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Is SCO Bad Not Just for Linux, But Also for America?

Is SCO Bad Not Just for Linux, But Also for America?

(July 21, 2003) - Personally, I feel it's time to lay the cards on the table. As a journalist, you are supposed to remain emotionally detached from your subject, but there's no way I can do it anymore when I think about the SCO/Linux situation. I can't remember anything I've covered that has so enraged me as the legal thuggery that SCO is engaging in, and frankly, it's bad for the country.


1) If you haven't noticed, we're in an economic slowdown right now, and one way that companies are saving money is by deploying on Linux rather than more expensive alternatives. If this option is removed in the form of a $100+ per seat "blackmail" payment to SCO, companies will need to find savings elsewhere. Is that the sound of your job being outsourced to somewhere overseas I hear?

2) Linux represents the only fully user-audited operating system in general use. If the source code to Linux is pulled under the veil of a trade secret, it will lose the benefit of being quickly repairable in the face of new security attacks. We know that the government considers online attacks to be one route that terrorists are likely to take. So SCO's move directly impacts Homeland Security by degrading the securability of a widely used operating system.

3) If Linux were made commercial, that would remove its major selling point against Microsoft. This in turn will make Microsoft's argument that they aren't a monopoly because Linux competes against them into a farce. This will lead to renewed antitrust actions against Microsoft, which can't be good for the economy.

4) If SCO succeeds, it sends a message to every two-bit con artist that it's more profitable to sue that to innovate. What we don't need right now is the entire industry paralyzed by a flood of lawsuits.

5) It may drive several US employers out of business. TiVo has a Linux kernel at the heart of every box. Think they could afford retroactively to pay $100 per box to SCO?

6) Finally, the SCO lawsuit flies directly in the face of what America is all about. Linux (in spite of its Scandinavian origins) is a profoundly American idea. Forget the morons who equate the GPL with some kind of socialism. America is about pulling together to do something that individuals couldn't do alone. Think about an Amish barn raising. Think about the spirit that won World War II. It's the idea of putting the end result above personal glory. Does anything personify that more than the open source movement in general, and Linux in particular? Even assuming that SCO is correct, and that say 10% (and this is being more than generous) of the Linux kernel came originally from SCO-owned code, does this equate to $110 of value per Linux install? I think not. SCO is just using the threat of expensive lawsuits (inadvertently abetted by the US Patent and Trademark Office) to enrich themselves.


What you can do to help:

1) If you're in an executive position within a company using Linux, call your elected representatives and explain to them how you will be economically damaged if SCO is allowed to continue along their current course. You might also consider calling Senator Gordon Smith, chair of the Senate Subcommittee on Competition, Foreign Commerce and Infrastructure at (202)224-3753, and explain to him how the decisions of the Patent Office may potentially harm the US economy.

2) If you work in a company that uses Linux, meet with your CEO or CTO and urge him or her to do #1

More Stories By James Turner

James Turner is president of Black Bear Software. James was formerly senior editor of Linux.SYS-CON.com and has also written for Wired, Christian Science Monitor, and other publications. He is currently working on his third book on open source development.

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Most Recent Comments
Ed 05/19/04 06:46:07 PM EDT

Ok enough of the banter if thier is any more to discuss on this subject lets get on with it. Or let the dead horse lie and let justice see to SCO.

sensible 05/19/04 06:37:43 PM EDT

I had to say more. I dont hate America, I dont hate the US. However Jose Josephs you, sir, sum up everything that I see is wrong with America. You believe that the US can do no wrong, and that countries that have a problem with the US are automatically evil. You believe that the arab states that wish US citizens dead do so purely because of the hatred in their hearts for your ways, your religions. That it has never occurred to you that it is the FORCING of those ways upon them that brought on this hatred in the first place is an alarming thing to me.

Freedom and Justice should win over all. You cannot, however, always and without thinking, make "Freedom and Justice" interchangeable with the name of your country. Sometimes, just sometimes, it doesn't work that way.

sensible 05/19/04 05:42:27 PM EDT

You STILL dont get it do you. They want to "drag you back to the middle ages" because the US and allied forces occupy their country! HELLO! Is anybody home??

I'm not discussing this further here because as I've already said, THIS IS NOT THE PLACE.

José Josephs 05/19/04 10:41:36 AM EDT

"You still don't get it do you... Why are Arabs cutting Americans' heads off on TV in the first place?"

The Arab preacher last week said it best:"We want to drag you back to the middle ages." In other words, they can't stand our success (most of which comes from open source thinking). Open source thinking results in progress and learning, but it requires an intellectual vigor and generosity that these murderous creeps hate. What happens if women, or Jews, are allowed to create code? For promoting that kind of thinking, Americans (and Jews) must be butchered back into the middle ages.

