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The Missing Code Turns Up in Blepp's Suitcase in Germany. Say, what?
Tuesday, April 13 2004 @ 12:23 PM EDT

Well, no wonder SCO hasn't been able to present the missing million lines of infringing code in discovery. Gregory Blepp, their man in Germany, says he has it in his suitcase over there.

I am positive the court will be thrilled to learn that no extension beyond April 19 will be necessary. Proof of a million to a million and a half of lines of infringing code, he says. Why haven't they put it on the table for everyone to see? American courts move slowly, he says. You don't put all your cards on the table right away.

That's if my computer's German was up to the task. Here is a computer translation into English. But could a German-speaking reader step up to the plate and send me or post a translation of the following, please?

"'Ich habe Beweise hier in dem Koffer', sagt Gregory Blepp, Vizeprädident von SCO und zuständig für das Lizenzgeschäft. Doch bevor der redselige Manager den Koffer öffnet, dessen Inhalt Millionen-, wenn nicht gar Milliardeneinnahmen verspricht, doziert er erst einmal 90 Minuten zum Thema SCO. Fragen braucht man ihm eigentlich keine zu stellen - er kennt sie alle aus dem Effeff.

"'Von den rund fünf Millionen Zeilen im Linux-Quellcode sind zwischen einer und 1,5 Millionen betroffen', sagt Blepp. Und dafür will SCO jetzt Geld sehen: 699 Dollar pro Linux-Server und 199 Dollar pro Desktop-PC - so lauten seine Preisvorstellungen. 'Privatleute, Schulen, Universitäten müssen natürlich nicht zahlen - nichtkommerzielle Nutzung soll kostenlos bleiben', betont der Manager. Selbstverständlich seien bei großen Firmen mit Hunderten oder Tausenden Linuxsystemen Rabatte möglich . . . .

"Blepp erklärt dies mit der besonderen Strategie bei Rechtsstreitigkeiten in den USA. 'Dort legt man nicht von Anfang an alles auf den Tisch, sondern bringt Argumente und Beweise nach und nach.'"

My computer translates it more or less laughably like this:

"'I have proofs here in the suit-case', say Gregory Blepp, Vice President of SCO and responsible for the license business. But before the talk-blessed manager opens the suit-case, whose contents of millions -- if does not even promise billion -- incomes, doziert it only once 90 minutes to the topic SCO. Questions needs to actually place one to it none - he knows her all from the Effeff.

"'Von that approximately five million lines in the Linux source code is concerned between an 1.5 million', says Blepp. And but SCO wants to see cash now: 699 dollar per Linux servers and 199 dollar per Desktop PC - in such a way its price conceptions read. 'Private individuals, schools, universities must not pay naturally - noncommercial use is to remain free', stresses the manager. Of course Linuxsystemen of discounts are possible at large companies with hundreds or thousands. . . .

"Blepp explains this with the special strategy with law cases in the USA. 'there one puts not from the outset everything on the desk, but brings arguments and proofs gradually.'"

Well, well, SCO wants to see cash now. I'm sure the computer got that part right. I'm guessing that Judges Wells and Kimball will be fascinated to learn this American custom of not showing in discovery everything you have in hand. I'm thinking IBM might be a tad interested as well to learn that SCO's pokiness has been a strategy, a gradual striptease, if you will, not because they couldn't find the code.

There is more. He says it was an ex-Microsoft manager who got them the money. And he says it was just a tactical decision not to fight the German provisional order before, but he plans on beginning negotiations in Germany shortly, after they do something about that order.

The article asks: "Can one believe this man? Or does simply only refined bluffer behind SCO, which wants to turn disconcerted enterprises doubtful drain letters, stand?" You said it, bub.

Who knew? In a suitcase. In Germany, where, last I heard, SCO was told not to talk like this.

UPDATE: A reader provides us with this translation:

"'I have proof right here in my suitcase,' says Gregory Blepp, Vice President of SCO and responsible for the licensing business. But before the talkative manager opens this case, whose content will result in millions or up to billions of profit, he gives a 90-minute lecture on SCO. You don't need to ask questions - he knows them all.

"'Out of the five millions lines of the Linux source code there are about 1 up to 1.5 million lines affected,' says Blepp. And now SCO wants to see money for that: $699 per Linux server and $199 per Desktop-PC - these are his price requests. 'Private users, schools, universities won't have to pay - noncommercial usage shall remain free as in beer", the manager emphasizes. Of course, there is a possibility for a discount for companies with hundreds or thousands of Linux installations.

"Blepp explains this with the special strategy in court cases in the USA. 'You don't show all your stuff at once at the beginning but rather step by step'."

Our translator says I have missed some goodies in the German text. I also didn't mention there is a picture of Blepp you can print out for your bedroom wall. No? You're right. It's probably copyrighted. You don't want to go to jail, you pirates. Here's what I missed:

"'Dann öffnet Blepp den Koffer und zeigt einige Seiten aus dem Linux-Programmiercode. "Die rot markierten Zeilen wurden eins zu eins aus Unix übernommen, blaue Schrift zeigt erforderliche Anpassungen von Unix zu Linux", erklärt er. Auf der ersten Seite findet sich keine einzige rote Zeile, auf den folgenden Seiten dominieren dann Rot und Blau. Beim gezeigten Code-Ausschnitt handelt es sich nach Blepps Angaben um eine Funktion zur Speicherverwaltung in Linux.'

"Then Blepp opens the case and shows some pages from the Linux source code. 'The red marked lines were copied 1:1 out of UNIX, the blue color means that there were some necessary adjustments from UNIX to Linux,' he explains. On the first page there is not a single red line, on the following pages there is red and lbue dominating. According to Blepp, the shown code snipplet is taken from a function for memory management in Linux."


"SCO hat sein Schicksal jedenfalls fest an den Streit um kopierte Programmzeilen gekettet. 'Wenn wir verlieren, dann könnte es für unser Stammgeschäft und damit für uns als Firma eng werden', sagt Blepp. 'Wenn wir gewinnen, dann wird das Auswirkungen auf unsere Bilanz haben - positive.'"

"SCO has bound its fate tightly to the controversy over copied lines of code. 'If we lose, it will be hard for our root business and for us as a company,' says Blepp. 'If we win, this will affect our business' balance sheet -- positively'."


"'Wir haben bei Microsoft angefragt, ob sie sich bei uns engagieren wollen. Sie wollten nicht, brachten uns aber mit einem ehemaligen Manager zusammen, der uns Kontakte zu neuen Geldgebern vermittelte.'"

"'We asked Microsoft to get involved with us. They refused but relayed us to an ex-manager who arranged contacts to others with deep pockets.'"

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