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Linus' Top Ten SCO Barbs

Kevin Mack has captured Torvalds' ten most potent comments, and ranked them in order of merit

Kevin Mack's Top 10 Linus SCO quotes [thanks to Dee-Ann LeBlanc for the link]

10. Not About IP

"None of the SCO accusations have anything to do with IP rights; they're all about contracts between IBM and SCO. All the IP rights blathering by SCO was just that -- blathering"

9. Custody Battle

"SCO is claiming parenthood of that child and now wants to make money off the earnings of that child. Even though SCO has refused to undergo the technical equivalent of DNA testing, and even though my (and other people's) DNA is probably all over Linux."

8. Lottery

"We have to sadly decline taking business model advice from a company that seems to have squandered all its money (that it made off a Linux IPO, I might add, since there's a nice bit of irony there), and now seems to play the US legal system as a lottery."

7. Copyright Law

"So . . . when he attacks the GPL as being somehow against 'financial gain', that notion that the GPL has of 'exchange of receipt of copyrighted works' is actually EXPLICITLY ENCODED in the US copyright law. It's not just a crazy idea that some lefty commie hippie dreamed up in a drug-induced stupor." 

6. Raelians

"SCO is playing it like the Raelians [the organization backed by Clonaid's founder, known as Rael], saying, 'We'll show you proof in a few weeks, through an expert panel that we trust.' Let's see if there is any baby or not." 

5. Jerry Springer

"Quite frankly, I found it mostly interesting in a Jerry Springer kind of way. White trash battling it out in public, throwing chairs at each other. SCO crying about IBM's other women. ... Fairly entertaining"

4. Stealing Cars In Bright Daylight

"Do you steal a car in the bright daylight with a lot of people around? Or do you steal a car, go for a joyride at 4 am in the morning when there aren't a lot of people around. With open source, there is a lot of daylight. A lot of people looking at the code. You don't really go around and steal things."

3. Constitution and Marriage

"If Darl McBride was in charge, he'd probably make marriage unconstitutional too, since clearly it de-emphasizes the commercial nature of normal human interaction, and probably is a major impediment to the commercial growth of prostitution"

2. Smoking

"They are smoking crack." 

And number one, according to Mack...

1. Please Grow Up

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

© 2005 SYS-CON Media. Verbatim copying and distribution of this entire article is permitted worldwide without royalty in any medium provided this notice and a link to this original URL is preserved. Original publication date: Dec. 7, 2003.

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
jqb 01/01/04 04:07:04 AM EST

For the ultimate irony, see


Pani Panagraphie 12/30/03 06:10:26 PM EST

The SCO CEO Mcbride caused a cluster mess when he was at Pointserve, where he canned the existing business plan, then paid $$$$$ to outside consultants for a bogus business plan that made money off of "internet advertizing" yes pop-ups. (completly new direction for Pointserve, no way to make money either) I talked to him for a hour when I worked at Pointserve, he is All Smoke, Mirrors, and buzz words. He was eventually canned and Pointserve programmers left demoralized. Sorry SCO.

Kevin Loughrey 12/25/03 06:37:49 AM EST

The SCO/Linux case demonstrates why copyright law as applied to books is inappropriate for software. With software the source code is generally kept secret. All one sees is the results of the source code; namely the program in action. With a book you get to read the source code and can compare it to the works of other authors. As a general rule a greater than 25% likeness is deemed to plagiarism. To tell the same story but with different words is not an offence. I suspect most strongly that Linux is the latter with words such as "Index" and "Page No" being commone in all works for the purposes of standardisation. Regardless, it should be law that anyone crying copyright breach should be made to make its entire code public so that all may ensure SCO has not itself been guilty of that which it accuses others; just like the author of a book. The present situation where SCO demands money from organisations without having first established its case is tantamount to obtaining money with menaces. If SCO fails it will be bankrupt and those entities who have wrongly paid SCO are unlikely to recover their money nor be able to seek damages for the inconvenience caused.

Gil. Z 12/13/03 08:52:41 AM EST


Tim 12/10/03 06:22:35 PM EST

Nice one Josh and Oli... they are truly top 5 in my opinion.

P.L. 12/10/03 09:44:00 AM EST

I wonder if the mouse's roar would be as loud without Big Brother -MS- watching over the shoulder.

Oli 12/10/03 03:30:38 AM EST

I much prefer a different quote from the same source as #1, where Linux says "...until then, I'd like to thank SCO for their contribution."

Palomo 12/09/03 05:28:33 PM EST

Without a doubt #3 is #1....That is one chill'n Flame!!

Josh 12/08/03 11:59:50 PM EST

no way this wasnt on the list. What were the authors here thinking?

When asked if Linus considered himself a nemesis of Microsoft:

"To be a nemesis, you have to
actively try to destroy something, don't you? Really, I'm
not out to destroy Microsoft. That will just be a
completely unintentional side effect."

Daniel 12/08/03 09:37:40 PM EST

great article! what i loved best was the marriage thing... :-)

sco is a ghost of 1984... gee...

James 12/08/03 05:16:46 PM EST

Copyleft is just a cutsie way to describe the Copyright that is used with GPL, it is still a copyright in every sense of the word. Bottom line is Darl is a dork with an agenda, and is willing to crap all over his own credability to pursue it.

Eli Gottlieb 12/08/03 05:06:28 PM EST


Robert G. Hays 12/08/03 01:43:29 PM EST

Re M. Darl's ~~12/5/03 letter re the U.S. Constitution, Patents, and Copyrights:

*THE* poison statement therein is the next-to-last sentence in the tenth paragraph. The one that states that you must believe in *EITHER* 'copyrights' *OR* 'copylefts', and cannot concurrently support both.


