (#8104158) Journal
      Q: Have you had direct talks with customers yet?
      A: Very carefully over the last quarter, instead of sending out mass invoices, we stepped very carefully and really had a lot of direct one-on-one meetings with 15 or so companies. In the process of doing that, we learned a lot. We listened. We talked. And we went back and forth. About 20% of those companies signed licenses with us.


      That means 3 companies signed licenses. MS, and who else? That's not a stellar record.

      And now, something from the article I didn't know before:

      Q: Do you think that any copyright or patent-protected Unix code has actually found its way into Linux?
      A: Unlikely. There are now a number of people who have access to both Unix sources and Linux code, and literally written automated tools to find similarities. They found something like 30 lines from [Silicon Graphics, SGI ] that were dubious and that had been removed already.


      I hadn't known that there were people with access to Unix source that were working on this. I guess now we know that there isn't unix code in Linux, contributed by IBM or otherwise. We don't have to wait for SCO to 'produce' (read: falsify) evidence. As far as I'm concerned, case closed.
  • by inode_buddha (576844) on Tuesday January 27, 2004 @04:13PM (#8103481) Journal
    How unfortunate that the ethical bankruptcy is tied so closely to the fiscal one. Where was it written that this *had* to be so painful?
  • Surprised by Linus (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Skyshadow (508) on Tuesday January 27, 2004 @04:14PM (#8103487) Homepage
    At the start of this whole mess, I'd have thought that Linus would have just ignored it... Guess this one got under his skin a bit.

    In the end, I think we'll all look back on this as the time where Linux went from sort of a fringe software in the minds of a lot of people to a mainstream player, where corporations learned they shouldn't mess with the OSS community and when the idea of open-source really started to make people ask "Why *am* I paying for this software?"

    After all, that which doesn't kill us, etc. etc.

    • by peterprior (319967) on Tuesday January 27, 2004 @04:23PM (#8103632)
      I think it started to piss him off when they claimed their code was in the headers that linus had actually written, for example errno.h..

      You read his response here [groklaw.net]
    • by itomato (91092) on Tuesday January 27, 2004 @04:28PM (#8103691)
      But really - how long can you expect anyone, no matter how mild-mannered, level-headed, etc., they may be - to tolerate such behavior on such a SCALE?

      This is a seed that has been germinating in the computing underbelly since Linus posted to comp.minix.announce.

      The world's largest, most influential software manufacturers are duking it out over one of the next major milestones in computing.

      It's a noble thing to ignore spit, sticks, and stones,, but nobler still to stand your ground and speak the truth when the time is right.

      Ask *them* why they are paying for software. They just don't know that it's out there for free. It grows on the only tree they are aware of - CompUSA, BestBuy, etc.

      Mention "no more" in connection to these items:
      Ad ware
      Spy ware
      $450 word processors
      Viruses (mostly)
      and most importantly, you can look under the hood to see what and who is doing what with the computer in *YOUR* living room.

      The times - they are a changin'..

    • by dreamchaser (49529) on Tuesday January 27, 2004 @04:35PM (#8103781) Homepage Journal
      Hard to ignore when you have SCO lawyers demanding to see your emails and other private documents...
    • by Dman33 (110217) on Tuesday January 27, 2004 @04:44PM (#8103875)
      In the end, I think we'll all look back on this as the time where Linux went from sort of a fringe software in the minds of a lot of people to a mainstream player, where corporations learned they shouldn't mess with the OSS community and when the idea of open-source really started to make people ask "Why *am* I paying for this software?"

      The problem with this is sometimes a few bad apples make the OSS community look like a bunch of crazy lunatics. Take the nice worm that is going around now... CNN already has an article [cnn.com] which pretty much blames the OSS community for the worm. In fact, a quote like this: "Virus experts suggested MyDoom's author was a fan of the Linux open source community..." can be damaging to getting Linux and OSS recognized in a good light.

      It is too bad that this has to happen because PHBs do not read message boards or surf /. much, they read the Times and CNN.
      • Polite letters to CNN are probably in order. The line you've quoted is hardly the worst in that article -- the bit about "takes the Linux Wars to a new intensity" and so on is shameful.
      • by Lussarn (105276) on Tuesday January 27, 2004 @05:14PM (#8104284)

        CNN already has an article which pretty much blames the OSS community for the worm

        Hmm.. Where is the source for this open source worm.

