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SCO Lobbying Congress Against Open Code 907

Posted by timothy
from the da-da-approach-to-business dept.
An anonymous reader writes "Along with suing Novell - it was announced today that SCO has been lobbying Congress about the horrifying ways that Linux and the rest of open source software saves users money, allows others to use the software anyway they see fit and 'gasp' causes SCO to not make as much money as they would like. Along with all of the usual FUD. OSAIA has the details (as well as a rebuke)." Darl's words will seem pretty transparent, even funny, to anyone aware of the widespread acceptance and use of Free / Open Source software (by individuals, governments, non-profits, and even companies like SCO) -- but you might have to point this out to your servants in Congress.
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SCO Lobbying Congress Against Open Code

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  • So... (Score:5, Funny)

    by DragonMagic (170846) on Wednesday January 21, 2004 @07:16PM (#8049499) Homepage
    So when will SCO be lobbying God to stop all these bad things? Seems like the next logical step in that fantasy world Darl lives in.
    • Re:So... (Score:3, Funny)

      by xao gypsie (641755)
      until darl realizes that God released the source to the universe...in which case he will have to make a deal with Satan....oh..wait....nevermind.
      • Re:So... (Score:3, Funny)

        by Anonymous Coward
        until darl realizes that God released the source to the universe...in which case he will have to make a deal with Satan....oh..wait....nevermind.

        Ummm.... last time I checked the universe was encoded. You have the source? I'd love to see it! Maybe we can release a special build without SCO in it!

    • Re:So... (Score:5, Funny)

      by StarTux (230379) on Wednesday January 21, 2004 @07:50PM (#8049862) Journal
      If Darl is Catholic maybe he will do something like this?

      "Dear Pope,

      Being the CEO of SCO, a Holy Company on a Holy Crusade against the Evil forces of Linux and the GPL can you please ask God to strike them down. Knowing these things can take time, can you please publically ex-communicate these Hippies from the Church".

  • Lobbying Impact (Score:3, Insightful)

    by oGMo (379) on Wednesday January 21, 2004 @07:16PM (#8049503)

    SCO will have a major impact I'm sure. They can make their political contributions in stock options.

    • by Not_Wiggins (686627) on Wednesday January 21, 2004 @07:30PM (#8049647) Journal
      Awww... I was hoping the "impact" you were going to talk about would be measured in crater size...
    • Re:Lobbying Impact (Score:5, Insightful)

      by epiphani (254981) <epiphani@dal. n e t> on Wednesday January 21, 2004 @07:31PM (#8049660)
      Dont underestimate this. Go read that letter. Its designed to appeal directly to the politician in every fasion you can possibly do so. It mentions tax revenue losses, US supremecy in world markets, degredation of copyright laws (which RIAA and the MPAA are yelling in the other ear about), and loss of american jobs.

      It stops short of claiming the GPL is the communist revival, but it might as well have.

      I'd like to see us respond. We need someone who might make sense to these people. Some rich american. An IBM exec would do the trick. The usual rants from FSF, GNU or EFF people aint gonna help us here.
      • Re:Lobbying Impact (Score:5, Insightful)

        by rm007 (616365) on Wednesday January 21, 2004 @07:44PM (#8049789) Journal
        While those in power certainly have an interest in protecting American jobs there are a couple of other things to keep in mind. First and foremost, this is an election year. Sure, members of Congress have been made aware of intellectual property issues by the lobbying of the RIAA, but they have also seen what a fiasco that has the potential to be as young children and little old ladies get hauled to court. They may shy away from taking a stand on a complex computer-related intellectual property issue that might also blow up in their faces. Furthermore, although I don't expect politicians to have a sufficient grasp of economics to work this out, Open Source is as, or more likely to be a net creator of American jobs seeing as it has the potential to lower the cost of doing business of all kinds of job producing businesses, even if companies such as SCO may not do well out of it. All in all, I doubt it will have much of a lobbying impact - mostly for the first point I raised.
        • Re:Lobbying Impact (Score:5, Insightful)

          by demachina (71715) on Wednesday January 21, 2004 @11:34PM (#8051750)
          "Open Source is...more likely to be a net creator of American jobs"

          I think you're mistaken if you see it that way. Very few U.S. politicians, if any, will.

          Microsoft's monopoly is a huge job creator in the U.S. and the Washington congressional delegation makes sure everyone knows it. Its one of the few businesses left in the U.S. that has a huge trade surplus with the rest of the world.

          Linux also has a lot more momentum outside the U.S. than it has in the U.S. It is a great equalizer in allowing the rest of the world to gain a foothold in software development that would otherwise be completely dominated by Microsoft and the U.S. Its pretty clear China, the rest of Asia, Europe, Brazil, etc have an incentive to go with Linux so they gain local control of software development, keep money at home instead of sending it to Microsoft and can prevent Microsoft and the U.S. from having a stranglehold on a critical part of their infrastructure. Not to mention the chance the NSA is using Microsoft software to spy on the world.

          The Republicans, who completely dominate the U.S. now, are certain to be complete suckers for an argument that Linux threatens Microsoft and U.S. dominance of computing.

          As soon as Bush and Ashcroft gained power they couldn't move fast enough to knock the legs out of the antitrust case against Microsoft and they are very likely to be eager to protect Microsoft in the future. They will always side with big business against rabal.
      • Re:Lobbying Impact (Score:5, Insightful)

        by darnok (650458) on Wednesday January 21, 2004 @08:04PM (#8050019)
        SCO's documents continue to gloss over several key points:
        - code that e.g. Andrew Tridgell writes for Samba cannot possibly be owned by SCO
        - Samba code is released under the GPL. The GPL says, in effect, "I'm allowing you to use this code under a certain set of conditions". If the GPL is invalid, then basic copyright law will be in effect
        - SCO distributes Samba code, presumably under the GPL. I'm guessing that SCO hasn't negotiated a separate agreement with the Samba guys to distribute their code under some non-GPL arrangement
        - if SCO succeeds in getting the GPL rendered invalid (and that is unlikely since, in this example, it's the Samba guys saying "I'm gonna give you extra rights to use this provided you stick to these conditions..." which is a very common approach to licencing), then SCO is simply breaking basic copyright law in distributing Samba

        In other words, if the GPL is valid, then SCO has no case. If the GPL is invalid, then SCO is breaking the copyright of lots of individual copyright holders. Either way, they lose
        • Re:Lobbying Impact (Score:5, Insightful)

          by InfoVore (98438) on Wednesday January 21, 2004 @09:59PM (#8051055) Homepage
          In other words, if the GPL is valid, then SCO has no case. If the GPL is invalid, then SCO is breaking the copyright of lots of individual copyright holders. Either way, they lose

          I agree, but that isn't what SCO is hoping.

          SCO has argued both directly and indirectly that when the GPL is declared invalid, then any GPLed software will be in the public domain and not covered under ANY copyright protection.

