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SCO vs The Rest - "Happy First Birthday, Groklaw!" Say Linux & GPL Lovers Everywhere

SCO vs The Rest - "Happy First Birthday, Groklaw!" Say Linux & GPL Lovers Everywhere

"What a difference a year makes," writes Pamela Jones, a.k.a. "PJ," in a one-year anniversary article just posted at groklaw.net.

"When we started," she continues, "all the headlines were saying that SCO was going to destroy Linux or at least make it cry. Now, looking around today, I see almost everyone predicting SCO's imminent doom instead. I think the truth, as usual, isn't in the headlines, and that it's somewhere in between those two extremes."

Rather than steal PJ's thunder, LinuxWorld urges you to go over to Groklaw at once and enjoy the anniversary piece first hand. We'll give just the tiniest sampler, to give the spirit of Jones's thoughtful prose, in case you are new to it:

"Like I said, a year can make a big difference. One thing that has not changed is Groklaw's view. From day one, I wrote that the case was flimsy, and that the GPL would stand effectively through the storm. I don't think the legal fight is done. Or the FUD fight. But that is still true. I was reading yesterday about the history of UNIX, in connection with the UNIX timeline project, and I came across a 1999 article comparing "Microsoft Windows NT Server 4.0 versus UNIX", and how extraordinary it was to see, particularly in the list of referenced articles at the end, that Microsoft FUD against Linux was largely the same years ago. Folks with a lot of money can be very annoying. Without the money, their arguments would have withered and died by now, because they make no actual sense."

Happy first anniversay, Groklaw! 

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
Carl 05/17/04 11:38:02 PM EDT

Perhaps Fortune should spawn a sister publication and name it MisFortune.
Darl could be on the first cover.

rifftide 05/17/04 06:19:37 AM EDT

SCO doesn't have any patents. I think they're asserting rights to code that was added to derivative versions of System V by their licensees. But their story changes every few weeks or so. Re "post-SCO", I'd be interested to see what Groklaw morphs into if and when the SCO case settles down. Maybe they'll perform a similar service (analysis of legal documents and courtroom proceedings) for other IP property disputes with widespread repercussions in the tech industry.

Some are already saying that SCO may be the tip of the iceberg as far as FOSS IP problems are concerned, even as SCO's case seems to be declining. (See the current issue of Fortune magazine, with Darl McBride on the cover, unfortunately not available online except to paid subscribers). Of course, one can argue that proprietary software should be held to same standards, but in practice FOSS is an easier target because the source code can be examined by hungry lawyers and they can always bring up the worldwide, quasi-anonymous nature of development of some projects.

Quezztion 05/17/04 06:18:30 AM EDT

I wonder what will happen to the patents that SCO allegedly owns should they go bust or get bought out.

What, say, if Microsoft were to buy them all, as they seem to be in the habit of doing? I think they would be a SCO worse than SCO.

SCOX@$15 05/17/04 06:16:26 AM EDT

SCO bought UNIXWare and the System V Agency from Novell, they certainly can sell it to someone (with Novell's approval).

There's still millions of deployed SCO UNIX boxes out there (in every McDonalds and many other major retail chains), the product is worth something to somebody.

My guess is that System V licencing goes back to Novell (they get 95% gross anyway), and UNIXWare & OpenServer go to Computer Associates or some other graveyard.

animats 05/17/04 06:15:26 AM EDT

Groklaw has done a great job in dispelling Darl's FUD. Nobody takes SCO's threats seriously any more. Of course, Cravath and IBM are doing the heavy work, but nobody would notice without Groklaw. It's not at all common for pre-trial motions to be followed this closely.

The remaining question for SCOX is "how low can it go"? Except for that bump in early April, when SCO tried, unsuccessfully, a stock buyback to prop up the price, the decline from 14 to 5 has been close to linear. If you just project the line out, SCOX goes to zero around late summer. It probably won't go to penny stock levels for a while, though; they have some cash left. But with no licensing revenue and a huge legal burn rate, they can't go on for all that long.

The real question at this point, and it's one the players in the Open Source industry need to think about, is, who ends up with the rights to UNIX when SCO is gone? Sun? IBM? Red Hat? Boies?

It's sad, in a way, to realize that the best thing the original UNIX can do is go away.

anonAnonanon 05/17/04 06:12:37 AM EDT

Groklaw has only worked so well because (1) SCO/Darl are so ridiculously wrong and have no case, and (2) Everyone in the Linux world is unified against SCO.

Thank you Pamela!!! 05/16/04 11:22:02 AM EDT

Thank you for keeping your site "unmonetized", your tireless work, your insight and frankly wonderful genius.

Point of Fact 05/16/04 11:20:12 AM EDT

The funny thing is that PJ doesn't actually live anywhere near IBM. She just got a PO box there to register her domain with...

That, and she had 2-3 different hosts for Groklaw as it expanded, not just ibiblio.org which runs on IBM computers

Moreover, I seem to remember that the IBM computers were donated well before she started Groklaw, if I have my timeline straight

RichiP 05/16/04 11:18:07 AM EDT

Oh per-lease: Pamela Jones lives close to the IBM headquarters so that means she's an IBM lackey. What b/s.

Ashtead 05/16/04 11:14:22 AM EDT

Groklaw must have been sponsored by IBM, nobody would be doing the kind of work one sees there for free?

ShinmaWa 05/16/04 11:09:52 AM EDT

Ever since PJ was hired by OSRM, Groklaw's focus has changed dramatically. Early on it was "just the facts" about the case. Lately it has become more and more of a GPL zealot site, that tends to attack anyone and anything that is not wild about the GPL, including non-GPL open source!

Addendum 05/16/04 11:07:53 AM EDT

There is one disturbing Groklaw trend that bothers me; it goes like this. It starts when a self-proclaimed IP holder, or an analyst, or a reporter says something absurd or uninformed or uneducated or something in bad faith about Linux - this quote, article, statement, etc... then makes it onto Groklaw's toplevel story, a sense of outrage and injustice is built up, worst-case scenarios are explored, and then there is a constructive, facts-based, breaking-down of the rhetoric. That's all fine, in and of itself, but the way I see it, all you need to do is break down the facts once and it becomes obvious that the situation is not quite as bad as you can make it out to be if you freak out about it in your own mind. It's another implementation of Hades to have to do this every day for the rest of eternity. I find sometimes that it's easier to remain calm, and not worry. So my concern is that there appears to be a need to amplify, or that Groklaw has, at times, amplified the FUD, prior to breaking it down. Instead of amplifying the FUD, ignore it, then you don't need to break it down.

kardar 05/16/04 11:06:26 AM EDT

Groklaw is cool, and some of the people that post there are some very experienced programmers - I have learned quite a few things from reading the posts over there.