Forgot your password?
typodupeerror
Caldera Government Software The Courts Your Rights Online Linux News

SCO Names 1st Lawsuit Target: AutoZone [Updated] 1252

Posted by timothy
from the suddenly-I-need-auto-parts dept.
An anonymous reader writes "News.com reports that SCO has filed the first (of two) soon to be infamous lawsuits. This one is aimed against car part retailer AutoZone, a multi-billion, Fortune 500 company according to the site. Who's next?" Another reader excerpts from SCO's posted claim: 'AutoZone violated SCO's UNIX copyrights by running versions of the Linux operating system that contain code, structure, sequence and/or organization from SCO's proprietary UNIX System V code in violation of SCO's copyrights.' Update: 03/03 16:28 GMT by T : njan writes with the news that SCO just announced during their ongoing conference call another lawsuit, this one "to be filed against Daimler-Chrysler, alleging that they are infringing SCO's copyright by using code relating to 'core operating system functionality' of SCO System 5."
This discussion has been archived. No new comments can be posted.

SCO Names 1st Lawsuit Target: AutoZone [Updated]

Comments Filter:
  • by tverbeek (457094) on Wednesday March 03, 2004 @09:42AM (#8451037) Homepage
    According to Netcraft, Autozone.com runs on Solaris, using an IBM-modified version of Apache. I wonder if their "disloyalty" to SCO's Unix (in addition to using Linux) factored into their choice of which customer to sue.

    Or perhaps SCO hopes to take on Sun as well?

    • by CrudPuppy (33870) on Wednesday March 03, 2004 @09:44AM (#8451053) Homepage
      Let's hope AutoZone countersues the living daylights out of SCO.

      Would this qualify as extortion or racketeering? =)
      • by TopShelf (92521) on Wednesday March 03, 2004 @09:50AM (#8451124) Homepage Journal
        The most likely course of action, I would think, is that AutoZone will get both the injunction and the rest of the lawsuit put on hold pending the outcome of the IBM/SCO wrangle. In the meantime, it will merely act as a potential financial risk of minimal severity.

        It's not like this is a company using Linux to derive their core revenue (like a hosting company, for example) - they are using it more as an operational tool. For them, this is an annoyance, not a critical business threat...
        • by arkanes (521690) <arkanes@nOSPam.gmail.com> on Wednesday March 03, 2004 @10:04AM (#8451270) Homepage
          The AutoZone case, at least from what we've seen so far, doesn't have anything to do with the IBM case. They aren't claiming the use of Linux infringes, they're claiming that AutoZone (with the help of IBM) ported it's inventory/kiosk applications from OpenServer (or was it UnixWare?) to Linux, and that they did so in part by using SCO shared libraries that AutoZone didn't have the rights to move off of the OpenServer systems.
          • by mistered (28404) on Wednesday March 03, 2004 @10:27AM (#8451481)
            Of course the unfortunate thing is if this case is as you suggest, it may just have merit. And if SCO wins in court or AutoZone settles, does anyone think the press will note the distinction? I can see a headline of "SCO wins suit against company for using Linux."

            • by fritz1968 (569074) on Wednesday March 03, 2004 @10:43AM (#8451619)
              And if SCO wins in court or AutoZone settles, does anyone think the press will note the distinction?

              The press probably will not note the distinction. However, a court of law would. The future ruling/settlement would have nothing to do with the IBM, Novell or Red Hat cases.
              • by Shakrai (717556) * on Wednesday March 03, 2004 @11:03AM (#8451812) Journal
                The press probably will not note the distinction. However, a court of law would. The future ruling/settlement would have nothing to do with the IBM, Novell or Red Hat cases.

                Not to state the obvious but the court of public opinion here is just as important (if not more so?) then the courts of law. If SCO wins with their FUD then we are all screwed.

                I can imagine a future where anybody using Linux is automatically labeled a "hacker" or some other such label by ignorant congresscritters/others in power who have bought into the SCO FUD -- "What? Your using Linux? Why? Do you share movies or something?"

                The best thing that could happen here is for SCO to lose and be exposed as the money grubbing litigious bastards that they are. Microsoft's (alleged) involvement being exposed wouldn't hurt either -- shitty software/security aside it'd be nice to expose their ruthless backstabbing business practices to John Q. Public.

                However if SCO wins this (or any other lawsuit for that matter) -- and I'm sure they picked something with at least a little bit of merit (they aren't stupid) we could be in serious trouble. You think the FUD and the public perception (DoS attacks against SCO's website don't help us here any) is bad now? Just wait and see how bad it gets if they win one of these...

            • by Pig Hogger (10379) <pig,hogger&gmail,com> on Wednesday March 03, 2004 @10:51AM (#8451709) Journal
              And if SCO wins in court or AutoZone settles, does anyone think the press will note the distinction? I can see a headline of "SCO wins suit against company for using Linux."
              Unlikely. A settlement will most likely include a confidentiality clause.
            • by pjrc (134994) <paul@pjrc.com> on Wednesday March 03, 2004 @10:57AM (#8451762) Homepage Journal
              if this case is as you suggest, it may just have merit

              To have merit, SCO's "belief" that AutoZone copied their shared libs to Linux would need to be proven true.

              But it is indeed not true [groklaw.net]. AutoZone did not use SCO's shared libraries. So not only is the case not really about companies simply using Linux being at risk, but the wrongdoing AutoZone is accused of is merely speculation on SCO's part.

              But this case should be a wake-up call for anyone who has actually copied SCO's shared libs.... to either replace them with the GPL's alternative, or do a true port and make a clean break away from anything remoting having to do with compatibility with OpenServer and UnixWare.

          • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday March 03, 2004 @10:45AM (#8451650)
            This [groklaw.net] comment on GrokLaw speaks for itself:

            Supplemental No. 8: AutoZone claims are false
            Authored by: jbgreer on Wednesday, February 18 2004 @ 10:00 AM EST

            I don't know whether to be pleased or angry at SCO's assertion that IBM must have assisted AutoZone's transition to Linux due to the "precision and efficiency with which the migration occurred". You see, I was a Sr. Technical Advisor at AutoZone, where I was an employee for over 10 years. During my tenure, I participated and led in the design, development and maintenance of many of AutoZone's store systems. More importantly, I initiated AutoZone's transition to Linux and I directed the port of their existing store software base to Linux. I personally ported all of AutoZone's internal software libraries for use under Linux. I personally developed the rules by which other AutoZone developers should make changes to their code to support both Linux and SCO's OpenServer product. I believe at one point I had as many as 35 AutoZone developers performing porting work for me, much of which was trivial, given that our code did not generally rely on SCO specific features and that the more technologically sophisticated portions of our code tended to reside in our libraries. The developers were also responsible for testing their individual applications under both SCO and Linux; I supplemented this activity by performing builds of the entire AutoZone store software base on my desktop, which I had converted to Linux.

            As to the claim that SCO's shared libraries were a necessary part of the port: false. No SCO libraries were involved in the porting activity.

            As to the claim that IBM induced us to transition to Linux: false. It was, in fact, SCO's activities that 'greased the skids' and allowed the business case for using Linux to be made more easily. That is a story long in the telling; perhaps I'll share it another day.

            One should remember the Linux business environment that existed at the time the AutoZone transition began. Several vendors - the original Caldera Linux distribution company, Red Hat, and Linuxcare - were offering support for enterprise installations of Linux. In fact, Bryan Sparks, then CEO of Caldera, flew to Memphis and met with me during my evaluation of the various distribution and support offerings. I also met and talked briefly with Dave Sifry of Linuxcare during the 1999 Linux Expo. AutoZone settled on Red Hat chiefly because of my familiarity with their distribution and the ease with which AutoZone could negotiate a support agreement with them.

            I must add that SCO was eventually made aware of AutoZone's transition to Linux. They responded by offering to assist AutoZone in the porting activity. By the time of their offer, AutoZone had already completed the initial porting activity and had already installed a Linux-based version of their store system in several stores.

            Finally, I'll add that I was for a time a member of SCO's Customer Advisory Board. As such, I believe I have some useful insights as to why SCO lost AutoZone's and several other large accounts' business.

            Regards, Jim Greer

            • by Ieshan (409693) <ieshan AT gmail DOT com> on Wednesday March 03, 2004 @11:12AM (#8451900) Homepage Journal
              SCO Reponse: Damn... now they're using free speech against us! What shall we do?
            • by Weaselmancer (533834) on Wednesday March 03, 2004 @11:14AM (#8451922)

              I must add that SCO was eventually made aware of AutoZone's transition to Linux. They responded by offering to assist AutoZone in the porting activity.

              If there's a God in Heaven, and he's listening...please let Jim Greer find his documentation for this!

              C'mon Slashdot - let's spend real karma for this! Bow your head and join me in a quick silent prayer to the Deity of your choice....

              Weaselmancer

            • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday March 03, 2004 @11:20AM (#8451973)

              Several vendors - the original Caldera Linux distribution company, Red Hat, and Linuxcare - were offering support for enterprise installations of Linux. In fact, Bryan Sparks, then CEO of Caldera, flew to Memphis and met with me during my evaluation of the various distribution and support offerings. I also met and talked briefly with Dave Sifry of Linuxcare during the 1999 Linux Expo. AutoZone settled on Red Hat chiefly because of my familiarity with their distribution and the ease with which AutoZone could negotiate a support agreement with them.

              I know this is off-topic, but I've seen this quite a bit. Now that Redhat have discontinued their end-user distribution, how many large contracts will they miss out on because the department head is familiar with some other distribution instead?

          • by Makarakalax (658810) on Wednesday March 03, 2004 @11:49AM (#8452259) Homepage
            So does that mean SCO wouldn't be suing AutoZone if they'd never used proprietry software in the first place? Sounds like an excellent argument for staying clear of software with restricted licenses to me.
      • by grub (11606) <slashdot@grub.net> on Wednesday March 03, 2004 @09:58AM (#8451212) Homepage Journal

        Would this qualify as extortion or racketeering?

        Neither. Being that it's part of SCO's pump and dump scam I'd call it fraud.
    • by Rexz (724700) on Wednesday March 03, 2004 @09:45AM (#8451065)
      ...for fun and profit. I hope those of you considering startups are paying very close attention to SCO's revolutionary example. One day all business will be like this!
    • by SwissCheese (571510) on Wednesday March 03, 2004 @09:45AM (#8451067)
      Yes, but we have no idea what they are running behind the firewall or webserver.
    • by AndroidCat (229562) on Wednesday March 03, 2004 @09:47AM (#8451095) Homepage
      If their web site doesn't run Linux, I wonder how SCO determined that Autozone is a Linux user. (I imagine that SCO will have to show that specific machines are running Linux.) Did SCO port-probe Autozone's IP space? Is Darl a skript-kiddie?
    • by Hadlock (143607) on Wednesday March 03, 2004 @09:49AM (#8451114) Homepage Journal
      Uh, hello - they use unix terminals to look up part numbers, etc in every store. How it works is you walk into auto zone and say "hey i need an oil filter for my car" and they ask what kind, year, number of doors, etc, and pull up the part number for you to go find it on the shelf. There's usually 3-5 of them in every store. Companies use computers for things other than web servers....
    • by Endive4Ever (742304) on Wednesday March 03, 2004 @09:56AM (#8451182)
      In spite of the main focus of a lot of online denizens, there is more to the world than The Internet. The 'market share' of Web Servers, for instance, is not defined by the number of them that Netcraft can access. Some of the most important web servers are on intranets and totally inaccessable to the public. Some of the most important servers are internal to businesses and unreachable on the Internet.

