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Open Source: Article

SCO CEO Posts Open Letter to the Open Source Community

Slams fundamental flaws in Linux development and lousy business model

In an open letter to the OS community, Darl McBride writes: 'The most controversial issue in the information technology industry today is the ongoing battle over software copyrights and intellectual property. This battle is being fought largely between vendors who create and sell proprietary software, and the Open Source community. My company, the SCO Group, became a focus of this controversy when we filed a lawsuit against IBM alleging that SCO's proprietary Unix code has been illegally copied into the free Linux operating system...' Read the full letter here:

The most controversial issue in the information technology industry today is the ongoing battle over software copyrights and intellectual property. This battle is being fought largely between vendors who create and sell proprietary software, and the Open Source community. My company, the SCO Group, became a focus of this controversy when we filed a lawsuit against IBM alleging that SCO’s proprietary Unix code has been illegally copied into the free Linux operating system. In doing this we angered some in the Open Source community by pointing out obvious intellectual property problems that exist in the current Linux software development model.

This debate about Open Source software is healthy and beneficial. It offers long-term benefits to the industry by addressing a new business model in advance of wide-scale adoption by customers. But in the last week of August two developments occurred that adversely affect the long-term credibility of the Open Source community, with the general public and with customers.

The first development followed another series of Denial of Service (DDoS) attacks on SCO, which took place two weeks ago. These were the second and third such attacks in four months and have prevented Web users from accessing our web site and doing business with SCO. There is no question about the affiliation of the attacker – Open Source leader Eric Raymond was quoted as saying that he was contacted by the perpetrator and that “he’s one of us.” To Mr Raymond’s partial credit, he asked the attacker to stop. However, he has yet to disclose the identity of the perpetrator so that justice can be done.

No one can tolerate DDoS attacks and other kinds of attacks in this Information Age economy that relies so heavily on the Internet. Mr Raymond and the entire Open Source community need to aggressively help the industry police these types of crimes. If they fail to do so it casts a shadow over the entire Open Source movement and raises questions about whether Open Source is ready to take a central role in business computing. We cannot have a situation in which companies fear they may be next to suffer computer attacks if they take a business or legal position that angers the Open Source community. Until these illegal attacks are brought under control, enterprise customers and mainstream society will become increasingly alienated from anyone associated with this type of behavior.

The second development was an admission by Open Source leader Bruce Perens that UNIX System V code (owned by SCO) is, in fact, in Linux, and it shouldn’t be there. Mr Perens stated that there is “an error in the Linux developer’s process” which allowed Unix System V code that “didn’t belong in Linux” to end up in the Linux kernel (source: ComputerWire, August 25, 2003). Mr Perens continued with a string of arguments to justify the “error in the Linux developer’s process.” However, nothing can change the fact that a Linux developer on the payroll of Silicon Graphics stripped copyright attributions from copyrighted System V code that was licensed to Silicon Graphics under strict conditions of use, and then contributed that source code to Linux as though it was clean code owned and controlled by SGI. This is a clear violation of SGI’s contract and copyright obligations to SCO. We are currently working to try and resolve these issues with SGI.

This improper contribution of Unix code by SGI into Linux is one small example that reveals fundamental structural flaws in the Linux development process. In fact, this issue goes to the very heart of whether Open Source can be trusted as a development model for enterprise computing software. The intellectual property roots of Linux are obviously flawed at a systemic level under the current model. To date, we claim that more than one million lines of Unix System V protected code have been contributed to Linux through this model. The flaws inherent in the Linux process must be openly addressed and fixed.

At a minimum, IP sources should be checked to assure that copyright contributors have the authority to transfer copyrights in the code contributed to Open Source. This is just basic due diligence that governs every other part of corporate dealings. Rather than defend the “don’t ask, don’t tell” Linux intellectual property policy that caused the SCO v IBM case, the Open Source community should focus on customers’ needs. The Open Source community should assure that Open Source software has a solid intellectual property foundation that can give confidence to end users. I respectfully suggest to Open Source developers that this is a far better use of your collective resources and abilities than to defend and justify flawed intellectual property policies that are out of sync with the needs of enterprise computing customers.

I believe that the Open Source software model is at a critical stage of development. The Open Source community has its roots in counter-cultural ideals – the notion of “Hackers” against Big Business – but because of recent advances in Linux, the community now has the opportunity to develop software for mainstream American corporations and other global companies. If the Open Source community wants its products to be accepted by enterprise companies, the community itself must follow the rules and procedures that govern mainstream society. This is what global corporations will require. And it is these customers who will determine the ultimate fate of Open Source – not SCO, not IBM, and not Open Source leaders.

