Forgot your password?
typodupeerror
Caldera Operating Systems Software Unix Your Rights Online Linux

SCO Derides GPL, Will Revoke SGI's UNIX License 681

Posted by timothy
from the darl-knows-bad-letters-when-he-sees-them dept.
ComaVN writes "Not a big surprise for those who have followed the recent SCO misery, but SCO is going after SGI. According to SGI, SCO intends to terminate their Unix System V license, much like they did with IBM earlier. I guess it's hard to stop once you've chosen a certain direction for your company." sheddd writes "Does this case have any merit? Joe Formage has written a good article on SCO's strange behavior." Read on below for SCO's odd tactic of attacking the GPL by belittling IBM's legal diligence in not avoiding GPL'd software, and word on why Linux users aren't being served SCO invoices.

larry2k writes "PR newswire has an open letter from SCO to IBM.

From the letter: 'SCO believes that the GPL -- created by the Free Software Foundation to supplant current U.S. copyright laws -- is a shaky foundation on which to build a legal case.'" The release is also carried by NewsForge. Among other things, SCO says "By so strongly defending the controversial GPL, IBM is also defending a questionable licensing scheme through which it can avoid providing software indemnification for its customers."

Doesn't supplant mean "replace"? That's not what the GPL does.

And if you're wondering why you have not received an invoice from SCO for any Linux-based OS you may be running, benploni writes "From Groklaw: In this Detroit News story Blake Stowell explains why no one has received an invoice: 'SCO in August said Linux users could avoid lawsuits by paying a one-time fee of $699. The fee will rise to $1,399 on Oct. 15. Since the response to its appeal was adequate, SCO didn't send bills to thousands of Linux users, company spokesman Blake Stowell said.' [emphasis added]. We all knew there was no way they'd risk actually sending out invoices, and here's the proof."

This discussion has been archived. No new comments can be posted.

SCO Derides GPL, Will Revoke SGI's UNIX License

Comments Filter:
  • Stock? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by geeveees (690232) on Wednesday October 01, 2003 @02:00PM (#7105391) Homepage Journal

    How much did their stock go up by announcing

    this? Why is everyone so "blind" to this?

    • Re: Stock? (Score:2, Funny)

      by Pommpie (710718)
      Because (most) people are rabidly stupid.
      • Re: Stock? (Score:2, Insightful)

        by Anonymous Coward
        No, individuals are smart, people as a whole are stupid. (And yes, that includes here.)
    • Re:Stock? (Score:2, Insightful)

      by johndoesovich (691840)
      What I would be interested is seeing another round of them dumping stock. How is this not flagging anything with the SEC? It seems a bit strange to me. From what I could tell after the last "big" news, executives started dumping stock. Hmmmm, let's see how we can pin this on George Bush like we are the rest of the scandals that are hitting corporate america these days.
    • Re:Stock? (Score:5, Informative)

      by Shadwhawk (561728) on Wednesday October 01, 2003 @02:11PM (#7105567)
      Up over 10%. [yahoo.com]
    • by eddy (18759)

      Word is that the Salt Lake Tribune(?) published one of those "SCO -- which is a 'best performing stock' with +800% -- is run by nice Mormons, IBM is the evil Goliath"-articles today.

      • by _Ludwig (86077) on Wednesday October 01, 2003 @02:45PM (#7105981) Journal
        Here it is [sltrib.com].

        The state's best performing stock belongs to SCO Group Inc., the Lindon-based software developer locked in legal disputes with IBM Corp. and Red Hat Inc. over allegations that parts of the Linux operating system are identical to SCO Group's Unix program. SCO Group's shares are up 854 percent so far this year. "We have become much more aggressive this year in protecting our intellectual property," SCO Group spokesman Blake Stowell said. In addition, SCO Group reported its first-ever profits during the past two quarters and expects to report another profit next quarter. "We've also announced some big licensing deals," Stowell said.

        There's also a dryer, less rah-rah note on the filing for extension here [sltrib.com].

      • by TopShelf (92521) *
        There's a small snippet in here, [sltrib.com] but it doesn't really meet the characterization you noted. It's more like basic newspaper reporting - a couple facts, a couple quotes, more a note about stock performance than anything else...
        • by JordoCrouse (178999) on Wednesday October 01, 2003 @03:30PM (#7106658) Homepage Journal
          Here is a very slanted view of the Canopy Gropu published this past Sunday:

          Littl Tech Titan [sltrib.com]

          I'll let you reach your own conclusions.