      Really, except for companies that do most of their business in ecommerce (still a real minority) it's only the throw-away boxes that are facing outward.
    • by Cylix (55374) * on Wednesday March 03, 2004 @10:03AM (#8451262) Homepage Journal
      Their terminals are Linux terminals...

      Well, either that or true dumb terminals dumping into a linux server. Whatever the setup, they use alot of linux at autozone.

      It's always interesting to see someone roll out a linux box. Incidently, does anyone know what Lowe's is using? (Its IBM hardware... and I can't tell if thats CDE or something goofy)

      • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday March 03, 2004 @10:08AM (#8451313)

        Lowe's runs CDE on their terminals. They have them locked down pretty tight too - my wife works in their main corporate office, and we got to play with one at one of their retail stores recently.

        In fact, the funny thing is that the CEO of my company is an E&Y alumni - he said that he knows a lot of the people over at Lowes and we'll just say they aren't the brightest of the bunch. From what I have seen of a lot of their internal ops, I would have to agree.

        And I think I'll just check this post anonymously button...

    • by grawk (107524) on Wednesday March 03, 2004 @11:34AM (#8452109)
      I used to work for AZ, and they've got a LOT more technology than just a webserver. They spent a number of years on the Top 400 list of supercomputers because of their data warehouse (running on AIX), they had SCO servers in the retail stores (I believe these have switched to linux, but that happened well after my departure), etc. They used to spend a LOT of money on sco licenses, so they will have damages to show, even if the rest of their case is fragile.
  • Why this is more FUD (Score:5, Interesting)

    by baryon351 (626717) on Wednesday March 03, 2004 @09:44AM (#8451055)
    The crux of this SCO case seems to not be "Autozone are using linux, and linux contains SCO code (millions of lines or just a few .h files) therefore they're infringing IP" as their press release propaganda infer, but that:

    1. Autozone used to use SCO products, and their whole system relied on them
    2. Autozone converted to Linux, and IBM made them do so
    3. Autozone's custom software which used to run under SCO products now run under Linux
    4. They still run well and changed over efficiently, therefore they MUST still be running SCO code/shared libraries/etc with linux to do so, which is a breach of their original contract with SCO.

    SCO seem to be insinuating that this is about copyright SCO code in ALL of linux, and autozone are just one of millions of linux users who are infringing, but the details of the case show this is NOT true at all. That makes it FUD. The press have been told for MONTHS that SCO are taking issue with code in linux in general, but now legal action is underway, it's in a case that takes issue with existing SCO code used in linux by a client. No damage to linux in general despite the press releases.

    As SCO say...
    Upon information and belief, Autozone's new Linux based software implemented by IBM featured SCO's shared libraries which had been stripped out of SCO's UNIX based OpenServer by IBM and embedded inside Autozone's Linux implementation in order to continue to allow the continued operation of Autozone's legacy applications. The basis for SCO's belief is the precision and efficiency with which the migration to Linux occurred, which suggests the use of shared libraries to run legacy applications on Linux. Among other things, this was a breach of the Autozone OpenServer License Agreement for use of SCO software beyond the scope of the license.

    They claim IBM made moves to shift Autozone away from Linux, when SCO originally attempted to move autozone to linux themselves

    They also claim that SCO shared libraries MUST be being used, because of the efficiency with which this changeover occurred. They don't get it, that they're not indispensible, and Autozone's systems did not rely largely on SCO specific features according to the guy who converted autozone's systems, who posted as such on groklaw here [groklaw.net]. The relevant parts of his post are:

    As to the claim that SCO's shared libraries were a necessary part of the port: false. No SCO libraries were involved in the porting activity.

    As to the claim that IBM induced us to transition to Linux: false. It was, in fact, SCO's activities that 'greased the skids' and allowed the business case for using Linux to be made more easily. That is a story long in the telling; perhaps I'll share it another day.


    I bet SCO keep insisting this is a generic copyright/linux issue, as they infer by claiming "AutoZone violated SCO's UNIX copyrights by running versions of the Linux operating system that contain code, structure, sequence and/or organization from SCO's proprietary UNIX System V code in violation of SCO's copyrights." and don't stress that it's a unique situation with regards to claims an existing customer switched to linux all too easily so must have both used linux and used SCO code in ways they weren't allowed to under their old contract

    SCO is appearing like a jealous partner who just can't bear the thought that they're not the entire world to their clients, and are playing the stalking game, and running around town spreading rumours about infidelity. Nothing more, nothing less.

    • by ThisIsFred (705426) on Wednesday March 03, 2004 @09:57AM (#8451195) Journal
      The basis for SCO's belief is the precision and efficiency with which the migration to Linux occurred, which suggests the use of shared libraries to run legacy applications on Linux.

      So? They paid for the original licenses, they can do anything the want with the libraries except re-sell them or reverse engineer them with an intent to reveal the information for profit. SCO would only have a case if AZ was paying a maintenance license, and let it expire.

      You gotta be kidding me! This isn't an intellectual property issue, it's a EULA-violation issue. I'd be laughing my ass off if it wasn't for the fact that I'm seriously pissed off about Auto Zone (long time customer).

      Bush and crew, if you want re-election, look here: Barratry is bad for business! Tell Ashcroft to stop worrying about abortion doctors and start protecting American jobs and investors!
    • Uh Oh (Score:5, Funny)

      by Cylix (55374) * on Wednesday March 03, 2004 @10:06AM (#8451290) Homepage Journal
      Man o Man...

      They are going to get flamed to death for not using "GNU/Linux"....

      Poor litigious bastards!
    • by baryon351 (626717) on Wednesday March 03, 2004 @10:13AM (#8451361)
      More proof this is just FUD!

      Take a look at the headlines in the news articles about this case on google news [google.com.au]

      All along the lines of "SCO Sues AutoZone Over Use of Linux"

      The case IS NOT ABOUT LINUX. It is about using SCO claiming that autozone are using SCO SHARED LIBRARIES IN A WAY THEY'RE NOT LICENSED TO.

