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SCO Is Still Distributing ELF Under the GPL, Part 2.
Sunday, August 06 2006 @ 10:12 AM EDT

I expect you will find this hard to believe, but SCO is *still* distributing ELF from its website, and yes, it's still under the GPL.

The other day, I told you that SCO was distributing binutils, which includes ELF, in its Skunkworks package. Following that article's publication, SCO removed that binutils from the FTP site we pointed to. Now, a couple of readers inform us that binutils is still available in their gnutools package for OpenServer 5, which is freely available to the public, with no legal notice that it's only for prior customers. Not only that, but it's binutils-2.14, which is the version I believe SCO listed.

Don't click unless you intend to immediately have it download, but it's at ftp:// It's an FTP site, so it will begin to download automatically, if you click on the link. No warning. No password, no legal notice.

Don't everybody go there, please. They'll call a press conference and pretend they were DOS'd or something ridiculous. That url is for proof, not so you all download. The proof is already accomplished.

As you'll recall from the prior article on this, SCO has claimed the following in the SCO v. IBM litigation:

1. SCO, as the copyright owner of source code and/or documentation upon which the following files and lines of code were copied or derived, has never contributed or authorized these lines of code or the documentation related thereto, for use in Linux as specified under part 0, or any other provision, of the GPL.

2. SCO, as the copyright owner of source code and/or documentation upon which the following files and lines of code were copied or derived, has never granted a license to any party that knowingly authorized use of these files or lines of code outside a UNIX-based distribution.

Well, that's not so, obviously. In fact, SCO can't seem to *stop* distributing it under the GPL. The way I understand the GPL works is this: by redistributing these files from SCO's own FTP server, SCO is itself distributing the files under the GPL. It's either that or it is guilty of copyright violation, and for years, judging from the timestamps. I wonder how many violating downloads there were. What is the penalty under copyright law for each violation again? Pick your poison, SCO.

Anyway, it's obvious to me that what they told the court about never authorizing or distributing binutils under the GPL is just not at all true. The copyright on gnutools, by the way, belongs to the Free Software Foundation, which gives SCO no right to redistribute the package under any license but the GPL. I guess if the FSF wants to sue SCO to collect all that money, if SCO pretends in court that this distribution wasn't under the GPL, they should be able to.

Is it plausible SCO doesn't know that gnutools includes binutils, which includes ELF? First, SCO has a duty to check that it isn't violating anybody's precious most holy intellectual property, n'est-ce pas? Then SCO sold Linux for a living for years, both as Caldera and as SCO, so it certainly ought to know, not to mention that it was SCO that put gnutools up on the FTP server. The COPYING file, dated January of 1999, informs us that the package is licensed under the GPL. SCO had a duty to check that. People in glass houses and all that.

I have to ask myself this: if SCOfolk thought this case was ever going to make it to trial, would they be this careless? Or maybe it's true: you can't fix stupid.


SCO Is Still Distributing ELF Under the GPL, Part 2. | 294 comments | Create New Account
Comments belong to whoever posts them. Please notify us of inappropriate comments.
SCO Is Still Distributing ELF Under the GPL, Part 2.
Authored by: Anonymous on Sunday, August 06 2006 @ 10:21 AM EDT
No, you cant fix stupid. Ask Ron White

[ Reply to This | # ]

You might be right ...
Authored by: Anonymous on Sunday, August 06 2006 @ 10:23 AM EDT
You writted:

"I guess if the FSF wants to sue SCO to collect all that money, if SCO
pretends in court that this distribution wasn't under the GPL, they should be
able to."

ANd there, yo maybe right. 2 years ago, someting as small as the FSF taking on a
giant like SCO woudl have been unthinkable .. now the boot is on the other foot!

[ Reply to This | # ]

Corrections here please
Authored by: troll on Sunday, August 06 2006 @ 10:24 AM EDT
A nitpick.
If you want to list an URL of file as a proof and you do not want us to click on
it, why are you making it clickable?
I think that as a proof a simple text with URL would be enough.

