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Could Google Be SCO's Next Big Target? 677

An anonymous reader writes "Well, Darl and co. may have decided which company to sue next: Google. Sources say Google will be sued for not paying their Linux taxes. The story quotes 'Industry wags are saying that God invented SCO to give people a company to hate more than Microsoft.'" This is all speculation until such a suit is filed, though.
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Could Google Be SCO's Next Big Target?

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  • by HungWeiLo ( 250320 ) on Wednesday November 26, 2003 @02:06PM (#7570670)
    and Google could just "accidentally" link all SCO investor sites to certain websites specializing in goat mating signals.
    • by SheldonYoung ( 25077 ) on Wednesday November 26, 2003 @02:27PM (#7570997)

      Okay, who's called dibbs on scoatse.cx?
    • Re:Yes...uh huh (Score:3, Interesting)

      This would be a rather stupid thing for SCO todo.

      Currently google is getting ready todo an IPO. From what I've heard investors are really psyched about this.

      Now SCO comes along and tries to put the squeeze on google. I can only imagine that those investors who were looking forward to googles IPO are going to very pissed at SCO.

      Suddenly, SCO sees it's stock becoming penny shares...
  • So what? (Score:4, Insightful)

    by FortKnox ( 169099 ) on Wednesday November 26, 2003 @02:06PM (#7570672) Homepage Journal
    Isn't it obvious? They are going to sue every major company that uses Linux until:
    1.) They get to court
    2.) The company simply settles outside of court.

    We all know they are full of garbage, yet its still popular and their stocks are still ok... why?

    BECAUSE OF MEDIA COVERAGE!

    If you guys would just let them slowly drain their money trying to pay lawyers to face off against blue chip companies like IBM, they'd slowly die off. But by giving them attention, they can stay alive.
    • Re:So what? (Score:3, Funny)

      by bdrago ( 42295 )
      And why isn't Slashdot linking directly to SCO's homepage? Let's cost them a few bucks in bandwidth, maybe knock them offline for a bit. You know Slashdot is just another "evil Linux company" anyway.


      Go check out the picture of McBride on SCO's main page [sco.com]. How can you take a CEO seriously when he wears a suit jacket over a t-shirt?

      • Re:So what? (Score:3, Funny)

        by TKinias ( 455818 )

        scripsit bdrago:

        Go check out the picture of McBride on SCO's main page. How can you take a CEO seriously when he wears a suit jacket over a t-shirt?

        Well, it would be a bit inappropriate for me to criticize anyone else's fashion sense (suffice it to say that I'm sitting here posting on /.).

        That said, however, that picture really does make him look like a minor character on The Sopranos, doesn't it?

    • Re:So what? (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Otter ( 3800 ) on Wednesday November 26, 2003 @02:25PM (#7570980) Journal
      I figure it this way:
      • At the end of the day, Linux is still going to be there and nothing SCO has is going to take it away.
      • Slashdot gets a ton of hits out of tossing SCO red meat to the crowd every day, and it's not as if it'll cost them anything.
      • The mob loves feeling like they're The Community heroically fighting for their cause, and it's not like it'll cost them anything.
      • The only people who stand to lose anything are the investors putting money into the pockets of SCO execs in exchange for a stock that's going to crater.
      So, no harm done and fun for all. (Except investors, but they should know better.) But I definitely think the fuss from the Linux media fuels SCO's stock inflation by giving them credibility and attention, and I'd be surprised if that weren't part of their calculation from the begining. Why do you think McBride responds with an open letter to every attack? Do you see other CEOs who feel compelled to treat Groklaw like it's the Wall Street Journal?

      Like I said, it's all good fun but at least know when you're being trolled...

      • Re:So what? (Score:5, Insightful)

        by dipipanone ( 570849 ) on Wednesday November 26, 2003 @04:27PM (#7572176)
        But I definitely think the fuss from the Linux media fuels SCO's stock inflation by giving them credibility and attention, and I'd be surprised if that weren't part of their calculation from the begining.

        I don't know how someone can *be* more wrong. (Though the moderators have managed it yet again.)

        SCO's FUD is aimed at investors, and CEO's, not geeks living in their mother's basement.

        And so SCO's target audience is in magazines like Forbes and the Wall Street Journal and the various financial wire services. All of those media outlets have been reporting the SCO story largely uncritically, without any real investigation into the detail of the story.

        Sites like Slashdot and Groklaw have been providing the story behind the story, and as such, they've been doing a good job of countering the SCO FUD. If investors *had* been reading those sites, there would be very little chance that they'd be having a bet on the longshot that SCO can win their case, because they'd have more insight into the nature of SCO's case.

        As it is, they read the analysts and reporters who have been say 'SCO has showed us the evidence and there appears to be a huge payday a little way down the line.' Deutche Bank have a target price on SCO of something like $45 dollars a share, and it's only the Linux press that is saying precisely why that price target is unlikely to be realized.

        Eventually, someone in the mainstream financial press will get the whole picture and confidence in SCO will take a tumble. The Linux media is playing an essential part in that process by doing the analysis and amassing the evidence that the non-tech press seems to be incapable of doing.