          As far as SCO's officers are concerned, they can use SAMBA or any other GPLed software however they want because its already in the public domain because the GPL is illegal, unconstitutional, immoral, and fattening.

          SCO Group is a bunch of lying, grasping, petty intellectual property thieves. And like most petty people, they see everyone else as being like themselves, only worse.

          For months I couldn't figure out if SCO Group's main problem was that their 'leaders' are terminally stupid or terminally greedy.

          I finally realized that they are both.
          • Re:Lobbying Impact (Score:4, Insightful)

            by Fnkmaster (89084) * on Thursday January 22, 2004 @03:04AM (#8052472)
            The problem is, how could that be? IANAL, but it's rather difficult to put your code in the public domain. With copyright law these days (since the 70s) you don't even need to SAY that it's Copyright Joe Schmoe 2004, it's implied. Even lacking a copyright notice, your code does not enter the public domain these days. And if it said nothing more than a copyright notice, it would definitely not be public domain - you would only have the standard rights to use, compile, fuck with, maybe even modify for educational purposes, but certainly not redistribute in original or modified form.


            No, they couldn't really be hoping that all GPLed code will just magically become public domain. They are just hoping that a judge will come along and selectively strike certain key portions of the GPL license. This is always a possibility, no matter how small. However, to fundamentally change the terms under which thousands of people and companies have chosen, knowingly, to distribute their works seems unbelievable. I'm also not sure that one ruling in one case could lead to a general nullification of the GPL. It would set a negative precedent for interpreting the document, but another judge could come along and rule otherwise (one judicial ruling does not constitute a general affirmative defense for all other cases - so you'd expect such a decision to lead to a flurry of GPL violations and subsequent lawsuits).


            When it comes down to it, it's all about the basic legal theory of contracts (sure, we can say it's a license, it's one way, it's not negotiated, etc. but fundamentally you are getting a set of additional rights in exchange for agreeing to a set of obligations). It's very difficult to prevent people from freely entering into contracts with each other. Unless the terms of a contract are explicitly in violation of existing laws, or the net result of a contract interferes with the basic human rights of one of the parties (like non-compete contracts in California), a court is pretty unlikely to render them all null and void.


            But hey, you never know. The Supreme Court made a completely untenable decision in Eldred v. Ashcroft based on an entirely broken understanding of the Constitution. And this has led to a massive negative externality on all of us, with the loss of the public domain as a meaningful concept.

          • Re:Lobbying Impact (Score:5, Insightful)

            by retards (320893) on Thursday January 22, 2004 @03:10AM (#8052495) Journal
            SCO has argued both directly and indirectly that when the GPL is declared invalid, then any GPLed software will be in the public domain and not covered under ANY copyright protection.

            This is utterly impossible. Just because your licensing scheme is illegal does not invalidate your copyright. For GPLd software to become public domain the US must sack all international copyright agreements and basically reinvent what copyright in itself means... which maybe would be a good thing, but probably quite catastrophic for SCO.

            What does SCO want? As a company, who knows. What does McBride want? Attention, most probably. Money from sold stocks, coming book-deals, and what-not doesn't hurt either.
      • Re:Lobbying Impact (Score:5, Informative)

        by mclove (266201) on Wednesday January 21, 2004 @08:45PM (#8050457)
        The response to this is very simple: Linux is a largely international effort, without US help Linux would still continue on its merry way, and if we want to stay competitive in the global IT market the only option is for our software firms to embrace this movement that we can't stop anyway.

        Or failing that, just point them to IBM and the enormous success they've enjoyed with Linux in spite of the fact that it's free. Microsoft and a couple of patent-mongering UNIX firms may be losing money from this, but everybody else is gaining from it.
      • Re:Lobbying Impact (Score:4, Interesting)

        by molnarcs (675885) <.moc.liamg. .ta. .scranlom.> on Wednesday January 21, 2004 @09:24PM (#8050781) Homepage Journal
        I'd like to see Eben Moglen respond, especially to this:

        Those who designed the GPL readily admit that they created this licence to have the effect of "freeing" software - taking it out of the realm of copyright protection by placing it in the public domain. The author of the GPL is well-known for his view that proprietary software (meaning software as an intellectual asset from which the designer can derive profit) is unacceptable.


        AFAIK, Eben Moglen can be considered one of the authors of the GPL, and I wonder what a professor of law and history of columbia would have to say about this. Isn't there a punishment for slander in the US btw, especially if it can be proved that the difference between public domain and software licenced under the GPL was brought to the attention of SCO on numerous occasions. This is getting more and more ridiculous, and the sad thing is that you are probably right. Seeing the current political climate, this appeals to most polititians unfortunately.
      • by nurb432 (527695) on Wednesday January 21, 2004 @10:20PM (#8051233) Homepage Journal
        When you appeal to their paranoias ( loss of taxes, homeland security, etc ) you set things up for another DMCA type of bill, but with a goal to effectively ban OSS projects.

        Don't laugh.. they can do it.. Regardless of how stupid it might be, or how impractical it would be to enforce.
        • by tkrotchko (124118) * on Wednesday January 21, 2004 @10:36PM (#8051360) Homepage
          They might, but not because of this letter

          Lets be practical. SCO is a tiny business compared with IBM.

          Even in Utah, they are dwarfed by Novell.

          So while MS might not like GPL'd software (they like OSS; there's a lot of BSD in every MS operating system), they're not likely to lobby for something that they know is impractical and moreover would not be good for them in the long run.

          So you have Darl versus IBM. SCO versus Novell. Versus Red Hat, and lots of tech companies that effectively use Linux in commercial products that make money. Just because SCO says its bad, what does that mean? Not much. Especially when you have IBM saying, "No, this is not bad, this is good".

          This is SCO's diversion from the truth. Its the equivalent of flares that planes drop to avoid anti-aircraft missles.
  • by trifster (307673) on Wednesday January 21, 2004 @07:17PM (#8049507) Homepage Journal
    IBM's lobbyists are a helluva lot better paid and effective than SCO's will be...that's a place where SCO will lose in the FUD war. Can't bullshit a bullshiter..
  • In other words? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by StarTux (230379) on Wednesday January 21, 2004 @07:17PM (#8049511) Journal
    Hi, I cannot compete against this, a better product that costs less. Please outlaw it as soon as possible. Competition is just so un-american!

    Is that what he is saying?
    • Re:In other words? (Score:5, Insightful)

      by miu (626917) on Wednesday January 21, 2004 @07:46PM (#8049815) Homepage Journal
      Hi, I cannot compete against this, a better product that costs less. Please outlaw it as soon as possible. Competition is just so un-american!

      If you read the pdf he repeats over and over that the free products are only valuable because they stole from SCO.

      The first couple times he says "in our opinion" and "we believe" regarding the origin of the value of free software, but by the end he is in full rant mode and outright stating that North Korea has received valuable stolen IP via Linux.

      Kind of surprised the lawyers have not muzzled that moron yet.

