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CowboyNeal Looks Back at the SCO-Linux Trials

samzenpus posted about a year ago | from the read-all-about-it dept.

The Courts 157

This past week, SCO filed for Chapter 7 bankruptcy, which finally begins the end of a long saga that started over nine years ago. While their anti-IBM litigation has risen from the grave and still shambles onward, the company itself is nearly put to rest after nine years of choosing the wrong legal battle to get into. Even if it may be too early to dance on SCO's grave, join me as I look back over the long and bumpy road to nowhere of The SCO Group.

The Beginning, or, We Sure Do Miss Ransom Love Around Here

Back in January of 2003, SCO announced that Unix SYSV code had been misappropriated into Linux. They didn't say much more than this, saying that they would only reveal the code in question to the court, and that it was a secret. Given the nature of Linux, this set off the BS-meters of nearly anyone with a clue, including the Linux kernel developers, not the least of which being Linus himself. In March of that year, SCO announced that they owned the copyrights to Unix, and that they were suing IBM for a billion dollars, for leaking SCO trade secrets into Linux. When people who had a clue thought about the case for more than a few minutes, they remembered back to the USL v. BSDi case that had been settled a decade prior, and figured SCO was full of it. Unfortunately, instead of SCO's announcement being taken as the ramblings of a crazy CEO desperate to increase the value of his flagging company, it went ahead. The worst part, is that at least for the short term, it worked. SCO's stock price shot from under $2/share to over $20/share in six months.

Around this time, a new champion would arise. A new website, Groklaw, run by paralegal Pamela Jones began blogging daily coverage of SCO v. IBM. While Groklaw was originally intended as a way for PJ to practice blogging, it soon grew into the front lines of the PR war against SCO, a war which they were losing badly.

This is where the case should have been thrown out, and everyone gone out for beers and had a good laugh, but that didn't happen. However, a new challenger would appear. In August of 2003, Red Hat sued SCO to try and put an end to this mess. While this was a valiant effort on Red Hat's part, ultimately a judge would stay the case pending the outcome of SCO v. IBM. Those hard-earned beers would have to wait.

At this point, SCO's claims were sounding dubious at best, so they showed off two samples of alleged copied code at a reseller show later that month. However, the code in question was shown to be part of BSD, and previously released under the BSD license. In spite of this, SCO decided that to save face, they should waste everyone's time with continuing their warpath of litigation.

SCO v. Everyone

Since the suit against IBM was going so well, The SCO Group came up with the brilliant strategy of "sue all the things!" and proceeded to do just that. In lieu of having their own product that people actually liked and used, they figured they could just sue their way to profitability.

One of SCO's key claims was that they owned the copyrights to Unix, due to some purchases they'd made from Novell. Novell, however, didn't take this sitting down and respectfully disagreed. For butting in on SCO's new business model, Novell was served with a lawsuit in January of 2004. 2004 was the year that SCO decided to sue everyone they looked at. AutoZone, who had recently switched from using SCO OpenServer to Linux, got sued for doing so. DaimlerChrysler was just walking down the opposite side of the street and accidentally made eye contact with SCO, and they got sued as well.

While also suing everyone in sight, SCO also announced that they would not sue their own customers, so for the price of a SCO license, a company could exclude themselves from possible litigation. A few companies actually bought into the madness, but for the most part, the world collectively rolled its eyes at SCO, meaning that SCO would have to soldier on with their lawsuit-based business strategy, or face the wrath of their shareholders.

Novell Jams SCO's Gears

A few years went past while the SCO v. IBM case was still in the discovery phase, with SCO not wanting to reveal the code they were suing over, without seeing sources from IBM first, and IBM not wanting to give SCO any source without first being told what code was in question. This provided time for the Novell case to advance, albeit also slowly. By 2007, Novell was awarded several summary judgements, and several of SCO's claims were denied. By 2008, Novell had been awarded over $3 million as a result of the case. Just under half of that amount would be appealed by SCO, and temporarily reversed for a couple of more years. The main outcome here, however, was that Novell was ruled as the owner of the Unix copyrights.

The SCO legal juggernaut, however, would not, nay, could not be stopped. Despite not owning the Unix copyrights they contended they were the owners of "control rights" to derivatives of SYSV, and for the period during the appeals to SCO v. Novell, they were still able to claim potential ownership of the Unix copyrights in court as well. When they finally lost the appeals, they were forced to fall back to their claims of control rights, which is where they still stand today.

Being faced with having to pay out to Novell, SCO finally received its first nail in its coffin. Following the Novell ruling, SCO filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy, and SCO v. IBM was stayed until SCO could emerge from Chapter 11 and continue the case. Shortly thereafter, SCO's stock price fell to under $0.50/share and they were de-listed from NASDAQ.

The End of SCO, but not of SCO v. IBM

So that's where we are today. Once the Chapter 7 filing is finalized by a judge, SCO will cease to be as a corporate entity, however they are proposing that SCO v. IBM be allowed to continue, not for sheer entertainment value, but rather so that they don't risk the wrath of their shareholders.

Nine years on, it's difficult to say who the real winners are. It's definitely not The SCO Group themselves, since they've gone under. It's also probably not SCO's lawyers, since their chances for being paid are greatly diminished since SCO's short-lived high times in 2003. IBM stands poised to win the case should it go forward, however their legal expenditures at this point are so large they could only be fielded by the likes of IBM. Novell, despite having already won, may not ever get paid all that it's owed. Linux users will most likely eventually emerge as not having to pay SCO a dime, which while is nice to have reaffirmed, is where they were back in 2003 to begin with. Another side effect of the courts rulings, was the reaffirmation of USL v. BSDi, which means that FreeBSD users are definitely safe from licensing fees and litigation.