        Why do you think McBride responds with an open letter to every attack? Do you see other CEOs who feel compelled to treat Groklaw like it's the Wall Street Journal?

        McBride's comments *are* aimed at the WSJ, not Groklaw. I can't find any comments from McBride or any SCO executive to PJ. If anything, PJ's assiduous coverage and analysis of this story puts the mainstream media to shame and shows the way that Blogging as a form of collaborative open journalism actually *can* cover specialist stories in more depth and with greater critical analysis than the rest of the media have been capable of so far.

        Nice troll though. Congratulations.
    • Re:So what? (Score:5, Interesting)

      by zero time ghost ( 699927 ) on Wednesday November 26, 2003 @02:31PM (#7571054)
      "If you guys would just let them slowly drain their money trying to pay lawyers to face off against blue chip companies like IBM, they'd slowly die off. But by giving them attention, they can stay alive. "

      I disagree. If Slashdot and other sites weren't openly critical of SCO, there would still be a number of 'analysts' like Rob Enderle who continue to spin SCO's BS into gold.

      This issue won't die as long as Microsoft and Sun are paying millions of dollars for...um..."licenses."

    • Re:So what? (Score:3, Insightful)

      by saden1 ( 581102 )
      Simple questions every lawyer should ask SCO:

      1) On what grounds?
      2) Show me!

      I don't like to be intimidation and I don't think any CFO/CEO/CIO shouldn't either. It is a matter of pride that you stand up for yourself. Remember corporate litigation is a double edged sword. If SCO doesn't win its claim, you can have them pay your legal and court fees. I'm sure there are lawyers out there that would take your case contingent basis.
      • Re:So what? (Score:3, Insightful)

        If SCO doesn't win its claim, you can have them pay your legal and court fees.

        Of course, if SCO doesn't win their stock will tank, they'll be so deep in Chapter 11 they won't have any money to pay your court or legal fees.

        Suing IBM for SCO is win-win. Let's make the following assumption: SCO was going to tank anyway, since they weren't shipping product, and what they had wasn't that good anyway. Keeping that in mind, let's examine the possible outcomes:

        • 1) SCO wins the suit against IBM: SCO can go on a

  • Coincidence? (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Idou ( 572394 ) * on Wednesday November 26, 2003 @02:06PM (#7570680) Journal
    Didn't MS try to BUY google but google refused? Then MS said that they would compete with google.

    I guess we are seeing how MS intends to compete with google . . .
    • by Neophytus ( 642863 ) * on Wednesday November 26, 2003 @02:07PM (#7570708)
      *moderates +5 aluminium hat*
    • I think the JFK fits in there somewhere too.

    • Re:Coincidence? (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Ryosen ( 234440 ) on Wednesday November 26, 2003 @02:18PM (#7570884)
      This isn't so far fetched... Remember that Microsoft made a sizeable investment in SCO a little while back. With a server farm the size of Google's, this could cause considerable harm to their operations. Consider what an injuction against Google during litigation might do. If they can't use their servers, they're out of business.

      My question is this, tho: Whatever happened to barratry [reference.com]? In particular, what of the laws regarding making threat of litigation and not following through?

      I think Google should call their bluff and get this taken care of once and for all. However, the threat of a lawsuit, and even filing one, is not much to get concerned over. Google probably gets threats all of the time (see: Scientology and Xenu).

      Now, a verdict, on the other hand....
      • Re:Coincidence? (Score:5, Interesting)

        by Foofoobar ( 318279 ) on Wednesday November 26, 2003 @02:28PM (#7571017)
        SCO also is the current owner of XENIX after Caldera bought them from the original SCO. XENIX as you may recall was Microsofts venture into the Unix arena and interestingly enough, part of the contract that SCO currently owns states that if Microsoft EVER decides to build another UNIX based OS, that SCO has exclusive rights on building that OS.

        At least that's the way the original contract read and that's the contract that Caldera bought from the original SCO.
      • Re:Coincidence? (Score:3, Insightful)

        I think google might be a juicier target because they're looking at an IPO. SCO may be hoping paying them off (in cash or stock) would be easier than doing an IPO with a potentially costly lawsuit hanging over their heads (even though the lawsuit has no merit).

        • IPO Quiet Period (Score:3, Insightful)

          by rarose ( 36450 )
          Also if Google is doing an IPO there will be a quiet period where Google will be unable to issue press releases or otherwise counteract the SCO fud-storm.
    • "I guess we are seeing how MS intends to compete with google . . ."

      Yeah because Google is a much bigger threat to Microsoft than Apple.
      • Re:Coincidence? (Score:4, Interesting)

        by doublem ( 118724 ) on Wednesday November 26, 2003 @03:09PM (#7571484) Homepage Journal
        Well, it is.

        Apple has its niche and hasn't shown signs of growing out of it a VERY long time.

        Google on the other hand, is a direct threat to Microsoft's own search engine. The search results prove they can't match Google's ability to give useful results, and I don't think the gimmicks Microsoft has bandied (Image search using face recognition code, searching your local files) about will get people to leave Google.

