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Caldera Software Linux

SCO Might Sue Linus for Patent Infringement? 1154

An anonymous reader writes "[Darl McBride, SCO's chief executive stated] that unless more companies start licensing SCO's property, he may also sue Linus Torvalds, who is credited with inventing the Linux operating system, for patent infringement." It's right at the end of the story and it's quite a statement.
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SCO Might Sue Linus for Patent Infringement?

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  • Counter Suit (Score:5, Interesting)

    by rfmobile ( 531603 ) on Wednesday May 28, 2003 @07:08PM (#6062060) Homepage
    I suggest counter-suing for defamation of character. Just how much is an international reputation worth? Linus could end up owning SCO. Now *that* would justice. -rick
  • Is this possible? (Score:5, Interesting)

    by man1ed ( 659888 ) on Wednesday May 28, 2003 @07:09PM (#6062073) Homepage Journal
    What patents still exist that cover Unix? Don't they expire after 17 years? I don't think patents filed for "time sharing systems" or "virtual memory" in the seventies are still applicable. Besides, if this is valid, why are they not also suing everyone else? I know Sun licensed the Unix code to make Solaris, but did they license patent rights as well? What about FreeBSD? GAAHHH! How can SCO even claim that this nonsense is valid?
  • Save Linus (Score:5, Interesting)

    by ShwAsasin ( 120187 ) on Wednesday May 28, 2003 @07:09PM (#6062085) Journal
    If SCO decides to actually sue Linus, I hope all the server companies (or atleast the big ones like IBM, Red Hat, Penguin Computing, etc.) will help with his legal costs. After all, he did give them a great product without them do all the R&D themselves.
  • by sumbry ( 644145 ) on Wednesday May 28, 2003 @07:12PM (#6062122) Homepage
    I've been an avid FreeBSD user for years, and I remember when this same exact thing happened with AT&T vs. BSD years ago. I would seriously avise the Linux camp not to take this threat lightly (as everyone seems to be doing) because even if you are in the right, this could screw up Linux distribution for years.

    All SCO has to prove is that portions of code that it licensed for AIX to IBM ended up being used in Linux. This is alot easier than you think. All it takes is ONE PROGRAMMER out of the thousands that contribute code to have done this, for the Linux camp to be screwed. Since no one is out there auditing Linux code looking for stuff like this - how hard do you think it is for one person out of thousands of developers to have done this?

    Look at how much code already is shared between the various BSD and Linux flavours already. Kernel drivers often have huge chunks of code that are just copy and pasted from one flavour to the next.

    BSD had the jump on Linux way back in the day but has less marketshare now because of the same BS that happened with the AT&T suit oh so long ago - and we ended up winning that suit!

    Be wary. This issue is not as cut and dry as all you may seem to believe. If SCO can prove that one person messed up, Linux is screwed. All it takes is 1.

  • by gwernol ( 167574 ) on Wednesday May 28, 2003 @07:18PM (#6062195)
    I think a 24% crash in SCOs stock price today shows what the market thinks of this news, and exactly how much Linus has to fear.

    Although if I were Linus I wouldn't exactly take the market as my best legal opinion in the matter... IANAL and the M(arket) is sure as hell is NAL either.

    The threat to get Linus is as hollow as the rest, no Judge will allow a suit to be brought when the ownership of the IP is in question

    Like I said, IANAL, but I would have thought a judge would allow such a suit. After all isn't one of the principle functions of the civil court to decide exactly these sort of contract disputes?

    given that Novell own a vast majority of the patents (832 unix and novell vs 117 Sco and Unix), according to the USPTO,

    I don't believe the USPTO keeps track of changes of ownership of patent rights. Even if it did, this seems to be primarily a contract dispute not a patent one.

    the fact that Novell have taken some time and obviously a lot of expensive Legal advice before making such a series of claims vis a vis the ownership of the Unix IP and seems willing to step in the way of SCOs legal bullets, I'd say SCO's battle to steal Linux from the community has just got infinitely more difficult.