      • by roystgnr (4015) <roystgnr&ticam,utexas,edu> on Wednesday January 21, 2004 @08:16PM (#8050145) Homepage
        Kind of surprised the lawyers have not muzzled that moron yet.

        I would have agreed with you, back when SCO was pretending it's lawyers were just working on contingency. In that case, the lawyers would be paid only if SCO won the IBM case, and so it would make sense for them to do everything possible (including shutting up Darl) to ensure a victory.

        Now that we know that SCO's lawyers are getting paid even if they lose, we can no longer be certain that they're expecting (or even hoping) to win. In fact, it's possible that SCO's lawyers are quite aware of how they're getting [microsoft.com] paid [sun.com] and understand that Darl's media circus is more likely to extend those paychecks than to curtail them.
    • Re:In other words? (Score:5, Interesting)

      by NaugaHunter (639364) on Wednesday January 21, 2004 @08:15PM (#8050138)
      You make it sound like it's never happened before. In World War II American's were encouraged to grow hemp for the war effort. In the 50's, Dupont saw easily grown hemp as competition. However, he knew better then attack it directly, so his friend William Hearst started a campaign against marijuana, and had hemp criminalized since it was 'hard' to tell them apart.

      This, obviously, is a summary, but the point remains - this has happened before. The only difference is Hearst had a stranglehold on the media industry and therefore public opinion, and all kinds of crazy views are available on the internet.
    • by fermion (181285) on Wednesday January 21, 2004 @08:17PM (#8050155) Homepage Journal
      [ob south park] The Entity

      Mr. Garrison: Excuse me, what the hell are you doing?
      Agent 1: It's alright, we're with the government.
      Agent 2: We're just shutting you down.
      Mr. Garrison: Shutting me down? Why?
      Agent 3: The airlines are in desperate trouble. Your vehicle is causing them to lose money.
      Mr. Garrison: Yeah, well that was the point, dingleberry! put that down!
      Agent 4: Right, so the government is bailing the airlines out again, but shutting you down and making ITs illegal.
      Mr. Garrison: OH, GOD-DAMNIT! You'd better be kidding!
      Agent 5: Sir, many people work for the airlines. We can't let them all be fired.
      Mr. Garrison: THE AIRLINE COMPANIES ARE LOSING MONEY BECAUSE OF THEIR OWN INCOMPETENCE AND THEIR OWN INEFFICIENCY!!
      Agent 6: That may be true. But if you build, sell, or ride another IT, "it" will be the last time. Have a nice night.

    • Re:In other words? (Score:5, Interesting)

      by mormop (415983) on Thursday January 22, 2004 @06:37AM (#8053215)
      Hi, I cannot compete against this, a better product that costs less. Please outlaw it as soon as possible. Competition is just so un-american!

      Funnily enough yes. The strangest part though is that Darl thinks that killing OSS in the US will kill it worldwide. I forsee a problem with this particularly with respect to France and Germany who have Mandrake and (Novell owned) SuSE in their back yards. An attempt to kill off homegrown products in countries that are already wary of the US following the Iraq business could lead to WTO complaints, trade wars, import tariffs on US made software and an even greater determination in the rest of the world to replace proprietry software that would be percieved as being forced on them.

      Even in Microsoft friendly Britain this would have an impact as tariffs applied across the EU would hit all the EU states making OSS a better value choice. I also can't see China, Russia and India reacting too well to the US seemingly attempting to force Linux out of existence in order to provide MS and SCO with a better cash cow. There are 6 billion potential computer users in the world of which 250 (ish) million are in the USA. Making too many other countries feel like they're choice as consumers is being dictated from Redmond/Utah may not be as good for the US economy as Darl thinks.

      With a diminished US software presence in Europe, China and Asia Mandrake, SuSE, Red-Star etc. would probably see a boom in profits and an industry providing support would develop that would generate cash that wouldn't head to Gate's wallet improving home grown companies positions.

      OK so this is a bit doomsday but shit happens and unpredictability is part of the modern world. I mean a year or two ago most people had never heard of Darl McBride, now he's he's one of the most famous arseholes in the IT world.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday January 21, 2004 @07:19PM (#8049553)
    1. Open source software is free, leading management and general users to believe that no one ever should pay for anything software-related.

    2. Open-source products are available to anyone, which led to outflux of jobs out of United States, since a developer in Tanzania knows Apache or MySQL just as well, but is willing to work for 2 kilos of rice a day, unlike their greedy American counterparts.

    3. Open-source projects have never been tested and approved by Microsoft or other reliable software vendors with market cap over 100 billion and public trust behind them.

    4. All open source companies are either bankrupt, or litigating, or in the process of bankruptcy/litigation process.

    5. Open source companies contributed more to the job losses in the software industry than any other company sector. Microsoft had always been hiring and so have other closed-source companies.

    6. Open source does not have a vital business model.

    7. There are many software shops that write little Access-thingies and make thousands of dollars per month. Microsoft had made thousand of millionaires in the software business. Linux so far only earned money for IBM and HP.

    8. As Linus himself shamefully admitted, errno.h was shamelessly copied from SCO Software Development Labs. Thus the terrorist organizations around the world know the error codes for any Linux system and potentially coudl disrupt nuclear reactors and spaceships.

  • by AtariDatacenter (31657) on Wednesday January 21, 2004 @07:20PM (#8049561)
    Run. RUN!!! Run to your local lawmaker and have them change the rules. A play right out of Darl's CEO 101 Handbook.

    Its too late, Darl. You can't preserve your house of cards by hoping someone will change the laws of physics for you.
  • by sphealey (2855) on Wednesday January 21, 2004 @07:20PM (#8049566)
    Darl's words will seem pretty transparent, even funny, to anyone aware of the widespread acceptance and use of Free / Open Source software (by individuals, governments, non-profits, and even companies like SCO) -- but you might have to point this out to your servants in Congress.
    Indubitably. But we need some good, solid, well-written points in rebuttal to include in those letters. Let's see what we can put together in the comments to this story.

    sPh

    • by MacKtheHacK (676673) on Wednesday January 21, 2004 @08:32PM (#8050317)
      How about these for a start:

      1. While the profit motive may be recognized by the Supreme Court as "the best way to advance public welfare through the talents of authors and inventors" (Eldred v. Ashcroft), it is not the only one. The very existance of Open Source software demonstrates that motives other than profit can produce a public benefit and proliferation of knowledge.

      2. The so-called "viral" provisions in the GPL that require any derivitive software to be governed by the same license is perfectly consistent with U.S. Copyright laws. Many software source licenses contain similar provisions regarding derivitive works. The SCO case against IBM is partially built on such a derivitive work provision.

      3. The GPL, like all software licenses, defines the terms under which the software may be used. If someone doesn't like the terms, then they should not use the software. They can develop their own.

      4. The GPL does not require that the software be given away for zero cost, and many proprietary software products exist that make use of (but are not derived from) Open Source software.

      Anyone got some more? We need to address the national security FUD too. Let's build a list here!

