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Caldera Software Linux

Wired on McBride 221

Posted by michael
from the made-for-tv-movie dept.
leifbk writes "Wired has a very interesting feature article on how Darl McBride and his sidekick Mike Anderer rose to fame. Some particularly juicy parts are about Anderer: 'He's supercompetitive,' said one. 'If he knows you'll faint at the sight of blood, he'll cut himself just to watch you pass out.'" A very thorough retelling of the legend that is SCO.
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Wired on McBride

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  • Quick! (Score:5, Funny)

    by sockonafish (228678) on Saturday June 26, 2004 @02:39PM (#9538330)
    Assemble an army of fainting geeks and march to Anderer's house!!!
  • McBride (Score:2, Funny)

    by tasinet (747465)
    McBride?
    Any relation to Ronald McDonald's Bride?
  • McBride is passe (Score:5, Insightful)

    by ObviousGuy (578567) <ObviousGuy@hotmail.com> on Saturday June 26, 2004 @02:40PM (#9538338) Homepage Journal
    Think about it. The whole idea of history is that the victors will tell it. The losers will be written out of it or at the very worst written into it as very bad characters.

    McBride is about as bland as you get. He is the CEO of a company that produces nothing. He is fighting a movement arguably composed of nothing. He is the Don Quixote of the software world except he doesn't have half the attractiveness.

    Leave him to his money, he's got plenty of it. Linux will survive this idiotic onslaught, and whatever other challenges there are to come.

    Let's focus on making Linux better for all of us, rather than fighting windmills.

    Good idea, eh muchacho?
    • Darl deserves his place in history, alongside Natalie Portman, goatse.cx and hot grits. I'm sure this isn't exactly what he had in mind, though...
    • by BRock97 (17460) on Saturday June 26, 2004 @03:20PM (#9538543) Homepage
      He is bland, a braggart, and doesn't know when to shut up, but what he is trying to do (namely, the profit off of intellectual property) cannot be ignored. The wired article makes a great point on the last page [wired.com]: "Darl McBride is right about one thing: There's a big problem with Linux. <snip> The problem is that the free operating system created by Torvalds and his collaborators is poorly documented."

      To be honest, if it wasn't going to be McBride, it would be someone else down the line that would exploit this little problem. Most open source advocates would hate to say it, but with this kind of question looming over Linux as an operating system, some bigger companies won't look at it in the same light as they would, say, Microsoft Windows or Sun Solaris. It is good that, not unlike a band-aid, this is getting done now so that even the big corporations can know what most of us already do; without a question or a doubt, Linux is safe to use.

      I see no windmills here, but a true dragon that needs to be slayed.
      • Is it not the case the MS Windows contains (or contained) code from BSD or Linux (e.g. TCP/IP stack), possibly without acknowledgement of the Regents of the University of California if BSD is being used? (I could be wrong about this.)
      • If I'm recalling correctly, wasn't there a note or article they would be tracking patch history even more fervently then they already have.

        So far as I know, every patch tracks back to someone in the kernel, but I'm not aware of how well a patch is documented that comes via a proxy dev. (ie dev looks it over, adjusts it and submits it).

        Code in question has even been tracked back to SCO/Caldera when they were in a supportive mood.

        The only thing they have ever mentioned of worth is maillist reply that it wa
      • I think MS and Sun have a much bigger problem with this.

        Given the the codebase of all their products I think it's pretty much inevitable that there is some GPLed code somewhere in there. Lucky for them not too many people see the code and those that do probably don't know the linux codebase.

        Maybe one day somebody will actually find which part of windows contains GPLed code and all hell will break loose. I would not want to be a MS shareholder on that day.
        • killjoe writes:

          Maybe one day somebody will actually find which part of windows contains GPLed code and all hell will break loose. I would not want to be a MS shareholder on that day

          If the US DOJ can't do much vs. Microsoft, why do you think finding a GPLed smoking gun in their code will hurt them?

          I'm not trolling, this is an honest question. How could a GPL-oriented legal action be more harmful or threatening to Microsoft than a Federal antitrust action?

          --Pat / zippy@cs.brandeis.edu

        • Given the the codebase of all their products I think it's pretty much inevitable that there is some GPLed code somewhere in there. Lucky for them not too many people see the code and those that do probably don't know the linux codebase.

          Maybe one day somebody will actually find which part of windows contains GPLed code and all hell will break loose. I would not want to be a MS shareholder on that day.

          Similar GPL situations have already happened with NEXT whose NEXTSTEP now forms the core of MacOS X,

        • Well, from what had leaked so far, I really don't think I've heard of anything involving GPL code.

          I mean, after all, whether the typical programmers read it or not, it seems like someone would have caught on, if there was any...
      • if it wasn't going to be McBride, it would be someone else down the line that would exploit this little problem

        One could argue that this problem has been exploited already in a smaller scale, and people involved in Linux should worry about it getting worse and worse.

        In many ways, what Darl is doing feels a lot like what William Della Croce, Jr. [linuxgazette.com] did in 1996. That took about a year to get resolved.

        First a false trademark infringement claim. Now a false copyright infringement claim. I really fear the

      • OTOH... (Score:3, Interesting)

        by mangu (126918)
        ...if Linus had been as strict in dealing with his collaborators as the GNU people are, well, then maybe Linux would be as advanced as the GNU/Hurd is today. The fact that Linux advanced so much so quickly with so few resources is a good argument for IP law reform. After all, when one comes to think about it, selling proprietary software is no guarantee of success for a company. Microsoft, Oracle, and CA seem to be doing fine, but the same cannot be said of Corel, Borland, or Lotus. Lotus seems to be an exa
      • The problem is that the free operating system created by Torvalds and his collaborators is poorly documented.

