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UnitedLinux Is No More & SCO Says Look for Legislation on Open Source
Friday, January 23 2004 @ 04:07 PM EST

If you listened to Novell's press conference, and you still can here by clicking on the appropriate link, you noticed that SuSE announced that because SCO would not withdraw from UnitedLinux, SuSE was itself withdrawing, because it sees no value in the relationship. SuSE was doing most of the engineering, so that, as Steven J. Vaughan-Nichols points out, is the end of UnitedLinux:

"The death announcement came in passing during a Novell press conference, when Richard Seibt, former SuSE Linux CEO and now president of SuSE, said SuSE had stopped being a member months ago, before Novell purchased SuSE. 'There is no value in this relationship,' he said. 'SuSE, however, will work separately with UnitedLinux members Turbolinux and Conectiva.'

"SuSE made this move because SCO, even as it attacked Linux on several fronts, remained a member of UnitedLinux. This made it impossible, Seibt said, for UnitedLinux to continue its mission of providing a single enterprise server distribution of Linux."
So, let me get this straight. SCO tells Congress that Linux is bad for the economy and a security risk, but they wish to remain a member of UnitedLinux? There goes my hypocrisy meter again. Yet Robert McMillan is reporting that Stowell says there will be legislation regarding open source software soon:

"With dozens of countries considering regulating the use of open-source, SCO believes it's 'only a matter of time before others in our country would put legislation on the table around open-source software,' said Stowell."

What dozens of countries? The only legislation I am aware of is legislation proposing that governments use only open source software. Maybe SCO and its proprietary cronies would like the reverse in the US: a law requiring only proprietary software be used by the government, that they would like to ask the government for laws to protect them from Linux competition. If their wish were granted, there goes the DOD's budget. Not to mention security risks up to their eyeballs. It's beginning to look like this is all part of a predetermined strategy, scripted from the beginning, but that perhaps they are speeding it up now that SCO's case is looking worse and worse. It also begins to look like the entire SCO legal farce was set up to justify this push by SCO and presumably Microsoft and perhaps other proprietary vendors to get the government to protect them from competition they can't beat fair and square in the marketplace.

And may I ask one question? Wasn't Deutsche Bank's Brian Skiba's rationale for setting a $45 target for SCO based on SCO's potential income from licensing Linux? If Linux were outlawed, may I inquire what happens to that potential income?

Meanwhile, Newsforge reports that Under Secretary of Commerce for Technology Phil Bond today said at Linux World that the Bush Administration will remain neutral between open source and proprietary software vendors. However, there is this ominous detail:

"'We particularly welcome these comments from the Administration's top Technology official because some others in the Administration have occasionally taken positions antithetical to open source methodology,' OSAIA President Ed Black said."

Information Week has a bit more, though, on the roundtable discussion on something else Bond and others had to say:

"Not all members of the roundtable, which included representatives from IBM, the Open Source Development Lab, and the United Nations, were convinced that the United States or any other government would or could resist getting involved in reshaping the software market. Government's role as the largest consumer of IT ensures that government agencies will at least want to be involved in the formation and enforcement of standards, said Dimo Calovski, economic affairs officer for the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development, a 40-year-old organization formed to help developing economies play a larger role in the world economy. 'Government policy on technology issues is a fact of life,' he said.

"Questions raised about the legality of code contributed to Linux over the years also evoked diverse reactions from roundtable participants. Some said intellectual-property lawsuits and accusations are distracting people from open-source technology's greatest value--the worldwide collaboration of innovators and problem solvers, Calovski said. 'From a policy point of view, I would want to devote my resources to something other than enforcement of intellectual property. That money is better spent elsewhere.'

"Bond was less dismissive of the intellectual property challenges. 'Countries are free to choose open source, but we're concerned about the enforcement of intellectual property,' he said. 'Proprietary property needs to be protected, and that will require that governments take this seriously.'"

You might enjoy this ComputerWorld article, "Defying Gravity". The press is finally getting it. Notice how SCO is described in this story:

"The most powerful software company in the world would love to kill it off. The most ridiculous software company in the world can't stop suing over it. Yet Linux marches triumphantly onward . . ."

Remember the old days, when you couldn't find anything negative about SCO's law suit in the mainstream press? Now SCO is described as "the most ridiculous software company in the world," and it wasn't Groklaw that wrote it. Sadly, that doesn't mean the press is yet comprehending this new phase of SCO's assault. InternetNews tries to grasp what the "GPL is unconstitutional" claim is all about in an article asserting that SCO's lawsuit against IBM is a test of the GPL v. copyright law, but clearly has some difficulty. No doubt that is because it isn't a test of the GPL v. copyright law. To their credit, they did ask the principal lawyer for the GPL, Eben Moglen, to respond:

"But Moglen asserts that the SCO dispute isn't really about copyrights anyway. 'This is not a copyright lawsuit yet. Copyright claim, number one, has yet to be filed by SCO against anybody,' he said. 'The only copyright claim made so far is IBM's counter claim against SCO.'. . .

"'They can say the GPL is invalid, but it's not legally relevant,' Moglen told 'In order for them not to lose the lawsuit they have to have a license and the license they claim to have is GPL.'

Moglen said he is confident that the GPL version 2 is actually performing as the Free Software Foundation originally intended it. 'The GPL is doing the job it's supposed to do by defending freedom by creating legal difficulties for people who attack freedom,' he said.

