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A Discussion of SCO's Fate With Groklaw's Pamela Jones 84

Posted by Zonk
from the going-down-the-tubes dept.
An anonymous reader writes "The SCO Group's current fate can be neatly summarized by the title of Pamela Jones' very first article on the case, back in May 2003 — 'SCO Falls Downstairs, Hitting its Head on Every Step.' In the intervening years PJ and Groklaw can be credited with unearthing and exposing many of the flaws in SCO's case, most notably, obtaining and publishing the 1994 settlement in the USL vs BSDi case. An article at the ITPro site interviews PJ about SCO, the impact of Groklaw and future of free software and the law."
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A Discussion of SCO's Fate With Groklaw's Pamela Jones

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  • by MrAndrews (456547) * <mcm&1889,ca> on Tuesday November 27, 2007 @01:09PM (#21493839) Homepage
    Perhaps the most notable contribution PJ made to the SCO case was when it became clear Darl McBride was directing company strategy based on doing the opposite of what Groklaw contributors wanted [pttbt.ca]...

    However, the strategy appeared to backfire when, on September 14, 2007, CEO Darl McBride saw a comment that read, in part: "God, I hope they don't declare bankruptcy to try and get out of this mess."
  • Give her credit (Score:5, Interesting)

    by alain94040 (785132) on Tuesday November 27, 2007 @01:22PM (#21494011) Homepage
    Pamela Jones deserves a lot of credit. She challenged big corporations with deep pockets, which was personally risky to her. SCO did try to get her involved in the lawsuit.

    Interesting also in the article: she mentions she saw what's underneath the corporate media and analysts. Yes, there is a lot of corruption there: you can "buy" favorable reviews with quid pro quo. And no one seems to object, that's just the way business is done. It's not so easy to fight: when you are young, you don't have the power to be different, and if you object, you are out on the street. As you get older (and more senior), you finally can object, except by then you have been doing it for years. So that makes you either an hypocrit, or at a minimum people will be able to come after you for past actions. Any solutions?

    So just say thanks to Pamela for what she did.
    • by Runesabre (732910)
      This post has been one of the most insightful things I've seen written on Slashdot for a long time.
    • by golodh (893453)
      I couldn't agree more. Pamela Jones contributes things that seem to be increasingly scarce and out of fashion in the US of A:

      - actual knowledge of what she is writing about (legal proceedings) and the self-restraint to stay inside her area of expertise (Groklaw is something that professional lawyers read to obtain information. Can you imagine *any* lawyer reading Slashdot for information? I cannot.)

      - a willingness to actually do research, read source material instead of press releases, and to piece vari

      • by Ungrounded Lightning (62228) on Tuesday November 27, 2007 @07:40PM (#21498979) Journal
        Groklaw is something that professional lawyers read to obtain information. Can you imagine *any* lawyer reading Slashdot for information? I cannot.

        I can. Easily. B-)

        Seriously, though. I can also imagine a GOOD lawyer reading Slashdot - for leads, ideas, arguments, legal theories, and inspiration (just for starters). But then he'd CHECK them - with dependable source and reference documents, credible witnesses, traceable, certified experts, etc.

        Slashdot is a rumor mill. Sometimes it's mostly mist and mirrors. But often where there's smoke there's fire.
        • by golodh (893453)
          The reasons I cannot imagine any lawyer reading Slashdot are:

          - Slashdot if far too diffuse: it doesn't focus on any single topic and covers that really well. In the words of Cmdr Taco it tries to present an appealing mix of stories. There you go ... you cannot ever *count* on Slashdot covering anything well. It does however focus on IT-oriented stories.

          - Slashdot itself possesses zero editorial expertise. The expertise (if any) is all with the people who post here. Posts vary from garbage to insightful

      • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

        by Anonymous Coward
        the self-restraint to stay inside her area of expertise

        Obviously not a regular reader. Every few weeks she goes off on some hairbrained rant, often loaded with conspiracy theories and paranoia.

        Groklaw is really good when it sticks to what its good at though.
      • by mvdwege (243851)

        Can you imagine *any* lawyer reading Slashdot for information?

        I can: Ray Beckerman, aka NewYorkCountryLawyer.

        And he has used Slashdot as an information source, e.g. his Ask Slashdot for leads into questions to pose a RIAA expert witness.

        I don't think however that Ray takes everything here on first sight. I do imagine he does checking on the leads he gets here. Still, he is an active participant in copyright discussions.

