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The Register vs Groklaw: Who Gets It Right? 224

Posted by Hemos
from the well-probably-both dept.
microbee writes "Over the past weeks Groklaw has been running a series of articles on new discoveries about SCO and Project Monterey. Surprisingly (to me, as I love both sites), The Register published another article to counter the argument of Groklaw's serials, claiming "it's difficult to envisage Groklaw's conjecture swaying a court case, but it provides SCO with valuable public relations ammunition."" There's also a rebuttal on groklaw as well.
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The Register vs Groklaw: Who Gets It Right?

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  • PJ's Rebuttal (Score:5, Informative)

    by vmcto (833771) * on Monday May 02, 2005 @09:47AM (#12406522) Homepage Journal
    As others are reporting, postings to daddypants@slashdot.org are ignored...

    Why not present both sides fully? PJ has already posted a rebuttal to this on Groklaw.

    And for the record: Groklaw gets it right

    PJ's Rebuttal [groklaw.net]
    • Re:PJ's Rebuttal (Score:5, Interesting)

      by squiggleslash (241428) on Monday May 02, 2005 @10:01AM (#12406708) Homepage Journal
      Perhaps I didn't read El Reg's article properly, but I was under the impression the most damning charges it makes are about the assertion that Project Monteray was worked on by an SCO fully aware that it was part of a migration to "Linux":
      At least five articles published this month suggest that Project Monterey, the joint Unix that was being co-developed by IBM, the Santa Cruz Operation and Sequent beginning in 1998 was only a "stop-gap" measure. The participants, she asserts, had from the start bet that Linux would supplant their proprietary Unix offerings. And more damningly, she claims that SCO knew this at the time, and has declined to reveal this secret strategy.

      "Project Monterey was the stopgap, in a way, I gather. It worked for the enterprise right away, and it was a path to smoothly move to Linux as it matured," wrote Jones.

      There is a serious problem with this hypothesis: it isn't true.

      PJ seems only concerned, as I read her response, about whether PM was intended to run on the POWER architecture. I'm not sure how much the latter matters as much as the former. The former implies an allegation of SCO seeing the Linux kernel as the future, which would make SCO's later decision to come back and attack it legally interesting.
      • Re:PJ's Rebuttal (Score:5, Informative)

        by swillden (191260) * <shawn-ds@willden.org> on Monday May 02, 2005 @10:56AM (#12407374) Homepage Journal

        PJ seems only concerned, as I read her response, about whether PM was intended to run on the POWER architecture. I'm not sure how much the latter matters as much as the former.

        You have the importance backwards. SCO's third amended complaint alleges that IBM's port of UNIX to POWER was not authorized by SCO. IOW, SCO is suing IBM for porting UNIX to POWER. Therefore, it is very important to prove that SCO did know, and approve, of IBM's efforts to port UNIX to POWER.

        This is what PJ's spate of Monterey articles have primarily been about.

      • Re:PJ's Rebuttal (Score:2, Interesting)

        by Phong (38038)
        I was under the impression the most damning charges it makes are about the assertion that Project Monteray was worked on by an SCO fully aware that it was part of a migration to "Linux"

        I also noticed that PJ didn't rebut that portion of the article. I think that the difference between the two may be in which SCO they're talking about. It appears that The Santa Cruz Operation (oldSCO) didn't know at the start that Project Monterey would be a stepping stone to Linux, but that Caldera (now The SCO Group, o

        • Well, they may have been buying a lawsuit. They've done it before, Caldera's purchase of DRDOS being largely for the Microsoft anti-trust action they took against MS.

          That said, back in 2000, there was no sign that Caldera was anything but a Linux supporter. And as their management has been replaced since, I think in some ways it's Old SCO, New SCO, and Current SCO, three different entities.

    • Re:PJ's Rebuttal (Score:2, Informative)

      Groklaw gets it right

      Of course. The Register is nothing but a tech tabloid.
      • Definitely...and I'm sure that's the reasoning the OP used when deciding to state who they thought got it right.

        Of course, you *could* actually go to Groklaw, and read the rebuttal (more of an article correcting some incorrect aspersions from the Reg article, really). The thread at Groklaw is about Linux on POWER, which is something that SCO is trying to say that they knew nothing about, in their third amended complaint.

        Groklaw digging up things that say "SCO knew all about Linux on POWER" is on-point, a

    • Re:PJ's Rebuttal (Score:2, Interesting)

      by saur2004 (801688)
      I seem to remember that a couple months ago there was speculation that slashdot was going to be the target of an astroturf campain. From what I have been reading in my opinion, it isnt speculation any more.
  • by belmolis (702863) <billposer@nOSpam.alum.mit.edu> on Monday May 02, 2005 @09:54AM (#12406613) Homepage

    I found it difficult to see the point of the Register article. There was very little in it that was actually inconsistent with what has appeared on Groklaw. The main theme seemed to be that Groklwas was wrong to think that it had made a big discovery about Project Monterey, but Groklaw has never claimed to have made such a discovery, just to have assembled lots of evidence that counters SCO's claims. The Register article's claims about PJ retracting statements are not backed up by any evidence.

