SCO Moves

 
 
By Steven Vaughan-Nichols  |  Posted 2003-11-19 Email Print this article Print
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

eWEEK.com Linux and Open Source Center Editor Steven J. Vaughan-Nichols thinks SCO latest moves make perfect sense. You just need to keep in mind that SCO is here to win period.

Subpoenas here, threats of more lawsuits there, and talk of stopping Novell from buying SuSE: What does SCO think its doing? I think its business as usual for SCO. You must keep in mind that its to SCOs advantage to keep anti-Linux FUD going. If theres enough FUD, companies that use Linux will buy licenses from SCO, and that helps SCOs bottom line. If SCO creates enough FUD, SCOs opposition may finally buy them out, and so SCOs CEO Darl McBride will have delivered the goods to his board and stockholders. As he said in his CDXPO keynote, hes not here to be liked by the public, to make nice with the Linux community or to make friends with companies that oppose SCO. McBride is here to win.
During his keynote he told a story about a 300-pound NFL player who was an outstanding tackler. When the player was asked how he had become so good at delivering hard hits and tackles, he replied that his mom had paid him five dollars for every kid he knocked the cleats off of in peewee football. I think the simple fact that McBride admired this man and his story, tells you all you need to know about McBrides attitude. So long as he heads SCO, SCO will do whatever it feels necessary to make sure it wins. Some of what SCO has done recently, like subpoenaing Linus Torvalds, et. al. has been described as being out of the ordinary or some kind of tit-for-tat because IBM had subpoenaed some of SCOs friends. Nothing could be further from the truth. These kind of subpoenaing, typically called "fishing expeditions," are part and parcel of the justice system. As for the timing, SCO had told IBM in early October that they were going to issue these subpoenas. As for going after a major Linux company within the first 90 days, this is just another step forward in a plan to spread FUD among CIOs. McBride in his keynote emphasized that any CIO who wasnt worried sick about having to explain to the company why they were being sued because the company was using Linux wasnt thinking things through.
The whole point of this latest step is to worry CIOs into caving in to SCO. Nothing more, nothing less. SCO would have doubtlessly made such an announcement anyway, but I suspect McBride made it now because, companies clearly arent taking SCOs threats seriously. Why should they? SCO has proven nothing. Most experts, both legal and technical, have spoken and the consensus is that companies have nothing to worry about SCOs claims. But, of course, SCO must push on. So it is that well see more details about the suits in the coming weeks, and then, early next year SCO will sue a corporate Linux user. Now that SCO is looking at the BSDs, well see the same process weve seen over the last seven months as with Apple and its BSD-based Mac OS X: SCO will find more code which it will proclaim was taken from the BSDs and moved into Linux. And by next summer, I may very well be writing about the merits of SCO vs. Apple. You see, if SCO is to protect its copyrights, one of the two main pillars of its attack on IBM and Linux, it must aggressively defend them everywhere. I got the impression that SCO has more than enough on its plate right now, and would rather not deal with the BSDs, but once SCO started on this path, it has no rational choice but to follow the Unix IP trail no matter where it goes. Even if that means dealing with Apple too. The most interesting recent move, and the one that does surprise me a bit, is that SCO is trying to stop Novell from buying SuSE. I find it hard to believe that theres a blanket non-compete clause in the deal that brought Unix from Novell to SCO. I mean, come on… At the time Novells biggest product, NetWare, was one of Unix on Intels main competitors. Well probably find out in the next few days, as the contracts are gone over with a fine-tooth comb, whos in the right here. Personally, I expect Novell to own SuSE this spring, and if SCO does sue Novell for the purchase, I dont see them winning. But, you can be sure that SCO will do everything it can to win. Discuss This in the eWEEK Forum
 
 
 
 
Steven J. Vaughan-Nichols is editor at large for Ziff Davis Enterprise. Prior to becoming a technology journalist, Vaughan-Nichols worked at NASA and the Department of Defense on numerous major technological projects. Since then, he's focused on covering the technology and business issues that make a real difference to the people in the industry.
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

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