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SCO Fires back, Subpoenas Stallman, Torvalds et al 1145

Posted by timothy
from the subpoenas-envy dept.
SirFozzie writes "SCO has just, within the past hour, announced that they have fired back against IBM's legal broadside, with one of their own, filing subpoenas against several of the biggest names in Linux. SCO filed subpoenas with the U.S. District Court in Utah, targeting six different individuals or organizations. Those include Novell; Linus Torvalds, creator of the Linux kernel; Richard Stallman of the Free Software Foundation; Stewart Cohen, chief executive of the Open Source Development Labs; and John Horsley, general counsel of Transmeta."
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SCO Fires back, Subpoenas Stallman, Torvalds et al

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  • by nate nice (672391) on Wednesday November 12, 2003 @04:14PM (#7457160) Journal
    Lets see how M$ or some other Linux enemy is in some way funding SCO here. There is something going on beyond what we see my intuition tells me.
    • How about a carefully orchestrated conspiracy?

      Did Linus have anything to do with the IBM contract?

    • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday November 12, 2003 @04:18PM (#7457237)
      um MS bought several unix liscences from sco like a year ago. no mysetery really. but the real motive is sco's own greed. it just so happens that it coincides withs MS's goals so they threw some money at it.

    • by NanoGator (522640) on Wednesday November 12, 2003 @04:33PM (#7457510) Homepage Journal
      "Lets see how M$ or some other Linux enemy is in some way funding SCO here."

      No matter how this case comes out, it can't kill Linux. You think if movie studios are forced to pay $700 per Linux box they're suddenly going to switch to Windows and rewrite all their software? Do you think companies will replace their webservers with IIS? Do you think the offending code won't be removed so infringing machines are immediately fixed?

      Why would anybody assume Microsoft funded this? I suppose maybe because it's something Yosemite Sam would do.
      • by Billly Gates (198444) on Wednesday November 12, 2003 @04:44PM (#7457679) Journal
        Easy to give their salespeople an advantage.

        Ms salesmen can use the words "You could be held liable if you use Linux ... " and that would scare them until buying Windows.

        Company Image is big business and being sued and raided can affect your stock price.

  • by Mercaptan (257186) on Wednesday November 12, 2003 @04:14PM (#7457161) Homepage
    "When the elephants fight, it is the grass that suffers."
  • Oh yay (Score:4, Funny)

    by grub (11606) <slashdot@grub.net> on Wednesday November 12, 2003 @04:14PM (#7457163) Homepage Journal

    Swell, Stallman will be rocking in his chair, picking fleas from his beard and muttering "GNU/SCO.. GNU/SCO.. GNU/SCO.." It's like a strawman argument against the millions of free software users..
    • I don't THINK so (Score:5, Interesting)

      by sphealey (2855) * on Wednesday November 12, 2003 @04:19PM (#7457248)
      Swell, Stallman will be rocking in his chair, picking fleas from his beard and muttering "GNU/SCO.. GNU/SCO.. GNU/SCO.." It's like a strawman argument against the millions of free software users.
      Keep in mind the line from The Firm: "Remember - he's smarter than you.". Stallman will be well-prepared by Moglen. He will probably leave SCO's top-notch lawyers tied up in knots by their own questions.

      sPh

      • by _xeno_ (155264)
        From what I've heard about Stallman (including that my mother knew him in the late 70s :)), he is not a good public speaker. I think we all already know that, though - he's caused many an uproar on Slashdot by statements made that have infuriated even people that mostly agree with him.

        If Stallman receives proper coaching, then he probably can do a good job on the stand. But he's not a really good public speaker, and if he's not careful, he could come off badly on the stand. We just have to hope that he

        • by StrawberryFrog (67065) on Wednesday November 12, 2003 @04:58PM (#7457874) Homepage Journal
          From what I've heard about Stallman (including that my mother knew him in the late 70s :)), he is not a good public speaker.

          I saw him speak in public a couple of years ago. He's not bad. Not dazzling, charismatic or magnetic, but calm, insightfull and intelligent. He is no stranger to public speaking and will be on his home turf. I think (and hope) that he'll do fine.
      • I think.... (Score:5, Insightful)

        by Codifex Maximus (639) on Wednesday November 12, 2003 @04:39PM (#7457597) Homepage
        Stallman has been waiting for the opportunity to speak and this subpeona gives him a venue.

