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SCO Aims For The Feds 492

MoFoQ writes "News.com reports that SCO is now targetting the Feds and their supercomputers (the Beowulf clusters, etc.). Looks like they bit off more than they can chew, even before winning a single case "
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SCO Aims For The Feds

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  • by Quazi ( 3460 ) on Saturday March 20, 2004 @12:03PM (#8620956) Journal
    I don't know who to root for?
    • Root for Canopy (Score:5, Informative)

      by thinkliberty ( 593776 ) on Saturday March 20, 2004 @12:23PM (#8621092)

      linux networx is a canopy company like SCO/caldera is. see: http://www.linuxnetworx.com/news/pr042800_canopy.h tml

      Now in the news article it says:
      "SCO sent letters raising the prospect of legal action for using Linux to two Department of Energy facilities, the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory and the National Energy Research Scientific Computing Center (NERSC)."

      But in this press release it says that linux networx is the one that installed the linux clusters at the LLNL. http://www.linuxnetworx.com/news/8.28.2001.49-Lawr ence_Liverm.html

      The new lesson of the day is if you do business with anyone funded by the canopy company you risk being sued by other members of the canopy group.
      • Re:Root for Canopy (Score:5, Interesting)

        by flacco ( 324089 ) on Saturday March 20, 2004 @01:12PM (#8621344)
        But in this press release it says that linux networx is the one that installed the linux clusters at the LLNL.

        ok, i admit i'm clinically paranoid - but i still think SCOX will eventually set up a patsy to lose a case to ensnare gnu/linux. i wonder if the US government would collude in such an operation. MS is a big money vacumm cleaner that sucks cash from other countries into the US - democratizing computing could appear to the technically ignorant realpolitikos as a net loss, nationally.

    • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday March 20, 2004 @12:27PM (#8621114)
      NIH, The National Institues of Health, a division of the Department of Health and Human Services of the United States government, is using Beowulf clusters [nih.gov] to help cure diseases such as cancer, Alzheimers, stroke, heart disease and kidney failure.

      I'm definitely rooting for the Feds on this one.
      • by the gnat ( 153162 ) on Saturday March 20, 2004 @03:13PM (#8622016)
        And the NERSC is not just used for weapons simulations - I know people who've used the facilities for biological research. It's also located at LBL, which if I recall correctly does entirely unclassified work (I know many biologists who work there too). Looks like they're doing a lot of applied physics, including fusion power research.

        The DOE national labs do a wide variety of fantastic research, relatively little of it focused on blowing shit up. In fact, I'd argue that their most important role is in biochemistry, due to their synchrotron facilities (used for protein structure determination). Even Livermore, which doesn't have a synchrotron (LBL is right nearby), is doing biology too now.
        • by ameoba ( 173803 ) on Saturday March 20, 2004 @05:25PM (#8622782)
          Actually, a majority of the supercomputer weapons research being done these days involves stabilizing and safely storing the current stockpile of nukes. The rest of it is so that we can stop actually nuking Nevada and New Mexico while still having up to date technology.

          Take away their supercomputers and the government won't stop research, they'll just return to blowing up actual bombs.
    • Re:SCO vs The Feds?? (Score:5, Interesting)

      by Awptimus Prime ( 695459 ) on Saturday March 20, 2004 @01:02PM (#8621306)
      If you are a US citizen, you had best root for the Feds. Whatever it costs them will come directly out of your pocket. That is why our economy is refered to as a system.

      Darl is off his rocker if he thinks open source software helps our enemies. It helps humanity as a whole. His remarks sound like he's trying to appeal to our current neo-con regiem's inability to comprehend issues that affect anyone except fellow members of Skull & Bones fraternity.
      • by JWW ( 79176 )
        But you would think if they want to curry that sort of favor with the current adminstration, then they wouldn't sue them!

        I love the way they put that "open source helps our enemies, and our laboratories can't use open source".

        Who exactly is helping our enemies?

      • Re:SCO vs The Feds?? (Score:5, Interesting)

        by Anonymous Coward on Saturday March 20, 2004 @01:51PM (#8621530)
        I was trying to put my finger on exactly why Darl's assertion just seemed so absurd (well, in addition to the many obvious reasons), and your post just crystallized the thought in my mind.

        According to the quote attributed to him in the news.com story, the "export" of open-source software could be used by enemies of the U.S. -- he cites a North Korean computer specialist as an example. (Never mind the fact that he is implying that the U.S. is the only nation contributing to the propagation of open-source software, which is ridiculous on its face.)

        But by that same logic, the U.S. should immediately cease all exports of, say, wheat -- because terrorists outside the U.S. can use that for sustenance, which means they can grow up to be Big, Strong, Healthy Terrorists as a result of those exports.