"'So, no it's not actually testing the GPL, though everyone is behaving as though it is. Though, if this is a test of the GPL it is a test that the GPL will pass.'"

Meanwhile, Microsoft has worked out a deal with the UN:

"Microsoft, U.N. to fight poverty

"Microsoft Corp. and the United Nations will work together to bring computer technology and literacy to developing countries, Microsoft chairman Bill Gates said today.

"Microsoft pledged software, computer training and cash to establish computer centers in poor communities, starting with pilot projects in Egypt, Mozambique and Morocco.

"The initiative will draw from a $1 billion Microsoft Unlimited Potential fund, which the U.S. software giant launched last year.

"The company has already donated nearly $50 million to 45 countries, and Gates said he hoped to 'ramp it up' to $200 million a year through the new partnership with the U.N. Development Program.

"At a news conference at the World Economic Forum, Gates said the computer centers won't be restricted to using Microsoft products."

With all the news today, soon we might be better off in Morocco, as far as having software choices, then. Aside from SCO's legislative push, MS just registered new XML-related patents in New Zealand and the EU, according to

"Microsoft has applied for patents that could prevent competing applications from processing documents created with the latest version of the software giant's Office program.

"The company filed patent applications in New Zealand and the European Union that cover word processing documents stored in the XML (Extensible Markup Language) format. The proposed patent would cover methods for an application other than the original word processor to access data in the document. The U.S. Patent Office had no record of a similar application.

"The proposed patents apparently seek to protect methods other applications could use to interpret the XML dialect, or schema, Office uses to describe and organize information in documents. Microsoft recently agreed to publish those schemas and is looking at opening other chunks of Office code. Despite those moves toward openness, the patents could create a barrier to competing software, said Rob Helm, an analyst for research firm Directions on Microsoft.

"'This is a direct challenge to software vendors who want to interoperate with Word through XML,' he said. 'For example, if Corel wanted to improve WordPerfect's support of Word by adopting its XML format...for import/export, they'd probably have to license this patent.'"

The patents likely wouldn't immediately affect the open-source software package OpenOffice, which uses different XML techniques to describe a document, Helm said. But they could prevent future versions of OpenOffice and StarOffice, its proprietary sibling, from working with Microsoft's XML format."

If the proprietary folks keep up the patent nonsense, pretty soon nobody will be able to do anything in software without crossing the big guys' palms with silver, which is a very fine reason to switch to Linux this exact minute, if you ask me, because the more they lock things down, the less innovation you will see from them. It just is a fact of life that the higher the bar to entry, the less talent there is available, which is probably why proprietary software thinks it can only survive by outlawing the Linux competition.

SCO didn't have its hearing today, but Microsoft did and the Seattle Post-Intelligencer tells us what happened:

"Prodded by a federal judge, Microsoft agreed Friday to make portions of its tightly held Windows software code more widely available in an attempt to inject choice and competition into a market it once monopolized.

"The concession came during a brief hearing before U.S. District Judge Colleen Kollar-Kotelly to evaluate the progress Microsoft is making to comply with the landmark 2002 settlement that aimed to repair the damage to the software market caused by Microsoft's behavior. . . .Another hearing to evaluate Microsoft's progress and compliance is scheduled for April 21."


UnitedLinux Is No More & SCO Says Look for Legislation on Open Source | 181 comments | Create New Account
Comments belong to whoever posts them. Please notify us of inappropriate comments.
Vaughan-Nichols: UnitedLinux Is No More
Authored by: warnold on Friday, January 23 2004 @ 11:15 PM EST
I wonder how long it will be till the other 2 companies announce that they have
left UnitedLinux?

[ Reply to This | # ]

Vaughan-Nichols: UnitedLinux Is No More
Authored by: iMeowbot on Friday, January 23 2004 @ 11:16 PM EST
I'd assume that SCO stayed in UL for exactly the reason SuSE withdrew: it
was rendered useless.

[ Reply to This | # ]

UnitedLinux Is No More & SCO Says Look for Legislation on Open Source
Authored by: belzecue on Friday, January 23 2004 @ 11:18 PM EST
Not overlooking the other reference to SCO in that article:

"the pipsqueak vendor"


[ Reply to This | # ]

Vaughan-Nichols: UnitedLinux Is No More
Authored by: SaielX on Friday, January 23 2004 @ 11:23 PM EST
I still can't vigure it out. Sco claims that it's code was put into Linux
without it's permission but it is....Sorry was a Linux company. It uses that
Linus and others by working and learning in Unix first makes them tainted and
therefore the code that they write for Linux clean room or not is inherantly
Unix because they have seen UNIX and therfore they think in Unix terms but they
have and use Unix and at one time was a Linux company so aren't they also
tainted? They cliam Linux is evil but they refuse to pull out fo UnitedLinux
that makes no sense to me at all. I figured they would want to be as far away
from Linux as they could get since they are in a very hostile realtionship with
it. It's like saying I hate you but hell why don't you come over for a beer or
two and we will chat it up about the old days when I didn't hate you. Sco is

Ohh shiney I want that mommy! Darl Mcbride talking about Linux

[ Reply to This | # ]

UnitedLinux Is No More & SCO Says Look for Legislation on Open Source
Authored by: RSC on Friday, January 23 2004 @ 11:26 PM EST
"With dozens of countries considering regulating the use of open-source,
SCO believes it's 'only a matter of time before others in our country would
put legislation on the table around open-source software,' said

He is right, There is a lot of Open source legislation in the works around the
world. But the legislation bieng put up has nothing to do with preventing the
use of OSS, it's all about promoting the use of OSS.