    I don't think so. It has got a little harder (hooray) but I don't think it has got that much worse. Even Novell's chief executive is quoted in the article as saying "We believe it unlikely that SCO can demonstrate that it has any ownership whatsoever in those copyrights" (my emphasis). That isn't the totally unequivocal statement I would have liked to hear.
  • timing (Score:3, Interesting)

    by asv108 ( 141455 ) * <asv@ivoss. c o m> on Wednesday May 28, 2003 @07:18PM (#6062206) Homepage Journal
    Novell added that in recent months, SCO executives had asked Novell to transfer the Unix copyrights to SCO -- a request that was denied.

    It would be interesting to see if this request for transfer occurred before SCO's legal maneuvering or after..

    McBride added that unless more companies start licensing SCO's property, he may also sue Linus Torvalds, who is credited with inventing the Linux operating system, for patent infringement.

    IANAL, but there are no grounds for suing Linus unless SCO can prove that Linus was aware of infringement and knowingly let it occur, which is obviously far fetched, but SCO seems desperate enough to try anything. SCO had a profitable quarter with a 4.5 million profit, but I would be amazed if they company lasts more than a year given the current state of their legal situation and the public relations nightmare that is developing now and his sure to create a huge backlash. Most of the decision makers in charge of recommending SCO's products are the exact same people who hate SCO now because their BS legal actions.

  • by GGardner ( 97375 ) on Wednesday May 28, 2003 @07:27PM (#6062301)
    According to Novell, the patents are assigned to Novell, and there are a bunch of patents there, though nothing jumps out as an obvious "Unix" patent. I'd just like to know which patent they are talking about. It seems contrary to the whole patent system not to mention which patent you claim someone to be violating.
  • by RoLi ( 141856 ) on Wednesday May 28, 2003 @07:28PM (#6062307)
    I would seriously avise the Linux camp not to take this threat lightly

    So what do you "avise" me to do?

    Wet my pants?

    Stop using Linux? (Yeah, you would really like that, would be good for your MSFT-stock, right?)

    Start crying?

    There is no evidence, there isn't even the sligtest hint of evidence and SCO voided anything by releasing Linux under the GPL themselves anyway.

    If you really think that anybody should start being aFraid, Uncertain and Doubtful, you are either pretty dumb or part of the FUD machinery yourself.

    If SCO can prove that one person messed up, Linux is screwed.

    Wrong. No matter how much you would love Linux to be screwed, only the person who messed up and maybe the organization he works for is. If there really is infringing code (which is doubtful) and if for some special reason the GPL doesn't apply to SCO, it has to be rewritten, that's all.

    To sum up, yes I will take that threat lightly.

  • by bninja_penguin ( 613992 ) on Wednesday May 28, 2003 @07:31PM (#6062331)
    Darl McBride, SCO's chief executive stated] that unless more companies start licensing SCO's property, he may also sue Linus Torvalds,
    Isn't that outright criminal?? That's quite close to a criminal taking an innocent bystander in a bank, and saying, give me all the money or this bystander gets it in the head. That's usually called hostage taking, and carries a charge of kidnapping. Whereas in the SCO case, (I'm paraphrasing) "People better start buying licenses from us, or we'll go after Linus" is called extortion or, as the case may be, blackmail. If SCO has legitimate claim to sue somebody, they should sue, but to use threats against someone to get some other person to do something is illegal. Good God SCO, WTF is up with you?? At first I was skeptical of you, then I was disgusted with you, earlier today I was laughing at you, now, Jesus H Christ man, you people are treading on some seriously thin legal ground. Are you sure you have any legal counsel?? Outright extortion attempts are liable to get you some serious jail time that even Microsoft couldn't buy you out of. Give up now, while you still have a chance to at least do time in "Club Fed" for SEC violations and lying about IP ownership, don't push it until you do serious time for criminal acts.......
    Aww, what am I saying, keep it up you punks, then you can spend some "quality time" with felons who'll treat you like the bitch you are.
  • by Nom du Keyboard ( 633989 ) on Wednesday May 28, 2003 @07:32PM (#6062340)
    You dont have to have any previous knowledge of a patent to violate it.

    I don't believe they can patent the look and feel of Unix. Those suits were lost a long time ago.

    While they might well be able to patent the exact code of a unix implementation, if Linus wrote his own code from scratch, or derived it (as other posters have said) from Minix, it would seem his code and methods of implementation are not any patented by any other person.