Some enterprise customers have accepted Open Source because IBM has put its name behind it. However, IBM and other Linux vendors are reportedly unwilling to provide intellectual property warranties to their customers. This means that Linux end users must take a hard look at the intellectual property underpinnings of Open Source products and at the GPL (GNU General Public License) licensing model itself.

If the Open Source community wants to develop products for enterprise corporations, it must respect and follow the rule of law. These rules include contracts, copyrights and other intellectual property laws. For several months SCO has been involved in a contentious legal case that we filed against IBM. What are the underlying intellectual property principles that have put SCO in a strong position in this hotly debated legal case? I’d summarize them in this way:

“Fair use” applies to educational, public service and related applications and does not justify commercial misappropriation. Books and Internet sites intended and authorized for the purpose of teaching and other non-commercial use cannot be copied for commercial use. We believe that some of the SCO software code that has ended up in the Linux operating system got there through this route. This violates our intellectual property rights.

Copyright attributions protect ownership and attribution rights –they cannot simply be changed or stripped away. This is how copyright owners maintain control of their legal rights and prevent unauthorized transfer of ownership. Our proprietary software code has been copied into Linux by people who simply stripped off SCO’s copyright notice or contributed derivative works in violation of our intellectual property rights. This is improper.

In copyright law, ownership cannot be transferred without express, written authority of a copyright holder. Some have claimed that, because SCO software code was present in software distributed under the GPL, SCO has forfeited its rights to this code. Not so – SCO never gave permission, or granted rights, for this to happen.

Transfer of copyright ownership without express written authority of all proper parties is null and void.

Use of derivative rights in copyrighted material is defined by the scope of a license grant. An authorized derivative work may not be used beyond the scope of a license grant. License grants regarding derivative works vary from license to license – some are broad and some are narrow. In other words, the license itself defines the scope of permissive use, and licensees agree to be bound by that definition. One reason SCO sued IBM is due to our assertions that IBM has violated the terms of the specific IBM/SCO license agreement through its handling of derivative works. We believe our evidence is compelling on this issue.

The copyright rules that underlie SCO’s case are not disputable. They provide a solid foundation for any software development model, including Open Source. Rather than ignore or challenge copyright laws, Open Source developers will advance their cause by respecting the rules of law that built our society into what it is today. This is the primary path towards giving enterprise companies the assurance they need to accept Open Source products at the core of their business infrastructure. Customers need to know that Open Source is legal and stable.

Finally, it is clear that the Open Source community needs a business model that is sustainable, if it is to grow beyond a part-time avocation into an enterprise-trusted development model. Free Open Source software primarily benefits large vendors, which sell hardware and expensive services that support Linux, but not Linux itself. By providing Open Source software without a warranty, these largest vendors avoid significant costs while increasing their services revenue. Today, that’s the viable Open Source business model. Other Linux companies have already failed and many more are struggling to survive. Few are consistently profitable. It’s time for everyone else in the industry, individuals and small corporations, to under this and to implement our own business model – something that keeps us alive and profitable. In the long term, the financial stability of software vendors and the legality of their software products are more important to enterprise customers than free software. Rather than fight for the right for free software, it’s far more valuable to design a new business model that enhances the stability and trustworthiness of the Open Source community in the eyes of enterprise customers.

A sustainable business model for software development can be built only on an intellectual property foundation. I invite the Open Source community to explore these possibilities for your own benefit within an Open Source model. Further, the SCO Group is open to ideas of working with the Open Source community to monetize software technology and its underlying intellectual property for all contributors, not just SCO.

In the meantime, I will continue to protect SCO’s intellectual property and contractual rights. The process moving forward will not be easy. It is easier for some in the Open Source community to fire off a “rant” than to sit across a negotiation table. But if the Open Source community is to become a software developer for global corporations, respect for intellectual property is not optional – it is mandatory. Working together, there are ways we can make sure this happens.

Best regards to all,

Darl McBride
CEO
The SCO Group

More Stories By Jeremy Geelan

Jeremy Geelan is Chairman & CEO of the 21st Century Internet Group, Inc. and an Executive Academy Member of the International Academy of Digital Arts & Sciences. Formerly he was President & COO at Cloud Expo, Inc. and Conference Chair of the worldwide Cloud Expo series. He appears regularly at conferences and trade shows, speaking to technology audiences across six continents. You can follow him on twitter: @jg21.