  • But ofcourse (Score:5, Informative)

    by snofla (236898) on Wednesday January 21, 2004 @07:20PM (#8049567)
    SCO doesn't mind using Samba [linuxtoday.com].
    • Re:But ofcourse (Score:5, Informative)

      by Rosco P. Coltrane (209368) on Wednesday January 21, 2004 @07:28PM (#8049635)
      The funny thing is, being formerly Caldera, one of the pioneers of truly commercial Linux, they benefitted hugely from other people's work. In fact, they owe their very existence to Linus & gang since 1994, as I somehow doubt they can claim all their revenues since the company was created come from their few non-free bits, such as NetWare for Linux or Wabi.
    • Not just Samba... (Score:5, Informative)

      by The Fink (300855) <slashdot@diffidence.org> on Wednesday January 21, 2004 @07:55PM (#8049912) Homepage
      Don't they use Apache (on Linux, no less) [netcraft.com] as well? Uh, can you say "Hypocrite," Darl? I knew you could.

      ... Sure, Apache != GPL, but still... it's Free Software in both forms.

      Oh, I get it now! "We don't like free software, except on our terms - i.e. when we're using it exclusively, it's O.K., but otherwise, get rid of it already!"

      Geez. They must really, really want to be disliked...

  • Congress (Score:5, Funny)

    by markfive (167272) <w0c6cxk02@sneakemail.com> on Wednesday January 21, 2004 @07:21PM (#8049573)
    "You can lead a man to congress, but you can't make him think."

    - Milton Berle
  • Lobbying Congress (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Eberlin (570874) on Wednesday January 21, 2004 @07:22PM (#8049582) Homepage
    Folks, it's easy to dismiss this as a non-issue but it's a scary thing, this Congress...stuff that doesn't make sense gets passed as law...because corporations LOBBY for it. (not to mention throw around campaign contribution money)

    Also, SCO isn't the only company out there lobbying against Linux. This is something Redmond has been actively pursuing long before, and we know how much of a pull those guys have in American government.

    We may think it's a stupid threat, but folks, I've seen stupider things happen in politics.
    • Re:Lobbying Congress (Score:5, Interesting)

      by chill (34294) on Wednesday January 21, 2004 @07:37PM (#8049702) Journal
      I would be very surprised if IBM, HP, Novell and others don't have lobbiests of their own refuting this b.s.

      IBM seems to be doing okay. They announced better than expected earnings and are anticipating hiring more than previously projected. Yes, many of the jobs are not in the U.S., but IBM probably pays more in sales tax on their corporate lunches than SCO does in total tax.

    • Re:Lobbying Congress (Score:5, Interesting)

      by graveyhead (210996) <`fletch' `at' `fletchtronics.net'> on Wednesday January 21, 2004 @07:40PM (#8049745)
      Agreed. My father is a lobbiest (at the state level, not national), and you would not believe some of the crap they pull. I remember one case where he said he called up all the congressmen's wives and told them the were going to have a hard time finding opera tickets if a bill which directly affected Ticketmaster went into effect. Needless to say, the bill was quickly and mercilessly squashed.

      If the SCO team can convince congress that this bill somehow might affect their own lives personally, this could mean big trouble...

      On the other hand, though, the claims they are making are ridiculous, and they have yet to prove in court that they actually do own part of the Linux code. Perhaps congress will wait for the outcome of the trial before proceeding.
  • by dtfinch (661405) * on Wednesday January 21, 2004 @07:22PM (#8049583) Journal
    I'm just wondering. It'd be awfully funny if it is.
    • by Anonymous Coward
      obviously that depends on the situation:

      -No, if it's about an invasion of another country!
      -Yes, if its about the "invasion" of an intern.

    • by Rosco P. Coltrane (209368) on Wednesday January 21, 2004 @07:40PM (#8049741)
      I'm just wondering. It'd be awfully funny if it is.

      It would appear it isn't. [tripod.com]
    • by Anonymous Coward
      That depends what the meaning of the word 'is' is.
    • Review the testimony of the Tobaco Industry and you would think not...

      Review the testimony of Martha Stewart and you would think so...

      Review the testimony of Ken Lay and you would think not...

      My take is that it doesn't matter what you say. They do what the lobbyist pay them to do...
  • by Rosco P. Coltrane (209368) on Wednesday January 21, 2004 @07:22PM (#8049584)
    SCO has been lobbying Congress about the horrifying ways that Linux and the rest of open source software saves users money, allows others to use the software anyway they see fit and 'gasp' causes SCO to not make as much money as they would like.

    It's akin to saying people who donate their time to help newbies understand computers hurt the bottom line of universities offering CS course. That's silly, people do what they want with what they produce. How can they force people to stop donating what they make?

    Then again, at least regarding the Linux kernel, they argue that part of it is theirs, and therefore can't be "donated", so it makes sense in their perpective, in an odd acid trip sort of way ...
  • by An Anonymous Hero (443895) on Wednesday January 21, 2004 @07:23PM (#8049588)

    ...given our congress' firm commitment against Weapons of Mass Distraction.
  • by Coryoth (254751) on Wednesday January 21, 2004 @07:23PM (#8049589) Homepage Journal
    They claim that Open Source threatens "[The US] continued ability to lead the world in technological innovation/[The US] international competitive position in the global software industry".

    Well, yes, it does. That is only because up until now we have been talking about what amounts to a closed protectionist system via closed formats, software patents etc. Welcome to the free market. That's not to say that the US position in the software industry won't be very competitive, merely that they'll actually have to compete with everyone else on a level playing field.

    Is he arguing that free markets are against US ideology? Interesting take - might even be true from the point of view of some elements of congress.

    Jedidiah.
    • What they tip-toe around is, that more and more, it is the same programmers... Non-US citizens

      All hail the ability of America to produce proprietary software... I mean, pay someone to produce proprietary software! ;-)
    • Ah, the internet (Score:3, Interesting)

      by Mike Hawk (687615)
      Its very interesting to me that someone from a New Zealand domain is so concerned about American politics. Its doubly interesting when that person claims that without US IP law (blah blah I just don't feel like typing it all out everytime), American entities cannot compete in the "free market".

      My question is, how does what American entities do affect you, and why do you care? Can entities from your country (not just NZ but any other) not compete against the American entities in your local markets?

      If the
      • by Aardpig (622459) on Wednesday January 21, 2004 @08:36PM (#8050370)

        My question is, how does what American entities do affect you, and why do you care? Can entities from your country (not just NZ but any other) not compete against the American entities in your local markets?

        When American companies are heavily subsidised by the US government, they are able to sell produce in other countries way below the production cost. Local economies, not benefitting from such protectionist support (since their government rarely has deep-enough pockets), are unable to compete, and are driven out of business. That is how American entities affect companies in other countries.

        The US loves free trade, as long as free trade means "we can dump our products below cost in your markets, but if you try to do business in our markets, we'll slap tariffs over your product quicker than you can break wind."