    Unless a process patent (i.e. a patent on anything that implements "Unix" exists) -- which I completely doubt -- I don't see how Linus's code could be considered patented by anyone else.

    Besides, I was using Unix in 1977. Those ideas have to be either prior art or expired patents by now.

    Then again: IANAL.

  • by j7953 ( 457666 ) on Wednesday May 28, 2003 @07:38PM (#6062398)
    This is clearly based on the assumption that stockbrokers have the first fucking clue about technical issues.

    They don't, but we haven't seen any technical issues anyway yet, or have we? As far as I know, SCO refuses to disclose details.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday May 28, 2003 @07:42PM (#6062434)
    Also, in my mind even if there was a chance for there to be some merit to SCO's claims, they're taking IBM to court.


    Even with some legit claim (and even this doesn't seem likely anymore), there's no way I can see that IBM wouldn't still squash them flat, and end up with royalty payments *from* SCO for infringing a couple dozen IBM patents (ie, I think IBM is in a position to make some legally-legit claims over just about any company that does anything computer related).

    Yes, I think the patent system is broken, and that this is the game that it's turned to. And, it's a game that IBM is playing probably better than anyone else (what, a decade running with the most patents of any company worldwide? And strong patents too, the strongest set of IP according to MIT's Tech Review).

    Of course, I think it's the quantity of patents you have that helps you in these contests, not as much the quality, but I'd wager that IBM has more of both than anyone else in the industry.
  • by mindstrm ( 20013 ) on Wednesday May 28, 2003 @07:44PM (#6062454)
    Yes, technically Novell may still be the actual copyright & patent holder.. but they DID license those to SCO, who has the ability to re-license all over the place.

    Whether that boils down SCO having the right to enforce those patents and whatnot is another matter, and depends on the language of the contract, which we all don't have, so it's silly to speculate on.

    What is clear is SCO had the right to relicense some unix stuff, and they of course have the right to enforce the terms of those licenses.

    Whether or not they can attack other parties is a separate issue.

  • by miracle69 ( 34841 ) on Wednesday May 28, 2003 @07:46PM (#6062473)
    We could all launch individual lawsuits against SCO and DDOS their legal team.

    Go L.Ron! it's your birthday. Go L.Ron! It's your birthday!
  • Spin doctor (Score:5, Interesting)

    by mao che minh ( 611166 ) * on Wednesday May 28, 2003 @07:46PM (#6062478) Journal
    I greatly enjoyed the SCO call session earlier. I only jumped in near the end, so I'm not sure exactly who it was that was representing SCO at the time - but he was one serious spin doctor. He adeptly deflected all blame, made it sound like being in the business of sueing people over IP (which is all SCOSource does) was a noble and legitimate business model, and even made a valiant attempt to prove that SCO, not Novell, actually owns the rights to Sys V. I couldn't believe how casually the callers accepted his rubbish as fact.

    I wonder what the spin doctor would have to say to your above post. That's some pretty damning empirical evidence that disconfirms everything he claimed.

    This keeps getting better. I can't believe that something concerning intellectual property, UNIX and Linux, and websites full of people that like to debate the effectiveness of Python over Perl, can be this damned entertaining.

  • by Corpus_Callosum ( 617295 ) on Wednesday May 28, 2003 @07:51PM (#6062535) Homepage
    The Yahoo! Stock message boards are very active with major investors, partners and executives of each board's respective company. The SCOX board is reasonably active, but could use some of the strong, intelligent insight that is spread around slashdot on this subject.

    I think those of us that are so inclined should voice our support for Linux, Linus, Open-Source, etc... there as well as here. Let your voice be heard by the people that invest in SCO, run it and do business with it...

    Hell, even the trolls can have fun there...

    http://messages.yahoo.com/bbs?.mm=FN&action=l&bo ar d=1600684464&tid=cald&sid=1600684464&mid=9 062
  • by borgheron ( 172546 ) on Wednesday May 28, 2003 @07:51PM (#6062541) Homepage Journal
    No, he didn't. SCO is scrounging around for anything that they can find to scare the Linux community into submission.

    They KNOW that they are going to die and it's obvious that they don't have a case. Their own release of Linux obviates any patent claims they may have.