        Yes, Google. is a bigger threat to Microsoft than Apple. In the short term I'd say it's more of a threat than Linux, at least to Microsoft's dreams of owning the Internet.

        That said, I doubt Microsoft really has that much to do with SCO's actions beyond investing in them. They funded a company that's going after Linux, and that's all they need to do.

        SCO is all about headlines, and in order for suing a Linux using company to boost their stock price, it had to be someone with a lot of boxes (So the damages will be a nice big number), name recognition would preferably be someone who doesn't have a contract with one of the big Linux firms like IBM, Red Hat and Suse.

        Google is the most logical choice by this criteria.

        One of the best known names on the Internet.

        Thousands of boxes.

        May or may not have all those boxes through another firm that could come to their aid.

        And they have the bonus of an approaching IPO, which in the minds of typical SCO lawyers should make Google terrified of bad press.

        Google is the most logical choice for a Linux form that SCO can sue.
      • Actually, yes. (Score:5, Informative)

        by mcc ( 14761 ) <amcclure@purdue.edu> on Wednesday November 26, 2003 @04:43PM (#7572315) Homepage
        Apple is exactly where Microsoft wants them: They are contained. They are in a niche market with clearly defined bounds (the "higher end" end user) and they show no indication that they have any path whatsoever from there to touching Microsoft's core target market (the person who just wants 'a cheap PC', the business market). Microsoft is not concerned with contained threats. This is why MS has been pretty much ignoring Mac OS X, but they're jockeying violently against the iTunes Music Store.

        Google is very very much an unknown, uncontained threat. They have a lot of leverage, they have energy, mindshare, and are actively expanding, and worst of all, Microsoft has no way to control them in any way. If Google decides they want to put up a link on their front page that says "hey, if you click here, it will install Quicktime and play the Return of the King trailer", there will be a whole lot of people installing Quicktime that day.

        Worse, google is actively moving in ways that indicate direct potential threats to things Microsoft cares about. It's only a tiny step from the Google Toolbar to the Google Webbrowser. It's not much of a step at all for Google News to expand into something that could dwarf MSN.

        Remember how much effort and money MS put into knocking tiny little Netscape out of the market, even though they got nothing in return? Microsoft cares deeply about potential threats. And potentially, Google can be very scary to Microsoft.
    • by telstar ( 236404 ) on Wednesday November 26, 2003 @02:21PM (#7570928)
      "Didn't MS try to BUY google but google refused? Then MS said that they would compete with google."
      • According to Bill Gates, as reported in USA Today, Microsoft was never in talks with Google about an acquisition.


      • link [usatoday.com]


  • WTF? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by thufir ( 129668 ) on Wednesday November 26, 2003 @02:07PM (#7570682)
    Don't they have to PROVE!!!?!?! they own what they are trying to collect fees for?

    Haven't they done everything but?

    If SCO does do anything like that, they will go down for FRAUD!!!!
  • I wonder (Score:5, Insightful)

    by 7x7 ( 665946 ) on Wednesday November 26, 2003 @02:07PM (#7570684)
    how you can sue someone for violating your IP rights without legal backing saying your own that IP in the first place.

    Is it legal to send a big F-U in response?
    • Re:I wonder (Score:3, Funny)

      by bfg9000 ( 726447 )
      how you can sue someone for violating your IP rights without legal backing saying your own that IP in the first place... Is it legal to send a big F-U in response?

      Not required! If I were Google, I'd simply set my algorithm so that every search for SCO takes you to Goatse, every search for "Dickhead" takes you to SCO, and I'd put Darl McBride's personal email on every google page rendered so the spam spiders will have a field day....

    • Re:I wonder (Score:5, Informative)

      by schon ( 31600 ) on Wednesday November 26, 2003 @02:25PM (#7570978)
      how you can sue someone for violating your IP rights

      The thing is, you can't sue someone for 'violating IP rights' (well, you can sue for anything, but you can't win)

      If SCO is going to sue, they'll have to say what 'IP' it is that Google is infringing WRT Linux - is Google infringing copyright (Hmm, they're not distributing Linux), Trademark (SCO doesn't own the Linux trademark), or Trade Secret (that would be a tough one to prove.)

      As Eben Moglen has said, you can't bring a copyright infringement suit against someone for using something, only for copying it. They would have to go after whoever Google got their software from (or the case would be thrown out.)

      They have a better shot at going after Google for contributory infringement (linking to Linux download sites) - but even that has a snowball's chance in hell.
  • by nizo ( 81281 ) on Wednesday November 26, 2003 @02:07PM (#7570690) Homepage Journal
    After google, they are planning on suing the vatican, I mean why mess with these little penny ante companies when you can sue your way into heaven?
  • Sheeesh. (Score:5, Insightful)

    by eddy ( 18759 ) on Wednesday November 26, 2003 @02:07PM (#7570699) Homepage Journal

    This is just what SCO wanted, they probably planted this "leak" to get more attention and a new batch of Greater Fools to buy stock.