      • Yeah, but those arguments aren't too hard to deflate if you have a half-dozen brain cells. After all, Timothy McVeigh blew up the Murrah building in Oklahoma city and he was a Christian, but I hardly think that makes the rest of the Christian community responible for his actions.
        • by Josh Booth (588074) <joshbooth2000@yaho[ ]om ['o.c' in gap]> on Tuesday January 27, 2004 @06:33PM (#8105309)
          "After all, Timothy McVeigh (likewise Arabs) blew up the Murrah building (World Trade Center) in Oklahoma city (New York City) and he was a Christian (were Islamic), but I hardly think that makes the rest of the Christian (Islamic) community responible for his actions."

          Face it: every group of people has people in them that will do something stupid. They are called extremists and they are the real threat, not any one group. RMS himself is extreme enough to be a threat to his own philosophy, but thankfully not extreme enough to write a stupid virus like that luser.
      • In fact, a quote like this: "Virus experts suggested MyDoom's author was a fan of the Linux open source community..." can be damaging to getting Linux and OSS recognized in a good light.

        The guy who shot Reagan did it to impress Jodie Foster, yet somehow she didn't get the blame. In the unlikely event I get into a conversation about this email virus I'll have to point that out.
    • by msimm (580077)
      post. But as to the being surprised, you should read his biography. Linus is much more quirky person then I'd have imagined. Possibly on an evil genius level. Definitely a good mix attention dodging super star and good old fashioned black humor. God bless Europe!
    • by mahdi13 (660205)
      I'd have thought that Linus would have just ignored it...
      He was ignoring them until they blamed him personally and said he was a scurvy infested thieving pirate.
    • by DataPath (1111) on Tuesday January 27, 2004 @04:48PM (#8103915)
      Thinking about the OSS community and the Corporate environment, I've come to a conclusion.

      The corporate community fights legal battles, appeals to the law for redress.

      The OSS community fights PR battles, and appeals to the world, and indirectly, the customer base for redress.

      Think about the OSS projects that have had code ripped off - they let the company know that there may be misuse of Open Source code. If they get an unfavorable response, the make an announcement, they add the company to their "blacklist", and suddenly a very large group of consumers has been activated against them.

      The whole OSS movement operates within the Social Conscience. It's the fact that there exists a social conscience in this world that it works in the first place. It's the companies without a social conscience that cause problems. It's the companies with a social conscience that benefit from the OSS model.

      On a side note, I'm just amazed by IBM's social conscience. It's plain how few companies there are that recognize opportunities to invest in community for the benefit of the company and the community.
      • by 0x0d0a (568518) on Tuesday January 27, 2004 @07:47PM (#8106218) Journal
        On a side note, I'm just amazed by IBM's social conscience. It's plain how few companies there are that recognize opportunities to invest in community for the benefit of the company and the community.

        IBM doesn't necessarily (well, as a company) have a social conscience. IBM, however, is smart enough to realize that dealing with the OSS community can be phenomenally profitable -- that acting as if it *does* have one is marvelously beneficial. There are, very many differences in dealing with OSS versus traditional software. Here are some of my guesses as to what to do differently:

        * A feeling of good will matters. Goodwill only matters normally as far as wining and dining a negotiator to try and get him to sell out his company a little. The OSS community is *extremely* sensitive to companies, treating them like people, whom are either friendly or unfriendly to OSS. A cohesive positive-sounding OSS company policy does a tremendous amount to keep a company in the good graces of the OSS folks. Press releases about how said company uses OSS, and thinks it's a good idea. Periodically releasing some code as OSS is a nice icing. (Take OpenAFS -- IBM only benefits from having that around, and it generates lots of good will.)

        * Legal issues need to be minimized. Dealing with a company, you have lawyers who can hammer things out. The OSS community likes things pretty simple and clear.

        * The OSS community doesn't demand masses of money. It's appreciated, like IBM's ongoing investment in open source development (which was probably done for strategic reasons, improving software that they needed worked on, as much as PR value), but a positive attitude toward OSS can count more than donating masses of money toward OSS.

        * You don't need to worry about getting screwed over legally, in general. OSS folks are not generally out to shaft people over licenses. Legally, things are simple and nice.

        * The OSS community can jump to conclusions quickly, and needs to be spoken to publically when misconceptions start going around. You have a lot of people with individual opinions. If a major Linux Ethernet player, like Donald Becker, writes a letter to, LKML saying that some chipset made by a company is lousy, said company needs an official, public response quickly. If there's a Slashdot story out about how your company is discontinuing production of Mindstorms (and the story is wrong), you should probably have a press release out within the day.

        * The OSS community values specs. Take a page from Matrox, who decided what they could and couldn't release (couldn't release source to some on-card microcode, which had to be distributed in binary, but *could* release specs to much of the rest of the card.) Matrox's older G200-G450 series are still among the best supported of video cards under Linux and X.

