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The FUD Is Mighty Thick Today
Monday, March 01 2004 @ 07:27 AM EST

Sigh. FUD to the right of me. FUD to the left. Where to begin?

First, though, before I wade through it, Red Hat has filed a response to SCO's opposition to their request to supplement the record, and we should have it later today.

Now to this morning's FUD.

Blake Stowell has a "poor-SCO" interview, in which he deplores the "extremist" element that no one has yet provided proof exists:

"One thing that has been disappointing, though, is the virulent and personal attacks against SCO from some people in the open-source community. We're a company defending one of our core business assets, and we're doing this through the courts, as the legal system requires. We should not be subjected to personal insults, physical threats, DDoS attacks and all the other things.

"Even reporters who write stories that are not anti-SCO are subjected to tremendous pressure and attacks. It's troubling that for a community founded on principles of cooperation and openness, there's this element that is so rigid and violent."
Don't tell me the Three Musketeers of FUD, DiDio, Enderle, and Lyons, are going to be trotted out again. "Disappointing," my foot. This is an antiLinux propaganda campaign, and SCO's strategy absolutely depends on it.

LinuxInsider, whoever they are, goes along with the charade, which is a very big giveaway that while they may be insiders, they aren't likely *Linux* insiders. I had never heard of them. SCO's is a campaign of defamation in the press, not in the courts, despite Stowell's sanctimonious hypocrisy. If SCO would stop their defamatory PR, they might have a moral leg to stand on. This interview is a verbal attack on the Linux community. If you attack someone's mom, it doesn't matter that you used a polite tone of voice.

He offers to help the community out in the future, though, and seems to envision some kind of partnership:

"Open source will probably be around for a very long time to come, and I'm sure SCO will continue to participate in and benefit from open-source software. One way the company might continue to work with and help open source is in putting some mechanisms in place to assure that proprietary software doesn't make its way into open source. I'm sure this will continue to be a concern among open-source developers going into the future."
Thanks, but no thanks. If that is SCO's dream, they'd best wake up and smell the coffee. It may prove difficult to "benefit from open source software" without the good will and cooperation of the community. It might be wise to make another plan and try to rip benefits from some other community. Stowell says he's at peace representing SCO as their PR person:
"As long as I can go home at night and know that I was honest with the media, I was respectful of another's point of view and tried to not burn any bridges, I think that I can feel very at peace."
Honest with the media? Respectful of another's point of view? While in the same interview he defames the community? I've got news for Mr. Stowell. Any bridges to the Linux community fell down long ago.

Just after I wrote this, the respectful Mr. Stowell is found respectfully saying this about Groklaw and me:

Blake Stowell, the company's director of public relations, says: "I think the unfortunate thing about Groklaw is that many people reference the site as a supposed 'credible resource' and take a lot of what is posted there as the absolute truth. I find that there is so much misinformation on Groklaw that is misconstrued and twisted that it's probably one step above a lot of the ranting and dribble that takes place on Slashdot.". . .

It may be that kind of intransigence that leads SCO's Blake Stowell to hint at darker motives. "Doesn't anyone find it the least bit ironic," he asks, 'that Pamela Jones lives ... less than 10 miles from IBM's worldwide headquarters, and that Groklaw is hosted, free, by a nonprofit outfit called iBiblio, which runs on $250,000 worth of Linux-based computers donated by IBM and a $2 million donation from a foundation set up by Robert Young, founder of Red Hat?"

"Call me crazy," adds Stowell, "but I somehow think that Pamela Jones isn't just a paralegal with nothing better to do with her life than host a Web site called Groklaw that is dedicated to bashing SCO. I think there is a lot more to her background and intentions than she is willing to reveal publicly. I believe that Big Blue looms large behind Pamela Jones."
It is tempting to call him crazy, given the kind invitation, but I think he has no such excuse. And Linux"Insider"? This is yet another Linux"Insider" article giving Stowell a soapbox from which to attack the Linux community, and by the way, nobody at Linux"Insider" bothered to contact me to find out if what they were about to print was true or to give me an opportunity to respond.

Details, details. When FUD is your aim, you don't need sources outside of SCO. That is not responsible journalism.

Happily, I have my own endless ink, so to speak, so I can print the truth on Groklaw. That is what Groklaw is for. To tell the truth. So, for those who might actually care, I don't have any connection to IBM. I have never worked for them. I have never even been inside an IBM building. They haven't given me any financial support of any kind.