    All "wolf! wolf! wolf" and lots of crying. No "bite! bite! bite"

  • Well go figure. (Score:3, Insightful)

    by yasth ( 203461 ) on Wednesday November 26, 2003 @02:07PM (#7570702) Homepage Journal
    Google is big but not that big, they use Linux, and what is more important they have an impending IPO so they might just pay up to get SCO to shut up. I'm just suprised they weren't sued first.
    • Re:Well go figure. (Score:3, Insightful)

      by wo1verin3 ( 473094 )
      google's linux farms are normal every day PCs which work together, this means there is a HUGE number of computers as opposed to other companies which use a smaller number of more powerful server. Since SCOs extortion demand is per machine to purchase a license this would be a huge hit for google.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday November 26, 2003 @02:07PM (#7570704)
    Source Claims SCO Will Sue Google

    Industry wags are saying that God invented SCO to give people a company to hate more than Microsoft, November 26, 2003

    Summary
    A source claiming to be in the know says that the SCO Group is going to sue Google for not paying its Linux taxes.

    By Maureen O'Gara

    A source claiming to be in the know says that the SCO Group is going to sue Google for not paying its Linux taxes.

    Last week SCO threatened to make an example of a big-time Linux user that hadn't paid SCO the license fees it's demanding and take it to court for copyright infringement.

    SCO has not disclosed the identity of its mark and SCO CEO Darl McBride claimed Tuesday that a decision on what company to target wasn't final yet. He said SCO and its lawyers were working with "a short list" of "seven or eight" names.

    McBride declined to say whether Google's name was on it, but another knowledgeable source said it was.

    SCO said last week that it would sue within 90 days. The Linux community thinks SCO's bluffing and won't make its self-imposed February 17 deadline. McBride said he'd like to play that number in Vegas.

    The idea behind the suit is obviously to make all major Linux users tractable and make them reach for their checkbooks.

    If it turns out to be Google, it's a provocative choice.

    It's a household name.

    It's said to have a Linux server farm of some 10,000 of servers, worth, oh, $7 million to SCO as long as SCO's current cut-rate license fees maintain.

    It's reportedly putting together a positively glorious IPO that could supposedly be worth $15 billion-$25 billion, a feat unmatched in the last two decades despite Tulipmania.

    And Microsoft, which has been accused of conniving with SCO in its march against Linux, is slated to enter the search market and compete against Google. The widgetry, which is supposed to retrieve all kinds of file types, both structured and unstructured, and all kinds of storage systems, beginning with the user's own drive, will be integrated into its operating systems like the anticipated Longhorn.

    Meanwhile, industry wags are saying that God invented SCO to give people a company to hate more than Microsoft.
  • Good Choice (Score:5, Interesting)

    by KrispyKringle ( 672903 ) on Wednesday November 26, 2003 @02:09PM (#7570728)
    As much as I can remember, Google has a pretty good history of litigating rather than paying off those who have challenged them in the past (think SearchKing v. Google, if I remember the name right). So I guess this falls into place in SCO's plan of attacking those who are bigger and mightier first, rather than doing the smart (though equally evil) thing of suing small guys to raise money and set precedent before going after the big guys. So, yeah. To sum it all up, SCO are idiots.
  • by tkrotchko ( 124118 ) * on Wednesday November 26, 2003 @02:09PM (#7570731) Homepage
    and I mean that in the yellow journalism sense. At best this is making complete guesses; at worst, its feeding the SCO publicity mill.

    There's nothing concrete to back this up other than unnamed sources; that's pretty weak.
  • by handy_vandal ( 606174 ) on Wednesday November 26, 2003 @02:11PM (#7570770) Homepage Journal
    "The story quotes 'Industry wags are saying that God invented SCO to give people a company to
    hate more than Microsoft.'" This is all speculation until such a suit is filed, though."
    All speculation? Huh -- the part about part about God and hating SCO sounds pretty convincing to me ....

    -kgj
  • by pixelgeek ( 676892 ) on Wednesday November 26, 2003 @02:11PM (#7570785)

    A source claiming to be in the know says that the SCO Group is going to sue Google for not paying its Linux taxes.

    An unnamed source who claims to know this?

    Could this article be more speculative? How does something like this even get considered news?

    • I would see your point if the slashdot article title was "Google to be sued by SCO". But at the time of me writing this the title was instead " Could Google Be SCO's Next Big Target?" which clearly acknowledges that the whole point of the linked article is speculation. Clear to me, anyhow.

      This speculation seems in line with SCO's pump-n-dump strategy: suing Google would boost their media profile again and keep them in the news to satisfy their investors by prolonging the time when the stock price is arti
  • by heironymouscoward ( 683461 ) <heironymouscoward.yahoo@com> on Wednesday November 26, 2003 @02:12PM (#7570800) Journal
    The scene: a smoky downtown office lit by one bare lightbulb. Mr D is sitting at his desk, studying his computer screen.

    "Damn", he says, and picks up the phone. "Get your ass in here!", he shouts, and puts the receiver down again.