        SCO may get more than they bargained for.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday November 12, 2003 @04:15PM (#7457176)
    I bet ol' Brucie is pissed that he's not considered a "big name in Linux" by SCO.
  • by bacon-kidney-pie (717079) on Wednesday November 12, 2003 @04:15PM (#7457177)
    Lawyer: Mr Stallman, can you explain what GNU is? Stallman: Gnu's Not Unix
    Lawyer: Yes, Mr Stallman, but can you please answer the question.
    Stallman: Gnu's Not Unix
    ad infinitum.
    • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday November 12, 2003 @04:22PM (#7457301)
      thanks for not making YET ANOTHER STUPID JOKE about GNU/Linux.

      so I will:

      Lawyer: now, this linux operating system that you wrote...

      RMS: excuse me. Linux is a kernel, not an operating system. if you refer to a Linux-based operating system you should call it GNU/Linux. Also, I didn't write it, I wrote a text editor, a make system, part of a C library, and some other programs.

      Lawyer: right, the new Linux, is that different than the old one?

      RMS: not "new" Linux, GNU/Linux .. Guh-Noo Linn-Ucks. Also, I didn't write the Linux kernel, that guy over there did.

      Lawyer: Okay forget that.. Mr Stallman, when is the last time you bathed?
    • Re:Courtroom Drama?? (Score:5, Interesting)

      by Otter (3800) on Wednesday November 12, 2003 @04:28PM (#7457420) Journal
      Prediction:

      If Stallman makes it into a courtroom he'll wind up with a contempt of court charge against him. I wonder if he can resist pulling his "I'm sorry, I don't know what you're talking about." or "I won't answer unless you ask the question with my preferred terminology." when an attorney uses "free" and "open-source" interchangeably or refers to the "Linux operating system.

      In fact, if I were an SCO lawyer I'd definitely bait him until the judge sanctioned him.

      • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday November 12, 2003 @04:40PM (#7457626)
        You are still operating on the asumption that a SCO lawyer will ever see the inside of a court room for anything other than 1) a bankruptcy hearing or 2) a fraud trial. Too bad too. I would kinda like to see RMS defend the GPL...
      • Re:Courtroom Drama?? (Score:5, Informative)

        by JabberWokky (19442) <slashdot.com@timewarp.org> on Wednesday November 12, 2003 @04:47PM (#7457714) Homepage Journal
        Stallman's precision is less than that of most members of the law profession. The legal system is quite used to Stallman's habit of precise definition and preambles of defining semantics before answering. That's how law works, and to a certain extent, is what constitutes law. The phrase "Intellectual Property" pisses Stallman off because it has no meaning, whereas "Patents, Copyright and Trademark", are three seperate concepts. In law, that's so true there are seperate law offices that work for each of the three... and using the phrase "intellectual property" without referring to one of those three in precision will get you laughed out of court.
        • by rgmoore (133276) * <glandauer@charter.net> on Wednesday November 12, 2003 @05:31PM (#7458292) Homepage

          I strongly suspect that part of the reason that Stallman has such strong views about precision of terminology is precisely because he's been working on the legal side of things for so long. The GPL is as much about hacking the legal system as Linux (err, GNU/Linux) is about hacking computer systems. To create a hack as elegant as the GPL, it's necessary to be pretty well versed in the medium you're hacking, and it seems that a fair bit has worn off on RMS.

  • by Omega1045 (584264) on Wednesday November 12, 2003 @04:17PM (#7457208)
    IBM is actually trying to get some facts with their subpoenas, like offending source code. What does SCO think they are going to get out of Linus? Hopefully he doesn't let them look a the Linux source code..... oh wait.
  • by Perl-Pusher (555592) on Wednesday November 12, 2003 @04:17PM (#7457211)
    He's got my donation anytime!
  • by freidog (706941) on Wednesday November 12, 2003 @04:17PM (#7457222)
    SCO spokesman Blake Stowell said he did not know what the subpoenas asked for, but "I know that some of them have been served."

    They haven't got a clue what they're doing, but they're doing it.
  • thats odd (Score:4, Interesting)

    by epiphani (254981) <epiphani@nospAM.dal.net> on Wednesday November 12, 2003 @04:18PM (#7457227)
    I see how the others relate, but how exactly does John Horsley, general counsel of Transmeta fit into that list? Besides being Linus' old workplace, what do they have to do with all this?