        * Maintain an official presence on relevant public forums, since so much OSS-related stuff takes place in the open. You might just have a mail filter that drops any email on major mailing lists containing your company name or product names into your PR department's inbox.

        * Little of the OSS community accepts legal liability. This should be noted -- however, problems like illegal code copying do not seem to be prevalant, simply because of the high visibility of doing so. There are times when you may want indemnification of code you use -- the OSS community doesn't do that.

        * Giving gifts can be inexpensive and valuable. In healthy Linux tradition, if someone runs out and implements a driver for your chipset, send 'em something nice in the mail. In rich Linux tradition, a case of beer seems to work well. It also costs you about a ten thousandth of what it would to implement the thing commercially, and ensures future good will. For driver writers, it's frequently a really, really good idea to just send along a few other products that you make (ones without drivers). This encourages people who have already demonstrated willingness to produce, wi
  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday January 27, 2004 @04:15PM (#8103504)
    I'd say right now the open source community might look like the bigger rat with the new worm spreading and DDoSing SCO. It's not funny, it's not justice, and it just makes the open source community look like the cornered rat in the eyes of the masses. The first thing Linus should've done was to speak out and condemn this sort of behavior.

    While it may be humorous to some of the immature individuals on this site, a worm to DDoS SCO is a terrible blunder. It just strengthens SCO's arguments that the open source community is made up of troublemakers that need to be stopped.
    • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday January 27, 2004 @04:22PM (#8103608)
      SCO can do absolutely anything they want. Lie, steal, commit slander and fraud. There are no repercussions.

      The linux community, meanwhile, has to be absolutely perfect and saintlike and have not a single user do anything that could be interpreted as unethical, or they get blasted as scary anarchists.

      This is even more funny when you consider SCO is a singular organization which can enforce ethical standards, whereas "the linux community" is an open ended, uncontrollable group of people that basically means everyone who downloads a certain program.

      We need a media that knows how to do more than reprint press releases.
    • by donutz (195717) on Tuesday January 27, 2004 @04:36PM (#8103788) Homepage Journal
      I'd say right now the open source community might look like the bigger rat with the new worm spreading and DDoSing SCO

      I find it hard to believe that the "open source community" could be responsible for this DDOS against SCO.

      My guess is that the SCO attack is a red herring -- what better way for the spammers to divert your attention from the fact that this virus enables remote access of infected computers than to get people all in a huff about the supposed "baddies" in the open source community.
      • I find it hard to believe that the "open source community" could be responsible for this DDOS against SCO.

        It has nothing to do with the community. It has to do with one stupid putz with too much time on his hands and too few brains in his head. SCO has been busting its butt trying to stay in the news and here this moron goes and gives them a headline on a silver platter. Check their stock price [yahoo.com] over the last few days and see what effect the worm has had. SCO wouldn't risk launching the worm themselve

    • by Progman3K (515744) on Tuesday January 27, 2004 @04:52PM (#8103956)
      You make it sound like if there were no viruses before this whole SCO debacle happened.

      The world is quite used to their Windows machines getting infected. This time is exactly the same.

      Who's SCO, anyway? Nobody anybody is interested in.

      Don't worry about it; it's a WINDOWS virus, not a Linux virus, THAT'S the thing to point out.
    • by southpolesammy (150094) on Tuesday January 27, 2004 @04:54PM (#8103979) Journal
      The DDoS'ing of www.sco.com is only the big shiny package in this worm that is attracting the media like flies to ... well, you know.

      The worm's real goal is to install invisible keystroke monitors in an attempt to gather passwords and bank account numbers of infected users. With all the noise coming from those infected PC's going to SCO, a few packets going elsewhere slip through very easily if you're not looking for it.

      It's classic prestidigitation. Make a big show with one hand while the other does the dirty work.
    • by cgenman (325138) on Tuesday January 27, 2004 @05:46PM (#8104684) Homepage
      I've looked all over the web, and I just can't find the source files for myDoom. The project isn't hosted at SourceForge, the GPL isn't included in the distribution, and Stallman isn't ranting about how it should be renamed GNUDoom. MyDoom doesn't even start with a K or a G. Is it from Mozilla? It's spelled correctly... That's creepy.

      I've got some crazy ideas that would make this worm even slower / more bloated / more error-prone, and would love to try and split the community with a fork. It would be so much better if it was recoded in obfuscated Perl on an XML base with full x86, Sparc, NeXT, and Amiga source compatibility. Besides, the current maintainer is a power hungry jerk. When I find out who he is and where his sources are hosted, his project will be obsolete.