    A sweaty figure stumbles into the room, sneezes, and puts his coke tin and bottle of JDs on the table. "Whazzup, boss?"

    "Our stock fell by two points. We need to sue someone. Who's left?"

    "Uh, I think we sued them all, boss. Uh, wait, how about Microsoft?"

    "MORON!! They're the nice gentlemen we met this morning!"

    "Sorry, boss, it's the coke, it's making me forget shit."

    "Look, we need a name, and we need it fast."

    "Boss, why not try Google?"

    "BRILLIANT!!! WE'LL SUE GOOGLE!!!"

    "Uh, I meant just try the search... oh, shit."

    "Get on the line to our hacks. This is going to be so big. We can ask for $699 per search result. Per web page. Per pagerank. Whatever, so long as we get into twelve figures."

    "OK, Boss, you're the boss..." (picks up JD, stumbles out)

    sniff... sniff... SNEEZE! ... silence
  • by Bill, Shooter of Bul ( 629286 ) on Wednesday November 26, 2003 @02:13PM (#7570808) Journal
    Their actions speak of desperation. They are biting off way more than they can chew. If anyone was unsure if they were going to be able to survive a loss in the IBM suit, this makes it certian that they have bet more than they can pay.

    Let me get this straigt again. Its trying to prove it owns part of linux in the case with IBM. And now its going to use sue Google because they are using linux which they have yet to prove they own parts of. Great. Isn't that like using a loan for collateral for another loan?
  • by shoppa ( 464619 ) on Wednesday November 26, 2003 @02:13PM (#7570812)
    I know from a brief amount of technical work (no, I never signed a non-compete) that Google's Linux server installations are far from "vanilla" kernel.org setups. Yes, at one point, they started with a vanilla kernel, but it's grown from there greatly. And they almost certainly have excised big blocks of stuff they don't care about. Unlike a RedHat distro kernel, which has modules to deal with about every PC that's ever existed, I'm sure the Google kernels are lean mean indexing machines.

    How much might SCO try to extort from a linux user that doesn't use the feature under litigation?

    The worst part is that unlike IBM, Google may not have the vast army of lawyers to devote to their defense. Now they're not poor, and they do have lawyers, but nothing like the fancy-pants ones that IBM has on tap.

    • The worst part is that unlike IBM, Google may not have the vast army of lawyers to devote to their defense. Now they're not poor

      They probably have as much or more cash on hand than SCO that they could throw to a lawyer, but more importantly, they also have a viable business model that is bringing in more and more cash. SCO cannot afford to deal with another lawsuit right now, which is why I suppose they're leaking this instead of Darl saying it.

      So Google might be worth $7M to them in licensing fees i

  • by CatGrep ( 707480 ) on Wednesday November 26, 2003 @02:13PM (#7570814)
    Let'em try it. Google has the power to 'erase' all memory of SCO from the internet...

    An imagined future google session:
    enter 'SCO', hit the 'I'm feeling lucky' button...

    1. Southern College of Optometry (SCO)

    2. Small Corporate Operation (SCO)

    3. SCOffer's anonymous

    4. Small Company the Offed itself (SCO)

    5. Stupid Company Operation (SCO)

    6. Some Company or Other (SCO)

  • by cpn2000 ( 660758 ) on Wednesday November 26, 2003 @02:14PM (#7570831)
    Balmer (to Google): Google, we'd like to buy you
    Google: Well thanks, but we're not interested.
    Balmer: Think about it, there will be consequences!
    Google: Thought about it ... still no.

    Balmer (to SCO): Darl
    Darl (bowing): Yes Master
    Balmer: You know what to do, dont you?
    Darl (salivating): Yes Master ... Yes Yes Yes ..... fade

    ... and the saga continues ...

    • by NaugaHunter ( 639364 ) on Wednesday November 26, 2003 @02:45PM (#7571219)
      You're not seriously suggesting that in the face of fighting Linux, SCO will eventually turn on MS and throw them into a reactor shaft, are you? If so, then wouldn't that make slashdot readers the Ewoks when we start celebrating?

      Whoa. Now I feel unclean. To make up, here's a nitpick - why didn't the Empire have guard rails anywhere? It's obviously a design choice - I don't think more then one contractor would try to tack in on latter to run up costs. Other than the one on the bridge where Luke lost his hand, I don't recall any.
      • You're not seriously suggesting that in the face of fighting Linux, SCO will eventually turn on MS and throw them into a reactor shaft, are you? If so, then wouldn't that make slashdot readers the Ewoks when we start celebrating?

        You're not seriously suggesting that SCO will indeed turn out to be Linus' father? If so, wouldn't that make RMS Linus' sister?

        No... that's not true! That's impossible!

        Now _I_ feel unclean. My apologies to Mr. Torvalds and Mr. Stallman.

        z
  • by QuasiCoLtd ( 727325 ) on Wednesday November 26, 2003 @02:15PM (#7570851)
    Google Employee 1: Hey Tom, did you move my coffee cup?