          • Lauro DiDio (Score:3, Informative)

            by ccwaterz (535536)
            Hmm... Laura DiDio, the "analyst" that signed the NDA and commented on the similarities of the disputed code is quoted in here.

            What's the connection?

            Lauro DiDio, an analyst with the Yankee Group, said it is obvious that in Yarro, the torch has been successfully passed from the mentoring hand of Noorda.
            "In his day, Ray Noorda was very forward-thinking, able to focus in on the trees and yet still see the forest and beyond," she says. "He had a public persona as a sort of svelt Santa Claus, but behi
          • If you have issues with it, here's how to submit a letter to the editor or a longer op-ed piece:

            http://www.sltrib.com/help/forum.asp

    • Re:Stock? (Score:5, Interesting)

      by Hettch (692387) on Wednesday October 01, 2003 @02:34PM (#7105839)
      A friend of mine is a broker, and she has been trying to sell SCO short for several weeks, but all the investors have it tied up so that no one can sell the stocks short. Sad, actually. It'd be a good way to make some quick cash.
      • Re:Stock? (Score:3, Insightful)

        by Jboy_24 (88864)
        It is interesting that when SCUMX was at $10, everyone was clammering to short the stock. Some wise posts said "Be carefull, if it continues to go up, your broker might cancel your margin and force you to buy the stock at a higher value for your loss"... I wonder how many people got burned because sco went to $20.

        Sure the stock is garbage, and its probably being pumped, but that doesn't mean it will go up further before the crash.

        if you shorted the .com stocks at IPO, even though 90% are trading (if still
    • Re:Stock? (Score:3, Funny)

      by infochuck (468115)
      I for one look forward to serving our new SCO overlords, and toiling in their silicone mines!
  • by Gr33nNight (679837) on Wednesday October 01, 2003 @02:00PM (#7105393)
    Hey, look on the bright side. At least SCO is going after people bigger than they are instead of 12-year old girls.
  • Relax (Score:3, Funny)

    by Brahmastra (685988) on Wednesday October 01, 2003 @02:01PM (#7105407)
    It's only a matter of time before IBM lawyers destroy SCO. Just sit back, relax and watch SCO lawyers and IBM/SGI/other lawyers get into some serious battle. When it's over, SCO won't exist anymore and slashdot will run out of topics.
    • Re:Relax (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Bill, Shooter of Bul (629286) on Wednesday October 01, 2003 @02:11PM (#7105571) Journal
      The article mentions at the end that SCO has asked that the trial date be set back so it can have more time amending its briefs. The court trial is not expected to start until 2005. It would be much easier to relax, if the trial had started. Right now, Sco has managed to create an atmoshpere of (and they all said...) Fear, Uncertainty and Doubt. IBM is fine it can hold SCO at bay, but its obviousl that sco is not going to wait for the conclusion of the IBM trial before going after other companies ( several of which do not have the money to hire a hoard of lawers to defend them).
    • So Naieve (Score:3, Insightful)

      by turgid (580780)
      SCO may not take down IBM, but it certainly could take down poor, withered SGI. What you forget is that it would be in IBM's interest to let SCO kill SGI, and all of its other competitors. When SCO has finished squashing the weak, IBM will tread on SCO and splat it into non-existance.
      • Re:So Naieve (Score:3, Insightful)

        by Tony-A (29931)
        What you forget is that it would be in IBM's interest to let SCO kill SGI, and all of its other competitors.

        In a word, no!

        It is to IBM's interest to be Number One.
        In a world with very strong and healthy numbers 2,3,4,...
        So much better than being number one in a game nobody else wants to play.

        With strong and healthy competition, IBM is a very safe bet. Without the competition, Information Technology is something you want less of, not more of.
  • by motorsabbath (243336) on Wednesday October 01, 2003 @02:02PM (#7105420) Homepage
    Since the response to its appeal was adequate, SCO didn't send bills to thousands of Linux users, company spokesman Blake Stowell said.'

    Too bad - I'd love to hang up such an (otherwise ignored) invoice here in my office. SCO can kiss my ass in Macy's window during a One Day Sale.
  • Fantastic News! (Score:5, Insightful)

    by 0x0d0a (568518) on Wednesday October 01, 2003 @02:02PM (#7105423) Journal
    At this point, due to SCO screwing everyone over, no company is going to be willing to ever touch another OS based on propriatary code licensed from someone else again. They've been burned once -- not again. Given that an in-house solution is insanely expensive, this just adds more impetus to the Linux push.