    It's dubious, at best, to claim patent infringement when YOU yourself have profited from the very OS that you claim infringes!! Darl McBride has, singlehandedly, reduced SCO from a respectable company to a laughing stock which provides daily amusement for us.

    We should, in fact, applaud him for making us laugh so much recently.

    It is obvious and it has been obvious from the beginning that SCO's ENTIRE goal has been to sew FUD and that's EXACTLY what they're doing.

    Later, GJC

    Good Day, GJC
  • Re:WTF? (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Phronesis ( 175966 ) on Wednesday May 28, 2003 @07:57PM (#6062599)
    Not to mention that if anyone has a claim to sue Linus, it's the people who created Minix, for creating a workalike - and even then, he didn't copy code. Go look at the UNIX heritage charts for a much better understanding.

    You don't have to copy anything to infringe on a patent. I can infringe on the Unisys LZW patent by writing my own LZW code. All I have to do is use (whether by copying or by innocently reinventing) Terry Welch's algorithm during the next month [ffii.org] in the USA.

    Similarly, if Linus introduced into the kernel either his own code or code donated by someone else (IBM) that implements any algorithms for which SCO holds patents, even if the code in question comprises completely original implementations of those algorithms, then by redistributing the kernel without a license from SCO, Linus is infringing on SCO's patents.

  • by WCMI92 ( 592436 ) on Wednesday May 28, 2003 @08:00PM (#6062628) Homepage
    "This is clearly based on the assumption that stockbrokers have the first fucking clue about technical issues."

    SOMEONE does... A stock doesn't drop by more than 25% on an otherwise UP day by accident...
  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday May 28, 2003 @08:10PM (#6062703)
    This is just going too far, and it's time to take a hard look at not just the company SCO, but the people who support it. Chiefly among those who support SCO are its employees, including its engineers and its programmers, whose work has formed the basis for these actions.

    I say that we blacklist them. Give them a chance to jump ship or change their company's policy if they want, but no company that uses Linux or Unix should ever hire a former SCO employee if these lawsuits go forward. It's drastic, but without that internal pressure the management will keep suing until someone can't take it and settles.
  • Re:WTF? (Score:3, Interesting)

    by JosefK ( 21477 ) on Wednesday May 28, 2003 @08:15PM (#6062742)
    It's not quite that simple. SCO v. IBM is primarily a breach of contract case, *not* an IP-violation case, and SCO does have rights to act as a licensing agent for the Unix IP. It all depends on whether IBM took what they are alleged to have taken from SCO, and whether the IBM/SCO contracts for Project Monterey restricted IBM from doing anything with it outside of Project Monterey.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday May 28, 2003 @08:36PM (#6062927)
    "We talked to those guys, but there was never one comment at any time that, 'Hey, we want to buy copyrights from you,' " McBride said. "It was very clear in our minds that we already purchased that."

    I think that sums everything up nicely. Yes, you have contracts McBride, but in YOUR HEAD you believe what you want to!! Good luck with that, maybe some counseling? Because we all know, what is in your mind is legally binding right? Fucking asstards
  • Re:Counter Suit (Score:3, Interesting)

    by bwt ( 68845 ) on Wednesday May 28, 2003 @08:41PM (#6062966) Homepage
    How about for copyright infringement.

    SCO is distributing his work (regardless of whether IBM added extra stuff to it) in violation of the GPL licence, which requires them to add no further conditions and give "all third parties" (which includes IBM) a licence under the GPL, which isn't compatible with trade secret retention.
  • Re:Counter Suit (Score:3, Interesting)

    by barc0001 ( 173002 ) on Wednesday May 28, 2003 @08:43PM (#6062974)
    Actually, the best thing to see happen would be for IBM to take advantage of SCO's 24% drop in price today to buy up 5-10% of the SCO stock, and then sue the directors (who, being company directors, are PERSONALLY liable for damages) as major shareholders for corporate malfeasance in destroying SCO's good name with their actions designed to artifically inflate the stock's price and perceived value at the cost of long-term customers. Bankrupting a few of these weasels as an object lesson would be far better than throwing them in a 6'x9' as someone else suggested.
  • Microsoft (Score:3, Interesting)

    by tiny69 ( 34486 ) on Wednesday May 28, 2003 @08:54PM (#6063045) Homepage Journal
    While everyone's attention is on the circus being created by SCO, someone needs to keep an eye on MS. I can see them using this whole affair to backdoor the Linux community while noone is watching. (If MS is not already playing SCO like a puppet...)
  • by Phroggy ( 441 ) * <.slashdot3. .at. .phroggy.com.> on Wednesday May 28, 2003 @09:14PM (#6063197) Homepage
    For this reason, I will be surprised if Linus doesn't make some sort of statement before much longer.