    As for Groklaw's alleged errors helping SCO, I don't see it. At worst, Groklaw has exaggerated the significance of the history of Project Monterey. SCO has made no hay out of this, and I don't see how it could, even if the Register's claims were true.

    • by k98sven (324383) on Monday May 02, 2005 @10:12AM (#12406842) Journal
      The Register article's claims about PJ retracting statements are not backed up by any evidence.

      Strange, since PJ concedes [groklaw.net] that she changed a statement after the article.

      • by HiThere (15173) *
        Yes, she corrected an error in the article. (Concedes?) The point appears to have been a minor quibble about phrasing...though if I wanted to defend this position I should probably check it again. It didn't appear to be major to me at the time that I read it. (And you don't explain why you consider it significant, so I don't know what evidence I should be looking for.)

      • by dhall (1252) on Monday May 02, 2005 @10:45AM (#12407228)
        Considering PJ's main focus was to point out that both old SCO (now Tarantella) and new SCO (previously Caldera) were fully aware that IBM was using Unix based technology on the POWER architecture, which appears to be in contradiction to new SCO's current claims.
      • by Quila (201335) on Monday May 02, 2005 @10:51AM (#12407304)
        Strange, since PJ concedes that she changed a statement after the article.



        She does that all the time. That's why there is a "Corrections go here" post in every story.

      • by kfg (145172) on Monday May 02, 2005 @11:33AM (#12407884)
        Is this not done in the effort to be even righter? Did not Newton himself point out evidence that his theory could not explain and thus that it was incomplete, and have not others made extenstions to the theory that have it very much "righter"? Is not one of the possible advantages of Free Software that it can easily be examined and changed to make it better?

        Isn't this how we want things to work?

        I don't hang out at Groklaw much, but in the few hours I've spent there I get the impression that PJ is very open to corrections, even soliciting them, and takes them to heart.

        This is the side I'm likely to bet on. Nobody ever gets everything right, but the people who cling to their wrongs remain wrong, the people who admit their wrongs correct them and become "righter."

        And then get critized for admiting they were wrong and retracting/correcting. On the other hand if you "correct" your view to a wrong one to gain popularity you are often cheered as a hero, and elected President. Is a puzzlement.

        Henry Clay said, "I'd rather be right than President." I'll got with that, and PJ, not because she's infallible, but because she clearly, and publicly, knows that she isn't.

        KFG
      • by Anonymous Coward on Monday May 02, 2005 @11:39AM (#12407969)
        To be honest, I would much rather have her correcting small mistakes in articles than just leaving them there. Or does the register choose to leave all mistakes in their articles even if someone else points them out?
        • This is the register you are talking about. Yes, they leave mistakes even if you point them out. Hell, they have heard about editing, they just don't want to have anything to do with it. Heck, they even don't check if the HTML they are writing is valid, though most of that seems to happen @ mikes new place, the inquirer nowadays. But they are quick with news, and their front page is easy to read.
      • by belmolis (702863) <billposer@nOSpam.alum.mit.edu> on Monday May 02, 2005 @11:41AM (#12407987) Homepage

        Sorry but this is not a rebuttal of what I said. I said that the Register article's claims:

        are not backed up by any evidence
        That remains true: the Register article doesn't specify what statements PJ retracted, with quotes and/or links. So even if the Register's claim were right, it is true that it gave no EVIDENCE for it, which is what I said.

        As to the correctness of the Register's claims, what PJ "admits" is that she made a small modification to ONE statement. Contrast that with the Register article's claim that:

        some of the phrases we quote have already disappeared
        As far as I can tell, NO phrases have "disappeared", and only one statement has been modified, in a rather minor way. This is hardly vindication for the Register article's overblown claims.
    • by lxt (724570)
      ...I thought the major point was pretty easy to see - that forums such as Groklaw (and Slashdot) exist so that many users can have their beliefs confirmed or backed up by the majority, the "echo chamber" described...

      The article is trying to put across the point that on single-sided sites such as Groklaw (and that's really what it is), context is lost completely.
      • by Anonymous Coward
        The article is trying to put across the point that on single-sided sites such as Groklaw (and that's really what it is), context is lost completely.

        The problem is that TSCOG is a soft target.

