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SCO Fires back, Subpoenas Stallman, Torvalds et al 1145

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

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  • by nate nice ( 672391 ) on Wednesday November 12, 2003 @05:14PM (#7457160) Journal
    Lets see how M$ or some other Linux enemy is in some way funding SCO here. There is something going on beyond what we see my intuition tells me.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday November 12, 2003 @05:17PM (#7457218)
    In fact, I was expecting them to subpoena "all linux contributors"....

    imagine, if they said they needed to depose all those people, or at least most of them ... this case would drag on for YEARS and YEARS unless the judge was clueful and told SCO to stuff themselves.

    The FSF's advice to centralize copyrights doesn't seem so superfluous now, does it? Linus, Apache Software Foundation, are you listening? Get *ALL* copyrights assigned to an LLC or non-profit so these things are streamlined in the future!!!!

    Or do you honestly believe this is the last time a closed-source company will use the legal system to intimidate free software?

    PS: why did they subpoena stallman I wonder?
  • by freidog ( 706941 ) on Wednesday November 12, 2003 @05:17PM (#7457222)
    SCO spokesman Blake Stowell said he did not know what the subpoenas asked for, but "I know that some of them have been served."

    They haven't got a clue what they're doing, but they're doing it.
  • by SpaceLifeForm ( 228190 ) on Wednesday November 12, 2003 @05:18PM (#7457225)
    How about a carefully orchestrated conspiracy?

    Did Linus have anything to do with the IBM contract?

  • RMS (Score:5, Insightful)

    by thoolihan ( 611712 ) on Wednesday November 12, 2003 @05:18PM (#7457232) Homepage
    I imagine this is what Stallman wanted, a chance to prove the GPL in court. And involvement in the case may give him legal room to see 'evidence' without signing non-disclosures.

  • Oh dear (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Space cowboy ( 13680 ) on Wednesday November 12, 2003 @05:18PM (#7457241) Journal
    Don't take this the wrong way, Gnuites, but I wish they hadn't gone for putting RS up on the stand...

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

  • by pixelgeek ( 676892 ) on Wednesday November 12, 2003 @05:20PM (#7457271)
    He is being subpoened not sued. Big difference
  • My favorite quote: (Score:4, Insightful)

    by bobdotorg ( 598873 ) on Wednesday November 12, 2003 @05:22PM (#7457310)
    SCO's Stowell said his company provided about a million pages of documents in response to IBM's requests. "They are trying to coerce and intimidate," Stowell said, referring to Big Blue's subpoenas. "I think what they're trying to do is that if you're a potential investor in our company or an industry analyst that says anything even remotely favorable toward SCO, you're going to be subpoenaed by IBM."

    Hmmmm.... Sounds eerily familiar to some company trying to extort money by saying that if you use Linux, you may be violating our IP and subject to a big ass lawsuit. Unless you fork over $699 that is.
  • Re:RMS (Score:2, Insightful)

    by LMCBoy ( 185365 ) on Wednesday November 12, 2003 @05:24PM (#7457338) Homepage Journal
    Any evidence presented at trial is a matter of public record anyway, unless the judge seals it for some reason...

  • Re:thats odd (Score:5, Insightful)

    by techstar25 ( 556988 ) <techstar25 AT gmail DOT com> on Wednesday November 12, 2003 @05:24PM (#7457339) Journal
    Because if Linus worked on any Linux code while working for Transmeta, then Transmeta might own the code, and therefore be held liable for the code if it copied Unix. I guess that's what SCO is assuming.
  • Re:Fitting (Score:3, Insightful)

    by platypus ( 18156 ) on Wednesday November 12, 2003 @05:25PM (#7457366) Homepage
    Ok, maybe they have a vicious alien-superbrain-designed hellofa plan here, but really ... would you bet against the thesis that SCO is just full of shit?
    It fscking doesn't make sense what they are doing, if you ignore that make-a-buzz->make-the-stock angle.

  • Re:Oh dear (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Dominic_Mazzoni ( 125164 ) on Wednesday November 12, 2003 @05:26PM (#7457377) Homepage
    Don't take this the wrong way, Gnuites, but I wish they hadn't gone for putting RS up on the stand...

