To:"Mike Swier" <mswier@YAHOO.COM>
Date: Tue, 9 Mar 2004 19:17:14 -0500 (EST)
From:"Linux-Pipeline-Newsletter" <linuxed@TECHWIRE.COM>
Subject: [LPN] Linux Pipeline Newsletter - 3.9.2004
March 9, 2004


1. Editor's Notes
  - The SCO Lawsuit: More Conspiracy Theories Than The JFK
  - SCO: Microsoft's Sock Puppet
  - SCO: Born To Lose
2. Only the Best Linux and Open-Source News
3. Trends:  Don't Let SCO Litigation Slow You Down
4. Trends: Microsoft And SCO Group: What's So Secret?
5. Trends: SCO Can't Slow Linux
6. Trends: SCO Makes Good On Threats
7. Trends:  PeopleSoft Expands Linux Support
8. Voting Booth: Is Desktop Linux 5-10 Years Out?
9. Learn About Commercial Linux Products In Product Finder
10. Check Out The Linux Pipeline Topic Centers
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1. Editor's Notes


There's an adage, one of those things you imagine being said by
cornpone-drinkin' wise old coots sitting by the woodstove in the
general store:

It ain't what you don't know that hurts you, it's what you know that
ain't so. 

We're now seeing that adage acted out in the Linux community, where
many people are certain they know two things that just ain't so. The
more serious misconception, which I'll deal with momentarily, is
that the Linux community is certain to win the legal attacks brought
against it by SCO. 

The Linux community is as sure of victory in the SCO lawsuits as
Howard Dean supporters were in their efforts.

Another misconception is that we know for sure that Microsoft is
backing SCO. I'll deal with it first because it's more timely.


Almost from the very beginning of the lawsuit, a year ago, some
members of the Linux community have been convinced that the lawsuit
is being funded by Microsoft -- that SCO is, as a matter of fact, a
mere sock puppet with a hand attached to an arm attached to a
shoulder in Redmond, Wash.

A rational person puts this theory in the category of: intriguing,
but not proven. 

Certainly, Microsoft isn't above doing this kind of thing.
Certainly, they have the motivation, and the money, and the
sneakiness. Microsoft likes sneaky.

But where's the proof?

This is what we know:

- Microsoft used to be a major investor in SCO. But that was a long
time ago -- and, as a matter of fact, SCO was a different company
entirely then. The old company sold its name and intellectual
property to the current SCO; the company now known as SCO was then
called Caldera; it was (ironically enough) a Linux vendor. 

- Microsoft hates Linux. Bill Gates gets up in the morning and,
before he even brushes his teeth, he blows his nose into a photo of
Linus Torvalds. 

- Now here's the really interesting part: Microsoft did, in fact,
license SCO technology last year, the deal was valued at $16.6
million, 21 percent of SCO's total revenue in fiscal 2003. But note
that Microsoft signed the first part of the deal in May, two months
after the initial lawsuit against IBM was filed. 

- This week, Eric Raymond, the Al Sharpton of the open source
community, released a memo that he claimed showed that Microsoft had
arranged for $82 million -- or more -- in funding to go to SCO,
including a $50 million investment from BayStar Capital. 

We know that Raymond is a leader of the open source community
because he frequently tells us so He wrote a book called "The
Cathedral and Bazaar" which is much-loved by the kind of teen-aged
computer enthusiasts who write letters to editors criticizing the
editors for using the word "hackers" to describe computer criminals.

The SCO e-mail came from a financial consultant who worked for SCO;
SCO and Microsoft both issued statements saying the e-mail was
authentic -- meaning the guy actually did work for SCO, and did send
the e-mail -- but wrong. Or, KIND OF WRONG: the statements about the
accuracy of the information in the memo are the kind of carefully-
worded corporate-speak that leave careful readers scratching their

"SCO Denies Report Microsoft Lined Up $82+ Million Funding For

Microsoft, meanwhile, is keeping the rumors alive by failing to
specify just how it plans to use the technology it's licensing from

"Microsoft And SCO Group: What's So Secret?"

So what's up here? We don't know. It's clear that a win by SCO can
only be good for Microsoft, but that doesn't necessarily mean that
Microsoft is funding or directing the suit. And just because the two
companies haven't denied their cooperation in terms as vehement as
we would like, doesn't mean that they are, in fact, cooperating.
Maybe the companies simply see an advantage in keeping the
rumors alive. 


A more serious misconception by the Linux community is the sure
knowledge that SCO can't win. 