Their hatred of America and Jews and Christians has nothing to do with Americans being arrogant or oppressive. It's about Americans being helpful. The extremists hate western helpfulness and intellect with a passion. In Afghanistan was it was a crime to study both computer science and agriculture. They only want to help you back into the middle ages, preferably without your head and without open source.

So ease up on the stupid, thoughtless comments in this forum about the ugly Americans and GW Bush. The ugliest characteristic in a person is mindlessly biting the hand that takes care of him (and us). Have you forgotten that nobody in America has been harmed by those assholes since GW Bush started clearing the weeds of those murderous perverts? You've been free to carry on coding blissfully for almost three years. But those anti-science scum still want to separate you from your head, no matter how nice you try to be to them. Perhaps if you try to be nice to them, and insult America some more, you might escape one of their stupid bomb plots. Who knows. They don't give a shit one way or the other.

sensible 05/18/04 05:57:06 PM EDT

You still don't get it do you... Why are Arabs cutting Americans' heads off on TV in the first place? The answer isn't easy to admit.

Also, why do you insist on dragging such atrocities into this discussion? I'm with Ed - this is about business and computing, not about some horrendous acts halfway around the world. It might be a good idea for you to stop trying to emotionally blackmail us with such images.

Honestly, I don't care where you're from. You shouldn't care where I'm from either. This is NOT a discussion about American ideals, as much as you would love it to be.

sensible 05/18/04 05:55:39 PM EDT

You still don't get it do you... Why are Arabs cutting Americans' heads off on TV in the first place? The answer isn't easy to admit.

Also, why do you insist on dragging such atrocities into this discussion? I'm with Ed - this is about business and computing, not about some horrendous acts halfway around the world. It might be a good idea for you to stop trying to emotionally blackmail us with such images.

Honestly, I don't care where you're from. You shouldn't care where I'm from either. This is NOT a discussion about American ideals, as much as you would love it to be.

José Josephs 05/18/04 04:14:10 AM EDT

"The hand of friendship and cooperation ..." is what the guy with the black hood was saying just before cut off the dude's head on TV.

"SCO is the epitome of the reason the rest of the world thinks of us as capitalists pigs! " C'mon you retards - this is the reason that the world thinks _SCO_ are clueless capitalist pigs. The rest of the world is in love with American ideas and generosity and open-source code. Like what was the last piece of open source software that you got from an Arab developer? Can you name even one single piece that any one of those murdering shitheads with their "hands of friendship and cooperation" ever gave to the world? Excuse me, but didn't you mean to say something about those cretinous assholes, and not about the brave Americans (using Linux on the battlefield) who are trying to save your head from being hacked off on TV?

This 05/18/04 12:06:11 AM EDT

Brian Malrouny invented and owns Linux, therefore Canada owns Linux and all rights therein.

Ed 05/17/04 10:13:54 PM EDT

I commented on this article on day one.... Ya know I've been using Linux since 95'. And although I do believe it's a movement I really have no time for all you little minded people who have torn up racial and ethnic grievances here. We are computer users that is what we are here to voice about. India, China, Germany, Russia... I do not care where you are from AT ALL!
This is not the end of the world or civilization as we know it!
Let's get back to the matter at hand or go join a cult if this does not suite you.
The point of the matter is...
Do you or do you not believe that SCO is a cancer of society PERIOD I wish the author would have said Antarctica instead of America because it does not matter where it matters WHAT SCO has done.
And while all you small minded men/women have sat here smacking each other around getting NOTHING accomplished by it except breeding hate and contempt! The courts have done what should be done. They have been gathering the evidence, and listening... Oh what's that SCO has lost 90% of their backing in all court fights! OMG! amazing what can happen when you stop complaining by the water cooler and DO SOMETHING AOUT IT!
After quite a while of following this I believe what I believed from the beginning, (and I quote myself) "SCO is the epitome of the reason the rest of the world thinks of us as capitalists pigs! "
I am a proud American and I will be till the day I die, however I KNOW Linux is NOT an American idea / invention it is a belief that I think we all share and should be moving forward not fighting among each other.

sensible 05/17/04 09:56:12 PM EDT

...not to mention, that's the same attitude Darl McBride seems to have.

Oh and no, I'm not Canadian. :)

sensible 05/17/04 09:54:03 PM EDT

Honestly, can you really credit Bush with "protecting the free world"?? Hopefully one day you'll realise that Bush and company have more to do with all the problems that plague the US right now than with the solutions.

Hadn't you noticed that "WE'LL GET YOU BEFORE YOU GET US" is exactly the attitude terrorists have?

The hand of friendship and cooperation is what brings peace in the world my friend... and that is what the Linux and open-source communities are built on. One day you'll realise that.