Even the members of the ACT govt. are introducing OSS legislation, to promote
it's use in the Govt. sphere.

Once again, SCO try to twist reallity to suit there "ideals".


An Australian who IS interested.

[ Reply to This | # ]

UnitedLinux Is No More & SCO Says Look for Legislation on Open Source
Authored by: warnold on Friday, January 23 2004 @ 11:26 PM EST
With dozens of countries considering regulating the use of open-source
Well, I guess that mandating consideration of open-source programs would be considered regulating open-source. I've heard of a number of states/countries/cities doing that.

So he's not actually lying. :-)

[ Reply to This | # ]

UnitedLinux Is No More & SCO Says Look for Legislation on Open Source
Authored by: Stonecrusher on Friday, January 23 2004 @ 11:27 PM EST
Once again, I have to state as I did in a previous posting, it isn't going to
take more than one or two well-meaning but badly uninformed Congressmen to get
some sort of FUD-inspired legislation in the works. Call me paranoid, but I have
a real distrust of the present state of Americas legislative bodies. The minute
you add together large business interests, politicians, and the "scared
herd" mindset of the present day over security to "our"
interests, and you can accomplish some truly mind-boggling acts of idiocy.

[ Reply to This | # ]

Regulation of open source software
Authored by: eric76 on Friday, January 23 2004 @ 11:29 PM EST
That would be a nightmare.

If individuals and companies in the U.S. cannot create or use open source
software, or are strongly limited in the use of open source software, it will
only serve to drive the development, and it's associated technologies,

The result will be that we will be limited to second rate software that became
second rate precisely by placing artificial limitations on its' viable open
source competitors.

[ Reply to This | # ]

Can share owners of SCO sue... SCO?
Authored by: Anonymous on Friday, January 23 2004 @ 11:33 PM EST
I wonder if the value that share holders have in SCO can actually
sue SCO, and get thru the corporate veil to Canopy, when this is all
over and there is nothing more left of SCO to die and decay?

The only life left will be the assets of Canopy.
Will the law allow shareholders to go after Canopy and the Family
Trust that controls the whole show?

[ Reply to This | # ]

Nothing new to see here
Authored by: inode_buddha on Friday, January 23 2004 @ 11:33 PM EST
"So, let me get this straight. SCO tells Congress that Linux is bad for the economy and a security risk...

Sort of reminds me how Microsoft said that opening their code would be "bad for the economy and pose a security risk". And they said that *under oath* in the Supreme Court. And them promptly turned around showed their code to the Chinese in an attempt to make a sale, after the case was closed IIRC. As we all know, they didn't make the sale, either.

"Truly, if Te is strong in one, all one needs to do is sit on one's ass, and the corpse of one's enemy shall be carried past shortly." (seen on USENET)

[ Reply to This | # ]

further reading ...
Authored by: grumpy on Friday, January 23 2004 @ 11:39 PM EST
...on ODSL filling UnitedLinux's role

[ Reply to This | # ]

In regards to SCO quote about North Korea
Authored by: afore on Friday, January 23 2004 @ 11:49 PM EST
I am sure all the North Koreans can just as easily go accross the border to
China and get Windows XP and Office XP bootleg CDs for $1 to $2 since bootleg
software is so rampent in China and the rest of Asia. There is probably just as
much bootleg software in Asia as there is legal software in the US. Is SCO going
to stop M$ from shipping software to China because of this? NOT! You can get
just about any proprietory software you want in Taiwan also, with no keys
required (and the latest versions).


[ Reply to This | # ]

My response to the Computer World article
Authored by: Thomas Frayne on Saturday, January 24 2004 @ 12:01 AM EST
I sent the following response to Computer World for the Defying Gravity article
that you cited.


Excellent article!

SCO's response to IBM is still confidential, but most of it will probably be
declared non-confidential at the February 6 hearing. The accompanying affidavit
was to explain the parts of the court order that SCO could not come up with in
the 30 days that the judge allowed, so it is hard to infer whether SCO complied
with the court order from the affidavit alone.

However, SCO's spokesman, Bruce Stowell, said that SCO would not be delivering
information on copyrights. Since this information was required by the court
order, this is evidence that SCO defied the court order. Since the affidavit
does not mention copyrights, Stowell's statement is also evidence that the
affidavit contains an independent defiance of the court order.

[ Reply to This | # ]

Explain without resorting to conspiracy
Authored by: TFBW on Saturday, January 24 2004 @ 12:01 AM EST
I can believe that SCO's acts of random litigation may be
driven by the sincere belief that they could win, no
matter how outrageous their claims seem. However, I find
it terribly difficult to comprehend their deliberate
sabotage of the United Linux effort, and their continued
mud-slinging against all manner of non-proprietary
software development efforts, except as part of a
conspiracy against free software in general. I hate
resorting to conspiracy theories where some other
explanation will do, but I find myslef sadly lacking in
creative explanations. Any ideas, folks?

[ Reply to This | # ]

Taking SCO at their word
Authored by: Anonymous on Saturday, January 24 2004 @ 12:03 AM EST
A lot of people seem to be taking SCO at their word, as if their real goal is to get some kind of legislation.