    The Penguin just gets bigger and bigger.
  • well... (Score:5, Funny)

    by greechneb (574646) on Wednesday October 01, 2003 @02:02PM (#7105432) Journal
    I will revoke SCO's UNIX license effective October 3rd, 2003.

    Hey, I have as much legal right to do it to them as they do!
    • Re:well... (Score:2, Funny)

      by Anonymous Coward
      I will revoke SCO's UNIX license effective October 3rd, 2003.

      Hey, I have as much legal right to do it to them as they do!

      Wouldn't you first have to give them a licence, in order to revoke it?

      1) Send SCO a licence for Unix.
      2) Revoke the licence, with appropriate publicity.
      3) ???
      4) Profit.

  • by CatGrep (707480) on Wednesday October 01, 2003 @02:03PM (#7105443)
    It's clear that Darl has no intellect left and therefore no intellectual property, therefore his claim to intellectual property is null and void.
  • Indemnification DDOS (Score:5, Interesting)

    by SeanTobin (138474) * <byrdhuntr@ h o t mail.com> on Wednesday October 01, 2003 @02:03PM (#7105445)
    "By so strongly defending the controversial GPL, IBM is also defending a questionable licensing scheme through which it can avoid providing software indemnification for its customers. We continue to urge IBM to provide legal indemnification for its Linux customers"

    SCO has been shouting that since the beginning. My bet is they have a legal DDOS already planned to sue every single one of IBM's customers. By IBM providing indeminification, they would be swamped responding to the individual claims. It may be hard to take out a 800lb gorilla with a slingshot, but half a million mosquitoes will suck one dry.

    Meanwhile, it does not look like SCO's case against IBM is likely to be settled any time soon. SCO has also filed a motion with the court in Utah asking for more time - until February 4, 2004 - to amend its pleadings and add parties. The case is not expected to go to trial until 2005.

    I remember an article or discussion in the last week about Darl getting a bonus and the freedom to cash out more stock once SCO has 4 consecutive profitable quarters. Febuary 4th would round this out nicely. Then Darl is free to jump ship and watch it burn. I'm sure someone will post the link below :)
    • by swillden (191260) * <shawn-ds@willden.org> on Wednesday October 01, 2003 @02:27PM (#7105754) Homepage Journal

      My bet is they have a legal DDOS already planned to sue every single one of IBM's customers. By IBM providing indeminification, they would be swamped responding to the individual claims. It may be hard to take out a 800lb gorilla with a slingshot, but half a million mosquitoes will suck one dry.

      I don't think so. To do this, SCO would have to pay to file and prosecute all of those lawsuits. Such a move might make sense in a situation where the DDOSer has vastly more resources than the recipient, but that is obviously not the case here.

      No, I think the plan here is what has already been mentioned many times: If SCO can get all of the major Linux players offering indemnification then they can really cramp the growth and development of the operating system. Why? Because all commercial users will feel obligated to obtain indemnification. That's a little bit bad because it would mean that only large Linux providers can sell to businesses, but the real kicker is that it would limit commercial users' ability to modify and enhance the software.

      That may seem like a non-sequiteur, but it's not. Look at HP's indemnification scheme: you only get indemnity if you run an unmodified version, unless you go through an as-yet-undefined (and probably expensive) process to get HP to cover your modified version. Why is HP limiting their indemnity this way? Because they have to. There's absolutely no way they can give blanket indemnity, because their customers could do things like tossing a bunch of, say, SCO Unixware code into Linux and then expect HP to take the heat.

      IBM and any other company that offered indemnity would also have to limit the applicability of their guarantees, which would therefore limit the usage and development of Linux. That might give Unixware a better chance to compete, but I suspect the real reason is that it would work towards Microsoft's goal of slowing, FUDding and generally interfering with Linux.

    • by Alizarin Erythrosin (457981) on Wednesday October 01, 2003 @02:30PM (#7105786)
      I believe you're looking for this post on Groklaw [weblogs.com].