    What would be the point of that? If SCO actually sues him, then he can make a legal defense. If SCO tells him what they might sue him over, he can issue a statement on his position. In the mean time, why bother? SCO will probably be in deep trouble with the SEC pretty soon, and will have other things to worry about.
  • by Eccles ( 932 ) on Wednesday May 28, 2003 @09:20PM (#6063253) Journal
    There was talk about the concept of independent invention, which means that if someone comes up with a solution that someone else has a patent on, the situation isn't a clear-cut matter of infringement.

    Tell that to e-bay and the nonsense $35 million judgement against them. ...and someone send the judge the dictionary definitions of "novel" and "obvious."
  • by Jeremiah Cornelius ( 137 ) on Wednesday May 28, 2003 @09:24PM (#6063288) Homepage Journal
    SCO does not own 117 patents.
    Yeah, and after the Canopy Group realizes the pile of doo-doo that they stepped into with this one, they'll end up owning a whole lot less! Sell-off...

    Idly, I wonder if the Canopy Group got sold a bill-of-goods by Ransom Love, who exited stage left before they could discover that the "intellectual property" they were investing in was second-hand vapour...

  • Re:WTF? (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Enry ( 630 ) <enryNO@SPAMwayga.net> on Wednesday May 28, 2003 @09:25PM (#6063292) Journal
    That's rather irrelevant.

    IF IBM gave bad goods to Linus for inclusion in the kernel, the it's a breach of contract with IBM. They can then be sued. Linus gets sued to remove the offending code/features, which he (AFAIK) still hasn't seen, so he can't remove what he hasn't been asked to remove.

    When SCO first started this, they said the offending code was not in the stock kernel, but in kernels distributed by IBM and/or Red Hat.

    Apparently this story has changed.
  • Granted this is civil... but look at what Adobe and the US criminal justice system tried to pull off with Dimitris Sklyrov. IMHO these issues are related because the legal system is now being employed to harass and threaten programmers. Any one of us can be a target. 10 years ago we could pursue our careers with very little threat of a law suit. Today - if one has a success then the question becomes how many times over will we be sued.

    The whole issue illustrates how fucking preposterous the US legal system has become and other countries are planning to follow suit. Of course we also have countries like Norway and the issue of the DeCSS and Joh Johanson and I have no idea what label should be stapled to this mess. It would be simpler to just take the lawyers involved out behind the barn and get rid of them! But the horrible thing is that the victims of this perverted system are expected to finance it. Next time you are in a courtroom ask yourself of all the people in there - which ones are not being paid?

    Here we have a threat to sue an individual (Linus) because he used his own ideas... ideas that apparently an unrelated individual manages to patent in a country (USA) that the person (Linus) doesn't live in.

    Then after this flight of stoopidity - people come forth and suggest they will donate to the defense fund. Of course - this simply subsidies the US lawyers who collectively created the problem in the first place.

    The bottom line is that this is getting right fucking crasy! Somehow we need to figure out how to counter this.

    There are two sets of laws here that are working against us. First is patent law which as it is currently implemented has the following consequences. 1) if you own a valid patent and a large company wants to use what you invented - they will simply claim your patent is invalid and bankrupt you in the courts. 2) if they own an invalid patent then you cannot afford to fight them in the courts. Thus - you cannot do your job. You cannot pusue your career. Here we have intellectual feudalism where the sherrif of cyber notingham tries to turn you into a peasant.

    [read up on Leo Farinsworth if you doubt this - he invented television and died a broken man - bankrupt as well - because RCA fucked him over in the courts]

    Then the second set of laws are in the same group as the DMCA where we sometimes face criminal charges because perhaps someone wants to play a CD or a DVD and does not want to use software from Microsoft to do it.