        Mart
  • by explosivejared (1186049) <hagan.jared@NOSPAM.gmail.com> on Tuesday November 27, 2007 @01:23PM (#21494031)
    That's cool and all, but the essay is four years old and the interview barely brushes the surface of the SCO case. This is hardly a story to be billed as a discussion of SCO's fate. This is trying to hard to create an anti-SCO bash fest (which is cool and all, but it's hardly news).

    On the other hand the majority of the interview about Groklaw and Jones' feelings about it was quite interesting, especially the part discussing democracy and the nature of Groklaw.
  • so... (Score:3, Funny)

    by yorugua (697900) on Tuesday November 27, 2007 @01:25PM (#21494047)
    is SCO still alive? What it is up to? I'm going to check in netcraft to see if the rumor has been confirmed....
  • by Animats (122034) on Tuesday November 27, 2007 @01:26PM (#21494049) Homepage

    The SCO cases could drag on for years, or they could end next month. It's hard to say. Groklaw just covering SCO is enough for now.

    As SCO management is discovering, they have far less control in bankruptcy than they could before. They were able to control the pace of the pre-bankruptcy cases because they were the plaintiff in most of them. It's different in bankruptcy. The bankruptcy judge, the U.S. Trustee, and the creditors are in charge. The bankruptcy judge keeps shooting down SCO management's wierd legal ideas.

    Yahoo Finance says it all: "SCOX is deficient and bankrupt."

    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by Anonymous Coward
    • It won't last for years, at least with current SCO management in charge.

      The reason they tried to push through a super-duper must have it now sale of every asset to that troll company was to avoid having anything left for the creditor's committee to object to. You see, once that committee is established, everyone will have to agree or object to any attempt that SCO tries to keep its plaintiff litigation cases alive (Autozone) alive and take all the guaranteed-liability counterclaims (Novell, IBM) with the S
  • An educated public (Score:5, Insightful)

    by houstonbofh (602064) on Tuesday November 27, 2007 @01:28PM (#21494081)
    This is an excellent example of the power of an educated public. Groklaw would try to educated the public, not just grab a headline. As more people notice this, and it becomes popular / profitable, perhaps media can start to have more depth than a puddle. I think it is awfully nice to get more then a biased cursory glimpse at a story once and a while...
    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by DerekLyons (302214)

      This is an excellent example of the power of an educated public.

      How? The public had about zero effect on the SCO/Novell case.
      • by VP (32928)

        This is an excellent example of the power of an educated public.

        How? The public had about zero effect on the SCO/Novell case.
        At least some of the GrokLaw analysis was used by both sides in the IBM case.
      • by blueskies (525815) on Tuesday November 27, 2007 @02:58PM (#21495263) Journal
        [quote]How? The public had about zero effect on the SCO/Novell case.[/quote] Because it wasn't about the case anyway. It was all about the secondary effects and reducing Linux mindshare in corporations.
      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by _Sprocket_ (42527)

        The public had about zero effect on the SCO/Novell case.

        Keep in mind that this was more than SCO vs. Novell. It was more than SCO vs. IBM (or Chrysler or Autozone). There was also the court of public opinion. It is very possible that the later was the real target of SCO's actions.

        Once in awhile the water cooler talk around my area turns to SCO (among the IT crowd - I've yet to meet any non-IT folks who know about SCO). It's rather interesting that the conversation about SCO's legal wrangling includes a lot of details that never surfaced in any court of law.

        • Re: (Score:1, Troll)

          by DerekLyons (302214)
          Lack of reading comprehension FTL. Redefining terms to the point of meaninglessness FTL.
          • by _Sprocket_ (42527)

            Lack of reading comprehension FTL. Redefining terms to the point of meaninglessness FTL.
            Very gracious of you to admit being mistaken. :P

            Or perhaps you can make a point with more depth than the campy nonsense "FTL" phrase that's so popular with the twitchy ADD set these days?
    • by sm62704 (957197)
      As more people notice this, and it becomes popular / profitable, perhaps media can start to have more depth than a puddle.

      Hmmmph... as the rest of the news networks mimic Fox. Yeah, that's gonna happen. Face it, the same sociopathic greedheads that run the likes of Fox, SCO, Enron, and Microsoft also run and own ALL media outlets. As well as "your" government*, who these same greedheads have bought lock, stock, and barrell.