They have co-existed since the 'copyright' was invented, and it seems to be doing quite well, of which I whole-heartedly approve. I approve of both, and so should anyone, on even mild reflection.

The only arguement is: *did* someone ***STEAL*** their code? That they have added this other to their side of the debate implies that either: (1) they, from their own knowledge, are desparate; or, (2) that they veiw the rest of the world as existing for the sole purpose of supporting them and thus not requiring honorable treatment. I did say implies; I *might* be wrong, but.........


Oregon IT Guy 12/08/03 04:19:44 AM EST

Yawn, interesting but not. Linus is still a god in my opinion and SCO, a pathetic, poor excuse for a company taking advantage of our legal system because they don't know any other way to market their product. Darls latest open letter is just more proof that he's a few fries short of a Happy Meal.

Whatever the case, here's another entertaining piece of news (hope I am not violating any policies with a link here).


Zuchmann William 12/08/03 03:51:31 AM EST

Sco is fartin!

Bearded Ten Thousand 12/08/03 03:38:18 AM EST

"What do you think?" I think that "What do you think?" is a weak piece of copy. "Your comments" is somewhat less patronising.

The Thunderbird 12/08/03 03:37:01 AM EST

If someone said to me: "You have to pay me for this free thing, because the people that made it stole my expensive thing, but I am not going to tell you what they stole" on a personal level, I wouldn't ask them if they were smoking crack, I would punch them in the face!

Just my 2 pents :)

RB 12/08/03 01:24:14 AM EST

If SCO can make grandoise unsubstantiated claims and have it be newsworthy, then these quotes surely are. How eloquent or poignant can you be to someone who basicaly says "you stole from me, now pay me for what you stole, but I'm not going to tell you exactly what that is, you'll have to take my word for it". If someone did that to me on a personal level, I'd ask them if they were smoking crack. Quite appropriate and poignant, given the circumstances.

JA 12/08/03 12:34:09 AM EST

i don't think that any of these quotes are particularly poignant, eloquent, or for that matter... news-worthy.

NachoKB 12/08/03 12:31:19 AM EST

Have anyone read McBride's last Open Letter?... I found his reference to Red Hat's position on "US Patents and Copyrights" rather funny (of course, RH's statement, linked by this guy, doesn't even mention copyright, just patents).
I mean, try to read without knowing what Linux is and what SCO (should I say Caldera?), IBM, RedHat, etc are... He can really convince somebody... too bad truth can be handled in such a way...

Just a thought.

Robert Cameron 12/07/03 11:59:52 PM EST

Yay! Verrily!
Let us join our voices in harmony, our "Tux & Tails" resplendant Singing Praises till our "Baited Breaths" are "Bated"

P.S. Please pass the red herring. Thanx.

John Sheu 12/07/03 05:45:57 PM EST

#3, dammit!

Evil Bob 12/07/03 04:17:21 PM EST

Number seven was the funniest for no other reason than the fact that I have seen pictures of Richard Stallman.

HL 12/07/03 02:37:06 PM EST

I am not sure if this is redundant, but I think you missed a quote.

"I allege that SCO is full of it"

I recall when Linus was first asked about this that's what he said.

MRufone 12/07/03 01:59:52 PM EST

Actually BigB, 'baited' breath does make sense in the context of all us penguin lovers. They do tend to eat bait...

Peter M. Metzger 12/07/03 01:55:17 PM EST


\Bat"ed\, a. Reduced; lowered; restrained; as, to speak with bated breath.

I think he does mean bated... ;)
Not a sizable deal, anyway.

I agree with Lampros, #2 would've made a better #1, especially if the list was meant for humor. Even if it wasn't, I still think #2 and #1 should have switched places.

Richard Pitt 12/07/03 01:54:20 PM EST

Well, since Opus has returned, I'd say that "baited" breath is actually quite the correct term - he always used anchovy if I recall ;)

BigB 12/07/03 01:51:29 PM EST

No, it is correctly spelled as bated breath, where bated means lessened, reduced, etc... It basically means that your breath stops in anticipation.

If you think about it, "baited breath" does not make very much sense.

Marvin D. Bates 12/07/03 01:28:45 PM EST

That would be "baited breath" . . .

michelmartin 12/07/03 01:24:20 PM EST

About Jerry's Show, hey! That's not a bad idea after all. Please, someone call Jerry and suggest to have McBride and the whole tribe, then on the other side IBM, SGi, RedHAt etc
By the way I found an interview to McBride in techupdate in which he claims ownership to the C++ language!!!!!

Lampros Liontos 12/07/03 01:11:55 PM EST

Call me crazy, but #2 would have worked well as #1 in such a list... everything else has arguments and statements that state the case, whilst #2 is a one-liner that would have made David Letterman proud to read this top-10 list. ;)

Hardwark, Executive Pope (small) 12/07/03 01:00:21 PM EST

I still find #3 being the best.
Most accurate and funnest.

// hdw

Matt 12/07/03 12:18:53 PM EST

All those "they have shown us no code" quotes wont be so poignant in 30 days. Or who knows, maybe they will be even more poignant.. :)

Richard Pitt 12/07/03 11:52:53 AM EST

Linus has a gift of saying what we all are thinking in a way that we wish we'd have thought of. I can't think of anything better to say at this time than "Thanks Linus - you're doing us all proud!"

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