      Where did you hear that this worm is part of the open source community again?

    • It is very interesting that Darl & Co haven't yet mentioned this new worm. Why? Perhaps Darl & Co put it out there in the first place to make SCO look even more like a victim of the eeeeevil open source community.

      Food for thought (if nothing more).

      n/a
      • I wouldn't believe SCO was responsible for a worm in a hundred years. I don't take their programmers to be competent enough to make it.

        I might be wrong, but somehow I would be willing to bet their best programmers left LONG ago.
  • by The I Shing (700142) * on Tuesday January 27, 2004 @04:15PM (#8103508) Journal
    When all is said and done with this case I think Darl McBride will be making a fast exit... to South America.

    Other people have said it and I agree with it... those attempted extortion, excuse me, licensing letters they sent out are should be pursued as federal mail fraud, and the SEC should take a long hard look at Mr. McBride and his lawyers, and how they're playing their own company's stock.
    • Up until now it's been completely unethical, but just on this hairy side of legal. Short of a memo stating that "we are making all this IP crap up" they are in the clear even if they are wrong. Even flagrantly wrong. It's very hard to prove intent, and most laws against this sort of thing have an intent clause.

      Granted, if I get busted with a loose joint and I have another in my pocket I'd probably be busted with intent to sell. But lawyers don't seem to be comfortable making those quantum assumptions about fellow lawyers.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday January 27, 2004 @04:15PM (#8103509)
    ..is unfairly demeaning both rats and corners with such a comparison.
    • Not only is this offensive to rats, its inaccurate too. While SCO may indeed have rabies, it is not possible for rats or other rodents to carry this particular disease. Opossums would be the closest critter that can handle the rabies requirement.
  • Editor Spin (Score:3, Insightful)

    by thebatlab (468898) on Tuesday January 27, 2004 @04:17PM (#8103529)
    "In the same issue, there's also an interview with Darl McBride where he admits that the company was failing and the Linux-related lawsuits were a last-ditch effort to prevent bankruptcy."

    Way to make it sound very sordid. The company was falling towards bankruptcy, yes. It was a last ditch effort, yes. But.....oh.....
  • by Thornae (53316) on Tuesday January 27, 2004 @04:17PM (#8103534)
    "I said my goal was to get a return on the initial Caldera IPO, when it was trading at $56 per share...."

    I'm sure everyone would like their money back from the tech-bust, but there's this little thing called reality. Unless you're Darl, of course.
  • by October_30th (531777) on Tuesday January 27, 2004 @04:18PM (#8103540) Homepage Journal
    Why is Linus feeding Darl, the ultimate troll?
  • Litigious Bastards! (Score:5, Interesting)

    by grub (11606) <slashdot@grub.net> on Tuesday January 27, 2004 @04:18PM (#8103547) Homepage Journal

    You may remember my attempt at starting a GoogleBombing where "litigious bastards" links to SCO as the first hit. (see this /. comment [slashdot.org].) Anyhow, in my journal ArmenTanzarian (210418) [slashdot.org] noted that it's working now!

    Way to go! It's a good day for slashdot and the net as a whole.
    • It may work for Google, but it doesn't generate any hits at SCO (litigious bastards [sco.com]) using their own search engine!

      I wonder why?^)

  • Regardless (Score:3, Interesting)

    by hackstraw (262471) on Tuesday January 27, 2004 @04:18PM (#8103551)
    of the whole "cornered rat" thing. This choice Q&A tells all:
    Q: Then who are you going to sue?
    A: The honest answer is we don't know. Conceivably, if everyone steps up and buys a license, we don't need to.

    Hopefully and finally SCOX will now start showing the true worth of the company. BTW, does anyone know what the top execs have cleared thus far from this scam? Was it worth it and is this going to be an unforunate part of doing business like SPAM?
    • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday January 27, 2004 @04:26PM (#8103663)
      Concievably, if everyone steps up and buys a license, we don't need to.

      This is absolutely hilarious when you consider that if you are one of the hypothetical companies that actually bought a license, SCO's response has been to threaten you with more litigation.

      SCO is basically treating "UNIXWare Licensees" as "people we can stomp all over". Recently they sent a letter to all of their licensees stating that they have to prove they aren't using a version of linux that contains SCO code-- thus opening themselves up to a lawsuit if this can be shown to be wrong-- or lose their license.

      Now, think about this-- SCO is saying publicly that if you buy a UNIXWare License, you get to use the linux infected with hypothetical SCO code without fear of lawsuit. Then when they buy one, you demand you stop using the linux infected with hypothetical SCO code or face a lawsuit!

