Date: Tue, 5 Apr 2005 19:24:13 -0400 (EDT)
From:"Linux Pipeline Newsletter" <>
Subject: [LXP] Linux Pipeline - 04.05.2005 - Scary SCOries Linux Pipeline Newsletter | SCO: Dead By December? | 04.05.2005
Linux Pipeline Newsletter
Tuesday, April 05, 2005

In This Issue:
  • Editor's Note: SCO: Dead By December?
  • Top Linux News
        - Firefox Tests Beefed-Up Popup Blocker
        - Microsoft Takes Python Scripting Language To .Net
        - JBoss Boosts Legal Coverage For Customers
        - More News...
  • Editor's Picks
        - Greasemonkey: Have The Web Your Way
        - Commentary: Monkey Business
        - Linux Workstation Backups -- Without Tears
        - More Picks...
  • Voting Booth: How do You Get Your IT News?
  • Get More Out Of Linux Pipeline
  • Manage Your Newsletter Subscription

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    Editor's Note: SCO: Dead By December?

    Sometimes a news story gives you everything you need to understand a particular issue. Other times, you have to go hunting for context if you want to find the heart of the matter.

    One of our stories this week is a classic example: The report that SCO has resubmitted the SEC documents over which Nasdaq had threatened to delist the company's stock.

    SCO Refiles Financial Paperwork With SEC

    This isn't about the quality of the coverage; TechWeb correspondent Alexander Wolfe did a fine job, as usual, with the story. In fact, a reporter wouldn't last long if he or she adorned a news item with the sort of commentary on this topic one finds in abundance over at Groklaw.

    Once you've got the facts, though, I suggest heading over to Groklaw to get the rest of this story. Pamela Jones isn't a lawyer, but she beats the pants off most legal weasels with her ability to cut through piles of obscurantist mumbo-jumbo and to find the things that matter. She does just that with SCO's belated regulatory filings, digging up more than one nugget that I'm sure SCO would rather leave buried.

    There's plenty of grist here for PJ's analytical mill, but most of it raises the same question: Who in their right mind would buy enterprise software from this walking corpse of a corporation?

    Most firms count on five to seven years of support when they buy software, and I imagine the average support window is even longer with a high-availability Unix deployment. Based on the information PJ extracts from the SCO documents, the company's ability to continue operating depends largely upon a legal victory against IBM. Yet if there's a mentally competent adult who doesn't work for SCO, knows something about its case against IBM, and still believes it has a snowball's chance in Cancun of winning, I haven't run into them.

    In addition, there's a Groklaw forum post from a person who pulled together financial data scattered throughout the SCO documents; he then used the data to run a cash -flow analysis on the company. If his numbers hold up (and based on the checking around I've done so far, they will), SCO may not have enough cash even to make its last pre-arranged payment to its law firm in December, much less continue operating.

    This puts SCO's claims about its "cash flow positive" Unix business into perspective. Why use this term, as opposed to the more succinct "profitable?" Because SCO's Unix business cash flow is only "positive" when it excludes G&A--that is, its overhead costs. Include them, and SCO seems to be in a financial hole that no amount of cost-cutting will ever fill. If this analysis is correct, SCO is losing enough money on its "cash flow positive" Unix business to make it tough to survive this year, much less long enough to see its way through a trial against IBM.

    Even if SCO's situation isn't quite as grim as the analysis described above suggests--or if the company is somehow able to raise money from an outside source--it still appears unlikely that the company can survive a trial and appeals process that could easily take two or three years.

    At this point, then, SCO isn't even capable of arguing that it's protecting its long-term business interests by litigating against Linux. In fact, the company's tactics now represent nothing more than pointless, purely vindictive economic vandalism. That's a lovely legacy SCO's management is preparing to leave behind.

    Matthew McKenzie
    Editor, Linux Pipeline

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    Top Linux News

    Firefox Tests Beefed-Up Popup Blocker
    The Mozilla Foundation is testing a patch to its Firefox browser that puts the kibosh on popup ads, including Java- and Flash-based popups which slip through the current blocker.

    Microsoft Takes Python Scripting Language To .Net
    Microsoft is developing a homegrown version of the popular Python scripting language with a twist: the ability to run on the company's .Net Framework.

    JBoss Boosts Legal Coverage For Customers
    The open-source software maker says it will offer "unlimited coverage" for legal defense costs related to its products, addressing enterprise customers' concerns over possible intellectual property lawsuits.