One can hope.

José Joseph 05/17/04 09:40:12 PM EDT

I wish you Bush-hating, Amiga-loving, Canadian nazi morons would pack up and shove off from this news page. If it wasn't for Bush, you idiots would have been blown to smithereens from all those creep death bombers lurking in your great white north. They're still lurking, so you'd better get used to asking Bush & Rumsfeld and their Linux-powered NSA tools for help BEFORE those death perverts start blowing your country to kingdom come.

Dr_benway 05/17/04 08:34:21 PM EDT

Surely we all know that in the end logic will sort of win the day....(at least my hope for the future)

SCO will be no more (how many software companies last!) and the American's will vote out Bush - people might start to have some respect for them again..

I say sort of, because one major ilogical thing shall remain - 90 % of the world's desktop pc's will still have some form of **** windows....

....if only the amiga ruled....

jmqwerty 05/08/04 09:18:35 AM EDT

you all are missing the point. its not about american software and european software or lawyers and lawsuits. it has all to do with the inflated ego of that jerk mcbride. the stockholders ought to kick him out and find someone who will get back to the business of making good software. unix is good stuff and linux is good stuff. now there is healthy competition for both and for the industry. we have enough problems with gates and the crap coming out of redmond to keep the unix/linux community busy for years.

wawadave 04/14/04 01:25:52 PM EDT

in the land of liability. sco is top dog! this is a sad event for all but microsucks who are funding the whole fud campaign.

James 04/08/04 03:26:33 PM EDT

Hear hear!

If I were to base my ethics and behaviour on that of America's large corporations (or in SCO's case, not so large) I would be living by this rule: "Do whatever you can get away with".

This double standard has got to stop, and soon.

exasperated 04/08/04 08:17:24 AM EDT

The ideals of America are to be distinguished from the reality that is America and the reality that is America is one that a great many Americans have issues with themselves. Sometimes the "pursuit of happiness" is confused with "the pursuit of pleasure" - vastly different ideas but all too often resulting in the worst aspects of human nature coming to the fore. The people at SCO/Microsoft would be apalled if they learnt that their son or daughter had cheated on their term papers for example, but see their own actions in their daily business dealings as acceptable. Their duplicitous actions and standards degrade more than themselves and their industry but extends to the very society in which they live. Yet I believe that all is not lost. The Civil Rights movement succeeded because America was confronted with the fact that the continuing disenfranchisment of a whole section of its people devauled the very basis on which it was founded. And I believe there are those in America who see the continuing behaviour of its large corporations in a similar light and simply out of a sense of justice will fight and eventually prevail in correcting that behaviour.

moksha 04/06/04 05:52:32 PM EDT

This much seems American: Microsoft using every opportunity to maintain its monopolistic hold on the computer world and SCO seeing that its ship is sinking, throwing in with the underdealings of Microsoft so as to post just enough sucessful quarters that its executives can bale out with their silver parachutes.

This much is not American enough: the Bush administration lacking the moral fortitude and ethics to go after Mircrosoft and SCO for this charade.

James Turner 02/16/04 08:22:27 AM EST

Ok folks, time for a little basic introduction to reading what was said...

I said: "Linux is a profoundly American idea."

For Linux, let's substitute...oh...personal freedom.

"Personal freedom is a profoundly American idea."

Does this mean only Americans desire personal freedom? No.

Does this mean that America was the original home of personal freedom? No.

Does this mean American is best at promoting personal freedom? No.

What it means is that personal freedom is something that Americans cherish and (at least in theory) wish to promote.

Now substitute Linux back into the sentance.

I never said that Linux was created in America, best represented or contributed to by Americans, or anything else intended to negate the significant contributions made by non-Americans.

I simply said that Linux represents what America, when it is at it's finest, strives to achieve.

I now return this conversation to the flame war in progress.

José Josephs 02/16/04 03:46:02 AM EST

Would you call Linux "German", or "French" or "Egyptian"? I think not. It's GNU, and it's Free Software Foundation and it's UNIX-inspired. It's also IBM, Red Hat, Novell, HP. Thank God for its American content and energy. And thank God for the Americans stomping on all the idiots who would like to blow the West (Linux included) off the map. OK, OK - thanks to other nationals that have contributed, too. But Linux is STILL and AND ALWAYS WILL BE a completely American idea. If you don't like America leading the charge against the morons and ignorance, get off your butt and join the fight.

My favourite image of America is the US soldiers on horseback in Afghanistan, carrying laptops with Linux and satellite links as they chased the morons into the mountains. Go for it, America! Flatten the buggers!

Matt 02/15/04 07:07:21 PM EST

Since when is LINUX American. I have contributed greatly to Linux and franky consider you calling Linux "American" an insult.