Yours truly ...

[ Reply to This | # ]

Off Topic Here Please
Authored by: sproggit on Sunday, August 06 2006 @ 10:24 AM EDT
Please make all your links clickable...

[ Reply to This | # ]

Off Topic: JHC Capital sells SCOX
Authored by: stats_for_all on Sunday, August 06 2006 @ 10:34 AM EDT
RYTVX, the JHC Capital managed mutual fund, has posted its July 2007 month-end top ten. SCOX is no longer on the list. This means RYTVX has sold at least 160,000 shares of its SCOX holding between 7/3/06 and 7/31/06. As recently as 6/30/06 RYTVX held 382,500 shares.

JHC Capital is the investment advisory business of Jonathan Cohen. Cohen was an early and persistent supporter of SCOX. As the El Corton points out, "Three years ago, Cohen was actively touting SCOX on and in Business Week:"

...[S]ome think SCO, a provider of Unix-based software and owner of the license to distribute the Unix platform, will get a windfall from a $1 billion lawsuit it filed in March against IBM. ... Jonathan Cohen of JHC Capital Management, who is buying shares, says that even if SCO settles for just 10% of the $1 billion, "the impact on the bottom line of SCO, with a market cap of just $115 million, would be huge." Settlement or no, SCO is on track to generate earnings in fiscal 2004 (ending Oct. 31) of $13 million, or $1.30 a share, says Cohen, who sees SCO doubling in 12 months.
So urce: Gene Marcial, BusinessWeek Online, June 23, 2003

Possibly RYTVX did a complete sell out, but this information will not be available until the 9/30/06 holding lists are posted in December 2006. No information will ever be available on the fate of the approximately 147,000 shares Cohen held privately in September, 2005, as JHC Capital has ceased to be a reporting institution (below threshold value under management).

The RYTVX model I maintain began to significantly overrun the reported NAV on 7/10/06, though the discrepancy built up through the short trading but big volume week of 7/3-7/7. If the sell occured over some days in early July, Cohen exit price was between 3.00 and 2.50.

RYTVX has about $21.5MM under management, about 140,000 mutual shares (at about $6) were redeemed from the fund in July-- though those figures are guesswork from back fitting the top-ten numbers.

RYTVX bought into SCOX in a big way in the summer of 2003. It's 2003 year end annual reporting indicated its cost basis was above $11.00/share. It sold some shares in July 2004, (the private fund bought more). Cohen's RYTVX manager commentary has attributed the SCOX position to the savy street knowledge of his assistant, Dana Serman.

The Royce Micro-Cap fund which was home to a companion 493,000 shares in June 2006. This is a huge mutual fund, with the SCOX position near the very bottom in terms of value. It wont be until the December reporting period that the fate (if any) of these shares are known.

[ Reply to This | # ]

SCO Is Still “stuck on stupid”
Authored by: rsteinmetz70112 on Sunday, August 06 2006 @ 10:35 AM EDT
Lt. General Honore

Rsteinmetz - IANAL therefore my opinions are illegal.

"I could be wrong now, but I don't think so."
Randy Newman - The Title Theme from Monk

[ Reply to This | # ]

SCO Is Still Distributing ELF Under the GPL, Part 2.
Authored by: Anonymous on Sunday, August 06 2006 @ 10:45 AM EDT
So how long will it take for SCO to take this little gem off their FTP site? I
vote for Monday 09:30 a.m. EDT...

[ Reply to This | # ]

Almost Inevitable, I Suspect
Authored by: sproggit on Sunday, August 06 2006 @ 10:50 AM EDT
If we remember our history, TSG did have a brief, flirtatious period where the GPL was their friend, Linux was the best thing since sliced bread, and all was right with the world. It's probably not unfair to say, then, that during that time some of their more capable technicians and engineers [many of whom may have been running GNU/Linux environments at home] would have examined some of the GNU and/or GNU/Linux tools that are freely available.