        OK, so it's a stretch, but then so is pretty much everything McBride has said in the past year.

        -Brian

      • by Anonymous Coward
        Darl is off his rocker if he thinks open source software helps our enemies. It helps humanity as a whole.

        And our enemies are part of humanity as a whole. In fact, at the moment the net enemies/nonenemies for the US may be greater than one. In that case, you may not want to help humanity as a whole, since you could be hurting yourself...

    • by soybean ( 1120 ) on Saturday March 20, 2004 @01:16PM (#8621360)
      root them all. let god sort them out.
    • by Lord Ender ( 156273 ) on Saturday March 20, 2004 @02:31PM (#8621756) Homepage
      Since we live in a democracy, technically the feds ARE us. We controll them, they serve us. The problem is, we aren't nearly involved enough in our government, so sometimes it doesn't seem that way. Your comment make me sad that our government isn't like this anymore.
    • Imagine a Beowulf cluster of... oh wait...
  • by ultrabot ( 200914 ) on Saturday March 20, 2004 @12:05PM (#8620966)
    Have you seen their stock price recently?

    They need to make as much noise and annoy as many as possible, and they need to do it now. The bigger and more controversial the opponent, the better.

    If they don't make noise, Microsoft doesn't get much value for their investment, right? So they need to capitalize every second SCO is still alive.
    • by Xenographic ( 557057 ) on Saturday March 20, 2004 @12:19PM (#8621068) Journal
      I remember someone saying that a certain stock price (in the $8 range?) would trigger a number of events which could hurt SCO financially (note that the effect I'm thinking of is from more than just a low share price--it triggers some clause in their contract with Baystar or one of those investors).

      Does anyone here remember that price, or how badly it would hurt SCO? :]

      They're at $8.71, and I want to know what price to root for...

      That and I keep wondering what some of the odd numbers mean, just look at this from Yahoo finance (via Google) --

      After Hours (RTM/ECN): 8.60 0.11 (1.26%)
      Last Trade: 8.71
      Trade Time: Mar 19
      Change: 0.04 (0.46%)
      Prev Close: 8.75
      Open: 8.43
      Bid: 0.01 x 100
      Ask: 9,000.00 x 100
      1y Target Est: 25.00

      Do I read that right that someone was asking $9,000 for 100 shares of SCO? Sheesh! Talk about being out to lunch... I have to think that some people are screwing around here or something, though... Does any of this stuff influence the share price?

      Ironically, somehow I feel like the $0.01 bid is reasonable, though, even though I have to figure that someone is goofing off...
      • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday March 20, 2004 @01:13PM (#8621349)
        someone was asking $9,000 for 100 shares of SCO? Sheesh! Talk about being out to lunch...

        Lemme explain how this works. Having experienced the joys of a pump and dump scheme first-hand, there are a few common strategies probably being used by SCOX's capital team:

        - keep the public relation newswires busy with misinformation that misdirects strategic setbacks, court losses, and other negative information. This is especially important when you're expecting a major setback. It's a sort of "watch the monkey! keep an eye on the monkey!" misdirection.

        - negotiate third party buy deals with market makers. Under the table stock transfers and other mechanisms help load these parties up and allow them to take a partial loss from stock purchases such as these. When this is well coordinated, using a good amount of "buyers" instructed to follow a release like this, it can push a stock like SCOX up $2-$3.

        - funnel money in via Reg-S deals: Reg-S, similar to Reg-D private placement deals, allows SCO to sell shares directly to international investors who have a shorter holding period. Watch for a large amount of Reg-S as a clue for pump & dump. These folks are likely buying at a steep discount but are able to beat the market by dumping well ahead of the decline. SCO's 10Ks show a good amount of Reg-S activity.

        Incidentally, has anyone found an offshore bank being used by SCOX yet? I've been looking but haven't yet found the usual Bermuda/Turks/etc. channel for funneling money beyond US control.
      • by thales ( 32660 ) on Saturday March 20, 2004 @01:19PM (#8621375) Homepage Journal
        I Have been following SCO prices during the decline over the past two weeks. If you look at the Yahoo page you are quoting from you will notice a sharp rise started at 3 o'clock, one hour before closing where it went up 20 cents in the final hour. This rise at the last hour has been a consistant feature for the two week period that I have been watching them and it occurs every day even if just before the rise the high bid is considerably lower. On Friday just before the last hour spike the price was 8.51. The high bid was 8.43. The stock still rose 20 cents between 3 and market close at 4.

        4 Minutes after close a buy went thrugh that was for 8.60, 11 cents under the offical close.

        The pattern over the past two weeks looks like someone is attempting to pump the price in the final hour of trading to get a more favorable closing price.