        Wait a minute... if I recall correctly, in one of its anti-trust trials Microsoft said that it was not able to turn over the source code to certain older versions of Windows because it could no longer find the code! And Linux is "poorly documented" in comparison to what again?!?! Why on earth would organizations demand a paper trail of who submitted all the little patches that got rolled into L

  • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday June 26, 2004 @02:41PM (#9538343)
    There *is* very good documentation on where the code has come from -- despite what the article says.

    Sheesh.

    At least this is better than your average mainstream coverage.
    • There *is* very good documentation on where the code has come from -- despite what the article says.

      I think what he's talking about here is the fact that Linus doesn't have super psychic powers to be able to descern that when code is submited it is really unique and not merely that he knows who submitted the code.

      But that propriatary software makers do.

      We can confirm this for ourselves by applying our own super psychic powers against propriatary code. If you do this you will find that you cannot detect
  • by RALE007 (445837) on Saturday June 26, 2004 @02:41PM (#9538348)
    'If he knows you'll faint at the sight of blood, he'll cut himself just to watch you pass out.'

    I'll faint if he cut his own neck, I swear!

  • class clown (Score:5, Funny)

    by k4_pacific (736911) <<moc.oohay> <ta> <cificap_4k>> on Saturday June 26, 2004 @02:44PM (#9538362) Homepage Journal
    'If he knows you'll faint at the sight of blood, he'll cut himself just to watch you pass out.'

    So he's like that kid from grade school who would turn his eyelids inside-out? Charming.

    Anderer: Hey, look what I can do. Bleh-Bleh!
    Everyone: Ewww!!!!
    • Re:class clown (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward
      Agreed.

      In the story text, he's described as "supercompetitive." I think a more straightforward description would be that he's a sociopath.
  • w-w-w-ired (Score:5, Funny)

    by i love pineapples (742841) on Saturday June 26, 2004 @02:47PM (#9538375) Homepage
    I've been wired on McBride, but it made my nose bleed and I felt completely awful the next day. I'll stick to smoking crack... cheaper and less of a hangover.
  • by WhatAmIDoingHere (742870) <sexwithanimals@gmail.com> on Saturday June 26, 2004 @02:47PM (#9538380) Homepage
    That's not being competetive. That's being an ASSHOLE. What kind of pers-- I think I just answered my question.
    • Re:Competetive? (Score:5, Insightful)

      by orthogonal (588627) on Saturday June 26, 2004 @03:09PM (#9538502) Journal
      That's not being competetive (sic). That's being an ASSHOLE. What kind of pers-- I think I just answered my question.

      From the Slashdot post: Some particularly juicy parts are about Anderer: 'He's supercompetitive,' said one. 'If he knows you'll faint at the sight of blood, he'll cut himself just to watch you pass out.'

      Being an aggressive asshole is the way to get ahead! Now move out of my way, you fucking peons! Don't get between me and my yacht!

      These wunderkinds don't create anything. They haven't discovered anything. They don't even seem to make particularly astute business decisions.

      All they're good at is blundering ahead, kissing the asses of those with power, back-slapping their "friends", and intimidating everyone else.

      But we've allowed them to succeed despite the fact that they've never contributed a damn thing.

      Jonas Salk discovered the polio vaccine. Did he ever become as rich as Darl McBride or Mike Anderer?

      Ken Thompson, and Dennis Ritchie wrote the Unix Operating System that Darl claims gives him the rights to Linus Torvalds's linux.

      Where are Thompson's or Ritchie's or Torvalds's millions?

      Well, Thompson and Ritchie got paychecks from AT&T, and AT&T sold Unix to Novell which sold it to Darl's company. So, according to the magic of capitalism -- and the recent additonal idea that corporate CEOs deserve the lion's share of their companies' profits --, the millions belong to Darl.

      Torvalds is (according to capitalism) a dumb-ass -- smart enough to write linux, but a dumb-ass nonetheless -- because he gives linux away for free. So no millions for Linus.

      Now an good capitalist will tell you that Thompson and Ritchie preferred regular paychecks to working on their own and owning Unix outright. And the capitalist would be right: when all capital is concentrated in the hands of the sons and grandsons of the guys who stole it in the first place, Thompson and Ritchie were free -- to starve.

      And a good capitalist will explain to you that the marketplace has determined -- correctly, because the marketplace can't be wrong, that's an axiom of capitalism -- that Darl McBride is socially;y far more valuable than Thompson or Ritchie or Torvalds. Even though without those peons, Darl McBride wouldn't have even a claim to his money.

      I'm no socialist., no communist. I see a value to capitalism, to the way the Market allows those with needs to meet those with the means to supply those needs. I think we'd be in deep shit if government tried to "manage" what the market takes care of so handily. And I even see a need to generously pay those CEOs and MBAs whose work makes the Market work so efficiently.

      But something is out of kilter when the heroes aren't the innovators, the discovers, the creators, but the MBAstard who can best throw his weight around.

      Do I have a solution to propose? Not really.

      Maybe we should adjust patent law such that inventors always retain some stake in their invention, even after assigning a patent -- sort of the way European copyright law recognizes creators' rights that can be sold and other rights that can't given up under any contract.

      Perhaps we ought to say that after the first ten million in profits to a corporation on a patent, five percent of remaining profits belong to the original inventor, no matter how the patent has been assigned.