      WTF?
  • by Sheetrock (152993) on Tuesday January 27, 2004 @04:18PM (#8103554) Homepage Journal
    SCO appears to have the upper hand [cnn.com], at least with regards to this new MyDoom thing.

    Well, and in the financial sector, which seems to cling to the stubborn belief that there might be something to their tactics and/or allegations.

    It's quite likely that "truth will out", as they say, but if public opinion has any bearing on the outcome of this struggle IBM and Linus need to get better visibility in the more widely consumed (and moronic) news channels. I haven't seen anything but negativeish stuff there, but it's what gets out to the masses.

  • by mark-t (151149) <markt@@@lynx...bc...ca> on Tuesday January 27, 2004 @04:20PM (#8103573) Journal
    [Linus speaks] "... And even if we were to live in that alternate universe where SCO would be right, they'd still be wrong."

    You gotta love that guy's way of making a point.

    • I don't (Score:4, Funny)

      by Joe the Lesser (533425) on Tuesday January 27, 2004 @04:27PM (#8103685) Homepage Journal
      'Even if x were true, it'd still be false.'

      I don't care who is he is, that offends me as a programmer. :-P
      • Even if x were true, it'd still be false.

        No, it makes sense in logic, though it's an awful way to put it. He's just stating the final step before the introduction of an inverse proof rule in proving the SCO is wrong. "If you assume that SCO is right then one can still demonstrate that they are wrong."

        Remember that if SCO is right about its claims (which include Linux not being legal to distribute and them being able to legally distribute Linux), then they themselves are in violation of many copyrights?
  • by HealYourChurchWebSit (615198) on Tuesday January 27, 2004 @04:20PM (#8103578) Homepage


    The BusinessWeek/Information Technology/Online Extra [businessweek.com] is pretty slick. As I read it, it appears that if McBribe is a cornered rat, then it's by his own devices.

    Within 30 days he leaps into action. He then sandbags IBM after he sends out a Shareholder's letter ... ... I mean, usually you don't play such a public game unless you've failed at some backroom negotiation. Not the case here, according to the interview.

    Then he get's all pissy, claming IBM goes ballistic when Big Blue flexes it's muscles.

    The more I read about this the more and more it's clear to me that McBribe isn't leading this company into profitability, but a death march ... ... but not until he first sucks out ever red cent from any possible revenue stream without actually creating any new product, or continually modifying the old one.

    Sounds to me like SCO has no one to blame but themselves here.

  • by JesseL (107722) on Tuesday January 27, 2004 @04:21PM (#8103592) Homepage Journal
    Anyone notice Darl's comment toward the end of the interview?
    What's odd to people is you have SCO against the world on one level. On another level, you have intellectual-property people who think operating systems shouldn't be free in our camp, and you have people over there who think operating systems should be free in IBM's camp.

    This guy actually believes in a blanket statement like that?
    • by Jeremiah Blatz (173527) on Tuesday January 27, 2004 @04:56PM (#8104015) Homepage
      article > you have intellectual-property people who think operating systems
      article > shouldn't be free in our camp, and you have people over there who
      article > think operating systems should be free in IBM's camp.

      comment > This guy actually believes in a blanket statement like that?

      Yes, and he's probably right. Look, people who think that "operating systems shouldn't be free" are people who think that there should not be free operating systems. Ever. So, basically, What Darl is saying is that you have Microsoft (maybe), SCO, and a few outright loonies who got hit by cosmic rays during their econ class on SCO's side, and the entire rest of the world on IBM's side. Sounds about right to me.
      • ...you have people over there who think operating systems should be free in IBM's camp.

        This guy actually believes in a blanket statement like that?

        Darl's "blanket statement" is patently false. Just go ask IBM for your free copy and source code for MVS, OS/390, VM, OS/400, AIX, OS/2, (see note) etc. and you'll find out that IBM only believes in free/open source OSes for commodity hardware as a alternative to Microsoft. SCO had the bad luck to get caught in the crossfire and to have an idiot like Dar

    • intellectual-property people who think operating systems shouldn't be free

      Read: Microsoft. IMHO that was a *direct* reference to them

  • Lies, damn lies (Score:5, Interesting)

    by strictnein (318940) * <strictfoo-slashd ... m ['hoo' in gap]> on Tuesday January 27, 2004 @04:22PM (#8103605) Homepage Journal
    Darl:
    In concept it was great, it wasn't until December when we came out and said here's where the problems are with Linux, and we have a program where you can deal with that.