  • RMS (Score:5, Insightful)

    by thoolihan (611712) on Wednesday November 12, 2003 @04:18PM (#7457232) Homepage
    I imagine this is what Stallman wanted, a chance to prove the GPL in court. And involvement in the case may give him legal room to see 'evidence' without signing non-disclosures.

    -t
    • Re:RMS (Score:5, Funny)

      by StormReaver (59959) on Wednesday November 12, 2003 @04:37PM (#7457577)
      "I imagine this is what Stallman wanted, a chance to prove the GPL in court. And involvement in the case may give him legal room to see 'evidence' without signing non-disclosures."

      This has the potential to be really funny with Stallman and Torvalds on the stand.

      SCO lawyer: "And here we have exhibit [x] that clearly shows infringing code in Linux."

      Stallman: "That's BSD code. It worked for a while, but someone else came up with a much better algorithm. That code hasn't been in GNU/Linux for quite some time."

      SCO lawyer (clears his throat in embarrassment): "Moving on to exhibit [x], here is a flagrant example of more infringement."

      Stallman: "I wrote that code myself in the early nineties. I know that for a fact because you didn't even bother removing my copyright notice."

      (the courtroom comes alive in murmurs from the spectators, requiring the judge to silence the room)

      The SCO lawyer finishes with Stallman and calls Torvalds:

      SCO lawyer: "Exhibit [x] shows a Caldera copyright. It also shows that you personally modified it and included the code in Linux. We've got you now, you Finnish smartass!"

      Torvalds: "Your own exhibit [y] shows that Caldera released the original code into the public domain on many different occasions. I originally tried retrofitting it into Linux, and it stayed for a few revisions, but it was so badly written that I was compelled to rip it out. It was replaced by a far superior version written by an Italian contributor on his 12th birthday."

      (the courtroom spectators start to giggle)

      SCO lawyer: "Moving on to our crown jewels, we see that the core of SCO Unix is nearly line-by-line identical to the core of Linux. Try explaining that one, hotshot."

      Torvalds: "Hey! That's MY code! Rather, it's a very early and buggy version of my code. It looks very similar to Linux 0.2. Come on, guys. If you're gonna steal from Linux, at least steal the good stuff. No wonder SCO Unix sucks so bad."
  • Oh dear (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Space cowboy (13680) on Wednesday November 12, 2003 @04:18PM (#7457241) Journal
    Don't take this the wrong way, Gnuites, but I wish they hadn't gone for putting RS up on the stand...

    RS is an idealist, and I honour him for his ideals, but idealism has no place in a courtroom, pragmatism is the rule of law.

    Simon.
    • Re:Oh dear (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Dominic_Mazzoni (125164) on Wednesday November 12, 2003 @04:26PM (#7457377) Homepage
      Don't take this the wrong way, Gnuites, but I wish they hadn't gone for putting RS up on the stand...

      RS is an idealist, and I honour him for his ideals, but idealism has no place in a courtroom, pragmatism is the rule of law.


      Are you kidding? I understand your concerns -- RMS comes across as a total wacko -- but this is the guy who invented the GPL! I think he understands better than most people exactly why free software is on solid legal ground, so I think he'd be a fine person on the witness stand. No judge will have a hard time believing that the last thing in the world he would ever want to do would be to steal somebody else's source code and release it for free. He'd sooner rewrite it from scratch, as he's done hundreds of times before.
      • Re:Oh dear (Score:5, Interesting)

        by Space cowboy (13680) on Wednesday November 12, 2003 @04:41PM (#7457645) Journal
        ... but this is the guy who invented the GPL! I think he understands better than most people exactly why free software is on solid legal ground, so I think he'd be a fine person on the witness stand. No judge will have a hard time believing that the last thing in the world he would ever want to do would be to steal somebody else's source code and release it for free. He'd sooner rewrite it from scratch, as he's done hundreds of times before.


        Yep, agreed. His integrity is up there with the angels.

        I have a horrible vision of the lawyer ripping him apart over the rights of closed-source programmers though. RMS thinks all programs should be free, not by choice but as a part of the natural order of things. Any competent lawyer should be able to do a character assassination on him, and by association the entire open source movement, with that material. I could, and I'm not a lawyer.