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Most Recent Comments
Hyperionsix 09/13/04 05:03:19 PM EDT

Darl,
Up to the same old game again.
You're company was failing miserably and thus you began your terroistic threats of suing companies if they failed to pay "licensing fees". Some did and some didn't. I hope you continue to spend millions of dollars pursuing your dream of cornering Unix/Linux because in the end it will all be for nothing. I'm no expert on law, but those that are say you have a large number of very high hardles to overcome in order to get your way. Keep spending that money buddy!
P.S.
You're a doorknob!

norty 03/15/04 02:34:51 AM EST

Daryl,
I'm ashaimed that you were ever from Utah, or went to BYU...
good thing for you tucked tail and ran off to London...
there'd be a good old Happy-Valley A$$ woopin'
or do you own those too.
caugh up the goods, or sit down & shut up, and get a real job

James 03/14/04 11:32:33 PM EST

http://australianit.news.com.au/articles/0,7204,8944855%5E15316%5E%5Enbv...

"Microsoft-SCO Link confirmed"

There you have it folks...

Mark Lawrence 03/12/04 05:13:31 AM EST

Mr McBride

Are you still around? You are looking to make a fast buck so that you can then "withdraw" as the "victim".

My company uses Linux in all areas of our business and we would welcome a lawsuit from SCO. Better still, go and develop your own OS that works!!

Bye now
Mark

fuzzywzhe 02/25/04 07:23:34 PM EST

So - now that SCO has admitted that there isn't any SysV code that was illegally contributed to Linux - where is Mr. Big Mouth now? Doesn't anybody care that a compulsive liar is being allowed to run a company or that basically he's made fradulent statements for over a year now with regard to Linux and it's developers?

Brian Agatonovic 02/18/04 09:44:26 AM EST

SCO is not teh win!

Fecal Extrusion 02/17/04 04:03:30 PM EST

To quote Darl McBride:
"...Blah, blah blah blah. Blah blah blah blah blah...
blah blah blah blah blah blah..."

Translation:
We screwed up in our attempts to make money off Linux by
CHARGING for it, so we're trying to destroy the GPL, so that
Linux can become OUR property, so that we CAN CHARGE FOR IT!

clonny 02/10/04 11:24:49 AM EST

Dear Mr SCO,

I read the first 20 or so posts on this topic, then skimmed through. From what I can gather, you are jealous that the Linux Operating System (which is free under the GPL) is more widely used, talked about and supported than your own SCO-UNIX based toys. Good on you for taking the time to write a letter explaining your views, and as far as im concerned, your entitled to them.

But the truth is, if you are recieving opposition on such a large scale as you are, there must me something fundamentally wrong in your approach, or maybe you are just all out wrong?

The way I see it, I will use proprietry software from Microsoft, after paying for it; I will use Linux Based Debian, for free (god loves GPL); but I will not use SCO-UNIX, because I do not believe you have the understanding that your potential users want software that worth the costs (if any) without being labelled as the enemy.

You lose SCO, The Open Source Community has your undies and they aint giving them back

Love clonny.

Linux Warrior 01/03/04 06:59:54 PM EST

He is lying, basicly that message says: buy our license or risk us suing you. Well if they want my linux copy, they can come and pry it out of my cold,dead hands!

Nicholas 12/05/03 05:08:22 PM EST

Before the advent of Linux, Unix was a "mid range system". SCO ( in its former incarnation, perhaps, as SCO of the 1980s) and Microsoft both made x86 processor based version of Unix which were not ground breaking or state of the art in their day. They were just reasonably good and mostly solid implementations of the AT&T Unix system, or a derivative kernal that ran on "IBM PC" machines.

It was a text based implementation, and it was okay. But when the Windows operating system changed the paradigm, text based systems fell out of the window. It distracted the main body of potential users into an "easier" interface. Nobody really needed to read the manual so much now, or learn all those tricky command line tools. You just dragged and dropped.

SCO did nothng with Unix to bring it into the new paradigm. The FSF and Open Source community did that. Now the Linux desktop could run without anything remotely resembling Unix. The operating system part of it is just a set of standard functions that are easily rewritten. It is not that hard to write an OS. Marketing it in the present environment may be difficult.