While I've given an overview of the SCO-Linux litigations here, I've surely missed many of the bumps in the road. I only briefly touched on the PR war SCO fought against Groklaw, and many of the other insanities brought on by this case. With SCO v. IBM still possibly lunging ahead in a stupor, it may be too early to finally enjoy those aforementioned hard-earned beers, but it's still safe to chill them with the ice off SCO's corpse.

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157 comments

Let's NOT look back. (3, Insightful)

TheDarkener (198348) | about a year ago | (#41056641)

Seriously. 9 years of facepalming is enough. Let's forget the SCO morons and focus on the future, which is celebrating and embracing open source in all ways imaginable.

Re:Let's NOT look back. (5, Insightful)

biggyfred (754376) | about a year ago | (#41056725)

Young'ins need to know the story of SUE EVERYONE doesn't begin or end with Apple.

Re:Let's NOT look back. (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#41056791)

that may be true, but it dose not change the fact that hating apple is the hip thing to do and it is still bad even if they were not the first or lat company to do it.

Re:Let's NOT look back. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#41057125)

that may be true, but it dose not change the fact that hating apple is the hip thing to do and it still makes plenty of sense even if they were not the first or lat company to do it.

FTFY

Your statement makes a lot more sense this way.

Re:Let's NOT look back. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#41058221)

Don't worry, even after SCO is gone, the litigation will continue. Someone will acquire their IP and continue to press their claims.

Re:Let's NOT look back. (1)

daremonai (859175) | about a year ago | (#41058787)

What IP? They don't own the UNIX copyrights.

Or did you mean their IP addresses? Yeah, those might be worth something. In fact, that's probably the only part of SCO that's worth anything now.

Re:Let's NOT look back. (1)

jbolden (176878) | about a year ago | (#41058229)

Look people may disagree with Apple. But an analogy to the SCO v. IBM would be Apple suing Coca Cola for Microsoft's properly licensed use of Apple's technology. They aren't doing anything remotely like SCO.

Re:Let's NOT look back. (2)

Penguinisto (415985) | about a year ago | (#41056759)

Most folks have.

I'm just curious about one thing though... TFA mentions shareholders. Who the fuck would be crazy/stupid/naive enough to still be clinging to shares of SCOX? It's not like it's worth anything (it currently trades at $0.02, FFS [yahoo.com])

Re:Let's NOT look back. (3, Interesting)

fustakrakich (1673220) | about a year ago | (#41057009)

TFA mentions shareholders.

But nobody mentions the guy who started this. Anybody here believe he's changed his evil ways? It is said that the best way to get even with a rich man is to make him a poor man. Has that happened to him?

Re:Let's NOT look back. (3, Informative)

Kozar_The_Malignant (738483) | about a year ago | (#41057597)

There are several investor websites that have SCO/SCOX/DarlWatch forums, particularly in Utah. If you want to keep track yourself, either to drop him a note or make sure you never ever invest in anything he touches, here is his LinkedIn [linkedin.com] page. He describes himself and an Entrepreneur at Me, Inc. whose mission is to,"Incubate, design and build companies that deliver smart phone, social and cloud-based applications."

Re:Let's NOT look back. (1)

MysteriousPreacher (702266) | about a year ago | (#41057859)

I've been wondering exactly what is he getting up to there at Me Inc? The site is shitty in both presentation and content. He hasn't discovered how to correctly size images. In lieu of actual substance, it's mostly about telling us that smart phones are the future, and that Me's ostensibly non-imaginary products can be used to develop applications for smart phones. I see some of these things are available on iTunes Store, and not exactly a roaring success. The self-stated raison d'etre for Me Inc. can be summed up as follows:

"We are leaders in helping you more effectively through our advanced . . Our engineering team can help you and integrate your with and interwebs.

If by "entrepreneur" he means fucking useless, then yes, his LinkedIn title is pretty accurately summing him up. He lists his time with SCO on his profile, which I suppose he either considers a good thing, or he realises that he can't hide from his decade spent turning a healthy tech company in to a pile of shit, while making himself the most unemployable man since Charles Manson gave himself a forehead tattoo.

This world would be a better place if McBride were to go out back and end it with a revolver, but the main contribution to the good of humanity would be in the commercial transaction created when he bought the gun and a bullet. He's pretty irrelevant now, so his passing would mean little.

Re:Let's NOT look back. (2)

jbolden (176878) | about a year ago | (#41058325)

This world would be a better place if McBride were to go out back and end it with a revolver,

The world would be a better place if McBridge had been tried, convicted and jailed for fraud. I suspect McBridge's life in technology is over. Lots of other executive do similar things in other industries. The world would be a far better place if they faced criminal prosecution for their conduct.

Also the Boies Schiller & Flexner people should be disbarred for deliberately misleading the court.

Re:Let's NOT look back. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#41058497)

Is there a Linkedin version of bullshit bingo?

No clinging (1)

fm6 (162816) | about a year ago | (#41057399)

"Clinging" presupposes they have a choice. If nobody wants your shares, how do you sell them?

Actually, some fools do want worthless "penny stocks.". Lots of people speculate in them for much the same reason people play the lottery. That's what all the spam about "hot tip: United Fecal Matter is set to take off!" is about.

Re:No clinging (2)

jamstar7 (694492) | about a year ago | (#41058151)

Actually, some fools do want worthless "penny stocks.". Lots of people speculate in them for much the same reason people play the lottery. That's what all the spam about "hot tip: United Fecal Matter is set to take off!" is about.

Those spams are pretty much 'pump & dump' scams. Somebody buys an email list from a list broker, then snarfs up a few hundred thousand shares of some penny stock, spams the planet, waits for the stock to move up, and dumps them for a couple quick bucks. Hardcore daytraders used to get taken by this all the time til they wised up.