        Their public statements conflict with their court filings. Their earlier court filings contained grammatical as well as spelling errors. Their latest filings are pompous and repetitive. Their alleged evidence is so insubtantial as to be almost ludicrous. It's almost a textbook case of how not to conduct a lawsuit.

    • At worst, Groklaw has exaggerated the significance of the history of Project Monterey.

      Exaggerated? Hardly.
      Ransom Love himself, at the LinuxWorld 2000 convention, is RECORDED as saying that SCO was in the process of moving UNIX code to AI-32 and AI-64 Linux as quickly as possible. This was shortly AFTER Caldra acquired SCO. You can catch that comment at the 47 minute mark of his 50 minute speech at:
      http://technetcast.ddj.com/tnc_stream.html?stream_ id=393 [ddj.com]
      and other places. I have the last 2 min an

  • Corrections go here (Score:5, Informative)

    by dtfinch (661405) * on Monday May 02, 2005 @09:57AM (#12406648) Journal
    Every GrokLaw article has a thread under it entitled "Corrections go here: So PJ can find them" or something of that nature.
    • One of the better ideas passed through Groklaw, however I think that it wouldn't work on Slashdot since a single Slashdot paragraph would have more errors than an entire 10 000 word essay from PJ.
  • And here's why:

    "The saga illustrates one of the perils of online forums, the "echo chamber" effect. Many participants join a forum to have beliefs re-affirmed, and context is often a casualty. It's also a characteristic of the "information age" that facts are often applauded regardless of whether they make sense in a particular context."

    A brilliant explanation of how something becomes "fact" on the Internet. I wouldn't say The Register's article is really an indictment of Groklaw, but perhaps it woul

    • by MathFox (686808) on Monday May 02, 2005 @10:23AM (#12406959)
      "The saga illustrates one of the perils of online forums, the "echo chamber" effect. Many participants join a forum to have beliefs re-affirmed, and context is often a casualty. It's also a characteristic of the "information age" that facts are often applauded regardless of whether they make sense in a particular context."

      A brilliant explanation of how something becomes "fact" on the Internet. I wouldn't say The Register's article is really an indictment of Groklaw, but perhaps it would be better if Groklaw let the courts decide this particular case.

      We will let the courts decide; but there needed to be a place to rectify the FUD SCO spouted about Linux. The best way to fight FUD is to provide the facts, even if they are not 100% in your favour. If Groklaw seems biassed in the SCO-IBM case, that is because the facts support IBM's view of the case.

      One of Groklaw's missions is to provide access to the available information so that the reader can form his own opinion. We feel we are quite successfull with that; even SCO uses our archive of legal documents. [slashdot.org]

      • by hhghghghh (871641) on Monday May 02, 2005 @11:12AM (#12407571)
        If Groklaw seems biassed in the SCO-IBM case, that is because the facts support IBM's view of the case. This is not entirely true. Groklaw is biased in a way, but not to the extent of misreporting facts, rather they do sympathize with IBM. So if a fact is posted that's not in favor of IBM (and this does happen) they're reported as "a problem for IBM's case, how should this be solved?" whereas if a problematic fact arises that hurts SCOX, it's quickly pointed out that this is the latest in a long string of facts exposing their lies and misrepresentations. While the latter is also factually true, the emphasis is on pointing this out. Of course, some of the comments go either way in being totally biased for or against. Of course, groklaw being biased at least in its attitude is not a bad thing in itself. In fact, if it wasn't, it would be a lot less interesting to read. Rather like The Register itself.
      • Perhaps I didn't understand the article entirely, but the point Orlowski seems to be making is that sites like Groklaw can take the facts and place them entirely out of context. In an effort to undermine the "FUD", even minor facts become revalations.
        • Well in this case it is Orlowski taking "facts" out of context.

          The point of the Groklaw interest in Monterey was to gather information on SCO's claim that IBM broke their contract with SCO by developing Monterey on POWER. This was always the main focus for the fact gathering. Thus the majority of the statements and "revelations" made were regarding this position taken by SCO. That Monterey on POWER isn't much of a revelation for Orlowski is not really surprising given the mountain of "evidence" gathered by
    • by warpSpeed (67927) <slashdot@fredcom.com> on Monday May 02, 2005 @10:27AM (#12407007) Homepage Journal
      but perhaps it would be better if Groklaw let the courts decide this particular case.

      Yes, perhaps we should stop reporting on what goes on in the courts, and even better corporate boardrooms. Why bother, what could the public possibly gain from a though scrutiny of these public entities? The courts can decide for themselves what is right and wrong with out the help of Groklaw. I would really hate for the data that has been compiled on Groklaw to get into the wrong layers hands, it could thorw the whole case off for SCO. How dare PJ attempt to refute each and every accusation put forth by SCO. I mean SCO would _never_ use the media like this, would they?