      Perhaps we ought to establish a national version of the Nobel prizes, and give them to men like Dennis Ritchie.

      Or maybe we should just mandate that CEOs can't make more than, say 1000 times what their lowest paid employee makes. If the lowest paid employee makes $20,000 a year, the CEO would be limited to twenty million a year.

      I don't have the answers. But I know that something's wrong here.
      • Re:Competetive? (Score:5, Informative)

        by njdj (458173) on Saturday June 26, 2004 @04:52PM (#9539078)
        Or maybe we should just mandate that CEOs can't make more than, say 1000 times what their lowest paid employee makes.
        In the so-called "robber baron" era of raw, unfettered capitalism, the late 19th century, when people like Andrew Carnegie and John Rockefeller amassed huge fortunes, a CEO typically was paid about 40 times as much as the median employee. (It makes more sense to use the median as the benchmark instead of the lowest-paid because it's a more stable number).
        A CEO who pays himself more than 40 times the median salary at his company is basically stealing. I see no problem with a law which says that "compensation" in excess of 40x the median salary is prima facie evidence of theft. Mr Grasso comes to mind.
        Of course, a CEO could rebut the presumption of theft by showing that he had increased company profits commensurately with his salary. But, studies seem to show that a company's change in profitability is not significantly correlated with the CEO's salary.
        • Makes no sense (Score:4, Insightful)

          by Scott Richter (776062) on Saturday June 26, 2004 @06:24PM (#9539484)
          A CEO who pays himself more than 40 times the median salary at his company is basically stealing.

          Then the CEO of McDonalds would make less than his lawyers. Let's think this through.

          • Then the CEO of McDonalds would make less than his lawyers.

            And in light of the quality of the product that he produces, that seems like very fair renumeration to me.

            In fact, a much more reasonable way to reward him would be to make his salary commensurate with the homeless guy shaking a cup in the street outside his shops.
        • I do have a problem with it because then it puts the government's nose into one more area that it shouldn't be in. How about instead we begin holding shareholders responsible for their CEO's actions? I mean, they are "owners" in the enterprise, right? If shareholders are legally as responsible for the actions as CEO's (well, we'd also need to tighten up laws that put more CEO's into Federal Pound-me-in-the-ass prison when they steal billions), don't you think they'd be more selective in the kind of peopl
      • Re:Competetive? (Score:4, Interesting)

        by EpsCylonB (307640) <eps@epsc y l onb.com> on Saturday June 26, 2004 @05:20PM (#9539216) Homepage
        But we've allowed them to succeed despite the fact that they've never contributed a damn thing.

        Jonas Salk discovered the polio vaccine. Did he ever become as rich as Darl McBride or Mike Anderer?


        As you point out, this is not exactly a new phoneomena, it's interesting that some of the most important poeple in the history of of our species either weren't interested in money or got screwed over financially....
      • Re:Competetive? (Score:3, Insightful)

        by vsprintf (579676)

        Or maybe we should just mandate that CEOs can't make more than, say 1000 times what their lowest paid employee makes. If the lowest paid employee makes $20,000 a year, the CEO would be limited to twenty million a year.

        I agree with most of your comment, but a 1000-to-one difference is still insane. IIRC, in the sixties, CEOs of large companies typically made no more than 60 times the average worker's salary. Aside from huge egos, insatiable greed, a lack of shame, and complete dishonesty and disregard f

      • If you can be happy without being rich, who needs the money?
      • Well, Thompson and Ritchie got paychecks from AT&T, and AT&T sold Unix to Novell which sold it to Darl's company.

        Thompson and Ritchie got paychecks from AT&T, and AT&T created a subsidary USL to sell UNIX, and USL sold UNIX to Novell, and Novell sold limited rights to UNIX to SCO and SCO is not Darl's company, and SCO sold an unknown subset of their already limited rights to UNIX to Darl's company which is either Caldera or TheSCOGroup, depending on the context.

        Important Factoid #1:

      • Or maybe we should just mandate that CEOs can't make more than, say 1000 times what their lowest paid employee makes. If the lowest paid employee makes $20,000 a year, the CEO would be limited to twenty million a year.

        What right do you have (or I, since you're obviously speaking for me also, when you use "we"...or maybe you have a tapeworm) to limit what CEO's make? That right is vested in the shareholders -- not someone who has no contacts with the company. I fail to see where, exactly, it's in governm
      • But something is out of kilter when the heroes aren't the innovators, the discovers, the creators, but the MBAstard who can best throw his weight around.

        Read "The Difference Engine" by William Gibson and Bruce Sterling. It's an alternate history located in London exploring the time line of "what if computers were created 100 years earlier?" The results were a society of scientists, where those who contribute to science become royalty (it's what's in your mind, not the color of your blood). There still

    • by Skevin (16048) on Saturday June 26, 2004 @03:23PM (#9538557) Journal
      Hmm, super-competitive a-hole? Willing to cut himself just to make you faint? I can see some wonderful opportunities at the next SCO Conference...

      DARL: Thank you for listening. I'm now willing to field any questions from the attendees.
      SMART-ASS NERD: I don't like accidentally looking at the goatse picture everytime I read Slashdot. It disgusts me.
      DARL: I don't how this concerns SCO.
      MIKE: Wait, a minute, Darl, there are people here who don't like the goatse picture? Well, have a look at this. [drops pants and proceeds to insert fingers into unpleasant-looking anatomy]
      Darl: Uh, um, are there any other questions?
      S.A.N. #2: I don't like people who hit themselves over the head with a hammer.
      Mike: You don't, eh? It just so happens I have a ballpeen hammer right here... Ow! Ooh! Ouch!
      AUDIENCE (IN UNISON): We hate the thought of lynching Darl McBride!