    Q: What was the reception to that?
    A: It seemed everyone in the industry was either positive or neutral to that, except for IBM. IBM had a violent reaction to it, even though it wasn't targeted directly at them.


    Everyone was either positive or neutral to it? What are you smoking today Darl? Give me an f'en break.
    • Re:Lies, damn lies (Score:5, Interesting)

      by Zathrus (232140) on Tuesday January 27, 2004 @05:10PM (#8104232) Homepage
      There are actually a couple of much better quotes. Note that the December he's speaking of was Dec. 2002, not 2003. At that point SCO wasn't getting much press, not even here (I believe there was a story, but not much of one).

      The better quotes?

      McBride: We spent two weeks talking to IBM about how we could work together, and that didn't get anywhere.

      IBM (written statement): SCO did not give IBM any notice or warning of them prior to filing its lawsuit.

      And...

      Q: So your lawyers are talking to their [Google's] lawyers?
      A: We've got a team that's engaged in going back and forth.


      A Google spokesman says the search giant has not discussed with SCO its demands.

      So, how, exactly, are they going back and forth? Is your team going to Google, asking to talk to someone, being told to shove off, and coming back? That's not "back and forth". That's humiliation.

      And, finally...

      We came out last summer and put out some code that the Linux community on one hand said, preposterous, that's [Berkeley software]. On the other hand, some people in the Linux community said, hold on, you may have some copyright issues there....

      The code that I saw was under the BSD license and/or in the public domain. The ties back to SysV had been severed repeatedly. The SGI code was removed shortly after it was put in place and isn't in any current kernel or distro, and hasn't been for a long time. There is no copyright issue -- copyright law would only allow you to get a court order to cease infringement, which is exactly what happened.

      So, exactly what is he talking about here? Or is it just all spin and the same BS we've been seeing for months now? SCO would be well advised to stick to the small bits of their case that they might have a chance with (namely contract breech with IBM)... but, of course, those don't have anywhere near the payoff they need.
  • by mark_lybarger (199098) on Tuesday January 27, 2004 @04:22PM (#8103607)
    from the article...

    : Have you had direct talks with customers yet?
    A: Very carefully over the last quarter, instead of sending out mass invoices, we stepped very carefully and really had a lot of direct one-on-one meetings with 15 or so companies. In the process of doing that, we learned a lot. We listened. We talked. And we went back and forth. About 20% of those companies signed licenses with us.


    Q: Can you name any of them?
    A: We have taken the stance not to, .. But they are, in that case, Fortune 500 companies.


    let's see 20% of 15, that's what.. ~2. so let's see, Microsoft and Sun perhaps?
    • by metrazol (142037) <jwm33NO@SPAMcornell.edu> on Tuesday January 27, 2004 @04:40PM (#8103827)
      Actually, it's 3.

      15 X .20 = 15/5 = 3

      But you probably already knew that. That means SCO has enough cash to operate...let's see here...

      $699 X 3 = $2,097 - Boies' legal bills = -A Bajillion Dollars
      Plus or minus a few bucks for the valet parking guy at their favorite bistro.

      SCO is done. IBM simply has to take a print out of this article, hand it to their trial judge, and watch Darl start crying...

      IBM's "We don't talk to the media about litigation." response is much better than SCO's "Please, believe us, help, we're desperate, I'll say something stupid so you'll print the interview, just god, please, believe what we have to say..."
  • by TheTranceFan (444476) on Tuesday January 27, 2004 @04:22PM (#8103613) Homepage
    The article says "was a few quarters from being out of cash"...

    Wow! They were down to their last 75 cents and they were able to come back this far!

    That's quite an accomplishment indeed.

  • by gmuslera (3436) * on Tuesday January 27, 2004 @04:23PM (#8103626) Homepage Journal
    Calling them just "rats" transmit the whole concept we all have about them.
  • "Levels of lies" (Score:5, Interesting)

    by GreenCrackBaby (203293) on Tuesday January 27, 2004 @04:26PM (#8103669) Homepage
    The whole SCO case really is just one level of lies built onto another, just as Linus claims. My wife is in law school specializing in intellectual property law, and even she couldn't make any sense out of what I told her about the case. Bascially my explination went something like this, "Even if this were true, which it isn't, that would imply this, which isn't true, but even if that was true, ...."

