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To read comments to this article, go here
OSRM
Saturday, November 20 2004 @ 10:20 AM EST

SCO has been having a road show in the UK. As it happens, a Groklaw reader attended, and this individual reported to me that one of the speakers, in a talk about intellectual property risks in Linux and how you shouldn't use it in business as a result, mentioned me by name, and twisted my relationship with OSRM to say that it proved that I believe there are substantial IP risks in Linux.

That is nonsense, of course. It actually means the opposite, if anything. I was never involved in the insurance side of OSRM anyway. But I take it seriously that they are using my work relationship for FUD purposes. There was also the Ballmer FUD to factor in. I have thought about it carefully for a couple of days and brainstormed some. There is a scripture that says the heart is desperate, meaning it wants what it wants and tries to find a way to justify what it wants, and I'm only human. No one likes to separate themselves from an income stream if they don't have to. I tried to justify to myself maintaining the status quo. The FUD is unfair, but it doesn't matter. FUD is always unfair. One must simply deal with it. In analyzing my choices, I kept coming back to the same thing. If my working for OSRM is doing harm by creating FUD possibilities, I need to remove that issue. Money is nice, but integrity is everything.

So, I have resigned.

OSRM were extremely gracious about it. Down the road, when there's nothing left of SCO but an old blues song, perhaps we'll be able to work together again. But for now, I decided to try to find other work.

I have spoken with ibiblio about the UNIX/Linux Ownership History Timeline, and they have kindly agreed to host it. I love ibiblio.

It will take a while to separate out some of the other pieces and get it implemented, but we'll get there, and we'll get it moved it over. Because we're all volunteers, it may take a little time. The url will be the same to you, of course.

Here is a transcript of what was said at the SCO road show, so you can share this moment with me. But the decision is firmly made. Sorry about his language.

By the way, you don't want to miss Melanie Hollands on BayStar selling off its shares in SCO.

*********************************

Speaker: The next thing that's worth bearing in mind is the cost of the intellectual property risk. What do I mean by that?

The position I took here was that even if you don't believe that SCO has a cat's chance in hell or a snowflake's chance in hell of succeeding in any of its lawsuits is there still an intellectual property risk in Linux.

Well, one organisation claims that there is. That is Open Source Risk Management. They claim that Linux infringes over 280 patents including some from Microsoft. And they've done an indemnity service to allow you to indemnify yourself from the use of Linux from lawsuits for having to pay licence fees that sort of thing.

One of the leading lights of Open Source Risk Management is a lady called Pamela Jones. If you've followed any of the lawsuit stuff, you'll probably be familiar with the website Groklaw. Groklaw is run by Pamela Jones. She's what's called a paralegal -- basically a legal researcher -- not the same sort of level as a solicitor or lawyer, but she clearly knows a great deal about the law. But she's a researcher.

And she is the Director of Litigation Risk Research for Open Source Risk Management. She's one of the foremost proponents of the argument that SCO has not a snowflake's chance in hell in its court cases, but she's clearly part of an organisation that clearly believes that Linux is full of IP risks.

So even if you don't think that SCO has a chance, there is still a substantial IP risk with Linux that you have to factor in.

When people who are even anti-SCO view the Linux IP position as shaky, you've got to factor the cost of that risk into the cost you're looking at over some time period.


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