I just keep in mind the old saw about "Know how to make a small fortune in the stock market? Start with a large fortune!"

Re:Let's NOT look back. (1)

jamstar7 (694492) | about a year ago | (#41058069)

I'm just curious about one thing though... TFA mentions shareholders. Who the fuck would be crazy/stupid/naive enough to still be clinging to shares of SCOX? It's not like it's worth anything (it currently trades at $0.02, FFS [yahoo.com])

A bunch of people who jumped on it when it was 18, 19 bucks a share just before it took the swan dive into the cesspool. Once it started down, no smart investor would touch it, and once it was delisted, even the 'pump & dump' scams couldn't move it a millimeter. I'm thinkin a lotta people tried to sell, but nobody was buying at any price; their brokers warned them off fast.

Re:Let's NOT look back. (2)

MysteriousPreacher (702266) | about a year ago | (#41058517)

I'm left wondering what Yarro (the largest shareholder) was thinking, and to a lesser extent, the other shareholders. By the time Yarro received Canopy's 30% share of SCO, it must have been pretty clear that McBride's strategy was turning to shit, and that IBM would vigorously fight SCO's poorly evidenced and sometimes nonsensical claims. I can think of three possibilities:

1) Yarro and the shareholders were batshit crazy.
2) The shareholders considered the almost certain decimation of their investment to be worth risking for the big payout possible if SCO were to win something other than the right to appeal - again. They were going against a number of companies, one of which has very deep pockets and a reputation for fighting these kinds of things.
3) Yarro, and perhaps others, were being otherwise compensated for allowing SCO to engage in a suicide mission. Keeping McBride at the helm for so long suggests that they needed a crazy cunt (or idiot) of a man who'd stay at the wheel as the flames lick around him.

Those who cannot remember the past (3, Insightful)

medv4380 (1604309) | about a year ago | (#41056837)

... are condemned to repeat it - George Santayana

I'd rather be reminded of SCO and what they've done every now and then. If not then we might slip up and another SCO will come and we'll have to repeat this all over again, or worse someone like SCO might win because we're off guard.

Re:Those who cannot remember the past (4, Informative)

andydread (758754) | about a year ago | (#41057613)

Its already happening unfortunately. This time with software-patents and Microsft is doing it directly now [tomsitpro.com] rather than using a proxy like SCO they are quietly going around to companies [computerworld.com] and telling them if you use Linux then you need to pay up or face litigation. They are not sending letters they are sending layers and everything is done under NDA so you cannot talk about it in the press. Its very shady [informationweek.com] but they are already doing this. The goal is to stain/destroy Linux in the marketplace

Re:Those who cannot remember the past (1)

jbolden (176878) | about a year ago | (#41058379)

That was over Android not Linux. Though as an aside you are behind the times. Barnes and Noble refused to cave and wanted to go trial and make the claims specific and public. Microsoft responded by offering by offering a licensing deal to B&N for $300m. While I'd love to know the details, the good guys won that round.

Re:Those who cannot remember the past (0)

93 Escort Wagon (326346) | about a year ago | (#41057663)

... are condemned to repeat it - George Santayana

Is that why he died in 1952 - he forgot that people before him had died?

Re:Those who cannot remember the past (4, Insightful)

idontgno (624372) | about a year ago | (#41058363)

The great failing of Santayana's wisdom is that no one believes the lessons of history applies to them. Movers, shakers, and other douchebags are exceptionalism personified. They're above the rules, lessons, restrictions, or morals that the suckers in the streets are subject to. No matter what happened before, it won't happen to them, because they're just different. Visionary. Smarter. More aggressive. They shift the paradigm. The break the mold.

No one is more surprised* when karmic justice catches up with a Great Person than the Great Person himself. Just ask Darl.

*Corollary: When karma runs over a Great Person's dogma, it's someone else's fault. The Stab in the Back. Treason. The fickleness and weakness of the Great Person's followers. Whatever. It's not the Great Person's fault. Just ask 'em.

Re:Those who cannot remember the past (-1, Offtopic)

cpu6502 (1960974) | about a year ago | (#41059237)

>>>When karma runs over a Great Person's dogma, it's someone else's fault. The Stab in the Back. Treason. The fickleness and weakness of the Great Person's followers. Whatever. It's not the Great Person's fault. Just ask 'em.

Like how Obama and his still-loyal followers blame the Republicans for "blocking his initiatives" even though it was the Democrats who controlled Congress for 4 years (2 years under Bush and 2 years under Obama). Blame everybody else but themselves.

Re:Let's NOT look back. (0, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#41056859)

Don't forget to pay your $699 licensing fee you cock smoking teabaggers.

speaking truth to power (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#41059609)

Came for that comment, wasn't disappointed.
Sorry valiant AC, I don't have any mod points for you today.

Those who cannot remember the past.. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#41057563)

are condemned to repeat it.

Now, this whole SCO saga is one thing we do not wish to see repeated, right ? We definitely need to look back. a lot.

another SCO story? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#41056667)

NOOOOOOOOOOO!!!!!!!!!

This shit was boring then (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#41056723)

And just stupid now.

No. No Free Passes. Bad CowboyNeal. Bad. (5, Insightful)

eldavojohn (898314) | about a year ago | (#41056765)

First of all, I don't understand how this story was told without mention of Chief Executive Dbag Darl McBride [wikipedia.org].

Secondly, I flat out object to the following reoccurring theme prevalent in this piece that alleviates any leaders (none of whom are named) of any responsibility, onus or wrongdoing:

A few companies actually bought into the madness, but for the most part, the world collectively rolled its eyes at SCO, meaning that SCO would have to soldier on with their lawsuit-based business strategy, or face the wrath of their shareholders.