      The only way a rich powerful man in the US goes to prison is if a richer, more powerf
  • Grass roots (Score:5, Insightful)

    by UnknowingFool (672806) on Tuesday November 27, 2007 @01:29PM (#21494095)
    The rise of the Internet in the late 90s was promised by pundits to be a grand revolution of ideas and information. Frankly, it has turned into Eternal September more than naught. :P With Groklaw, it has shown what the promise of what the Internet could be. One person with an opinion and information could share with the rest of the world. With grass roots aid and collaboration, a personal blog has become THE resource of one case and, in some cases, a source of information about Intellectual Property law. Vivà la revolución!
  • by mknewman (557587) *
    I've got boxes of old SCO licenses and manuals. ODT 3.0 and later. If anyone wants them let me know.
    • by terrymr (316118)
      I've got a bunch of Caldera Open Linux Cds somewhere.

    • by funkatron (912521)
      Are the petrol and lighters included or do I have to get them separately?
    • by jbeaupre (752124)
      Save it, then ebay it some day. People collect some pretty crazy stuff. People probably buy nazi stuff because they are fascinated by evil. Same might go for SCO stuff. Orders of magnitude different, but still on the wrong side of the scale.
  • Currently one battle is won, but the war against those who want to cripple Linux and other open source software is far from over. SCO isn't really on the map anymore, but there are others that can go in sneakier and use other methods to try to spread FUD and increase the value of the competition (read Microsoft).

    Just watch your back!

  • by Cryophallion (1129715) on Tuesday November 27, 2007 @01:43PM (#21494257)
    PJ - also known as the person who IBM loves since they don't have to pay to give them a big helping hand...

    Although she does deserve a nice bonus from all the companies that were aided by her efforts.

    She made a place where people could discuss and analyze the case, thus enabling many different minds to come together and put their different strengths to greater benefit. You give people access to the info and let them think for themselves, and you give them power. You also get people lining up to try and help.

    Both her and Ray (for the RIAA cases) deserve a lot of credit for putting together a compendium of info that would be way too time consuming for people to get for themselves. They see what is going on in different cases, and can connect the dots. While we were in a sense helping out corporations, we were also helping out ourselves, and without the place to go to get the info and a safe place to discuss it, it wouldn't have happened.

    So Thanks PJ, you helped open the window to what SCO was trying to do, and showed what they were hiding. And this is why people are afraid of the open source and info movements - they don't want people able to see what they are up to (such as borrowing code, not disclosing hard to find info, etc).
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by INT_QRK (1043164)
      "She made a place where people could discuss and analyze the case, thus enabling many different minds to come together and put their different strengths to greater benefit." -- sounds like Open Source justice to me!
  • by postbigbang (761081) on Tuesday November 27, 2007 @01:44PM (#21494269)
    Dogged determination. Referential integrity in the face of astounding, if typical, high-priced FUD.

    Three Cheers to a friend of the open source community, diligent, tenacious, and gleeful in that determination.

    Integrity counts. Pamela Jones is a champion of the OSS community and the values it stands for.
  • You know, now that I think about it, SCO's case does seem like that classic Simpsons episode where Homer winds up on a skateboard in an attempt to jump Springfield Gorge. He's in midair declaring that he's going to make it, but then hits every single rock and tree on the way down. Then, after the ambulance loads him up, the ambulance crashes into a tree, his gurney rolls out, and he plummets down the gorge once again. SCO's case is about as tattered as Homer's body must have been after that second plumme
    • by sumdumass (711423)
      Isn't that the episode where Homer says "Why does all the things that happen to stupid people keep happening to me?"?

      It would make a good ending to the SCO case as you described it.
  • by Anonymous Coward
    when will people realize, "Pamela Jones" is a pen name for some unknown person(s) who have an axe to grind with SCO. whether it's a team of IBM lawyers, as some have suggested, I don't know. but NOBODY has ever actually met her, and no picture exists of her. every single contact with her has been through email.

    every time an occasion comes up when she might HAVE to make an appearance she suddenly "gets sick" and disappears (like when SCO threatened to subpoeana her [forbes.com], and even when she won the Knowledge Master [groklaw.net]
    • by Z00L00K (682162)
      Does it matter?

      Even if that is a pseudonym for a real person or not it really doesn't matter because the result is what counts. An important part is that what Groklaw did in this case was to bring out some of the nastier parts in the clear. There was no need for Groklaw to mess things up or go around spreading FUD - SCO did that well enough already so it was just a question of pricking their FUD balloons with a sharp needle now and then.

      • Does it matter?

        Even if that is a pseudonym for a real person or not it really doesn't matter because the result is what counts.


        I don't care who or what she is. PJ passes the Turing Test.

