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SCO, IBM, Unix, Microsoft, and Canopy - SCO Group's Sontag Speaks Out

SCO, IBM, Unix, Microsoft, and Canopy - SCO Group's Sontag Speaks Out

In a published interview conducted by e-mail with SearchEnterpriseLinux.com, SCO Group's "IP czar" - i.e., the general manager of the company's SCOsource division, Chris Sontag - exudes unapologetic self-confidence and complete peace of mind.

Read the interview for yourself, but the highlights are as follows:


Question: Do you truly expect any enterprise or smaller business to pay for a license?

Sontag's Answer:
We truly expect any commercial user of Linux based on the 2.4 kernel and later to properly compensate SCO for our intellectual property by paying us a license fee.


Question: Any regrets about how this has played out? If so, what are they?

Sontag's Answer:
It's too bad that the Linux development process couldn't prevent misappropriations of Unix software code.


Question: Are you concerned about becoming the pariah of IT vendors?

Sontag's Answer:
The only thing we are concerned with is protecting our intellectual property. Any software or hardware vendor out there that owns intellectual property knows that they have to protect it. If you let others steamroll your intellectual property, then why or how are you going to stay in business?

LinuxWorld congratulates Michael S. Mimoso, SearchEnterpriseLinux.com's news editor, on asking SCO's Sontag such plain-spoken questions.




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Most Recent Comments
Tsu Dho Nimh 11/09/03 06:08:21 PM EST

"LinuxWorld congratulates Michael S. Mimoso, SearchEnterpriseLinux.com's news editor, on asking SCO's Sontag such plain-spoken questions."

Plain spoken, marshmallow quality, and pointless. When Sontag says "intellectual property", why didn't your editor ask him what the heck is he referring to? US law recognizes 4 distinct kinds of "intellectual property" - patents, trademarks, trade secrets, and copyrights. Which of these is SCO referring to?

1.) patents? SCO has NONE.

2.) trademarks? the UNIX trademark is owned by the OpenGroup

3.) trade secrets? It is perhaps maybe possible that IBM did divulge a trade secret of SCO's in the code that IBM contrubuted ot LOinux. Bad news for SCO is that only the divulger of a secret is on the hook for damages ... after a trade secret is out of the bag, it can be used by everybody and the secret's original holder is not entitled to anything from them.

4.) So we are left with copyright - There is only one law on the US that controls copyright, called USC-17. While SCO has been whining about infringement, and even mentions the phrase "copyright infringement" in some of their filings, thye have yet to bring a formal charge of infringement under USC-17. And there is a time limit for claiming damages - 3 years from the date of discovery of infringement - after which the copyright holder can only ask for the infringment to cease. If SCO is to be believed, they have known about the infringing for over a year ... why are they delaying?

Bob 10/13/03 08:20:38 AM EDT

Kindof sounds like Bert and Ernie suing over the use of the alphabet.

A Smith 10/13/03 12:09:15 AM EDT

In SCO's August 5 press release SCO said introductory pricing on their SCO IP License for Linux would be available "through October 15th, 2003".

Well it's getting pretty close to the deadline, so I thought I'd check out the current situation. One page of SCO's site says the introductory pricing is available until October 31st (but I need to sign an NDA before I can be told it's terms according to item 5!), but another page of SCO's site says the introductory pricing is only available until October 1st.

Joseph Bironas 10/09/03 04:12:17 PM EDT

> Why not make everyone happy (as in rolling around with laughter) by giving us _all_ the so-called proof, Mr Sontag?

Because they are betting on the catch 22 defense of "If we release the [so-called] IP violations to the world, we effectively give up our IP" winning in court. What they should be working on is how to prove all that BSD code from an internet aeon ago is actually their intellectual property. That and how to prove that derivitive works based on an already legally distributed codebase (BSD) are theirs as well. Ahhhh to be a tech pirate. Oh yeah, they also might want to find a better way of validating their IP claims, perhaps a large group of researchers that could trace the origins of the offending code to it's correct sources? I'd say the open source community based on cost and effectiveness, but we know where that stands in SCO's eyes.

What the Tech community should focus on is blackballing SCO Execs and Lawyers from ever making a living in the US again, and how to prevent such vultures from preying on Open Source IP. It's been proven that we can't expect all commercial entities to fully appreciate the community ethic of open source developers.

Ben Thorp 10/09/03 09:19:51 AM EDT

I'm speechless.

Somebody ought to tell him that he can't go getting compensation until they've won the case. Which they won't. You're innocent before proven guilty in most countries. Why not make everyone happy (as in rolling around with laughter) by giving us _all_ the so-called proof, Mr Sontag?

J Monroy 10/09/03 12:39:13 AM EDT

I agree with Wesley; they will be in the Cayman Islands faster than you can say wire transfer. I somehow sense a bit of agitation and discord from Chris Sontag... as if something dramatic was imminent (like a suicide or something). I sense a quick exit by all SCO execs to a foreign country with no extradition treaty with the U.S.


Visit the SCO Antics web page:

Wesley Parish 10/08/03 09:58:49 PM EDT

Q. "Any regrets as to how this has played out?"

A. "Of course not. We're benefitting from our "IP", our resellers ain't! and we just about to steal the ?IP? generously donated at considerable expnse in both time and effort, by all the brightest programmers out there. You have to protect your "IP", you know."

Q. "What about the law suits?"

A. "What about the law suits? We'll be safely non-extraditable by then."

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