Once the Chapter 7 filing is finalized by a judge, SCO will cease to be as a corporate entity, however they are proposing that SCO v. IBM be allowed to continue, not for sheer entertainment value, but rather so that they don't risk the wrath of their shareholders.

(emphasis mine) I don't understand how someone can be such a jerk and we can say "oh, yeah, well, they had to do it because of the shareholders." Yes, I know that shareholders can sue you when you commit a colossal screw up but you can't hand out free passes like this for every thing they do. What would the shareholders have done? Sued him out of his position? Well, at least he'd still have his ethics and dignity intact. The problem is that the people running SCO lacked any fragments of those things from the start! Let me remind you of McBride's open letter in 2003 that remains to this day at SCO's site [sco.com]. It contained such gems as:

Based on the views of the U.S. Congress and the U.S. Supreme Court, we believe that adoption and use of the GPL by significant parts of the software industry was a mistake. The positions of the Free Software Foundation and Red Hat against proprietary software are ill-founded and are contrary to our system of copyright and patent laws. We believe that responsible corporations throughout the IT industry have advocated use of the GPL without full analysis of its long-term detriment to our economy. We are confident that these corporations will ultimately reverse support for the GPL, and will pursue a more responsible direction.

And what? Was there a shareholder holding a loaded gun to his head when he penned this letter? No, there wasn't. I mean, looking back this comment is laughable.

And a side rant is that this is a perfect example of why corporations have more rights than citizens. SCO goes Chapter 11 then Chapter 7 and all the assholes that ran the show walk. And they're hired elsewhere and they have very minimal repercussions. What happens when an individual makes bad decisions with their personal finances? They get Chapter 13? They get liens slapped on all their income? Regardless of the chapter, their credit is screwed so they can't buy anything big for 10 years? You know what I'd like to see? I'd like to see the names of the people running this show published so we know who ran the show at this company. And I'd like to see bankruptcy laws barring them from assuming any position within a company where they have direct purview or control of any assets worth over $5,000. You know what? I'd bet then they'd be a little more rational, ethical and logical in their decisions just like the general populace is forced to do for fear of bankruptcy.

Seriously, where is the blame going to be placed? Who will learn their lesson here? I'll be damned if I allow you to just pass the buck to "the wrath of the shareholders." That black hole of capitalistic logic has lead to major problems in the governance and upper rankings of American companies.

Re:No. No Free Passes. Bad CowboyNeal. Bad. (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#41057197)

Blaming the shareholders for the decisions made by the board is like blaming a populace for the decisions made by the government that rules over them. Common sense is all you need to realize that it's just a stinking pile of B-U-L-L-S-H-I-T.

Re:No. No Free Passes. Bad CowboyNeal. Bad. (1)

Abreu (173023) | about a year ago | (#41058375)

Blaming the shareholders for the decisions made by the board is like blaming a populace for the decisions made by the government that rules over them. Common sense is all you need to realize that it's just a stinking pile of B-U-L-L-S-H-I-T.

And still, people commonly blame the populace for the decisions made by their goverments. "People have the goverment they deserve" and all that shit.

Look at the Greeks and the Spaniards, and how they are being blamed for Europe's economic woes.

Re:No. No Free Passes. Bad CowboyNeal. Bad. (1)

RabidReindeer (2625839) | about a year ago | (#41058849)

Blaming the shareholders for the decisions made by the board is like blaming a populace for the decisions made by the government that rules over them. Common sense is all you need to realize that it's just a stinking pile of B-U-L-L-S-H-I-T.

If you have to strip naked to fly from one part of the USA to another part of the USA, it's because you - and 314 million of your closest friends - elected people who passed the laws that made it not merely possible, but mandatory. We may be a "republic", but we're a democratic republic.

On the other hand, corporations are "Citizens United" democratic republics. Not one person, one vote, but one share, one vote, and the bulk of the shares are almost always in the hands of a few executives and/or insitutional investors. Thus the board doesn't reflect the majority of the share holders, just the majority shareholders. Which, in the case of SCO...

Re:No. No Free Passes. Bad CowboyNeal. Bad. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#41057265)

SCO goes Chapter 11 then Chapter 7

Sounds to me like if corporations are people too (R) this one go the death penalty.

The Holy Shareholders (2)

fm6 (162816) | about a year ago | (#41057581)

I don't understand how someone can be such a jerk and we can say "oh, yeah, well, they had to do it because of the shareholders."

Then you don't understand capitalism. Publicly held companies are driven by just one priority: increase shareholder value. If a CEO's conscience interferes with that goal, the shareholders soon appoint somebody else.

You're upset about McBride's pursuit of frivolous litigation? Corporations have been known to kill people in pursuit of profit. That's why socialism was such a popular doctrine through much of the 20th century. Of course socialism has its own evils (aside from its own share of mass murder, socialist economies are just not viable), so we're not going to dispense with capitalism any time soon. But we have to curb its evils and its stupidities, no matter how much Mitt tries to tell us otherwise.

Re:The Holy Shareholders (1)

jbolden (176878) | about a year ago | (#41058441)

30 years ago corporations had to meet multiple criteria. Their activities had to the advantage of stakeholders not just shareholders:

the community they operated in
workers
ownership (shareholders)
vendors
society at large

They could lose their charter for failing to meet those obligations. There are some good ideas from the 1970s we should bring back.

Re:The Holy Shareholders (1)

fm6 (162816) | about a year ago | (#41058593)

Are you kidding? Corporate corruption was rampant during the 70s Ever hear of ITT?

Name a corporation that's ever lost its charter for being bad for "society at large".

Re:The Holy Shareholders (1)

jbolden (176878) | about a year ago | (#41058955)

Cleveland Clinic refused to cooperate with the city in a zoning dispute had its charter revoked and its building taken under eminent domain.

