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Maureen O'Gara Records SCO's Latest Spin and Performs a Public Service
Monday, August 30 2004 @ 10:27 AM EDT

There are definite hazards to dutifully reporting every word from Lindon. One is that the whole world already knows that much of what you are reporting has already proven to be untrue. I believe Maureen O'Gara has fallen into that pit today, by reporting that SCO has "found" in discovery that IBM went beyond their license by using SVR4 instead of SVR3 in Project Montery and putting AIX 5L "on IBM's PowerPC servers", instead of just Intel:

"Stirring up a pot that boiled over long back, SCO has been telling the press that IBM doesn't have proper Unix licenses for AIX, that it discovered internal IBM e-mail buried in discovery that acknowledges that contention and so it might bring new charges against IBM. Whether that means filing a separate case or amending its current claims appears to be a matter of internal debate.

"According to SCO, as a result of the joint SCO-IBM Monterey Project that was supposed to produce the definitive operating system for the Itanium, SCO gave IBM the right to use SVR4 but only on Intel machines. However, after Monterey hit the wall running, IBM took the SVR4, produced AIX 5L and put it on its proprietary PowerPC-based servers, positioned to compete with Sun and now a $4.5 billion business."

Funny. Nobody else today seems to be writing about this, yet she says SCO is telling this yarn "to the press". It could be because not only did that pot boil over long ago, the fire went out too. And while in SCO's glory days, everyone in the media (except Lee Gomes, Frank Hayes and Steven J. Vaughan-Nichols) dutifully wrote down every SCO word and reported it as fact, they've been noticing that time proved those stories they wrote wrong, and that can be embarrassing.

Here's a Groklaw article, blowing SCO's new story out of the water:

"SCO knew perfectly well back in 2001, after Project Monterey died, that IBM had System V Release 4 code in AIX 5L, knew it worked on Power, and they had no objection. In fact, it appears they donated it to AIX 5L."

Just check the article for all the many links to proof. Oh, wait. There was one other reporter who told us about this new fantasy of SCO's a while back, none other than Dan Lyons of Forbes. Well, well, the gang's all here. Odd how the same few show up, time after time, telling SCO's story just the way they like it. The day Forbes ran that story, the stock went up, if I recall correctly. Let's wait and see if O'Gara repeating the story has the same effect.

By the way, you might enjoy this quote from a Canberra newspaper, The Canberra Times, an Aussie friend sent me, on Forbes and its reputation:

"That mysterious publication Forbes Magazine has, for the first time, published a list of the 100 most powerful women in the world, and very fascinating reading it makes too. Not for its insights into the world of powerful women, because in many respects it is a ludicrous and rather embarrassing compilation, but as a demonstration of a particular way of looking at the world.

"I called the magazine a mysterious publication, because, for the life of me, I can't really see what the magazine is doing, or what it provides for its readers. It's a strange kind of anthology of pieces about the very rich, corporate existence, and fairly unreadable think pieces, but something about it suggests to me that it isn't really read by opinion-formers or genuinely powerful people. It looks much more like corporate pornography, giving middle-management dreamers fodder for their fantasies, and this sort of exercise, basically meaningless, hardly seems useful or instructive. "On the other hand, it certainly tells you what they are thinking out there, and it is, in its own way, weirdly intriguing."

That's the other down side of reporting whatever they tell you in Lindon. You might not be taken seriously by your readers. Ms. O'Gara reports one detail that I haven't seen elsewhere:

"As near as anyone could figure out BayStar had a burr under its saddle because SCO said it was going to make more money off its abhorred SCOsource Linux licensing scheme than thought - an odd position for a VC, perhaps, but SCO says BayStar is a short player on the market so therein may lie the clue."

So, we are to believe that in all the time since BayStar objected to SCO's position, SCO has only the vaguest idea of what BayStar was upset about? That strains credulity, particularly when I put a paralegal hat on.

And they were upset that SCO makes too *much* money on SCOSource? My hokum meter is buzzing. First of all, it implies that BayStar expected SCO's licensing program to fail, and that it was a condition of their support that it do so. That raises some questions about ... um... honesty, shall we say, or their sincerity, at least, in telling the public one thing while privately having a short laugh, so to speak. Is McBride trying to get BayStar investigated by the SEC twice or something? And it also seems hard to believe that $11,000 last quarter wasn't a dismal enough failure to please any such VC dreams, even if that had been the plan.

So, personally, I'll take this latest tale as SCO's spin on the story, what it wants us to think and know. From that standpoint, Ms. O'Gara is performing a public service.

But that's only two of the group. No word from the lovely and tireless Laura Didio? Why, here she is, right on cue, to let the enterprise know that despite figures that show Linux use is taking off with significant momentum, only a minority are looking to leave Microsoft and advising them to think twice before leaping on the Linux bandwagon:

"The Yankee Group report, Linux, UNIX and Windows TCO Comparison, Part 2, advises corporations to delay a Linux migration--or any software migration--until they can satisfactorily answer how a software operating system migration, upgrade or wholesale switch to another platform can deliver tangible technology benefits, better return on investment (ROI) and improve the total cost of ownership (TCO). . . . Only a small minority (4 percent) of UNIX users and about 10 percent of Windows users have any desire to switch platforms.

"'Our conversations with end users cemented the Yankee Group's belief that no operating system is right for everyone,' says Laura DiDio, Application Infrastructure & Software Platforms senior analyst. 'Each company must look within. Make a realistic assessment of their existing software operating system infrastructure. Decide whether the current infrastructure meets your company's current and planned business needs and goals. Balance your business requirements against your current and future budget and then chart your technology course.'

"The Yankee Group's extensive TCO and ROI research showed that Linux has significant momentum and the support of impassioned developers and industry giants such as IBM, HP and Oracle. Additionally, the list of Linux distributors and third-party ISVs joining established vendors, such as Red Hat, Novell (SuSE), Debian and others, is growing monthly."

Ms. DiDio appears to be a true believer. Slowing down a juggernaut is hard work, no doubt, especially when we all know how much corporate executives like to be the last to adopt a better mousetrap.

Unisys doesn't share the Yankee Groups' belief system. It has just announced it will enter the Linux market, due to corporate demand for a high-end Linux solution:

"Unisy, which was not too enthusiastic about its Linux offering last year, is now positioning itself to be an enterprise Linux market leader with the launch of Linux for its ES7000 Intel-based servers.

"The ES7000 enterprise server range, also dedicated to Windows , had previously supported SCO Linux until it was withdrawn early last year. Unisys is now reentering the Linux market working with Novell and Red Hat. The move back to Linux, says Ron Tan, regional director, systems and technology, Unisys Asia South, was driven by several factors, especially demand by enterprise customers for industrial-strength Linux solutions.

"According to him, there is a growing interest in open source for high-end machines but there is a lack of alternative solutions. Currently, the high-end market is dominated by certain companies focusing on proprietary Unix implementations. Unisys, he says, intends to fill the void."

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