Ivan Leo Murray-Smith 11/27/03 08:05:55 AM EST

>Meanwhile, why doesn't IBM just scrape together some of its >pocketchange and *JUST BUY SCO* ?
Because they want to show in court that linux is free software, without any doubt. Sco will lose, and go bankrupt, but by then the CEO will have sold all his shares, and they will show what happens when you try and legally attack linux and the GPL.

freelance 11/26/03 08:04:21 PM EST

Anyone else getting bored of this whole thing yet? SCO - tell us what you think is infringing, and in an hour it'll be out, replaced, and your precious IP will be your own again. That's what you want, right? Your IP returned? You're not just in it for the money, are you? ...are you?

Meanwhile, why doesn't IBM just scrape together some of its pocketchange and *JUST BUY SCO* ?

This isn't about IP. This isn't about some half-baked idea of 'what is right'. This is about a company on its last legs scrabbling for a business plan.

Give it up, SCO, and let everyone get back to work.

Bobby 11/21/03 11:51:25 AM EST

Look at this statement:

************************
The first development followed another series of Denial of Service (DDoS) attacks on SCO, which took place two weeks ago. These were the second and third such attacks in four months and have prevented Web users from accessing our web site and doing business with SCO. There is no question about the affiliation of the attacker – Open Source leader Eric Raymond was quoted as saying that he was contacted by the perpetrator and that “he’s one of us.” To Mr Raymond’s partial credit, he asked the attacker to stop. However, he has yet to disclose the identity of the perpetrator so that justice can be done.
************************

Maybe he didn't release the guy's name because his name is copywritten. He wouldn't want to get sued now would he???
:P

James 11/19/03 12:40:51 AM EST

What a total prick - does he remind anyone else of Al Pacino in the Devil's Advocate - why doesn't he do the world a favour (since he's trying to screw the world effectively) and go suck a tailpipe,
regards,
a linux user and greedy-person hater

Pandoria Stefford 11/13/03 06:53:34 PM EST

Oh, and SCO says the GPL is trying to destroy copyright law. And furthermore, the GPL forbids proprietary ownership, so that means no one can own it

Janin Weichelor 11/13/03 06:51:12 PM EST

I expect next SCO will start specifically refusing to answer certain questions and refusing requests for documents.

Toni Kofur 11/13/03 06:49:16 PM EST

So what SCO wants is the rights to own Linux becuase their market plan is dead. If their code is in Linux it will not cause any harm to post it in public view.

Alexander Kjær 10/19/03 02:13:44 AM EDT

I think the whole SCO vs The linux community is a joke.
The case went really good for them becouse of new investors and their stocks raised. I don't think their case was to win, it was to get publisity, couse eighter way they still got some money out of this.
More than i'll probably make in my whole life.

Norm 10/16/03 04:45:38 PM EDT

Someone has called the Darl way of speaking "weasle speak"
I call it devil speak,
Darl is truely the prince, of half truth and Lies.
He claims to be mormon,
Darl is no more a true mormon, than I am J.C.

McCarthy 10/16/03 02:59:19 PM EDT

Nothing more than a bleached corporate rant in support of corporate fascism. Transparent as just another political manoeuvre in what has become a delightfully entertaining legal duel.

James 09/18/03 09:33:29 PM EDT

* James watches in amusement as Darl gets laughed off the stage *

Caldera issued their version of Linux under the GPL. End of story. Well said.

BearItAll 09/17/03 07:57:08 AM EDT

How can SCO say that the big corps in the US can't use Linux, big corps all over the world already do.

SCO are after a bit of money off big blue, it has nothing to do with intelectural copyright.

But if it had then wouldn't SCO owe a great deal of money to the actual developers of UNIX. Loads of companies contributed to it's creation at the beginning, we have Bell the US phone company to thank for a major section of the comms software for a start. Oxford in the UK have to get a bit for the packet developement, BT in the UK added to the comms and time slicing system .... and so on.

SCO in my opinion are going to have to share that cheque out if they get one.

Nathan Hand 09/15/03 05:37:16 AM EDT

Sigh, I just noticed that Hawkie specifically said "copyright" and the Timeline vs Microsoft is an example of patents. But even though the specific example is wrong, the idea is right. Buying from Microsoft (or any closed-source vendor) does not give you 100% assurance that you won't be sued by a third party. So this is not a unique flaw of open source; closed source is equally affected. Darl McBride is lying and people are believing him. The FUD must stop. Linux end users are no more at risk than closed-source end users.

Nathan Hand 09/15/03 05:30:40 AM EDT

Hawkie says "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."

Several people have addressed this point. You are choosing to ignore them.

Hawkie says "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."