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

    Are you kidding? I understand your concerns -- RMS comes across as a total wacko -- but this is the guy who invented the GPL! I think he understands better than most people exactly why free software is on solid legal ground, so I think he'd be a fine person on the witness stand. No judge will have a hard time believing that the last thing in the world he would ever want to do would be to steal somebody else's source code and release it for free. He'd sooner rewrite it from scratch, as he's done hundreds of times before.
  • Re:Oh dear (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday November 12, 2003 @05:26PM (#7457383)
    Yeah, but stallman is also extremely precise when he talks about the GPL and free software. He understands copyright law very well, and has done *EVERYTHING* exactly right and above board, according to the law.

    Linus however worries me, he seems to be so uninterested in the legal system that he might be considered ignorant of it. Remember when he (jokingly) said the best way to handle a patent was to "off the git" who held it?
  • by Weaselmancer ( 533834 ) on Wednesday November 12, 2003 @05:28PM (#7457433)

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

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

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


  • by Rick the Red ( 307103 ) < minus poet> on Wednesday November 12, 2003 @05:29PM (#7457438) Journal
    Actually, that's probably what SCO wants.

    Sort of like if your neighbors found out there's a toxic waste dump in their back yard, so they sue you over the fence you put up, hoping your cheapest way out of the suit is to buy their house, toxic waste dump and all. There's no merit to the suit, but the point isn't to get the fence moved, it's to get you to buy them out and take the liability off their hands.

  • Re:RMS (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Pharmboy ( 216950 ) on Wednesday November 12, 2003 @05:29PM (#7457454) Journal
    I imagine this is what Stallman wanted, a chance to prove the GPL in court.

    I appreciate everything RMS has done, but I am not sure he is the best person to represent the open source movement, especially since he is not a party to the suit. Preachy, self rightous, unwashed. Again, thanks RMS, but he does look more like a stereotype of a hippie than an industry leader...

    (think of how South Park would illustrate a hippie in one of Cartman's nightmares, and then TELL me it aint a picture of him)
  • by k12linux ( 627320 ) on Wednesday November 12, 2003 @05:30PM (#7457462)
    why doesnt ibm, redhat, sgi, and hp just all get together and chip in some $$ and just buy SCO?

    Pretty much for the same reason businesses shouldn't pay extortion money. If SCO gets ground to dust by this it'll deter others from doing the same. If they get a big buy-out (which appears to be their goal) then what is to stop the next guy with some IP (or who buys some IP) from following SCO's example?

    It seems pretty telling that SCO's Lawyers are promised 20% of the buy-out if one happens, doesn't it?

  • by NanoGator ( 522640 ) on Wednesday November 12, 2003 @05:33PM (#7457510) Homepage Journal
    "Lets see how M$ or some other Linux enemy is in some way funding SCO here."

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

    Why would anybody assume Microsoft funded this? I suppose maybe because it's something Yosemite Sam would do.
  • by _xeno_ ( 155264 ) on Wednesday November 12, 2003 @05:33PM (#7457512) Homepage Journal
    From what I've heard about Stallman (including that my mother knew him in the late 70s :)), he is not a good public speaker. I think we all already know that, though - he's caused many an uproar on Slashdot by statements made that have infuriated even people that mostly agree with him.

    If Stallman receives proper coaching, then he probably can do a good job on the stand. But he's not a really good public speaker, and if he's not careful, he could come off badly on the stand. We just have to hope that he does a good job speaking if he actually makes it to the stand. However, I can't imagine anything useful he could say in relation to a contract dispute between IBM and SCO, so I'm not as worried as I'd otherwise be.

    But who knows why he's been subpoenaed. Apparently not even SCO knows - until we find out what they want with him and what information they hope to receive, anything here is just useless speculation.

  • by jeorgen ( 84395 ) on Wednesday November 12, 2003 @05:35PM (#7457539)
    The GPL personalities that now are unwillingly involved are heavy weight names. The people on the other side are no-names, foot soldiers.

    The tactic from the SCO side may be to "dance" with these, for us, important guys. Until our guys take a wrong step. SCOers are expendable. Thorvalds and Stallman are not.