        The other poster's comments about him being precise are valid too - he is. And he's a clever guy, but his principles and beliefs, while noble, verge on religious, which will just be ammunition in the hands of a lawyer :-(

        Simon
        • Re:Oh dear (Score:5, Interesting)

          by Ian Bicking (980) <ianb.colorstudy@com> on Wednesday November 12, 2003 @04:55PM (#7457822) Homepage
          I have a horrible vision of the lawyer ripping him apart over the rights of closed-source programmers though. RMS thinks all programs should be free, not by choice but as a part of the natural order of things. Any competent lawyer should be able to do a character assassination on him, and by association the entire open source movement, with that material. I could, and I'm not a lawyer.

          It's not the first time RMS has faced such accusations, nor will it be the first time he has responded to them. It won't be the fifth time, or the 20th time, or the 100th time. The internet gives a public persona a great deal of practice in responding to attacks. People just as intelligent as SCO's team of lawyers have been attacking RMS (at least verbally) for a long time, often with with no qualms about disingenuously misrepresenting his views.

          I'd be much more worried about Linus, who has not been as willing to put himself in the middle of arguments, and is more apt to compromise. He'd be more likely to answer a question honestly, without recognizing the path down which the lawyer is trying to (mis)lead him. RMS won't lie, but he'll know not to offer facts or interpretations in a form that will provide ammunition for the lawyer.

          RMS may be an extremist, but he's not a zealot. He's not blind to the opinions and perspectives of other people, even if he doesn't agree with them.

          • Re:Oh dear (Score:4, Insightful)

            by pohl (872) on Wednesday November 12, 2003 @05:16PM (#7458106) Homepage
            I'll agree that Stallman is rational and that his views are internally consistent, but my understanding is that the word "zealot" just means a "fervent and even militant proponent of something". Synonyms include "drumbeater" and "partisan".

            I realize that "zealot" is used pejoratively around here (perhaps not rightly so) but if one were to use it in a value-neutral sense, it would be a fair charaterization of Stallman.

            (no disrespect intended.)
      • Re:Oh dear (Score:5, Informative)

        by hacker (14635) <hacker@gnu-designs.com> on Wednesday November 12, 2003 @05:24PM (#7458219)
        "He'd sooner rewrite it from scratch, as he's done hundreds of times before."

        Actually, the GPL was penned by Eben Moglen, not RMS. RMS came up with the idea, and Eben made it legally sound and defensible in court.

    • Re:Oh dear (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward
      Yeah, but stallman is also extremely precise when he talks about the GPL and free software. He understands copyright law very well, and has done *EVERYTHING* exactly right and above board, according to the law.

      Linus however worries me, he seems to be so uninterested in the legal system that he might be considered ignorant of it. Remember when he (jokingly) said the best way to handle a patent was to "off the git" who held it?
      • Re:Oh dear (Score:5, Insightful)

        by Pharmboy (216950) on Wednesday November 12, 2003 @04:36PM (#7457565) Journal
        Linus however worries me, he seems to be so uninterested in the legal system that he might be considered ignorant of it.

        He would not be expected to be a legal expert, rather he is responsible for everything that is in the official linux tree. Its not his job to know copyright law and he will tell you flatly that he is not an expert, but he knows what HE wrote, including large parts of the SMP code that SCO is claiming as their own. Its a good thing he is politically apothetic, I would rather see him spending more time coding and less debating.

        He statements on patents was simple: don't research them. The reason is, if you accidently infringe on one, you are liable. If you knew about it and infringed anyway, you are liable for treble damages. ANY shop will tell you the same, programmers should NEVER research patents, thats Legal's job. Its just bad business.
      • by jbn-o (555068) <mail@digitalcitizen.info> on Wednesday November 12, 2003 @06:02PM (#7458585) Homepage
        Linus however worries me, he seems to be so uninterested in the legal system that he might be considered ignorant of it.

        I concur. It is precisely this go-along-to-get-along attitude on issues that control his ability to continue to do what he wants to do that appeal to many Slashdot readers, unfortunately. Torvalds reaffirms apathy by tossing off subjects as unimportant. He is an impressive hacker, but I hesitate to point to his words for informed opinion on political and ethical matters.