      I'm posting in a snip of my comment I posted in relation to said post linked above... hopefully my math is right :-)

      In the best case, he won't be fully vested for approximately another 3 years! By then SCO will probably be in ruins and the stock worthless. Although he does have some stock options available to him, they are nowhere near the bulk of what he was awarded that hasn't vested yet.
      Here's my math, assuming he was hired in June 2002 (as somebody posted above):

      Total stock options: 600,000 It doesn't specify when he was awarded these 600,000 shares but let's assume it was Q4 2002 (salary for fiscal year 2003). Options vested Q4 2003: 100,000 The remaining 300,000 options of his 400,000 "performance" options will be vested 8333.33(repeating) per month for the next 3 years.

      Now, let's assume that somehow they remain profitable until the end of the year, making it 4 quarters in a row. First profitable quarter: Q1 2003 Options vested Q1 2004: 50,000 Options vested Q4 2004: 150,000

      So based on my lame math, in December of this year he'll have 100,000 shares vested, with another approximately 75,000 by end of Q1 2004. Do we really have to listen to his mouth spew crap for another 3 years (assuming best case scenario for their finances) until he can sell off all his stock? Or do we really think they can keep the FUD machine running for another year so he can get the rest of his stock options.

      I highly doubt it. Once this goes to trial the stock will probably bomb as they are forced to reveal their evidence and IBM lays the smackdown.

      Let's hope my math is right... :-)


      And you may be right on this indemnification crap. IMNSHO it's a bunch of bull. Does it matter if you indemnify your customers? Protect them from SCO lawsuits that are illegal anyways? SCO doesn't even with its Linux license. I wish somebody in a high position would step up and tell them to cut the indemnification crap because they don't even offer it in their illegal (oops, did I say that out loud?) Linux license.
  • Same old same old (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Aspasia13 (700702)
    This is just the same old "All your codebase are belong to us" tactic as we've seen before. [ And yes, I understand the irony of using the same old joke for the same old story ]
  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday October 01, 2003 @02:03PM (#7105449)
    Master plan : Sue anybody with a 3 letter acronym.

    Lookout PBS, you're next.
  • ulterior motives? (Score:4, Interesting)

    by spamchang (302052) on Wednesday October 01, 2003 @02:03PM (#7105454) Journal
    look for stock dumping by SCO execs after news of this hits the market.
  • Open Letters (Score:5, Insightful)

    by aborchers (471342) on Wednesday October 01, 2003 @02:04PM (#7105455) Homepage Journal
    SCO's attempt to try this case in the tech media through "open letters" makes it increasingly obvious that this is a FUD campaign inteaded to impress investors and easily cowed corporations who will heel to their extortion. If they had a legitimate case, they would be filing new and improved court documents, not open letters...

  • License Fee (Score:5, Insightful)

    by WebBug (178944) on Wednesday October 01, 2003 @02:04PM (#7105466) Homepage Journal
    I don't you would be particularily wise to pay SCO their fee until after a trial decides just how shaky their ground really is. Why? Because if they lose the lawsuit, then SCO can pretty much say goodnight and you'll never see your tuppence again.

    IBM is pretty savy for adopting an open source project as one of their main OS offerings, largely because it does provide them with a certain level of insulation from OS problems, but also because it provides them with considerable developement power at minimal cost.

    Let us not forget that Apple has pretty much put their entire future into an open source OS as well, for pretty much the same reasons I think.

    It just makes sense to me to build your OS upon a common open source framework. More compatable, more developers, more solutions to problems.

    Ya, there are hoards of problems with that approach as well, but I think they can be succesfully managed.
  • by emacnabber (682085) on Wednesday October 01, 2003 @02:04PM (#7105471)
    I live in the Provo area and the rumor I'm hearing from Novell employees is that IBM is looking to adquire Novell...
  • Stupid SCO (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday October 01, 2003 @02:05PM (#7105477)
    SCO's actions are much like intentionally walking up to that big, slobbering rabid dog and yanking it's chain. Hey, if they want to piss in the pool, they better not want to drink from it later. They claim the GPL is shaky. Following that logic, a majority of the code in Unix, for example, certainly must have been written by somebody by somebody else. If the GPL doesn't hold, according to them, then are they going to infringe on the rights of whoever actually DID write those millions of lines of code, even if they don't know who those people are?
  • by EvilStein (414640) <spam@pbRASPp.net minus berry> on Wednesday October 01, 2003 @02:08PM (#7105521) Homepage
    What's the address? I figure that sending them a photocopy of my ass will be worth more than their "license" will be.
    At the very least, it'll be more entertaining. Heh.
  • by imadork (226897)
    Sounds like it's going to be a cheezy article.
  • by zeasier (708695) on Wednesday October 01, 2003 @02:12PM (#7105583)
    You know what SGI is going to do if they lose their Unix lisence. The same thing IBM did, they'll start to use Linux even more in their business. SCO needs to shower their clients with gifts instead of alienating everyone Unix and Linux related. Linux seems to be faring well regardless of all this mess. Who's really getting screwed is commercial Unix.
    • Wrong (Score:3, Informative)

      by k98sven (324383)
      You know what SGI is going to do if they lose their Unix lisence. The same thing IBM did, they'll start to use Linux even more in their business.