  • by wo1verin3 ( 473094 ) on Wednesday November 12, 2003 @05:35PM (#7457546) Homepage
    >> That's going to be tough when 46% of the
    >> company is held by insiders don't you think?

    If they weren't available to be bought out, why would their lawyers stand to make 50 million or more []. Obviously this is a way of ending the the stand off that SCO is comfortable with.

    I however would prefer that instead of being rewarded for this behaviour, if (when) SCO loses they should all go to federal pound me in the ass prison.
  • by DenOfEarth ( 162699 ) on Wednesday November 12, 2003 @05:36PM (#7457560) Homepage

    I know you started your reply by crying out: 'give me a break', but I would really wish to point out that you are the exact kind of poster that I want to give me a break

    While attentions are diverted from Microsoft they are rebuilding. Once the dust of the present war ends Microsoft will step in, fully rested, and pick up where it left off however they will be fighting a tired and battle weary enemy.

    Does somebody again want to clarify what this is all about in the first place. I bought a red-hat boxed linux sometime ago, and it did not come with sharp knives, camoflauge paint or gunpowder to get me ready for the up and coming technology war of the century, in fact, knowing then what I know now, I wouldn't have bought the box, since I can get that stuff free on the internet. What is the fight all about???? Who's doing battle with who??? You're stepping onto the battlefield to put your life on the line for what? So that people you've never met get forced to use your operating system of choice? Can't I just use my computer happily and quietly, the way I want...why do I have to fight in the trenches?

    I've been reading slashdot for a while, and I don't post often, but you my friend, have finally caused me to put in my two cents. I use a computer running linux for one reason, and one reason only: it suits my needs. I am not planning on battling a giant software company by using it. Linux will _never_ die (I'd be willing to argue that point, but I won't now). People will continue to use windows as well, and most of the people I know that do, I don't blame them, as they have their own reasons. It makes no difference to anybody except yourself what you want to use, so if you have the savvy to run something like linux, then by all means, run your own box. What this isn't about is fighting a battle against a large software company (note that I don't call them a monopolist, as they aren't). I'll let redhat do that, as that's what they are in the business for. If I start my own company, no matter what I do, I'd buy software that works best for what we need. Do I stake my company on the automatic install of OSS based on my moral beliefs that OSS is better? How about I only hire employees that have the same moral opinion as I do, regardless of their skill level? Sounds like something's not right with this picture.

    I sincerely hope that people like yourself will eventually realize that this isn't about war, it's about freedom...and you have to remember that if you exercise your own freedom effectively, war is not necessary.

  • Re:Oh dear (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Pharmboy ( 216950 ) on Wednesday November 12, 2003 @05:36PM (#7457565) Journal
    Linus however worries me, he seems to be so uninterested in the legal system that he might be considered ignorant of it.

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

    He statements on patents was simple: don't research them. The reason is, if you accidently infringe on one, you are liable. If you knew about it and infringed anyway, you are liable for treble damages. ANY shop will tell you the same, programmers should NEVER research patents, thats Legal's job. Its just bad business.
  • What's Plan B? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by cryptochrome ( 303529 ) on Wednesday November 12, 2003 @05:38PM (#7457585) Journal
    Let's assume that (somehow) SCO wins, and starts charging large sums of money for the OS they didn't really develop. What can be done? Can the offending bits be removed from the Linux source tree, and SCO cut out of the loop entirely (which is how I expect the case will really go)? How taxing would it be for companies that can't afford SCO's fees to move to another free open source OS, like FreeBSD?
  • I think.... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Codifex Maximus ( 639 ) on Wednesday November 12, 2003 @05:39PM (#7457597) Homepage
    Stallman has been waiting for the opportunity to speak and this subpeona gives him a venue.

    SCO may get more than they bargained for.
  • SCOundrels (Score:5, Insightful)

    by oldstrat ( 87076 ) on Wednesday November 12, 2003 @05:39PM (#7457607) Journal

    So this is it.