        • by Citizen of Earth ( 569446 ) on Saturday March 20, 2004 @02:54PM (#8621902)
          I Have been following SCO prices during the decline over the past two weeks. If you look at the Yahoo page you are quoting from you will notice a sharp rise started at 3 o'clock, one hour before closing where it went up 20 cents in the final hour.

          That sort of thing has been going on for the past year. It's most likely one insider trading to another to help prop up the share price. SCO is mostly owned by insiders, and most of the publicly traded stock is owned by a few organizations, so the price is easily manipulated. This is in part how the stock maintained its anti-gravity status for most of the past year.
    • by SeXy_Red ( 550409 ) <Meviper85&hotmail,com> on Saturday March 20, 2004 @12:44PM (#8621203)
      On a related note, SCO filed a lawsuit today against the former pop king Michael Jackson; SCO claims that Michael Jackson used parts of there unix source code when he create many of his popular songs, including "Bad" and "Beat it".
    • by NLG ( 636251 ) on Saturday March 20, 2004 @12:53PM (#8621261)
      They need to make as much noise and annoy as many as possible, and they need to do it now. The bigger and more controversial the opponent, the better.

      You are mostly right, they need to make noise to pump the stock price again. However, there are some targets which we know they chose not to pursue. Bank of America, for one. Why go after Daimler/Chrysler instead? This is complex, and forgive the tin-foil hat sound of it.

      BoA is big. More importntly BoA is VERY influential in the Banking and Investment Banking industry. Think it through. BoA has ties to virtually every financial institution on the planet of somekind and could very easily use its influence to ruin SCO in a heartbeat. A few phone calls from some BoA execs and suddenly SCO's line of credit dries up and loans are called-in. Even better, the Mortgages and auto loans, whatever debts, of SCO execs are called and there are suddenly no other banks anywhere willing to lend them money.

      Not only that, but BayStar has all its credit affected also, as well as its execs. Sure all these SCO-scum and BayStar-bitches are probably rich enough to handle it, but it is going to hurt and hurt bad. Most Americans, even Donald Trump, are so heavily "leveraged" that if something like this were to occur it would destroy them. It would most certainly destroy SCO, et al.

      SCO's lawyers probably realized this at the last minute and convinced Darl that BoA and any other super-sized Bank was capable of playing hardball at a level SCO can't survive. Otherwise, why change targets instead of just tactics? SCO could have just amended that letter to BoA to sue them just like Daim\Chrysler instead of trying to get the court to seize, effectively, all their computers. Answer: SCO isn't suing BoA because they are scared of what BoA could do to them. If not, why announce the Fed-suit instead of going back after BoA? A company that everyone now knows(thanks to MS-Word fun) was an initial target. Answer: Not even the Feds scare them as bad, as this headline proves.

      • It would most certainly destroy SCO, et al.

        I tend to think that destruction of SCO is inevitable anyway, and SCO knows it. This charade is the exit strategy for the SCO management - they are going to emerge from this as rich men (rich w/ MSFT money), provided that they are not punished for misconduct (and this is something we all hope).

        That is, they can afford to anger pretty much everybody. Microsoft can't, however, and one would have expected SCO to tone down their attacks after the MSFT-SCO connectio
      • SCO isn't suing BoA because they are scared of what BoA could do to them. If not, why announce the Fed-suit instead of going back after BoA?

        I agree with your reasoning, right up to this line.

        Pissing off the world's banks may make life exceedingly difficult for most of us, but with some care (ie, knowing you'll lose any semblance of credit in the near future), people like Trump (and even Darl, though not even in the same ballpark) can prepare for such an event and weather the storm.

        Pissing off the Fed
      • "If not, why announce the Fed-suit instead of going back after BoA?"

        Keep your tinfoil hat on; there's plenty of other oddities about this thing of SCO's, but you're a little off on this one point.

        1.) SCO hasn't sued the fed labs yet and announced nothing yesterday.

        2.) The letters were part of one of the threatening spam runs SCO did in December; the revelation now comes because an attorney representing several recipients of the sco scam spam just now has been able to obtain them, after filing a Freedom o
  • by Chmarr ( 18662 ) on Saturday March 20, 2004 @12:05PM (#8620968)
    This is a bit of bad reporting by news.com (surprise!). It's just referring to the letters SCO sent out in December, and it's JUST been released NOW that two of those targets were Federal institutions.

    Just more lame press releases by SCO. Nothing out of the ordinary. Move along, please.
    • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday March 20, 2004 @12:25PM (#8621104)
      If you ignore the title, the news.com.com article is well written and not confusing. The problem is that at most papers the editor writes the title, not the journalist. I've seen titles on abcnews.go.com mention things that never appear in the story. The editor read the first paragraph and just assumed the rest.

