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The Afterglow
Thursday, July 22 2004 @ 11:27 AM EDT

For your enjoyment, here are some reactions to yesterday's ruling in the DaimlerChrysler case.

Slashdot, of course, had some fun, with a mini contest to put words into an imagined SCO-retained Iraqi spokesman, to deny the defeat, as in: "We have destroyed the Chrysler infidels and their heads now adorn pikes along all interstates leading into Utah."

Personally, I think Blake Stowell need not be replaced:

"The biggest mistake that anyone can make with today's ruling is to assume that the thing that happened today with DaimlerChrysler will have some sort of impact on our AutoZone or Novell or IBM cases."

Here's an interesting tidbit. It seems SCO sent out 3,000 letters, and only 1,500 responded:

"SCO sent letters to 3,000 license holders, including DaimlerChrysler, asking them to certify they were still complying with terms of the license.

"SCO did not allege DaimlerChrysler abused the license, but the automaker was one of about 1,500 licensees who did not respond to that letter, Stowell said."

That Seattle newspaper had grave difficulty absorbing the news of the defeat. My all-time favorite intro to any of the stories was theirs:

"A Michigan judge on Wednesday dismissed most parts of a lawsuit that sought to force auto giant DaimlerChrysler AG to comply with copyright laws and software agreements with a Utah-based software company.

Um. What? A judge won't force DC to comply with copyright laws? Priceless, no? The SCO PR blitz was so massive, it did permanent brain damage. Someone should sue. Folks just can't get it that the DaimlerChrysler case had nothing to do with copyright, except in SCO's alternate universe.

SCO now says, according to the Financial Times, that they don't know if DC uses Linux, in which case, one wonders about some of their legal documents:

"'Their intent was to pick two users and threaten them in court to put all Linux users on notice. That failed miserably,' said Stuart Cohen, chief executive of OSDL, a non-profit Linux consortium. . . .

"Blake Stowell, a SCO spokesman, said: 'We were looking for information to accurately determine if they were holding to the terms of their (Unix) software agreement. Because they weren't certifying we assumed they could be using Linux.'

"SCO said it did not know whether DaimlerChrysler uses Linux. The company has said only that it uses a variety of software."

And here is my favorite headline:

"SCOs DaimlerChrysler Case Crashes

"The SCO Group's breach of contract lawsuit against automobile manufacturer DaimlerChrysler came to a crashing halt Wednesday afternoon, after a judge ruled in favor of a dismissal motion."

And for first prize in the pro-SCO spin department, I have to give the gold to Pete Williams' report. And what does the future hold? Here's Stowell to confirm they probably won't pursue it:

"Looking ahead, Stowell said he doesn't see SCO pursuing the case further. But, he added, 'I think the company is considering its legal options since the judge allowed for some limited discovery based on their delay in certifying.' At the same time, Stowell said, 'There's an important distinction between this case and our other cases. This is not a setback against SCO's Linux copyright cases.'"

And which cases would that be, Mr. Stowell? You are swearing to the Utah judge that IBM isn't being accused on that score. AutoZone is accused of copying what? Maybe you guys need to clarify your position, because none of us can see any copyright cases. The most, stretching as far as we can, would be one case, the AutoZone case. You know, the one that just got stayed and is stuck in the sand in Nevada. If they were dreaming of end user cases, plural, that dream just got put on hold.

Here's the irony, as pointed out by Allonn Levy, an attorney with Hopkins & Carley in the eWeek story. SCO did all this to try to ruin Linux's reputation. Instead, it is validating it:

"'SCO's purpose in pursuing a very public, aggressive litigation strategy, would seem to be to undermine the public's confidence in the rival Linux operating system by suggesting that it contains infringing materials,' he said. 'Ironically though, if it continues to suffer such severe setbacks, it may instead succeed in permanently validating Linux by publicly demonstrating its legitimacy.'"

Instead of fussing about how long the courts take, I think, then, we should savor the moments, and let folks gradually absorb the lesson SCO is teaching the world, namely that Linux is a great operating system written by people of solid ethics who didn't steal anything from anybody. First, they didn't need to. Second, they don't want to. The joy is in the creation, in the creativity. And Linux wasn't written to make money, so there really was absolutely no motive to steal. It's all about fun. Freedom and fun. What a great combination.

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