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Ev1 Laments and News From Germany
Monday, March 22 2004 @ 01:36 PM EST

Dion Cornett has news about EV1. It seems it doesn't pay to take a license. Their customers are voting with their feet. He writes in Decatur Jones' "Open Source Wall Street" newsletter (which has as part of its logo the words "Truth, Insight, & the Open Source Way for Investors") that the perception is likely to be that taking a SCO license is "bad for business::

"In an interview, this past week, EV1 CEO Robert Marsh stated that he was surprised by the reaction to his purchase of SCOXís Linux IP license. A survey of EV1ís customers conducted on EV1ís web site suggests that 85% disapprove of the action. Worse yet for EV1, it appears that a number of customers are voting with their feet as, according to Netcraft, over 1000 web sites have defected from EV1 to a competitor in the past month, most after the SCO deal was announced. One competitive provider we spoke to claimed and all-time record week for new bookings driven by EV1 defections. Regardless of the final damage to EV1, the resulting perception is likely to be that licensing Linux from SCOX is bad for business. Thus we remain skeptical of SCOXís ability to close SCOSource licenses ahead of a legal victory. Combining this with an aggressive, and thus costly, legal strategy, our outlook for SCOX remains negative even after the stock has been cut in half since the beginning of the year."


There is some news from Germany, too. Gregory Blepp, who left SuSE to do SCO's bidding instead, has given an interview in which he says that he is working hard to try to get things turned around in Germany, so SCO can sue people there too. It's in German, and if you translate only with a computer, you might get the idea that he is the new Chairman of the dmmv, the Microsoft-oriented German software industry lobbying group. He is not.

As you'll recall, SCO joined the dmmv after the preliminary injunction against it, so it could "inform" the industry privately, since it was barred from doing so publicly. However, Groklaw has many readers in Germany and benefits from being a member of an international community, so I asked several if the translation meant that he has the chairmanship. He does not.

He was made chairman of a study group, or "Fachgruppe", and he gave a speech recently to report on his study of the state of the industry, and he basically said that proprietary and free/open source software should co-exist. Of course, he couldn't speak about Linux and SCO, because of the Univention settlement in which they promised not to or be fined. There are many such study groups, because the dmmv has anindependent department for every important lobbying issue, ranging fromdigital rights management to software patents. According to Heise, 25% of the dmmv's 1,000 members are part of the FachgruppeSoftwareindustrie, the one Blepp heads up. The officers of the DMMV are here. Apparently, his task was to study the current state of the industry in Germany. Heise has a better article than the FUD piece in the Financial Times, whose editors need to read Groklaw. Here is what Blepp said in his speech in part:

"In the press conference to the specialized group software industry in the German Multimedia Federation (dmmv), Gregory Blepppleaded as new chairmen for discussions around Open Source without all the emotions. The vice-president SCOsource within the SCO Group reportedon the status of the German software industry, which pursues the debate on precisely this. . . . 'Both business models will coexist in the future', summarized Blepp."

Blepp sees a need for OSS to cooperate with the traditional software industry, according to the speech. I think he's got that backwards. He sees a role for OSS especially in small to medium businesses. So, the light dawns. Too late for SCO to benefit from that realization, I think. By the way, I'm told that the German IT landscape is defined by small and medium-sized businesses.

Here's one reason why he may have reached the conclusion he did. In his study, participants in the survey were asked what operating system they used. 85% of the members of this lobbying group said they used Microsoft products. Only 5% used Linux. 46% of the responders said their business was declining. The group is also supported by Microsoft money. You'll find that info on their website. At the bottom of the page is the MS logo and a link to, with the words, "sponsored, powered and supported by".

What is significant in the Financial Times report, though, is that SCO is still trying to make moves in Germany. They only have a week to turn things around. As you may recall, they were given 30 days in the Univention settlement to provide proof of their copyright claims or they'd have to give up the copyright-related threats. I believe more FUD may be expected in German this week, therefore.

At computer expo CeBIT, Blepp spoke at a press conference and declared that in the future, the Software Branch would focus more on business models for Open Source. SCO GmbH had announced Blepp would be talking about the need for IP licenses, but dmmv responded with a statement that this was incorrect and that Blepp would merely be speaking about the software market in Germany.

The article in Heise indicates Blepp's assignment caused some controversy, with some dmmv members openly expressing they weren't happy about the choice, and that his appointment was the result of support from dmmv's Vice President, Rudolf Gallist, who headed Microsoft GmbH from 1991 until 2000.

I wish to thank everyone who contributed to this report, especially JeR, Tobias Weisserth, and doughnuts_lover. It's so good to have resources, so we are not left to rumors and computer translations. Of all the computer translations I looked at today, here is my favorite:

"Thus George Haff, analyst criticized the connection at the company Illuminata: 'In view of the fact that Microsoft is acondemned monopolist and on the other hand the internal messages andfinancial transactions of SCO look ever doubtful, Microsoft should bereally anxious that to the own company something does not remainsticking from the Gestank of the SCO.'"

Words to live by. Words to live by. Beware the Gestank of the SCO, Microsoft. The dmmv might want to pick their steps carefully around it too.

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