      As has already been shown by Jim Geer's comments, they aren't doing so, but even if they were... it wouldn't matter WHICH os they were now using SCO shared libraries under. It could be using them on a Commodore 64 and it would be an identical case!

      But, the press being what they are have soaked up the meme of "SCO is against linux" and repeated it back in the essence of their headlines, making the world at a casual glimpse think this case is about SCO code in Linux in general.

      That makes me sad.
      • by Saven Marek (739395) on Wednesday March 03, 2004 @10:41AM (#8451606)
        Can we all email our local reporters and carriers of this story and inform them that SCO isn't suing over linux, but is suing over a small separate licensing matter that just happens to include linux?

        Maybe the reason they all get away with such loose journalism is that nobody challenges it. I've already emailed four. Their stories seem basically correct but still carry the SCO party line as an undertone, and especially in headlines :(
  • Legal Defense Fund (Score:5, Interesting)

    by The G (7787) on Wednesday March 03, 2004 @09:44AM (#8451058)
    Anyone out there setting up a legal defense fund so we can chip in to help these guys fight the good fight? If we don't help out SCO targets today, any of us could be next.
    --G
    • by Sentosus (751729) on Wednesday March 03, 2004 @09:48AM (#8451102)
      Autozone is one of the few companies doing well right now... They do not need our assistance... YET...

      Your best assistance would be to go to http://finance.yahoo.com under the stock symbol AZO. Go to the messageboards and reassure the stock holders reading the messageboard there that this is just part of SCO's continuing practice and the lawsuit should be taken lightly.

    • by amcnabb (682951) on Wednesday March 03, 2004 @09:57AM (#8451198) Homepage
      Anyone out there setting up a legal defense fund so we can chip in to help these guys fight the good fight? If we don't help out SCO targets today, any of us could be next.

      Correction: Any of us who used to use SCO Unix and is migrating to Linux could be next. If you don't have a contract with SCO and aren't a distributor of Unix or Linux, i.e., if you are normal end user, there is nothing they could possibly get you for.

      Besides, if the allegations aren't true, and no SCO libraries are being used, it should be easy to prove and this case will be dropped very quickly (at least quick for the judicial system).
    • by YrWrstNtmr (564987) on Wednesday March 03, 2004 @10:07AM (#8451302)
      Autozone already has this covered. Over the last few years, they've been setting up Legal Defense Fund establishments all over the country. You can actually go into one of these LDF drop-off points, and give the nice people there some money. They will even give you one or more prizes in return! And if you really want, you can choose the actual prize, instead of just hoping for something good. These LDF dropoff points are in most major cities, and some small ones. Easily identified with the word AutoZone in large letters on the front of the building, usually in red neon.

      They even have a website [autozone.com] where you can do the same thing. Send in some money, help Autozone defeat the evil SCO, get a free prize to boot!

      Donate your $$ today!
    • by The Lynxpro (657990) <lynxpro&gmail,com> on Wednesday March 03, 2004 @10:28AM (#8451486)
      "Anyone out there setting up a legal defense fund so we can chip in to help these guys fight the good fight? If we don't help out SCO targets today, any of us could be next.
      --G"

      Well, the easiest way to help AutoZone would be to actively purchase your auto parts needs there. Photocopy your receipt and write a letter to their CEO stating that you are in support of them against the SCO and you exercise your dollars based upon your beliefs (and I don't mean religious). If everyone did that, and people signed that they gave permission to the CEO to use the letters as how he or she felt fit to, that would help them out. Or, someone could create an AutoZone share purchasing club online...bring media attention to the whole debate.

  • by AtariAmarok (451306) on Wednesday March 03, 2004 @09:45AM (#8451066)
    Autozone? This is way out of the typical "tech sphere"; I would have expected suits against other tech companies.

    Now SCO is going to provoke the wrath of the automotive industry and enthusiasts; an entire new group of people to learn to hate SCO.
    • by biobogonics (513416) on Wednesday March 03, 2004 @10:03AM (#8451263)
      Autozone? This is way out of the typical "tech sphere"; I would have expected suits against other tech companies.

      Now SCO is going to provoke the wrath of the automotive industry and enthusiasts; an entire new group of people to learn to hate SCO.


      I'm just waiting for "F*** SCO" to appear on the body of a NASCAR racing machine.
    • by The Lynxpro (657990) <lynxpro&gmail,com> on Wednesday March 03, 2004 @10:31AM (#8451514)
      "Now SCO is going to provoke the wrath of the automotive industry and enthusiasts; an entire new group of people to learn to hate SCO."

      This is a strategic campaign to install fear in the hearts and minds of corporate CEO's who lack IT skills. Google could laugh the SCO case off and continue with their Linux tinkerings, but if SCO continues to sue companies lacking IT at their core, then this will create FUD amongst other corporations and perhaps SCO thinks they'll actually increase their customer base. Probably the exact opposite will happen, but it will be a bumpy ride for the meantime.

  • Newwire (Score:5, Informative)

    by glassesmonkey (684291) on Wednesday March 03, 2004 @09:46AM (#8451073) Homepage Journal
    LAS VEGAS, Mar 3, 2004 /PRNewswire-FirstCall via COMTEX/ -- The SCO Group, Inc. (SCOX, Trade), the owner of the UNIX(R) operating system and a leading provider of UNIX-based solutions, today announced it has filed suit against AutoZone, Inc., for its alleged violations of SCO's UNIX copyrights through its use of Linux.
    SCO's lawsuit alleges the following:
    * AutoZone violated SCO's UNIX copyrights by running versions of the Linux operating system that contain code, structure, sequence and/or organization from SCO's proprietary UNIX System V code in violation of SCO's copyrights.