  • by hcg50a (690062) on Wednesday January 21, 2004 @07:24PM (#8049597) Journal
    This is a sign that SCO believes they might not win in the courts with existing laws, and so must lobby to change the laws to their benefit.

    How they can hope to do this in the face of much better funded and more experienced lobbyists who are opposed to them is a mystery.

    I think it's also a sign that their whole strategy is running out of steam.
  • by borgheron (172546) on Wednesday January 21, 2004 @07:29PM (#8049637) Homepage Journal
    It amazes me that SCO thinks they will be taken seriously by any policymakers when you have the likes of IBM, HP and Apple using Open Source every day.

    Darl, you're an idiot who just doesn't get it. You've got enough lawsuits going (what are we up to now: IBM, HP, Google, ???) might as well add another front to your war.

    Good riddance SCO, you're bound to loose. And you, Darl, will go down in history as the sorriest idiot ever to run a company. You got in and you let the lawyers take over. And to think that SCO was once a decent player in the GNU/Linux arena. Sour grapes, huh? Asshole.

    GJC
  • by multipartmixed (163409) * on Wednesday January 21, 2004 @07:29PM (#8049645) Homepage
    I think the Linux advocates in the crowd should form their own lobby. Then lobby the same people SCO is lobbying.

    But wait -- don't say anything about Open-Source, software, UNIX, Linux, etc.

    Just re-hash the same arguments SCO is making, but in a parody. We should argue that it should be illegal to fix your car in your driveway, since it robs tax-paying mechanics of their livelihood.

    With enough access to the drivel coming out of the SCO lobbyist's mouth, it could make for some pretty hilarious (and pointed) commentary.
  • by Camel Pilot (78781) on Wednesday January 21, 2004 @07:30PM (#8049653) Homepage Journal
    # $version 0.01$

    my $funds = get_money('src'=>'microsoft');
    $funds += get_money('src'=>'sun');
    $funds += get_money('src'=>'baystar');
    $funds += get_money('src'=>'hapless_investors');

    while ( $funds > 0 )
    {
    $funds -= pay_legal();

    sue_someone('target'=>rand);
    public_release('threat'=>rand);
    }

    die;
    &nbsp ;
  • by x136 (513282) on Wednesday January 21, 2004 @07:31PM (#8049659) Homepage
    Noooo, Microsoft isn't behind this at all! Not even a little bit! :P
  • by Anaxagor (211917) on Wednesday January 21, 2004 @07:32PM (#8049666)
    1. The threat to the U.S information technology industry

    "Please legislate to save our industry so we can send it to offshore sweatshops and make gazillions (and those election campaigns ain't cheap hey Mr Congresscritter )."

    2. The threat to our international competitive position.

    "Forget anthrax - Linux is the real WMD!"

    3. The threat to our national security.

    "Forget Saddam - Linus is the real enemy of humanity, and you can add Finland to the axis of evil! Those Finns, what have they done for us recently, with their weird language and dinky little phones."

  • Maybe (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Greyfox (87712) on Wednesday January 21, 2004 @07:36PM (#8049694) Homepage Journal
    Instead of pointing fingers at a bunch of amateur programmers writing code on their own time for fun as being dangerous to their business, they should look at their own piss-ant low-quality product. SCO's embarassment of an operating system didn't noticably change between the first time I had to use it on a 286 machine in the late '80s and the last time I had to use it on a pentium in the late '90's. A timeframe during which, I might add, those amateurs took a barely usable OS kernel and added more features than any commerical UNIX company (Except maybe Apple) had done in the past 2 decades.

    What the hell were the UNIX companies doing during that time? They could have remained competitive. They could have kept up with the times. They could have written the GUI apps that their users wanted. They could have incorporated new coding techniques into their code bases. They could have kept the desktop market. If an unpaid rabble of amateurs could do it, why couldn't these companies, collectively worth billions of dollars? Nevermind Apple, merrily rubbing their faces in how easy it is for a for-profit company to do exactly the same thing.

    If I were a shareholder of the big UNIX companies, upper management would have a lot of 'splaining to do.

  • by Ricin (236107) on Wednesday January 21, 2004 @07:38PM (#8049710)
    Send it to your favorite congressman, err woman, err entity. Point at the words Linux and GPL.

    It might be worth its bucks after all.

  • by druske (550305) on Wednesday January 21, 2004 @07:38PM (#8049715)
    I've got to hand it to McBride, he's finally pushed my buttons. Up until I read his letter, I'd been watching this SCO fiasco from the sidelines. I hadn't been too worried, because I'd been convinced that IBM would prevail in court.

    I have a bit less faith in the average politician's grasp of these issues, though, particularly with McBride going out of his way to spout about "national security" and suchlike. Like any good showman, he knows his audience.

    I'll need to spend a day or two getting the tone and wording just right (polite, reasoned, and respectful), but my Senators and Representatives will be receiving an alternative viewpoint by next week.

    Well, maybe more than one...
  • by gnutechguy (700980) on Wednesday January 21, 2004 @07:39PM (#8049726)
    Here is an interesting article that is in the Salt Lake Weekly:

    http://www.slweekly.com/editorial/2004/feat_2004 -0 1-22.cfm

    In this article, which is really above average, Darl McBride is quoted making the following interesting statement:

    "McBride says SCO revealed the offending code last August at its Las Vegas SCOForum. "Truly, and then they just ignored it," he said."

    Now, I must point out Bruce Perens put his analysis of the Las Vegas SCOforum with hours of it ending last August 18th.

    Link to Perens analysis:

    http://www.perens.org/SCO/SCOSlideShow.html

    Also, Darl misquoted Perens' website so Darl knows it exists. Therefore, for Darl McBride to say that the Las Vegas SCOforum's showing of code "was ignored" is to make a lie that can be documented quite easily.

    Darl McBride: documented liar
  • by whoever57 (658626) on Wednesday January 21, 2004 @07:39PM (#8049729) Journal
    Imagine how fast jobs would go overseas if the US did ban FOSS?

    That giant sucking sound that was in the news a few years ago (about NAFTA) would be back, but this time, it would be real and it would be all the software and services jobs going to India, China, etc., maybe even Europe. Anywhere that was not so stupid as to ban FOSS.

  • by Rude-Boy (25678) on Wednesday January 21, 2004 @07:40PM (#8049735)
    "But a computer expert in North Korea who has a number of personal computers and an internet connection can download the latest version of Linux, complete with multi-processing capabilities misappropriated from UNIX..."
  • Since when ... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by cetialphav (246516) on Wednesday January 21, 2004 @07:40PM (#8049737)
    Since when do companies think they have some fundamental, constitutionally protected right to make money. The RIAA, airlines, SCO. If they have trouble competing or can't make a product that they can sell, they turn to the government. As if its the govenments resposibility to overcome bad business practices.


