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MontaVista on Embedded Linux: Not to Worry
Friday, August 22 2003 @ 02:47 PM EDT

Embedded Linux specialist MontaVista Software is assuring embedded Linux customers in the strongest possible terms:

"MontaVista said IA-32 and IA-64 account for less than 20 percent of all embedded deployment and that a large portion of embedded Linux projects were deployed with and still run on embedded configurations of the 2.2 Linux kernel. Also, MontaVista said that for its part, it only includes architecture-specific, application-relevant code in MontaVista Linux for each architecture and board it supports.

"Additionally, the firm said, 'There is no real intersection among portions of kernel code that changed between 2.2 and 2.4 AND code that possibly contains SCO-contested code AND that are relevant to embedded (i.e., diskless, headless, small footprint, non-enterprise) applications.'

"Finally, it noted that high-end, embedded systems that do, in fact, employ enterprise-class features, like SMP and library emulation, account for less than 10 percent of all Linux deployments.

"'Consequently, the total possible scope of SCO's claims would cover less than 10 percent of all embedded Linux configurations,' MontaVista said. 'Based on our practices and those of our embedded industry peers, we believe that even an estimate of 1 percent would be optimistic on SCO's part. Why then, does SCO insist that ALL embedded Linux deployment is subject to their licensing demands. . . ."

"Meanwhile, MontaVista added that it protects its customers from technical and legal risks through warranties on all editions of MontaVista Linux and indemnification against claims involving the code it creates and delivers. Additionally, the firm argued that until SCO files another suit, only IBM bears any financial risk from the current legal battle: 'Open Source legal authority Lawrence Lessig points out that OEMs are effectively protected by IBM's position that neither trade secrets nor copyrighted material were disseminated into Linux. If the courts agree with IBM, no OEM would have to pay SCO; if the courts favor SCO, any award granted to SCO from IBM would settle SCO's claim -- they would not be able to charge twice (IBM and you) for the same IP,' the firm said.

"MontaVista maintains that SCO has shown little evidence of its claims.

"'MontaVista agrees with the majority of opinion in the Open Source and business communities that SCO is very unlikely to prevail in this lawsuit,' it said. 'To date, SCO has provided no real evidence to back up any of its claims, and has pointed to no specific programs that it feels were misappropriated.'"

From SCO's preferred alternate universe, they disagree. Unless you use only 2.2, they say you should "consider" a SCO license.

Today's Funniest Headline

Computerworld has today's funniest headline: "SCO Could Face Uphill Battle in Drawing New Customers". And from that story, here is my favorite quotation from all the interviewees as to whether they would consider any of SCO's new product line:

"Ronald Edge, manager of information systems for Indiana University's Intercollegiate Athletics Department in Bloomington, said the SCO lawsuit and legal battles have left him unwilling to review the company's latest wares. Besides, he said, SCO's dearth of Unix development and products over the past couple of years makes it difficult to trust the company's new road map.

"'Because of this lawsuit, I would never have anything to do with them as vendors,' he said. 'I feel a harsh, bitter Norwegian cold equivalent to hell toward SCO.'"

Why, me too! Are you paying attention, Microsoft? Here's another angle, from Tom Yager's Weblog, in which he points out that even if the president or CEO decides he'd like to consider SCO's products, there will likely be some geek maneuvers to route around that decision:

"Let's go from the boardroom to the cubicle. How does SCO think IT purchasing decisions are made? SCO has rendered itself radioactive to all involved in, or benefitting from, open source. Every major technology purchase has to be signed off by the company's technical staff, more so in lean times when every purchase is scrutinized.

"It's amazing how inventive geeks can be when they're determined to freeze a black hat vendor out of their shop. Their bosses will get well thought out, purely technical and objective analyses explaining why SCO, and those marching with it, are not a good fit for the project at hand."

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