      Yes, SGI is going to do the same thing IBM did.
      However what IBM did was NOT to use linux 'even more'
      (it's only been 6 months since their license was 'terminated, and I don't see any major changes in IBMs stance on AIX)

      What IBM did was: nothing. Both IBM and SGI have irrevocable Unix licences.
      They both know this, and so does SCO.

      This is all SCO posturing to giv
  • At this rate they won't have any customers left by the end of the year.
  • by Anonymous Coward
    Yesterday Mattel announced [divisiontwo.com] a special version of Linux would be powering its upcoming line of Barbie B-Book laptops for little girls, and also said it would indemnify all of its customers against possible legal action from SCO.
  • Indemnification (Score:5, Interesting)

    by TrailerTrash (91309) * on Wednesday October 01, 2003 @02:15PM (#7105620)
    IBM has alleged that SCO copied parts of GNU/Linux into its products, such as the Linux Personality module.

    WHY ISN'T SCO OFFERING ITS CUSTOMERS INDEMNIFICATION AGAINST IBM'S CLAIMS???????

    SCO has shown that they believe that indemnifying customers over alleged violations of IP is critical to a business. Why won't they offer it themselves?
  • Grab your popcorn! (Score:5, Interesting)

    by beldraen (94534) <<moc.liamg> <ta> <risialptnom.dahc>> on Wednesday October 01, 2003 @02:15PM (#7105626)
    It's only going to get weirder than this, now. I was asked once why a colleague was always causing problems. It seemed impossible to figure out why he did what he did. My comment was--you're assuming there is a real purpose behind his actions. Sometimes, people simply operate at a level above their intellectual capacity and what you take for malice is merely an inability to comprehend the consequences of their actions. So far, in my humble opinion, McBride has acted rationally within the precepts of his beliefs. For whatever reason, he believes that he owns the very concept of Unix; therefore, he will do whatever he can to make that appearance occur. He will open his company to lawsuits (tying up his goal to owning all of Unix) if he attempts to bills; therefore, they've changed their view again. This is called cognitive dissidence in psychology--bring your attitudes inline with your actions when your original attitudes contradict acted behavior. The old "given a choice between changing one's mind or proving you don't have to, nine times out of ten people get busy on the proof." My guess is that they're diligently working on the suits for a bunch of other people (continue scare) and digging up all they can on the history of Unix to attempt to pervert it even more (continue fud). And, they have to kill BSD as a loophole for source; otherwise, they're in deep doo-doo in court since it seems they didn't realize that what they took is from BSD. On the other hand, they could do something completely different. Just because they are rational with in their beliefs, doesn't mean they're predictable; hence, grab some popcorn for your morbid curiosity and watch, like I am. Hell, it's better than anything on Fox. :o)

    Bel, the mostly sane..
    • Finagle's Law [reference.com] "The perversity of the Universe tends towards a maximum"

      Hanlon's Razor [reference.com] "Never attribute to malice that which can be adequately explained by stupidity."

      It's only funny because it's true.

    • by swillden (191260) *

      I was asked once why a colleague was always causing problems. It seemed impossible to figure out why he did what he did. My comment was--you're assuming there is a real purpose behind his actions. Sometimes, people simply operate at a level above their intellectual capacity and what you take for malice is merely an inability to comprehend the consequences of their actions.

      And sometimes, people are simply nuts. And it happens a lot more often than most would expect.

      A good friend of mine and I have worke

  • by i_want_you_to_throw_ (559379) * on Wednesday October 01, 2003 @02:16PM (#7105627) Homepage Journal
    he might be viewed as bit of a nut job.

    You might be interested in reading this article at MetroActive.com [metroactive.com]

    Excerpt:
    In the chapter "My Contact," Firmage writes that in the white-hot weeks leading up to USWeb's IPO, a year ago, he was awakened by his alarm at 6:10am one morning but then he decided to hit the snooze instead of going to the gym.