As PJ points out, how consistent is that with their position in United Linux or using open source products?

What's more, Darl's letter is not even self-consistent, and he doesn't propose any specific legislation?

Isn't it a lot more likely that their real goal is to seem important and influential and get their name over the news? For the price of a few hundred faxes, probably around $1000, they did just that. And now the news is filled with this non-story instead of detailing SCO's inadequacies.

Ignore all that if you like, then ask yourself what are chances of getting some of legislation?

How much can SCO contribute in campaign contributions?

How much can IBM/HP/Novell/Oracle/Sun/Red Hat/etc. generate in campaign contributions?

How many lobbyists can SCO whip up?

How many lobbyists can IBM/HP/Novell/Oracle/Sun/Red Hat/etc. whip up?

How many constituents jobs depend on SCO?

How many constituents jobs depend on IBM/HP/Novell/Oracle/Sun/Red Hat/etc.?

This weekend, I bet Sam P. or some other IBM executives will probably laughing on golf courses with their congressmen buddies, about SCO's ridiculous letters.

[ Reply to This | # ]

UnitedLinux Is No More & SCO Says Look for Legislation on Open Source
Authored by: Stumbles on Saturday, January 24 2004 @ 12:29 AM EST
The longer this goes on, the more I am convinced this is just a pump and dump scheme for SCO. Actually there are several. There has been nothing but misdirection, out right lies, deceit and a number of other similar adjectives emanating from SCO/McBride and crew.

And may I ask one question? Wasn't Deutsche Bank's Brian Skiba's rationale for setting a $45 target for SCO based on SCO's potential income from licensing Linux? If Linux were outlawed, may I inquire what happens to that potential income?

Those are some extremely valid questions. So far to my knowledge Deutsche Bank has not revised their target or offered any additional information for their rationale.

Once the smoke has cleared and McBride's mirrors have been shattered. There should be a number of investigations initiated. At the minimum an SEC investigation should be called for investigating said bank, SCO and Canopy.

[ Reply to This | # ]

UnitedLinux aka Stonecutters
Authored by: k4_pacific on Saturday, January 24 2004 @ 12:38 AM EST
I'm not too concerned about the breakup of UnitedLinux. It is kind of like
that one episode of the Simpsons where Homer was in charge of the Stone Cutters,
and everyone left the organization and started their own club because they
didn't like how Homer was running things. The companies that were in it,
except for SCO, just left and set up shop elsewhere for the most part, leaving
Darl holding the bag.

As for SCO vs IBM, it is a simple matter of mass and inertia. IBM will crush
SCO into dust without hardly slowing down.

[ Reply to This | # ]

Response to: Free Software Foundation Tries to Make Hash of SCO's Claims
Authored by: Thomas Frayne on Saturday, January 24 2004 @ 01:32 AM EST

I just responded to the article Free Software Foundation Tries to Make Hash of SCO's Claims. Here is my response.

SCO claims in press releases that Linux users are violating SCO's copyrights. They have never claimed that in court. In fact, when the court ordered them to detail the code in Linux that they claimed ownership of, they argued against it. SCO spokesman Bruce Stowell stated that SCO supplied no information on copyright in their response to the court order, which implies that SCO defied the court order.

In addition, SCO avoids discussing the following claims of the Open Source Community related to copyright:

1. Novell owns most of the copyrights SCO is claiming, and has an unlimited, perpetual, world-wide license on the rest, so Novell could license those copyrights as it pleases, including under the GPL.

2. As you mentioned, if SCO owns any other copyrights in Linux, it has already licensed them under the GPL, and SCO's second thoughts cannot revoke the permissions already given.

3. SCO forfeited its rights under the GPL by offering a conflicting license. It then violated thousands of copyrights in Linux by continuing to distribute Linux without permission of the copyright owners.

4. SCO failed in multiple SEC reports to mention the risks implied by Novell's claims of copyright ownership, despite multiple letters from Novell to SCO making these claims. SCO continued to leave this information out of SEC reports until the Groklaw web site pointed out the discrepancy, and Novell published the correspondence. Then SCO filed an amended report, and buried the Novell risk in a large section of the report.

[ Reply to This | # ]

RedHat lawsuit?
Authored by: Anonymous on Saturday, January 24 2004 @ 02:04 AM EST
If RedHat were to win it's case against SCO--and why shouldn't
they?--wouldn't SCO's lobbying for the outlawing of "Open-Source"
software be considered as part of the issue in their case?

[ Reply to This | # ]

UnitedLinux Is No More & SCO Says Look for Legislation on Open Source
Authored by: Anonymous on Saturday, January 24 2004 @ 02:20 AM EST
I have watched this thing from the beginning and felt the whole thing was to try
and form smoke into something tangible. Scream it enough times with conviction
and the susceptible begin to believe. The truth is always a hard fought battle
and I feel this is almost an epic battle of sorts. Part of what I think is going
on is that there are a lot of networks out there that need to move off of aging
Novell architectures as well as a great deal of NT 4 installations. If nothing
else, the FUD will go on long enough to lock customers into the new MS licensing
sceme and then it will be a long time before they consider anything else. Of
course this hasn't happened just yet so the screaming and ranting from the SCO
camp carries on stronger and louder whenever it can. I think SCO was a sacrafice
play from the beginning. It was going to die so it was placed on the frontlines
by a large software monopoly that most have come to revile to stay the storm.
Perhaps even worse, to try and gut the enemy from the inside. Out of the blue,
didn't MS's rantings get replaced by SCO's, right about the time of the new
head of MS's Linux strategy took the helm. And Darl the Snarl, isn't he well
suited for being the bastion of hatred and chief fear monger. The most damaging
thing for him and MS would be to simply ignore them until they become as thin as
the smoke they are made of and fade away. But, of course, there must be a
meeting on the battleground first.