    Firefox Runs Away With Tech-Savvy Users
    Internet Explorer still commands the mainstream browser market, but it's playing second fiddle to Firefox among visitors to a growing number of blog- and technology-related Web sites.

    Linux Versus Windows: It's The Services, Stupid
    A Yankee Group survey suggests that companies are deciding between the two platforms at the application and services level, rather than by server OS--but Microsoft's attention to security is still helping it maintain its lead.

    Sun Names OpenSolaris Advisory Board
    Sun Microsystems Monday unveiled a board of stewards to oversee the development community that will work on the open-source version of Solaris.

    SCO Refiles Financial Paperwork With SEC
    Litigious Unix vendor SCO Group Inc. has filed adjusted earnings reports with the Securities and Exchange Commission, possibly avoiding a threatened Nasdaq market delisting.

    Firefox, Mozilla Bug May Expose Data
    A flaw in the most recent versions of the browsers could allow an attacker to view user data loaded into system memory, but not data stored on a hard drive, according to a Secunia security advisory.

    Online Tracking Tool: Consumer Service Or Cookie Monster?
    United Virtualities is offering online marketers technology that attempts to undermine the growing trend among consumers to delete cookies planted in their computers.

    SourceLabs Hits The Road With 'Amp'
    Open-source startup SourceLabs releases its customized version of a widely-used online application stack for which it will offer paid services and support.

    HP Confirms NCR's Hurd Will Replace Fiorina
    The computer giant's board selects NCR president and chief executive Mark Hurd to replace ousted CEO Carly Fiorina and to refocus the company's efforts on recouping recent market-share setbacks.

    InterMute Delivers Linux Anti-Spyware SDK
    The software maker releases a set of tools allowing developers to integrate its SpySubtract product with Linux-based security software and network appliances.

    Check's In The Mail For Mozilla Bug-Hunter
    The Mozilla Foundation has paid out $2,500 in bounties under its cash for bugs program, awarding all five of the current bonuses to the same German developer.

    Leader Of EU Anti-Software Patent Group Bows Out
    Florian Mueller folds the European activist group to resume his career as a software developer; another group, the Foundation for a Free Information Infrastructure, will provide a new rallying point for software patent foes.

    Editor's Picks

    Greasemonkey: Have The Web Your Way
    Can one simple Firefox extension bend millions of Web sites to meet your individual preferences and needs? You'd better believe it--we'll show you how Greasemonkey works and why you're likely to have your own copy before long.

    Commentary: Monkey Business
    Don't buy the claims that tools such as Webmonkey, which allow users to block banner ads and customize how they view Web sites, abet theft or vandalism. In fact, the "controversy" surrounding this tool is motivated more by ignorance than by legitimate concern.

    Linux Workstation Backups -- Without Tears
    Doing regular data backups can save your business, your job, and your sanity. We'll show you how to get started with two important Linux backup tools: bootable system clones and DVD-R archival backups.

    Python: Get A Grip On Linux
    This low-key, open-source scripting language is earning a well-deserved reputation as a powerful Linux configuration, management, and automation tool.

    Open-Source Startups: Diversify And Conquer
    VC firms are betting big on startups that help customers use existing open-source technology more effectively, rather than those that stake everything on a single new product.

    The Future Of Linux: A Virtual Success
    Virtualization technology could decide whether Linux is the heir to the business computing crown--or just another pretender.

    Your Take On Windows-Linux Security Study: Yuck
    Readers were skeptical of a recent study that found Microsoft Windows to be more secure than Linux, writes Security Pipeline Editor Mitch Wagner, and many of you responded to our request for feedback in ways that left little room for misunderstanding.

    From Security Pipeline: The Dumbest Technology Of 2005
    My colleague Mitch Wagner also has an excellent opinion piece on the latest product to prove that high tech doesn't always correlate with high IQs. Or is a tool that disrupts a user's Web browsing preferences, based on the assumption that they're too stupid to know what they're doing, anyway, the latest hot marketing trend?

    Voting Booth: Does OpenOffice Have The Right Stuff?

    Cast Your Vote Now!
    A few weeks ago, I wrote about some of the concerns I had about the direction is taking with some of its key marketing and development efforts. This week, it's your turn: Is a real alternative to Microsoft Office, or is it a poor imitation of the real thing?

    We'll tally up the votes for next week's newsletter. Now quit wasting your time doing real work, get over to Linux Pipeline, and vote!

    As for the previous poll, asking where you like to get your IT news: We're waiting to hear from a few more Pipeline sites to total the votes. You're dying of suspense, aren't you?

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