      I'll leave the rest to oyur imagination...

      Solomon Chang
  • by Eggplant62 (120514) on Saturday June 26, 2004 @02:48PM (#9538381)
    This story was featured by Pamela Jones on the Groklaw site here [groklaw.net].

    It's a wonderful story, and lends a *METRIC ASSLOAD* of information that gets inside why The SCO Group decided to change uniforms and start playing for the wrong team in the middle of the game. Darl's just a litigious sonofabitch who happened to find another litigious sonofabitch to help dream up this scheme whereby we try to make money off *everyone else's* ideas.
  • Wow... (Score:5, Informative)

    by XeRXeS-TCN (788834) on Saturday June 26, 2004 @02:49PM (#9538387)

    A very interesting article overall, showing that Darl was involved in many other situations before SCO where he was involved in trying to make revenue by nothing but IP violation claims and other lawsuits. It tends to focus on a lot of the linux stuff (obviously) but I find the earlier history much more interesting.

    In 1998, Ikon fired McBride (and as late as 2001 was still writing off his acquisitions). McBride turned around and sued his former employer for $10 million, claiming breach of contract, nonpayment of wages, and fraud. It was the first instance of McBride using lawsuits to hack through a thicket of business problems.

    From these "humble beginnings" to intentionally thinking up ideas to patent, simply to take people to court over infringement, we can see that clearly he was the best man to pull SCO's slumping sales up with the last-resort tactic of trying to enforce some concocted IP violations. Only this time, he appears to have bitten off more than he can chew.

    with legal fees mounting in his battle with Ikon, he faced bankruptcy. McBride eventually dropped his lawsuit, and, as part of the settlement, walked away from his startup.

    I'm thinking there's a very good chance we'll see history repeat itself. ;)

    • ...to these macho golf-loving, ex-frat boys. QUOTE: "But we think the crowd is going to get very quiet when we put some points on the board..." Boy you'd love that wouldn't you? Kind of gives you a thrill to the crotch you didn't get losing at football.

      First of all Darl, you have to PLAY to win. Constantly appealing to the judges for a decision doesn't score you 'points' in anyone's book. Why not simply produce a better product and instead of bitching about OSS - STOP USING IT in your company's software. O
    • Only this time, he appears to have bitten off more than he can chew.
      Yeah, like biting the ear off a polar bear.
  • by rice_burners_suck (243660) on Saturday June 26, 2004 @02:50PM (#9538392)
    After several months of endless SCO stories, my ability to resist posting about Scumware Crapware Operation has all but completely worn away. I want to comment on what happened several months ago, when SCO claimed it had evidence of its garbage being misappropriated into something worthwhile...

    Blake Stowell, the Director of Public Relations for The SCO Group, told Newsforge in an email:

    To clarify, the code we showed in Vegas was Unix System V code that was copied line for line from UNIX into Linux. It was contributed by a UNIX licensee, which was not IBM. It was shown not to build our case against IBM, but it was shown to identify that there are issues with Linux. Linus can have his opinion of Darl McBride and what was shown, but ultimately, we will have to show our proof in a court setting and convince a jury that we have been wronged by IBM, not this other UNIX licensee that we showed the code from. That will be a separate issue.

    As the company that owns the UNIX System V source code, we think we're sufficiently qualified to identify this code.

    I think his comment should have been more like this:

    "I just wanna clarify what's goin' on over here. Over in the casino, after I had those nine beers, I showed this crumpled piece of paper that read:

    10 FOR I=1 TO 10

    20 PRINT "I AM COOL"

    30 NEXT I

    The three lines above are source code in our very own UNIX System V. Here are three lines from the Linux kernel:

    static u_int

    mcclock_tlsb_read(device_t dev, u_int reg)

    {

    As you can plainly see, these portions of the Linux source code are exactly identical to our UNIX System V code. All of our programmers, Bob and Jim, told me so themselves, and both of them are highly trained MCSE's. We don't appreciate that the community rejects this as evidence of wrongdoing. Linus is obviously an idiot because his coding skills don't match what Bob and Jim can do in VisualBASIC 2003."

    Upon reading this post, one realizes that it closely resembles going to dinner with a buddy, asking, "How's business?" and writing it off as a business expense. Further, this post closely resembles a sandwich that appears large but, once eaten, proves unsatisfyingly small. A staid, steadfast comment, it resembles a pantomime of images.

    Because this post is supposed to be about SCO, Darl McBribe / McBlackmail / McExtort / McThreaten / McLose / Mc-Go-To-Jail-Do-Not-Pass-Go-Do-Not-Collect-Two-Hu ndred-Billion-Dollars. But the meat of this post is decidedly unsatisfying: SCO is trying to play hard ball with the big boys when SCO, unfit even to be called a little boy, is barely a hole in some dead goat's ass. (See what I mean about "pantomime of images?" And that's a pretty gross image, if you ask me.)

    There were all the press releases issued by SCO:

    For immediate release:

    Smoking Crack Operation (NASCRACK: SCO) announced legal action against Microsoft Corporation for violating SCO intellectual property. The lawsuit comes on the heels of legal action targeting IBM, all the Fortune 500 companies, the governments of two world superpowers and six third world nations, millions of computer users worldwide, and God.