    Google Employee 2: Geeze Mike... I didn't expect a sort of Spanish Inquisition...

    Darl McBride, David Boies, and Chris Sontag burst through the door

    Grand Inquisitor McBride: Nobody expects the Spanish Inquisition!


  • Slashdot: (Score:5, Funny)

    by raehl ( 609729 ) <raehl311 AT yahoo DOT com> on Wednesday November 26, 2003 @02:16PM (#7570864) Homepage
    Speculation for Nerds. Stuff that could matter, maybe.
  • by TheRedHorse ( 559375 ) on Wednesday November 26, 2003 @02:17PM (#7570865)
    They aren't being pursued by any US government authority for it. Why? SCO makes money by charging licenses to companies who use linux on the condition that:

    1. Linux is owned by SCO because they own Unix and Linux contains Unix code(this hasn't been proven yet).

    2. Paying the license fee will protect a company from being sued by SCO for not paying for said linux licenses and therefore violating the unproven Intellectual Property claim above (refer to number 1)

    This seems to be a clear cut case of extortion. At the very least the SEC should be investigating for stock fraud.

    This is blantently criminal activity that is going unpunished (no case from the government has been filed against SCO yet) and rewarded(SCO's stock prices continue to climb).
    • by fishbowl ( 7759 ) on Wednesday November 26, 2003 @02:23PM (#7570943)
      One problem here, is that it's merely your opinion that SCO is "clearly violating the law."

      Fortunately or unfortunately, it's really not at all clear that they have broken any law at all.

      The SEC and the US Attorney General have indeed been notified of the suspicion, but the fact is they haven't actually done anything illegal (apparently). They are maybe just barely on the legal side of the hockey, but, until they actually cross it, there's not going to be any grounds for the criminal prosecution that you're hoping for.

      They're properly going to the court to decide their case. There's not extortion, and there's no stock fraud. There is a lot of ugly business being done, but it's apparently all legal. Just on the side of legal, but that's good enough.

      The indemnity offer is not extortion, it's not a protection racket, and shame on you if you pay it. (If it was a racket, you'd become an accomplice when you pay the protection money.)

      • SCO is violating the law if, and only if, their claim against IBM is bogus. Therefore, the SEC would wait until after the IBM suit is decided.

        If the court throws the case out (for example, if SCO fails to comply satisfactoraly with the motion to compel discovery), the SEC would move in.

        If SCO does indeed own much of Linux, what they're doing is not extorsion. The SEC cannot rule on this - that's the court's job. Once that's done, it's SEC's job to prosecure the fraudsters.

        So the SEC will act, eventually.
    • 1. Linux is owned by SCO because they own Unix and Linux contains Unix code(this hasn't been proven yet).

      Well, SCO did release a list of files containing stolen IP. Among them were /include/asm-m68k/spinlock.h:

      #ifndef __M68K_SPINLOCK_H
      #define __M68K_SPINLOCK_H

      #error "m68k doesn't do SMP yet"

      #endif

      As we all know, SCO Unixware doesn't support SMP on M68K, and never has. And now: Neither does Linux. Obviously, the lack of support for SMP on M68K Linux must have been stolen from SCO! It's not like some

    • Why? SCO makes money by charging licenses to companies who use linux

      Errr. Wrong.

      There are numerous cases of people who tried to buy such licenses, but SCO refused to sell them (exactly because it would be illegal)

      SCO is using Microsoft money to spread FUD. End of story.

  • by Animats ( 122034 ) on Wednesday November 26, 2003 @02:24PM (#7570964) Homepage
    This could reduce Google's valuation for their IPO. Google will have to put "pending litigation" with a big dollar value in their prospectus. This affects the valuation. Perhaps by billions.

    What an extortion racket.

    On Monday, December 5, the discovery motions in the IBM/SCO case go before the judge. That's the first "put up or shut up" event in the case.

  • by sbma44 ( 694130 ) on Wednesday November 26, 2003 @02:27PM (#7571000)
    What site is most universally beloved by the non-technical public? I'd say it's google: people know it works and see it as an altruistic enterprise since it doesn't make its money off of them. If you need evidence, look no further than its verbed formulation: "to google" is now synonymous with "to search" for a lot of people.

    If Google gets attacked, people will notice. Hopefully, they'll start associating Linux with it as a result. If Linux can absorb even a little bit of Google's golden-boy glow it'll go a long way to creating a realistic entry point for consumer desktop Linux.

  • Why is this news? (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Prometheus_NG ( 61422 ) on Wednesday November 26, 2003 @02:31PM (#7571056)
    I am amazed that Slashdot continues to take the bait on this stuff. Who has SCO sued? IBM, over a specific contract dispute. Since the exact contracts are not available for public inspection we can not know what whether SCO actually has a leg to stand on.

    Sure SCO has made all kinds of wild claims in public and there has been even more uninformed speculation.

    But they have not actually done anything else.

    They have not presented their "invoices" for Linux licenses.

    They have not made any specific copyright claims of anybody.

    They have not demanded that any of the kernel archives be taken down.