      How about blinders for the public too, no need for all these messy details to make it outside of the court room. We simple folk cannot possibly comprehend the subtiles of SCO trying to bludgeon linux by suing IBM, we should just quietly wait while the fate of open and free software is tested in the courts.

      Gimme a break...

    • Please show me where you think Groklaw is attempting to decide this case instead of the courts, cause I think your way off there.

      Neither do I think you are correct attempting to tie "facts" as the reg puts it as an indictment to Groklaw. Again please show me one link of PJ's that are not facts or a matter of public record.

    • Yeah, I'm with the register on this one. I don't know if groklaw can be trusted as an unbiased news-source, they seem to have something of an agenda.
  • by stevew (4845) on Monday May 02, 2005 @09:58AM (#12406673) Journal
    In looking at the "response" by the register, it looks more like the original article than a response.

    In any case, the big problem the register has is PJ's summary of how Monterey was a "stopgap" on IBM's way to Linux.

    That seems to be much ado about nothing (then we ARE talking about the register ;-)

    Whether Monterey was a "stopgap" or not doesn't matter to the case, but rather whether SCO was aware of IBM's intent to run the code on the power PC. THAT is why the "evidence" that has been recorded on Groklaw is important.
  • Echo chamber (Score:5, Insightful)

    by grahamlee (522375) <iamleeg.gmail@com> on Monday May 02, 2005 @09:58AM (#12406675) Homepage Journal
    One part of the reg's article was certainly correct - that a number of these sites act as echo chambers for people who want their own beliefs reaffirmed. So far in this Slashdot thread I've seen "well it's obvious, Groklaw gets it right" or similar sentiment displayed in multiple comments, without one statement of factual evidence used to corroborate the claim. Me, I don't know anything about Monterey, but I'd be happy to consider any evidence that people are willing to post :-)
    • Re:Echo chamber (Score:2, Informative)

      by Anonymous Coward
      Most of this centered around SCO's Third Amendment Complaint. SCO's Third Amendment Complaint claimed that under the Project Monterey Contract IBM had no right to port UNIX to the POWERPC platform, by doing so IBM had broken the contract and misappropriated SCO's intellectual property.

      It takes time to research an assertion like this, and only recently have people been able to dig up and post documents relating to the above assertion by SCO.

      The problem seems to be that where GORKLAW readers were fully awa
      • As I remeber it at the time Monteray was more about porting large chunks of AIX to run on Intels Titantic 64 bit processor. SCOs contibution was to be its expertese on the Intel hardware specifics.

        IBM has had unix running on various power architectures since the Power instruction set existed, and, was up to AIX release 4.1.. when project Monteray was announced so its difficult to see what SCO could be complaining about.

        Incidently back in 1998 Linux was still vieed as a hobbyist OS and no threat to AIX,

    • "I don't know anything about Monterey, but I'd be happy to consider any evidence that people are willing to post :"

      There is this site called groklaw. It contains lots of evidence. I suggest you check it out.
    • Look back at the articles from the early days of the SCO trial. /. readership was very fair to SCO really almost bending over backwards to try and determine if there was any truth to their claims.

      Time and time and time again statement made by SCO to the press were proven false. Time and time and time again statements made in SCO's fillings were proven false. Time and time and time again statments made by Linux supporters have found more and more evidence. At what point do you simply stop giving SCO the
  • by jhdevos (56359) on Monday May 02, 2005 @10:01AM (#12406713) Homepage
    Strange the link to PJ's response [groklaw.net] was not linked to in the original artikle.

    Summary: the Register saw a flaw in some groklaw articles (about the 'stopgap' claims), wrongly interpreted some other comments (proof that SCO knew about Monterey on Power) in that context, and wrote a very long article about it. PJ's response, unfortunately, only goes into those last claims, not the critique on the stopgap claims, which are justified, IMHO.

    Anyway, storm is a glass of water.

    Jan

    • More PJ response (Score:2, Informative)

      by Anonymous Coward
      "PJ's response, unfortunately, only goes into those last claims, not the critique on the stopgap claims, which are justified, IMHO. "

      Look further down in the comments section of that article by PJ. She points out that she did make a minor adjustment in her phrasing of the stopgap phrase in order to be clearer about what she meant. Orlowski misinterpreted her intention, and she promises to try to be clearer in the future.

  • by Ashtead (654610) on Monday May 02, 2005 @10:09AM (#12406804) Journal
    ...claiming "it's difficult to envisage Groklaw's conjecture swaying a court case, but it provides SCO with valuable public relations ammunition."