        Stallman, by contrast, makes you listen to uncomfortable things like ethical computing--a subject too few other people even approach in their public speaking. Stallman recognizes the importance of the legalized bribery system Americans call campaign finance, and he has said if he had a way to fix it he would do so and nothing could make him prouder. Stallman seems, to me, to be much more in tune with the technological forces that affect our lives as hackers and citizens.

  • by BJZQ8 (644168) on Wednesday November 12, 2003 @04:22PM (#7457292) Homepage Journal
    Here's our good friend Blakey.... Quote... SCO spokesman Blake Stowell said he did not know what the subpoenas asked for, but "I know that some of them have been served." Unquote... I don't know what they hope to prove by service subpoenas on a handful of linux-related people...I mean, don't they technically have to serve some purpose at a TRIAL? Perhaps someday we will actually get to that point...but I think this is more meaningless pump-and-dumping on the part of the SCO people.
  • oh god (Score:3, Funny)

    by oZZoZZ (627043) on Wednesday November 12, 2003 @04:22PM (#7457298)
    Fuck, this is bad.. stallman in court.. jesus christ.. i can't imagine what it'll be like... i feel bad for the lawyers questioning him, it'll be worse than questioning the soup nazi on the last episode of sienfeld.
  • My favorite quote: (Score:4, Insightful)

    by bobdotorg (598873) on Wednesday November 12, 2003 @04:22PM (#7457310)
    SCO's Stowell said his company provided about a million pages of documents in response to IBM's requests. "They are trying to coerce and intimidate," Stowell said, referring to Big Blue's subpoenas. "I think what they're trying to do is that if you're a potential investor in our company or an industry analyst that says anything even remotely favorable toward SCO, you're going to be subpoenaed by IBM."


    Hmmmm.... Sounds eerily familiar to some company trying to extort money by saying that if you use Linux, you may be violating our IP and subject to a big ass lawsuit. Unless you fork over $699 that is.
  • by Tackhead (54550) on Wednesday November 12, 2003 @04:23PM (#7457321)
    > > Has SCO gone completely mad? What the fuck? ?
    >
    > Is SCO completely, utterly, loony? What the fuck? What the fucking fuck fuck?!

    Oh, right. That as me, quoting myself from Septempter, and then from October.

    So, to bring you all up to date. It's November. The proper question is now:

    "Is SCO completely, utterly, apeshit and batshit, half-a-gig-short-of-a-Debian-ISO, stark, slavering, buggo?!? What the fuck? What the fucking fuck fuck fuck [ several dozen instances of the word "fuck" deleted for brevity ] fuck?!?!"

  • by spoonist (32012) on Wednesday November 12, 2003 @04:23PM (#7457323) Journal

    Me: A sphincter says what?

    SCO: What?

    Me: Exactly.

    (paraphrasing from Wayne's World [moviewavs.com])

  • by nightsweat (604367) on Wednesday November 12, 2003 @04:25PM (#7457358)
    Cool, I'll get what I really wanted for Xmas - a smoking charred black lump of coal that used to be SCO!

    I'm leaving out extra milk and cookies this year.

  • by Sri Lumpa (147664) on Wednesday November 12, 2003 @04:27PM (#7457404) Homepage
    Oh dear. Darl probably noticed that their stock didn't go up to $45 but rather went back down to around $14 and panicked and subponeaed a few guys in the lawsuit to make investors believe that they are competently litigating this.

    Luckily the Pump seems to be a bit dry today, even after they opened their mouth; is it a sign that investors are catching on on their scam? I surely hope so.

    Also, being served a subponea hopefully will be the last straw for Linus before he files a copyright infringement suit against SCO.
  • by jeffmock (188913) on Wednesday November 12, 2003 @04:27PM (#7457411)
    That's just f***ing great, now the bar for being a cool guy in free software just got raised. It used to be you just had to write a million lines of useful code. Now you've got to get a subpoena from SCO to be cool.

    "Should we invite Jeff to speak at our little conference?" "Well, he didn't get a subpoena from SCO, so he's probably not that important..."

    jeff
  • by gardyloo (512791) on Wednesday November 12, 2003 @04:28PM (#7457424)
    y'all might want to point your browsers at: http://ars.userfriendly.org/cartoons/?id=20030622& mode=classic
  • by Weaselmancer (533834) on Wednesday November 12, 2003 @04:28PM (#7457433)

    This is nothing surprising. It's SCO's standard delay-as-long-as-we-can tactic. SCO knows that as soon as they actually have to offer up their proof that copied code is in Linux, it won't stand up to analysis, their case will be rejected, and their stock will drop like a stone. It'll be game over for SCO as a company. Their current business model depends on not offering any proof of their claims.