    "Microsoft is using underground hacker software called Linux," said SCO CEO Darl McBluff. "They are using Linux to develop operating system software, codenamed Microsoft Windows, which violates our intellectual property rights. Competition from Microsoft and other companies is eating away at our sales," McBluff said. "Die fuckers!!!"

    According to an SCO spokesperson, Linux violates SCO copyrights by using code developed, trademarked, copyrighted and patented by IBM. Microsoft Windows violates SCO's self-proclaimed right to eternal, perpetually increasing profits.

    Experts from the Gartner Group suggested that all users of Linux, Windows, IRIX, Plan-9, CP/M, Palm OS, OS/390, UNICOS, TOPS-20, Mac OS, DOS and OS/2 immediately pay SCO a nomin

    • Read the rest of this comment...

      Why!?!


    • Holy Fucking Shit, where's the windex, there's beer all over my monitor!

      rice_burners, you ROCK! That is the funniest damned thing I've ever read here.

      Been working on it a while? ;-) Damn, man, you could give Carlin a run for his money IMO :)

      SB

      (Yeah, I said I quit, but this article got linked to in my google news email updates, and I just had to read it. Glad I did ;)

  • Father ?? (Score:5, Funny)

    by Aliencow (653119) on Saturday June 26, 2004 @02:51PM (#9538402) Homepage Journal
    Father of SEVEN ?

    God help us!
    • by DataPath (1111) on Saturday June 26, 2004 @03:21PM (#9538549)
      Us? No, God help his children.

      Could you imagine being him and trying to teach your kids how to share and play nicely with each other?

      Daddy! Jimmy took my toy! He gave it to me, and then he took it back!

      Jimmy - did you assign all rights to that toy to your brother, or did just permit him to reap enjoyment from it while you're not using it?
  • Admit to Extortion (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Saturday June 26, 2004 @02:55PM (#9538432)
    Anderer compares it to "being an archaeologist given the keys to an unexplored Egyptian museum basement." He expresses surprise that IBM didn't simply purchase SCO and donate the Unix code to the public domain; it would've been much cheaper than the current legal fracas.

    As I and others pointed out on groklaw when this was first posted back in an OT line, this quote shows that they admit to pulling this job in the hopes of being bought out. Blepp said the same at his university interview in Germany. Definately illegal trying to extort money this way.

    Happy Trails
    • first of let me just state how impressed I am with the quality of readers/posters here on Saturday, I mean we even have a funny first post that isn't filled with randome nonsensical crap or claims over being the first to post.

      OK on to my second comment/question.

      If I'm not mistaken, and I very well may be, didn't Novell look at placing Unix into the public domain, but because of all the legal issues and copyrights that exist for all the different parts of Unix they decided that it eather A. was not possa

  • Is it me or am I the only one who sees the similarity between the SCO saga and the TV show Dallas?

    I mean - both are adictive - both have goodies and baddies - and both are completely weird in the plot....

    I mean - Darl McBride almost looks like JR Ewing! (Well sort of).

    You never know - matbe this is all part of Pamela's dream ... :)

  • by EtherealSys (695211) on Saturday June 26, 2004 @03:22PM (#9538554) Homepage
    here and i thought they only sold McBrides in third world countries.
  • by mabu (178417) on Saturday June 26, 2004 @03:22PM (#9538555)
    There may indeed be a holy war raging, but SCO joined it out of desperation, not in deference to a higher calling. The very day that McBride took the job as CEO in 2002, the company, then a friendly Linux reseller known as Caldera Systems, received a delisting notice from Nasdaq - despite having done a reverse four-for-one stock split just three months before. It then spent $4 million in a stock buyback to boost the price, which left the business with less than four months' worth of cash in the bank. Caldera's Linux operation was spending $4 for every dollar in revenue it earned. McBride faced a nearly hopeless situation. One of his first moves was to change the name of the company to the SCO Group and craft a strategy to use its ownership of Unix as a legal weapon against the Linux community.

    When your company is dying, change its name and start suing people. Yep, SCO is very much an influential leader in the technology industry. No wonder so many people want to use their products.
  • IP and patents (Score:5, Interesting)

    by secondsun (195377) <secondsun@gmail.com> on Saturday June 26, 2004 @03:24PM (#9538563) Journal
    Digital IP is in such a fucked shape right now that I can actually see these idiot winning.

    A few days ago a Managment friend of mine who used to be CS and I were talking about IP and patents. Suprisingly we agreed that the system is out of whack.

    For example, if I built a washing mahcine that got clothes clean by rinsing them every 5 minutes I can get a patent for it. Then if he takes my design but instead of every 5 minutes his rinses every 3 minutes and also reverses the spin it is a new design and i cant sue him. Now lets go to the current digital state. If I made a program that defragmented a disk drive using algorithim x I can get a patent. Now if he dreates a defrag program that uses algothim y I can sue him and win even though our programs are as different as the two earlier washing mahcines.

    Secondsun

    PS:(I know a defrag program is not the best analogy but it demonstrates my point)

    • There was something about a refrigerator maker patenting the idea of shelves in the door. They got the patent on an *idea* and completely dominated the market for years.

      Kenmore or maytag or someone. Totally ran the competition out of bidness.

      Not quite like your 3 minute 5 minute washing machine, but similar. If you have a novel idea, you patent it in a general way so you dominate the market. That is what patents are about. Crazy stuff. Some seem silly, and you could have patented that,so why didn;t
      • It's my understanding that it isn't possible to patent ideas, only specific implementations. This is because of the unfair anticompetitive behavior that would result, as in your example. So did this one slip through USPTO somehow? Why were the competitors unable to have the patent invalidated?