      As far as Slashdot, we all know even the submitters don't read the articles. "now targetting" my ass.

      • by zurab ( 188064 ) on Saturday March 20, 2004 @02:06PM (#8621633)
        If you ignore the title, the news.com.com article is well written and not confusing.

        Except that it's misleading and there's not enough clarification:

        It's not an idle threat, though many Linux fans dismiss the Lindon, Utah-based company's assertions. SCO's attorneys, Boies Schiller & Flexner, have indeed sued AutoZone for its use of Linux, claiming that the open-source operating system infringes on SCO's Unix copyrights.

        Unless author clarifies his point, it's misleading. SCO did not sue AutoZone simply because AutoZone uses Linux. They sued AutoZone because SCO had a licensing agreement with them which SCO felt was violated by AutoZone's use of Linux. Author's point seems to imply that if you are a large company and use Linux, you are at a risk of getting sued. This is not true. What legal principle can SCO use to sue Linux users that have no contract or licensing agreements with them? None, as far as I am aware.

        This is a problem with most mainstream press reporting on this issue. They follow SCO's FUD more than do their research and report facts.
  • by dolo666 ( 195584 ) on Saturday March 20, 2004 @12:06PM (#8620974) Journal
    I remember my mom used to tell me never to hit bee hives with my hockey stick. SCO never listens to this kind of advice, which comes up every time there's a story here about them; so what's their major malfunction? I just want it to end!
    • by Kjella ( 173770 ) on Saturday March 20, 2004 @01:34PM (#8621440) Homepage
      I remember my mom used to tell me never to hit bee hives with my hockey stick. SCO never listens to this kind of advice, which comes up every time there's a story here about them; so what's their major malfunction? I just want it to end!

      They hit one, then run to the next, hit that, run some more, hit another one.... currently they have a shitload of bees after them, and their legs are getting tired...

      Kjella
  • C'mon Bush (Score:5, Funny)

    by Will2k_is_here ( 675262 ) on Saturday March 20, 2004 @12:06PM (#8620978)
    He calls for a constitutional amendment to ban gay marriage, he should call for an amendment to ban SCO.

    Or... cue the shock and awe campaign.
  • NSA (Score:5, Funny)

    by Mad Marlin ( 96929 ) <cgore@cgore.com> on Saturday March 20, 2004 @12:07PM (#8620983) Homepage
    Darl: "Hey, let's sue the NSA."

    Same scene, later that day.

    Random SCO employee: "Umm, Mr. McBride, sir, there are a whole lot of people in ill-fitting suits who want to 'talk' with you ...."

    • Re:NSA (Score:4, Funny)

      by ddimas ( 629883 ) on Saturday March 20, 2004 @12:12PM (#8621025)
      Silly rabbit, Darl will just dissapear one day. 10 years later a news item will appear about him dying while vacationing at Guantanamo Bay...
    • Re:NSA (Score:4, Funny)

      by Admiral Llama ( 2826 ) on Saturday March 20, 2004 @01:42PM (#8621486)
      Darl - "Today SCO is announcing that in order to protect our rights to UNIX we are bringing a lawsuit upon the Yakuza..."

      SCHING!!!!

      Darl - "...... (ugh...)"

      Top half falls off.

  • by JayBlalock ( 635935 ) on Saturday March 20, 2004 @12:08PM (#8620994)
    ...who's just laughing his head off and thinks no commentary of any kind is really needed?
  • by hawkstone ( 233083 ) on Saturday March 20, 2004 @12:08PM (#8620996)
    You fell victim to one of the classic blunders! The first is never get involved in a land war in Asia. The second, only slightly less well known, is this: never go up against a nuclear weapons laboratory when death is on the line!

  • SCO v USA (Score:5, Insightful)

    by pholower ( 739868 ) <longwoodtrail AT yahoo DOT com> on Saturday March 20, 2004 @12:08PM (#8620997) Homepage Journal
    Okay, this is just a little more than SCO to handle, even if they do have funding from Microsoft. The government, although horibly expensive and utterly dumb to most things geek, has their fair share of the alpha-geek. Besides, the government already has a thing for suing Microsoft and winning. Hopefully this will transend to SCO as well.

  • by Aluminum Tuesday ( 317409 ) on Saturday March 20, 2004 @12:10PM (#8621011)
    Groklaw covered this yesterday - it's nothing more than confirmation that those institutions received the threatening letter that SCO's been sending out.
  • by Hanzie ( 16075 ) * on Saturday March 20, 2004 @12:11PM (#8621021)
    Looks like they bit off more than they can chew, even before winning a single case

    No, they haven't bit off more than they can chew. Their business model isn't about winning court cases, it's about squeezing money. The fact they're willing to go after the feds means that they're not afraid of anybody, particularly YOU, Mr. CEO, so pay up now, before we drag you in too.