VirtualJWN 02/13/04 11:30:36 PM EST

Unix was available from ATT in late seventies on DEC hardware if I remember right on the DECUS (DEC user Group tapes.... FREE!)

Any of you folks ever hear of Fortune Systems? They ran Unix in production from early eighties to early nineties. (System V)??

So did ATT with MB3s and MB5s, all running system V if I am not mistaken.

AIX did not show up "on radar" until late 1980's (about that time.... on AS 400 platform to replace the OS 360/370 on those machines.)

Since Compaq bought DEC and HP bought Compaq...Maybe we should check with HP about all this. DEC was the basis (ala VMS) for Microsoft's MS DOS FAT file system, and Windows NT memory model NTFS is a bastardization of HPFS developed by IBM).

David Cutler was hired from DEC in late 1980's from DEC by M$ to work on NT with Joint IBM/M$ OS/2 team and Microsoft’s "secret" OS/2 / NT departure strategy.

Ever wonder how much stolen code is in NT? Only the parts of NT that work! HAH

Microsoft is the true devil here, not IBM or ATT.

SCO is merely a litigious "me-me" want to be on top, scratching for a piece of the action.

SCO was is and always shall be Junk, Joke, and Jerks (triple J)


Fecal Extrusion 02/13/04 10:56:49 AM EST

Even if MS and SCO could win their attempts to destroy
Linux, I have news for the arrogant US Justice system.

US does NOT define INTERNATIONAL LAW!!! The only thing that
could happen here is that deployment of Linux is not as
'openly' widespread in the US as it is around the rest of
the (smarter) world.

Does the US justice system actually think they have the
clout to demand the rest of the Linux using world pay
license fees to SCO, or STOP using Linux?
I think the US MIGHT be in for a rude awakening on an
INTERNATIONAL scale! Should be fun to watch anyways...

J.W. N 02/07/04 08:42:46 AM EST

A Strange Corrupt Organization (SCO) is grabbing straws faster than than a room full of third graders in an "Ovaltine" commercial.

Only someone with in a Severly Criminal Orientation (SCO) would imply header files are binary code.

Steadily Crying Outrageously (SCO) is no way to go through life. Speaking of which, SCO should get one.

And by the way, speaking of theiveing code.....what about the evil empire itself.....Micrisoft uses Internet Code and has Telnet, FTP and and terminal services......

Came up with them rather quickly too.....as anybody knows, Microsoft is a "bank that happens to buy and markety software.....look at their Freedom to Intimidate marketing strategy....

Why isn't Redmond being forced to release source code?? Windows very likely has more stolen code than anyone.

SCO is a loser operating system, and they are sour graping Linux.

SCO is, has, and always shall be a joke OS. Never a serious contender in the OS Wars. Did more to set Unix back than help.

Any time I find a person who used/supported/liked SCO, I see someone who is not all there. I find that these people ar at best misguided and in informed.

I have been in this industry many years (>15). If Microsoft is not sponsoring SCO's quest at some level, then Bill Clinton did not have relations with that woman! and O.J. is innocent.

SCO = Anti Competitive Policy = Communists.

Strictly Communist Outfit (SCO).

they think that because they tried to do what .Linux does that they should profit. (kind of confused commies)

Sorry to offend any Communists out there!!


Vance Shaffer 12/27/03 12:35:18 PM EST

I left out of original comment that Microsoft is not necessarily a bad Company; they are the best commercial success in history. They should not be afraid because competition is healthy, and without competition from Linux their reason to innovate would be greatly diminished. They are already moving to open their operating system to more competition from developers which is good for them and America.

Vance Shaffer 12/27/03 11:54:43 AM EST

If SCO succeeds then they will have done what Microsoft set out to do; wipe out Open Source free Linux. Businesses do not want the threat of law suits for use of Linux code, and having to deal with just another Microsoft dictating what they can do and can't do with their software.

James Turner 11/27/03 01:39:54 AM EST

It's kind of amusing to read these comments, and infer what people must think about me. For the record:

I don't own a truck with a gun rack in the back (my wife does own a truck, but we're talking NH winters here...)

I never said (nor do I believe) that Linux is an solely American idea (or US idea, to cater to the previous poster's geography lession.) I do believe that Linux represents an ideal that citizens of the United States (screw it, Americans! The other form is just too awkward) would like to believe we stand for, pulling together for the common good.

I'd like to think that the French, and the Germans, and the Poles, and the Egyptians and the Thais stand for the same ideals. I can't speak for them, I'm not a citizen of those countries. But I do know that the tactics (which have gotten even worse since I wrote the original article) of SCO represent what America loathes about itself, the search for the quick buck at the cost of everything else.