    Of course it is difficult to envisage this, since Groklaw isn't about trying to sway any court case. The lawyers for IBM and SCOX are the ones to make that kind of impact, and they have to rely on whatever are the facts. Groklaw is merely reporting the various twists and turns of this case, and in this process it is helping the lawyers and the technical people understand what the other say and how they think. As far as any conjecture being presented there, this appears mostly based on available material, such as court filings and technical documentation generally available. There may seem to be a bias against SCO, but if the realities of the case had been different, there could just as well have been an apparent bias against IBM.

    As for being valuable to SCO PR, I'd beg to differ! Groklaw has been able to neutralize much of the FUD that Darl McBride would have us believe about SCO owning and controlling this and that... if anything can be compared to ammunition, it would be the torpedoes that are about to sink SCO. Even without Groklaw, SCO would eventually have foundered, it would have taken longer, and resulted in a slower growth of Linux.

  • Andrew Orlowski (Score:5, Insightful)

    by MythMoth (73648) on Monday May 02, 2005 @10:20AM (#12406910) Homepage
    Do you remember Jon Katz? I don't know if he still posts on Slashdot, because (hallelujah) they provided the block-Jon-Katz option in user preferences.

    I've stopped reading El Reg because they don't have a block Andrew Orlowski option. I could tell within a sentence (without reading the byline) that an article was by Andrew.

    Previously his articles have dripped with vitriolic envy of Google. I'm guessing that the new ones have the same acidic content agains Groklaw. While I've doubts about the objectivity (ho ho) of Groklaw, life is too short to read Andrew's rantings on the subject.
    • Re:Andrew Orlowski (Score:4, Insightful)

      by HiThere (15173) * <charleshixsn@ear ... t ['hli' in gap]> on Monday May 02, 2005 @10:50AM (#12407296)
      Groklaw doesn't claim to be objective. PJ comes out of the legal tradition, not the scientific one, and believes in adversarial debate. But Groklaw is used to discover and report on facts. Not entirely facts that necessarily support one side or the other, but facts that will be the background against which and around which the case will be prosecuted.

      There's no absolute requirement of objectivity in order to recognize facts. It can help, but it's not a requirement.
      • Then you shouldn't have any trouble with Orlowski's subjective approach. As far as I know he doesn't claim to be objective either.

        Personally I find Groklaw's very obviously partisan commentary on the facts to be unhelpful. I particularly dislike it when they stray away from the SCO discussion onto other subjects where their real strength (the presentation of raw evidence) is not exhibited, or less so.
  • The original posting doesn't seem to make much sense. Is a serials the same as a series, or what?
  • by Silve (880687) on Monday May 02, 2005 @10:24AM (#12406969)

    Thanks PJ for the most polite but devastating putdown I have seen in years :)

    PJ: "I see I should have explained all that more clearly, and I'll surely be more alert in the future,
    to make sure those with no legal background or training can follow along."

    • I'd say the majority of Groklaw's readership has no legal background or training, though it does attract some folks who do. PJ consistantly explains or links to explanations of legal terms and their significance. If anything, she's putting herself down for assuming someone would understand what she was getting at.

      This is exactly the same as if I were explaining something about computers to a non-computer person without giving them the necessary background. The failure is then mine, not theirs. PJ under
  • by btarval (874919) on Monday May 02, 2005 @10:24AM (#12406970)
    The only way to discover the truth of the situation is via presenting all of the facts in an open forum. That's how our Court system works. Alas, it's not how the Register works (much as I generally like reading the Registers' articles).

    So, thanks for the article, guys. As others have pointed out, P.J. has already put up a response, with her usual discussion forum there.

    Being open about things requires getting at the truth. And I think people generally agree that the real truth, presented in Court, will make Linux stronger, not weaker.

    I also note this falsehood in the Register article:
    "SCO made friendly with Linux as best it could,"

    Pure, utter bull. SCO was never, ever a nice company. They pulled EVERY dirty trick in the book that they could. This case is, in fact, the SECOND time they have partnered with Microsoft to bring down a UNIX competitor via the Courts. The first time was a legal threat to a small company called Microport, when Microport publically announced Xenix binary compatibility in stock AT&T UNIX.

    Microport, by the way, was the company which provided Richard Stallman's foks with a complete development system for free, just so that he could put gcc on the 386.

    Also, there was a quote from Doug Michaels (head of SCO at the time) stating in an interview that SCO would "steal everything it could" from Linux. Michaels later retracted that statement; but it was clear that his original words were what SCO had on its mind.

    So noo, SCO never, ever made friendly with Linux. It was always trying to stab Linux in the back at every opportunity it could. To state otherwise is an outright lie, and is to the Registers' general discredit.

    • "The only way to discover the truth of the situation is via presenting all of the facts in an open forum. That's how our Court system works."