What would they have found? Well, for one thing, they would have discovered that the GNU toolset consists of some of the best code available. Software that has been produced by gifted developers, peer-reviewed by the best in the business, and constantly polished for a good few years.

So is it any surprised to discover that a few of the more free-thinking TSG employees would have seen the benefit of adding GPL'd software to their portfolio? I suspect not. Of course, I also hope that such steps were taken in a manner that complies with the FSFs guidance on "linking" and "compiling" and that full disclosure was made, that source code was offered and that full copyright acknowledgements were maintained.

So now we have a situation where TSG developers - who may have been working on OpenServer and on Linux or GNU/Linux applications or libraries - had access to both code bases.

I have to wonder what the probability would be that a developer working on a particular piece of OpenServer logic might be tempted to go look to see how the GNU/Linux people solved similar problems. You may have seen or read a series of interviews that Greg Kroah-Hartman has been giving lately, in which he talks about the fact that Linux, for example, had support for USB 2.0 before anyone else.

This got me thinking. One of the hardest and most expensive exercises for an OS Developer has got to be hardware support. When you're a minority player [and, sorry, OpenServer is a minority player these days], it just might be that hardware manufacturers are less inclined to build drivers for your OS and release them with their product. So to encourage people to use your OS platform, you as the OS developer need to bundle driver support into your OS.

So lets think about this for a moment... Microsoft don't have to worry about driver support for their OS. They define the APIs and all the hardware suppliers scramble to comply. Microsoft abandoned OpenGL in favour of DirectX, all the sound and graphics card suppliers followed suit. So MS doesn't have a problem with drivers.

Can we say the same for OpenServer? For one thing it's an OS with a traditional unix architecture. Which means that hardware manufacturers have a challenge to write drivers in a significantly different way... Hmm... What other Operating Systems out in the world today are unix-based in nature, and have a truly vast amount of hardware supported out of the box. Much of that support contributed [and with contributions documented] by the hardware manufacturers themselves?

We'll never have an opportunity to see for ourselves [a future court case notwithstanding] if there has been any accidental cross-contamination of, for example, GPLd kernel driver code, contributed by a hardware supplier, into OpenServer or it's tools.

However, given the "proximity" of the two OS to eachother - back in the days when TSG had embraced Linux and participated in the UnitedLinux consortium - and given that there would have been developers contributing to both platforms within the same company - we have to consider that the probability of cross-contamination is no more or less likely than that within, say, IBM, or HP, or Intel, or anyone else. I wish I knew where and how to start, but out of curiosity it would be interesting to try and pull together two "hardware support" timelines, comparing the dates for which GNU/Linux announced or released support for new hardware and the dates for which OpenServer announced anything similar. I'd be really interested to see if there was a uniform lag time with OpenServer following the Linux kernel by days, weeks or months. Were that the case, and had I a legal part to play in this case, I think I might be tempted to try and get sight of some of that "TSG" code for some code comparisons of my own...

Of course, there is a very significant difference here. In the case of the GNU/Linux software stack, every single compiled object is available in source code form, free for anyone with the interest and time to go and review for themselves. In the case of OpenServer [or Windows or Solaris or any other closed-source OS] we have no way of knowing if the cross-contamination went the "other" way.

I wonder...

[ Reply to This | # ]

SCO Is Still Distributing ELF Under the GPL, Part 2.
Authored by: kozmcrae on Sunday, August 06 2006 @ 11:11 AM EDT
I think I know their plan.

SCO is trying to appear as cloddish, incompetent and foolish as possible so the
court (and the world I presume) will take pity and not come down on them like a
ton of bricks when their case evaporates into the mist.

File this under "nothing really useful to add"


Darl, have you been lying to us? I'm a frayed knot.

[ Reply to This | # ]

This copy will be more difficult to purge
Authored by: sk43 on Sunday, August 06 2006 @ 11:28 AM EDT
The Skunkware copy of binutils was something TSG inherited from Santa Cruz - TSG could conceivably pull its "we didn't know it was there" act, plus Skunkware was always a freebie collect of add-ons with no guarantees about anything. Deleting binutils from there would not be something they would have to defend to their customers.

