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SCO's "Olive Branch" = Your Money or Your Life
Thursday, September 11 2003 @ 06:52 PM EDT

Computer World has an interview with McBride, in which he "explains" what he wants and what he meant in his open letter to the open source community.

All he wants is money. He wants to be able to tax Linux for the allegedly infringing SCO code, so he can ride on Linux's coattails and attain unimaginable wealth from the labor of others. He has observed that Linux is popular, it seems.

What he fails to grasp is, we don't want his code and would like him to tell us where he thinks it is, so it can be removed. We don't want to pay for SCO code, because we don't want SCO code. Is that so hard to grasp? Here is his position:

"Q: What is your best possible scenario to come out of the letter?

"McBride: It would be to have our intellectual property [IP] that we feel has been misappropriated into Linux getting valued, and we're then able to move forward. We're recognizing the clout that Linux is developing, the fact that it's a worldwide phenomenon and the fact that this can really be a new standard for computing in the business environment. To the extent that we're able to get recognition for what we feel is a significant amount of contribution ... we move forward together, and Linux is able to live and we're able to get recognition for our IP."

So that's his "olive branch", an offer you can't refuse without risking your life. Now there's a business model: force people to buy your product, even though they don't want it, Or Else. I think the Mob might have a patent on that business model already though. Sorry, SCO.

McBride still mistakenly thinks the GPL means free as in beer (he is so slow to catch on to things):

"If we're going into a new business environment around Linux, well, let's ask the question right upfront: Does the free business model work? Everything we've looked at, whether it's free Internet, free telecom, free music, all of these things tend to, for one reason or another, not work over an extended period of time. Clearly, the free model just about killed our company, and I would argue that it's going to kill a lot of other software companies if the GPL [General Public License] is able to gain a foothold and run rampant throughout the industry."

First of all, there is no "we" in this picture. Linux isn't going to partner with SCO under any circumstances. He needs to let go of that fantasy.

He also talks about SGI and the "attacks" and a number of other points in the interview, but I see no reason to give him space to spew his nonsense. I wish to set a good example for other reporters who just print whatever he says whenever he says it.

He reads Slashdot, he indicates, and it's apparently not his favorite part of the day. He can bear it, though, because:

"We believe we've got the moral high ground in this case, so that's what propels you forward."

? ! ? the moral.. sputter...the high...gasp...huh?

You know, I have a sister who doesn't understand the law. We are co-trustees on a trust. It's not a trust that benefits us. At least it isn't supposed to. No matter how many times I try to explain something to her, she still persists in thinking it's a different way, if she reeeeally wants it to be different. I guess money can twist your thinking. It's the bane of my life, because of the high frustration level and the sheer boredom of explaining the same thing over and over, to no apparent effect. McBride, however, has just taken the crown away from her for flat-out, knock-down illogical reasoning. The moral high ground in which alternate universe?

Maybe it isn't a lack of logic skills. Maybe it's like a cat I used to own. She was so sneaky and determined. If I had, say, fish on the counter, that cat would do simply anything to get it. She would try to jump up on the counter, and I'd spank her and say no, and she'd meow in protest, and then she'd walk away as if the matter was settled. But if I left my guardpost for one little minute, she'd be taking her chances and leaping for it again. In a cat, it was funny. Greed is funny in a cat, because you don't expect morals in a cat, so the more blatant they are with their determined greed, the funnier it is. They will go after what they want, no matter what, right or wrong. SCO is like that. They want to make some dough off of Linux. That's it. Take it or leave it.

Or maybe Linus is right. McBride just needs to grow up. Here's what Linus wrote in his Dear Darl letter:

"Dear Darl,

"Thank you so much for your letter.

"We are happy that you agree that customers need to know that Open Source is legal and stable, and we heartily agree with that sentence of your letter. The others don't seem to make as much sense, but we find the dialogue refreshing.

"However, we have to sadly decline taking business model advice from a company that seems to have squandered all its money (that it made off a Linux IPO, I might add, since there's a nice bit of irony there), and now seems to play the US legal system as a lottery. We in the Open Source group continue to believe in technology as a way of driving customer interest and demand.

"Also, we find your references to a negotiating table somewhat confusing, since there doesn't seem to be anything to negotiate about. SCO has yet to show any infringing IP in the Open Source domain, but we wait with bated breath for when you will actually care to inform us about what you are blathering about.

"All of our source code is out in the open, and we welcome you point to any particular piece you might disagree with.

"Until then, please accept our gratitude for your submission,

"Yours truly,

"Linus Torvalds"

Ah, the brushoff. Sorry, Darl, your "olive branch" has been officially declined. And with style and a sense of humor. But that invitation to show the code is serious, and you'd be well-advised to respond long before this goes to court. That's my opinion, which you are free to ignore, and, sigh, like my sister, you probably will.

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