      I'm pretty sure the implication there is that Groklaw is an open forum.

      Except it's not.

      It's a heavily biased forum - I don't think anyone would try to refute the claim that the majority of Groklaw contributers are anti-SCO. A court is, in theory, unbiased. The judge should weigh the case up on a fact by fact, argument by argument basis.

      Groklaw doesn't quite work li
      • Open simply means that anyone is free to contribute.

        Groklaw is an open forum, because anyone is free to post there. If it were a closed forum, only a certain select few individuals would be allowed to post there.

        The "open-ness" of a forum has nothing to do with the general opinions of its members, and whether or not they agree or disagree with your opinions.

        A similar analogy is open source software vs. closed-source software:

        1. Open source: anyone can see the source code
        2. Closed source: only those with
      • Oh, please.

        Since when does "open forum" = "unbiased forum"?

        In point of fact, I'd have to say that pretty much ALL of the groklaw contributors (by which I mean articles, rather than comments) are pretty much "anti-SCO", but this doesn't mean that the site isn't open.

        Last time I checked the T&C you didn't have to promise faithfully to switch your brain off and follow the party line to comment over at Groklaw. Nor does PJ go through every comment ensuring that the purity of the site's Anti-SCO bias is

      • Just a second are you saying The Register wasted 4 good web pages, the Reporter's time, our time, and our energy to tell us in a not very straight forward way that Groklaw is inhabited by biased, Anti-SCO users? Oh MY GOD! Who would have thunk it. Damn good thing the Register brought that to our attention.

        Psst, over here, yeah you, don't tell anyone but did you know that Slashdot is inhabited by a bunch of Techno-Geeks, no really, mostly Linux users, quite a few rabid ones. Think maybe I should have this p
    • Oh, god, here we go again.

      The SCO that threatened Microport is not the SCO that is suing IBM.

      Santa Cruz Operation != The SCO Group.

      This SCO is Caldera. Caldera who used to sell Linux. Remember them?

      Got it?
    • Wrong SCO (Score:5, Informative)

      by RealProgrammer (723725) on Monday May 02, 2005 @01:15PM (#12409269) Homepage Journal
      Pure, utter bull. SCO was never, ever a nice company. They pulled EVERY dirty trick in the book that they could. This case is, in fact, the SECOND time they have partnered with Microsoft to bring down a UNIX competitor via the Courts. The first time was a legal threat to a small company called Microport, when Microport publically announced Xenix binary compatibility in stock AT&T UNIX.

      In 1979, Larry and Doug Michels founded The Santa Cruz Operation ("oldSCO"). Santa Cruz was then partly held by Microsoft. They ported UNIX to the 8086, releasing Xenix-86 in 1983, followed by releases for the '286 and '386 chips. (Both Santa Cruz and Microsoft sold Xenix at various times.)

      In 1994, Caldera was founded as a Linux distributor by Ransom Love and Bryan Sparks, financed and guided by Novell founder Ray Noorda.

      In 1995, Santa Cruz bought Xenix from Microsoft and UNIX/UnixWare from Novell.

      In 1996, Caldera bought DR-DOS from Novell, and promptly sued Microsoft over antitrust.

      In 1998, Project Monterey was announced between IBM, Sequent, and Santa Cruz.

      In 1999, Microsoft sold off all it's Santa Cruz shares.

      In 2000 (January), Microsoft settled the DR DOS case with Caldera for between $60 and $150 million. In March of that year, Caldera Systems reincorporated in Delaware, receiving a $30 million investment from Sun, Santa Cruz, Citrix, Novell and venture capitalists and made an IPO. Ray Noorda then owned 73% of Caldera Systems. In a deal announced in August of 2000 and completed in the Spring of 2001, Caldera bought the server and OS part of oldSCO. OldSCO then changed its name to Tarentella, which (in 2005) sells a nice directory for Unix. At some point after the UNIX purchase, apparently, Ray Noorda stopped giving much guidance to Caldera.

      It was widely believed, that Caldera's purchase of Santa Cruz' UNIX group would mean the end of Monterey. Certainly it gave IBM an out, since their Monterey contract specified that a change in control could end the agreement.

      In January 2003 IBM made some public statements implying that they were using their AIX knowledge to advance Linux.

      In March of 2003, Caldera sued IBM for copyright infringement, I mean trade secret violations, I mean "this has always been a contract case". In July, Caldera changed its name to "The SCO Group".

      As far as I know, none of the people calling the shots at The SCO Group (Caldera) have anything to do with The Santa Cruz Operation.