    So why not subpoena everyone, to make things as slow and difficult as possible? I'm surprised Elvis and Bigfoot aren't on the list.

    Kinda reminds me of the negotiations at the end of the Korean war. Every last detail of how the talks were to proceed were argued to death before the talks could begin. There were even provisions as to which direction the delegates sat and how high their chairs were in relation to each other before they'd talk. And the reason was, was that the delegates simply didn't want to be there. Same for SCO.

    Weaselmancer

  • by Saint Aardvark (159009) * on Wednesday November 12, 2003 @04:30PM (#7457464) Homepage Journal
    UTAH - Today, the civil war within The SCO Group Inc (SCOX) became unusually public with the rapid-fire serving of hundreds of subpoenas. The action -- and responses to it from SCO spokesman Blake Stowell -- serve to highlight the increasingly turbulent within its fortified compound for control of the company and its allegedly-valuable and -infringed intellectual property.

    Stowell, spokesman for the company, was unable to explain the latest round of subpoenas in the company's lawsuit against IBM for copyright infringment. When asked what the purpose was, he replied that he had no idea, but"I know that some of them have been served."

    For veteran SCO watchers, this is a sign that the previously-untouchable spokesman may be on the outs.

    "Why wouldn't the spokesman know what was going on?" asked one CIA analyst. "It's his job. But it's little clues like this that give us a suprisingly good idea of what's going on in Utah."

    A source within SCO, speaking on condition of anonymity, confirmed this view of events.

    "Darl [McBride, CEO of SCO] just went crazy the other day when [Stowell] asked what the next step was," he said. "He started asking all sorts of questions about whose side [Stowell] was on, was he wearing a wire, who else felt like this, this sort of thing. He even pulled out his laptop and started Googling for Stowell's name on LKML [a mailing list for Linux kernel developers]. Now we're not allowed to talk to Blake at all."

    "It's a shame, because Blake was one of the moderates," the source continued. "A while back Darl started talking about putting Richard Stallman's head on a pike outside the compound. Said it was the least he deserved. Blake talked him down from that before anything could happen. Now there's very few left to do that."

    However, McBride's hold over the company is anything but absolute, and the future of his leadership is still in question. "There's still a significant group within SCO that are trying to find the combination for the safe where he keeps his shares," said the CIA analyst. "That's why he hasn't left the compound in over six weeks."

    Richard Stallman, founder of the Free Software Foundation, was unavailable for comment. Sources close to the computer guru said he had gone underground. "He saw some guy hanging around the office that he thought was a bounty hunter. That was enough for Richard."

  • by frodo from middle ea (602941) on Wednesday November 12, 2003 @04:30PM (#7457469) Homepage
    The only thing now left for me to see, is "Darl, linux, Stallman et all" on the front cover of Soap Opera Digest.

    This drama is giving all those soaps a serious run for their money.

  • by spagnitz (676520) on Wednesday November 12, 2003 @04:35PM (#7457551)
    boils down to "No GNU'S is good GNEWS"
  • What about Cox? (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday November 12, 2003 @04:36PM (#7457561)
    Didn't Alan Cox write a lot of the "offending" code? Besides being far more important to Linux than many of the subpoena'd people.

    That part about Caldera (now SCO) supporting his writing the very code they are suing over might cause problems for them, though...
  • SCOundrels (Score:5, Insightful)

    by oldstrat (87076) on Wednesday November 12, 2003 @04:39PM (#7457607) Journal

    So this is it.

    SCO takes off the wrapper and makes it absolutely clear that it intends make an attempt to destroy Open Source.

    There can be no other reason for delivering subpoenas on Stallman and Cohen, to a lesser degree Torvolds.

    They are going to go after the license, they almost _have_ to try and discredit GPL after distributing the code themselves.
    They can't shine a light of accusation at IBM until they have done so.