Re:The Holy Shareholders (1)

fm6 (162816) | about a year ago | (#41059181)

I'm talking about publically-held corporations. You're talking about a non-profit.

Re:No. No Free Passes. Bad CowboyNeal. Bad. (2)

chrb (1083577) | about a year ago | (#41057779)

I don't understand how someone can be such a jerk and we can say "oh, yeah, well, they had to do it because of the shareholders."

I still don't understand why the shareholders haven't called for an explanation of the mysterious investments that bankrolled this whole thing: [wikipedia.org]

BayStar Capital and Royal Bank of Canada invested US$50 million in The SCO Group to support the legal cost of SCO's Linux campaign. Later it was shown that BayStar was referred to SCO by Microsoft
On March 4, 2004, a leaked SCO internal e-mail detailed how Microsoft had raised up to $106 million via the BayStar referral and other means.[60] Blake Stowell of SCO confirmed the memo was real.[61] BayStar claimed the deal was suggested by Microsoft

It's been pretty clear that Microsoft was involved in providing indirect financing for SCO - surely there are some investors who lost money and would want to expose these shady deals, and sue Microsoft for subverting SCO and turning it into a litigation vehicle, rather than the independent enterprise that the board claimed it to be?

Re:No. No Free Passes. Bad CowboyNeal. Bad. (2)

inode_buddha (576844) | about a year ago | (#41058019)

It doesn't make any sense on the face of it, until you recall who the "shareholders" actually are. The shareholders aren't the Wall St riff-raff. Rather the shareholders were the guys on the board of directors, and also Darl McBride. They all stood to make huge $$$ off trashing the company, and they did. Microsoft effectively covered the legal fees paid to Boies Schiller thru a front company if you recall. So ultimately it didn't cost anyone anything - They all got what they wanted and probably made big $$$ too, even MS.

Re:No. No Free Passes. Bad CowboyNeal. Bad. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#41058111)

someone had a nutter... those are the words, or themes attributed to their actions. is describes the internal motivations for doing such. not the outside world's view on what they are doing. SCO has stated that they want to continue the litigation for their creditors/ shareholders. so The writing expresses their ideas..... not those of the author

Re:No. No Free Passes. Bad CowboyNeal. Bad. (1)

Darinbob (1142669) | about a year ago | (#41059675)

This is one of the key problems with corporations. Corporations are amoral creatures because in many ways there is never one single person that gets involved in moral decisions. At every level, including with the CEO, employees just say "I'm just following orders". Except the ultimate bosses are just the shareholders which can be an amorphous concept. They aren't actually running the company, they leave that to the execs and as long as there are profits they aren't going to second guess or micromanage the company. However the executives at the same time are always acutely aware that they must make a big profit, always bigger than the previous quarter, or they'll may end up being fired. ( actually being fired is not a big deal, fired CEOs are hot commodities and many companies would rather hire a failed CEO who has learned a lesson than to promote an unknown vice president) Of course they have a lot of latitude about how they make a profit and it really is under the control of the CEO. Only there's this implicit boss in the background that the CEO can't ignore.

You left out Microsoft (4, Informative)

HangingChad (677530) | about a year ago | (#41056813)

In the middle of Scocades didn't it surface that they got a lot of money from Microsoft, which was in the midst of the Vista disaster and didn't want anyone thinking about migrating to Linux until Windows 7 was safely on the market.

They bought some Linux licenses from SCO to help fund the litigation, isn't that right? There was more than a little evidence the whole thing was really litigation by proxy.

Those were the days the Big B was making personal appearances in the corporate jet to talk a couple cities out of switching to Linux. One went ahead and one in the U.K. threw in the towel if memory serves.

Re:You left out Microsoft (2)

alphax45 (675119) | about a year ago | (#41057027)

Not being a jerk; but I would love to see some sources on this that would confirm M$ helped SCO out.

Re:You left out Microsoft (4, Interesting)

andydread (758754) | about a year ago | (#41057301)

Microsoft gave them 13 million for a "Unix License" Translation: "Use this money to keep suing people using Linux" Microsoft even went further. It got a lot jucier. Google the terms "Mike Anderer", Baystar Capital, RBC, Microsoft.

Its well known that Microsoft is involved in a lot of sleazy shady behind the scenes shenanigans. From funding the SCO lawsuit in order to try to stop Linux and Open Source, to stacking standards comittees their by corrupting them, to coercing vendors not to use competing O/Ses to, Using mobster-like tactics with dubious software-patents to stifle opensource in the marketplace. Microsoft is rarely a company that simply competes in the marketplace based on the merit of their product in the market. Its their M/O

Re:You left out Microsoft (1)

sl4shd0rk (755837) | about a year ago | (#41057421)

I would love to see some sources on this that would confirm M$ helped SCO out.

Google: Microsoft royal bank of canada sco infusion

Re:You left out Microsoft (4, Informative)

Udo Schmitz (738216) | about a year ago | (#41057485)

Re:You left out Microsoft (2)

dkleinsc (563838) | about a year ago | (#41057897)

If you read only one of those, read Halloween 10, in which a consultant to SCO is writing to SCO's CFO about how Microsoft gave them $86 million to work with.

Re:You left out Microsoft (2)

Desler (1608317) | about a year ago | (#41057201)

They purchased a license for Unix technology from SCO in 2003 but that was 4 years before VIsta came out.

Re:You left out Microsoft (1)

ak3ldama (554026) | about a year ago | (#41058227)

In the middle of Scocades didn't it surface that they got a lot of money from Microsoft, which was in the midst of the Vista disaster and didn't want anyone thinking about migrating to Linux until Windows 7 was safely on the market.

They purchased a license for Unix technology from SCO in 2003 but that was 4 years before VIsta came out.

How is this confusing you?