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

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

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

    I think it's time that the FSF put a call in to the ACLU.
    Even with the help of IBM this portends to be big, dirty and long.
    The stakes go much deeper than software they go to the heart of freedom and a free society.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday November 12, 2003 @05:40PM (#7457615)
    bah, hell talk about the difference between Free and Open Source for hours, then switch to a GNU/Linux rant. They'll never get anything usable out of him.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday November 12, 2003 @05:40PM (#7457626)
    You are still operating on the asumption that a SCO lawyer will ever see the inside of a court room for anything other than 1) a bankruptcy hearing or 2) a fraud trial. Too bad too. I would kinda like to see RMS defend the GPL...
  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday November 12, 2003 @05:41PM (#7457633)
    the flailing and desparate acts of duress and intimidation from a bunch of bottom feeders that know they don't have a chance in the world of winning anything here.
  • by JSBiff ( 87824 ) on Wednesday November 12, 2003 @05:41PM (#7457648) Journal
    Well, perhaps in a courtroom he will present himself a little better. Hopefully Eben Moglan will get him cleaned up, and prepped on what to talk about. Don't get me wrong: I like Richard Stallman. But, I've seen him at some Linux conventions, and some of the hardlines he takes makes him a good target for Red-Baiting.

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

    I truely hope that I'm wrong. Really, I do. Let's just say I think RMS might need to work on his people skills, and personal appearance, a little bit before getting on the witness stand.
  • by Billly Gates ( 198444 ) on Wednesday November 12, 2003 @05:44PM (#7457679) Journal
    Easy to give their salespeople an advantage.

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

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

  • Go RMS! (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday November 12, 2003 @05:44PM (#7457681)
    I for one think RMS will relish this new platform!

    In case you haven't figured it out SCO, RMS ain't stupid and has the potential to eat your lawywers for breakfast.

  • Re:Fitting (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Bostik ( 92589 ) on Wednesday November 12, 2003 @05:50PM (#7457751)

    Considering the history so far this doesn't look like planned. The people involved (apart from Linus) have little to no relation to the suit. Like elsewhere has been pointed out countless times already: SCO pulls a seemingly egregious stunt every time they are being slapped. Stock manipulation is as good an excuse as any.

    When the latest IBM move to subpoena investors for information took place, I actually though that someone at IBM has struck with scary precision. They haven't taken that many separate steps. Instead they've hit seldom and hard. I think that whoever is directing their efforts against SCO works like a war strategist. Compare that to SCO's constant and almost random slinging of threats.

    It's almost like a street-fight with two very unequal opponents. Other may be fast but lacking focus manages only to swing wildly at air. A more seasoned fighter just makes sure to avoid the hits and waits for an opening, and then promptly punches in their opponent's adam's apple. It's not pretty, it's not fair, but it is effective.

    I only wish SCO choked soon enough.

  • by Pharmboy ( 216950 ) on Wednesday November 12, 2003 @05:51PM (#7457772) Journal
    Two outta three ain't bad. They can embrace and attempt to extend, but since they can't buy the IP they can't extinguish....

    The real catch is the fact that if they embrace and extend, they have to open the source, which would be instantly forked without their contributions. They can't extinguish something they have to have in the open. If they DID embrace a program, lets say Mozilla, and then added some crapola that was MS only specific, called it Billzilla, then two years later dropped it. They have to show us the code, and the Bill part of the zilla would be stripped out instantly, and any good stuff would be left in. They can't kill it.

    GPL is like the Borg in one way, you can't kill it. You can't revoke the license, you can't make any software under the GPL go away. It lives forever, and not even the copyright holder can kill it, because I can always take the last release and fork it, change the name (leave the copyrights) and release it. It's like Freddy Krugar, with #comments.
  • SCOs' Strategy (Score:5, Insightful)

    by jte ( 707188 ) * on Wednesday November 12, 2003 @05:56PM (#7457852)
    This may seem perverse to members of the OS community but by serving subpoenas to Linus Torvalds and Richard Stallman, I'd say SCOs' PR strategy (via legal recourse) is aiming to discredit them as leftist/socialist/communist subversives (don't laugh) to the American pro-capitalist mainstream.

