Innocents Caught in SCO-Linux Cross Fire

By Peter Galli  |  Posted 2003-08-27 Print this article Print

The battle between The SCO Group and the Linux and open-source communities is taking some innocent bystanders hostage.

The battle between The SCO Group and the Linux and open-source communities is apparently taking some innocent bystanders hostage. Take Centershift, a small startup ASP, based in Salt Lake City, that provides services to specific real-estate markets such as self-storage and multi-family residential housing. While Centershift is completely independent of SCO, it does share significant infrastructure with SCO as both companies host portions of their operations from the same hosting facility in Lindon, Utah. "As neighbors on the Internet and within the same hosting facility, Centershift has been made to suffer greatly as SCO has battled with the Linux, Unix and open-source communities. Each DDoS attack aimed at SCO over the past 4 months has crippled not only SCO, but Centershift as well," James Hafen, Centershifts chief technical officer and senior vice president, told eWEEK in an e-mail on Wednesday.
"Stepping aside from the issues of how, architecturally, this would have spilled over into Centershifts domain, it should be known that bystanders are being injured as this war rages on," Hafen added.
"As you might imagine, our life-blood is the Internet and in our attempt to perform OLTP over the Internet, outages have a horrific effect on our business. Further, Centershift is a struggling startup venture that is well capitalized, but not to the point that we can yet afford redundant physical presences in multiple hosting facilities, thus we have to rely on our hosting partner(s) to do an excellent job of monitoring, administrating and filtering," he said. While Hafen said he did not want to take a political stance or state his opinion regarding the ongoing battle that SCO is waging, he wondered if all the parties involved realized the full consequences of their actions. "SCO, fighting for royalties and revenue and legal rights to patents and licenses should also be cognizant of companies like Centershift, and be considerate enough to isolate themselves from businesses that do not wish to be unwilling participants in the battle," he said. "The open-source and Linux/Unix communities, (and I am by no means generalizing here… realizing that there are probably a few select individuals responsible for the DDoS attacks), certainly feel noble in their quest to make SCO pay for their legal actions as of late. "Please realize, however, your attacks are killing those of us who want no part of your quarrel. Centershift is certainly not alone, as there are multiple other companies that have portions of their business operations operating out of the hosting facility in Lindon, and I can only assume they are also negatively impacted," Hafen said. Linux luminary Eric Raymond, who is the president of the Open Source Initiative (OSI), was sympathetic to Hafens situation, saying that he had publicly called for an end to all DoS attacks on SCO. "I believe this message is supported by other open-source community leaders, and has been taken to heart by almost everybody in the open-source community. There is, unfortunately, little more we can do than this," Raymond told Hafen in an e-mail. But others in the community were less sympathetic, saying that the DoS attacks were just as likely to have come from SCO itself. "Given SCOs behavior recently, its just as likely that theyre attacking themselves in their continued attempt to pump up their stock price," one member said, adding that if Centershifts hosting company could not provide it with the services it had contracted for, "then you have grounds to cancel your contract with them." Is SCO smoking crack? Read eWEEKs hard-hitting interview with Linux creator Linus Torvalds. Hafen responded by admitting that his company did indeed have issues with its hosting company and was taking action on that front. Discuss this in the eWeek forum.
Peter Galli has been a financial/technology reporter for 12 years at leading publications in South Africa, the UK and the US. He has been Investment Editor of South Africa's Business Day Newspaper, the sister publication of the Financial Times of London.

He was also Group Financial Communications Manager for First National Bank, the second largest banking group in South Africa before moving on to become Executive News Editor of Business Report, the largest daily financial newspaper in South Africa, owned by the global Independent Newspapers group.

He was responsible for a national reporting team of 20 based in four bureaus. He also edited and contributed to its weekly technology page, and launched a financial and technology radio service supplying daily news bulletins to the national broadcaster, the South African Broadcasting Corporation, which were then distributed to some 50 radio stations across the country.

He was then transferred to San Francisco as Business Report's U.S. Correspondent to cover Silicon Valley, trade and finance between the US, Europe and emerging markets like South Africa. After serving that role for more than two years, he joined eWeek as a Senior Editor, covering software platforms in August 2000.

He has comprehensively covered Microsoft and its Windows and .Net platforms, as well as the many legal challenges it has faced. He has also focused on Sun Microsystems and its Solaris operating environment, Java and Unix offerings. He covers developments in the open source community, particularly around the Linux kernel and the effects it will have on the enterprise.

He has written extensively about new products for the Linux and Unix platforms, the development of open standards and critically looked at the potential Linux has to offer an alternative operating system and platform to Windows, .Net and Unix-based solutions like Solaris.

His interviews with senior industry executives include Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer, Linus Torvalds, the original developer of the Linux operating system, Sun CEO Scot McNealy, and Bill Zeitler, a senior vice president at IBM.

For numerous examples of his writing you can search under his name at the eWEEK Website at


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