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Relaxing with Linus in Australia
Monday, January 19 2004 @ 06:43 AM EST

There is a charming interview with Linus on Australian IT. They spoke with him while he was attending in Adelaide. He says it is one of only two conferences he likes to attend, and he tells why. Of course they asked him about SCO, and he says they make him angry sometimes. He is finding the experience of seeing a lawsuit up close interesting, but it's not something he'd ever like to do again. (Amen.) And he talks about the new kernel and what is next for him, including some funny bits about user reports.

Linus has written a tool to index his email, thanks to SCO's subpoena, which I hope he releases to the rest of us eventually, because I surely would like to have it as a memento when SCO is dead and buried. The pearl in the oyster from the SCO irritation. Besides, if the US gets any more litigious, soon we'll all need an application to help us to efficiently turn over our email in discovery when we get subpoenaed.

Linus would like a Linux phone but he can't get one. So far you have to be in Asia to get one. Here's Samsung's Linux phone that you can get in China, which is voice activated ("Open Browser" -- it's bilingual, actually, and "understands" both English and Chinese). I find it personally comical that they view it as a selling point that you can get a Linux phone that can sync with Outlook and interoperate with Word, but, hey, whatever. Samsung is Samsung. That just wouldn't be a plus in selling *me* a Linux phone. But I do get that Linux is the underpinning, not the sales point, and it's hitting the big time in mobile phones, which means a much wider audience than just little old me. Anyway, I really would like a Linux phone where I can "dial the phone, launch applications, and look up contacts without using the stylus or touch screen." I wouldn't care what else it did.

Motorola makes Linux phones too, so far for the Asian market, but they say most of their handsets in the future will be Linux phones with MontaVista Linux. You remember MontaVista, I'm sure, from the OSDL Legal Defense Fund announcement and their strong stand against SCO. Here's what else MontaVista has been up to, according to this press release from last March:

"Hundreds of products are already in development using MontaVista Linux, including mobile phones, PDAs, advanced remote controls, high definition televisions, HDTV, PVRs, set-top boxes, digital receivers, automotive telematics, musical instruments, gaming machines and karaoke systems. Recently, Sony and NEC released new consumer products built on MontaVista Linux. Several leading manufacturers are also currently building next generation mobile phones based on MontaVista Linux."

Linus knows about those two phones, but rumor has it, according to Maureen O'Gara, who is usually right, that there is another Linux phone in the works from DoCoMo, Japan's number one mobile carrier, for release in the second half of 2004, so Linus may just get his wish someday:

"The company, which expects its 3G phones to hit 25 million units by 2006, is supposed to have given suppliers like NEC a Linux spec to work with to cut development and manufacturing costs.

"Japanese reports are positioning the move as a way to checkmate Microsoft’s ambitions. It said DoCoMo wants to establish a standard ahead of Microsoft. It’s supposed to have worldwide ramifications."
Some of you may remember that SCO's Darl McBride made a trip to Japan last July reportedly to try to talk Japanese companies out of using Linux. If you want to take a funny trip down memory lane, with two of our favorite analysts, you can read about it in this article in EETimes from last summer.

Of course, one reason companies are doing this is because it's cheaper. That's an aspect some economists don't seem to factor in when looking at the impact of open source software on the economy. If companies can make a phone cheaper because it runs Linux, and they can, then they can either make more profit or sell the phone cheaper, and that means either way somebody is bound to have some money to spend on other things. You'd think economists would grasp that more money in your pocket is good.

So let's relax a bit with Linus. Here are the snips about SCO, but you'll enjoy the entire interview. You might want to grab it and view it locally, because there's a whole lot of flash going on. It takes forever to load and I kept losing the contents of the page if I tried to stay on the page too long. It's nevertheless worth it.


"Linus: I would like to get a Linux phone. I think there's two that are being sold, one's being sold in China and one's in Taiwan, Asia somewhere - so I can't actually get one.

"Q: Do you think that's good, seeing Linux being used in little devices, Xboxes and all sorts of places it wasn't meant to be?

"Linus: One of the must fun things was I bought my wife one of those electronic picture frames... I didn't even know it - I just decided I wanted to buy it because we'd just bought a better camera, and we had some good pictures of the kids. So I went out and bought it, and only when I was uploading my pictures, the night before Mother's Day, I was uploading them and looked at the technical specifications and found out it ran Linux!

"That's much more fun than big machines. . . .

"Q: Okay, here's the difficult question. What do you think about this SCO business right now?

