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What Court Cases Are Good For -- The World According to SCO
Wednesday, July 14 2004 @ 09:46 AM EDT

You might find it interesting to read how SCO is spinning the August 4th hearing, according to Dion Cornett's July 12th "Open Source Wall Street". I've emphasized it in red:

"We Believe SCOX is still not among the bargains to be had

". . . Also SCOX, in a series of media and investor calls relayed to us third-hand, claimed that its filing last week arguing against IBM’s . . . copyright assertions could lead to a substantial legal victory at a scheduled August 4 hearing, drive additional end-user licensing, and boost its stock price. Given our long-term outlook, we maintain that the safer way to play such a move is to sell shares after a rally. In our view, SCOX’s recent filing provides little new information to substantiate claims of copyright infringement by still focusing on libraries and derivative works definitions, and we believe that potential SCOSource licensees desire greater specificity after 18 months of what one IT manager called SCOX’s 'crying wolf.' We believe that the more interesting filing last week was RHAT’s dissection of SCOX’s apparently contradictory statements in various litigation. Specifically, RHAT points out that SCOX requested a stay in RHAT’s copyright case pending resolution of the IBM lawsuit, but, though it is requesting a stay of copyright claims in the IBM case as well, it is arguing against Autozone’s (AZO: not rated) request for a stay by stating that the IBM lawsuit is a contract, not copyright, dispute. SCOX’s reluctance to litigate copyright claims against IBM, NOVL and RHAT, developers and distributors of Linux, while making such claims to the IT community as a whole seems inconsistent with the expected actions of a confident copyright holder."

That explains why they were pushing this particular document to journalists and putting it up on their web site. Of course, the media dutifully reported SCO's story. Did they know the purpose was to push SCO's stock and drive license sales?

I would suggest that anyone wishing to understand what the August 4th hearing means ask a lawyer or read what they've written. That's what I did. What I've understood is that if IBM loses its summary judgment request, it doesn't mean that it loses. It means it just didn't win that point this fast in the process. Conversely, if IBM wins its summary judgment, it seems to be curtains for SCO in the AutoZone case and pretty much any end user lawsuit claiming copyright infringement with respect to Linux. (I doubt SCO is pushing that part of the story.) AutoZone's lawyer told the judge that at the recent hearing. SCO then talked about static shared libraries and how the AutoZone case is not necessarily about anything inside Linux, etc., so no one can guarantee SCO won't sue you for some esoteric non-Linux something or other. When SCO talks, I evaluate, collect information, compare. That's so I don't get caught in the spin cycle.

Cornett also writes about the Mozilla security issue that made headlines, for one day, and makes an interesting comparison:

"Mozilla flaw fixed in a day, IE vulnerability at one year and counting

"Over the past few weeks, numerous security experts, including the US Computer Emergency Readiness Team (US-CERT), through the Department of Homeland Security, has recommend that users stop using MSFT’s Internet Explorer (IE) browser due to a lingering security vulnerability. Incidentally, CERT also suggests that just using a different browser may not fix the problem, since IE routines may still be used by other programs such as Outlook, leaving any Windows PC vulnerable to some extent. The issue was exacerbated last week when a MSFT patch design to fix the vulnerability, released the prior week, was found to be ineffective. By contrast, a vulnerability related to Mozilla running on Windows was both identified and corrected in a single day last week. The Mozilla flaw was related to Windows and was not an issue on systems running Apple’s . . . Mac OS or Linux. In North America, feedback suggests that security issues such as these are one of the primary reasons why normally risk-averse CFO’s may free up budgets for Open Source software to migrate away from Windows."

Looking at that same comparison, eWeek's Steven Vaughan-Nichols has a suggestion:

"What I find especially funny about this, though, is that the problem really wasn't with Mozilla in the first place. Mozilla simply revealed an XP hole—that Web pages could invoke the 'shell:' program, which in turn would let a cracker run pretty much any program they wanted. Not good.

"Yes, other browsers wouldn't let you get at this hole, but my point is that while Mozilla did provide a key—since destroyed—Microsoft put the keyhole there in the first place. Heck, Microsoft knew there were problems with 'shell:' a year ago and it's still not patched. Now, Microsoft plans to close this hole in SP2.

"Hmmm ... let me see now. It took open-source programmers less than a day to fix it, Microsoft programmers still haven't fixed the real problem, and it's been more than a year. I know which record I'm more impressed by!

"Want to stop the Windows security and patch management madness for good? It's simple: Get a good Linux desktop."


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