    Meanwhile, MS has been having some problems with governments defecting from the 1 Microsoft Way [hoovers.com]) so this helps them out.

    Microsoft has gone out of it's way to point investors at SCO because any crap SCOX throws at Linux only makes them look less awful. It's a classic case of MS saying "Lets you and him fight!"

    Of course, if they can get federal agencies (who aren't playing with their own money anyway) to pay them to shut up and go away, so much the better! I'm suprised that they haven't thought of this earlier.

    There's even a tiny chance that they'll be able to argue for a change of venue based on the courts using FOSS now, and therefore not being disinterested parties. It won't throw the case out, but it might be a good delaying tactic, and time really is money.

    • by _Sprocket_ ( 42527 ) on Saturday March 20, 2004 @01:11PM (#8621336)


      Of course, if they can get federal agencies (who aren't playing with their own money anyway) to pay them to shut up and go away, so much the better! I'm suprised that they haven't thought of this earlier.


      That's a mischaracterization. Feds tend to be aware that they are playing with tax-payer money. But even more imporantly, they tend to view the tax-payer money alotted to their budgets as THEIR money. And limited money, at that. I've yet to see a Fed agency that didn't have more to do than their IT budget will allow (which isn't to say IT managers don't ever make bad decissions with the funds they have available).

      The only variation to this is within the budget structure itself. There are often pools of funds that get ear-marked for certain activities. One may be unable to fund a certain project even though there is a nice fat pool of money available for another kind of activity. Which leads in to my last point...

      Folks, the US Government is law. Fed agencies may not always be on the forefront of IT. But they do know law. They have access to legal devices unique to them and lawyers, paid from different pools of money than their IT budgets, who know how to make use of those legal devices to full effect.

      So while it may be possible that a Fed agency would throw money at a situation like this... I would suggest its very unlikely. In the civilian sector, throwing money at an issue is the easier tactic. In the Fed sector, pushing the problem off to legal resources (funded through a different budget) is the quick fix.
      • Fed agencies may not always be on the forefront of IT.

        This is probably a bit OT, but...

        I wouldn't think that federal agencies would be necessarily ahead or behind the forefront of IT. It depends on what area of IT you're talking about.

        The work that LLNL does, for instance, is very different from the business-oriented work that other companies do. However, there are similarities: extremely large networks with real-time demands by a large user base, the needs of integrating multi-platform environments t
    • Shrewd, but not because of what you are saying.

      By going after the federal government, they have made it more difficult for the government to just remove their copyright. If the government were to nullify it, they'd have an excellent case for conflict of interest. In this scenario, if the casee against the government were to actually never make it to the courts it's served it purpose.

      As much as it is enjoyable to make fun of SCO and it's lawyers. You must not underestimate them, they are extremely intel
  • by nweaver ( 113078 ) on Saturday March 20, 2004 @12:12PM (#8621026) Homepage
    Not a wise move to go after the University of California (who manage livermore and los alamos).

    UC regents already won one lawsuit over this business... SCO may be violating BSD vs USL.
  • by Aluminum Tuesday ( 317409 ) on Saturday March 20, 2004 @12:13PM (#8621032)
    Coverage and discussion at Groklaw: http://www.groklaw.net/article.php?story=200403192 34017885 [groklaw.net]
  • SCO goal (Score:3, Interesting)

    by lazy_arabica ( 750133 ) on Saturday March 20, 2004 @12:13PM (#8621039) Homepage
    Open-source software--available widely through the Internet--has the potential to provide our nation's enemies or potential enemies with computing capabilities that are restricted by U.S. law


    Sounds like Mr. McBride is really looking for any way to show linux is a danger. But does he really believe to make us think his goal is to protect the world from US enemies ?
    And who is SCO to tell what the US should do with free software ?
    • by dbIII ( 701233 ) on Saturday March 20, 2004 @12:51PM (#8621242)
      First the terrorism card, that gets attention:
      Open-source software--available widely through the Internet--has the potential to provide our nation's enemies ...
      The next pointless claim will be that open source software may cause the exposure of breasts, and we all know that we have to protect our children against breasts, they're just so unamerican.

  • Old News (Score:5, Informative)

    by m.dillon ( 147925 ) on Saturday March 20, 2004 @12:15PM (#8621051) Homepage
    This is old news. The letters sent to the two agencies were simply SCO's standard threatening letter which they sent in December 2003. They're just pulling it out now to create more FUD. Nothing new has happened.