"Linus: Right now I'm actually fairly calm, because they haven't made any huge outrageous claims in the past 12 days or so, so they've been quiet for a while. It hasn't been that bothersome, but every once in a while, when they make some new claim, it really riles me - I mean they've literally claimed copyright on files I can prove I wrote personally, and that's very irritating.

"But at the same time, the fact that their claims, when you step back, are so clearly bogus and not worth worrying about, is - that makes me worry a lot less. They're clearly scraping the barrel and coming up empty handed.

"So it's irritating but I can live with it. I'm just hoping it's going to finally come to a head soon, because it's just dragging on - it's been dragging on for something like eight months, and it's getting pretty tiresome.

"Q: It doesn't seem to be having much negative impact though on the use of Linux - that must be encouraging?

"Linus: I don't see any customers anyway, but apparently... customers aren't reacting very much, especially not much any more. But it has for example forced me to - they've subpoenaed me for a lot of emails, and I spent literally a week writing a tool to index all my emails, so that when they give a better criteria for me, what they really want, I can actually produce it.

"So it's led to some wasted time, but it's been interesting to some degree. I've never seen a lawsuit up this close and personal before - and I don't want to see one again - but at the same time, I think the most interesting part has been learning and realizing just how personally you take these things. And just thinking of how angry I become at some of the claims - it's kind of interesting looking at how you react, yourself.

"Q: It's understandable, something that you've put so much into over the years.

"Linus: Yes, but what you start realizing is this is something that must be pretty common in the business world. From a Linux standpoint this is something very new and the first big lawsuit, but at the same time apparently this goes on all the time, and in that sense getting a feel for what any lawsuit will do to the people involved is interesting."


Relaxing with Linus in Australia | 84 comments | Create New Account
Comments belong to whoever posts them. Please notify us of inappropriate comments.
Awesome retrospective views
Authored by: Anonymous on Monday, January 19 2004 @ 07:11 AM EST
I really like Linus's view of the cirsumstances, I expecialy appretiate his
view in retrospect of himself . I believe we may all have done this by now at
some point in the mess.


[ Reply to This | # ]

Relaxing with Linus in Australia
Authored by: fstanchina on Monday, January 19 2004 @ 07:53 AM EST

Besides, if the US gets any more litigious, soon we'll all need an application to help us to efficiently turn over our email [...]

...or a one-way ticket to somewhere else. For some of your politicians, maybe.

(not that most of the other "developed" countries are doing much better, anyway)

[ Reply to This | # ]

Relaxing with Linus in Australia
Authored by: brenda banks on Monday, January 19 2004 @ 08:10 AM EST
interesting point to note is that it has made him mad also.i have heard numerous
comments that he doesnt get riled and this really makes me look again at some of
my own reactions.i wonder why none of us non lawyers noticed before just how
litigous the USA has become.things to think about


[ Reply to This | # ]

About lawyers and all this lawsuit stuff...
Authored by: Anonymous on Monday, January 19 2004 @ 08:15 AM EST
Read "Bleak House" by Dickens.
There is an underlying theme here when the lawyers are hovering over something
that is either dead or alive.
They can only think of their own bellies... it's who they are!

Some have said that there should be no lawyers in the governements that have
separation of powers in 3 branches.
Legislative, Executive, and Judicial. The reasoning is that lawyers are part of
the Judicial and thus can have only a too powerful affect when they act... in
their own interest on behalf of their own while acting as memebers of the
Legislative and Executive branches.

[ Reply to This | # ]

The hurricane as a positive thing
Authored by: freeio on Monday, January 19 2004 @ 08:42 AM EST
"If companies can make a phone cheaper because it runs Linux, and they
can, then they can either make more profit or sell the phone cheaper, and that
means either way somebody is bound to have some money to spend on other things.
You'd think economists would grasp that more money in your pocket is

Many economists still seem to think that natural disasters and other calamities
are good for the economy, in that they cause money to be spent to overcome the
destruction. This is a fallacy, of course, in that money spent to replace
broken windows (etc.) is not available to invest/spend in more positive things.
The parallel to proprietary software is striking. Many economists seem to
actually believe that having to buy the same functionality over and over (i.e.
operating systems, office software, etc.) even when only to overcome the
unnatural disasters (software bugs, exploits, etc.) is good because the seller
profits from selling it again. That money could have been spent elsewhere for
other things, and is a net loss to the economy, and not a net gain, since it
resulted in no real gain to the buyer, other than correcting the errors that she
herself did not cause. I.e. there is no real economic gain for the buyer, or
for society as a whole, when additional money is spent to replace something
which failed to properly do its job the first time.