I stand by my words, Linux represents an ideal Americans would like to strive toward, and SCO is harmful to the pursuit of that ideal.


Genio 11/27/03 01:13:54 AM EST

I am a citizen of the United States (born and raised here). I have grown up in the computer era, starting out with non-Microsucks OSs. The whole issue of whether or not Linux is an "American Ideal" just makes me sick. First of all, we as citizens of the United States need to stop referring to ourselves as 'Americans' The United States is PART of America, it is NOT America itself. There are many countries that are part of America, and people from the US need to stop acting like there aren't.
With that being said, the statement of Linux being an 'American Idea' has no relevance. Maybe Torvalds did rip-off a lot of UNIX code, maybe he modeled his own ideas from UNIX, maybe he personally went to Berkeley and held them at gunpoint to get the code from them, who cares? it doesn't matter.
Linux is an international effort that provides the world with many great options when it comes to their OS... and I as a citizen of the US would like to state that not all of us here agree with what some large corporations try to do when it comes to money, and I beg of you not to judge all of us here in the US because the ignorance, greed, and arrogance of a few (several large corporations, as well as our government as a whole being included in that stereotype). :)

Ive said my two-cents worth now... (if I have improperly stated something, I apologize, I wrote this while being very aggrivated about the whole 'american idea' thing)
[email protected]

James 11/12/03 05:01:29 PM EST

Allow me to correct you: it's PEOPLE, not countries, that take credit for Linux. No, I'm not one of those people, nor do I pretend to be.

I'm well aware that the US does not have a monopoly on arrogance or ignorance, I'm simply pointing out that US citizens going around trumpeting loudly about their country being the best in the world in a manner such as yours Joe is the equivalent of strutting around with a big sign on your back saying KICK ME.

The developmental energy happens in the states because it is where most of the developers already are. HELLO! What has this got to do with GWB's *cough* "brilliant, inspiring leadership"? NOTHING. Zip. Zero. Nada.

Joe 11/12/03 04:34:46 PM EST

"The world is all too keen and ready to bash the US because of the arrogant fool the US has as President." -James

It seems to me that some arrogant fools like James and his countrymen may be trying to hijack credit for Linux simply because they think that outstanding leaders like GW Bush are less intelligent than James is. As far as I can tell, the moronic citizens of some of the more retarded nations seem to enjoy putting down the USA with its huge surplus of intellectual energy, and James might be from one of these clownish countries. They think that SCO is a sign of USA depravity. Some of them actually believe that they're the backbone of Linux because they've learned to do some PHP scripting for a Liberian get-rich-quick scheme.

Well, Joe, we've got news for you! It ain't GWB who's the arrogant fool! Let's see, now . . . How many non-USA Linux distributions can you name? How many countries do you know that invented anything as potent as the internet (not including human bombers)? Or as useful as PERL or Google?

Well, I know some arrogant Canadian or Iranian or Nigerian goof is going to retort that the USA doesn't have a monopoly on Linux intelligence. But I've got news for James: if these places had even a scintilla of development energy, the best developers would be heading to those countries by the trainload. But last I heard, they were still trying to go the other way. First of all, because of the brilliant, inspiring leadership of GWB, and second because that's where most of the real Linux action is. They seem to go hand-in-hand, much to the distress of James and his friends who can't understand how all the action ends up in the USA. GWB knows how it happens, and we also know it, and we love it!

In the meantime, to turn this thread in a different, more positive direction, I nominate George Taylor, former president of Liberia, as the most arrogant leader of the week, and the leader to be the LEAST trusted with protecting the development of any Linux component. Perhaps it's his tactic of cutting of the hands of intelligent Linux users that turns me off. If you're a Linux developer, and you've been to some other countries, tell this forum where you'd definitely NOT want to do Linux development.

James 11/12/03 02:39:29 PM EST

I'm sorry, what has any of this got to do with Linux or SCO? :P

The world is all too keen and ready to bash the US because of the arrogant fool the US has as President. The nation as a whole appears to have taken on the paranoid, ignorant and arrogant attitude of its President, and thus has become the target of jibes, insults and putdowns.

You obviously have a problem with this because you've gone way off-topic to comment on it. You can either get over your concern for the opinion of others on your country, or you better hope GWB gets voted out in your next Pesidential Election.

capn_buzzcut 11/11/03 09:50:17 PM EST

Linux is an International idea, but is America Evil?

Look, it bothers me that folks from around the world think of Americans as greedy and arrogant, and that they seem to hate us for it. Americans are the same as everyone else, but because the US is rich and powerful, every trait gets magnified.