However, the GNU development tools are advertised as being a part of the OpenServer 5.0.7 product ( link):

New GNU tools for developers, such as the GNU Compiler Collection (GCC), the GNU debugger, and other related tools such as GNU diff, wget, and CVS.
and their customers do rely on them. TSG created the package and did so after they had filed the IBM lawsuit. The tools included are not all from the GNU project nor do they all have GPL licenses. The included tools are:
  • autoconf-2.13
  • autoconf-2.57
  • autogen-5.5.3
  • automake-1. 4-p6
  • automake-1.7.6
  • bc-1.06
  • binutils-2.14
  • bison-1.875
  • coreut ils-5.0
  • cpio-2.5
  • cvs-1.11.6
  • diffutils-2.8.1
  • findutils-4.1
  • fl ex-2.5.4
  • gawk-3.1.3
  • gcc-2.95.3
  • gdb-5.3
  • gperf-3.0.1
  • grep-2.5. 1
  • groff-1.19
  • guile-1.6.4
  • indent-2.2.9
  • jwhois-3.2.2
  • libtool-1 .4.2
  • m4-1.4
  • make-3.80
  • patch-2.5.4
  • sed-4.0.7
  • sharutils-4.2.1
  • tar-1.13.25
  • tcltools-1.0
  • texinfo-4.5
  • units-1.80
  • wget-1.8.2

    TSG added a build file "OSDBUILD" to each directory, thus creating a "modified" version of each product.

    [ Reply to This | # ]

what is the point of this?
Authored by: Anonymous on Sunday, August 06 2006 @ 11:48 AM EDT
SCO has, without question, distributed this as part of Caldera OpenLinux. Why
are we hunting for bits and pieces here when there is no doubt whatever that
they distrubuted GPL code, including binutils and the kernel?

[ Reply to This | # ]

Corrections ?
Authored by: Anonymous on Sunday, August 06 2006 @ 11:49 AM EDT
I have one:

In the sentence: "Well, that's not so, obviously, In fact, SCO can't seem
to *stop* distributing it under the GPL."

I think, mostly because of the upper-case "In fact," that the comma
following "obviously," should probably be a period. This will
eliminate a comma-splice...

JR in WV

[ Reply to This | # ]

Santa Cruz Skunkworks
Authored by: arch_dude on Sunday, August 06 2006 @ 12:00 PM EDT
For me, the most important point is that binutils, with ELF, has been part of
the Skunkworks distribution since its inception at the Santa Cruz Operation,
well before Caldera Purchased the Santa Cruz Operation's UNIX business.

TSG claims that it's prior GPL actiona as Caldera don't count, because it was
not then the "owner" (?!) of UNIX, but after they bought the UNIX
business they discovered that they owned all this valuable IP, and now they need
to protect it. Yes, this argument is laughable, but it is their contention.
"The fact that we are still "inadvertently" distributing binutils
with ELF is an unfortunate oversight and thanks for bring it to our attention.
We will correct our error."

BUT-- Their predecessor in interest, Santa Cruz Operation, had already
deliberately released this information under the GPL at a time that TSG contends
Santa Cruz had whatever rights TSG now has. So now, TSG must assert that not
only did Darl and the Lindon crew do this by accident prior to and shortly after
the merger, but the inclusion of ELF in Shunkworks was an accident prior to the

By TSG's theory, they began taking corrective steps shortly after learning of
the problem, which was shortly after they purchased the UNIX business--a matter
of a few months at most. But Santa Cruz Operation owned the UNIX business for
many years, so any reasonable person can assume that they knew or should have
known that ELF was their property if in fact it was. Equitable estoppel

[ Reply to This | # ]

SCO Is Still Distributing ELF Under the GPL, Part 2.
Authored by: the_flatlander on Sunday, August 06 2006 @ 12:18 PM EDT
Or maybe it's true: you can't fix stupid.
Maybe you could fix greed-driven stupidity, but first the SCOundrels would have to give up the greed part, and I don't think Mr. Yarro, nor any of the rest of that sick, sorry crew are prepared to do that.