    "A remarkable being, clothed in brilliant white light, appeared hovering over my bed in my room," he writes. "Out of him emerged an electric blue sphere, just smaller than a basketball, which was swirling with what looks like electrical arcs. It left his body, floated down, and entered me."

    Firmage soon founded the International Space Sciences Organization with $3 million of his own money to administer a project he called "Kairos," a Greek word meaning "the right moment" or "a critical time." Firmage believes we live in a "kairos" in which humanity is finally advanced enough to comprehend alien beings.

    Not that Joe is wrong but this is just another interesting insight into this guy.

    I loved the point he made about what if Physics, etc were developed based on proprietary interests. zinnnnnnnnnnnnng!
  • by mike449 (238450) on Wednesday October 01, 2003 @02:25PM (#7105729)
    In this case they can not redistribute any GPL software without prior authorization of its copyright holders. If they distribute it and deny the GPL legal status, they open themselves to copyright infringement suits from thousands of companies and individuals. These suits will not mention GPL at all.
  • /. and SCO (Score:5, Interesting)

    by xanadu-xtroot.com (450073) <xanadu.inorbit@com> on Wednesday October 01, 2003 @02:32PM (#7105804) Homepage Journal
    OK, this is getting a bit obvious (to me, anyway).

    There's an article refering to SGI's stuff (The Linux in Hollywood one) this morning and now McBride starts pointing a finger at them too. I wonder how many SCO FUD Spinners read /. waiting to see who to go after next.

    /me grabs his tin-foil hat (and continues to play with the 2.6 RC...).
    • SCO vs. The World (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Kjella (173770) on Wednesday October 01, 2003 @02:48PM (#7106055) Homepage
      I wonder how many SCO FUD Spinners read /. waiting to see who to go after next.

      Hell, I hope they take away all the Unix licences of everyone that has contributed to Linux. But pick on one 800lb gorilla, you might have a case. If you go after a flock of them, you look like a raving madman. Which is why I think this is all talk. They'll spread more FUD, but not actually sue SGI or revoke their licence. They'll say that they could, but are busy dealing with IBM and collect damages from SGI later (in a more FUDified way, of course).

      Kjella
  • by CheechBG (247105) on Wednesday October 01, 2003 @02:35PM (#7105853) Homepage
    Assume for a second that I was completely clueless as to the verbage and the scope of the GPL. Also assume for a second that I am a sysadmin of Linux servers (I know, I know, this is a hypothetical) and I am served with notice from SCO. I pay the US$699 x however many servers I have.

    Now, when this case finally gets to trial, and SCO loses (God willing), could the company turn around and sue for extortion/other illegality, since it has been proven in court that SCO has no legal basis to enforce/collect licensing fees?
    • by Zathrus (232140) on Wednesday October 01, 2003 @02:50PM (#7106085) Homepage
      Sure you can. If they billed you.

      Of course, if SCO was stupid enough to send anyone a "bill" for Linux licensing, and was further stupid enough to do it through the mail, then they'd be subject to US laws regarding mail fraud.

      If you simply pay them money for "indemnification" without having been billed for it there's all of jack you can do. You gave them money. Did you have to? No. So why the hell did you?

      If they send you a receipt for having paid for the "protection" then you might have a case, but I doubt it. IANAL. If you really want an answer, pay the money to SCO and then go get legal consul. Or do so beforehand, although you'll pay far more than $700 for legal consultation and research.
    • ...could [my] company turn around and sue for extortion/other illegality, since it has been proven in court that SCO has no legal basis to enforce/collect licensing fees?

      Depending on how the license you buy from SCO is phrased, probably not.

      If you buy a license from SCO, you are, in effect, placing a $700.00 bet on a roulette wheel that:

      1. SCO will win its litigation against IBM (unlikely in the extreme), and,
      2. The Court will grant SCO rights of action against an unbounded number of Linux users who canno
    • Assume for a second that I was completely clueless as to the verbage and the scope of the GPL. Also assume for a second that I am a sysadmin of Linux servers (I know, I know, this is a hypothetical) and I am served with notice from SCO. I pay the US$699 x however many servers I have.

      Now, when this case finally gets to trial, and SCO loses (God willing), could the company turn around and sue for extortion/other illegality, since it has been proven in court that SCO has no legal basis to enforce/collect lic
  • validity of GPL (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Crispy Critters (226798) on Wednesday October 01, 2003 @02:36PM (#7105859)
    From SCO's "open letter": "The GPL has never faced a full legal test, and SCO believes that it will not stand up in court."