Through an extraordinary set of circumstances, the US now finds itself as the most powerful nation on earth. Think of all the powerful civilizations throughout history. How many of those were the product of ruthless conquest and an iron-fisted rule? Heck, even the French once ruled an empire. Think you'd enjoy being under the thumb of a Roman emperor? All we Americans want is to preserve our freedom, and we're willing to fight and die for it. Nazi Germany nearly took over the world because nobody wanted to stand up to them. That was a wake up call, and we just aren't gonna sit still and let that happen again.

So while the rest of the world basks in the sense of security that we provide these days by kicking the ass of every terrorist we can find, please, feel free to tell us what jerks we are. That is, after all, what we're fighting for.

Terrance J. Biggs 11/03/03 11:13:05 PM EST

SCO's just begging themselves for trouble.
All I need to say is that those SCO bastards can burn in hell! And if you're Darl McBride and you're reading this, bring it on. It's you and your puny company against the free world; so what are you going to do? I use Red Hat 9, and I'm not going to pay one penny to SCO. And there's 18-20 million or more of us.
I need some contact information so I can contact SCO. They can bring everything they got. They think they're soldiers, then let's go to war......

Diamond 10/31/03 03:37:02 PM EST

Hi folks........been reading this page for some time now.
I must say congratulations to you all on the topics covered.
Im very much a GNU/Linux user myself but hey maybe I should copyright the English language and invoice everyone that
speakes or writes it before MS and any Rights group steal that concept.

mrd 10/28/03 08:04:18 AM EST

Holy guacamole... thank you for that proxy server. Uhhhhhh someone might want to delete all bar one of the above (note: bar one!) Oops.

mrd 10/28/03 07:23:40 AM EST

This is a seriously scary thread. I can't believe firstly that you decided to word things as you did. The American aspects of it made me both cringe and frown. It is to my mind symptomatic of the very thing that gets the back up of a lot of the rest of the world about the USA: the casual and easy arrogance borne out of ignorance or otherwise as to the standing and import of the USA cf the rest of the world. Yes, the rest of the world; that thing beyond your borders.

Secondly, the religious stuff in this is way out of place. I'm of Christian stock but this is just superfluous and offensive to so many people. The dismissal of what other cultural and religious groupings (why is Christian treated as a cultural group here? Christian was compared to Arab and Chinese... not the same thing) as irrelevant. Terrible.

On to the guts of this whole SCO/Linux/IBM carfuffle. From the subcurrent news that seems to go around about Microsoft involvement I'd have to say it is brilliant business strategy by MS giving their funding of SCO by licence purchases and possible other buyins. An attempt to tie up Big Business linux involvement/development on the cheap. Fair means or foul I guess from Redmond with the benefit that their hands remain clean.

I just hope that this is dealt with one way or the other *quickly*. Linux can recover (albeit I would guess slowly) from the removal of certain aspects of the code - there are too many organisations with too much invested in it for it not to now - and if it wins it will provide it a very large boost.

Let the games END...

Jim 10/27/03 05:41:57 PM EST

My thanks to the contributors of this thread. As an American citizen it is educational to be reminded that Linux is the result of an international effort. My thanks to everyone who has worked on this operating system, and have contributed to the open source movement!

Richard McKenzie 10/22/03 12:03:06 AM EDT

The fact that the Bank of Canada and Deutchbank is investing/giving them a good "buy" rating tells me there is some kind of scam going on.

SCO is up to something. I will tell you one thing, SCO will fail.

America...the stock market will destroy you. There are only three things you should invest in: gold, silver, and ammunition...all 3 have a guaranteed return.

Joseph Dick 10/17/03 04:16:38 PM EDT

Intellectual property, in the form of patents and copyrights, is out of control as a legal concept, with respect to its original intent. The original intent with patent law was to provide the inventor with exclusive rights to market his creation, provided that they made full disclosure of the product or process. In this way, the knowlege was captured, never to be lost, eventually to become public domain.

Furthermore, the intent was to reward the people that create ideas for this public disclosure. And since when has any engineer really enjoyed the financial benefits, the fruits of their labors? Infrequently at best. Engineers are enslaved by corporations, stripped of rights to their patentable ideas by employment contracts that violate the very intent of patent law.

Corporations claim that without the resources they provide, the creators of patentable ideas would not have innovated. Yet, if that were indeed the case, and the resources were all that were required, then everyone at a company would have created any particular idea. Clearly, the key to innovation is an individual's capability to make an intuitive leap, a non-obvious connection of information that is not dependent on the resources at hand.

Corporate resources may be a necessary condition for innovation, but they are by no means sufficient to guarantee that innovation will take place. They do not substitute for an individual's ability, and should be thus accorded an appropriate value according to the mere supporting role they play. Never, never, never, should a company be granted anything more than a first right to review and negotiate the rights to the innovative creations of its employees. For if a company is being run well, it will have the ability to provide adequate compensation to, and will already have developed the loyalty of, its creative employees as partners in innovation.