        • Maybe the specific implementation of "shelves in the door" was specific / general enough to give advantage while allowing the limited monopoly.

          The idea is novel, and no one else can implement shleves in a fridge door without impending the existing patent. Maybe drawers would be novel, but not shelves. Crazy.
  • by belmolis (702863) <billposerNO@SPAMalum.mit.edu> on Saturday June 26, 2004 @03:24PM (#9538565) Homepage

    What I find curious is why a company would hire somebody with McBride's background. Suppose you're the board of what is now SCO. You've got a declining proprietary Unix business and need somebody who can turn the company around. Presumably you'd look for somebody with a combination of good management skills and the combination of technical and market knowledge to figure out what direction the company should move in. McBride has none of this. From his record it looks like he wasn't much good as a manager. IKON fired him for his M&A work, which doesn't suggest that he has good market sense. He clearly has no understanding of the technology. It looks like the only thing he did well was when he was Novell's guy in Japan. I don't see why he would be attractive for SCO unless the board planned an IP scam from the outset and wanted somebody with experience in that area. If that's the case, it isnt the case that obtaining value from their IP was McBride's idea and that they discovered the alleged infringement after he came on board.

    • What I find curious is why a company would hire somebody with McBride's background.

      If you're a dying company in Lindon, Utah with no money, you put an ad in the Nickel Shopper for a CEO. Darl knocks the meadow muffins off his boots, walks down the block, and applies for the job. End of story.

  • by chrisgeleven (514645) on Saturday June 26, 2004 @03:27PM (#9538580) Homepage
    'If he knows you'll faint at the sight of blood, he'll cut himself just to watch you pass out.'

    He really seems like a nice guy...honestly...I'm not joking...
  • by NigelJohnstone (242811) on Saturday June 26, 2004 @03:38PM (#9538655)
    The wired story says that the claims that Microsoft invested in SCO via Baystar are unfounded. No, they're *unproven*.

    Just to remind you, the details of SCOs claims were outed by CT magazine in AUGUST 20th 2003:

    http://www.lemis.com/grog/SCO/code-comparison.ht ml

    At this point it was clear SCO claims were junk. Not least because SCO story changed repeatedly, eventually claiming it was an example of code *like* the code shown by CT but not the actual code itself.

    LATER, in OCTOBER Baystar & RBC made the completely irrational investment. At this time it was clear SCO wouldn't prevail and their investiment simply kept them going.

    http://news.com.com/SCO+gets+%2450+million+inves tm ent/2100-7344_3-5092702.html?tag=nl

    So a claim that Baystar did it because it believed SCO would make money from the lawsuits doesn't sound plausible.

    Since then we had the Opera settlement, where Microsoft paid Opera 12.75 million and a term of the deal seemed to have been that they keep the money secret (only revealed by a leak).

    http://news.com.com/Microsoft+behind+$12+million +p ayment+to+Opera/2100-1032_3-5218163.html?tag=nefd. lede

    So this seems to show that indeed Microsoft can and does hide money payments.

  • The Linux Show (Score:5, Informative)

    by coolfrood (459411) on Saturday June 26, 2004 @03:51PM (#9538740) Homepage
    The Linux Show [thelinuxshow.com] had an interesting feature [thelinuxshow.com] this week about SCO and the Linux editor, Steve Vaughan from Eweek [eweek.com] presented his view of Darl McBride after having met him multiple times since the whole SCO issue started. According to him, Darl McBride is an achiever, and if you can, for a second, believe in what he's doing, like he does, you will make amazed at his dedication. According to him, McBride will not give up until the last vestiges of SCO are thrown out of court. He will accept anything other than a defeat in the court. It is an interesting show to listen to, give it a shot
    • McBride the McWhore (Score:3, Interesting)

      by twitter (104583)
      ... if you can, for a second, believe in what he's doing, like he does, you will make amazed at his dedication

      If you can believe what he says, you can believe anything. SCO has no case. The article gives him and his case too much credit.

      He's doing what he's doing for money, not because he believes he's right. He's trying to steal hundreds of people's work and charge money for it. An honest man would have produced the infringing code before they went to court. SCO's been in court for more than a year

  • by ThisIsFred (705426) on Saturday June 26, 2004 @03:53PM (#9538751) Journal
    Warning: Invective ahead. This post is rated 'R'.

    The article contains about a billion inaccuracies, but I'm hoping that at least McBride's quotes haven't been altered, or this fact for that matter: Caldera was spending $4 for every $1 it made. Think about that for a second. Redhat is making money from selling services on top of GNU/Linux. IBM is making money from selling services on top of GNU/Linux. But, Caldera is losing money.

    Why is that? Could it be that Caldera's business model was boxing and and selling software through regular retail channels? Could it be that Caldera wasted a lot of development effort trying to take ownership of a product that was mostly GNU (read: industry standard) at the core by attempting to build proprietary extensions on it? I've reserved personal judgment about McBride up until this point: He's a shithead, pure and simple. No one will ever be able to convince him of that, but perhaps SCO shareholders could convince him that he's not working for fucking Microsoft, so that business model doesn't apply to his company. Attention dumbfuck McBride: Pick a business model that's profitable!