    Patents are only valuable to large companies and they are only valuable because they can be used to restrain trade. Given this - large companies pool their patents in a defacto free patent zone. Those on the inside are more or less protected and do not run the risk of litigation. Anyone on the outside is fair game. What a wonderful little oligopoly eh?

    Maybe "we" need to start playing this game. Suppose we organised an Open Source Patent Association and paid a feee like $100 bux to join it. This would create a pool of funds whereby the "best" ideas in the open source community could be patented. All members of the association would recieve protection and access to any and all patents. Any closed source shop would be billed or face court action -or- have to pool their patents in order to join.

    Since most of the great ideas are invented in the open source community - in short order this association might have a rather wicked sheaf of patents and this could be used to ensure that members of the open source community cannot become victims of bad faith litigation.

  • But if they harass Linus, it's travel time! I have some vacation time available at work and would show up with other protesters to picket outside SCO's headquarters [sco.com] if that helps put some pressure on them. We can keep piling on the pressure from different directions if they want to play a PR game. We'd make sure the local media in Salt Lake have enough advance notice to get their cameras warmed up while we're enroute.

    Salt Lake City is easily accessible by air (a Delta Airlines hub.) It's a 2-hour non-stop flight from any of the SF Bay Area's three major airports. Or a 1-1/2 day drive if you prefer a road trip.

  • Implied license (Score:5, Interesting)

    by yerricde ( 125198 ) on Wednesday May 28, 2003 @10:11PM (#6063634) Homepage Journal

    You don't have to copy anything to infringe on a patent.

    However, if the alleged infringement occurs early enough in the patent term, it could be argued that the invention was probably obvious to anybody skilled in the art.

    then by redistributing the kernel without a license from SCO

    By distributing the Linux kernel under the GNU GPL, SCO granted an implied license to its patents to all recipients of SCO code.

  • by buss_error ( 142273 ) on Wednesday May 28, 2003 @10:45PM (#6064015) Homepage Journal
    because I've got a few hundred bucks in the bank whose first stop will Linus's legal defense fund.

    After the judge laughs SCO out of the court, I've a few hundred more for the legal OFFENSE fund...

  • by virtigex ( 323685 ) on Wednesday May 28, 2003 @10:56PM (#6064125)
    On checking out Yahoo's profile of SCO (and the plummeting stock price), I couldn't help noticing that he got paid $80,500 in 2002 [yahoo.com]. Did he just join the company or does he have a massive stock option grant that will mushroom when... oh dear never mind.
  • How to short a stock (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday May 28, 2003 @11:18PM (#6064320)
    I shorted some SCOX today. I short stocks all the time, and it's not hard.

    The background: you need a brokerage account with 'margin' enabled. The 'margin' feature enables you to borrow the shares that you are selling.

    The mechanics: when you go to enter an order, there are the usual "buy" and "sell" options. In addition, there is "sell short" and "buy to cover". You want "sell short".

    You can elect to sell short at the current price ("market") or you can put in a limit price ("sell short at $6.50 or higher"). I usually use limit orders, even in fast markets.

    If the stock moves below $6.50 before your limit order executes, then you have to cancel your limit order and try again. If it's dropping too fast, you can either chase it down, or try a market order, or give up (often a good idea).

    You can sell as much stock short as you could buy with the same amount of money. If you have $10,000 in the account, you could sell about 1500 shares at $6.50, or 3000 shares if you want to leverage at 2:1.

    I recommend that you be very conservative about the amount that you short! The reason is that short positions that move against you reduce your equity position 3x as fast as long positions would, so you'll get margin called a lot earlier on a bad short position. For a $10,000 account, on a fast moving stock like SCOX, 500 to 1000 shares is plenty of exposure.

    One more thing you need to do before placing your order:

    Choose your stop loss price.

    The stop-loss price is the price where you give up and admit that the trade is not working right. In this case, you could choose a stop loss at $9.00 or $10.00 (very loose) or up at $7.00 (tight) or $6.60 (very tight).

    If your short-sell order fills, you will have something like -1000 shares of SCOX in your account. That's right, negative shares. The broker will also add $6,500 cash to your account (the proceeds of the sale), minus their normal commission of $10 to $30. There's no extra commission for short selling.