Until this underlying legal issue is addressed, and control of the rights to ideas are returned to those who actually create them, the sort of callous, uncaring, and unnecessary litigation being brought by SCO will continue.

James 09/18/03 04:36:57 PM EDT

Sometimes it's not just about majority.

".85% may run Linux" may be true, but think about what percentage of the world's internet servers run Linux. Upwards of 50%, perhaps?

femalespeaks 09/15/03 03:17:35 AM EDT

I wonder if the wider world heard about the recent claims of some, that the original UNIX code might itself incorporate illegitimately the code produced by numbers of
people written during the 1970's. Here's the story:
"SCO case may cut both ways," says Unix hacker.


Hawkie 09/15/03 02:51:32 AM EDT

As i pointed out earlier the legal issues involving a company using OpenSource software, i still can not see anyone actually willing to address this issue. As i see it, this is the main issue to convince corporate users to use OpenSource. The liability issue is a major one, as the OpenSource end user is actually the liable party. Proprietary software is developed by a company that is a legal entity, and as such this one guarantees for the copyrights involved. In such cases the end user can not be sued by a party claiming copyright issues, only the distributor/manufacturer can be sued. So who will be willing to make a legal change to shield end users of OpenSource ? Well most certainly not any US government, because that would in reality be the same as opening up for re-use of any code found anywhere. So how can this issue be solved ? Well i know that lawyers will have filed day when OpenSource really enters the business market. They will hire fleets of people to look for cases in the source codes, and then get tons of revenue from legal proceedings as those using that software.
I can almost see the scenario where i as a systemspecialist recommends a OpenSource alternative for a customer, and eventually he gets sued for copyright violations, as well as beeing put in a position where he has to find another alternative for the software. That can be coslty for the customer as well as for me and my employer. So what do i recommend today ? Proprietary software off course.

I am myself involved in openSource projects and as such i also love to study what others do, and reads through their code. And more than once i have found code snippets i can clearly guess is borrowed from the employer of one of the particpating programmers. One example is some code in a project for clustering Linux, where i KNOW that none of the programmers had access to their own mainframes, or heavy duty servers, but several worked for companies that had some, and that was involved in making similar solutions. Imagine the future lawsuits here.

Well as i said, no use of OpenSource in corporate enviroments until the legal issues are solved.

If my clients asked me to sign a statement that i took on the legal responseability for OpenSource software i recommended i would not dare to sign it, not even if it was concerning the Linux kernell itself, because i can not say for sure where they got all their code from.

Would you sign such a statment ?

DonWhit 09/03/03 09:30:23 PM EDT

Anyone who thinks that open source software is piracy and proprietary software is not, has there head in the sand. Open source is there for anyone to inspect and determine if there is piracy. Proprietary software is locked up so that no one can see how much of it is pirated.
Greedy companies want to patent every idea they can. I'm surprised that one of them doesn't try to patent the wheel.
Ideas don't really exist in a vacumn. At one time Apple and Microsoft were each claiming that the other stole the GUI desktop from the other when in fact Zerox developed the idea first. The Commodore Amiga desktop was way ahead of Microsoft Windows. Too bad it died out.
I wonder why Nicklaus Wirth and Bjarne Stroustrup can't charge every one a license fee for using Pascal or C++.

Dan Bent 09/03/03 12:54:14 PM EDT

Open Source is not piracy, and it does not ignore or devalue anyone's intellectual property rights. Open Source software is usually released with a license agreement that specifically outlines how the software can and can not be used. Contributors to Open Source projects share their intellectual capital, most consider it an investment which is repaid with interest as others contribute improvements on the original code. It's all done by consenting participants in a very open, transparent environment which should pose no moral problems for anyone of any faith.

Another point that I think many miss is that Open Source software is pretty darn close to ubiquitous. I work with a software vendor who declined to be interviewed for Linux World because "We don't do anything with Open Source." It turns out that that company does the bulk of their development on a Linux box ("It's just much faster.", says a senior developer), there are several Linux boxes running Open Source tools in their data center, and key elements of their code depend on GNU libraries and tools. So much of the early work in computing has been released under the GPL, or released straight into the public domain that it's difficult to find an OS that does not use some open source code. This concept of making source code openly available has contributed greatly to the phenomenally rapid proliferation of computers and software. It allows computer scientists to stand on each others' shoulders, instead of standing on each others' toes. How anyone can view Open Source as a bad thing is beyond me. I have yet to see a cogent argument against the merits of Open Source.

