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More SCO FUD About Groklaw and the AntiFUD
Friday, October 15 2004 @ 07:12 AM EDT

SCO CEO Darl McBride is unjustly trash talking Groklaw again. So I would like to present the antiFUD, since the journalist involved in the latest interview didn't contact me to let me respond to McBride's attacks or to find out if what he said was even true. It's not true in a substantial way.

In an interview in Enterprise Linux-IT, he says the following:

"'I can't believe some of the stuff I read on Groklaw,' McBride said. 'It's completely one-sided against our company. I've seen instances where someone posted a positive comment about SCO, and they were either viciously attacked or the comment was removed.'

"SCO has tried to post comments on the site as well, but McBride said they are frequently not accepted and do not appear in the discussions.

"'A site that covers legal topics should include both sides,' said McBride. 'It shouldn't be filled with rants and insults about a single company.'"

So, for those who care about truth, here it is.

I have asked SCO on more than one occasion to present their viewpoint on Groklaw. In case they try to deny it, let me present my proof, as is my wont.

First, after their July 2003 teleconference, when they didn't call on me to ask a question, as usual, I sent them an email. At the end of the teleconference, they announced that anyone whose question wasn't answered could email them. I did. I wrote about this incident too on Groklaw, so they had two opportunities to respond. They never responded. Their PR firm said they would, but they never did. Here is one of the questions I asked them:

"1. My understanding of the GPL is that no binary-only code can be released in conjunction with GPL code, when the two make up one program as opposed to being a merged aggregate. In other words, while it is acceptable to release two separate programs in the same distribution, one GPL and the other proprietary, any merging of the two codes into a single program would require that the proprietary code be released as GPL code and that source code be made available or that no distribution be made. Any distribution under any other terms than the GPL would be a violation of the copyrights of the GPL code. Can you please explain how it would be possible for you to offer a run-only license for binary code without violating the GPL? And if it isn't possible, are you not putting enterprise users in a bind, where they can't simultaneously be in compliance with you and with the GPL? Cf."

If they wished to have their side of the story on Groklaw, that was one opportunity to present it. They never answered my email, though the PR person told me repeatedly they would.

But I am a persistent soul. When Blake Stowell attacked Groklaw last March in an interview in Linux Insider, they contacted me to respond. In my response, I offered SCO an opportunity to say anything they wanted on Groklaw. In fact, Linux Insider made my offer the subheading:

The Groklaw Story, Part Two
By David Halperin
03/08/04 7:52 AM PT

"SCO doesn't like it that the truth is out there," Groklaw's Pamela Jones told LinuxInsider. "But it's out there. If [Blake Stowell] wishes to make a statement on Groklaw, stating his position in some matter, he's free to send it to me."

I never received anything from SCO in response to that very public, open-ended offer. Not a single word. Total silence. Maybe they were afraid, because in the interview I reserved the right to respond. And now they complain that their side isn't allowed on Groklaw? Puh-lease.

On their further complaints about comments favorable to SCO not being "accepted" or being removed, first, we don't screen comments prior to their appearing on Groklaw. So there is no pre-acceptance involved. So unless he was misquoted, that is an obvious untruth. On deletions, I suggest the following, since I am aware of no such comments being deleted: If SCO wishes to send me a list of all the comments they allege they tried to post but "never appeared" or were allegedly deleted on Groklaw, I'll publish them as an article. Why? Because I know what they are saying isn't true. I have never to my knowledge deleted a comment just because it was favorable to SCO.

As for trolling and astroturfing, SCO will have to accept that it is not acceptable on Groklaw. If they wish to identify themselves as SCO employees openly and then present their views, that is acceptable. They have never done that that I am aware of. We did have a flood of anonymous and very obvious astroturfers show up some time back, but they gave up after a while. No one attacked them, but they did laugh and parody them.

I would like to point out that SCO has announced that their new website will allow no comments. Mr. Stowell has said that they would be flooded by contrary views if they allowed commenting. So what they will be offering will be * their* view. They call their site, for heaven's sake. The name alone fairly screams "One-Sided". And yet I would remind SCO that their CEO just said that a site that covers a legal issue should present both sides. From that standpoint, Groklaw is miles more fair than they say they plan to be.

And there is something else I'd like to explain. When Groklaw started, it had as one of its purposes to present truth in response to FUD. By our stated purpose, we are not trying to be the New York Times. We are trying to let the world know our side of the story, just as SCO now says they will be telling theirs. Frankly, I think we already heard their side in a blizzard of press releases and articles in the mainstream media, which at the beginning told their side of the story only. We have attempted to provide the media with information that we hope will be useful to them, so they have access to the rest of the story. In that, we have had a measure of success. If there is one thing SCO doesn't need help with, it's PR and telling their side of the story. Their problem, in my view, is that at some point you need substance to back up the PR.

I would remind the media that in its most recent letter to the judge in the Red Hat v. SCO case, Red Hat's attorney wrote the following, and it is a sentiment we have seen expressed in the IBM case too:

"As demonstrated by IBM at the September 15, 2004 hearing, SCO continues to make inconsistent statements to this Court and to other courts, taking whatever position suits its purpose at the time."

If they are accused of that in a court of law, what might they do with you? I would appreciate you contacting me when SCO starts spinning its stories to you. It's the only fair thing to do. And to those of you who thought I was imagining things when I said I thought SCO was astroturfing, here you are. Straight from the horse's mouth.

I didn't just fall off a turnip truck, you know.


Bob Mims has a story about all this too. And it includes two quotations you don't want to miss. First, Blake Stowell:

"We've had a lot of stakeholders, investors, partners, customers and developers who want access to [legal filings]," company spokesman Blake Stowell said. "But they have also told us they want to do that without having to go to Groklaw, that they prefer not to have to endure all the negative comments."
Isn't that funny? It doesn't pass the snort test. As if developers don't know how to bookmark the Legal Docs page, which has no commentary or comments, just the legal documents themselves, or one of the Timeline pages, which have the legal documents in strictly chronological order, without commentary at all. And I believe even SCO investors know how to just not read comments. The other quotation is from Linus:
"Groklaw does nothing but shine the light on what SCO is doing," Torvalds said. "[SCO] are like cockroaches scurrying about in a panic saying, 'we'll need the anti-light.'"

I think the article is well worth a visit over to the Salt Lake Tribune for a complete read. Enjoy.

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