The Keynsian economists are not just wrong it this regard, they actually would
seem to be supporting thievery by deception.


[ Reply to This | # ]

Linus can't get a Linux phone !
Authored by: flame on Monday, January 19 2004 @ 08:56 AM EST
> Linus would like a Linux phone but he can't get one.

I found this rather ironic, and felt the need to bring it to the attention of

I have sent them an email pointing this out and linking to the article, let's
see if they remedy the situation.


[ Reply to This | # ]

Montavista on "Is Linux Safe?"
Authored by: moonbroth on Monday, January 19 2004 @ 09:35 AM EST
I thought this bit from Montavista's SCO backgrounder was worth copying to the comments:
Is Linux Safe?

Open Source methods have been producing quality code for over thirty (30) years. Linux source code has been in circulation since 1991. In all that time no lawsuit has really ever challenged the validitiy of Open Source. Conversely, in the last decade alone, proprietary interests have lauched thousands of lawsuits involving tens of thousands of claims over copyright, patents, trade secrets and contractual business arrangements. Proprietary embedded software has seen its substantial share of this litigation. In fact, with proprietary embedded software, litigation is almost a certainty. By contrast embedded Open Source is both less prone to litigation and highly transparent. To investigate the origins of Open Source IP you need only inspect the source. With proprietary code bases, you must rely on the vendor-supplied assurances of a clean IP trail.

[ Reply to This | # ]

OT:Setting the Record Straight: FSF,GPL & SCO Vs IBM
Authored by: NZheretic on Monday, January 19 2004 @ 10:31 AM EST
Just a reminder:
Free Software Foundation Press Release
Setting the Record Straight: The Free Software Foundation, the General Public License and SCO versus IBM

Boston, MA, USA - Wednesday, January 14, 2003 - On Wednesday, January 21, 2004, the Free Software Foundation (FSF) will hold a press conference at Columbia University to discuss the strengths and successes of the GNU General Public License (GPL) and to refute the claims made by the The SCO Group, Ltd. (SCO) and their counsel in their ongoing lawsuit against International Business Machines Corp (IBM).

In the last few months, SCO has been sowing confusion and misinformation regarding the validity of the GNU GPL as part of their strategy to extort money from users of the kernel named Linux, which is licensed under FSF's GPL. FSF, the umpire of Free Software disputes, will respond to SCO's lawsuit and will explain how SCO seeks to inappropriately increase its own market value at the expense of the legitimate activity of the Free Software community's developers, distributors and users.

This press conference is valuable to anyone interested in the state of Free Software, its licensing issues, the SCO v. IBM lawsuit, and the integrity of the GNU GPL. FSF maintains that the SCO lawsuit is not only without merit, but that SCO have themselves benefited from distribution the kernel named Linux under GPL, even as they question that license's validity. Indeed, Professor Eben Moglen, FSF Board Member and General Counsel, has pointed out that SCO has distributed Linux under GPL, even after filing their lawsuit. SCO has therefore published its supposed trade secrets and copyrighted material under a license that gives everyone permission to copy, modify, and redistribute that software.

Professor Moglen will head the press conference and will discuss both the strengths and successes of the GPL -- the most popular and widely used Free Software copyright license. As the lawyer behind most successful enforcement efforts of GPL, and a nationally recognized authority on alternatives to contemporary copyright and patent law, Professor Moglen is in an unique position to discuss the history of the GPL, the FSF's continued success in obtaining compliance with the GPL, and why SCO's attack on the users of the kernel named Linux and the GPL is both unprecedented and without merit.

This press conference offers an excellent opportunity to understand the history and intent of the GPL, its importance in the IT community and the weakness of SCO's current lawsuit against IBM. Professor Moglen will be available to answer questions both during and after the press conference.

About Free Software Foundation:

The Free Software Foundation, founded in 1985, is dedicated to promoting computer users' right to use, study, copy, modify, and redistribute computer programs. The FSF promotes the development and use of Free (as in freedom) Software - particularly the GNU operating system and its GNU/Linux variants - and Free Documentation for Free Software. The FSF also helps to spread awareness of the ethical and political issues of freedom in the use of software. Their web site, located at, is an important source of information about GNU/Linux. They are headquartered in Boston, MA, USA.

