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Where Was Ms. DiDio On This Day of Days?
Wednesday, August 20 2003 @ 04:04 AM EDT

I can't help myself.

We've all listened to her expound on this code for months now. Hardly a day went by without another quotation from the lovely and tireless Ms. DiDio on how credible SCO's code claims are and how seriously the community should be taking them. And today, not a peep.

Well, we can't have a DiDio-free day on the one occasion we all particularly want to hear from her the most. Since she does not oblige, and is perhaps wanting to hide behind the couch so no one ringing the bell will know she's home, perhaps a quick review. After all, she's a senior analyst, so her words have lasting value. In a perfect world, her boss reads Groklaw.

So here, on this supremely satisfying day, for your reading pleasure and for the edification of all, I will let her speak, in her own words:

  • Laura DiDio, an analyst at The Yankee Group in Boston, said she was shown two or three samples of the allegedly copied Linux code, and it appeared to her that the sections were a "copy and paste" match of the SCO Unix code that she was shown in comparison.

    DiDio and the other analysts were able to view the code only under a nondisclosure agreement, so she couldn't divulge intricate details of what she was shown. "The courts are going to ultimately have to prove this, but based on what I'm seeing ... I think there is a basis that SCO has a credible case," DiDio said. "This is not a nuisance case."

  • "One could argue that developers could write exact or very similar code, but the developers' comments in the code are basically your DNA, or fingerprints, for a particular piece of source code," said Laura DiDio, a senior analyst with the Yankee Group (Boston), who viewed the evidence.

  • "My impression is that [SCO's claim] is credible," says Laura DiDio, a Yankee Group analyst who was shown the evidence by SCO Group earlier this week. "It appears to be the same" code. But DiDio says the developing battle could hinge on legal fine points that are hard to sort out in the current atmosphere of claims, denials, and counterclaims.

    Apparently the most telling evidence is that parts of the SCO code and Linux code include identical annotations made by developers when they wrote the programs, says DiDio, who compares such notes to the signature or fingerprint of a developer's work. "The fact that these appear to be transposed from Unix System V into Linux I find to be very damaging." DiDio says she was shown several instances where the source code and developer's comments in one operating system were the same as in the other operating system.

  • Some lines of code in Linux are the same as those in Unix, which SCO controls, even down to the wording in explanatory comments made by the programmers, according to Yankee Group analyst Laura DiDio, who reviewed samples.

    While different versions of so-called executable code can be very similar, "comment lines are like fingerprints," said DiDio, who added that she believes SCO could make a credible case against IBM.

And my personal favorite, although off-topic:

Securing copyrights adds a measure of credence to SCO's claims, says Yankee Group analyst Laura DiDio. "They are striking the right note of righteousness and responsibility."

And the first runner-up:

"SCO won't be stupid about the pricing. They won't gouge customers," said Laura DiDio, senior analyst, application infrastructure and software platforms, at the Yankee Group.

Enough. The hole she dug for herself is deep enough. I don't want to humiliate anyone. She is a fellow human, after all, and humans make mistakes. But her mistaken ideas, expressed with conviction, did damage to GNU/Linux, and she is probably better suited to talking about Windows, her previous area of ...I started to say expertise, but who knows? There is always a danger in listening to only one side of a story. When you are an analyst, I'd say it's professional suicide. At least it ought to be.

Now that the rug has been pulled out from under her, and her conclusions have gone splat, I'd like to see her say she was wrong. Ok, it's not a perfect world yet, so I won't hold my breath. She's really a metaphor anyway to make a serious point. There was plenty of information out there she and other analysts, and reporters too, for that matter, could have been considering, but didn't, that would have shown them they were barking up the wrong tree. Literally. And now, how do they look? Not you, Bill Claybrook. You were an honest man who knew enough about programming to ask the right questions and express the right doubts.

Finally, I think this Babelfish translation of the Heise article pretty much says it all, when it talks about McBride's message to the faithful at SCOForum:

"Matured technology is not to be had evenly to the zero tariff. 'free software -- that is not our thing." Into Unix were 20 years development: With this basis SCO wants to make also in the next 20 years money. It called developers and partners from the Unix surrounding field for support, because "otherwise the times of the good business will soon past be."

Here's hoping.

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