    -Matt

  • by thinkliberty ( 593776 ) on Saturday March 20, 2004 @12:19PM (#8621066)
    linux networx is a canopy company like SCO/caldera is. see: http://www.linuxnetworx.com/news/pr042800_canopy.h tml Now in the news article it says: "SCO sent letters raising the prospect of legal action for using Linux to two Department of Energy facilities, the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory and the National Energy Research Scientific Computing Center (NERSC)." But in this press release it says that linux networx is the one that installed the linux clusters at the LLNL. http://www.linuxnetworx.com/news/8.28.2001.49-Lawr ence_Liverm.html The new lesson of the day is if you do business with anyone funded by the canopy company you risk being sued by other members of the canopy group.
  • by rdean400 ( 322321 ) on Saturday March 20, 2004 @12:19PM (#8621069)
    Read the article. This letter was obtained by a FOIA request by an attorney defending the case against Daimler-Chrysler I believe. It's from the round of letters where SCO claimed various header files were in violation of copyrights related to the UNIX ABI.
  • by gilesjuk ( 604902 ) <giles.jones@NoSpAM.zen.co.uk> on Saturday March 20, 2004 @12:24PM (#8621099)
    He states a computer expert in North Korea can download Linux and create a super-computer. Yet I'm sure the same expert can download some ISOs of Windows from somewhere. Of course one method is legal and one is illegal, but I'm sure they wouldn't care about having unlicensed copies of Windows if they can't purchase legitimate copies.

    I'm sure Darl would sooner they be running SCO software.
    • Having the terrorists running Windows sounds like a good thing to me.
    • by niittyniemi ( 740307 ) on Saturday March 20, 2004 @01:29PM (#8621420) Homepage


      > He states a computer expert in North Korea can download Linux
      > and create a super-computer. Yet I'm sure the same expert
      > can download some ISOs of Windows from somewhere.

      Crikey, you're on to something! Imagine a Beowulf cluster running
      Windows ME......you can't put anything past those filthy Commies!

      With that sort of computing power they could develop any sort of
      weapon you can imagine....knives, axes, sticks....anything is possible

      Clippy: I see you're trying to develop a WMD, can I help?

      If the prospect of that doesn't constitute a clear & present danger
      then I don't know what does.

      I'm for GWB carrying forward the "War On Terrorism" and
      pre-emptively nuking Redmond. Who's with me?

  • Another New Low (Score:4, Insightful)

    by 4of12 ( 97621 ) on Saturday March 20, 2004 @12:27PM (#8621119) Homepage Journal

    This is disgusting.

    Probably the only thing worse would be if SCO were to send out dunning letters to worthy chartible organization that happen to make use of free and open source software in an effort to save money for helping people.

    The sooner that this company's fradulent claims are shot down in flames in the courts and its criminal executive officers charged by the SEC and led in handcuffs to join Ken Lay, the better.

    Were it me, I'd send back a letter indicating that my attorneys were in the process of closely examining your claim and will be contacting you shortly. To expedite our process, please submit supporting evidence of your claim to our counsel.

    I doubt you'd hear anything more from the litigious bastards [suburbanblight.net].

    • by nurb432 ( 527695 ) on Saturday March 20, 2004 @12:55PM (#8621272) Homepage Journal
      While they may lose ( or they may not.. that is still yet to be determined since there hasnt been a judgement on ANY of their claims, yet.. ) that wont instantly mean they goto jail.

      The SEC must prove there was intent to defraud .. If the people at SCO truely belive they are in the right.. then no *fraud* was commited.. just a lot of stupidity .. and last i heard that isnt a crime...

      • The SEC must prove there was intent to defraud...stupidity...isn't a crime.

        You're right.

        I'm sure that will be the defense, if it ever even comes to that.

        And in all likelihood there will only be a husk of a company left after all the legal fees and investor equity has been burned up. Not an attractive target for any private party.

        Government action would be predicated on teh government actually caring to go after them and having enough evidence, weighed against the politics of the action, lobbyists, etc

  • This fits their plan (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Trailer Trash ( 60756 ) on Saturday March 20, 2004 @12:27PM (#8621120) Homepage
    News.com reports that SCO is now targetting the Feds and their supercomputers (the Beowulf clusters, etc.). Looks like they bit off more than they can chew, even before winning a single case.

    They're not trying to win a single case, they're trying to get back in the press in a positive or semi-positive light and get the stock back above $10/share. Suing the federal government will give them exactly what they want: attention.

