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Want to Laugh? . . . "Linux Doesn't Exist"
Wednesday, August 25 2004 @ 10:43 PM EDT

Everything strikes me funny today. I am definitely enjoying IBM's latest documents, and by the way, I have all the cases now and I'll try to explain it, after my poor brain takes a laugh break.

SCO is always good for a laugh. Today, the most normal, I thought, of the SCOFolk announced that SCO is not the anti-Christ and that Linux doesn't exist.

There is no way to top that.

Kieran O'Shaughnessy says that IBM is the bad guy. Oh:

"It took us 25 years to build our business and it took [IBM] four years simply by stealing code and then giving it away free."

Then they should tell the court exactly what code was stolen and then given away free, dontcha think? IBM keeps asking. Psst. IBM was founded in 1896.

He says they aren't actually going after SCOSource licenses any more. It's not urgent. They're all about products now. But you can get one if you reeeeally want one. But litigation? Don't be silly. They're a Unix company now, and their business is growing. The licenses haven't been selling like hotcakes, but SCO has "broken their duck." Hmmm. The lawsuits are a drain, of course, but they'll "win big" in the end, so it's really just an investment. That's what BayStar thought.

He says it's impossible to win a PR war against IBM. I beg to differ. We haven't heard a peep out of IBM since this all started. If SCO can't win the PR war when it is the only one doing all the talking, maybe these SCOFolk need to learn how to look inward.

But none of that introspection or self-doubt today, that's for sure. SCO will prevail in the end, and "the true story will unfold as court filings continue."

Promises, promises. Could they start the unveling, already, please? This slow strip is frustrating the audience. Oh, and SCO won't be satisfied with mere financial compensation. They will insist on removal of the "stolen code". Oooh, scary. "Linux doesn't exist. Everyone knows Linux is an unlicensed version of Unix," he added.

Think that will show up as an exhibit in a SCO filing someday "proving" that Linux is an unlicensed version of Unix and everyone knows it? Me, too. I just am in awe how SCO plants stories, then quotes them in the court filings as proof. But never fear, when it happens, those IBM knights will come galloping onto the field, lances at the ready, with banners fluttering in the wind, that say, "You need some facts to win in a court of law, thou doofus." And "Where's the beef?"

Here is some evidence of Linux's existence:

  • CyberGuard is switching from SCO's Unix to Linux. "The move away from Unixware will enable CyberGuard to add advanced, modern capabilities to its security appliances."
  • So is Bank of America. You remember them -- the folks that didn't get sued at the last minute. I think the news about the DaimlerChrysler decision has emboldened corporate Amercia. "Bank of America has gone public on outline plans to port its proprietary Unix systems to Linux, ignoring the enduring threat of legal action from open source litigant SCO."
  • Linux use is growing by leaps and bounds, according to Gartner. "Linux servers are on the rise again thanks in part to low-end and x86-64 based servers, according to a new survey by market research firm Gartner." I believe this steady server growth indicates Linux must exist after all. No? "Enterprises trust Linux's maturity and don't put much stock in legal threats from potential issues with patents or the SCO Group. . . . Gartner said Linux revenue grew 54.6 % in the second quarter and unit shipments jumped more than 61% giving the OS 9.5% of the overall market share. . . . Recent threats from issues with patents and the hovering specter of the SCO Group doesn't seem to impact many spending decisions, McLaughlin added. 'Companies are not viewing it as enough of an issue,' he said."

Microsoft tried hard to be funny today too. Or maybe they're just funny without really trying. Or maybe there's something about Australia, because today Microsoft Australia's platform strategy manager, Paul Roworth, spoke out about Linux too. I deduce Linux does exist after all, according to Microsoft, but it is a "sensationalized misconception." Hold on. Could you guys synchronize your watches? We're having trouble keeping the story straight.

On the very same day, Microsoft says that

  • Linux isn't really a viable challenger to Microsoft. That's all in your mind. "Linux is no threat to Microsoft and any claims to the contrary are simply a misconception created by sensationalism and media hype..." Linux gets too much publicity, he says.
  • Linux costs more than Microsoft, and analysts paid by Microsoft say so. "Microsoft New Zealand platform strategy manager Brett Roberts addressed several points that IBM presents in its case for Linux vs Microsoft. Among the claims, Roberts said, is: ‘Linux costs less to acquire’. Refuting this claim, Roberts presented the results of studies, by Bearing Point and IDC, that Microsoft commissioned stating Windows Server 2003 was more cost effective. He said although Microsoft commissioned the studies and they were not undertaken independently, these are brand name companies make the reports credible."

Say, what? Want to try saying that again? And then we read:

  • ". .. .Microsoft stands to lose significantly if Asia makes a large-scale move away from Windows. . . Several Asian countries have begun initiatives to promote Linux and open-source applications, although none have yet mandated its use over proprietary equivalents. A three-country initiative involving Japan, China and South Korea has resulted in a localized standard version for Linux known as Asianux.Microsoft Corp., which stands to lose significantly if Asia makes a large-scale move away from its standard Windows desktop has recently agreed to sell a cheap version of its flagship XP desktop operating system in Malaysia, Thailand and Indonesia. The software, called Windows XP Starter Edition, will be available on low-cost hardware from October." No competitive threat there. By the way, I have heard from one of organizers of Software Freedom Day, who tells me that the UN, despite what the article says, has nothing to do with this project.
  • Microsoft was found guilty by a UK advertising counsel of misleading advertising in its "Get the Facts" campaign, for saying Linux costs more than Windows, using for comparison Linux and Windows on different hardware, and then figuring in the cost of the hardware in the computation. "The ad contained a graph comparing the cost in US dollars between a Linux images running on two z900 mainframe CPUs and a Windows Server 2003 image running two 900MHz Intel Xeons chips. The ad claimed: 'Linux was found to be over 10 times more expensive than Windows Servers'. It said that 'in a recent study audited by leading independent research analyst Meta Group, measured costs of Linux running on IBM's z900 mainframe for Windows-comparable functions of file serving and Web serving. The results showed that IBM z900 mainframe running Linux is much less capable and vastly more expensive than Windows Server 2003 as a platform for server consolidation." Independent analyst, eh?

Here is the actual ruling. Here's the conclusion:

"Because the comparison included the hardware, as well as the operating system and therefore did not show that running a Linux operating system was ten times more expensive than running a Windows operating system, the Authority concluded that the advertisement was misleading. It advised the advertisers to amend the advertisement and advised them to seek help from the CAP Copy Advice team."

That's it. Yes, that's the problem, all right. Microsoft doesn't know how to write accurate ads, and I'm sure the Copy Advice team can give them a hand. And Meta Group doesn't know where up is and didn't realize main frames are, um, costly items. I'm sure that's all it is.

Would you like to see a real study of open source TCO that *wasn't* funded by Microsoft? OK. Here. Guess what they found? Soreon Research under the title, "Saving Cash: A Comparison of Open Source and Proprietary Software," reports that when you take Microsoft's thumb off the scale, Linux not only exists, it's cheaper, and the larger your company, the more you can save (because you likely already have Linux gurus on the payroll):

"The case studies show that cost savings of up to nearly 30% are realizable using Open Source. These savings come from reduced license fees and operating costs."

Finally, here's a very funny picture for you, a snapshot taken at HPWorld, where SCO and IBM booths were inexplicably placed right next to each other. It says it all. Incidentally, no need to explain to me that SCO meant that Linux is really Unix in obfuscated disguise. I get it. It's just that to me, it's a joke.


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