Darl McBride has claimed this several times and it appears people are beginning to parrot it as if it were fact. This simply proves the saying "if you repeat a lie often enough then people will believe it". The legality of his claim is dubious and Darl McBride is not an authority. A judge will need to decide the truth of the matter. There is no reason to believe that suing the end-user is any different from a closed-source product to an open-source product.

Hawkie says "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."

Unfortunately you are wrong. See Timeline and Microsoft.

"Microsoft released its SQL Server 7.0 software, a product designed to manage large databases for businesses. Within weeks of its release, Timeline contacted Microsoft alleging that the reporting and analysis functions contained in the software infringed patents held by Timeline."

"In June of 1999, Microsoft obtained a license from Timeline in respect of Microsoft's SQL server software. Soon thereafter, it became evident that the parties had different interpretations regarding the scope of the license. Microsoft claimed that the license covered users of its SQL server software who added code so long as the code they added did not in and of itself infringe the covered patents."

"However, Timeline took the position that any code added by a user that performed any step of Timeline's patented process infringed its patents if the combination of that code ad the SQL Server software infringed the patents. While Microsoft won the first round at the trial level, it was Timeline who prevailed on appeal. As a consequence, other data management products from Microsoft or from other vendors that utilize SQL Server, or enhancements developed by users built on top of SQL Server, may now be infringing."

[http://www.ecommlawreport.com/ecommlawreport/article.html]

So how are the users protected here? Where is the safety of buying from Microsoft? It seems that Timeline has every legal right to sue end-users of Microsoft SQL Server. Your claim that corporations are "legal entities" and therefore they receive all of the flak is simply false. Timeline vs Microsoft proves that you are wrong.

Also the reality is that most vendors, including Microsoft, have been absolving themselves of responsibility as fast as they can. Microsoft recently reworded their indemnification to only cover the _purchase_price_ of the software. So if you buy Windows and are sued by a third party for something that Microsoft stole, you will get a refund from Microsoft and that's it. Linux vendors including MontaVista and Suse already offer that level of indemnity. So how are the Linux vendors any worse than closed-source vendors?

Hawkie says "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 a similar statement of legal responsibility for a deployment of Windows? You are being silly.

Hawkie 09/15/03 03:33:51 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 ?

Wesley Parish 09/11/03 09:31:01 PM EDT

Darl

Just another comment on your strange use of the English language:

"One reason SCO sued IBM is due to our assertions that IBM has violated the terms of the specific IBM/SCO license agreement through its handling of derivative works."

"One reason"? As far as the lawsuit filing goes, that is the only reason given. "... is due to ..."? Something's not making any sense here. And it gets worse with "... to our assertions ...", which is a synonym for "to our claims" ...

Let me try to paraphrase what we've encountered so far:

"One cause for SCO suing IBM is because of our claims ..." and try to tell me that the person who wrote the original had any native fluency in the English language.

It's even worse when you try to parse it in a tree diagram a la the various post-transformational grammars. The way it smears out - it's better than meta x dissociated-press or any other travesty generator I've so far used - for the simple reason that most travesty generators can't be mistaken for a real live human being.

Isaac Comer 09/11/03 02:46:55 PM EDT

He says something to the effect that: Just because we released a Linux distro under GPL, that doesn't mean we gave up our copyright. Well, duh! That's not the point--point is, if the supposedly illegal code is in the Linux distro they released then, it seems like that would make it okay to use. (through the backdoor, so to speak). It doesn't mean they give up copyright to it, no. And it may not be pertinant to their lawsuit against IBM. But it does seem to diminish any claims they have against Linux as a whole. They published that Linux kernel (for their distro) and all the source code and licensed it GPL style. Saying, in effect, "reuse whatever you want, just make sure to give it back to the community".

Okay, sorry if that doesn't totally make sense. It's difficult to think clearly after reading through ankle-high BS. He made the Open Source community sound like a bunch of 12 year olds (or at least he tried to). I think he's suffering from the SNAFU principle (he's at the top of the authoritarian structure, far removed from reality)

I really hope this stuff gets to trial soon, and I really hope SCO gets burned. badly. (But don't DDoS them because that's wrong. fun, but wrong. It's no good stooping to their level.)

StopThief 09/11/03 02:40:39 PM EDT

I just want to know one thing - when this whole charade is over, is there going to be any way to get McBride and his partners to disgorge the millions they're collectively bilking from gullible investors? They're rather obviously making statements to pump the short-term price of the stock that are just as obviously destroying any chance of the company's retaining any long-term value. Smells like fraud to me, but is there any legal standard that would apply in this sort of case?