    The lawsuit, filed in U.S. District Court in Nevada, requests injunctive relief against AutoZone's further use or copying of any part of SCO's copyrighted materials and also requests damages as a result of AutoZone's infringement in an amount to be proven at trial.

    The company will discuss this announcement as part of its regularly scheduled conference call related to first quarter earnings, scheduled for Wednesday, March 3 at 11:00 a.m. Eastern time. To participate on the call, individuals may dial 1-800-818-5264 or 1-913-981-4910 and use the confirmation code: 141144. Alternatively, a listen-only live web cast is available at http://ir.sco.com/medialist.cfm. Call participants are encouraged to dial in 15 minutes before the scheduled start time.
  • by corebreech (469871) on Wednesday March 03, 2004 @09:46AM (#8451075) Journal
    SCO is having a phone conference today at 9:00am MST (11:00am EST), remember [slashdot.org]?
  • Further info (Score:5, Informative)

    by gowen (141411) <gwowen@gmail.com> on Wednesday March 03, 2004 @09:46AM (#8451079) Homepage Journal
    Here [groklaw.net] is an interesting GrokLaw post from the man at AutoZone who helped them transition from UnixWare to Linux, blowing apart most of these claims.

    Bearing in mind that this post is over 2 weeks old, you'd think someone at SCO would have noticed that their claims are basically debunked.

    PS : SCO quarterly losses up to $2.25 million for fiscal Q1. Ouch.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday March 03, 2004 @09:46AM (#8451088)
    From the response to interrogatory 8:

    In the second quarter of 2001, despite the Autozone OpenServer License Agreement with SCO, upon information and belief, IBM finally successfully induced Autozone to cease using the SCO software and to use Linux with IBM's version of UNIX. Autozone ultimately decided not to pay SCO the annual fee to continue to maintain the SCO products and, upon information and belief, with the encouragement of IBM, began the efforts required for conversion to Linux.

    Sounds like SCO is whining because someone dropped their old, obsolescent Unix. So if I trade in a Chevy for a Ford, GM can sue me if I still have payments left on my loan?

    And this:

    The basis for SCO's belief is the precision and efficiency with which the migration to Linux occurred, which suggests the use of shared libraries to run legacy applications on Linux.

    In other words, we at SCO are too dumb to make Linux work, so IBM had to steal our stuff to make their solution work.

  • by 192939495969798999 (58312) <info@devinm o o r e .com> on Wednesday March 03, 2004 @09:47AM (#8451092) Homepage Journal
    Why would SCO not take on a more easily defeatable company, i.e. a software company? Autozone has thousands if not millions of loyal blue-collar customers that could care less what o/s Autozone is running. If SCO wanted to make a point by suing someone, it should be RedHat or some such company that is distributing the systems. You can't blame Autozone for buying a product, but you can blame the company that sold it to them.
  • by T-Kir (597145) on Wednesday March 03, 2004 @09:49AM (#8451119) Homepage

    After just reading this thread [slashdot.org] and Groklaw afterwards... I think that SCO should give /. more credit, especially after the "the ranting and dribble that takes place on Slashdot" comment...

    Now then Ye Prophets of SlashDot, what more predictions can we get from our 'crystal balls' (LCD screens will do) today :)

  • SCOX 1Q statement (Score:5, Informative)

    by glassesmonkey (684291) on Wednesday March 03, 2004 @09:51AM (#8451142) Homepage Journal

    LINDON, Utah, Mar 3, 2004 /PRNewswire-FirstCall via COMTEX/ -- The SCO Group, Inc. (SCOX [slashdot.org], Trade [slashdot.org]), owner of the UNIX operating system and a leading provider of UNIX-based solutions, today reported revenue of $11,392,000 for the quarter ended January 31, 2004. In the comparable quarter of the prior year, the Company generated revenue of $13,540,000. Revenue for the first quarter of fiscal 2004 was in line with the Company's expectations, and was comprised of $11,372,000 from UNIX products and services and $20,000 from SCOsource initiatives.

    For the first quarter of fiscal year 2004, the Company reported a net loss applicable to common stockholders of $2,253,000, or $0.16 per diluted common share. The Company reported a net loss applicable to common stockholders of $724,000, or $0.06 per diluted common share, in the comparable quarter of the prior year. The net loss applicable to common stockholders for the first quarter of fiscal year 2004 was reduced by $3,624,000 of income resulting from the change in fair value of the derivative associated with the Company's previously issued Series A Convertible Preferred Stock. The loss from operations for the first quarter of fiscal year 2004 was $5,169,000 compared to a loss of $738,000 for the comparable quarter in the prior year. The loss from operations for the first quarter of fiscal year 2004 includes costs of $3,440,000 related to the Company's SCOsource licensing initiatives. These initiatives had not yet commenced in the comparable quarter of the prior year.

    "Our revenue and results of operations for the first quarter were consistent with our expectations," said Darl McBride, President and CEO. "In coming quarters, we will continue to expand our SCOsource initiatives, with an ongoing campaign to defend and protect SCO's intellectual property assets, which will include continued end-user lawsuits and negotiations regarding intellectual property licenses. At the same time, we are committed to supporting our extensive UNIX customer base and leveraging our UNIX business for future growth opportunities. Over time, these two efforts are expected to yield positive long-term results for our stockholders."

    Financial Outlook

    The following financial outlook reflects expected contributions from the Company's two business lines, SCOsource and UNIX products and services. These statements are forward looking and actual results may differ materially. See the discussion of certain risks and uncertainties related to this financial outlook at the end of this release under "Forward-Looking Statements."

    For its second fiscal quarter ending April 30, 2004, the Company currently expects total revenue to be in the range of $10,000,000 to $14,000,000. Revenue from the Company's SCOsource initiatives remains difficult to predict in the short-term due to the nature of these licensing transactions and the variability of the timing of revenue recognition. However, the Company anticipates revenue from its SCOsource initiatives will increase in future periods.