    It's a free market. If you get things just right, you are free to make tons of money and get filthy rich. (Microsoft) And if you get it wrong, you are free to go the way of the dodo bird and free up capital for those who have a better idea.

    • Re:Since when ... (Score:5, Insightful)

      by greg_barton (5551) * <(greg_barton) (at) (yahoo.com)> on Wednesday January 21, 2004 @11:42PM (#8051805) Homepage Journal
      Since when do companies think they have some fundamental, constitutionally protected right to make money.

      Since the government bailed out the agricultural industry, the savings and loan industry, the airline industry...

      And that's just the last 15 years.
  • by localhost00 (742440) on Wednesday January 21, 2004 @07:42PM (#8049764) Journal
    Next, the Oil companies try to outlaw bicycles?
  • They think that... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by deitel99 (533532) on Wednesday January 21, 2004 @07:44PM (#8049791)
    ...we are firm in our belief that the unchecked spread of Open Source Software, under the GPL, is a much more serious threat to our capitalist system than US corporations realise.

    I dunno, I think the huge US corporations pose a greater threat.
  • by fname (199759) on Wednesday January 21, 2004 @07:45PM (#8049810) Journal
    I think all SCO wants out of this is to get the US Government to pay SCO for licenses (and fund its lawsuits). This would provide a tremendous influx of revenue, and could pressure private companies into doing the same. Lemme quote,
    As part of the effort to protect our intellectual property rights, The SCO Group has met with several U.S. government agencies. We have been encouraged to see that, unique among the organizations with which we've met, most government agencies understand the implications of SCO's case
    (we can be thankful for that at least!). Government agency leaders readily understand the value of copyrights, and they do not want to be in violation. This is in contrast to many corporations, who seem to have a "don't ask, don't tell" policy when it comes to understanding the source of the software they are using.
    Essentially they are butt-kissing and asking congress to force agencies to pay SCO for using Linux. I have no doubt they will fail miserably in that regard, but I'm more worried about the administration issuing an edict which would require agencies to pay SCO's blackmail. Stay tuned.
  • by daVinci1980 (73174) on Wednesday January 21, 2004 @07:47PM (#8049828) Homepage

    I mean, seriously. You can scoff at it all you like, but this is *the most* likely way that SCO will win.

    I think it is very important for each and everyone to take 10 minutes to write your congressman/woman about why Open Source is important and why you feel strongly that they do *not* vote for any bills limiting open licensing.

    Frankly, money talks, especially in Congress. And although SCO isn't wealthy by any stretch, they do have more money than you.
  • Faith based (Score:3, Funny)

    by jefu (53450) on Wednesday January 21, 2004 @07:47PM (#8049842) Homepage Journal
    I suspect that with the current administration the Open Source movement would do well to find biblical injunctions that support the notion of open source and (most especially) the GPL.

    Then the claim could be made that it is faith based and since that is the thing that the administration likes best (after wars, oil and Profit!) it might serve as some level of protection.

    Sadly, a full text search of the King James Bible fails to turn up either the term "copyleft" or "gnu". Though there is the "Gnu Testament", but I don't think that will convince anyone. (Though there may be a connection. Amazon.com tells me that : "Customers interested in The Linux Bible: The Gnu Testament may also be interested in: Free for Christians " Everything is for Christians. Everything is free. . Though that web page seems lacking in much in the way of "Free" software. )

  • Their right (Score:4, Insightful)

    by rsilvergun (571051) on Wednesday January 21, 2004 @07:48PM (#8049846)
    up to a point. Open source is going to drive down the value of software. It prevents lock-in while allowing practically anyone to enter the market for a relatively low capital investment. Perhaps worst of all (from a shareholder's perspective) it allows people to bypass the market entirely, getting the software to run their computers for free.

    Companies based on Open source software are just not going to be as profitable as proprietary software companies with a lock on the market. If they try to be, someone will come along and do it cheaper and just as well.

    • Re:Their right (Score:5, Insightful)

      by mmurphy000 (556983) on Wednesday January 21, 2004 @08:42PM (#8050429)
      Companies based on Open source software are just not going to be as profitable as proprietary software companies with a lock on the market. If they try to be, someone will come along and do it cheaper and just as well.
      By that logic:
      • Companies based on selling commodity products are just not going to be as profitable as companies selling unique products. If they try to be, someone will come along and do it cheaper and just as well. Which is why Wal-Mart went out of business on...oh, wait.
      • Companies based on delivering low-end basic services, like fast-food restaurants, are just not going to be as profitable as companies selling unique services, like fancy restaurants. If they try to be, someone will come along and do it cheaper and just as well. Which is why McDonald's went out of business on...huh, that example didn't work either.
      Point is, there are many axes upon which firms can compete (brand, service level, price, etc.). Open source may hamper some of these axes, but so can other things (e.g., locating a high-end restaurant in a low-income neighborhood may be problematic), so there's no basis in making a general statement about business profitabliity.
  • by RevMike (632002) <revMikeNO@SPAMgmail.com> on Wednesday January 21, 2004 @07:56PM (#8049933) Journal

    Although some slashdotters may diagree with the underlying premise, the way to fight this is by making a private property argument.

    A developer who writes a piece of software, like any author, "owns" his work. It is the fundamental right of every American to dispose of their own property however they wish. This includes the right to give it away.

    McBride argues that congress should essentially sieze any property that is not being used for "conventional" economic gain. This is quite a socialist agenda, and regardless would be prohibited by the fifth amendment of the Constitution.

    Property arguments are very persuasive in the halls of power, and given this argument no congressmen would give Darl the time of day.

    • by Little Brother (122447) <kg4wwn@qsl.net> on Wednesday January 21, 2004 @08:02PM (#8050005) Journal
      Sorry, you're mistaken. Under US law, creators of art and technology do not own their work. They are granted, through authority of the US government a temporary monopoly on the work they produced as an incentive to continue making similiar works. Nowhere in US law is are copyright or patent rights refered to as property. IANAL, but I do know what I'm talking about, or at least so far as the inception of copyright/patent laws go. If I'm wrong, its a recent change in the law and might not even pass constitutional muster.

      So I'm sorry, you can't use property rights to fight this, you CAN however use copyright law and patent law.

      The day we all accept that IP is, indeed "Property" is the day we have lost to the corperations.

      • by RevMike (632002) <revMikeNO@SPAMgmail.com> on Wednesday January 21, 2004 @08:40PM (#8050409) Journal

        Sorry, you're mistaken. Under US law, creators of art and technology do not own their work. They are granted, through authority of the US government a temporary monopoly on the work they produced as an incentive to continue making similiar works. Nowhere in US law is are copyright or patent rights refered to as property. IANAL, but I do know what I'm talking about, or at least so far as the inception of copyright/patent laws go. If I'm wrong, its a recent change in the law and might not even pass constitutional muster.

        So I'm sorry, you can't use property rights to fight this, you CAN however use copyright law and patent law.

        The day we all accept that IP is, indeed "Property" is the day we have lost to the corperations.