    They've dug such a web of lies and confusion, and I think that is actually helping them keep their garbage claims going for so long!
  • Google (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Lord_Dweomer (648696) on Tuesday January 27, 2004 @04:27PM (#8103687) Homepage
    From the interview:
    "Q: There has been a rumor in Silicon Valley that you're going to sue Google. A: Yeah, Google gets brought up a lot. They're high-profile, and they're one of the largest users of Linux. They have nearly 10,000 boxes, from what we can tell. They're a poster child. I think what's interesting about them is they have been able to develop a low-cost operating model because of Linux. If your model is going to hold up, you better make sure you don't have any infringing code in there. Otherwise, you need to adjust your financials based on how much you pay for your servers. "

    The emphasis is mine. This is SCO's trump card for going after google. You see, any lawsuits based on IP would look VERY bad for potential investors when google wants to go public. I mean, licensing all of their 10k boxes would cost $6,990,000, but any amount looks bad to shareholders, especially since if SCO were to win (yeah yeah I know) they could basically say " we don't care how much you offer, we're not letting you use our IP" and google would be in a tight spot, and probably have to spend a LOT more than 7 mil to fix it.

    • Re:Google (Score:5, Informative)

      by jackbird (721605) on Tuesday January 27, 2004 @04:55PM (#8103988)
      ...except that a fundamental concept of copyright law is that infringers can remedy the situation to mitigate damages.

      That's why website owners get cease and desist letters instead of being dragged immediately into court. Someone unintentionally infringing who makes a timely and good faith effort to stop infringing will likely not be liable for any damages at all, and certainly cannot be compelled to purchase a license for a product they are not using.

      In other words, if any code even exists, once SCO shows it and it's expunged from the kernel, there's no more infringement. And no reason to buy a license.

      To put it even more bluntly, SCO's licensing theory is invented out of whole cloth, and completely without precedent.
  • by argoff (142580) on Tuesday January 27, 2004 @04:31PM (#8103734)
    In a way SCO has already won, because the debate is no longer about if copyrights are right or usefull in the information age, but rather is Linux in violation of copyrights.

    It's sorta like arguing if a speech I wrote violates the Kings laws, rather than asking if the king should have the right to restrict peoples speech at all to begin with.
  • [Wow!] (Score:5, Funny)

    by RyanFenton (230700) on Tuesday January 27, 2004 @04:31PM (#8103739)
    What an [interesting interview]! The [subject of the interview] was [interesting].

    [Several paragraphs of, more or less, praise for BW Online's work]

    [This post edited by BW Online.]

    Ryan Fenton
  • Excuse me? (Score:4, Funny)

    by SirNAOF (142265) on Tuesday January 27, 2004 @04:34PM (#8103760)
    "...he admits that the company was failing and the Linux-related lawsuits were a last-ditch effort to prevent bankruptcy."

    I'm sorry, I just don't see that. Nowhere in that article did I see an admission that it was a last-ditch effort to prevent bankruptcy. I see him talking about "protecting UNIX IP rights"...I'm not even touching that part.

    Let's let people read the article and draw their own conclusions instead of making some up to make Darl sound worse. He can do that all on his own.
    • Re:Excuse me? (Score:5, Informative)

      by deego (587575) on Tuesday January 27, 2004 @04:47PM (#8103897)
      >> "...he admits that the company was failing and the Linux-related lawsuits were a last-ditch effort to prevent bankruptcy."

      > I'm sorry, I just don't see that... I see him talking about "protecting UNIX IP rights"...I'm not even touching that part.

      Q: When did you decide to go down that path?
      A: It was more of a gradual process. When I joined the company, we did a 30-day analysis and review. I interviewed the top managers inside the company and a handful of people outside and asked, "Where do we go with this thing?" [SCO] had come down from being $1 billion in value down to about $5 million, it was a few quarters from being out of cash, and what became very clear to me early on was that there was a lot of value in the Unix intellectual property that wasn't being optimized.

      So what happened was, 30 days into my tenure, we sent a letter out to shareholders and said, "Look, we have a significant asset base here around Unix, around the SCO brand, around our 11,000 resellers, around all these licenses we have. We're going to go out and shine this company up."

      This was like beachfront property that had the windows knocked out, weeds growing. It was a mess. But it was still on the beach. And I could see a vision where we could restore the value.