    Operating expenses relating to the Company's UNIX business for the next three quarters are anticipated to decrease from the first quarter of fiscal year 2004 and comparable quarters of the prior year as the Company's worldwide operations continue to become more efficient. Expenses associated with SCOsource initiatives for the next three quarters are expected to remain consistent with expenses incurred in the first quarter of fiscal year 2004 as the Company continues its legal strategy to enforce and protect its UNIX intellectual property.

    Conference Call

    As previously announced, the Company will host a conference call at 11:00 a.m. EST today, March 3, 2004, to discuss its first quarter 2004 results. To participate in the teleconference, please call (800) 818-5264 or (913) 981-4910, confirmation code 141144, approximately five minutes prior to the time stated abo

  • SCO, y'all suck! (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Sunkist (468741) on Wednesday March 03, 2004 @09:52AM (#8451150) Homepage
    Being from Memphis, I am well aware how supportive AutoZone folks are of Linux, as many AutoZone techs are members of GOLUM [golum.org].

    I hope AutoZone countersues them into the ground in a most genteel, southernly manner.

    Now off for my morning bowl of hot grits.

  • by Otto (17870) on Wednesday March 03, 2004 @09:52AM (#8451152) Homepage Journal
    The day after I get a job offer from AutoZone, they get sued by SCO. Great. Just fuckin' great.
  • by Panoramix (31263) on Wednesday March 03, 2004 @09:53AM (#8451161) Homepage

    From their press release, it seems like the AutoZone suit is not particularly related to "SCO IP in Linux," but to some SCO libraries that AutoZone may or may not have used it improperly.

    But it does not matter. Could we discuss AutoZone tomorrow, please?

    This is only a distraction from a bleak quarterly report. A rather blantantly obvious diversion. And Timothy, you should know better than this. This story should have been titled "SCO losses double for Q1 2004," or something like that. You should not be helping SCO manipulate the press.

  • by Squeezer (132342) <awilliam@mdah.st ... us minus painter> on Wednesday March 03, 2004 @09:55AM (#8451173) Homepage
    For those of you that have been in an autozone, you notice they have the dumb terminals at the parts counter. If you notice this dumb terminal runs a text based interface where you pu tin the year, car make, model, engine size, etc to look up parts. I was in an Autozone once and the server for the dumb terminals happened to lock up. This was 2 or 3 years ago when it happened. I watched the dumb terminal display as it rebooted and came up with some version of redhat (or another distro, I don't really remember too well) and had kernel 2.3 on it.

    Responding to the other replies of this article, just because a company doesn't run Linux on their web server to the world, doesn't mean they don't use Linux for other things.
  • by pjrc (134994) <paul@pjrc.com> on Wednesday March 03, 2004 @09:56AM (#8451189) Homepage Journal
    SCO, yet again, is being very deceptive. They say the case is about a switch to linux and in the press make noise about how AutoZone is liable because of their use of Linux. But in the actual court filing, the copyright complaint is actually centered around the "belief" that AutoZone copied SCO's sharded libs to their new Linux system. So they're really suing over use of their copyrighted shared libs on a different platform, when their license presumably specifies that those shared libs are only to be used on SCO's OpenServer.

    Yet again, the facts aren't in SCO's favor. Read this comment from the former Sr Technical Advisor at AutoZone [groklaw.net], who directed the migration and personally ported much of the code.

    SCO's only arguement that AutoZone has copied their shared libs to linux is:

    The basis for SCO's belief is the precision and efficiency with which the migration to Linux occurred, which suggests the use of shared libraries to run legacy applications on Linux. Among other things, this was a breach of the Autozone OpenServer License Agreement for use of SCO software beyond the scope of the license.

    Once more, SCO's making a lot of noise, but the facts are clearly against them.

  • by Queuetue (156269) <scott@pantasFORT ... m minus language> on Wednesday March 03, 2004 @09:57AM (#8451202) Homepage
    In a positive way for a change. I'm going to go out and buy a new set of plugs, a filter and a case of oil right now.

    It's nice to be able to add someone to the "support them" list instead of the Boycott list, like EV1.

    Hang Tight, AZ. You've just gained a mess of geek support.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday March 03, 2004 @09:59AM (#8451219)
    Apparently their strategy is to sue their own former and defecting customers. This is a worst-case scenario for SCO customers. Autozone was cited in the complaint against IBM as an example of a licensed Openserver client whom had been lured away to the Linux dark side by IBM, If you know of anyone who is considering signing their company into any SCO contract of any sort, especially an "intellectual property license", THIS SHOULD SERVE AS A WARNING OF WHAT TO EXPECT. All SCO appears to be offering is a license to be sued, and here's the proof.

    Jim Greer had a good comment on groklaw [groklaw.net] a few weeks ago about Autozone and the details of their linux transition.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday March 03, 2004 @10:06AM (#8451293)
    --From a GrokLaw.net post--

    I know Mr. Greer, although not well, as I was hired at the time of his leaving.
    Everything he said is verifiably true.
    I am still employed by said company, and there is very little truth in SCOs
    statement at all. I am one of the ones who helped engineer the method by which
    we moved store systems over to Linux, and *I* was almost solely responsible for
    it happening as quickly as it did.
    We did not, and do not, employ IBM for assisstance with Linux. We do not use a
    distribution from IBM, nor have we in the past. The only company who has given
    us Linux "services" is RedHat, and that was a support agreement which
    did us no good, since they were unable to help us with the migration (they
    basically told us that what we wanted to do was impossible). The speed and
    efficiency with which Linux was deployed was a direct result of J.Greers work,
    followed by the work that myself and a few others did.

    By the way, I have patented the method of walking whereby you place one foot in
    front of the other.
    Anyone walking from now on, is using a derivative work of mine, and you owe me
    money by not properly licensing my system of locomotion from me. Also, you
    cannot teach anyone else to walk, either by example or description.