        Jesus H. Christ! Do we have to get into this pendantry every time the word copyright is mentioned on Slashdot?

        Yes, you're right. I am mistaken. Authors don't own their work. They do have an time limited exclusive right to their work. That copyright can be bought, sold, leased, traded, given away, mortgaged, or held. In other words, they have a property interest. They don't own the work, but they do own the time limited exclusive right to the work. That copyright is in fact and in law property.

        The Supreme Court of the United States has seen fit to describe a copyright as being property. Note carefully that the copyright is property separate and distinct from the work. One interesting case to look at would be Dowling vs. United States.

  • by tsaler (569835) on Wednesday January 21, 2004 @07:59PM (#8049967)
    The open source movement simply doesn't appear as a potential source of campaign cash to congressmen, so the likelihood of these dolts being convinced to side with SCO and go against open source software is high.

    I spent far, far too long studying politics before I realized how much it absolutely drove me insane, and it's these sorts of things -- complete ineptitude on behalf of this nation's leaders -- that drove me back to compsci. The fact of the matter is that SCO looks like dollar-bills to politicians, and open source looks like some strange threat to democracy (the same way they view 3rd parties).

    I fully expect, and will be very pissed off when/if it happens, Congress to side with SCO's lobbying and proposals.
  • by rueger (210566) on Wednesday January 21, 2004 @07:59PM (#8049975) Homepage
    The only way to bind all software by U.S. export controls is to prevent foreign developers from creating software. "Perhaps SCO believes that only U.S. developers have the 'right' to develop software," OSAIA's Black said. "They should understand that it is a big world, and developers outside the U.S. have helped make the tech industry what it is today."

    Remember when encryption came to browsers, and you had to certify that you were in the U.S. before you could download Netscape?

    I'm thinking that there must be a fair number of software companies that are watching the U.S. government today and are thinking that similar export restrictions could once again become a significant problem.

    I can see a day - say after Al Quaida manages an actual attack via the Internet - when Dick Cheney's mob makes it illegal to sell American software to Foreigners.

    Perhaps some forward looking companies are moving significant parts of their programming offshore just to avoid this possibility.

    As in "American software? No this is INDIAN software, so the American export rules don't apply!".

    • by FreeUser (11483) on Wednesday January 21, 2004 @08:51PM (#8050506)
      I can see a day - say after Al Quaida manages an actual attack via the Internet - when Dick Cheney's mob makes it illegal to sell American software to Foreigners.

      Perhaps some forward looking companies are moving significant parts of their programming offshore just to avoid this possibility.

      As in "American software? No this is INDIAN software, so the American export rules don't apply!".


      I predicted something like this pre-DMCA, where American laws (like the DMCA) and American litigiousness would drive most of the software industry overseas. This was at least five years ago (and posted here on slashdot as well as USENET), and if I recall correctly I said something along the lines of "in five or ten years we will be decrying the loss of high-tech jobs to those overseas, bashing whatever up-and-coming country has usurped our technical lead, and wondering why all the money and jobs had left the US economy.

      I didn't know it would be India (though I speculated India, China, or even Europe would be possibilities), and I didn't know it would happen via outsourcing, but I am unsurprised at the result.

      And yes, I do think the actions of monopolists such as Microsoft and their litigious hired thugs, such as SCO, will drive the remnants of US software innovation overseas, just as the DMCA has already done to some degree (DVD player software and video encoding technologies developed in Europe) and just as the idiotic encryption policies did (gnupg and others are still developed overseas).

      It is a very short step from being an "outsourcing" company for HP to becoming a foreign competitor of HP (perhaps using insider info garnered through previous outsourcing, but more likely simply exploiting the natural expertise gained from doing someone elses work for them and learning to do it better and cheaper than they can).

      This is the decline of the American technology sector, and it is almost a picture perfect imitation of what happened to the American automobile industry. Instead of Shoddy Ford Pintos blowing up we have Shoddy Microsoft Windows contracting every bug and virus under the sun, and instead of Detroit protectionism we have the likes of SCO and Microsoft creating a ripe environment for a competitor.

      That competitor is Free Software, and banning it in America will not make it go away at all. It will simply mean that America has no competative product, while every other nation on the planet does. Sianara American preeminence in software engineering.
  • by Flower (31351) on Wednesday January 21, 2004 @08:12PM (#8050118) Homepage
    Some ideas to include:
    1. Our latest encryption standard (AES) was not created in the US.
    2. SCO is embroiled in multiple litigations and have yet to prove any misappropriations of copyrights that they might not even own.
    3. Linux and OSS might be free for distribution but multi-billion dollar industries have developed for the deployment and support of these solutions.
    4. The Copyright Code explictly allows for the trading of copyrighted works as an incentive. The GPL is essentially a license utilizing this incentive.
    5. Owners of copyright can and do license their code under multiple licenses. GhostScript anyone?
    6. For a small initial investment of money and greater investment of personal time OSS allows a self-motivated individual the opprotunity to improve their job prospects and station in life without resorting to software piracy - an excellent example of the proverbial American Dream.

    This is obviously just the tip of the iceburg. Anyone have more?
  • Hookers (Score:5, Funny)

    by cdn-programmer (468978) <terr@terr a l o g i c .net> on Wednesday January 21, 2004 @08:17PM (#8050160)
    This is like saying that women should not be able to give sex out for free because it competes with the rights of hookers to rent what they got at exhorbitant prices.

    Way to go SCO!!!!

  • Scary... (Score:5, Interesting)

    by jorlando (145683) on Wednesday January 21, 2004 @08:20PM (#8050183)
    I'm impressed with the level of lobying in the US. Any corporation, from Disney, to MS even SCO can lobby it's way in businness through a law... doesn't matter it hurts consumers (I was about to say citizens, but corporations see the people as consumers only - get used, you are a consumer with some citizenry rights that will be eroded little by little until you become just a CONSUMER)

    Copyrights for 75 years? No, Mickey is already 75... let's make 120... Music sales is down? A new tax for CDR, tell people that downloading is thief... who cares if the music is shit? You are a consumer... the new hollywood blockbuster failed? the fucking consumers sending SMS messages and talking to friends that the movie is garbage, destroying a very well planned (and expensive) marketing plan... how dare you have an oppinion? shut up and buy, or else you are a communist, a terrorist or some other "ist"

    Due the trail left by others I don't think that SCO is doomed to failure... I can see even a chance of victory...

    scary...
  • by Red Storm (4772) on Wednesday January 21, 2004 @08:22PM (#8050204)
    If one decides they wish to write a letter to their representative they should also include how voting against open source software can negatively affect their campaign. If you take a look at the current job openings for say the Dean campaign you will see they are looking for people with experience using Firebird, Mozilla and many other non-Microsoft open source products. Voting against Open Source means the politician will have to spend precious dollars on software than on campaigning next time they need to be re-elected.