    In other words, SCO is saying, "We believe we have no legal right to distribute a huge amount of the software that we are in fact distributing." Which member of their legal brain trust thought that one up?

    This is much different from simply encumbering the Linux kernel, which is what would happen if there really were one million billion gazillion lines of modern copyrighted SysV code copied directly into Linux. They want to sell UNIX(R), so killing the kernel would be fine to them. But a lot of their business depends on GPLed code. They can't kill the GPL and have a surviving product line. The only way to get around this is to claim that all GPLed code has really been put in the public domain (against the specific written intent of the copyright holders). This is a legal theory almost too bizarre to put into words.

    I am happy to entertain any explanation of SCO's behavior as something other than fraudulent stock manipulation, but I haven't heard any that can explain their actions.

  • by morelife (213920) <f00fbug@nospaM.postREMOVETHISman.at> on Wednesday October 01, 2003 @02:44PM (#7105971)
    The creativity of Darl hath no end, having come full-circle past the point of being amusing it is now becoming inspirational !!

    Had Darl and Co. applied all this effort and creative thinking toward the improvement of OpenServer and Caldera Linux they might have had a customer base and a little revenue these days..

    Somehow their reputation has always been a ball and chain - I remember someone on the net posted (around 1995) in a newsgroup - "I'd rather have my spinal cord pulled out through my asshole than have to do system administration on SCO Unix."

  • by The Lynxpro (657990) <lynxpro@gma i l . c om> on Wednesday October 01, 2003 @02:47PM (#7106020)
    ...watching two senior citizens pummel each other with legacy computer equipment; one using a Commodore PET computer and the other a Trash-80...

    Then again, people do buy those *Bum Fights* DVDs...

  • by JonnyElvis42 (609632) on Wednesday October 01, 2003 @02:50PM (#7106081)
    From the SCO Letter:
    We [SCO] continue to urge IBM to provide legal indemnification for its Linux customers.

    Now why, oh why, does SCO want that? Well, one reason that occurs to me is this: IBM has been fairly unaffected by SCO's suite against them. They're not cowering in fear or hiding under rocks or anything. SCO would like IBM to look worried because, well heck, if I'm going to make flagrantly ridiculous accusations against somebody who could squish me like a bug, and nobody believes me, nobody's going to put up much argument when it's squish-time. So here's what SCO has to gain:
    1. If IBM (or Redhat) were to indemnify Linux users, that's as good as saying they're not so sure of their case. HP can get away with it because they haven't been targeted and probably won't be before the thing is over. Besides, for them, it looks good. So one thing SCO wants is for IBM to show a tiny bit of uncertainty in public instead of all this "SCO's claims are without merit." and "The Earth is not flat." stuff that they keep throwing around.
    2. The second reason is a little more complicated: Right now, SCO has a huge legal staff devoted to protecting a large corporation. Right now, if SCO were to choose a bunch of Joe-Linux-user types (not companies using Linux, but individuals), it would look really bad, and they'd have to fork over their evidence soon, since for $699, that's small claims court, and it's not that easy to delay a small claims trial for the next two years or so. So, with no indemnification from IBM, it's not at all practical to sue the little guys. If IBM is indemnifying them though, it works well for SCO to attack all of the smallest users they can find. IBM is able to defend itself perfectly well, but if SCO were to go RIAA-style and start with a few hundred or even a few thousand Linux users, and IBM had to defend them or pay up, IBM is not so well equipped. They'd have to hire a bunch of lawyers on the side to take care of it which would cost money and create a huge sideshow to mask whatever SCO's goal is.
    So there you go. Unless SCO is actually concerned about Linux users. Ha! Can you see it?

    SCO: Hey IBM, we're really concerned about your users. We're worried that we might accidentally catch them up in our extortion scheme. How bout you pay us off and nothing bad happens?
    IBM: *stomp*
    SCO: *squish*
    • I think the explanation is probably simpler, and some docs (e.g. the Renaissance Ventures stuff) on the indispensible groklaw [groklaw.com] back up this hypothesis:

      SCO really thought IBM would quietly settle. They probably pissed their pants when IBM called their bluff. So they are trying to exert pressure on IBM thru IBM's customers by stirring up this idea of indemnification.