    At that point, immediately enter your stop-loss order. This is a buy-to-cover order with a stop price (not a limit price) at the point you picked, say $7.00. The full order is: buy-to-cover, 1000 shares, stop price $7.00, market order.

    The idea is that if your trade does not work (which happens all the time, the market is often unpredictable), and the price goes back to $7, you will automatically buy back 1000 shares of SCOX, leaving you with a $500 loss (plus commissions). Ouch! But this is better than watching it go back to 8, or 9, or 12, and getting the shaft.

    If the stock goes DOWN, though, then you're making money. Watch it go down as much you think it's gonna, then cancel your stop loss order, then isue a normal "buy to cover" order to buy it back.

    This is mostly the same as normal "buy/sell", except that it's "short sell/buy to cover" (not just plain "buy", but "buy to cover", for some reason). The differences are:

    -- it's harder to get a short order filled because of the uptick rule, the availability of shares to borrow, and stuff you don't need to worry about much, except that it means your short-sell order often goes unfilled.

    -- the risk of a bad short position is quite a bit larger than the risk of a bad long position. Volatile stocks can go up faster than they go down! But the reward is the same. So ... you have to be more sure that you understand the stock, and take smaller positions than you would if you were long.

    Have fun. If you lose money, you can moderate me down as your recourse. :)
  • by Piquan ( 49943 ) on Wednesday May 28, 2003 @11:41PM (#6064509)

    For those who have forgotten, Halloween VII was a leaked memo from MS dated Sep 2002. It was a survey report, discussing what types of FUD were most effective, and where FUD was backfiring. From this:

    Direct attacks of OSS and Linux are NOT highly effective. Messaging that discusses possible Linux patent violations, pings the OSS development process for lacking accountability, raises the specter of possible security flaws, and the like are only marginally effective in driving unfavorable opinions around OSS and Linux, and in some cases backfire. On the other hand 'positive' OSS and Linux messaging, i.e. access to the source code, the price, lower TCO, the ability to freely make copies, and the like drive very favorable opinions around OSS and Linux, both across geographies and audiences.

    "Linux patent violations/risk of being sued" struck a chord with US and Swedish respondents. Seventy-four percent (74%) of Americans and 82% of Swedes stated that the risk of being sued over Linux patent violations made them feel less favorable towards Linux. This was the only message that had a strong impact with any audience.

    And later:

    Messages that rely on an abstract discussion of intellectual property rights are not effective.

    The discussion of IP rights needs to be tied to concrete actions.

  • by SN74S181 ( 581549 ) on Wednesday May 28, 2003 @11:53PM (#6064619)
    Actually he's of Swedish descent but his family lives in Finland.

    da bing da bop da boop.
  • Re:Spin doctor (Score:3, Interesting)

    by shiflett ( 151538 ) on Wednesday May 28, 2003 @11:55PM (#6064630) Homepage

    Don't assume anyone accepted anything as fact. Other than the three or four people who asked a question, everyone was muted the entire time.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday May 29, 2003 @12:17AM (#6064783)
    Posessing the code without a license to the patent is in itself a patent infringement. It is only for practical reasons that people are usually not sued for using a patent for personal, non-commercial, non-distributing purposes -- if the holder just wanted to spite you, they could enforce it.
  • by sonofepson ( 239138 ) on Thursday May 29, 2003 @12:55AM (#6065012)
    Barratry was a new term to me, so I looked it up.
    According to Infospace.com (via opera dictionary lookup, handy feature that) it is:

    1. fraud by a master or crew at the expense of the owners of the ship or its cargo.
    2. the offense of frequently exciting and stirring up lawsuits and quarrels.
    3. the purchase or sale of ecclesiastical preferments or of offices of state. Also,barretry.

    Although the meaning in this context is #2. I suppose that since they are jumping headfirst into the middle of OS Holy Wars, #3 also suffices.
  • Re:I don't think so (Score:3, Interesting)

    by bwt ( 68845 ) on Thursday May 29, 2003 @01:42AM (#6065271) Homepage
    There is nothing "good faith" about trying to retain trade secret status for something that you yourself distributed for-profit as part of a GPL'd product, when that licence forbids you from adding any "further restrictions". If SCO want to call "mulligan" then it better pony up all the profits it got along the way.