Groklaw, I'm very proud to say, is hosted by Ibiblio, along with about a 1,000 other sites, including the world-renowned Project Gutenberg, which I'm sure you'll agree is well-known to be just a patsy for IBM. After all, if IBM gave some equipment to Ibiblio, and PG is hosted by PG, wink wink. Get it? It's hard for them to maintain the long-distance relationship, because PG is in Illinois, but maybe IBM has an office there or something equally suspicious. Or maybe one of them commutes to maintain the secret affair.

I live within ten miles of a Mobil station, actually. Now *that* is sinister. Maybe I'm a shill for Big Oil. It's David Boies who I believe lives on IBM's doorstep. Hmm. If we were going to decide affiliations by locale, what would that indicate?

They think I live where a previous hatchet job article in the media said I lived. That journalist based his conclusion on a P.O. Box address I deliberately opened where I don't live, back when I first bought the domain name. I didn't want my actual address known, so weirdo folks wouldn't show up at my door.

When the reporter, Dan Lyons, asked me where I lived, I said I'd rather he not print anything about that, because I was kind of frightened about suddenly becoming well-known, and I was worried about being stalked, because of some email I had received. I thought he agreed. I made the same request to Bob Mims of the Salt Lake Tribune, and he honored my request.

When Lyons' attack on Groklaw was printed, to my disgust, I saw he'd printed what he thought was my residence. It wasn't, but he thought it was. I thought it was one of the cruelest and most hard-hearted things I had ever witnessed in my life. I simply had never before known anyone personally who would do something so callously vicious. I didn't know anyone who would endanger someone just for a "scoop". McBride complained because someone on Slashdot posted his address and home phone, which by the way were already on the internet, publicly available. If I recall correctly, at Harvard, he called it a form of cyberterrorism. What is the difference? Are they not doing the same thing to me?

Lyons spent almost two months trying to find a financial connection between me and IBM, and he failed. He failed because there isn't any, so he used innuendo instead to hint at what he knew was not true. SCO talks about being attacked? Needing bodyguards? Look what they are doing to me, and then judge for yourself who is most at risk. They should be ashamed. How do they pray at night? I believe they claim to be devout. Somebody in their church needs to sit them down and explain the Golden Rule. SCO's Mr. Stowell needs to acknowledge that what he said is not true and apologize. Frankly, I think they should pay to relocate me. And LinuxInsider needs to print a retraction, making it clear that they were mistaken about my having any ties to IBM. As for SCO's immoral attacks, and that of others, I leave that to God and to history. But one thing is for sure, if anything bad happens to me, you will know who is responsible.

Then there is an editorial in the Washington Times, where Gene Schaerr scolds us for not understanding how well the Microsoft antitrust settlement is working:

Sometimes people simply refuse to see the light. . . .As it waits for an appellate ruling, this anti-Microsoft cabal is arguing that the company is shirking its responsibilities and the settlement is proving completely ineffectual. If only they would take off their blinders, they would see that this case has drastically changed the industry and that competition is healthy.

From the beginning, it was clear to virtually everyone that the settlement was in the best interests of the industry, the economy and consumers. The agreement removed the cloud of government regulation that had been hanging over the entire industry and sent the message that it was time to focus on innovation and competition, instead of regulation. . . .

The evidence is clear and irrefutable: Microsoft is living up to its obligations, and competition is thriving throughout the software industry. The mythologies on which the anti-Microsoft cabal bases its cries for more regulation of Microsoft have been shattered. It is time for it to step back and watch innovation, competition and growth take over.
Well, say. Speaking of verbal abuse, y'all. At the risk of being further scorned by Mr. Schaerr as an irrational dope who doesn't yet accept that the earth revolves around the sun, or a member of a cabal (say, that can't be good, right?) I might just ask, who is Gene Schaerr that he is so hot about critics of Microsoft? The Post says he is antitrust counsel to the Association for Competitive Technology.

That sounds innocuous. Let's just see if we can find a Microsoft connection, though. ACT is -- I'll let them tell you themselves:

The Association for Competitive Technology (ACT) is a national education and advocacy group for the technology industry. Focusing on the interests of small and mid-size entrepreneurial technology companies, ACT advocates for a "Healthy Tech Environment" that promotes innovation, competition and investment. ACT has been active on issues such as intellectual property, international trade, e-commerce, privacy, tax policy and antitrust.