And Darl? (1)

fustakrakich (1673220) | about a year ago | (#41056833)

Is he staying at the Y and buying his clothing from the salvation army now? Or did he collect a tidy sum when he got fired?

The Beast Is Not Dead (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#41057157)

From wikipedia:

On April 9, 2010 McBride purchased the SCO Mobility intellectual property from The SCO Group for $100,000. The company is now known as Me Inc. and as of June 10, 2011, McBride is President and CEO.

Re:The Beast Is Not Dead (1)

fustakrakich (1673220) | about a year ago | (#41057697)

Any Linux patents in there? :-)

Soooo.. It looks like the person who actually caused all of this trouble got off scot-free. To me that's the only relevant part of this whole story. I mean, who cares if the company name ends up in the discount bin? The actual belligerents are laughing all the way to the bank. In the end, what was accomplished? Linux is still at risk of these patent exploits with or without SCO.

Re:The Beast Is Not Dead (1)

jbolden (176878) | about a year ago | (#41058577)

SCO started as a copyright claim. The main thing in question was the claim that Linux SMP was in violation and that has been resolved in Linux's favor.

Sue ALL the things! (1)

ebh (116526) | about a year ago | (#41056841)

Allie, put that on a T-shirt and I'll buy it!

Re:Sue ALL the things! (1)

Samantha Wright (1324923) | about a year ago | (#41057283)

This meme usage seems anachronistic somehow. Can... can they do that?

Re:Sue ALL the things! (1)

lister king of smeg (2481612) | about a year ago | (#41057835)

What put a saying on a t-shirt well i am waring a t-shirt with writing on it so yup they can.
Or did you mean sue everything?
To answer that just look at the mobile world and android they are having their own SCO moment brought to them by Apple which happens to be another company bailed out at one time by Microsoft (back during the MS anti-monopoly case they bailed out apple and ported office to keep apple afloat so they could say the weren't a monopoly) apple like SCO (caldera linux) used to be a linux contributer ( mklinux [wikipedia.org])
Also Nokia is suing everyone but MS and Apple. Nokia is getting lots of money from Microsoft to be a Windows phone shop. They also a have a former MS executive as their CEO now.
This makes me wonder is it a requirement of taking money from Microsoft to sell your soul to the evil pattent troll gods? if so How did poor bungie get out alive?

You forgot MS (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#41056863)

Also worth noting is that Microsoft loaned dollars to SCO to continue fighting against linux.

Was SCO in the right though? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#41056919)

Both have:

int i;

in their codes. Coincidence? I think not.

Re:Was SCO in the right though? (2)

armanox (826486) | about a year ago | (#41057549)

Well, it is in Linux...

armanox@w2164:/usr/src$ grep -R "int i" linux-3.5.2/* | wc -l
57894

Now can I see the SCO source to compare?

Where's Darl? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#41056921)

Where is Darl these days? Hopefully CEO of nothing.....

"wrath of shareholders"? (1)

v1 (525388) | about a year ago | (#41056941)

twice you mention that, without ever saying what exactly the shareholders could do about it besides sell? Which from the looks of it going for 2 cents/share I'd say happened anyway. or am I missing something? I'd say all the "wrath of the shareholders" could be summed up in one of three ways: piss, moan, and SELL.

Re:"wrath of shareholders"? (1)

lister king of smeg (2481612) | about a year ago | (#41057951)

someone should start a kickstart to buy all of the old SCO stock and donate to the Linux foundation. mean if its like a $0.25 it should be easy and cheap enough to get most if not all of it. Just think of the Sweat poetic justice of Linux then owning SCO.

Lets also not forget (5, Informative)

andydread (758754) | about a year ago | (#41057095)

FTS

At this point, SCO's claims were sounding dubious at best, so they showed off two samples of alleged copied code at a reseller show later that month. However, the code in question was shown to be part of BSD, and previously released under the BSD license. In spite of this, SCO decided that to save face, they should waste everyone's time with continuing their warpath of litigation.

Aided by Microsoft Corp and Sun Microsystems Inc. direct investment of $23,000,000 dollars to fund the lawsuit and an additional $50,000,000 dollars organized by Microsoft to funnel funds to SCO through Baystar Captial and RBC facilitated by one Mike Anderer IIRC.

Also the saga with Maureen O'Gara, Dan Lyons, Rob Enderle and others that were caught spreading misinformation in the IT media on behalf of Microsoft and SCO in this case.

Re:Lets also not forget (2)

jbolden (176878) | about a year ago | (#41058839)

Rob Enderle -- has written a fairly long explication of his involvement. His reputation is permanently damaged.
Maureen O'Gara -- didn't have much of a reputation to start with but there are now many articles that insinuate she fabricated information for pay, which is likely about the worst she did.
Dan Lyons -- The link to his apology is easy to find http://www.forbes.com/2007/09/19/software-linux-lawsuits-tech-oped-cx_dl_0919lyons.html [forbes.com]

But I still thought it would be foolish to predict how this lawsuit (or any lawsuit) would play out. I even wrote an article called "Revenge of the Nerds," which poked fun at the pack of amateur sleuths who were following the case on a Web site called Groklaw and who claimed to know for sure that SCO was going to lose.

Turns out those amateur sleuths were right. Now some of them are writing to me asking how I'd like my crow cooked, and where I'd like it delivered.

Others in that highly partisan crowd have suggested that I wanted SCO to win, and even that I was paid off by SCO or Microsoft. Of course that's not true. I've told these folks it's not true. Hasn't stopped them.

The truth, as is often the case, is far less exciting than the conspiracy theorists would like to believe. It is simply this: I got it wrong. The nerds got it right.

The SCO Group - Not Santa Cruz Operation (4, Informative)

tenchima (625569) | about a year ago | (#41057241)

Just wanted to remind people that this farce was initiated by the company called Caldera when they bought SCO (The Santa Cruz Operation). They renamed themselves The SCO Group ("...SCO no longer means Santa Cruz Operation..."), but it was still the Caldera management calling the shots.