The Flatlander

I bet the SCOundrels' Summer just *flew* by... tell me again the final date for motions for summary judgements.

[ Reply to This | # ]

If Darl McBride was hired for his management skills
Authored by: kawabago on Sunday, August 06 2006 @ 01:12 PM EDT
I think this proves they paid too much! On the other hand, Darl has been fired
from every job he's ever had, so Caldera had to know what they were getting! I
wonder what will come out in court when Darl sues SCO for wrongful dismissal?

[ Reply to This | # ]

SCO Is Still Distributing ELF Under the GPL, Part 2.
Authored by: Anonymous on Sunday, August 06 2006 @ 01:31 PM EDT

My understanding was that SCO Unix's compiler was so dire that the only way the
OS could work was to use GCC. Which requires binutils and guess what: produces
ELF output executables).

I seriously doubt they could get SCO Unix to compile without GCC. Then there's
all that "we like Open Source" software that SCO ship: Samba, Apache,
Mozilla. How do they compile that?

They can't honestly pretend that they never knew that GCC was ELF based when run
on Unix.

[ Reply to This | # ]

SCO Is Still Distributing ELF Under the GPL, Part 2.
Authored by: fxbushman on Sunday, August 06 2006 @ 01:35 PM EDT
My fantasy is that SCOG plans to claim that since they are the *real* owner of
all this GPLed code they are distributing, regardless of the "thieves"
who contributed it to various open source projects, they have every right to
distribute it. Could this be their thinking? I'm just wondering. The only other
possiblity I can think of is that SCOG is totally confused and incompetent. For
example, why would they remove binutils from one site and leave it up at

[ Reply to This | # ]

not accidentally
Authored by: Anonymous on Sunday, August 06 2006 @ 02:31 PM EDT
For me the most interesting aspect is that they didn't distribute it once or
twice. They did distribute it that often that they still haven't not found all

It's a bit like easter eggs found many years later and one has to explain to the
kids why they aren't allowed to eat them anymore.


[ Reply to This | # ]

Maybe it is, but so?
Authored by: Arnold.the.Frog on Sunday, August 06 2006 @ 04:31 PM EDT

PJ, on this occasion you seem to be contradicting something which tSCOg isn't claiming. I've made this point before, and I haven't seen anyone reply to it yet. I don't see anything here about tSCOg not having distributed what they claim an interest in. What they say is that they have not placed it under the GNU GPL.

Observe that the effect of distribution under the GNU GPL is not (deliberately not) to sub-license anything. The grant of license is from the original copyright holder immediately to all who receive works under the GPL. The intention is clearly to pass forward the license intact and unmodified. The intermediate person drops out of the link: the original granter of the licence just continues granting it, but to someone else. The legal game of Twister by which tSCOg can drop out, pass on the (improper and legally void) licence to its customers, simultaneously replace the original (unauthorised) licensor with itself by mere supposition, and merely by implication perhaps unknown to itself re-constitute the licence on a proper legal footing, looks to me like the legal equivalent of an Enron financial instrument.

I don't see that the text of the GNU GPL shows an intention that a particular application of the GPL should acquire force and legitimacy retrospectively, even if originally applied without legal warrant, from passing through the hands of someone who could (but did not) have applied the GPL in the first place. I doubt much more whether a court would think this is a reasonable liability for re- distributing material received under purported freedom to re-distribute.

