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Red Hat Adds a New Lawyer, SCO's Stock Sinks To New Low, and an Award for FUD
Tuesday, May 18 2004 @ 11:51 AM EDT

Red Hat has hired a new lawyer, Michael Cunningham, specifically to handle the obvious attacks being launched against it. He will also be reviewing legal protections for Red Hat customers, such as indemnification. He was at IBM and here is how he talks:

"'Red Hat will deal with those who seek to slow the momentum of open source,' Cunningham said. 'With a disruptive and transformative way of collaborating like open source, it seems pretty clear that the entrenched interests challenged by it will almost assuredly try to cast aspersions on it and inject fear and uncertainty into the minds of those who embrace it.'"

Sounds like Red Hat has figured out the Sun-Microsoft detente has a goal. I am very glad if they have more firepower, because it seems like every time Sun's Jonathan Schwartz opens his mouth these days, he says something against Red Hat, so the plan was not hard to spot, particularly because he never mentioned SuSE or Mandrake or any of the others. Red Hat is out front, so "those who seek to slow the momentum of open source" have decided to attack it.

I suggest those forces might like to take a look at SCO's current stock price.

This stock, which the amusing Brian Skiba targeted at $45, started at a closing price of $2.21 on March 6, 2003, the day SCO sued IBM, and that price was up from the day before. It kept going up, up, up for months, with the Yahoo board full of "To the Moon" pronouncements. Recently, it began a descent, and yesterday it closed at $4.81, the lowest figure since May 16, 2003, a year ago, as you can see for yourself by looking at all the pages listed.

Meanwhile, yesterday Red Hat closed at $24.96. And the other SCO legal victims? How are they doing? Well, they are all doing better than SCO. IBM closed at $85.53. Novell closed at $10.18, DaimlerChrysler at $41.95, and AutoZone at $83.06. There is a moral to the story, and it is the opposite of what BayStar advises, namely offer people something they want to buy and provide good services. Then you will make steady money.

Something else happened yesterday. SCO put out a press release informing the world that it was named to the SD Times 100. The headline said, "SD Times 100 Recognizes Leaders and Influencers of the Software Development Industry," and this sentence in the first paragraph told us what they said the award was for: "SCO was recognized for its influence in software development as owners of the UNIX Operating System."

Naturally, that piqued my interest, since I don't believe they necessarily are the "owners" of the UNIX Operating System (the Open Group owns the trademark, for starters, and Novell is challenging their ownership, for another) and because I wasn't aware of any leadership in software development by this company that seemed to me to have simply bought some rights in Unix, yet to be quantified, and then mostly used the software for litigation purposes. I also noticed something odd. There was no link to SD Times, despite a glowing quotation from an SD Times spokesman about their winnowing process, and that made me suspicious. Here is the quotation:

"'Each year, the editors of BZ Media's SD Times 100 look for companies and influencers which set the technical and market leadership for the software development industry,' said Alan Zeichick, editor-in-chief of SD Times. 'When choosing the 2004 SD Times 100, we carefully considered each organization's offerings and reputation with developers, as well as the attention and conversation we've heard around the company and its products and technologies, as a sign of leadership within the industry.'"

SCO? Leadership in the industry? The industry BayStar says they should quit? A little digging on the wonderful Internet, which was developed by open source folks, by the way, and what do we find? That the press release didn't tell us the whole story. The SD Times awards are here, where you find "the Best of the Best". Here is their description of what SCO was so good at:

"The company’s legal assaults on IBM and Linux users dominated 2003’s tech headlines and shook up the open-source community. No other IT topic inspires such fervent debate, fear, uncertainty and doubt."

I didn't know they gave awards for FUD.

And indeed SD Times created a brand new category, Influencers, this year. By the way, they beat out the Apache Software Foundation and the Eclipse Foundation, the Java Community Process, OSDL, O'Reilly Media, OASIS, Web Services Interoperability Organization, Paul Sarbanes and Michael Oxley, and W3C, who are no doubt relieved it's over and they can get out of a category that has SCO in it. SCO is a better influencer than W3C and Apache. Using what ruler?

You know what they say, though. It's an honor just to be nominated.

A few jokes around the water cooler, so to speak, at Apache today, I'm thinking.

Meanwhile, a little more looking and it turns out companies can nominate themselves, to boot, though they don't have to, and I'm informed by SD Times' Zeichick that SCO didn't nominate itself. I had been thinking maybe SCO sent them their notebooks of press clippings. They have to be good for something.

It's the dishonest press release that sticks in one's memory like a bad smell, though, not the humor.

I was curious as to whose idea it was to come up with an award for FUD, and I did contact Mr. Zeichick, asking if that really was their intention, but there was no response.

UPDATE: I have since heard from Mr. Zeichick, who offered some corrections, which I have incorporated, and who says this:

"Actually, SCO did not nominate themselves, as I mentioned earlier. They were nominated by one of the judges; to the best of my knowledge, we had no contact from or with SCO regarding the SD Times 100 until I notified them that they won. (I did tell them the exact phrasing that was included in the award citation; they chose not to use it in their release.)

"Note that the rules page for the award (see states, 'It is not required that companies and organizations self-nominate in order to be considered for the 2004 SD Times 100.' And indeed, about half or more than half of the winners were nominated by our judges, and not by the vendor.

"That press release you linked to, by the way, was for the previous year's awards, where companies were indeed INVITED to nominate themselves, but that was never required, even for our first year's awards. Quite a few companies who won in 2003 were nominated by the judges."

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