We in the Linux community have been treating the problem of the SCO
lawsuit as we would treat any other problem: the community rallies
around, members organize themselves into groups and ad hoc
committees to solve the problem, and then set out to fix it. If this
was a software problem, we'd be writing code and documentation, but
since the problem is legal, we're instead gathering evidence and
doing legal research.

And the effort has had significant rewards: the community has
gathered a lot of evidence which should undercut some of SCO's major
claims that significant elements of Linux came from SCO-owned Unix.
The Linux community has apparently been able to demonstrate that the
relevant code in both Unix and Linux came from other sources, and
are perfectly legitimate to be used in open source software.

That's a major victory for the Linux community - if the community
can get the relevant judges to agree. And that's a big "if."

But the copyrights of individual elements of the code are not all
that SCO's case is resting on. As intellectual property attorney
Mark Radcliffe notes, SCO can also win on issues of patent, contract
law, and possible copyrights pertaining to the overall structure and
organization of Unix. SCO can also win by successfully challenging
the legitimacy of the General Public License underlying Linux. Is
the GPL legal? We don't really know. Thanks to SCO, we're going to
find out. 

SCO could win this one. Don't be sure they can't. 

That's not what I thought last week, when I wrote an editorial with
the headline, "SCO Jumps The Shark." 

SCO Jumps The Shark

But I've been doing some interviews with Radcliffe and other
industry experts over the past week, and I've had my mind changed on
the subject.  We'll be writing an article based on those interviews
over the next few days. If I were a betting man, I'd put the odds on
the outcome of the lawsuit at 50-50. The Linux community does have a
strong case, but so does SCO.

So what should you do? Boy, I wish I could give you some good
advice. I wish I could even give you INTERESTING advice. But my
advice is the same boring caution that I've been giving all along:
talk to your lawyer. And make sure your lawyer is familiar with
intellectual property issues; most likely, your regular corporate
counsel isn't, unless you're already in the software business.

After receiving legal advice, decide what you think the likelihood
is that your company could be damaged by an SCO victory, and then
act accordingly. Linux is still cheap, reliable and versatile -- in
many cases, you'll find it's worth the risk to deploy Linux despite
the legal uncertainty surrounding it. 

But make sure your decision is an informed one. Don't rely on rumors
and speculation. 

P.S. My colleague, InformationWeek editor-in-chief Bob Evans, has a
different perspective. Read his editorial, in which the word
"kerfuffle" is used:

Don't Let SCO Litigation Slow You Down

--Mitch Wagner, Editor, Linux Pipeline

For more commentary and links from Mitch Wagner, see Wagner's Weblog



Seagate To Offer Drives Bundling Lindows
Two online dealers, CDW Computer Warehouse and Insight, are already
offering the new drives, with one priced at $69.77.

SCO: Computer Associates And Two Other Companies Signed Linux

SCO Denies Report Microsoft Lined Up $82+ Million Funding For

SCO Could Sue Nevada Court For Using Linux

Court Orders More Info From SCO, IBM

Merit Of SCO's Lawsuits Against AutoZone, DaimlerChrysler Questioned

SCO Sues AutoZone, Readies Suit Against DaimlerChrysler

SCO Files Lawsuit Against Linux User AutoZone

SCO Postpones Announcing Customer Lawsuit Until Wednesday

3. TRENDS:  Don't Let SCO Litigation Slow You Down
Don't let courtroom kerfuffle dissuade you from using the best tools
for the job, says InformationWeek Editor-in-Chief Bob Evans.

4. TRENDS: Microsoft And SCO Group: What's So Secret?
Microsoft last year signed two deals, worth $16 million, for SCO
technology and rights, but it's still vague on how it will use them.
Microsoft had best come clean if it wants to put to rest rumors that
it's secretly behind the SCO lawsuit.

5. TRENDS: SCO Can't Slow Linux
SCO Group followed through on its threat to sue end users of Linux,
but its various lawsuits have had little effect on the Linux
software juggernaut.

6. TRENDS: SCO Makes Good On Threats
SCO has sued Linux users AutoZone and DaimlerChrysler for not
signing licensing agreements. Now it's getting harder for other
Linux adopters to stay out of the fray.

7. TRENDS:  PeopleSoft Expands Linux Support
PeopleSoft's newest version of EnterpriseOne will support Red Hat

8. VOTING BOOTH: Is Desktop Linux 5-10 Years Out?
Is Linus Torvalds right that "it's going to take literally five to
10 years before 'normal users' start seeing" Linux emerge as a
serious contender on the desktop?


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