Has Caldera/tSCOg forfeited something by re-distribution? Very likely, but just what is it? Several contributors have in the past made what seemed to me unwise assumptions about what Caldera "knew", or "should reasonably have known". A lot comes down to who knew what: there may in fact have been no single person who knew that tSCOg claimed copyright interest in some code, knew also that a version of it was arriving as Linux-related source, and knew also that this was unauthorised. I certainly don't know, and I don't see that the other contributors know either.

tSCOg may well have forfeited the right to compensation from many to whom it gave colour of right to copy its own work. It may additionally have forfeited any claim against them (so they cannot, even in principle, be required to cease copying - though this goes much further). One thing which I don't see it has done is to put anything under the GPL.

I am aware that in saying this I am disagreeing with Eben Moglen. Mind you, Eben Moglen's argument, or what I've seen of it (I looked, I've read what I could find), is based entirely on a notion of strict liability. It's got nothing to do with what tSCOg knew or intended, but follows from the isolated wording by which exclusive copyright interests in GPLed code are explicitly forfeited by distribution.

As Dr. Moglen would have it, this is to operate independently of the copyright holder's intention. Moreover, it is quite disconnected from the process of attaching the GPL licence text to the source code, which is the ONLY way envisaged in the GPL by which anything comes to be under the GPL. That this amazing liability should result merely from re-distributing something which comes with a purported license to re-distribute seems to me no law at all. For once, Dr. Moglen sounds like a computer scientist who fancies himself a lawyer, rather than like a lawyer.

I can't see a court deciding anything of the kind. It might decide that the copyrights have actually been forfeited into the public domain. For it to decide that a third party has somehow successfully confused tSCOg into licensing material under the GPL without a specific intention to do so, while not actually impossible, is merely possible because judges too are liable to go mad.

[ Reply to This | # ]

The copyright on gnutools belongs to the Free Software Foundation
Authored by: Anonymous on Sunday, August 06 2006 @ 05:25 PM EDT
I can't remember ever having read something about that.
Where does that come from?
Or where can I find more information on that?

[ Reply to This | # ]

SCO Is Still Distributing ELF Under the GPL, Part 2.
Authored by: eggplant37 on Sunday, August 06 2006 @ 05:28 PM EDT
Sun Aug 6 17:24:00 EDT 2006

=> `gnutools-5.0.7Kj-SRC.tar.bz2'
Connecting to[]:21... connected.
Logging in as anonymous ... Logged in!
==> SYST ... done. ==> PWD ... done.
==> TYPE I ... done. ==> CWD /pub/openserver5/opensrc/source ... done.
==> PASV ... done. ==> RETR gnutools-5.0.7Kj-SRC.tar.bz2 ... done.
Length: 65,064,908 (unauthoritative)

100%[====================================>] 65,064,908 523.92K/s ETA

17:26:11 (513.49 KB/s) - `gnutools-5.0.7Kj-SRC.tar.bz2' saved [65,064,908]

Sun Aug 6 17:26:48 EDT 2006
ls -l gnutools-5.0.7Kj-SRC.tar.bz2
-rw-r--r-- 1 root root 65064908 Aug 6 17:26 gnutools-5.0.7Kj-SRC.tar.bz2
Sun Aug 6 17:26:55 EDT 2006

[ Reply to This | # ]

SCO Is Still Distributing ELF Under the GPL, Part 2.
Authored by: Anonymous on Sunday, August 06 2006 @ 05:59 PM EDT
Interesting part from the README at

Open Source
./opensrc - This directory provides source files in compliance with
the package authors license requirements. All changes made to the
source code to compile on OpenServer fall under the same license
as the original package.

[ Reply to This | # ]

Interesting logic to take further
Authored by: Anonymous on Sunday, August 06 2006 @ 07:17 PM EDT
So let me take this one step further. That could mean that when SCO compared
their code to Linux the methods and concepts in common could very well have been
as a direct result of their own developers and that the flow was from Linux to
Unix and not Unix to Linux. Hehehehehe

[ Reply to This | # ]

SCO Mgmt is so clueless...
Authored by: Anonymous on Sunday, August 06 2006 @ 07:45 PM EDT
...that I can see their argument already "Well, of course we are letting
people download it for free under the GPL. IBM already gave it all away to
everyone, therefore we are just providing a way for customers to get it from
'the' source."