Ivan Leo Murray-Smith 09/11/03 07:24:29 AM EDT

Sco has just proved that linux contains code licensed under the BSD license, (And that code can be re-licensed under the GPL), and if they just told the kernel developers what lines they own, Linux would just delete them the 100.000+ kernel developers would re-write them in a few days or weeks (That may mean kernel 2.6 released a bit later than expected, maybe 2 months), and that would be the end of that.

Qaz Zaq 09/10/03 07:03:02 PM EDT

>Other Linux companies have already failed and many more
>are struggling to survive. Few are consistently profitable.
>It’s time for everyone else in the industry, individuals
>and small corporations, to under this and to implement our
>own business model – something that keeps us alive and
>profitable.

"we don't have a business model; let's sue IBM!!"

Chris Merrill 09/10/03 04:19:52 PM EDT

Darl McBride (CEO of SCO) wrote:
> It is easier for some in the Open Source community to fire
> off a “rant” than to sit across a negotiation table.

Apparently it was easier for SCO to launch billion-dollar lawsuits than contact the appropriate open-source project leaders and inform them of the copyright infringements (most of which still have not been disclosed). What goes around...

DougT2 09/10/03 01:43:40 PM EDT

SCO has washed up on the beach and is now just flapping around... let it die. Way to much time and effort is being wasted on this issue. If M$ was to get involved you know they would turn it around to benefit them. No one wants that to happen either. It's put up or shut up time, let's get this over with.

Boughaba ossama 09/10/03 01:24:02 PM EDT

I believe SCO should not be blamed for its suite against IBM, afterall some emtity that feels it's rights violated can go to judge to get its dues back, I say so thaugh I have very positive point of view toward IBM as a global IT company.
the really bad thing SCO has perpetred is to claim ownership of opensource comunity's pride Linux. beggin for money on business linux user's doors is a poor thing. SCO should have asked rights from those she knows have used it's code sinse it's naming major companies.
till the day microsoft will face the same trouble as SCO take care of your open mind

lw 09/10/03 09:27:17 AM EDT

i don't think M$ will buy SCO, because this will just make things worse, especially for M$. Bad PR, induce even more security attack on M$ product that will hurt the confident of their "innocense" consumer. More likely, M$ will fund the operation behind the scene. If SCO works out, M$ benefit; if SCO doesn't work out, M$ walk away clean.

Gil Borman 09/10/03 09:08:46 AM EDT

McBrides' letter is pathetic. "I am shocked these hackers are mad at my company trying to extort billions" and rather than allow for the correction of some wrongful copying, I insist on controlling something I am not entitled to control.

Why Red Had and IBM have not bought SCO and taken Mr. McBride to the unemployment line continues to mystify me. He would make an excellent towel boy for the SF ballet. And Red Hat had better wake up- if Microsoft buys SCO, then Linux has a real problem.

Group Captain Lionel Mandrake 09/10/03 07:54:07 AM EDT

"Say, you're going to have a little wash and brush up, are you, what a good idea. Always does wonders for a man, that, Jack, a little wash and brush up, water on the back of the neck. Makes you feel marvelous. That's what we need, Jack, water on the back of the neck and the code."

Terje Malja 09/10/03 04:16:05 AM EDT

I have reasons to belive that SCO have no future. :-)

shiv 09/10/03 01:26:58 AM EDT

If this is Darl McBride's best effort, SCO will shut down sooner than i thought. The narrative is pure sophistry and not even sopisticated at that. Mr McBride's easy transfer of responsibility for the alleged DDoS attacks to ESR and the FLOSS community is a case in point (Sounds a lot like arial sharon holding arafat responsible for the hamas). Further his comments on enterprise customers *wanting* IPR (to raise their costs apparently) cannot pass the laugh test.Its amusing to note that the foremost advocates of capitalistic 'free trade' run for the cover of their nanny state's skirts (via legislation) when they find that the law of the market has ensured their extinction. IBM has out thought the rest of the denizens and SCO can't stand it. To summarize, Mr.McBride's impeccable logic goes like this

1. We *must* do something.
2. *This* is something.
3. So we *must* do *this*

(jay & lynn in the immortal 'yes prime mininster')

Shiv

conspiracy theory 09/10/03 01:05:05 AM EDT

Now imagine this senario or Conspiracy Theory,

You have a Free Software App, which the world helps to develop. ok, now a company like SpastiCO sent a Puta(worm, person) to submit Copyright code as their own work, totally anonymous. Some time later, SpastiCO says "hey, you got our code in there, I will have to start charging people for it now, all over the freakin world", scamming putas.