      • Thanks for the timeline and the correction to the GP. But Old SCO weren't really Linux fans either - remember the punk kids [computerworld.com] episode? Highlights from that interview with Doug Michels include:
        • Linus referred to as "some kid from Norway"
        • Alleged "misappropriation of intellectual property" in Linux. Hmmm, that sounds familiar :)
        • Some laughable predictions about the future

        He knew very well what he was saying at the time, his subsequent (and rather panicked) denials notwithstanding.

  • After seeing how many people relied on the Register as a news source I figured I should check it out. After a few days I gave up; I was really put off by their lack of professionalism in reporting (I know lightning will strike me for writing that on Slashdot...) and the blatant bias in everything they write. I have come to view it as a cross between the Weekly World News and People Magazine of technology reporting. It's more like entertainment than news.

    Here's an example of their crapola: http://www.theregister.co.uk/2005/04/11/torvalds_a ttack/ [theregister.co.uk] .

    Can you imagine a newspaper printing, "Here's a quote from president Bush. Haha... just kidding!" I have a sense of humor, but there are times when stuff like that is appropriate and times when it's not. It's like an entire site of editorials and wannabe pundits.
    • The point of that argument is to draw a parallel between Linus' statements regarding the whole "Tridge" thing, and how they apply to reverse engineering projects elsewhere (OpenOffice for the MS Office compatibility, SAMBA for reverse engineering SMB over-the-wire, etc..)

      It was saying that Linus' attacks on Tridge might-as-well-have-been attacks on OpenOffice, or other compatibility based projects.

      ~Dave
  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday May 02, 2005 @10:47AM (#12407254)
    "it's difficult to envisage Groklaw's conjecture swaying a court case, ..."

    That's not what Groklaw is doing. Groklaw makes as many court documents as possible public. Convincing a court of anything is the lawyers' job. What Groklaw is doing here is clarifying arguments already made by IBM's legal team.

    What Groklaw does is fight FUD. It has done a very good job of fighting FUD. The result is (imho) that the mainstream press has figured out the truth much sooner that it would otherwise have done.
  • by valisk (622262) * on Monday May 02, 2005 @10:54AM (#12407344) Homepage Journal
    which often gets its facts wrong?
    I emailed them on a couple of occasions to advise them of factual innacuracies in their stories, only to be ignored.

    On one occasion when discussing a new database used by casinos in Vegas, they stated that blackjack players, who are card counters, were cheats and criminals who could be arrested.
    Card counting is perfectly legal in Nevada, even if casinos dont like counters, and the Register could have checked that and then corrected it, but chose not to.

    So I choose not to read their often inaccurate garbage anymore.

  • by NickFortune (613926) on Monday May 02, 2005 @10:58AM (#12407392) Homepage Journal
    The reg publishes a tariff [theregister.co.uk]. A quick article casting aspersions upon PJ and Groklaw would only cost SCO 15k - cheap compared to the dosh they've blown on lawyers fees lately.

    Of course, this being el Reg, I'm never entirely sure whether or not to take said tariff with a pinch of salt. Overall, I think I'm tending toward not.

    It doesn't diminish my my affection for the rag, I just don't take them too seriously when they pull sudden a volte-face in favour of someone with deep pockets.

    • Wow, I wish I had a mod point or three. Your link came as a total surprise. I have to give El Reg credit, tho. All press is for sale, they are just open about it and post a menu for you to choose from. That DOES clarify alot of stuff, however. One has to wonder if the original article WAS a paid one...
    • Oh My God. Can't you spot a joke when you read one?

      "For £15,000 we will write any story you like on our site": do you think that any publisher as vitriolic as The Register would really really sell their soul so cheaply? Or that they would leave themselves that open to possible libel action by writing "any story you like"?

      The Register constantly ridicules the major shakers and movers in the IT industry. That page that you've linked to is it ridiculing those who cover the industry too.
      • Oh My God. Can't you spot a joke when you read one?

        I'm having dificulty deciding in this case. I'm fairly certain I said that up front. It is funny. I did laugh. That does not mean that the reg is not at the same time deadly serious.

        do you think that any publisher as vitriolic as The Register would really really sell their soul so cheaply?

        This is a trick question, right? The tariff gag works just because of El Reg's posture of postmodern amorality. The question is whether (and to what exten

  • by LWATCDR (28044) on Monday May 02, 2005 @11:05AM (#12407483) Homepage Journal
    Isn't it a good thing that a news site can not sway a court case?
    "it's difficult to envisage Groklaw's conjecture swaying a court case, but it provides SCO with valuable public relations ammunition.""
    I really want news services to inform me about what is going on in a court case not have any real effect on a court case. In theory anyway court cases should not be effected by public opinion or news coverage.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday May 02, 2005 @11:19AM (#12407656)
    It's barely coherent- if the author has a point, it's well-concealed. He cites nothing to back up his assertions, whatever they are. Groklaw always includes source material- you don't have to take PJ's word for it, anyone can see for themselves.
  • To understand what Mr. Orlowski is croaking about you would do will to read PJ's analysis along with his. I've read both and seems to me her analysis is the more reasonable, correct and more encompassing as a whole.