[ Reply to This | # ]

a little nervous and a bit confused
Authored by: Buddha Joe on Saturday, January 24 2004 @ 02:20 AM EST
'....Countries are free to choose open source, but we're concerned about the enforcement of intellectual property,' he said. 'Proprietary property needs to be protected, and that will require that governments take this seriously.'

This stamemnt makes me nervous because lately here in the US I have noticed a tendency for Lamakers to jump at new legislation instead of trying to use the tools that are already at hand ( like that bill about copyrighting databases).

The I am a bit confused about is with MS. They are sitting there in court with a judge who is getting on their case becasue they are not complying with the anti-truest settlement the way they should be. yet in another part of the world they are trying to register patents that appear to be continuing the same patern that got them in trouble in the first place.It is apparent that MS was not properly punished for it's actions.

The more I hear about software patents the more I think that they are really poorly implementd, if not totaly uneccessary.

The only stupid question is the one never asked

[ Reply to This | # ]

Authored by: Anonymous on Saturday, January 24 2004 @ 02:37 AM EST
This is interesting to know, but SCO has no clout with Congressmen and it is
burying its own reputation faster than anything. A junior level intern set to do
some fact-finding on the subject would likely run into the mass of
self-conflicting impulses that SCO has flailed across the Internet.

The best solution? In all likelyhood, ignore it.

Besides, its probably just Darl pursuing his fantasy of testifying before
Congress. Narcissists are like that.

Chicken little strikes again!

[ Reply to This | # ]

OT: Anyone seen the text of the SCO Linux License (without NDA)
Authored by: smtnet1 on Saturday, January 24 2004 @ 03:03 AM EST
This is slightly off topice, but has anyone seen the text of the SCO Linux
license?. The SCO FAQ claims that people have to sign an NDA to see the text of
the license!! This indicates to me that SCO are deeply concerned about the
wording of the license, or want to hide what they are licensing (i.e. not Linux
or UNIX System V).

If they are licensing UNUIX System V code for use in Linux then they are in
danger of Novell demanding 95% of any license fees they collect. If however the
Linux license is simply a Unixware license then SCO don't need to give Novell
anything, but they would not be licensing anything in Linux.

I think that the wording of the Linux license is probable very important to
stopping this scam.

I have a Linux License, the GPL, why would I want another?

[ Reply to This | # ]

MS XML Patents
Authored by: PM on Saturday, January 24 2004 @ 03:10 AM EST
MS could have a problem getting people to 'upgrade' to a 'locked in' file

A similar thing happened several years ago with Office 97 Word. This wrote a
new format that was incompatible with Word 6/95. They did provide an adaptor so
Word 6/95 would read the new format (possibly with some formatting loss). It
appears some corporate users would not install this adaptor which in turn
discouraged users from upgrading to Word 97. Hence MS was forced to provide a
Word 97 adaptor to write the old type files.

[ Reply to This | # ]

Software patents are evil
Authored by: Captain on Saturday, January 24 2004 @ 03:33 AM EST
Thank God we don't have them in Europe yet (or at least not enforcable). I hope
we'll never see that day.

It's infuriating to see lawmakers either ignore or simply not understand the
implications of this scheme.

[ Reply to This | # ]

Can XML schemes be patented?
Authored by: Anonymous on Saturday, January 24 2004 @ 03:48 AM EST
XML is basically an open textfile. Microsoft is patenting a xml scheme for it
Word format.

How on earth could such a patent be granted, since such patent does not envolve
any new technology, innovation or method whatsoever)

Suppose I use the English alphabet to create the word "TELEPHONE",
can I patent that also? I would see any difference with regards to what
Microsoft is doing.


[ Reply to This | # ]

UnitedLinux Is No More & SCO Says Look for Legislation on Open Source
Authored by: Joss the Red on Saturday, January 24 2004 @ 04:00 AM EST
I for one am sickened by the Bush administration claiming to respect
'Intellectual Property Rights' yet not doing anything to stop SCO from openly
breaking thousands of copyrights by continuing to distribute GPL code while
breaking the GPL, which means they have no right whatsoever to distribute that

They openly ignore the 'Intellectual Property Rights' of thousands of people
and companies, and there is no complaint. But when they claim IBM may have
secretly stolen some of their code, and refuse to back it up, it's ok, and they
still get the administration's support. What a sickening bunch of hypocrites.

I don't even play a lawyer on TV.

[ Reply to This | # ]

The Sweet Green Grass of Home
Authored by: Tim Ransom on Saturday, January 24 2004 @ 04:03 AM EST
Listen: if Despot Darl gets his Luddite legislation (I guess being alliteral is turning into my sort of style) passed (not bloody likey with the DOD using Linux) and turns the U.S. into a technical backwater, just come on up here above the 49th parallel! I'll bet Art Garfunkel wishes he was here! This one's for you, Art :D
Thanks again,

[ Reply to This | # ]

The Coward Behind the Bully
Authored by: banjopaterson on Saturday, January 24 2004 @ 05:08 AM EST
When SCO's lawsuit first came to light I was concerned. But I am less so now
that the facts have rolled on. I feel one can stand back and look at how the
play has been performed. What conclusions can we draw?