    Once they realized that they had essentially been tricked into distributing their own trade secret, they cannot try to shift "who gets screwed" to Linus. The legitimate parts of the kernel that are truly authored by Linus & freinds are GPL and SCO has an independent duty to Linus, as a distributor to assure that his licence is respected. That licence requires them to not impose additional restrictions, such as trade secret protections.

    The bottom line is that the secret is out not just because IBM divulged it, but also because SCO re-divulged it with a statement to "all third parties" (which back-covers IBM) that it was free software. If SCO only did that because they are too stupid or too negligent to inspect their own product carefully, then they deserve what they get. After all, they are PROFITING from shipping this code.

    Talk about unclean hands -- they accuse IBM of mishandling this code, when they did the exact same thing themselves in such a way that, on its face, back-authorized IBM to do what it did.

    Had SCO not been distributing Linux, they would have a much stronger claim. But they did, and this comes with some very far reaching requirements to abandon various IP protections for all code within what they distribute.
  • This is a proxy war (Score:3, Interesting)

    by ites ( 600337 ) on Thursday May 29, 2003 @03:45AM (#6065703) Journal
    Reminds me of the old days when the US and USSR smashed up little third world countries as part of their "cold war". Today, IBM is the US and Microsoft is the USSR, Linus is Korea and SCO is East Yemen.

    It's clearly a battle between IBM and Microsoft, over the value of the Linux brand. SCO is being used as a vehicle to try to weaken this brand. We are unlikely to see IBM or Microsoft get involved directly, but there will be an escalation of this. It will not end with SCO's demise, if that happens soon.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday May 29, 2003 @06:42AM (#6066168)
    No matter who wins any lawsuit, No matter if Linus gave up or was sued, Linux (TM) will always keep goin. Any infringing parts of the kernel (my guess is they are not core parts of the kernel that are being implicated anyway) will be fished out and Linux will go on. It could even change its name (Linux branch anyone?). We've seen branching occuring in lots of other GPL areas, such as XFree. The sourcecode is out there now, even if development went underground there is no way any court would be able to stop it (just like attempting to stop the proliferation of file sharing is futile).
    So I will go to bed tonight knowing that this lawsuit, no matter how valid it may be (we all know its a load of hot air anyway) contains very little threat to the day to day use of a free Unix like implementation.
    It's very hard to attack proven GPL code, it just gets out there, multiplies, duplicates and mutates. Hmm maybe Microsoft were right to describe it as a virus. A good one though maybe..
  • by Midnight Thunder ( 17205 ) on Thursday May 29, 2003 @09:05AM (#6066738) Homepage Journal
    If their claims have any validity, then why keep the details secret?

    This is like Bush claiming the USA knows that Saddam has weapons of mass destruction, not showing anyone the evidence and then looking a bit sheepish after the war is over not beng able to find any (maybe time will prove otherwise, we will just have to see).

    SCO is spreading FUD and is trying to blackmale everyone, unless they show evidence quickly the should retract their claims. Maybe SCO should be pressured into showing their evidence, or be issued a cease and decist, or whatever is appropriate in this case.

    Doing a search for 'Caldera Systems' at the USPTO only shows one patent [uspto.gov]. I am having a little trouble finding patents held by SCO. If anyone can list the patents held by SCO and Caldera it would be very much appreciated.
  • Just a question (Score:1, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday May 29, 2003 @09:44AM (#6067001)
    I am neither a Us citizen nor a laywer, but given the current situation and yesterdays novell statement. Wouln't it be possible that the whole Sco issue is not a civil case anymore.

    Lets look at the facts:

    Blackmailing of companies
    Accusations without giving proff
    threatening persons for sueing without giving proof either

    and not a single line of proof but different accusations every week. Then the statement of Novell which basically nullifies some of the accusations without Sco even having to give proof.

    Basically the whole issue seems more like a criminal case to me with following illegal things done by Sco:

    possible fraud
    possible stock manipulations

    Is it possible to have calfornian state attourneys and maybe also the attournes of the stock exchange looking into Sco? Given the facts here and in germany where Sco probably soon will be forced by court to present the evidence I think there is a case to get some of the Sco Ceos into prison!

Thus spake the master programmer: "Time for you to leave." -- Geoffrey James, "The Tao of Programming"