    Mr. Orlowski glosses over or ignores to many things for his piece to be taken as anything but a clickity magnet.

  • Case in point... (Score:4, Insightful)

    by lxt (724570) on Monday May 02, 2005 @11:29AM (#12407804) Journal
    ...this Slashdot story is a case in point, particularly with the mod point system used.

    As Orlowski says, "commenters who pointed out the shortcomings of the argument were lost in the Groklaw noise [...] They're lost amidst comments such as "Absolutely fascinating", and "Doesn't this just about blow the whole of SCOG's case out of the water?"

    The same is perfectly true here - I'm sure there are far more of the latter on Slashdot, and being a "democratic" mod system the latter wield the greater "power".

    Thus, those who post comments such as "This article is wrong", "Groklaw is right", "PJ is right" etc. etc. will in general be moderated far higher than those posting "...perhaps Andrew Orlowski has a point".

    Now, the big question is whether that's a bad thing. The point of the Slashdot mod system is that only after repeated moderation by severak different people does a comment become noticed. The system is, in it's own idiosyncratic way, a democracy. But as a result of this, some opinions that may actually have some merit but are disagreed with by the majority are left behind.

    The echo chamber exists right here - when this article was at around 75 comments posted, I'd say I saw many more pro-Groklaw posts modded up to 5 than criticisms...there were critical posts there, but they had yet to be moderated up.
  • by judmarc (649183) on Monday May 02, 2005 @12:14PM (#12408450)

    ...the author of the Register article says he bases his account on "first hand experience," including attendance at 4 SCO Forums.

    Certainly the SCO representatives at these forums would not have hesitated to be completely open and honest with customers, investors and media - if SCO's announced strategy for the future (Project Monterey) was a mere stopgap until Linux became dominant, I'm sure they would have come right out and said so.

    Ahem.

  • by technoCon (18339) on Monday May 02, 2005 @01:11PM (#12409205) Homepage Journal
    Let's see: The Register, a general tech info site located in another country. Versus: Groklaw, a legally focused site located in the US and run by PJ, a legal expert (not a lawyer, but any lawyer would do well to hire her to clerk).

    And they disagree on a point of US law?

    On the face of it, I'm inclined to give the benefit of the doubt to Ms. Jones.
  • It's Orlowski (Score:2, Insightful)

    by pjc50 (161200)
    While reading the ./ article I thought, "hmm, this sounds like Andrew Orlowski's work". And lo and behold, it's his byline at the Reg article. Orlowski is a pure contrarian: he writes anti-blog articles and pro-DRM articles, knowing that outraged people will link to them and drive traffic to the Register. And it works!
  • More facts don't make a better argument.

    Now, if they'd said something to the effect of "More facts THAT don't make a better argument" or "More fact's don't NECESSARILY make a better argument" it would have made sense. As it is, the article reads as though the author was just scribbling something down.

    Spellchecker does not an editor make.
  • by kriston (7886) on Monday May 02, 2005 @04:11PM (#12411701) Homepage Journal
    I was on a job interview a couple of years ago in which the job was to develop software that currently ran on Solaris and part of the job would be to port that software to Linux. One of the questions asked, rather off-handedly, was what I thought of the then-emerging SCO litigation. I have used SCO products as well as Linux for as long as they've been around, and also have much detailed exposure to AIX and Solaris. I mentioned that I believed if SCO owned the technology of AT&T System V Unix such technology was their property and some of it is subject to patent protection as well as intellectual property protection. IBM appeared at the time to have released this technology directly into the public domain without regard to prior ownership and much of that code ended up in major Linux distributions' kernel and toolchains. I described how I read that the biggest reason that the BSD4.4-lite2 and subsequent NetBSD/FreeBSD distributions came about was because of intellectual property that had to be removed from BSD Unix (at the same time the BSD Unix project was ending). It appeared that the same thing was happening to Linux, except that today we have SCO suing IBM (instead of AT&T suing UCB).

    I will never know how much that contributed to their opinion of me.
  • Approaching this scientifically, I read the Slashdot summary, and I predicted based on existing theories I have that the article is by Andrew Orlowski.

    I click-through, and behold, I am correct.

    Andrew Orlowski is either incapable of reading or deliberately inflammatory to boost page views. I have never seen an article from him that was factually accurate, and the subsequent conclusions are exactly what you'd expect.

    People, when you see that name, think John Dvorak or Katz, not respectable journalist; at t

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