I feel that the thinking at SCO has changed depending on which way the wind has
been blowing, and that this whole fiasco can be divided into several phases:

PHASE 1: Early 2003 to August 2003. SCO believed there were two things in
Linux that was theirs. The first was copying of System V files into Linux. I
am sure they looked at some Linux files, looked at some System V files, and made
the following deduction:

- There are some files in Linux that have lines and comments that are the same
as in System V
- Therefore someone copied them from System V into Linux
- We own System V therefore we are owed for what is ours.

I do not think they did a further search on the providence of the files or code.
This is partly because they do not have the resources, and partly because Darl
had got the answer he had wanted to make money.

Let us call this the "first premise", in that I believe it is the
first thing that made Darl consider a lawsuit. They certainly felt it was good
enough to protect with an NDA. They showed it to some journalists. I believe
they believed the code was really theirs.

The "second premise" was also discussed, I believe, at the same
time. This was the "backup" in case the "first premise"
(i.e. line by line copying of System V into Linux) somehow failed. This was the
IP rights they believed they had with respect to derivative works from IBM.
This allowed them to brag about the "millions of lines" copied -
since the work put into Linux by IBM was significant.

Given these two premises it was decided a lawsuit against IBM was the best way
to go. They saw two possible outcomes:

1. IBM would buy SCO to remove any doubt;
2. If IBM did not buy SCO the share price would rise on the speculation.

It was here that we see Microsoft being opportunistic - since if they felt that
SCO had any chance they would have ensured their contribution was more than a
paltry 10 million dollars - as opposed to outright hostile.

PHASE 2: This started as soon as the "copied" code was released to
the public. I have no doubt that they put into their slides the strongest
example of copying they could find. This was the code that fooled Laura DiDio
and others. However, I think SCO were shell-shocked when, in less that 24
hours, the Linux and GNU communities ripped apart their copy examples, and
showed that most of the providence came from BSD code.

This forced SCO to rethink where they wanted to go. It meant that they had to
delay going to court - or at least delay an outcome. It meant they had to
consider alternatives.

I believe they were preparing to sue users for the use of Linux. Not only would
this generate cash-flow but would, in the public's eyes, back up their claims
about Linux and further boost the share price. It was on these assumptions, I
believe, that we get the "$45" a share, as much as on the "if
they win".

However, it was Groklaw that hinted to them that if they send an invoice to an
American company for products where the ownership was still in doubt, then this
constituted a federal offence. I believe they consulted with their lawyers and,
subsequently, have backed off from this plan. I still think it is dear to them,
as the recent "we will send invoices to Australian companies" shows,
but I will be very surprised if an invoice eventuates.

PHASE 3: December 2003 to now. This came about after the 5th December hearing.
I think the prime thinking behind this is:

1. How do we dis-entangle ourselves from the lawsuit with IBM?
2. How can we keep the share price inflated enough to continue the "pump
and dump" (probably by threats to sue)
3. Boise was hired not, IMHO, for the litigation regarding IBM but to protect
them against the SEC and other federal bodies. This is where you will see
Boise, if it should come to pass that the SEC begins to investigate SCO.

The letters to the congress and the open hostility to open source software is
their way of publicly saying (between the lines) "hey, Microsoft, look at
us. We want to be your friend. We can help you to destroy Linux, if you help
us." (The press is a very good way for companies to hold negotiations
they would not dream of doing in a room. A friend of mine once observed that
often banks fix interest rate rises amongst themselves through the
"meeting room" of the press. eg. headline: "X Bank announce
intention of rate rise by 1.5%", headline: "Y Bank announce
intention of rate rise by 0.75%" etc. then all the banks eventually move
- oddly in tandem - to 1.25%). Anyway, all these letters are posturing by SCO
not to the public, but to the pockets of Microsoft (and possibly Sun).

Of course, now that Novell has applied for the copyrights, effectively removing
any uncontested claim by SCO, it was forced to sue Novell. There comes a point,
which SCO is reaching, where ones pockets and credibility are stretched to the
max. Something must break. Something must give.

How this will play out? I don't even think Darl knows. I believe as we head
to 2005 the outcome will be that Linux is forging ahead stronger than ever and
that Microsoft will unleash patent claims against it directly. The Beast will
make itself known. This will be more worrying for Linux and the OSS community
that this interim with SCO. Consider this the show before the matinee. The man
in the glittering hat playing the Wurlitzer before the real show starts.

Then the fight will really be on. And Linux will win.

The Banjo

[ Reply to This | # ]

Do SCO owe Novell 95% of Linux licenses
Authored by: smtnet1 on Saturday, January 24 2004 @ 05:39 AM EST
This license is very vague like most of SCOs linux related claims. They are very
careful not to categorically state that UNIX code is in Linux, and are relying
on the contract to tie anyone signing it to a licensing agreement for Linux.

Anyone signing this would need to be very stupid, or despirate to avoid the
threat of litigation by SCO.

This license tries to separate itself from the actual kernel code and is simply
a separate license that allows a user to use SCO code in linux (even though
there is none). I suspect that is the claim they will try to make in court.

