Follow Slashdot stories on Twitter


Forgot your password?
Caldera Software Linux

Linus Speaks Out, Calls SCO 'Cornered Rat' 598

dexterpexter writes "In an interview with Business Week, Linux founder and guardian Linus Torvalds had, in his usual brand of blunt humor, the following to say about SCO: 'They're a cornered rat, and quite frankly, I think they have rabies to boot. I'd rather not get too close to them,' and 'There are literally several levels of SCO being wrong. And even if we were to live in that alternate universe where SCO would be right, they'd still be wrong.'" In the same issue, there's also an interview with Darl McBride where he admits that the company was failing and the Linux-related lawsuits were a last-ditch effort to prevent bankruptcy.
This discussion has been archived. No new comments can be posted.

Linus Speaks Out, Calls SCO 'Cornered Rat'

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

    You read his response here []
  • by p3d0 ( 42270 ) on Tuesday January 27, 2004 @04:31PM (#8103732)
  • no, it is so wrong. (Score:2, Informative)

    by odyrithm ( 461343 ) on Tuesday January 27, 2004 @04:36PM (#8103790)
    If anyone knows what's in Linux, it's Linus Torvalds. He did the first work on the open-source operating system

    My god, RMS will be breathing fire at this I bet.. but for god sakes can we just understand that the opensource movement was a derivative of the Freesource movement.. its not allot to ask really.. stop and learn the facts.

    1, Linus developed a kernel, a good one.
    2, His followers use FREESOURCE apps to make it into what we know as "Linux" but really is GNU+Linux.
    3, MOD me down and you prove just how little you know ;).
  • by Bananenrepublik ( 49759 ) on Tuesday January 27, 2004 @04:40PM (#8103833)
    Did anybody else notice how Linus never uses the term "intellectual property"? Everytime it appears in the interview it is in square brackets, meaning the editor replaced such coneceptually hard words as "source code" by "intellectual property". Darl OTOH employs this stupid term several times throughout his interview. Maybe he and the editors should try to understand this [].
  • by Dman33 ( 110217 ) on Tuesday January 27, 2004 @04:44PM (#8103875)
    In the end, I think we'll all look back on this as the time where Linux went from sort of a fringe software in the minds of a lot of people to a mainstream player, where corporations learned they shouldn't mess with the OSS community and when the idea of open-source really started to make people ask "Why *am* I paying for this software?"

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

    It is too bad that this has to happen because PHBs do not read message boards or surf /. much, they read the Times and CNN.
  • by msimm ( 580077 ) on Tuesday January 27, 2004 @04:45PM (#8103886) Homepage
    post. But as to the being surprised, you should read his biography. Linus is much more quirky person then I'd have imagined. Possibly on an evil genius level. Definitely a good mix attention dodging super star and good old fashioned black humor. God bless Europe!
  • Re:Excuse me? (Score:5, Informative)

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

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

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

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

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

    I said my goal was to get a return on the initial Caldera IPO, when it was trading at $56 per share.... It could be very valuable if we took the right steps. So over a period of months, it wasn't like a binary switch. It wasn't like we said, "Oh, let's go find people and sue them." It was a gradual enforcement of our rights, stepping up, and then we finally got to a point of impasse with IBM where either we were going to back down, or we're going to continue to go after them. And the only way to continue to go after them was to file a lawsuit.
  • by steveha ( 103154 ) on Tuesday January 27, 2004 @04:48PM (#8103922) Homepage
    Darl McBride speaks:

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

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

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

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

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

  • Re:I think Linus... (Score:3, Informative)

    by Yet Another Smith ( 42377 ) on Tuesday January 27, 2004 @04:53PM (#8103962)
    Not only is this offensive to rats, its inaccurate too. While SCO may indeed have rabies, it is not possible for rats or other rodents to carry this particular disease. Opossums would be the closest critter that can handle the rabies requirement.
  • by gl4ss ( 559668 ) on Tuesday January 27, 2004 @04:54PM (#8103982) Homepage Journal
    literally has a meaning beyond just meaning ink and a pen and some writing.