    Remember, find ways Open Source directly effects the politician and they will be more likely to listen, or tell them how voting against it will cause people to be out of work. They hate that just as much.
  • by SQLz (564901) on Wednesday January 21, 2004 @08:36PM (#8050372) Homepage Journal
    to outlaw something that has been deemed by the courts to be free speach? Outlawing Open Source Software would be like outlawing a book on how to fix a car or be a carpenter because it takes away money from mechanics and real carpenters.
  • by TheSpoom (715771) * <slashdot@ u b e r m00.net> on Wednesday January 21, 2004 @08:59PM (#8050580) Homepage Journal
    Can't these people at least do their homework first? There's so much wrong with this document that it's entirely ludicrous.

    First off, we have the standard "some believe the GPL is in violation of the Constitution". W00t. Way to get as vague as possible and to point out that really only SCO (and perhaps Microsoft) believe this (oddly enough, to their benefit as a company).

    Second, SCO's constant misrepresentation of the Free Software Foundation and the Open Source community in general is very disturbing.

    The author of the GPL is well-known for his view that proprietary software (meaning software as an intellectual asset from which the designer can derive profit) is unacceptable.


    Funny that the FSF itself defines proprietary as software whose use, redistribution, or modification is restricted or prohibited [gnu.org]. I believe what Darl was trying to refer to was commercial software [gnu.org], which can easily derive profit and still be free. Damn, shot yourself in the foot there, eh Darl?

    [The GPL] "frees" the software that is proprietary, licensable, and a source of income from the companies that developed it.


    In reality, again, GPL'd software can derive profit from support contracts, installations, and the like. But nowhere in the GPL does it say that you should link in or otherwise include proprietary code; that's not the goal, the goal is to create BETTER code that does the same thing, and also happens to be free. Yes, perhaps it can "free" a source of income from a company which developed a proprietary alternative, but THAT'S BUSINESS, Darl. There's nothing in the constitution that can get you out of the fact that we live in a capitalist society and if you can't find a way to compete, get out of the business.

    And then, of course, we get to SCO's main point of business, or "proof" that Open Source software is evil; code has been stolen from them and imported into Linux without authorization. For the last time, everyone is asking, WHAT code, and WHERE is it? We will replace it! There's a whole community ready to fix any wrongdoings inside Linux in the blink of an eye. Oh, but wait, telling that would be "freeing" you of your litigation profit stream. I apologize.

    Free or low-cost [ed. contradicted yourself there] Open Source software, full of proprietary code

    And a second contradiction to round out that paragraph.

    Why should a software company invest to develop exciting new capabilities when their software could end up "freed" as part of Linux under the GPL?


    Because of a number of reasons. First and foremost, if they have the superior software, they will continue to own the market. You think Adobe and Photoshop are suffering a lot due to The GIMP? Secondly, because "freeing" software doesn't mean stealing it, even though you blatantly infer that. If any new software is put into Linux, it's either already been released free by its ORIGINAL developer, or it's code that volunteers have created, all their own. There are no bad-faith copyright violations in Linux because nobody knew about SCO's IP "rights" in the first place, and we still don't!

    Our economy has been hurt by offshore outsourcing of technology jobs.


    Hehe... coming from SCO... hehehe.

    The rest of it is BS, mostly (national security?), so I'll leave it at that. Really though, SCO should present something a bit more substantial if they want us to think they're anything more than moneygrubbing lawyers.
  • by Punk Walrus (582794) on Wednesday January 21, 2004 @09:23PM (#8050775) Journal
    ... of those homeless people that sometimes come into the shelter. You know, "I was once a contender! I'll... I'll sue you all! You'll see! The government is EVIL, and the Post Office is spreading... lies! Lies about me! I have been sleeping by the mailbox, and heard what it SAYS! J-jesus will c-come, and... weilding his great sword... will... willl..."

    Come on, SCO. We know, we know. Here's a blanket, you poor, poor man. Have some hot coffee, and a nice warm plate of turkey and gravy. You remember Linus? Your social worker? We were all worried about you. We heard you yelling and carrying on. Linus is glad to see you.

    "He's full of... LIES! He's one of them!"

    There, there. Linus is your friend, remember? He gave you all that nice Open Source medication--

    "Tried to POISON me, he DID! He, he stole those magic pills from ME! You hear me? ARF ARF! Call the guards! Guards! Help me, this man POISONED ME!"

    I understand. You're cold and confused. Off your medication. There, there... we'll make it all better. Now, hand me that butter knife, put poor Mrs. User down, and we'll have a nice chat..."

    "LIES! ALL LIES! I'LL SUE YOU ALL!!!"

    Oh dear. Well, he'll go to sleep eventually. Just keep an eye on him so he doesn't hurt any of the the others, and he'll be fine. Mrs. User, can you just be patient and humor him for a while? He's had a bad business deal, and he's all out of sorts.

  • by ScottSpeaks! (707844) * on Wednesday January 21, 2004 @10:18PM (#8051217) Homepage Journal
    ...this letter is an well-crafted piece of propaganda.
    • It ties the "problem" to all the issues that either party is trying to make the focus of the presidential campaign.
    • It truthfully identifies open-source software as "controversial"... which is true, but only because they (and Microsoft and a few others) are making it so.
    • It describes the movement (OSS), identifies an I've-heard-of-that example to establish that it's real (Linux), and links them together as "Open Source Linux". (Like Communism and Russia became "Communist Russia".)
    • It then ties the entire thing to one of the fathers of the movement (Stallman) and equates the whole of it with his ideology, which - as is typically the case of founding ideologues - is a bit more radical than bulk of those who (vaugely) follow in his wake. Like connecting any Communist state or Socialist party to Marx, or to Lenin.)
    • Likewise, it disparages the GPL by referring to "copyleft", associating it with "leftists" and implying to those without a grasp of geek irony that it seeks to annihilate copyright rather than (in the minds of many advocates) balance it.
    • It uses words like "abetted" and "scheme" with their sinister, criminal overtones.
    • It even uses the "some believe" construct, which passes something that should be tagged "IMHO" as if it were a commonly-held viewpoint. "Some believe that the moon is made of cheese," is true... but so what?
    • And for good measure, it tosses in SCO's unproven allegations about theft of code as if they were admissable evidence.
    Joe McCarthy would have been proud to read this from the Senate floor.*

    *That's my own bit of demagoguery.

  • Open Source != GPL (Score:4, Informative)

    by BitterOak (537666) on Wednesday January 21, 2004 @10:23PM (#8051259)
    Like so many anti-open source people, Mr. McBride is confusing Open Source Software and the GPL. The fact is, there are many open source products released under much less restrictive licenses, such as the BSD license. Also, the "Open Source Community" (whatever that is) does not equal The Free Software Foundation. The FSF has stated as one of its goals the elimination of the commercial software model. There are many programmers who contribute to open source products that do not believe in the goals of the FSF and do believe that commercial and open source software can peacefully coexist.

Philogyny recapitulates erogeny; erogeny recapitulates philogyny.

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