    Kiss my a$$ SCO.
  • by Bowie J. Poag (16898) on Wednesday March 03, 2004 @10:06AM (#8451294) Homepage


    As a symbolic gesture, I suggest people go to AutoZone and buy an air freshener.. Symbolically, it'll help clear out the stink that SCO's making. Total cost to you: $1-$3.

    Put your money where your mouth is: AutoZone Reigonal Store Locator [autozone.com]

    Even if SCO succeeds, AutoZone will be able to pay them off via air freshener sales to thoughtful Linux users.

    Cheers,
  • Why its not odd... (Score:5, Informative)

    by chfriley (160627) on Wednesday March 03, 2004 @10:07AM (#8451300) Homepage
    They wanted someone: (a) large enough to have $, (b) large enough to get noticed, (c) with a documented relationship with IBM, (d) AND a documented relationship with SCO but (e) non-technical enough so that they are more easily intimidated.

    (c) is important so that they can have something concrete to tie it in to IBM. (d) is important so that they can always try the breach of contract claim if the IP dispute is dismissed. Keeping the breach claim around gives them extra time to try to keep the case around.

    With (e) I think their effort here is to pick a technologically weak company with shareholders who have less of a technical education. This allows them to file, the AutoZone shareholders see the suit, panic (because they have less of a technical background than, say, RedHat) and hope tha AZ will settle quickly to make the suit go away.

    I don't think it will work, but I can see the logic for picking this particular target for their thug-like tactics.

    I would expect something to distinguish the second target so that they couldn't consolidate the two cases.
    • by pongo000 (97357) on Wednesday March 03, 2004 @10:29AM (#8451496)
      With (e) I think their effort here is to pick a technologically weak company with shareholders who have less of a technical education.

      I wouldn't consider AutoZone "technologicallly weak." You make the mistake of underestimating AZO possibly because it's not a hard-core tech company. One of AZO's divisions, Alldata, is heavily involved with the the digital distribution of automotive information. Their distribution system is considered an industry model for efficiency and automation. It's my belief that AZO will crush SCOX. AZO isn't likely to simply roll over -- they've invested way too much in their infrastructure.

      Please, do some research on AZO. I think you'll discover that AZO shareholders are more technologically adept than you give them credit for.
  • by glassesmonkey (684291) on Wednesday March 03, 2004 @10:12AM (#8451356) Homepage Journal
    SCOsource licensing revenue-------------$20,000
    Cost of SCOsource licensing revenue--$3,440,000
    Loss from SCOsource licensing-------($3,420,000)

    Enjoyment brought to linux users-----*priceless*
  • by Uzik2 (679490) on Wednesday March 03, 2004 @10:18AM (#8451396)
    SCO is going to do a lot to promote linux by
    spotlighting companies that use it. My boss will
    never again be able to say "no serious company
    trusts kiddie software like Linux for anything
    critical"
  • by John Murdoch (102085) on Wednesday March 03, 2004 @10:24AM (#8451457) Homepage Journal

    Hi!

    There are a couple of reasons to sue AutoZone. Neither have much to do with AutoZone's tech savvy or their understanding of the different *nix kernels. They're both about business.

    Let's talk microeconomics
    The cost of any good is measured in currency and utility. Put simply, you'll buy a product if a) it contains what you want, and b) you want it badly enough. That's why people routinely pay $1.09 in a convenience store for bottles of water--they realize that the water is worth pennies (at best), but the convenience of the bottle (and the refrigeration) make the purchase worthwhile. Similarly, utility can be expressed as "reputation," "quality," "resale value," and similar terms. The reason you drive a Honda, rather than a substantially less-expensive Chrysler, is the utility cost of the car. Key point: utility is a significant factor in the price of a good.

    The point of this lawsuit isn't to punish AutoZone themselves. It is to raise the utility cost of using Linux in the eyes of other businesses. Probably the single biggest utility cost that managers evaluate is risk. The great marketplace advantage of Linux is that a company can download a copy for free. (They could care less about "free as in speech." They're only interested in "free as in beer.") Microsoft has argued that Linux has a higher TCO [microsoft.com]--which is effectively asserting a utility cost. SCO is now raising another kind of utility cost: the likelihood of being sued.

    The impact will be substantial, and immediate: auto parts retailers run thousands of POS systems. Any company using a Unix-based POS system (and there are tens of thousands of them across the U.S.) who has even been contemplating moving to a Linux-based system is having meetings this morning to assure senior management (or just try to assure senior management) that SCO is bluffing. This afternoon those same senior managers will be talking to lawyers, who will likely tell them that while SCO probably is bluffing, SCO can bluff in court for a long time, and who wants to be lawsuit #2? The effect of this lawsuit is to dramatically raise the ultimate cost of any Linux-based solution.

    The other reason: making SCO look more attractive to IBM
    Remember that SCO is primarily focused on litigation with IBM. SCO claims that IBM is the reason that Unix code "leaked" into Linux--many observers in the financial markets believe that SCO is really angling to get bought by IBM in a new dot-com form of greenmail. IBM was involved in developing AutoZone's new POS system--but evidently did not indemnify AutoZone against claims of infringement (a common practice in licensing these kinds of systems). AutoZone has liability insurance to cover this kind of claim (any company does). But that coverage almost certainly requires that the insurance company have the "free and unfettered right to conduct a defense". Because the suit is based on actions by IBM, the insurance company will instantly seek to force IBM to indemnify AutoZone. If IBM declines, the insurance company will sue IBM on AutoZone's behalf. That instantly creates a bunch of costs (legal costs, outside counsel costs, etc.) for IBM. And, since it's likely that IBM's own insurors will respond to the claim from AutoZone's insurors, sooner or later somebody will say, "hey--it's cheaper to just buy these jerks out." Which is precisely what SCO wants.