    They have not done anything but generate a lot of smoke.

    Untill SCO actually puts up, there is no news here. If they actually sued somebody. If they actually made some specific copyright claims. If they actually did anything besides make noise, then that would be a newsworthy item.
  • by frkiii ( 691845 ) on Wednesday November 26, 2003 @02:35PM (#7571110)

    It's half SCO and half dog. It is its only friend. :P

  • by Progman3K ( 515744 ) on Wednesday November 26, 2003 @02:38PM (#7571151)
    Funny how everyone that SCO goes after is a group that frustrated Microsoft...

    Microsoft is trying to raise a zombie army to attack its opponents so that investors won`t perceive MS as being dishonest.

    Don't be surprised if more shell companies either get bought up or formed and have the single goal of attacking Microsoft's "enemies".

    And the side bonus is MS being able to say "See? We're not the only ones who think Linux/Google/Whatever is bad!"

    Another great bonus is that if any of these entities has to pay for its transgressions by being forced out of business by law or some such, Microsoft can just stand back and laugh that the repriesal didn't touch them.
  • by mr_z_beeblebrox ( 591077 ) on Wednesday November 26, 2003 @02:43PM (#7571200) Journal
    Before I can go to google and type the words "Kiss my ass", click the "I'm feeling lucky" button and arrive at the Sco home page?
  • by non carborundum ( 630237 ) on Wednesday November 26, 2003 @02:50PM (#7571280)
    Somewhat OT, sorry...

    Microsoft is notorious for leveraging their dominance in one market in order to force their way into another.

    It strikes me that Google can do the same - and do it in a way that could potentially hurt Microsoft a lot.

    I know there will be those who will not react favorably to this idea...

    Google should create YALD (Yet Another Linux Distribution). Call it "Google Weblinux" (tm...)

    Base it on Knoppix-Debian-Muskox/Linux. Add a much more user-friendly HD install (with *lots* of warning about overwriting hard disk partitions, and what this means). Add everything internet-related that they can - especially commercial, well-known stuff like Flash (sorry)
    Realmedial (sorry), Acrobat Reader, lotsa Java-related toys, ez-firewall stuff, ez-internet sharing. Add a super-easy, customized synaptic (or synaptic replacement) with (optional) auto-updating. Put in every plugin known to Linuxkind. Make sure everything just works, just like that.

    Tie it all together through the google homepage.
    Naturally the default homepage will be Google, and the default list of links will include the fine commercial and non-commercial folks Google has made deals with in the process of creating the CD.

    Perhaps they could mirror apt-get repositories or add their own for updates.

    Advertise Google WebLinux on their homepage, with
    links to more info.

    If they wanted to the Google folks could become sort of a focal point for mindshare for all of Microsoft's commercial competitors - every commercial business who has to compete with Microsoft's own bundled applications - especially if Google manages to convince everybody that they won't try to get into competing with Macromedia/Sun Java/Adobe/Real.

    Would that be an effective counterfud/return fire against Microsoft?
  • by Camel Pilot ( 78781 ) on Wednesday November 26, 2003 @02:51PM (#7571290) Homepage Journal
    Found this creative little mug shot [bmgen.com] by Lee Brian. Sometimes a picture is worth a thousand words

  • by johnos ( 109351 ) on Wednesday November 26, 2003 @03:18PM (#7571577)
    Could they be any more stupid? I'd pick a nice Fortune 500 company with very few Linux installs. Settling would be tempting and cheap. SCO would have an easy victory and some much needed credibility. Google would be a terrible target because they wouldn't roll over for several reasons. First, Linux is central to their core business proposition. Second, they can evaluate for themselves the validity of SCO's claims. Third, they are no doubt very aware of the story so far (IBM counter suit, RedHat suit, the German ruling). And last, they will be familiar enough with IP law to know SCO has no legal basis for suing end-users for copyright infringement. And even if they did, until the IBM case is decided they can't prove infrigement at all.

    I can see how such a move could be compelling to our stupid friends, however. Big well known company, high-profile Linux user, huge potential liability if SCO were able to claim punitive damages from end- users, vulnerable because IPO coming up and of course the impossibly fabulous power that would come from getting Google to knuckle under. Oh please, please. please sue Google. I think you'd see a counter suit that would make IBM's and RedHat's look like velvet by comparison.

    That brings up the other point worth mentioning. If SCO actually sues someone, and that someone does not negotiate a settlement on the spot, this game will change dramatically in short order. RedHat's suit would no longer be theoretical. Their desire for an injunction would become urgent. And any other company that sells, supports or makes money in any way from Linux would also have a powerful motivation to seek their own unjunctions. If SCO sues, I think its quite likely that within 60 days of their filing, they will be on the receiving end of dozens of lawsuits. If any are successful, SCO would have to shut up for the duration of the IBM trial. Then the balance changes. SCO's interest would be in hurrying up the case, not dragging it out. That 2005 court date would all of a sudden seem a very, very long time away.
  • by Kjella ( 173770 ) on Wednesday November 26, 2003 @04:14PM (#7572065) Homepage
    Take a quick poke through all the companies they've threatened officially or inofficially in various press releases, press leaks, SCO insiders and whatnot. Who have they sued? NOBODY. Except IBM, over some contract. That's it. Red Hat has countersued, SuSe and more have gag orders in effect, what has SCO done? SCO has not filed one single IP suit, no matter how you define IP, be it copyright, trademark, patent or otherwise. They only threaten to do so without actually doing it.