The enthusiasm and passion expressed in this thread do indeed have a very high entertainment value. How wonderful it is that we live in a time of relatively easy access to global communication forums. Would this be possible without Open Source?

Femalespeaks 09/03/03 11:37:28 AM EDT

Gentlemen, and Darl : thank you for such entertaining reading. It does my world-weary Western Australian spirit good to hear such passion expressed. May we never descend past anger to apathy.

I got onto this site because our Church (read Christian - sorry!)network administrator (I'm on staff) sent me a snotty email today alleging that open source software is morally unacceptable because "it is piracy". So, I started to do some research and found on the UNESCO free software portal reference to Richard Stallman's original GNU manifesto, in which he cites issues of conscience which motivated him to take up the GNU challenge. Reading the above, it seems all sides of the debate (except you Darl, you sweet thing) bring their values to the moral table.

Now, here we all are, enjoying a good old rant, with just as little concern for sweeping generalisations as that network administrator who got me hot under the collar today.

My favourite (non-US spelling intended)contribution above has to be that of Thomas Hansen. Just as the debate reached boiling point, Thomas shared one of the most informative bits of information in the thread (no sarcasm intended):
"Linus Torvalds is from Finland, which is not a part of Scandinavia.
Scandinavia is Denmark, Norway and Sweden."

Understated nationalism perhaps? Thank you, gents. It has been a joy:)

Dan Bent 09/03/03 09:40:49 AM EDT

I'm very happy to see so much commentary of excellent quality on this topic. However I'm quite dismayed to see so much focus on nationalist and religious concepts that seem out of place on this forum, and in this thread. I guess James started it out with some fairly nationalistic comments. Still, the issues are Linux, intellectual property rights. One of the things I like best about the FLOSS community, to paraphrase James Turner, is that it is a mertitocracy. It does not matter what nationality or religious background the developers of Linux, or any other technology come from. What matters is the technical excellence of the resulting product. Let's keep that in focus, and avoid offending people unncesccarily with comments about religion and nationality that are best expressed in some other forum.

Hoser Joe 09/03/03 03:51:11 AM EDT

Ed Martin is dreaming if he thinks that India is a leading light of Linux development. India has a lot of contract programmers working for $5/day. That's not what I'd call leadership. The strength of anything of value in the West comes from strong Christian leaders, and Linux is suffering from confusion and lack of leadership. Sort of like America before 9/11. Linux is in trouble, and SCO is a only symptom. The confusion of the wets on this forum clearly shows the problem, especially if they think that places like India are what makes Linux grow. This is not meant to disparage the confused citizens of other places, but to remind us all of where the strength of Linux comes from, and how easily it will crumple without good (especially Christian) leaders.

Tsu Dho Nimh 08/30/03 07:30:54 AM EDT

""Linux (in spite of its Scandinavian origins) is a profoundly American idea.""

In the same way as Amish barn-raisings, pot-luck suppers, wagon trains, volunteer fire departments, the original Philadelphia lending library ... yes. A community shares resources and labor to get something none of them could do alone. (and has fun doing it)

Unfortunately, SCO is also profoundly American: in the tradition of the 19th century robber barons like Rockefeller, Carnegie, etc. Their style is reminiscent of the 1950's Senator McCarthy, waving his list of commies but never letting anyone see the list.

Fortunately for the Amreican Linux community, end users are not liable for anything if they are using "trade secrets" in code leaked from UNIX to Linux by IBM. IBM is the only legal target, because they were the only ones in a position to know the code had a NDA. After a trade secret is out of the fortress, it is no longer a secret, and anyone can use it with absolutely no compensation to the ex-holder of the secret. Reverse-engineering a trade secret is explicitly permitted.

Almost the same situation exists for any copyright code - the infringer is not the end user, but the person who put the code into the kernel. Distributors (like publishers) may be liable for damages from infringment, but only after they have been notified of exactly what is infringing by the copyright holder. If they fail to remove the infringing material and continue distributing, then and only then are they anything but an innocent party.

Moksha 08/29/03 03:48:14 PM EDT

The press is currently talking about the wisdom of SCO shareholders selling while the SCO stock is on the bubble due to their zany get-rich-quick-scheme. But how will they get the message? The investors website ir.sco.com does not really discuss the negative issues about this SCO scheme. Hopefully the Noorda family will catch wind of the Open Source World's side to this half-baked scheme cooked up on the links of the Thanksgiving Point golf course and rectify this situation.

Ed Martin 08/29/03 05:33:32 AM EDT

I really and truly would like to know where you people get you short sightedness and self righteous thinking about religion and Linux development?????? In America we have all walks of life and all religions this is not relevant. India is probably one of the foremost software development area's in the world. Asia probably has 40% of their systems running open source. So I'd get off your high horse about religion.

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