      For me, this hypothesis passes the "Ockham's Razor" test. Simple and believable.
  • SCO's strategy (Score:5, Insightful)

    by xihr (556141) on Wednesday October 01, 2003 @03:00PM (#7106252) Homepage

    I suspect SCO's strategy was much like what the new guy in prison is supposed to do: Go nuts and beat somebody up your first day, and people will treat you with respect. They want to wring licensing fees out of people, so they need to get a big, powerful company to bow down to their threats. For some strange reason they chose IBM, a company not exactly known for their reluctance to litigate (unlike Microsoft, IBM actually defended itself against antitrust claims from the government and won).

    It's clear now that the strategy isn't working; IBM isn't having any of it, and while it certainly has generated some concern and doubt in the business community, SCO isn't going to be collecting any significant royalties anytime soon (in fact they're not even prepared to yet). But when your cards are on the table and you've only got the road ahead of you, I suppose you have to see it through, even if you realize you have a bad hand.

    I wonder if SCO will even exist as a distinct company five years from now. I suspect not.

  • My prediction (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Stonent1 (594886) <(ten.kralctniop.tnenots) (ta) (tnenots)> on Wednesday October 01, 2003 @03:02PM (#7106270) Journal
    IBM buys SGI. Just as a way to piss off SCO without bending to their whim.
  • Open letter from SGI (Score:5, Informative)

    by Booker (6173) on Wednesday October 01, 2003 @03:04PM (#7106296) Homepage
    • This is really useful. SGI, with full access to both Linux and SysV code have done an "exhaustive investigation" (what no phantom MIT mathematicians?) and concluded that there are some fragments of code that are common but trivial in number and type (likely already public domain).

      So, either there is a stack of code in SysV that SGI doesn't have access to, or there is no actionable similarity between Linux and SysV and SCO is full of crap. Take your pick.
  • Prank (Score:3, Funny)

    by Tomster (5075) on Wednesday October 01, 2003 @03:17PM (#7106464) Homepage Journal
    I've decided that Darl McBride is pulling the most elaborate corporate prank ever conceived. I have found no other rational explanation -- and I refuse to believe the only other rational alternative (that the man is insane).

    -Thomas
  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday October 01, 2003 @03:19PM (#7106488)
    SCO has also revoked your birthday.
  • by mark-t (151149) <markt@@@lynx...bc...ca> on Wednesday October 01, 2003 @03:43PM (#7106846) Journal
    Copyright law states that a copyrighted work cannot be distributed without permission from the copyright holder. There are no exceptions.

    Copyright law does not stipulate what conditions must be established in order for permission from the copyright holder to be recognized. These conditions are entirely at the discretion of the holder of the copyright.

    The GPL outlines the terms and conditions that person must agree to in order to have legally recognized permission from the copyright holder to distribute a GPL'd work.

    People who do not agree to the terms of the GPL and still distribute the work are therefore in violation of plain old ordinary copyright law.

    What SCO doesn't seem to "get" is that the GPL does not force derivative work contributers to fork over their copyrights - they still own those. What it *DOES* do is force derivative work contributes to do is not be able to distribute derivative works without subjecting it to the terms of the GPL. This is possible because in a derivative work, some or all of the code copyrighted by someone else and released under the terms of the GPL is usually still included in the final package. If a person were to disagree with the terms of the GPL, yet still distribute their derived works, they would also be distributing some or all of the original author's work without recognized permission (the upshot of this is that if a derived work no longer happens to contain any code that was originally released under the GPL by someone else, then the GPL does not actually have to apply to the derived work). Ultimately, it appears that the only *possible* reason to feel like the GPL's terms and conditions are unfair is if one's primary form of code reuse is "copy/paste" (which can carry copyright ramifications anyways, if you are copying code you didn't write).

  • by dR.fuZZo (187666) on Wednesday October 01, 2003 @04:29PM (#7107461)
    If SCO has no problem revoking licenses to IBM and SGI, then why should anyone think SCO would think twice before revoking any of those $699 licenses they're pusing on Linux users?
  • by Izago909 (637084) <tauisgod@@@gmail...com> on Wednesday October 01, 2003 @04:49PM (#7107691)
    I'm interested in seeing their first couple of SCO's quarterly financial reports after they can't collect money from IBM and SGI. They just need to get sun and a couple other vendors to stop paying, and they will only major source of income may be litigation. I can't imagine too many people adopting their products and services with their legal record. Their only income besides litigation would be vendor lock-in.

HELP!!!! I'm being held prisoner in /usr/games/lib!

Working...