I have a Linux License, the GPL, why would I want another?

[ Reply to This | # ]

Authored by: Nick_UK on Saturday, January 24 2004 @ 05:54 AM EST

In that ComputerWorld article, they have this statement:

"Anybody that sells code should indemnify their customers," as analyst Bill Claybrook at Harvard Research Group Inc. so aptly put it in our story. "If they're selling software products, then they should stand behind their products."

Ummm. Now lets have a look at a M$ ToS from here:

Microsoft ToS


Ummm. I think I prefer the GPL and support of 10000's of Linux coders, don't you?


[ Reply to This | # ]

  • EULA's - Authored by: Anonymous on Saturday, January 24 2004 @ 03:54 PM EST
  • EULA's - Authored by: goldfndr on Sunday, January 25 2004 @ 11:38 PM EST
  • EULA's - Authored by: jrg on Monday, January 26 2004 @ 05:11 AM EST
Top ten reasons to thank Darl McBride:
Authored by: swengr on Saturday, January 24 2004 @ 07:04 AM EST

Top ten reasons to thank Darl McBride:

Sorry, these are numbered backwards...

  1. Darl's "cold water" is the quenching that tempers the fine, sharp sword of F/OSS.
  2. He's so blatantly off his rocker, that I seem sane by comparison.
  3. He got you to study History and Law.
  4. All this Free Publicity is good for Linux.
  5. He's migrating the SCO user base to another OS that's a bit more... current.
  6. He tricked IBM into spending millions to prove Linux is legally solid. (And HP, and Novell, and...)
  7. He put an end to the factional infighting between Free/Open Source. (please make it so!)
  8. He helped dig Microsoft's grave. (just watch the news for the next year...)
  9. He reminded me how much Archie Bunker did to poke fun at racism.
  10. He made PJ famous!

Looking back from the future, this will be the beginning...

Gratis is nice, Libre is an inalienable right.

[ Reply to This | # ]

Microsoft just gave everyone a compelling reason to move to OpenOffice or StarOffice
Authored by: Anonymous on Saturday, January 24 2004 @ 07:05 AM EST
"The proposed patents apparently seek to protect methods other applications could use to interpret the XML dialect, or schema, Office uses to describe and organize information in documents. Microsoft recently agreed to publish those schemas and is looking at opening other chunks of Office code. Despite those moves toward openness, the patents could create a barrier to competing software, said Rob Helm, an analyst for research firm Directions on Microsoft."

In other words, if the patent is upheld, any company or other organization using the next Office version will find its valuable documentation and other data held hostage by Microsoft in an even worse way than it is now. Using a non-Microsoft converter to retrieve the data, in order to migrate to another product, would be illegal.

This would truly be the mother of all vendor lock-ins! Tell your boss about this, the next time office tool roadmaps come up.

The only way to escape is start using an office suite that uses an open and unpatented document format as soon as feasible. Currently the only program that has this property and is also mature enough to replace all essential Office functionality is StarOffice and its open-source cousin OpenOffice (personally I would prefer the latter, but StarOffice may be much easier to get adopted in firms uneasy about open source. Fortunately they are interoperable).

[ Reply to This | # ]

Other news
Authored by: Captain on Saturday, January 24 2004 @ 07:27 AM EST

An interview with Bruce Perens on BBC News.

Open source advocate Bruce Perens tells BBC technology correspondent Clark Boyd why the real threat to Linux and the open source movement is not from the SCO lawsuits, but from software patents.

But here's the cool part: On the right, there's a box called 'related Internet links'. Groklaw is on it. Congratulations PJ!

[ Reply to This | # ]

  • Other news - Authored by: aug24 on Saturday, January 24 2004 @ 07:55 AM EST
  • Other news - Authored by: PJ on Saturday, January 24 2004 @ 08:03 AM EST
Widespread misconception?
Authored by: Jude on Saturday, January 24 2004 @ 07:50 AM EST
I have seen a number of people claim that SCO's response to IBM proves that SCO
has no copyright claims to Linux. The reasoning seems to be that:

1) IBM's Interrogatory #12 required SCO to list ALL of their claims to Linux

2) SCO has said they are not adding copyright claims to the lawsuit.

I don't think this logic is valid, since Interrogatory #12 asks for all of
SCO's claims against Linux regardless of whether or not SCO includes them in
their claims against IBM. SCO could decide not to make copyright claims against
IBM, but still include such claims in their response to #12.

Am I misunderstanding something here?

[ Reply to This | # ]

UnitedLinux Is No More & SCO Says Look for Legislation on Open Source
Authored by: Anonymous on Saturday, January 24 2004 @ 08:14 AM EST
What happens if countries prefer to their own software (for example an operating
system), using standards so it can connect to other countries operating

- promotes internal economy and development
- software sales are kept in the country

Perhaps, some countries can colaborate and have their own.
If each had their own, there should even be more collaboration and interest in
open standards.

Should they use some software simple because it is "popular"?

[ Reply to This | # ]

UnitedLinux Is No More & SCO Says Look for Legislation on Open Source
Authored by: Anonymous on Saturday, January 24 2004 @ 11:33 AM EST
Well, In the past, Ray Noorda has entertained GWB at his
house. So between Bill Gates and Ray Noorda, I suspect
that the current admin will not be remaining neutral.