The Santa Cruz Operation was a good company to work for. I can't say the same for Caldera. When the take-over occurred, the lucky ones (IMHO) go to go to Tarantella (eventually subsumed into what was Sun). The red-headed step-children got to stay behind with the sinking ship. And boy, was I ^H ^H ^H ^H ^H were they glad top be let go before the Darl McBride hit the fan.

Re:The SCO Group - Not Santa Cruz Operation (1)

unixisc (2429386) | about a year ago | (#41058167)

Given that Caldera and RedHat were among the first distributors of Linux, how exactly did that work? Did Caldera fold their distro? Even if they did, what was out there was out there - under the GPL. So didn't/couldn't other companies have pointed out that any common code b/w Unix and Linux actually came from Caldera itself?

correction (1)

durdur (252098) | about a year ago | (#41058755)

SCO Group did not buy The Santa Cruz Operation, but instead had bought certain assets from them, and had some rights to use Unix in specific ways under contract. The court ruled that this contract did not transfer the copyrights (in fact, it ruled Santa Cruz Operation didn't own them either, Novell retained ownership). There was quite a bit of willful obfuscation by SCO where they preferred to let on that they had just inherited Unix ownership from The Santa Cruz Operation, and the name similarity helped this little slight of hand. But it didn't hold up in court.

Re:The SCO Group - Not Santa Cruz Operation (1)

devjoe (88696) | about a year ago | (#41058759)

Ironically, Caldera was a Linux company before they become The SCO Group and turned into a lawsuit fountain. One of the many fun pastimes of people in the early days of Groklaw was pointing out where The SCO Group was distributing the exact Linux files they claimed infringing, with accompanying GPL. But before long they shut down the Linux distribution.

Re:The SCO Group - Not Santa Cruz Operation (1)

jbolden (176878) | about a year ago | (#41058855)

Not really. Caldera was Bryan Sparks and Ransom Love. Caldera died when McBride moved in.

Re:The SCO Group - Not Santa Cruz Operation (1)

jbolden (176878) | about a year ago | (#41058867)

Sorry I replied before realizing you used to work there.

In which case I understand you hate Caldera but by the time Caldera bought SCO they weren't the Caldera that had been part of Linux. The integration was bad between those two companies and their interests conflicted.

Re:The SCO Group - Not Santa Cruz Operation (1)

tenchima (625569) | about a year ago | (#41059373)

Actually - I stand corrected on that. I never had much dealings with Bryan Sparks, but Ransom Love seemed genuinely interested in trying to make the two companies work together. I think I saw the writing on the wall when he left. I don't hate Caldera per se, but as for the hacks who came in after Sparks and Love to run it...

There seemed to be a belief that through some sort of osmosis SCO UNIX users would just transfer to Caldera Linux. There was however no firm path defined for users how to do this. When the bubble burst, and no more investment money came in, there seemed to be a desperate scrabble to bring money in from the only paying source available, which was SCO UNIX, not Caldera Linux. Of course, support can be a problem when you already let a good part of your UNIX engineering and support staff go...

 

Its time... (1)

interval1066 (668936) | about a year ago | (#41057261)

...to LMFAO.

DaimlerChrysler was just walking down the opposite side of the street and accidentally made eye contact with SCO, and they got sued as well.

I can (probably) do it without getting sued now too...

free jobs (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#41057279)

as Marvin said I am inspired that anybody able to make $6830 in one month on the computer. did you see this web page http://goo.gl/UUZFR

Groklaw = SCO = /. (1)

rjejr (921275) | about a year ago | (#41057415)

I think I started reading /. about the time this all started and have found it quite amusing. In a "our legal systems is retarded" way.

Let's not forget that human garbage can Dan Lyons! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#41057507)

Dan Lyons wrote article after article for Forbes magazine hyping the "strength" of SCO's case.

Daryl McBride (1)

hackus (159037) | about a year ago | (#41057561)

I am writing about software patents and came across Daryl's current picture online.

The guy is probably living in a show box. His house was foreclosed, and afterward I see most of his assets have been destroyed.

In my opinion, given the criminal activity he engaged in on the stand, and also flirting with the RICO Act sending fortune 500 companies write downs to the tune of "You better buy a SCO license, otherwise we will sue you for millions.", he should be in jail.

If he ever finds work, make sure you don't buy _anything_ from the company that employs him because given his illegal and deceptive professional activities of the past, any company that feels those are good resume entries shouldn't get your business.

-Hack

A study in brilliant lawyering (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#41057685)

On Groklaw, PJ would often compare and contrast the shoddy documents prepared by SCO's legal team with those prepared for the other side.

The documents prepared for IBM, for instance, were often paragons of great communication and very good law. If you want to learn how to do that, they are excellent examples.

On the other hand, SCO's lawyers managed to keep the cases in front of the courts without being pitched out as completely baseless.

My favorite example: The judge agreed that SCO had probably caused considerable damage to Novell. It was also obvious to everyone, except the judge, that SCO was going to fritter away all its money and there would be nothing left to pay damages to Novell. In spite of that, the judge was convinced to let SCO continue without even setting aside enough to eventually pay Novell.

SCO's lawyers got their way about ten times more than most people would think was reasonable. The work often looked like crap but it sure was effective. They knew they stood no chance of winning. They gave us the best example of 'scorched earth' since 1942. Why would they do that? It sure lends credence to the theory that the whole thing was done at the behest of Microsoft to damage linux.

Fir5t (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#41057797)

share, this 8ews development model

The SCO Zombies Will Eat Our Brains! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#41058149)

This is just tempting fate. SCO has managed to shuffle around like a Zombie more then a few times when we thought it was dead. This time we should maybe launch the CEO into the Sun, just to be safe.