    Let's imagine for a moment some other famous CEO reacted the same way when the status quo began to crumble. Let's take Andy Grove on example. When Intel was losing ground the Japanese memory manufacturers, did they fold up shop, cancel R&D, and refuse change while suing both makers and buyers or foreign memory chips? Sure they dabbled in some protectionist tactics, but eventually they just changed their focus to something that the Japanese could not readily produce cheaply in mass quantities.

    I'd predicted last year that SCO's purpose was not a stock pump-and-dump scheme, but an attempt destroy open source, specifically those projects that fall under the GPL; An attack on the common infrastructure of the "enemy". The article contains, in McBride's own words, an admission of such.
    • Darl [wikipedia.org] wasn't at the helm when Caldera was trying to be a legitimate Linux business. You're thinking of the famously-named Ransom Love, who was running [wikipedia.org] Caldera at the time.

      Darl is strictly a litigious bastard, and stuck with trying to extort money from the rest of the Linux world.
      • No, but McBride came in at a critical juncture. Clearly the solution was to discard the bad business model. But as the article shows, his concern was to exact some type of fast cash from the IP (in a "related field") through threat of litigation, not to build a lasting business model that would benefit the stockholders, employees and customers. In essence, his profession is barratry.
  • IBM not OSS hero (Score:5, Insightful)

    by fermion (181285) on Saturday June 26, 2004 @04:00PM (#9538790) Homepage Journal
    I find it fascinating that IBM is now the defender of free software and Sun and MS are the defender of closed software. This is a dangerous oversimplification.

    First, what MS is prompting is software licensing, not closed software. They want everyone to pay a fee to gain the privilege to use a piece of software, and in the process agree to certain things that will insure a future cash-flow. All MS wants is money in exchange for software. This was somewhat of a new idea. The software itself was the product. It was no longer part of a service. If you wanted service, that will cost extra. It extended this concept through licensing with third parties. The purchaser of a system was now entitled to no MS support. The fee only covered the use of the software. Closed source or whatever is just a means to that end. One advantage to this is that hardware, software, and services are sold separately, which creates a confusion about responsibility and minimizes support costs.

    IBM, OTOH, sells services. They want to sell you the hard and soft ware as well, but they are a solutions provider. As far as I know, they always have been. Obviously back in the 70's there was no software, so they had to write it. This worked until MS told everyone that MS could provide the same service for a lesser price, which was more or less a lie, but whatever. Now IBM is just trying to make the business model work. They can put their solutions around whatever OS. They just want to sell the solutions. It turns out that the best way they can gain market-share back from MS is by supported OSS. MS really has no defense against this because they have no reputation as a service provider.

    Sun is just trying to survive. The settlement is part of that survival and cannot be taken as evidence of anything. Sun has been abused as much as SCO. They have had as much technology 'misappropriated'. Unlike SCO, they are not carpet bombing the industry. They are working hard to create a competetive product.

    Additionally, there are often question of why IBM did not buy out SCO. My belief is that we cannot assume they did not try. Until recently a majority of SCO stock was held by insiders, and much of the rest by institutional investors. I believe this means that it would have been very hard for IBM to just buy a block of stock at market prices, then go in and replace the board. They would have had to negotiate with the board, and one assumes that the board would have laughed at a 20 million, or even 80 million, dollar offer, which was the SCO market cap.

    • by geoff lane (93738) on Saturday June 26, 2004 @04:29PM (#9538954)
      Though we don't know for sure, most people think that IBM has decided to destroy SCO in the courts in order to discourage any others who may think that it's a good business idea to sue IBM in the hope that they'll get bought just to put an end to the irritation.

      IBM has a reputation to keep here - to be accused of theft and contract irregularities and not to prove the charges as false would be a very bad business move.
    • Re:IBM not OSS hero (Score:3, Interesting)

      by jesterzog (189797)

      Additionally, there are often question of why IBM did not buy out SCO. My belief is that we cannot assume they did not try. Until recently a majority of SCO stock was held by insiders, and much of the rest by institutional investors.

      I don't know if you saw it on page 3 of the article or not, but even Anderer appears to've commented that he was expecting IBM to buy out SCO:

      Anderer compares it to "being an archaeologist given the keys to an unexplored Egyptian museum basement." He expresses surpri

    • I think that looking at anything in oversimplistic terms, black-vs-white, good-vs-evil ("They hate the USA because they hate freedom") is often a mistake.

      The world is a complex place, and only simple minds need simple categorizations.

      For those who try to probe and think and then come to a conclusion.

      Having said that, there are things that Sun did that makes it not popular with the Open Source community. Their recent agreement with Microsoft to drop the law suits and settle for some money is seen as a

  • More Information... (Score:2, Informative)

    by NEOtaku17 (679902)

    On Darl McBride [wikipedia.org], SCO [wikipedia.org], and the SCO vs. IBM [wikipedia.org] lawsuit.

  • Article Summary (Score:5, Insightful)

    by ThisIsFred (705426) on Saturday June 26, 2004 @04:34PM (#9538980) Journal
    Summary:

    McBride and Anderer are two business world vagrants that made their millions from aquisition bonuses. Neither is particularly adept at actually running a business. The SCO situation blew up in their faces. The end.
  • by Sivar (316343) <charlesnburns[NO@SPAM]gmail.com> on Saturday June 26, 2004 @04:49PM (#9539069)
    I worked for IQorder.com at the time that it was apparently sued (Sorry, "asked to pay") by McBride's patent friends. This guy gets around.
    Suing random startups over BS patents and now suing Linux users over BS claims.
    McBride of Frankenstein and Senator "Let's let the RIAA to hack file sharers legally" Hollings are some of the highest profile Mormons in their little church. I hope they get excommunicated (but then, they would lose all that tithing).