About Eben Moglen:

Eben Moglen is Professor of Law and Legal History at the Columbia Law School, where he has taught since 1987. He clerked for Judge Edward Weinfeld of the United State District Court for the Southern District of New York and for Justice Thurgood Marshall of the United States Supreme Court. Before and during law school he was a designer and implementer of advanced computer programming languages at IBM's Santa Teresa Laboratory and Thomas J. Watson Research Center. His principal areas of interest are Anglo American legal history, constitutional law, computers, free expression, and copyrights, patents and trademarks. Since 1993, he has served as pro bono General Counsel for the Foundation and has served on its board since July 2000.

Copyright © 2004 Free Software Foundation, Inc., 59 Temple Place - Suite 330, Boston, MA 02111, USA

Verbatim copying and distribution of this entire article is permitted in any medium, provided this notice is preserved.

Updated: $Date: 2004/01/19 03:46:54 $ $Author: mpresley $

[ Reply to This | # ]

Relaxing with Linus in Australia
Authored by: Anonymous on Monday, January 19 2004 @ 10:55 AM EST
The Real Story Behind the SCO Story

(Idontdowindows posting, forgot password):


Briefly: it pays to sue in the current USA. Nevermind jobs are being lost to
overseas firms. But when Beechcraft started moving its airplane manuf. facility
to Canada because of liability claims in the USA, Congress passed a ceiling on
liability and the firm stayed.

[ Reply to This | # ]

OT: Computer Business Review Online
Authored by: Mikie on Monday, January 19 2004 @ 11:07 AM EST
Good article on SCO's evidence falling apart.

[ Reply to This | # ]

[OT] SCO Global Legal Action
Authored by: bruce_s on Monday, January 19 2004 @ 11:28 AM EST

There's a new article pointed to by LinuxToday in the Finincial Times" about SCO's assaults on new fronts

" BP, Siemens and Fujitsu are among a large number of big companies whose use of the operating system has come under scrutiny, said Darl McBride, chief executive of SCO, the small US company that has mounted the challenge.

He said the company had not yet decided whether to sue. But he added: "That clearly is an option we are looking into very closely."

I'm reminded of the lines from Londo in "Babylon 5" something like:

"...Reports from the front lines, Notice the plural, lines" and "Only an idiot would fight a war on two fronts, only the Heir to the King of Idiots would fight on more"

Bruce S.

[ Reply to This | # ]

  • SCO only bluffs - Authored by: Anonymous on Monday, January 19 2004 @ 11:44 AM EST
SCOG wasn't specific with Linus, either?
Authored by: Stephen on Monday, January 19 2004 @ 12:11 PM EST
[T]hey've subpoenaed me for a lot of emails, and I spent literally a week writing a tool to index all my emails, so that when they give a better criteria for me, what they really want, I can actually produce it.

In other words, it sounds like those highly-publicized SCOG subpeonas were also a fishing trip. Linus and OSDL have wisely been quiet about the contents of the subpeona, but this interview drops two hints:

  1. They want e-mail. (Not a huge surprise, but still a fact worth noting.)
  2. Their request was insufficiently specific for Linus to provide a reasonable response.

I'd love to know what SCOG asked for and how Linux replied, of course, but we'll have to wait to find out, if we find out anything about it at all.

[ Reply to This | # ]

OT: Linus wants a Linux phone
Authored by: Anonymous on Monday, January 19 2004 @ 01:20 PM EST
While those 2 or 3 Linux phones are only marketed in Asia, Linus can still get a
decent (I consider it better) alternative.

You can basically use a Linux pocket PDA, like Zaurus or Yopy, and stick a
GPRS/GSM card into them.

I often browse Grocklaw on my Zaurus C750, using a GPRS card, with the speed
around that of a dial up modem.

These may be better suited to Linus, as they have full keyboards, and shell
access, where you dial from the command directly, if you don't like the
GUI/Stylus combination.

Any way, there's a small community working on this open source project, at and various smaller projects for the Linux PDA.

[ Reply to This | # ]

OT- Linus gets dunked
Authored by: Anonymous on Monday, January 19 2004 @ 01:42 PM EST
here is more relaxing with Linus.
He gets dunked in the tank.

[ Reply to This | # ]

Relaxing with Linus in Australia
Authored by: Anonymous on Tuesday, January 20 2004 @ 09:04 PM EST
the fun thing about the conf was everyone was so approachable, including linus -
he is an incredibly nice guy, even with us awestruck fans and our constant
'please sign <insert item>' and endless photo requests.. he sat in the
laptop/chill tent with a laptop with everyone else...wandering past, it was
noted one morning he was catching up with groklaw....way to go linus:)

[ Reply to This | # ]

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