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

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

    the mind is its own beautiful prisoner

  • by Ugot2BkidNme ( 632036 ) on Wednesday November 12, 2003 @05:57PM (#7457859)
    OK the fact that you got a 4 for this is said. where is yoru Common Knowledge I have not once seen anythign linking Microsoft to SCO other then the fact Microsoft paid SCO for a licsence. I know that should be Criminal paying a company ratehr then adding more work to an already overworked Legal team Microsoft has. I really kinda feel sorry for SCO no matter how bad they try to be the bad guy MS still steals there thunder. Cause if there is a problem with software in the World it is always Microsofts fault.

    I bet you believe that Tupac and Elvis are Still alive. That the US never walked on the moon. hell you probably believe that xenu is controlling you.

    Regardless the above post deserves a Flamebait not a 4. but feel free to Flamebait me because I deserve it for taking the bait.
  • by IM6100 ( 692796 ) <> on Wednesday November 12, 2003 @05:57PM (#7457862)
    For it to be 'common knowledge' and not just a 'common rumor' you'd have to have some cites and/or evidence to provide.

    Do you? Many of us wouldn't mind at all for it to be the case, but let's not make bold claims without anything to back them up.

  • by StrawberryFrog ( 67065 ) on Wednesday November 12, 2003 @05:58PM (#7457874) Homepage Journal
    From what I've heard about Stallman (including that my mother knew him in the late 70s :)), he is not a good public speaker.

    I saw him speak in public a couple of years ago. He's not bad. Not dazzling, charismatic or magnetic, but calm, insightfull and intelligent. He is no stranger to public speaking and will be on his home turf. I think (and hope) that he'll do fine.
  • Excuse me? (Score:1, Insightful)

    by Rimbo ( 139781 ) <rimbosity&sbcglobal,net> on Wednesday November 12, 2003 @06:11PM (#7458024) Homepage Journal
    With all due respect to karma, you can take your sympathy and shove it up your ass so far that it sees the daylight coming from your nostrils.

    It's one thing to be critical of the US legal system. That's fair. It deserves criticism. It -benefits- from criticism, because enough criticism and eventually someone takes note, takes action and does something that hopefully makes the system a little better.

    What I don't hear about is how much better other legal systems are. Or if I have a problem in another country, how I can address it if I don't already know the right people and can't pull the right strings. And then there's that "presumed guilty" issue so many other countries have.

    I'm not happy with our system but while you're smarmily chuckling some of us are taking an active part in improving it, and I'll take my chances with it, warts and all, over the "you are only who you know" system the rest of the world uses. I sure as fuck don't need the sympathy of some cocksucking European snob.

    Fuck you and the ass you rode in town on.
  • Re:sad but fun (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Austerity Empowers ( 669817 ) on Wednesday November 12, 2003 @06:12PM (#7458043)
    Our legal system, particularly our CIVIL legal section is very heavily based upon the British legal system.
  • Re:Oh dear (Score:4, Insightful)

    by pohl ( 872 ) on Wednesday November 12, 2003 @06:16PM (#7458106) Homepage
    I'll agree that Stallman is rational and that his views are internally consistent, but my understanding is that the word "zealot" just means a "fervent and even militant proponent of something". Synonyms include "drumbeater" and "partisan".

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

    (no disrespect intended.)
  • by balls199 ( 648142 ) on Wednesday November 12, 2003 @06:22PM (#7458197) Homepage
    Microsoft claims that if linux was more popular then there would be more viruses for linux, and that proves that the OS produces equivalent security. Well, here is my little proof to the contrary. Assumtion: if two software development methods produce equivalently secure code, then equivalent products produced by each method should have the same number of viruses if there are equal number of users. Proof: Apache and IIS are equivalent software packages. (not exactly true, but most people say they are comparably similar) According to netcraft Apache runs more web servers than IIS (by more than 2 to 1) If OS and closed source development methods produce equivalently secure code then the above implies that there should be more viruses for Apache than IIS. However, there are many more viruses for IIS than Apache, thus the above assumption must be incorrect.
  • by rgmoore ( 133276 ) * <> on Wednesday November 12, 2003 @06:31PM (#7458292) Homepage

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

  • by jbn-o ( 555068 ) <> on Wednesday November 12, 2003 @06:44PM (#7458436) Homepage
    I appreciate everything RMS has done, but I am not sure he is the best person to represent the open source movement [...]