Hey, let's all do that, NOT !!!

What stops anyone from anonymously submitting Copyright code, then claiming on it??? I hope somebody proves that SpastiCo put that code in themselves and get hung! for it.

ahhhhhh, feel better now, thanks for this feed back section :)

Member of large company 09/10/03 12:47:14 AM EDT

I am an IT admin for a large company. We have 4 SCO machines in operation here. As a result of this nonsense this week we terminated the licences on them and put in Linux boxes in to replace them. We did this because we understand that SCO is going down and who wants hardware and software that is going to be obsolete come may next year?

SCO could have worked with the Open Source community to settle this issue. Instead they have tried to scare and pressure innocent members of the open source community.

Some 13 year old kid in Alabama who is playing around with an operating system for the first time suddenly gets a scary message in the mail telling him he has to pay a 600$
license fee ?

WELL @#%@#% YOU SCO !

I urge every customer of SCO with an interest in supporting the true spirit of UNIX to consider the same kinds of actions. Dump your SCO junk and go Open Source.

Open Source helps the consumer not the glass tower fat cats making legacy purchases of code that they do not even no the history of.

What SCO is doing is not about UNIX or protecting intellectual property. It is about the cash. Open Src has brought nothing but benefits to the software development community.

Even if some justification for this law suit did exist the follow up lies and slanders against the open src community are just wrong.

McBride your a fool and SCO is DOOMED.

Michael Longval 09/10/03 12:43:45 AM EDT

Dear Darl,

Give it up. Cut your losses and get out. You don't have the intellect to pull off what you are trying to do. The thousands of people who came together to create Linux are now coming together with thousands MORE to FIGHT your petty accusations.

There is a saying in the FLOSS community that "Given enough eyeballs, all bugs are shallow", the corrollary is "Given enough pissed off open-source software developpers with time and ressources, all SCO legal arguments will be picked apart like so much cotton candy, revealing an worthless paper cone in the middle."

Your fight is hopeless Darl, hang it up. Take a walk.

Robert M. Stockmann 09/10/03 12:27:45 AM EDT

State of the Community

Mister Speaker, members of congress and fellow linux users.

I have come here to make a statement. Today, now for more as a year, McBride stands for corporate scandals , recession, stock market declines, blackmail, burning with hot irons , mutilation with electric drills, cutting out tongs, terror , massmurder and rape.

McBride has planted false information and evidence to insite fear amongst linux users for corporate terrorism. We cannot show contempt for McBride. He defies the Linux community, we can only act appropiate.

McBride is only building a culture of corporate terrorism. McBride's purpose is more than to follow a process, it is to achieve a result : the end of the civilized world.

Tonight i have a message for McBride: go home and die.

Thank you mister speaker

Mike T 09/10/03 12:18:16 AM EDT

Darl,

If you had any desire to do what is right for the Open Source community and Linux, you would release the code in question so it could be examined and the situation rectified (if need be). That's the beauty of Open Source -- even if your claims were true and valid, over 1 million lines of code could be modified.

Instead, you are making a foolish and hypocritical attempt to cash in on other peoples work and the success of Linux because the company you work for is a failure and does not produce a profitable product. The result will be SCO suicide. If Linux wasn't around, UNIX users would likely use a more robust, modern, and refined variant, such as those made by Sun or one of the BSD distributions (which are free, like Linux).

Ying Hu 09/09/03 11:17:14 PM EDT

Dear Darl,

Any DoS attack on SCO has nothing to do with the real issue, and you just wave a flag over the weakness of your own untenable position when you claim it is. There are laws against such attacks, and if the person is identified he or she will be charged. You on the other hand, and your whole company policy, demonstrate the morals of an old-time highwayman. You have contributed nothing whatsoever of value to computing, but are sponging parasites on the work of others, be they others from the old Caldera, the old SCO, IBM, AT&T, or open-source development. You have simply tried to take advantage of a seeming opening in law to extort huge amounts of money from nearly anyone you could, or could think of. You just feel if you can, you should. Of course it's better to be rich. And should it not work, every one of us who is following this story is aware of how the officers of your company are selling off SCO stock at the run-up prices you have arranged with your false statements (I'm sure you all are in agreement - what better reason than that to make such statements in the first place?). I add my voice to those calling for the SEC to investigate your company, its stock management, its products, and its public statements.