    Darl and company will likely end up enjoying the last of their days relaxing on a south pacific beach somewhere. Microsoft wants them to do as much damage to FLOSS before they have to flee the country. Winning the lawsuits isn't one of their goals. Understand those facts and the whole thing starts to make some amount of sense.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday March 20, 2004 @12:29PM (#8621130)
    The bit that interested me is the description of the letter SCO sent to every member of the Senate and House of Representatives, which included quotes like:

    "Open-source software--available widely through the Internet--has the potential to provide our nation's enemies or potential enemies with computing capabilities that are restricted by U.S. law," [...] "A computer expert in North Korea who has a number of personal computers can download the latest version of Linux...and in short order build a virtual supercomputer."

    The people who read this letter include people who think like this [cbsnews.com].

  • Serious (Score:3, Funny)

    by LittleLebowskiUrbanA ( 619114 ) on Saturday March 20, 2004 @12:34PM (#8621149) Homepage Journal
    To prove we mean business, we're typing this WITH OUR CAP LOCK ON! (evil, maniacal laugh)
  • Darl's Dead Now (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Ridgelift ( 228977 ) on Saturday March 20, 2004 @12:35PM (#8621155)
    "Open-source software--available widely through the Internet--has the potential to provide our nation's enemies or potential enemies with computing capabilities that are restricted by U.S. law," McBride said.

    Wow, I didn't know SCO was so concerned about saving the world from terrorists. Could someone give these people a humanitarian award please?

    All of this reminds me of something my dad said growing up: Companies can get away with just about anything, until they burn either the government or the military.
  • Eminent Domain? (Score:5, Interesting)

    by voss ( 52565 ) on Saturday March 20, 2004 @12:36PM (#8621168)
    The Federal government might have a pretty good case for Eminent Domain.

    Those labs are multibillion dollar projects.
    The value of the unix source code is not more than the fair market value of the company (ie $300 million dollars) , so the feds could easily begin eminent domain proceedings against SCO in which the US government would take the Unix source code in exchange for fair market value.

    Considering the massive use of Linux in federally funded schools, colleges and universities, settling the IP question once and for all would be worth it.
    Then the federal government could treat the unix source code as a public document.

    Im sure Microsoft would whine but its good public policy to preserve a competitive market.

  • PJ at Groklaw (Score:4, Interesting)

    by LittleLebowskiUrbanA ( 619114 ) on Saturday March 20, 2004 @12:37PM (#8621172) Homepage Journal
    predicted that with their stock recently dropping in price (again) that they would stage another publicity stunt.

    Quote from yesterday before this happened "every time their stock goes down, they escalate the circus"
  • Bring it. (Score:5, Interesting)

    by NatlLabGeek ( 601460 ) * on Saturday March 20, 2004 @12:42PM (#8621197)
    My colleagues and I were wondering if they'd have the guts to consider a suit against the labs. We're a seriously major player in terms of installed nodes and code contributions, and suing one or more of us would get a great stock price bounce. It would also some of the brightest geeks on the planet and lawyers with a bottomless checkbook involved in SCO's world (not that it isn't happening already via the existing suits). They'd also be suing a weapons lab in a time of war and telling them you want to confiscate their classified gear - if you thought the Nazgul were cranky, try threatening somebody with enormous amounts of restricted data and see what kind of badness shows up at your door.

    On balance, I just can't see them doing this. The government can really spank somebody in a million different ways if you irritate them (SEC, FBI, air strikes...) and SCO's got enough to worry about right now. Then again we're talking about a company that thinks it's a good idea to sue IBM, so who knows?

    God, I hope they do it. :)
  • by Cynikal ( 513328 ) on Saturday March 20, 2004 @12:56PM (#8621276) Homepage
    Its ok he's dead now, we're safe...

    AAAHHH!!! there he is again!!!

    *stab* *stab* *stab*

    ok now he's dead for sure this time... we can go on with our lives

    AAAHHH!!! there he is again!!!

    *stab* *stab* *stab*

    and etc
    • Excellent link. When I read this passage from the article:


      "Open-source software--available widely through the Internet--has the potential to provide our nation's enemies or potential enemies with computing capabilities that are restricted by U.S. law," McBride said. "A computer expert in North Korea who has a number of personal computers can download the latest version of Linux...and in short order build a virtual supercomputer."

      I though that when people write crap like this and are dead serious abou

  • by Animats ( 122034 ) on Saturday March 20, 2004 @01:17PM (#8621366) Homepage
    This isn't new. This is one of the letters from the December batch from SCO. It reads just like the one they sent Lehman Bros., which has been filed as an exhibit in Red Hat vs. SCO. Lehman Bros. referred SCO to Red Hat, which blew a hole in SCO's claim that Red Hat didn't have standing to sue SCO.

    None of SCO's desperate attempts to prop up the stock price have worked. Even the announcement of a stock buyback [thestreet.com] propped up the price for only one hour, between 0930 and 1030 last Tuesday. SCOX continues its long slide [yahoo.com]. SCOX closed at 8.71 on Friday. It started the week at 9.5, and the year around 20.