    He would not represent that movement at all []. He is the first to speak up when people make the mistake you just did []. If you listen to his speeches, you can read [] or hear [] him speak on this issue when he corrected Mike Uretsky. I think you would be well served to learn what he has to say instead of judging him by your prejudical view of his appearance.

  • by BurritoWarrior ( 90481 ) on Wednesday November 12, 2003 @06:59PM (#7458566)
    And when you are subpoenaed, it is wise to get a lawyer, which will cost you money (unless your employer or someone else is providing one for you).

    To not get a lawyer would be downright foolish.
  • by jbn-o ( 555068 ) <> on Wednesday November 12, 2003 @07:02PM (#7458585) Homepage
    Linus however worries me, he seems to be so uninterested in the legal system that he might be considered ignorant of it.

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

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

  • by snakecoder ( 235259 ) on Wednesday November 12, 2003 @07:21PM (#7458825)
    This is one of SCO's weaker FUD moves. When IBM subpeona's investors that is something that makes sense to the financial types. "SCO subpeona's Linus!!" is a tech geek issue, not an issue the investors can understand or really care about.
  • by 26199 ( 577806 ) * on Wednesday November 12, 2003 @07:34PM (#7458997) Homepage

    Try this:

    Google for 'legal definition of monopoly' []

    The very top link includes the phrase:

    "All combinations among merchants to raise the price of merchandise to the injury of the public, is also said to be a monopoly."

    Perhaps the best is from, a few results down:

    "monopoly definition: a monopoly is characterized by the power to fix prices or exclude competition, coupled with policies designed to use or preserve that power.

  • by Todd Knarr ( 15451 ) on Wednesday November 12, 2003 @07:41PM (#7459068) Homepage

    The only problem is the audit trail. All the Linux code is kept in either CVS or BitKeeper, both of which maintain a trail in the repository of exactly who changed what and when. IBM maintains at least that much of an audit trail as well. If SCO tries that, all IBM has to do is pull out the change log and trace the code back to it's original check-in. If the check-in was prior to SCO's code's alleged creation date, or was by someone with no access to SCO code, SCO has a world of explaining to do to the judge.

  • by _xeno_ ( 155264 ) on Wednesday November 12, 2003 @07:49PM (#7459160) Homepage Journal
    I just want to make sure that everyone out there realizes that the part about my mother knowing Stallman was a useless aside - since you've editted out the :) that marked it as something to be taken lightly. And some other posts seem to have missed that point. It was kind of a funny story - my mom was reading something online about this guy called Richard Stallman and she remembered having a class or something with him in Boston in the late 70s, so she sent him an e-mail to find out if it was the same guy and it was. I thought it was kinda neat and am going to exploit it for geek points :)

    I should also point out that I'm well aware that your comment about 20 years passing was said in jest too, before someone accuses me of missing your :)

    Anyway, back to defend my real point - while he can give very precise arguments, I think he has a tendancy to get side-tracked onto things that matter to him and not the matter at hand. He also seems to be very polarizing in his arguments - either you agree strongly, or you disagree strongly. A good speaker is capable of allowing people to listen to their arguments without forcing them to take a side, while Stallman seems to try and force his ideas on others. This makes it harder to take him seriously, as it almost makes it seem as if his ideas don't carry enough weight by themselves and instead need to be forced on people.

    I honestly don't know how he'd do in a court case, but I know plenty of people who can't stand to hear him speak. He's kind of like Michael Moore in that respect - people either like listening to him or can't stand him. I personally can't stand anything Michael Moore says or does, even though I agree with him on several points. (I found Bowling for Columbine to be surprisingly good, though, because Moore was trying to start a debate and not to force his views on others.)

    To try and show the parallels more clearly, think of the difference between the following:

    I think that what most people call Linux really needs to be called GNU/Linux. The GNU project has provided many important components to what many refer to as the "Linux Operating System" and has received very little credit back in return. This is not right, so most Linux systems use the GNU utilities to run their systems.
    If you don't call yourselves the GNU/Linux Assocation, I won't speak at your site. You also need to change it to "GNU/Linux" on your website.
    While Stallman's explanation of GNU/Linux on the FSF webpage is well thought out and closer to the first paragraph, his dealings with reporters and others in public have been much closer to the second. It's this that makes me worry about his public speaking skills - he needs to come off as someone who can make an argument that stands on its own and not solely because it has the backing of the a person with strong convictions.