Pat on the back to /. (3, Insightful)

jbolden (176878) | about a year ago | (#41058185)

One thing that didn't get mentioned was prior to groklaw a lot of the counterfactual information was being collected here. People who later had testimony related to this issue found out about it from /. I think some pats on the back to Taco ... are in order.

As for IBM they are certainly a winner. For a few tens of millions they got 4-5 years of fantastic PR which moved them from being a vendor exploiting Linux to the defender of Linux and warmly embraced by the Linux community. This has helped their consulting business to the tune of billions in revenue as techi-nerds/geeks didn't push against executive management's favorite vendor.

Sun was a huge loser. They had originally sided with SCO and they never lived down the alienation from the open source community. They remained mistrusted.

Microsoft was a loser. Microsoft tied themselves to this lawsuit early and many of their more legitimate arguments against open source were discredited along with the fantasies of Darl McBride.

The GPL was a huge winner. 2 major claims: was the GPL legal at all under the copyright clause was tested and the counter claims collapsed. More importantly the idea of a company issuing a GPL release and then revoking licenses was tested in court with the GPL holding up.

Web 2.0 was a winner. Sco v. IBM represents the first Web 2.0 trial were important witnesses found out about the trial and presented evidence (i.e. self deposed) based on online publicity.

Democracy was a winner. SCO made several claims that were detrimental to the rights of public participation in trials which were thrown out.

Tarantella was a loser. No one technical wanted anything to do with SCO. They ended up being bought by Sun and withering even there.

There are few wars with such clean cut good guys, bad guys.

Forgot 1 (3, Informative)

jbolden (176878) | about a year ago | (#41058303)

Oh I forgot.

The reporters who originally sided with SCO were huge losers. SCO v. IBM was one of the few times (Judith Miller and Iraq being another) where reporters who engaged in unethical conduct were outed and their conduct has become part of their public profile.

And for the same reason as above, integrity in journalism was a winner.

Awful abuse of the legal process and bankruptcy (2)

durdur (252098) | about a year ago | (#41058509)

So, Novell was awarded $3 million in 2008 but they have not to this day seen a dime of it. SCO declared bankruptcy and from that point on, various attorneys and advisers got paid, and the bankruptcy trustee, but not the creditors. This went on until no money was left, and now they're going into Chapter 7.

And the IBM case was stayed by the bankruptcy. IBM had a very good counter-suit against SCO for defamation and interfering with IBM's business by wrongfully claiming IBM had no right to sell their Unix product, AIX. This case can now technically be resumed now that SCO is out of Chapter 11, but IBM will never see any monetary compensation, even if they win, because of course SCO has no money.

The whole thing illustrates very well why companies incorporate in Delaware, because the bankruptcy process there practically guarantees that nobody with a claim against the company will get anything. At least if this case is any indication.

Assets (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#41058627)

We can only home that someone like IBM gets (or buys) all the so called assets of SCO and publicly drives a silver steak through the heart of the paperwork. What worries me is that some nefarious creep gets a hold of the so called IP and this thing never goes away.

Long lost Caldera OpenLinux (2)

MaxDude (1352177) | about a year ago | (#41058663)

Let us not forget the other victim in all of this - Caldera OpenLinux.

I know, it's a long dead distribution, but it was well ahead of it's time when SCO killed it to focus on it's Litigation-for-Profit business model. I often wonder what would have happened if Caldera Linux had survived.

Chapter 11 declared BEFORE trial began (1)

Insanity Defense (1232008) | about a year ago | (#41058671)

[p]As recall The SCO Group didn't file for Chapter 11 after Novell won the trial but the Friday before the actual trial began. Thus delaying the case(s) for some time.[/p]

Who will write the novel? (1)

dpbsmith (263124) | about a year ago | (#41059361)

A modern-day Dickens could do something with it.

"Jarndyce and Jarndyce drones on. This scarecrow of a suit has, in course of time, become so complicated that no man alive knows what it means. The parties to it understand it least, but it has been observed that no two Chancery lawyers can talk about it for five minutes without coming to a total disagreement as to all the premises. Innumerable children have been born into the cause; innumerable young people have married into it; innumerable old people have died out of it. Scores of persons have deliriously found themselves made parties in Jarndyce and Jarndyce without knowing how or why; whole families have inherited legendary hatreds with the suit. The little plaintiff or defendant who was promised a new rocking-horse when Jarndyce and Jarndyce should be settled has grown up, possessed himself of a real horse, and trotted away into the other world. Fair wards of court have faded into mothers and grandmothers; a long procession of Chancellors has come in and gone out; the legion of bills in the suit have been transformed into mere bills of mortality; there are not three Jarndyces left upon the earth perhaps since old Tom Jarndyce in despair blew his brains out at a coffee-house in Chancery Lane; but Jarndyce and Jarndyce still drags its dreary length before the court, perennially hopeless."--Charles Dickens, Bleak House

DOES NOVELL STILL HAVE THE COPYRIGHTS? (2)

rathaven (1253420) | about a year ago | (#41059391)

My biggest concern is that on the back of this there is Novell's takeover by Attachmate (funded in part by the sell off of patents). Who has them now...?

Even more ridiculous in context... (1)

RobL3 (126711) | about a year ago | (#41059645)

Look at what's happened in the tech world during the last ten years... Hell, just look at the Linux world - who would have thought IBM would be selling Linux as the "never-get-fired-for choosing-IBM" mid-tier server option? It's not just that our legal system can't keep up with the ever-increasing pace of change, It's having trouble staying in the same freaking decade. I fear the coming patent wars and their effect on innovation. Hell, when this story broke I had a high /. UID.....
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