      I said my goal was to get a return on the initial Caldera IPO, when it was trading at $56 per share.... It could be very valuable if we took the right steps. So over a period of months, it wasn't like a binary switch. It wasn't like we said, "Oh, let's go find people and sue them." It was a gradual enforcement of our rights, stepping up, and then we finally got to a point of impasse with IBM where either we were going to back down, or we're going to continue to go after them. And the only way to continue to go after them was to file a lawsuit.
  • Poker game (Score:5, Interesting)

    by ch-chuck (9622) on Tuesday January 27, 2004 @04:35PM (#8103780) Homepage
    it's almost like a poker bluff - they're betting like they have a great hand, hoping the others will fold, cut their losses and just let SCO have what's in the pot. However, they didn't realize there's some old timers at the table with deep pockets willing to see their bet and call them on it. Eventually SCO is going to have to show their hand.
  • by cascino (454769) on Tuesday January 27, 2004 @04:40PM (#8103831) Homepage
    'They're a cornered rat, and quite frankly, I think they have rabies to boot. I'd rather not get too close to them,'
    Linus, you're overestimating them. Rabbies only occurs in warm-blooded animals.
  • by Bananenrepublik (49759) on Tuesday January 27, 2004 @04:40PM (#8103833)
    Did anybody else notice how Linus never uses the term "intellectual property"? Everytime it appears in the interview it is in square brackets, meaning the editor replaced such coneceptually hard words as "source code" by "intellectual property". Darl OTOH employs this stupid term several times throughout his interview. Maybe he and the editors should try to understand this [gnu.org].
  • by steveha (103154) on Tuesday January 27, 2004 @04:48PM (#8103922) Homepage
    Darl McBride speaks:

    We came out last summer and put out some code that the Linux community on one hand said, preposterous, that's [Berkeley software]. On the other hand, some people in the Linux community said, hold on, you may have some copyright issues there.... There are 2.5 million servers out there today that have this code in it. When are Linux customers going to clean that stuff up? So that's one issue, Linux is tainted, even by their own admission.

    Amazing. "some people in the Linux community said... you may have some copyright issues there..." Um, who, exactly, said this? And he leaps from that to "Linux is tainted, even by their own admission."

    "When are Linux customers going to clean that stuff up?" Well, given that this code had already been removed from the Linux 2.5 kernel before SCO showed it in obfuscated form, and given that even the 2.4 kernels have had it removed now too, I'd say it has already been cleaned up.

    "There are 2.5 million servers out there today that have this code in it." This code only ever existed in Itanium kernels; are there even 2.5 million Linux Itanium servers in the world? Of the Linux Itanium servers, how many are still running an old kernel with this code in it? (Not many, I should think, since there are some security holes that have been fixed in newer kernels.)

    It's like studying a fractal. The more you look at the details of what he's saying, the more wrong stuff you find.

    steveha
  • by m_evanchik (398143) <michel_evanchikATevanchik.net> on Tuesday January 27, 2004 @04:54PM (#8103985) Homepage
    Why does business week always crash mozilla. I'm running 1.2 on win '98.
  • Microsoft angle (Score:5, Informative)

    by andy1307 (656570) * on Tuesday January 27, 2004 @05:03PM (#8104138)
    From Business Week, The Most Hated Company In Tech [businessweek.com]

    THE MICROSOFT FACTOR

    But who stands to gain the most from an SCO win? Microsoft. Linux is the primary force standing between Microsoft and domination of the computer world. The software giant is happily fanning customers' fears with an anti-Linux campaign while pumping money into SCO. Even though neither company has disclosed a dollar figure, sources close to SCO say Microsoft has spent more than $12 million on SCO licenses. Microsoft says it needs the licenses because it sells technology that allows its customers to run applications that were designed for Unix, the operating system Linux was modeled on. Critics believe it is just helping SCO finance its lawsuit.

  • by cheesedog (603990) on Tuesday January 27, 2004 @05:08PM (#8104210)
    I saw this from an Anonymous Coward in one of the forums earlier today, and thought it deserved a repeating:

    Gerald Holmes, yes that Gerald Holmes [freeyellow.com], has provided yet another lucid and in depth analysis of the SCO situation at this excellent site [freeyellow.com].

    I highly recommend it.

    Me too. I laughed and I cried.

  • M$ connection (Score:4, Interesting)

    by TastelessGarbage (598415) * on Tuesday January 27, 2004 @05:15PM (#8104314)
    The two best things about the article: First, it immediately points out that shortly after Darl came on board, his primary focus was to start up the litigation machine. Second, it spends a good chuck of time making a persuasive case for the M$-SCO connection. Very good article in a well-respected forum for those who have not paid close attention to this fiasco.
  • 3 licensees (Score:3, Interesting)

    by moojin (124799) on Tuesday January 27, 2004 @06:33PM (#8105304)
    "Q: Have you had direct talks with customers yet?
    A: Very carefully over the last quarter, instead of sending out mass invoices, we stepped very carefully and really had a lot of direct one-on-one meetings with 15 or so companies. In the process of doing that, we learned a lot. We listened. We talked. And we went back and forth. About 20% of those companies signed licenses with us."

    20% of 15 = 3.0

1 + 1 = 3, for large values of 1.

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