ACT represents nearly 3000 software developers, systems integrators, IT consulting and training firms, and e-businesses from across the country. While ACT members include some household names like eBay, Orbitz and Microsoft, our members are primarily small and mid-size companies.
There they are. It's like looking for NINA in an Al Hirschfeld drawing. You just know it's in there somewhere. You might enjoy a cartoon on how well the agreement is working out in changing Microsoft's behavior.

Speaking of Microsoft turning up in the background, SCO's new licensee, an ISP nobody ever heard of, can be found on Microsoft's website, held up as a case study, dated September 2003, of a company that thought they wanted to go to Linux and then switched back:

EV1Servers.net Leading Hosted Service Provider Deploys Windows-based Hosting Solutions Faster than Linux-based Solutions

Business managers at EV1 Servers.net knew that there was a demand for a Microsoft Windows-based hosted service offering, but they did not think they could deploy Windows-based servers with the same speed or level of automation that they had achieved in their deployment of their traditional Linux-based systems. Yet with the introduction of the Microsoft Solution for Windows-based Hosting 2.0, which can take advantage of Automated Deployment Services (ADS)—a powerful new server purposing tool in Microsoft Windows Server 2003 Enterprise Edition—EV1 Servers.net is finding that it can deploy a Windows-based hosting service in less than half the time it takes to deploy a similarly configured Linux system. And they can do it with much less hands-on involvement than their Linux deployments demand.
So they need a SCO IP license to run Microsoft "solutions"? Or is this another Microsoft solution for SCO? EV1's customers aren't so happy. [Update: As of June 2011, the link no longer resolves, Internet Archive doesn't have it, and a search for SCO Group on the site today provides only this comment from that date. The rest seems to have disappeared.]

Most of the other headlines are about SCO adding copyright claims and raising the damages figure as a result. "The amount is starting to become breathtaking,' said John Ferrell, an intellectual property attorney at law firm Carr & Ferrell, referring to the damages SCO and its attorney, David Boies, are seeking," reads one article. However, what they don't seem to figure in the math is that SCO just dropped their trade secret claims, right? And that was the basis for "terminating" the AIX license, right? And they were asking for triple damages on the trade secret stuff, right? So wouldn't you need to reduce the amount of damages to account for that dropped claim? I know it doesn't make as exciting a headline, but it would be more accurate. It's all Monopoly money anyway, unless someone can explain a rational basis for those astronomical figures.

If you go by what they wrote in their first complaint, they asked for damages for violations of trade secrets in an amount to be proven at trial, punitive damages and specifically for exemplary damages under Utah Code Ann. Section 13-24-1 "in an amount equal to twice the award under the First Cause of Action for misappropriation of trade secrets". So a fair amount of the original damages figure was for the trade secrets misappropriation.

Note that the termination of the AIX license by SCO was founded on their trade secret claim, and their copyright claims are all about the AIX code and only for use since the termination (which Novell says they have overrruled anyway), so conceivably dropping the trade secrets claim could impact on their ability to terminate the license and hence collect anything for infringement. Here's what they said justified "terminating" the AIX license:

35. Notwithstanding these provisions, IBM has subjected SCO’s UNIX trade secrets to unrestricted disclosure, unauthorized transfer and disposition, unauthorized use, and has otherwise encouraged others in the Linux development community to do the same. SCO, therefore, has terminated IBM’s license to use UNIX-based software products. (See letter dated March 6, 2003, attached hereto and incorporated herein as Exhibit E).
So, my math says, if they had no justification for terminating, or if Novell voided the termination anyhow, and the copyright infringement can only be for any "infringement" post termination, that adds up to, let's see, carry the zero... why, I get zero. Is that what you get?

UPDATE: A Groklaw reader, rjamestaylor, has found some info on the author of the article about Groklaw. You can read a couple of other articles he has written. Here he quotes a Ms. DiDio at length and then a Microsoft partner who paints an even rosier picture for Microsoft compared to Linux than she does. And here he quotes the same Microsoft partner, this time to minimize the effect of a study that showed Apache as having 67% of the server market. And here's a bio (at least it appears to be the same person):

Print-oriented work has included writing and/or photography for, Computerworld and other IDG publications (both print and online), Communique magazine (Microsoft Australia), TechNewsWorld.com, Compaq Computer Australia (now H-P), Digital Media World magazine, Fujitsu Australia, Amdahl Corporation., American Forests magazine and many more.
Did you spot NINA in the drawing? Yes, not only Microsoft but DiDio too.

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