[ Reply to This | # ]

First to file makes no difference
Authored by: Anonymous on Sunday, August 06 2006 @ 09:25 PM EDT
Look at the blackberry case. Even invalid patents can be used as the basis of
legalised extortion and turned into a cool 650 million. First-to-file vs
first-to-invent is just a sideshow compared to this. In point of fact nobody
apart from a few pencilheads even cares whether patents are useful or valid or
have been awarded to the right people or describe trivial irrelevancies or
whatever. The details are completely unimportant.

Patents are just excuses used to threaten someone with the cost of a lawsuit.
Unfortunately even totally worthless and useless patents make very plausible
threats. Patents are extortion licenses, and the patent office will happily
issue you with one regardless of any details of first-to-invent or first-to-file
so long as you file often enough, use obscure enough language and pay the
requisite fees.

[ Reply to This | # ]

Authored by: Anonymous on Sunday, August 06 2006 @ 10:56 PM EDT
- Will Darl realize that GPL'd code is too intertwined with his precious SCO
unix to ever remove?
- Will Darl realize that not only is it a waste of money to continue with
pretending to be software company, it's actually harmful to the lawsuit?
- Is someone inside SCO sneaking this ELF stuff onto the ftp sites to sink the

[ Reply to This | # ]

  • Answering - Authored by: Anonymous on Monday, August 07 2006 @ 07:40 AM EDT
What really surprises me is how easily SCO was blocked from the BPF claims
Authored by: skidrash on Sunday, August 06 2006 @ 10:57 PM EDT
but how tenaciously they're hanging on to the ELF claims, which are far, FAR
weaker than the BPF claims.

BPF - for those who don't remember, SCO claimed at SCOForum (August 2003 IIRC)
to own the Berkeley Packet Filter code in Linux, written by Jay Schulist from
descriptions in standards documents on how a packet filter's supposed to work,
with no reference to any other code.

As soon as the independent authorship of that code was pointed out, we stopped
hearing the SCO claims of ownership over it.

[ Reply to This | # ]

SCO and mainstream media
Authored by: blang on Monday, August 07 2006 @ 12:13 AM EDT
The problem with covering SCO vs IBM, is that it takes a lot of work just to get
up to spead.

In most things, a few hours research is all it takes to learn about an issue.
But in the case of SCO, there isn't any "authorative source".

The early coverage of SCO was based mostly on SCO's own statements to the press,
as well as a handfull analysts with a horse in the race of their own. IBM never
made public comments.

Since then, even though SCO is a tiny company, there has been a barrage of
events, in the lawsuit, in the company, financing events, change of ownership,
more lawsuits against other companies, plus fringe lawsuits like Merkey V Perens
and Wallace v FSF etc.

I think many reporters have simply given up on this case, since they've found
that almost anything they write about SCO turns out wrong. Also, they might not
be very patient, after more than 3 years.

Many wrote on Well's ruling, but even in that instance, many reporters got it
wrong, for example in the number of claims that were remaining, and what the
Neiman Marcus analogy meant. I am not even sure all reporters who wrote on that
story read all of Well's ruling, they might just have reworded what some other
reporter wrote.

This has been going on for so long, and with so many twists and turns.

Here are some possible guidelines for reporters writing about this case:

1. Spend several days, maybe weeks learning about the people involved, the
court's schedule, and get a timeline of events. For each event, also check other
media sources.

2. Read the entire motion, response, etc. for the event you are going to write

3. Get a lawyer to help interpret what is going on. Groklaw's analysis is
normally spot on for this purpose, but a good journalist would not depend on
just one source. And since this is all about litigation, a lawyer who is
following the case (or a darn good paralegal) would be a valuable source. Also,
get someone who can explain the tech details at issue. Preferrably someone with
a good enough big-picture grasp of things that can explain the issues to a
layman without getting it wrong. This is not easy. Many techies have a poor
grasp of the big picture. And thirdly, get someone who have analyzed SCOs'

4. Avoid the bad habits of many journalists today. Reporting should not be
punditry and opinion. Predictions, speculations, and opinions should be
appripriately phrased , so that they don't appear like statements of fact.