    This isn't about free software.
    Darl and his investors aren't doing this out of a noble belief in the goodness of their cause--or due to a bad case of technomegalomania. They're doing it because they expect an significant return on their investment. They use a legal claim that has enough merit to at least get them into court, and they leverage that claim to make enough of a nuisance that IBM buys them out at a premium. They make a couple of million, and move on. It's about money.

    • by Cid Highwind (9258) on Wednesday March 03, 2004 @10:58AM (#8451772) Homepage
      Yes, in the short term, an IBM buyout of SCO would settle all this. However, in the long run this makes "claiming to own a peice of the Linux pie, making outrageos self-contradictory statements, and suing everyone" a VERY attractive business model.

      That idea is the reason governments and large companies will not pay a ransom if one of their executives is kidnapped. In the short term you may get the exec back, but in the long term you make them and all your other employees attractive targets for future kidnappings.

      The only way for this to really end is for SCO's claims to be defeated in court and have SCO forced into bankruptcy. Any buyout offer opens the door for Sun or HP or Microsoft or someone we've never heard of to claim that they "own Linux" and start issuing lawsuits.
  • From a competitor... (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday March 03, 2004 @10:33AM (#8451527)
    I work for one of AutoZone's competitors (of sorts...we do more wholesale than retail business).

    I'm largely a counterpart to Mr. Greer from AutoZone.

    We use an ASP-type approach. All of our software is text-based, with our primary servers running in our datacenter, with a large frame-relay network for connectivity. Each and everyone of our stores has a Linux system sitting in it, handling the terminals, printers, desktop (Mozilla, OpenOffice, etc.), and back-office networking.

    Our application servers in our datacenter still run on SCO, with Sybase running under W2K (at our vendor's request, at the time).

    We're looking at doing the same thing as AutoZone sometime soon--a port to Linux server-side as well, moving to our app servers running Linux, and our database under Linux as well.

    Here's one for hoping AutoZone pulls this one off right! The last thing I need is someone here getting into a panic over this crap!
  • by dfung (68701) on Wednesday March 03, 2004 @10:58AM (#8451773)
    Rule number one - if you're going to make an example of a company for your petty little war, don't pick the company that will be selling you brake pads and brake lines next month:

    Clerk : Will that be all, sir? Just this replacement brake master cylinder?

    Darl : Yes, thank you.

    Clerk : May I have your name, sir?

    Darl : Darl McBride

    Clerk : [typing] Oh... Uh huh... Actually this isn't the right part sir. We do happen to have this special one for you right here, which is EXACTLY what you need.

    Darl : Good. Because I really want my brakes to work well.

    Clerk : Oh yes sir, this will really do the trick.

    On our next episode of "You Picked the Wrong Target", SCO's legal team picks Allied Colonoscope Corporation to make their next example.

    And in two weeks on a very special edition of "Wrong Target", Darl suffers a heart attack and discovers and mutters the immortal line "I didn't know defibrillators ran on Linux".
  • by The12thRonin (749384) on Wednesday March 03, 2004 @11:06AM (#8451846)

    Unix is huge in the automotive software industry. Most part store cataloging systems use it not only on the backend servers, but the terminals as well. Autozone, Hi-Lo/O'Reilly's, NAPA, Pep Boys all at one point used this type of a setup. Firestone also used it during the 90's when I worked for them, but I don't know what they are running now.

    If SCO filed this suit solely looking for a suitor to buy them out, they picked a good one here. Owning the rights to the system that literally every major parts house uses would give them a huge push over the top in the industry.

  • Next week's monster garage project will feature host (and autozone spokesman) Jesse James building a "Monster Car Crusher."

    -Use of a "family owned" New Jersey Junkyard: 500.00
    -2003 BMW with strange smell coming from the trunk and "l337SCO" California Plates: Freebee

    Monster garage factoid: We swear our new sponsor deal with autozone had nothing to do with the making of this episode. we swear.
  • SCOX stock down 10% (Score:5, Informative)

    by sjbe (173966) on Wednesday March 03, 2004 @11:11AM (#8451890)
    Apparently investors are none too thrilled about this announcement:

    SCOX is down 10% in early trading [yahoo.com]
  • by theolein (316044) on Wednesday March 03, 2004 @11:12AM (#8451899) Journal
    As has been shown in Germany, where an injunction effectively nipped their entire FUD campaign in the bud and they are forbidden from making statements they cannot prove without showing evidence, there is a big legal loophole in the US. The fact that SCO can make any wild claim that they want, sue anyone they want on the wildest of baseless claims, and get awaya with not having to produce actual evidence in order to go to court is a real problem.

    Many companies who are frightened of getting sued by these bastards have little other legal options. Not many, apart from badly researched ZDNet trashmag articles, believe that SCo has the slightest chance of success, but what about the financial damage to companies that are getting sued from loss in stock value, and the fact that there is no way in hell that SCO could really afford to pay for the damages once IBM, RedHat and Novell have finished with them.

    What is to stop the next POS crap company that is going down from sueing everybody left right and centre?
  • by bergeron76 (176351) * on Wednesday March 03, 2004 @11:13AM (#8451904)
    They obviously chose AutoZone because their terminals are clearly visible by customers. I wouldn't be a bit suprised if they go after Lowe's or Home Depot next. Those companies also run linux GUIs and customers can see the X terminals (and 5250 emulators) as they walk around the store.

  • My prediction (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Anita Coney (648748) on Wednesday March 03, 2004 @11:17AM (#8451948) Homepage
    Because SCO has no intention of showing us their complete lack of proof, this case WILL settle out of court. SCO will make AutoZone a nominal settlement offer. AutoZone will take it. The parties will have the file sealed.

    Then SCO will claim in the press that it won the lawsuit with the implicit threat that everyone else running Linux had better start paying.

  • by dsfox (2694) on Wednesday March 03, 2004 @11:40AM (#8452181) Homepage
    choosing a victim with the correct pocket depth...

The biggest mistake you can make is to believe that you are working for someone else.

Working...