[ Reply to This | # ]

UnitedLinux Is No More & SCO Says Look for Legislation on Open Source
Authored by: Anonymous on Saturday, January 24 2004 @ 12:43 PM EST
I sincerely hope that Americans reading this will take the time to contact their
congresspersons to rebut SCO's letter. I have written both of my senators and
my representative in the House. Be civil, be professional, and simply discuss
the facts. Make them understand that Open Source developers aren't a bunch of
hackers (in the negative connotation of the word) and discuss the benefits of
Open Source to not just people around the world, but companies like IBM, Red
Hat, and so forth, that make a good living off of the software SCO claims is a
threat to the economy. Please don't let them only see SCO's side of the

You can contact your representatives in the Senate and House at:

Please send snail mail if you can (it tends to be read more often), but at the
very least, contact them via their e-mail forms.

[ Reply to This | # ]

MS's unnoticed motives
Authored by: Anonymous on Saturday, January 24 2004 @ 12:59 PM EST
did noone mention the rather obvious ulterier motives behind MS's moves with
reguards to giving to the poor. if people in third world contries have access to
more/better/any computing facilities, then they'll learn how to use them (Duh),
probibly how to devlop for them (Duh), and be the perfict cheap labor for
outsorcing of jobs! (is it still a sweat-shop if all the sweating is from the
heat from the computer hardware?)

That pointed out, im glad its happening. i think maybe we'll gain more to our
side the MS expects, and i think that everyone desiserves a chance.

Oninoshiko (on a public terminal)

[ Reply to This | # ]

UnitedLinux Is No More & SCO Says Look for Legislation on Open Source
Authored by: Anonymous on Sunday, January 25 2004 @ 07:10 AM EST
It would be nice to see MS charged with treason, based upon their own
statements. :-)

[ Reply to This | # ]

UnitedLinux Is No More & SCO Says Look for Legislation on Open Source
Authored by: Curtman on Sunday, January 25 2004 @ 08:59 AM EST
Anyone who is interested about patents should listen to this speech by Stallman in particular. Its creepy how much it seems to relate to the SCO situation when he talks about Intellectual Property (and pre-dates the SCO case by about 6 months). He gives a very interesting viewpoint about patents, and why they shouldn't be allowed for software. I've been listening to these speeches lately while working. He's a bit over the top sometimes, but a very knowledgeable guy. He's the creator of the FSF (GNU), and the GPL incase anyone doesn't know the name. Someone should get him a drink of water though. ;)

Just imagine what the world would be like if addition or multiplication was patented. The silly things they grant patents for are in many cases just extensions of those concepts. This one in particular, because XML was intended to do exactly what this patent is for. MicroSoft should know, people occasionally claim MicroSoft invented XML. Jon Bosak disagrees. Another good link is here with the following humorous quote:

    Question 3: Sun's claims to having invented XML are refuted by Jon Bosak
    himself. In The Birth of XML: A Personal Recollection
    ( Bosak states that the effort was
    given the green light by the W3C's Dan Connolly and though "organized, led, and
    underwritten by Sun," the actual work was shared among Bosak and people from
    outside Sun, including Tim Bray, C. M. Sperberg-McQueen, and Jean Paoli from
    Microsoft. And if Sun invented it, why are they so late supporting it in their
    products? Sun has recently shipped its first generation XML parser, while
    Microsoft is on its fourth generation.
    Sun Answer: Uh, Chuck... forgive us for
    pointing out the obvious, but you partly answer the question yourself. If a) Sun
    organized, led, and underwrote XML development as you point out, and b) Jon
    Bosak of Sun was the leader of the working group, then c) doesn't that mean we
    should get a lot of credit? We think so.
    As to part two of your question
    regarding Microsoft's alleged fourth generation: We'll refrain from the
    oft-repeated barb that Microsoft doesn't get it right until Version 3.0, and cut
    to the chase. Contrary to your attempt at revisionist history, many of our
    products already support XML. In fact, we delivered our first XML parser two
    years ago. In a world operating at Internet speed, that doesn't qualify as
    We could list other XML products, too, but we think that would be
    almost as tedious as some of these questions, Chuck. If you really want to know,

I wonder where MicroSoft gets the bollocks to question Sun's late adoption, when Office is just now catching up.

[ Reply to This | # ]

UnitedLinux Is No More & SCO Says Look for Legislation on Open Source
Authored by: Anonymous on Monday, January 26 2004 @ 09:57 AM EST
Listen to your bogosity meter, PJ.

If you listen to what SCOG says, you will not learn truth or knowledge. They are
saying things that can not be true based on other things they have said.

Instead, watch what they do.

They have attacked Open Source Software (OSS) while still trying to sell OSS for
a profit.

They have specifically attacked Linux users.

They have attempted to charge for using Linux - making Linux more expensive
which reduces the value of a FREE, Open source operating system.

They have single-handedly shut down UnitedLinux - or at least made it totally

They have been on a campaign of FUD against the GPL.

Based on what they are DOING, I have to conclude they are not working for their
own ends, they are working for someone elses goals. I can (but won't) speculate
who that someone else may be, but their actions are not the actions of a company
that wants to remain in teh software business.

[ Reply to This | # ]

We have a case
Authored by: Anonymous on Tuesday, January 27 2004 @ 07:49 AM EST

I think we have a case!
In the article is used the name SuSE.
But it must be SUSE.
It's just the U, but we might have a case!

[ Reply to This | # ]

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