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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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  • 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
  • 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)
  • by belmolis (702863) <billposer&alum,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.

  • by Phragmen-Lindelof (246056) on Saturday June 26, 2004 @03:25PM (#9538571)
    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.)
  • by BRock97 (17460) on Saturday June 26, 2004 @03:39PM (#9538664) Homepage
    Is it not the case the MS Windows contains (or contained) code from BSD or Linux...

    From my recollection, contained is the right word, but it has been a while. A quick Google turned up: http://www.kuro5hin.org/story/2001/6/19/05641/7357 [kuro5hin.org].
  • by danmart (660791) on Saturday June 26, 2004 @03:59PM (#9538782) Homepage Journal
    How is linux not well documented?

    There are a zillion books in the book stores, there are a zillion howto's on the web, there is documentation on all the download pages.

    Compare that with the documentation of say, windows. Does windows document how there stuff works? No, it is a trade secret. There are a zillion how to operate and configure and fix, just like linux.

    The only difference appears to be that linux ALSO provides documentation on its internals. So that qualifies as poorly documented?
  • by killjoe (766577) on Saturday June 26, 2004 @04:19PM (#9538910)
    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.
  • by alangmead (109702) * on Saturday June 26, 2004 @04:21PM (#9538920)

    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 false patent infringement claim that I expect is coming up in the future.

  • by HenchmenResources (763890) on Saturday June 26, 2004 @04:27PM (#9538943)
    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 possable or B. is not worth the time, effort and legal hassle to place it into the public domain.

    If this is the case, considering that IBM feels they have a strong enough case, and the funding to fight SCO. might it be a viable option to go to court and fight SCO given that if IBM wins, 1. SCO will die since no one will want to invest in them. 2. a will will add credibility to Linux and open source, something that IBM is banking a good portion of their future business on.

    By fighting IBM has the opportunity to show that Linux is a great alternative to the higher priced Unix. In the long run despite the legal costs of fighting SCO, a win for IBM could be seen to be highly profitable. Not to mention the other players involved, Novell and Redhat.

  • by 0x0d0a (568518) on Saturday June 26, 2004 @04:41PM (#9539014) Journal
    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.
  • by Sivar (316343) <charlesnburns[@]gm a i l.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 ThisIsFred (705426) on Saturday June 26, 2004 @04:53PM (#9539090) Journal
    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.
  • Re:Competetive? (Score:4, Interesting)

    by EpsCylonB (307640) <eps@NOspaM.epscylonb.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....
  • OTOH... (Score:3, Interesting)

    by mangu (126918) on Saturday June 26, 2004 @05:41PM (#9539296)
    ...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 example of what is considered the best that selling proprietary software can achieve for a company: being taken over by one of the big companies.
  • 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 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.
  • Re:IBM not OSS hero (Score:3, Interesting)

    by jesterzog (189797) on Saturday June 26, 2004 @06:53PM (#9539605) Homepage Journal

    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 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.

    He might be making things up, but his statement does seem to imply that it wouldn't have been too difficult for IBM to buy SCO if it had actually wanted to. I don't think anyone from outside can definitely say why IBM didn't buy SCO, but personally I'm glad that they didn't -- to buy SCO would be giving it credibility.

  • McBride the McWhore (Score:3, Interesting)

    by twitter (104583) on Saturday June 26, 2004 @09:28PM (#9540190) Homepage Journal
    ... 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 and has nothing to show for it yet. McBride, however, is just a puppet. Microsoft is behind this, they gave him the money and he's marching to their orders.

  • by nickmacey (600280) on Sunday June 27, 2004 @03:22AM (#9541115) Homepage
    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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