    This is yet another stock inflation tactic. They aren't going to sue Google, or a "unspecified Fortune 500" or Linux endusers or anything at all. They only pretend to, and then pull out another rabbit out of their hat. Like some new licence issue (BSD), subpoenaing Linux "celebrities" or a IBM poke shot or similar. They're quite skilled illusionists, if you fail to see the big picture.

    Because nobody seems to be asking the question: What happened to all those claims you made last week? Oh, they're still just claims. You haven't made any action whatsoever to follow up on those claims. If you're slow on the take, you might think that these are now actually being handled, and that these are more and more valid claims SCO is pulling out of their ass. I just hope the courts will bitchslap them swiftly, once it gets that far...

    Kjella
  • by mcc ( 14761 ) <amcclure@purdue.edu> on Wednesday November 26, 2003 @04:36PM (#7572252) Homepage
    It makes sense to report on this; it shows where SCO's PR efforts are heading.

    But why do people seem to be seriously considering the possibility that SCO might sue google?

    Pay attention to what's been happening since January, and you'll notice a pattern. Over, and over, and over, SCO says they're going to sue someone. They threaten lawsuits, say they have plans for lawsuits, announce a new lawsuit target every week. But they never sue anyone. They still haven't sued anyone except IBM, and the IBM suit concerns NOTHING but a contractual dispute between SCO and IBM.

    If SCO says they're going to sue someone, that does not in the tinest way indicate they are going to sue that person. It's all just making noise to keep the press spotlight on them.
  • by Artifakt ( 700173 ) on Wednesday November 26, 2003 @04:58PM (#7572454)
    Suing Google first is illogical (even in terms of existing SCO "logic"). With upwards of 10,000 servers, at 699$ a pop, Google has an obvious incentive to fight it in court. If SCO wanted to start sueing over liscences, they would start with someone who would only owe a few thousand, and claim the result as a precident before going after a bigger firm. Even if SCO was more interested in damaging Google's reputation or profitability than actually taking it to court and winning, they would still go for a quick, easy win on a small case if only to make their complaint more believable. No matter how crazy or not SCO's actions may seem, this leaves only two possibilities.

    1. SCO has no intention of actually sueing anyone else. They have a plan that involves skirting the law, but not technically crossing the line. They are sticking to that plan and not getting drawn "offsides". This plan has (or had) a good chance of making the SCO execs money, even if it ruins the company. It has (or had) a good chance that legal penalties will be avoidable or worth it from the point of view of the initiators, even if legal penalties are possibly savage on some of the followers. It may go wrong, and stick everyone involved in prison, but the odds look acceptable or better (or they looked that way when the plan began). Simply, isn't a crazy plan even if it sometimes looks so from our outsiders perspectives.
    2. SCO is nuts. They are so nuts that they are going to deliberately avoid taking an easy action that would greatly improve their chances of overall success. They have no rational goals at all, just totally delusional ones. Somehow, a hundred or so people have built this totally delusional structure and are getting by with it for at least a few more months before it all comes crashing down.

    This makes a great test. IF SCO actually sues Google without going after a precident first, then #2, else #1. Matters have progressed to where we can stop considering #3 (SCO is just a little bit nuts - they started with a rational plan, but when it didn't work, they hung in there way too long instead of cutting their losses). I'm betting that SCO won't just suddenly announce a suit against Google, and in time this alone will prove #1 is true.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday November 26, 2003 @05:17PM (#7572598)
    Jeez,

    Y'know, I really dislike Microsoft. I mean, _really_ dislike. But sometimes you have to admire how smart they are...

    Linux is doing well - encroaching on Balmer's own 'my precious'. What's the Dark Lord done in the past? "Buy them and sink them!". AARGHH, can't do that here. Right, what do we do? Aha, the SCOrks - the perfect solution. Snivelling, pathetic, low life failures; set them up to do the dirty work. OK, that's going well - lots of FUD and chief ork McBride's taking all the flack. Back to the dark tower to continue the quest.

    What's next? Ah yes, the next great phase in the plan for total domination - the Winternet. Hmm, nasty Google upstarts are doing better than our own little number. But they're a company - ha ha! Let's buy em. WHHAAT? How dare they reject the Dark Lord's advances. Right, deal with them, but how?

    Ahh, the trusty SCOrks. Let them deal with the obstinate upstarts. Fits nicely into the battle plan we commanded them to follow anyway. And all the time, everyone says "the SCOrks are bad! Booo! Down with the SCOrcs! And none of the fools realises the SCOrks are simply my entirely expendable pawns. "Sometimes, my dark genius impresses even me!"

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