McBride Bullish on the Battle Over Unix

SCO does not agree with the notion that software is supposed to be free, and is fighting for the industry's right to make a living selling software, SCO CEO Darl McBride told attendees today at the SCO Forum 2003.

LAS VEGAS—SCO does not agree with the notion that software is supposed to be free, and is fighting for the industrys right to make a living selling software, SCO CEO Darl McBride said in his keynote address here on Monday morning at the start of SCO Forum 2003.

"We have been pushed into a corner, and we will fight back," he said. "We find ourselves in the middle of the battle of the century and will continue to be subject to attack. There are rumors of pies in the face for McBride and [senior vice president Chris] Sontag here," he said, quipping that there were also rumors of SCO protesters on the Strip carrying signs saying "SCO to Hell."

Citing the background to the lawsuit SCO filed against IBM in March, McBride said that when SCO started charging for its Unix class libraries earlier this year, Big Blue was vocally opposed to this and threatened to stop working with SCO and to get its partners and customers to stop supporting SCO if it proceeded with that plan.

As soon as SCO announced that class library intellectual property initiative, "IBM stopped working with us and cut us off. We were thus backed into a corner and decided to fight back," he said.

McBride said SCO is not just talking about a few lines of Unix code finding its way into Linux; it is talking about the very technologies that have made Unix what it is today. "The very DNA of Linux is coming from Unix," he said.

"The attacks will continue, and we will fight back. We are on a hill, and we intend to fight this until we have it beat. We are not going away," McBride said, adding that the question underpinning SCOs actions is whether software should be free.

Free software "will have a negative impact on us all. When the list price is zero, the margin doesnt matter. SCO is fighting for the silent majority, and what happens here will affect you all," he said.

While the notion of an open-source community is a "good idea; when companies step across contractual lines and even totally erase the line, then we have a huge problem. In a nutshell, that is what has happened here," McBride said to loud applause.

In regard to Novells recent claim that it still owns the copyright to Unix, McBride said it took SCO just four days to press the eject button on that claim.

"After attacking us, Novells CEO [Jack Messman] was then irate that we had not told him there was an amendment to the contract between us that clarified our copyright ownership of Unix. He seemed to believe that we knew about it but werent telling them so they could attack us and look foolish. Go figure," he said.