    The scary thing is that McBride has seven kids. I hope that being a prick isn't genetic. I really hope that his kids see what kind of human being their dad is and don't follow in his footsteps.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday June 26, 2004 @05:44PM (#9539320)
    SCO/Caldera SOLD Linux kernel under GPL, how can they resind it now?

    The very day that McBride took the job as CEO in 2002, the company, then a friendly Linux reseller known as Caldera Systems, ...

    I rememder seeing Caldera Linux in Compusa. (For some reason, I seem to remember reading it was based on Debian, of all distributions. Maybe I'm wrong here, tho'.) Comes in a shrink-wrap box, screenshots on the cover, manuals, cdroms, same as any other distribution. And thus , like any other distribution, has the GPL , and all the sourse code with it (presumably-- I don't have it in my possession)

    What I'm getting at, is the very company in question, SCO, sold the product under those terms. So how can they now go back on it?

    You could imagine a defense lawyer asking McBride in court: Is it not the case that your company sold the product 'Linux' under those very terms, the GPL? And, thus, those customers have the right, under the terms you sold it under, to copy and distribute it, with likewise GPL applying to those copies?

    Am I being redundant?

    THEY sold it (including the kernel and src) under GPL, so GPL has to apply. And if they didn't sell it under GPL, under what license did they sell it? And can't the kernel copyright holder sue Caldera/SCO for changing the kernel license?

    it's all rediculous.
  • by SEE (7681) on Saturday June 26, 2004 @06:18PM (#9539451) Homepage
    He expresses surprise that IBM didn't simply purchase SCO and donate the Unix code to the public domain; it would've been much cheaper than the current legal fracas.

    It is always a temptation to a lawyer-armed corporation,
    To call upon a neighbour and to say: --
    "We filed a suit last night -- we are quite prepared to fight,
    Unless you pay us cash to go away."

    And that is called asking for Dane-geld,
    And the people who ask it explain
    That you've only to pay 'em the Dane-geld
    And then you'll get rid of the Dane!

    It is always a temptation to a rich corporation,
    To puff and look important and to say:--
    "Though we know we should defeat you, it would cost too much to beat you.
    We will therefore pay you cash to go away."

    And that is called paying the Dane-geld;
    But we've proved it again and again,
    That if once you have paid him the Dane-geld
    You never get rid of the Dane.

    It is wrong to put temptations in the path of corporations,
    For fear they should succumb and go astray,
    So when you are requested to pay up or be molested,
    You will find it better policy to says:--

    "We never pay any one Dane-geld,
    No matter how trifling the cost,
    For the end of that game is oppression and shame,
    Corporations that play it are lost!"

    • Shadowbearer raises a beer to you for that wonderful and insightful filk, and goes back into treatment... er... lurk-mode. Damn slashdot anyway :)

      Salut!

      SB
      (Knowing some filkers of note that I do, do you mind if I pass that on - with attribution, of course, mind you! ;)
  • by mikefe (98074) <mfedyk@@@mikefedyk...com> on Saturday June 26, 2004 @06:20PM (#9539459) Homepage
    I work for a company that has Ikon printers. They use Sun Solaris as their print "controllers" that rip the data (postscript, pcl, etc) and send it to the printers.

    We almost got a "TCO Box" that connects an OCe printer with native Bus & Tag (old IBM mainframe technology) to a TCP/IP network. It ran Caldera Linux. Which they're in the process of switching to Suse (though, that's not set in stone).

    One interesting thing is that in the price breakdown the "Linux operating system" was $700! I asked what type it was, but never got a response. I wouldn't have known it was Caldera unless I was there to see the tech boot it up and configure it.

    While I'm happy to see any company see the light of Linux, it's too bad they succumed to the dim light that Caldera turned into.
  • Hmm, that reminds me of a cartoon character sometime back called "The Tick". Maybe that describes McBride perfectly: A bloodsucking, parasitic low-life.
  • Look. Compared to the dot com years that may seem supercompetitive,
    but for most of the history of software engineering, Anderer is normal.

    Wife committing suicide? Writing bombastic emails at all hours?
    Lighting fires under his butt. Slitting his wrists to win arguments.
    He sounds like a normal, every day programmer in 2004, 1991, and 1980.

    Guys like Anderer are the reality of the business.
  • Their stock price refuses to fall to it's natural level! I tell you it has to be an anti-gravity gun!
    • Don't forget the magic breifcase that could hold legible printouts of a million lines of code. They are just a bunch of barbarians that think they've got a string of magic beads and think that any crap they say can be explained by magic - only they use the word technology instead. Living in this century doesn't change things.
  • Interesting ... (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Grell (9450) on Sunday June 27, 2004 @12:10AM (#9540702) Homepage
    ...How little comment this generates.

    Why? Except for the eternal optimists hanging onto SCO stock, no one cares.

    We're all just quietly waiting for the corporate equivalent of the sound of quick fried mosquito as SCO hits the Big Blue bug zapper.

    It's not a totally useless article though.
    It will serve as a great "See this? don't depend on this behavior as a business model, mmmkay?" warning in years to come.

    ~G
  • From the article: "Early last year, McBride hired famed litigator David Boies, who led the federal government's antitrust case against Microsoft and represented Al Gore in the 2000 presidential election recount." Boies may have not been the best litigator to hire, as his Microsoft case has been enforced less than anyone though possible, and Gore.. well... sure the hell isn't in the Whitehouse.

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