You also don't seem to know anything about real software or how it's developed. What business did you say you were in, again?

iggy 09/09/03 10:45:36 PM EDT

Darl, your company with your Business Model is slowly going down the drain. A good CEO should make money by selling good product instead of threatening to sue the world and spreading FUD. Why not try to improve and "monetize" your inferior operating system? Do yourself and your investors a favor and resign before The Board kicks you out. You're not gonna win this one.

wait4it 09/09/03 10:36:34 PM EDT

Mr. McBride's reasonable tone cannot conceal the near-psychotic break with reality that underlies his arguments. How to explain this apparent inconsistency between lucid presentation and gibbering content? It's not that difficult, really - he's just lying. Mr. McBride and his co-conspirators are engaged in a stock fraud of historic proportions. Check the market cap of SCO - pretty impressive for a company that has literally zero actual value. SCO's actions have doomed them to bankruptcy at the hands of IBM's army of attorneys, and Mr. McBride knows it. In trying to raise the stakes by putting the screws to IBM's AIX customer base, they have opened themselves to civil penalties far beyond the value of SCO itself. IBM's going to take over SCO, all right - but not by paying for it. The company and its assets will have to be turned over as partial payment for damages. And those folks who've been paying upwards of $15/share? Hope you got the pretty certificates folks - they'll be wallpaper soon enough.

Concerned 09/09/03 10:19:45 PM EDT

If I thought for a moment that this case would be decided on its technical merit, I would have no worries. But painting the Open Source community as a bunch of communist thieves and anarchists may be all that's needed to convince a technophobic jury. Denial of Service attacks against SCO hurt the Open Source community more than they hurt SCO.

What this case is really about, to me, is about whether society is better when everyone shares, or when everyone hordes. It's about whether we want to live in world where we help unknown grandmothers across the street or run them over when no-one is looking.

On another level, neither SCO nor the Linux community would be in the present position if the intellectual property laws were adapted to the current pace of development. 17 years is completely out of scale with providing protection for someone's idea when you consider that most software companies are out of business in less than 2 years. Current patent legislation fails to strike a fair balance for creators to profit from their inventions while society is still encouraged to innovate.

I have seen patents from both sides. I have applied for a patent on 3-D texturing and I have (in a separate incident) closed my business when threatened with patent infringement.

And yes, I did buy my Linux distribution - from a company who supports the community that created it instead of suing it. Remember to put your money where you mouth is - the competition will.

Malcolm Sell 09/09/03 10:01:42 PM EDT

I think it is sad to know that we actually have companies in this world that are as crooked or worse than the lawers that they hire. Almost 100% of the code they clame to be "stolen" and included in linux has been with the kernel since before SCO bought the rights to the Unix code from Novel. Also this code was included in their release of linux up and until they abandoned it earlier this year. I also think it is sad that all of the money they have set aside to challenge IBM and the open source community came strait from the piggy bank of Micro$oft.

Nathan Barclay 09/09/03 09:52:43 PM EDT

Trying to discredit the entire Open Source community based on the actions of a handful of extremists who use DDoS attacks is like trying to discredit everyone who cares about the environment based on the actions of a few zealots who resort to breaking the law. Yes, it is important for mainstream members of any movement to disavow and discourage illegal tactics if they want their movement to be seen as consisting primarily of reasonable, law-abiding people. But the existence of a few extremists who regard their cause as worth fighting for even through illegal means in no way diminishes the importance of air that is safe to breathe or water that is safe to drink, nor does it diminish the value of Open Source software.

Walter Mundt 09/09/03 09:49:42 PM EDT

Well, this letter gets exactly one thing right: IP is important, and Open Source needs to pay attention to it.

But, news flash, Mr. McBride: we already do! Every time the open source community has learned of IP violations and been given enough information to do something about them, they've been dealt with. In the case of the posted code: it didn't just find it's way into a book and thence into SGI code...it got into SGI code through a release BY YOUR COMPANY, TO THE PUBLIC on the BSD license...which isn't exactly "strict usage terms". In fact, it's even less restrictive than the GPL, and so can be mixed with GPL code without restraint.

In some forms, however, it does require proper attribution, and so that could be construed as a license violation. But many versions of the BSD license don't even require that; I haven't looked into the exact variety under which the relevant System V code was released.

Trying to make huge claims without presenting any evidence that you can back them up is going to get you nowhere with the Open Source community. If you don't understand the technical and legal issues as well as the people you're preaching to, then just shut up.

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