    SCO has reached the point where nothing they can say can help them. Only winning some of their lawsuits can help them, and that looks increasingly unlikely. They have to win three separate suits (against Novell, IBM, and Red Hat) to even start collecting from end users.

  • by MongooseCN ( 139203 ) on Saturday March 20, 2004 @01:52PM (#8621536) Homepage
    SCO: I'm calling the FBI to confiscate all your computers and do an investigation!

    FBI: Sir. We are the FBI.
  • Missing the point (Score:3, Insightful)

    by hwestiii ( 11787 ) on Saturday March 20, 2004 @02:25PM (#8621724) Homepage
    I think that people who see the U.S. government as some behemoth that can devour SCO are missing something. Four years ago, that might have been a reasonable analysis, but now you have people in charge of the govenrment who are actually much more hostile to the institutions that they nominally govern than they are to the industries they nominally regulate or serve.

    This is actually a perfect oppotunity for SCO to walk in, whine about lost IP value, and have a truly sympathetic ear on the other side of the table. The government shut down several nominally free services provided by the government because private industry concerns complained that they were too successful and taking away business from the private sector.

    The Bush administration loves anything that makes a buck, and probably hates things like Open Source software because it sounds too much like Communism.
  • by Stephen Samuel ( 106962 ) <samuelNO@SPAMbcgreen.com> on Saturday March 20, 2004 @02:36PM (#8621782) Homepage Journal
    Groklaw is reporting [groklaw.net] that they simply recieved the same December letter that eeverybody else did, and a lawyer representing other recipients got holdo of it via a Freedom of Information Act request.

    About the only interesting things here are that we now know they've been sending these letters to (pseudo) government organizations, and they've managed to threaten the Regents of the University of California ( thus re-igniting USL vs BSD).

    It's also increasingly unlikely that they did any sort of vetting in terms of who they sent the letters to. Dead Tree SPAM.

  • by -tji ( 139690 ) on Saturday March 20, 2004 @03:19PM (#8622063) Journal
    At the end of the article, they mention letters that SCO sent to every congressman saying:

    "Open-source software--available widely through the Internet--has the potential to provide our nation's enemies or potential enemies with computing capabilities that are restricted by U.S. law," McBride said. "A computer expert in North Korea who has a number of personal computers can download the latest version of Linux...and in short order build a virtual supercomputer."

    Like most of their previous assertions, they don't let logic get in their way on this either.. As if Linux is the threat here.. By this same logic, you would need to outlow Solaris-x86, Windows, *BSD, and anything else running on x86's.. They key to these systems is not the OS, it's the price/performance of these commodity CPU's.
  • by utlemming ( 654269 ) on Saturday March 20, 2004 @04:24PM (#8622470) Homepage
    SCO wanted the general public to think of this case as one of David v. Goliath. However, it is becoming clearer and clear that it is not a David v. Goliath case at all. In the historical David v. Goliath, Goliath picked the fight. In fact Goliath taunted the Isrealites. The would-be David in this case is SCO, and SCO picked the fight. But it seems that SCO did not just limit the fight to one Goliath. Oh no. Getting cocky, while swinging its sling, and a limited supply of ammo, SCO has gone on to pick a fight with a couple of other Goliath's; some of the Goliaths are bigger and some are smaller. But now SCO has decided that by threatening to sue the Feds, SCO has decided to pick on the biggest Goliath of them all. But that is not the best part -- this new Goliath (we'll called it the US Goliath Family) has a family, one that has deep pockets and several methods of persuasion. Between the members of the US Goliath Family you have the FTC, with power to investigate and criminalize the actions of SCO; the FBI, which has the power to investigate rackateering and extortion amoung other things; the SEC, which can investigate the claims of M$ involvement and bring criminal charges for securities fraud; the IRS, which can look into the finances of the company and conduct an expensive and lengthy audit; and several others in the family. SCO has just opened a can of worms, and they had better hope that they are right, becasue if they are wrong, they will have sealed their own coffins.

    The tables have now turned. Several government agencies have said this is a copyright issue. Now that there is a threat that government agencies will be dragged into the equation, there is now a huge financial incentive to look into possiable criminal conduct. The US government does not take well to extortion attempts. Perhaps SCO is doing this out the "spirit" of capitalism. Who knows. But one lesson that I learned quickly well growing up in the Wash, DC area is that when the government gets pissed off at a company things get rather unconfortable for the company. And forget the congressional support. When things start to hit the fan, you can bet that some General is going to have way more power in swaying a Congressman's opinion than SCO will.

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