5. Before calling "an analyst" for an opinion, look at this analyst's
previous statements about the issue. Someone like Didio and Enderle, for reasons
of their own were very much gung ho for SCO earlier on. In the last story they
were called on, they had to admit SCO's goose very pretty much cooked. But
since their past record was so wrong, why would the reporter waste time asking
their opinion? Are they any more credible now, than they were before?

6. Avoid the 10-liner "digest", with a handful of expert quotes at the
end. Spend the time to get the story right, adn then you might have some more
useful questions to ask the experts as well.

7. Beware of agendas. If you have a grasp of the agendas you can ask the right
questions, and get answers (or non-answers) that will make your scoop.

[ Reply to This | # ]

Authored by: Jhimbo on Monday, August 07 2006 @ 02:14 AM EDT

# Jhimbo

[ Reply to This | # ]

Authored by: Anonymous on Monday, August 07 2006 @ 07:11 AM EDT
The article says "That url is for proof, not so you all download. The proof
is already accomplished."

Please explain how this can be? Surely a blogger makeing a link claiming
somethng bad's there in a blog can't be considered proof, can it? It feels an
awful like SCO pointing at Linux and saying something's bad there, doesn't it?

It would be nice if there were some actual proof - perhaps better to just tell
the IBM/Red Hat/Autozone/Novell/Chrysler lawyers instead - and they could
document it in a way that can be used in their cases? Or did you already do

[ Reply to This | # ]

  • Proof?!? - Authored by: Anonymous on Monday, August 07 2006 @ 07:45 AM EDT
Likely more distributed....
Authored by: kberrien on Monday, August 07 2006 @ 08:47 AM EDT
And you can sure bet, that if stuff like this is out there, all those infringing
examples that were not excluded from the case by Wells, IBM has example after
example like this.

Hell, they distributed the entire kernel up to, and after the lawsuit commenced.
Escoppel baby...

[ Reply to This | # ]

Isn't removine "links" the same as evidence spoilage?
Authored by: HockeyPuck on Monday, August 07 2006 @ 09:00 AM EDT
What is the difference in "deleting code" (as SCO has implied that IBM
was doing) and removing web links that obviously contradict what they have
charged against IBM in court? I would suspect they could play ignorance to some
degree. But they have claimed to "never" have distributed this and
that and as soon as Groklaw points out they are wrong; poof, it disappears.
Isn't that evidence spoilage? What's the difference?

[ Reply to This | # ]

SCO Is Still Distributing ELF Under the GPL, Part 2.
Authored by: chad on Monday, August 07 2006 @ 08:08 PM EDT
I have to ask myself this: if SCOfolk thought this case was ever going to make it to trial, would they be this careless?

Yes, I believe they really were that careless (or ignorant).

I've seen no evidence that Darl and his band of thieves did any meaningful research of the history of the various predecessor companies before launching their suit.

I think they fired off a nuisance suit fully expecting IBM to buy them out. They'd throw up enough smoke, IBM would give them (say) $50M for their whole company, IBM would be happy because they'd have clear ownership of all the IP and the band of thieves would cash in their stock and fade away.

The problem is that IBM reacted in a way inconceivable to Darl. They not only didn't do the expediant thing, but they took offense at all the nasty things SCO were saying about them. If a corporation can be angry, that would describe IBM. They're going to rub SCO's nose in the mess they made until they cry uncle.

[ Reply to This | # ]

You can't fix stupid
Authored by: dtfinch on Tuesday, August 08 2006 @ 12:05 AM EDT
That's my boss's favorite quote. She had us print it on a sign, intending to
hang it up in the office, but later changed her mind.

[ Reply to This | # ]

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