        (On the internet nobody can tell you're a 'bot. B-) )
    • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

      by sproot (1029676)
      And that same Wiki page notes that OSRM [osriskmanagement.com] employed [eweek.com] her once.
      I guess they think she's real.
    • There's nothing particularly wrong about using a Pseudonym- everyone on slashdot does it. Even you, Mr. Anonymous Coward, aren't posting as "Darl McBride". Even if you were, we still wouldn't believe it was you.

      Honestly, though, if 'Pamela Jones' is really a Pseudonym for Patricia Johnson, a agoraphobic paralegal who used to work for Microsoft, would that really matter? I confess I'm curious, but for the most part it doesn't matter to me who PJ is- I don't read her articles to find out about her
    • Good grief Darl, get off the Internet and start trying to figure out how you're going to flee the country before SEC comes after you.
    • when will people realize, "Pamela Jones" is a pen name for some unknown person(s) who have an axe to grind with SCO.

      That's pretty bold worlds coming from someone who calls himself Anonymous Coward, eh Darl? So she wants to remain anonymous, so what? Her information (like court documents) is beyond reproach. And yes SCO threatened to subpoena her, but IBM and the judge quashed that as a diversion that had nothing to do the case. SCO doesn't like her because she publishes damaging information that they d

    • I don't really care if it is a pen name, or even if she has some past event that would lead her to grind an axe against SCO. Nothing she has posted is made up or a forgery, and her predictions as to how things would go have been spot-on. Yeah, sometimes her editorial comments are a bit much, but she does know how to explain the law to mere mortals.

      OTOH, Rob Enderele has an obvious axe to grind against IBM, (he worked for Rolm during a botched acquisition by IBM), and he has been shown to be full of a stea
  • by davidsyes (765062) on Tuesday November 27, 2007 @01:52PM (#21494409) Homepage Journal
    She is too kind. I think the matter is that "sco" JUMPED up at the top of the stairs, aiming on PURPOSED for the bottom. But, they jumped so hard, it broke mandibles, fractured the nose, shattered the eye socket, and snagged balls along the baluster and then had not enough breath to say, "Help, I've fallen (after JUMPING) down the stairs, and my legs are twisted. But, that's OK, because I think I have shagged myself. OK, I can feel my anus dripping, but maybe that's my teeth just passing through... Oh, wait, Why didn't we file in Texas, where we could WIN for sure... Damn, we should have reincorporated there BEFORE suing..."
  • by Just Some Guy (3352) <kirk+slashdot@strauser.com> on Tuesday November 27, 2007 @02:03PM (#21494533) Homepage Journal

    So, what's this [honeypot.net] all about? The SCOX page in Yahoo! Finance is the only Google result for that phrase. Is this a prankster at Yahoo!, or something more entertaining?

    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by KokorHekkus (986906)
      It's one the financial status classifications that NASDAQ uses. Deficient means that they don't live up to NASDAQs conditions for continued listing and in this case it's most likely that they've been trading to long under $1 (and perhaps that their market capitalisation is to small as well). Bankrupt, well, if you're in chapter 11 you're certainly bankrupt.

      Some other classifications are: "deficent and delinquent", "delinquent and bankrupt" and "deficent, delinquent and bankrupt".

      See: http://www.nasdaq [nasdaqtrader.com]
      • Why does that phrase [google.com] only show up in conjunction with SCOX? I didn't see any news [yahoo.com] that looked like it would have triggered that warning. I admit that I'm glad to see it, but don't have the financial knowledge to really understand what it all means, or who decided that it was so. From your link it appears that someone at NASDAQ said that it's a required message, but what triggers it?

    • by ral315 (741081)
      It appears to be a technical term for certain types of stock. MarketWatch [marketwatch.com] says that it means NASDAQ has listed them as a type "G" stock, meaning "Deficient and bankrupt" -- deficient meaning that it doesn't meet NASDAQ listing requirements, and bankrupt meaning that the company's currently in bankruptcy. A third term, delinquent, is also possible -- that's when the company missed regulatory filing deadlines.
  • by JustNiz (692889) on Tuesday November 27, 2007 @02:07PM (#21494589)
    Darl Mcbride not only managed to drive a somewhat successful company totally into the ground in the space of 3 or 4 years but also managed to totally alienate them from the entire industry and turn the company name into a pariah. Nevertheless he has been personally rewarded in salary and performance benefits in millions of dollars in that time.

    We badly need to fix the system where incompetent shysters like him can't even get into that position, let alone be personally rewarded for catastrophic failure.