    I hope this explains my position better - I haven't had a chance to listen to Stallman speak recently (he keeps on scheduling his speaches that I am close enough to attend at inopertune times :)), but based on the reactions to things he's said that I've seen or heard, I can only come to the conclusion that he isn't that good a public speaker.

  • by VT_hawkeye ( 33442 ) on Wednesday November 12, 2003 @07:53PM (#7459207) Homepage Journal
    Most of your rant was great (I jumped to Mac OS X for the same reasons you run Linux), but I just can't let this go:

    "[Y]ou have to remember that if you exercise your own freedom effectively, war is not necessary."

    That's only true if the other side also believes in effective exercise of freedom. In that case, everyone's happy. But if the other side doesn't, you can only exercise your freedom until they decide they're tired of your freedom and want to end it.

    At that point, if you want to continue exercising that freedom, you have to fight (go to war, whatever your preferred terminology is) for it. Freedom isn't free -- it's been bought geopolitically in blood for hundreds of years, and bought judicially in countless dollars (pounds, euros/predecessors, yen) of legal fees.
  • Re:Fire back?! (Score:3, Insightful)

    by gregmac ( 629064 ) on Wednesday November 12, 2003 @09:42PM (#7460271) Homepage
    For any SCO supporters out there,

    Uh... you're definately posting to the wrong place to find that audience..

  • by Gleef ( 86 ) * on Wednesday November 12, 2003 @09:49PM (#7460308) Homepage
    Considering Linus's employer (Open Source Development Laboratories []) has at least two people getting subpoenaed (Linus Torvalds and Stewart Cohen), it probably would make sense for them to get a lawyer. Even more so when you realize that amongst the members of the OSDL [] are many companies that are none too happy with SCO: IBM, Red Hat, SuSE (ie Novell now), there should be a way for some money to be made available for a lawyer to make sure the subpoenas are appropriate.
  • by tuxtomas ( 559452 ) on Wednesday November 12, 2003 @11:38PM (#7460986)
    It won't kill linux. None of this will kill linux. Ever.

    It'll drive more innovation, development, and in turn- the shores of the US.

    Big business at it's finest. Screwin' the little guys.
  • by Dwonis ( 52652 ) on Thursday November 13, 2003 @12:04AM (#7461161)
    Yeah, there are so many better models in action today, right?...

    <sarcasm>You'd make a great engineer! Or a great scientist! Or a great artist! Or a great anything!</sarcasm>

    Just because something better may not currently exist does not imply that something better cannot exist.

  • by fucksl4shd0t ( 630000 ) on Thursday November 13, 2003 @03:24AM (#7462013) Homepage Journal

    Hey dude, maybe you wanna take a look at this big page you've made that's nothing but you fighting with a stupid anonymous coward? At any point did you once think "I'm not gonna waste my time or anybody else's with this troll"?

  • by missing_boy ( 627271 ) on Thursday November 13, 2003 @03:26AM (#7462019)
    It seems perfectly plausible to me that M$ is using SCO to launch this completely unreasonable attack on GNU/Linux; I mean, why not? BG and M$ has been using top notch dirty tricks against many software companies before this, and Windows is currently being ridiculed as an unsafe, low-security, inadequate OS, even outside of communities like Slashdot. Explain to me again why we're not discussing this option? Is it too paranoid?
  • by Mike A. ( 19999 ) on Thursday November 13, 2003 @04:38AM (#7462274) Homepage
    I may not be an entirely objective observer, but one reason why it's not being discussed might be that there's nothing to discuss. Short of someone discovering some evidence one way or the other, we'd be arguing in a vacuum. Not that's stopped people before...
  • by WoTG ( 610710 ) on Thursday November 13, 2003 @04:44AM (#7462289) Homepage Journal
    go out with a bang!

As of next Tuesday, C will be flushed in favor of COBOL. Please update your programs.