    I think it's time that the FSF put a call in to the ACLU.
    Even with the help of IBM this portends to be big, dirty and long.
    The stakes go much deeper than software they go to the heart of freedom and a free society.
  • by JSBiff (87824) on Wednesday November 12, 2003 @04:41PM (#7457648) Journal
    Well, perhaps in a courtroom he will present himself a little better. Hopefully Eben Moglan will get him cleaned up, and prepped on what to talk about. Don't get me wrong: I like Richard Stallman. But, I've seen him at some Linux conventions, and some of the hardlines he takes makes him a good target for Red-Baiting.

    I dunno, I just remember thinking at the shows I saw him at that, well, he's very good at evangelizing geeks about Free Software. But put him on the stand in a courtroom, or in some other very public setting, and he might do a good job of alienating the general public.

    I truely hope that I'm wrong. Really, I do. Let's just say I think RMS might need to work on his people skills, and personal appearance, a little bit before getting on the witness stand.
  • by why-is-it (318134) on Wednesday November 12, 2003 @04:42PM (#7457655) Homepage Journal
    I read in an interview that Linus suspected that he could be drawn into this lawsuit, although he wasn't particularly interested in being drawn into a disagreement between SCO and IBM over contractual arrangements.

    It's surprising that they didn't include Bruce Perens and/or ESR in their list. Those two have been pretty involved in pointing out SCO's FUD. SCO even implied that ESR was being paid by IBM to attack them!

    I'm not sure what the point of sending a supoena to RMS is though. Perhap the braintrust at SCO is unaware that free software != open source software? I'm sure he would be happy to send them a copy of the free software manifesto. It might not hurt if he sent them a copy of the BSD ruling as well.

    If SCO ever had a plan beyond:
    1) Sue IBM

    2) Get bought out by IBM
    3) Profit
    they are doing a very good job of hiding it. It just looks like one ad-hoc decision after another. Since they initiated the proceedings against IBM, the chewbacca defense isn't an option, and it is difficult to see any coherent strategy at work here.

    Of course, slashdotters are not the intended audience. SCO is playing to the analysts who will repeat what they have been told about SCO's claims being legitimate in order to keep those share prices up there. It is obvious that SCO is not interested in speaking to people who know something about software and technology.
  • by karlandtanya (601084) on Wednesday November 12, 2003 @04:56PM (#7457849)

    Attorney: Isn't it true that you stole code from SCO?

    Geek: Yes.

    Attorney: What? So, you did steal code from SCO?

    Geek: No.

    Attorney: I'm confused, now, did you or did you not steal code from SCO?

    Geek: Yes.

    Attorney: Your Honor, I would like to treat this witness as hostile.

    The Court: The witness is directed to answer only "yes" or "no".

    Attorney: AAAARRRRGH!

    Geek: Hmmm...Is is Sept 19 already?

  • SCOs' Strategy (Score:5, Insightful)

    by jte (707188) * on Wednesday November 12, 2003 @04:56PM (#7457852)
    This may seem perverse to members of the OS community but by serving subpoenas to Linus Torvalds and Richard Stallman, I'd say SCOs' PR strategy (via legal recourse) is aiming to discredit them as leftist/socialist/communist subversives (don't laugh) to the American pro-capitalist mainstream.

    Consider SCO statements that claim "the GPL is unconstitutional" or the philosophy motivating linux is to "destroy commercial software".

    I'll bet the questions directed toward them will include references to RS social contentions posted on his web site and perhaps if Linus Torvalds is - "a devoted communist, like your father".

    the mind is its own beautiful prisoner

  • Fire back?! (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Anita Coney (648748) on Wednesday November 12, 2003 @04:58PM (#7457873) Homepage
    Mmm... IBM requested proof of SCO's claims. That's how our system of "justice" works, the plaintiff files a case then proves it by providing evidence.

    In alleged response to IBM's request, SCO filed a bunch of its own subpoenas. Exactly how is that "firing back"?! The only way SCO could "fire back" is by responding to IBM's request, i.e., PROVE ITS CASE!!!

    SCO's subpoenas are nothing but a delay tactic. It's an attempt to avoid firing back as long as possible. SCO is not ready to let the world know it has absolutely no proof.

    For any SCO supporters out there, ask yourself this: If SCO had evidence, why is it STILL hiding it?! An author cannot sue another author for plagiarism, but refuse to tell exactly what was plagiarized!

  • by meplaysocr (715112) on Wednesday November 12, 2003 @05:13PM (#7458054)
    Business Professor: Now Students, we are going to learn about business models today. Forget what you have learned about supplying a product or service to a client, that way of making money is old school.