    I mean, what on earth were the SCO board thinking when they agreed his last performance bonus?
    • That reminds me of the old "catastrophic failure [wikipedia.org]" googlebombing a few years ago....
    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      by phrostie (121428)
      yeah, it was like Enron, only everyone was watching the train go off the cliff this time.
    • by Minwee (522556)

      Darl Mcbride not only managed to drive a somewhat successful company totally into the ground in the space of 3 or 4 years but also managed to totally alienate them from the entire industry and turn the company name into a pariah.

      Yup. It seems some people will go to any lengths to win a bet.

      But man is he ever enjoying that $20.

    • by jambarama (784670)
      That's how CEOs and Board or Directors work - they're the same people. The BoDs for one firm are CEOs of others. They all reward each other with bonuses and fat paychecks. Until one of them screws up really bad that is, then they reward that guy with a golden parachute, expecting no less in return.

      What were they thinking?They were thinking that he owns stock in the companies they work at/run, and he can respond in kind.
    • Errrmmmm, has no one considered the idea that he did precisely the job he was paid to do? Linux was becoming very hot in IT when SCO launched the lawsuit. Linux-oriented business cooled off for a while, long enough for Microsoft to suspend vendor drift toward Linux (to some extent). They waved the promises of the glories the turd that is Vista, and the uncertainty of the legal standing of GNU/Linux in front of businesses.

      Microsoft launched their FUD campaign around that time, pumping 2 million dollars

  • by walterbyrd (182728) on Tuesday November 27, 2007 @04:27PM (#21496559)
    Scox was as good as dead before the scam - look at their financials, it's a verifiable fact. If not for the scam, scox would have been gone three years ago.

    Darl is making $34K a month, which is not bad for a small-time Utah scammer.

    Msft got 4.5 years of premium Linux FUD, for about $50 million - hardly pocket change for msft.

    BSF pocketed, at least, $50 million.

    Riamondi sold his shares in the high teens.

    None of the guilty have been punished in any way, and they are not likely to ever be punished.

    IBM has probably spent about between 50 and 100 million defending itself against the bogus lawsuit.

    Msft has sent this stern warning: "if you want to contribute to Linux, you better be ready to spend tens of millions in lawyer fees, and spend the next five years in court." Can you say "chilling effect?"

    People like PJ feel that they need to cheerlead. But, if you objectively examine the facts, I think you will find that in most respects, scox has already won.
    • People like PJ feel that they need to cheerlead. But, if you objectively examine the facts, I think you will find that in most respects, scox has already won.

      Actually, only certain members of SCOX "won", and you could likely count them on one hand with fingers to spare. The rest of SCOX' employee roster lost... hard. At level best they managed to make it through the dot-bust (and I do agree that they would've likely died in 2004 otherwise), but with 'SCO-Under-Darl's-reign' on the resume? It has to be damned tough to get an interview in the tech industry... and Utah isn't exactly a hotbed of tech hiring (unless you're shooting for, say, call-center work). Rem

    • by dacarr (562277)
      The term "pyrrhic victory" comes to mind here.
    • by memrob (1144041)
      Follow the money - and follow the money behind the money. Betcha Darl has another source of cashflow besides dregs of SCOX...
  • by PSaltyDS (467134) on Tuesday November 27, 2007 @06:42PM (#21498337) Journal
    The bankruptcy judge in New Jersey has lifted the stay on SCOX's suit in Utah. [groklaw.net]

    Remember how that went down:
    1. Utah judge agrees with Novell in Summary Judgements that SCOX did not get the copyrights, that they owe Novell money, and are guilty of conversion.
    2. Novell tells the judge that SCOX is about to go bankrupt and that he should put the money in constructive trust.
    3. SCOX successfully convinces the judge that they are NOT about to go bankrupt, and the judge says there is no need before the trial.
    4. On the Friday before the trial was to start Monday, 17 September, 2007, SCOX declares bankruptcy in New Jersey, causing an automatic stay in Utah.
    5. Novell asks the BK judge to lift the stay.
    6. Today, the BK judge agreed.
    7. Now the SCOX v. Novell case in Utah will go before that judge, who may not be happy with the way he was very publicly suckered and made to look foolish by SCOX's bankruptcy ploy.

    It will be interesting to watch... on Groklaw.

    :-)

    • by shentino (1139071)
      "7. Now the SCOX v. Novell case in Utah will go before that judge, who may not be happy with the way he was very publicly suckered and made to look foolish by SCOX's bankruptcy ploy." Suckered? Try "blatantly committed perjury" and you'll be more on. I'm am so SICK SICK SICK of big fatcat companies like the RIAA, and now SCO, thinking they can bluff their way through a lawsuit. Pinnochio got off easy, methinks. In the *real world*, a "little white lie" can ruin things faster than anything. If even lit

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