    **Usage Note: For more than a hundred years, critics have remarked on the incoherency of using literally in a way that suggests the exact opposite of its primary sense of "in a manner that accords with the literal sense of the words." In 1926, for example, H.W. Fowler cited the example "The 300,000 Unionists... will be literally thrown to the wolves." The practice does not stem from a change in the meaning of literally itselfif it did, the word would long since have come to mean "virtually" or "figuratively"but from a natural tendency to use the word as a general intensive, as in They had literally no help from the government on the project, where no contrast with the figurative sense of the words is intended.**

    anyways I didn't read the Linus's comment.. but 'literally','kirjaimellisesti' in finnish is almost never used in the sense of meaning that you got something in written(well, maybe sometimes, but mostly it's used that something is almost exactly as written), if you had something on paper you would say "minulla on mustaa valkoisella asiasta"(I got black on white about the issue", meaning that you literally have something on paper to back your opinion, which is what darl is saying).

    well that was a ramble and didn't mean much beyond that 'literally' is sometimes used like you wouldn't except if it just meant some writing on paper(actually come to think of it 'literally' is sometimes used in english when you would use 'in practice' in finnish).

    Now, if you have issues about the incosistency of the english language I'd suggest that you move into some country that has their own language and is sufficiently small that you actually even can say which way of saying something is 'right'. in finland for example there is an instituion that literally has the final say-so in which way of saying something is the officially approved way and should be teached in schools, english has spread too wide for such institution to be possible for it. also modern english is actually a quite young language.
  • Re:Google (Score:5, Informative)

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

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

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

    To put it even more bluntly, SCO's licensing theory is invented out of whole cloth, and completely without precedent.
  • Microsoft angle (Score:5, Informative)

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


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

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

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

    I highly recommend it.

    Me too. I laughed and I cried.

  • by Fishstick ( 150821 ) on Tuesday January 27, 2004 @05:32PM (#8104523) Journal
    >scurvy infested

    I know this is _way_ OT, and I expect to be modded as such, but I'm bored at work and want to have a little 'fun'...

    Scurvy is not an parasitic infestation or even a disease. It is a condition caused by malnourishment, specifically ascorbic acid (vitamin C).

    Vitamin C and Scurvy []

    A vitamin C deficiency results in an underhydroxylation of proline and lysine in collagen which results in a lower melting temperature of the resulting collagen fibers which causes a breakdown of the protein collagen needed for connective tissue, bones and dentin, the major portion of teeth. Collagen is a cementing material that binds cells together, and is an essential connective tissue protein in the body. Whenever the body is wounded, collagen glues the separated tissues together to form a scar.

    A lack of collagen causes the walls of the body's blood capillaries to break down and hemorrhaging occurs in cells throughout the body. When capillaries lose the "glue" that holds them together, symptoms of scurvy appear.

    An affected person becomes weak and has joint pain. Internal hemorrhages cause black-and-blue marks to appear on the skin. At the first visible signs of scurvy, raised red spots appear on the skin around the hair follicles of the legs, buttocks, arms and back. ... Gums hemorrhage and their tissue becomes weak and spongy.

    Man, I can see how "scurvy dogs" were looked at as though they had some disease. Interesting that they eventually figured out the link between citrus and scurvy and started provisioning preserved limes and lemons on British Naval vessels. This is apparently where the epithet "limey" came from.

  • by Damn_Canuck ( 702128 ) on Tuesday January 27, 2004 @06:22PM (#8105159) Journal
    No, it would be a metaphor. A simile is a comparison which uses the word "like" or "as", neither of which are used above.
  • Raymond is doing it (Score:5, Informative)

    by JohnQPublic ( 158027 ) on Tuesday January 27, 2004 @06:27PM (#8105215)
    Eric Raymond has mentioned on a number of occasions, here and elsewhere, that he has legitimate copies of several historic Unix source trees and that he's compared them to Linux. He's also developed an automated comparison process for just such applications. See this NWFusion article [] for example.
  • by 0x0d0a ( 568518 ) on Tuesday January 27, 2004 @07:02PM (#8105653) Journal
    Even if x were true, it'd still be false.

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

    Remember that if SCO is right about its claims (which include Linux not being legal to distribute and them being able to legally distribute Linux), then they themselves are in violation of many copyrights?

    So, let SCORight represent the truth of all of SCO's claims. Then:

    1. SCORight => SCOViolatesCopyright. Given
    2. SCOViolatesCopyright => ~SCORight. Given
    3. SCORight. Assumed.
    4. SCOViolatesCopyright. Transitivity(1, 3) | 3
    5. ~SCORight. Transitivity(2, 4) | 3
    6. ~SCORight. Inverse Proof (3, 5)

    He's just talking about step 5. Even if SCO was right, they'd still be wrong. All this means is that the truth of "SCORight" is self-inconconsistent -- Darl has made self-inconsistent claims.

God help those who do not help themselves. -- Wilson Mizner