    Business Student: But if a company has nothing to offer, how can they make money?

    Business Professor: *shakes head* There is a new approach we are going to call the 'Legal Model.' In this model you don't need a product or service, but good lawyers. You see, you get a good law firm and you target innocent people, twelve year olds are good, or even large businesses. It does not matter the reason, in fact, the stupider the reason, the more you look to gain from it. Inveritably someone will invest in your cause, your stock will go up and whether you are bought out or win, you stand to make money. Helps to use bully tactics to force settlements out of people as well.

    Business Student: But how do you plan to pay for the lawyers?

    Business Professor: Oh just give them a large percentage if you are bought out or win the law suits. Lawyers are suckers for those types of deals. It's actually incentive for them.

    Is this the Business Model of the Future?
  • by Kjella (173770) on Wednesday November 12, 2003 @05:28PM (#7458268) Homepage
    "So, Mr. Thorvalds, did you describe SCO as, and I quote, 'smoking crack'?"

    "Yes, I did."

    "Do you stand by that description."

    "No, I do not. It would be an insult to crack-smokers everywhere."

    Kjella
  • Yay! (Score:5, Funny)

    by Greyfox (87712) on Wednesday November 12, 2003 @05:53PM (#7458507) Homepage Journal
    Hopefully Linus or RMS will get the chance to use the line "It's absolutely true your honor. This man (McBride) has no dick" in court.
  • by EricTheGreen (223110) on Wednesday November 12, 2003 @05:56PM (#7458538) Homepage
    Just in case anyone is getting wrongheaded expectations of RMS and/or Linus appearing in a courtroom anytime soon, these subpoenas most likely are asking for either: a) depositions relative to discovery or b) specific documents, answers or background information relative to one of the issues being considered at trial. Nothing terribly exciting here, although it does make for a catchy headline.

    I mention this because a number of posts speculate on "the GPL finally going to trial" or some such as a consequence of this. That may very well happen, but not as an immediate result of this. So those of you awaiting the "GPL Final Combat" should probably sheathe the swords for a little while longer...
  • by adeyadey (678765) on Wednesday November 12, 2003 @07:50PM (#7459787) Journal
    are belong to us..

    Darl..
  • by hqm (49964) on Wednesday November 12, 2003 @09:56PM (#7460723)
    I just posted this in an earlier SCO story, but I thought it was worth posting again -- I sent a letter to our congressman, Barney Frank (D- MASS), about SCO's abusive use of the court system. He sent this reply:

    - - - -
    September 26, 2003

    Dear Mr. Minsky,

    I share your view that the suits being brought by the SCO Group
    against the users of the Linux system are an entirely inappropriate
    use of the legal systems for broader corporate purposes. While I have
    not been able, obviously, to examine these in detail, the suits do
    not appear to me, from what I have read, to have any merit, and in
    fact seem to be motivated, as I said, by an effort simply to prevent
    the use of Linux for competitive reasons.

    There is, unfortunately, a very limited role for Congress here. I
    agree with those who would like to see us "stop SCO from punishing
    innocent consumers to inflate its other legal claims." But under our
    separation of powers doctrine, Congress has no role whatsoever to play
    in the pursuit of particular cases. We can pass laws which prevent
    certain types of suits from being brought, but it is very, very
    difficult to pass those in a way that would be retroactive ? that is,
    that would apply to existing suits. And the problem with this suit is
    not that it is of a sort of legal claim that is inappropriate to
    bring, but that it is totally unjustified on the merits. In other
    words, the remedy here is for these suits to be dismissed on their
    merits and Congress has no role, as I have said, in doing that.

    I am prepared to join in expressions of extreme disapproval of what
    SCO is doing, and I will be consulting with my colleagues to see if
    there is a movement to do that. I hope that will have some impact on
    them. All of these lawsuits brought against individuals will of course
    be dismissed but I realize that is of little consolation to people
    who have had to go through the trouble and expense of defending against
    them. It may be that at some point a judge will act decisively enough
    in this regard to prevent this proliferation of suits, and while, as I
    said, our Congressional role is very limited here, I will be
    encouraging anything we can do along these lines.

    Barney Frank

FORTRAN is a good example of a language which is easier to parse using ad hoc techniques. -- D. Gries [What's good about it? Ed.]

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