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The SCO Boomerang and the Strength of Linux

timothy posted more than 9 years ago | from the kumbaya dept.

The Courts 219

karvind writes "PJ of Groklaw has written an insightful article on benefits flowing from SCO's litigation: GPL stands up in court, the community bonded more tightly than ever, encouraged increased support for FOSS and last but not the least heightened awareness of the benefits of using GNU/Linux systems. Article is also on Yahoo and NewsFactor."

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The winds of change.... (0, Offtopic)

JBjornsson (876689) | more than 9 years ago | (#12261132)

Dear Slashdot users,

I'm an IT / technology fan and have been a slashdot lurker for quite a few months now. I'm interested in improving the site and recently myself and a group of investers have been in discussion with the guys at Andover. We have made them an offer they cannot refuse - In short, we are planning to buy Slashdot. It is much in need of a makeover and if all goes to plan here are my ideas so far:

- Website look and feel change: Come on, it's no longer 1998 guys.
- Bring the site in line with current web standards as is suggested here. [alistapart.com]
- Keep the current line of editors but base their continued employment on their performance and a quarterly vote by readers. If an overwhelming amount of readers want a particular editor to leave then their opinion will be taken into consideration. On the other hand we could go for a completely new team of editors - what do you guys think?
- Dupe prevention scripts. This has been requested time and time again and now it will be implemented.
- Remove the karma system. All this has done is make karma whoring a competition. It is ineffective and a waste of time.
- Remove the moderation system. I don't really feel it adds anything: for example I see too many posts moderated out of sight just because the poster's opinion is not in line with Slashdot group think.
- Less intrusive adverts. I'm considering google text adverts as a replacement to the current ads.
- Make slashdot more international: I know it has traditionally been a US-centric site but it would be good to see more of a balance of articles from around the globe.
- Roland Piquepaille - articles linked from this guy's blog have to go. So far as I can see he adds no content to articles and we may as well have them from the original source.
- No more subscriptions: Everyone from now on will be treated equal and enjoy the same features without having to pay.
- More user features: Enhanced profile (similar to Fark perhaps?), longer sigs, image attachment to posts (up to a certain size and only after a user has made a certain amount of posts, say 50?)

I would appreciate any further suggestions from readers - either leave a reply to this, or drop me a line.

Thanks and hopefully I'll provide more news soon :)

-Dr Jöran Bjornsson
j.bjornsson@gmail.com

Re:The winds of change.... (-1, Troll)

Badanov (518690) | more than 9 years ago | (#12261143)

Slashdotters, especially love freedom and democracy, but not when it comes to their employment.

I got a better idea. Subject your own job to a vote of slashdot.

I bet you'll hate the outcome.

Re:The winds of change.... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12261146)

So start your own site. Good luck

Re:The winds of change.... (2, Insightful)

M0riarty (850969) | more than 9 years ago | (#12261154)

I concur, except keep the look and feel as-is, and do not allow image attachment to posts, believe me, you won't like the results

Re:The winds of change.... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12261187)

image attachment to posts

Are you completely insane?

Re:The winds of change.... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12261208)

Is this some kinda weird 419?

What's your problem with subscription? (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12261215)

No more subscriptions: Everyone from now on will be treated equal and enjoy the same features without having to pay.

And why would that be a good thing?

Subscription is a good way for Slashdot to cover the bandwidth and other costs and I am happy to dole out $5-$10 every few months.

If you can't/won't pay, you can still enjoy the contents and participate in the discussion just like subscribers.

I don't understand what your beef is with subscription.

Re:The winds of change.... (2, Insightful)

LiquidCoooled (634315) | more than 9 years ago | (#12261243)

Everyone seems to bitch about Roland, but looking on the slashdot hall of fame [slashdot.org] for most active submitters, I find that Roland is second.

The first person(prostoalex [slashdot.org] ) has more accepted submissions, also has a blog, and has nobody complaining about him.

Without regular roving reporters, digging out interesting stories, slashdot would be shit.

I have not come across a single article where Roland forces people to his blog, EVERY single article blurb links directly to his original source, the blog is just another more indepth writeup, you are NOT forced to go there at all.

However submissions by sheeple to NYT and salon etc are far more annoying by forcing signups and payments just to read the news.

The rest of your suggestions are pretty much spot on however.

Re:The winds of change.... (1)

droleary (47999) | more than 9 years ago | (#12261846)

The first person(prostoalex ) has more accepted submissions, also has a blog, and has nobody complaining about him.

The people modding you up should be banned from moderation permanently. Why, and why is nobody complaining about prostoalex? Because he's not linking to his site(s) as part of the article. At least not in the last 10 submissions I bothered to double-check. Can you point out to any link whoring by prostoalex that is anywhere close to the Engadget shit we've seen?

Without regular roving reporters, digging out interesting stories, slashdot would be shit.

Yes it would, and that's why Roland is covered in feces while prostoalex is clean. The latter is reporting what they find, while the former is just trying to direct you to their web site. It's like those fucking blurbs that try to get you to watch the local news. "Is milk killing your children? Tune in 11!" Fuck that kind of non-informative sensationalism and fuck you for supporting its Slashdot form.

Re:The winds of change.... (1)

LiquidCoooled (634315) | more than 9 years ago | (#12261994)

You should check back, every single article links to the author as the first thing, the bloody blog is linked there.

As a rebuttal, show me one place where you are forced to view Rolands blog without actually being able to read the original source article.

Re:The winds of change.... (0, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12261256)

Dear Slashdot users,

I am not your mom. Do you write to your boss with the word 'dear'?

I'm an IT / technology fan and have been a slashdot lurker for quite a few months now. I'm interested in improving the site and recently myself and a group of investers have been in discussion with the guys at Andover. We have made them an offer they cannot refuse - In short, we are planning to buy Slashdot. It is much in need of a makeover and if all goes to plan here are my ideas so far:

Good luck. Like anybody gives a shit.

- Website look and feel change: Come on, it's no longer 1998 guys.

Doesn't matter. I come to slashdot to get news, not have visual blowjobs.

- Bring the site in line with current web standards as is suggested here. [alistapart.com]

Don't care, won't care.

- Keep the current line of editors but base their continued employment on their performance and a quarterly vote by readers. If an overwhelming amount of readers want a particular editor to leave then their opinion will be taken into consideration. On the other hand we could go for a completely new team of editors - what do you guys think?

Turn Slashdot into a democracy? With the quality of trolls, and dead nigger assiociation members that like to hang out here I think that it would be like leading lambs into a den of wolves.

- Dupe prevention scripts. This has been requested time and time again and now it will be implemented.

How about dupe prevention editors? I think that would be much more usefull.

anyways the idiots that care about dups and spend evenings complaining about it obviously are to much of nitpickers and should be ignored.

Similar with gramar nazis. These are a tiny minority of people that get their rocks off by continiously finding flaws in others. Should be ignored by sane people.

- Remove the karma system. All this has done is make karma whoring a competition. It is ineffective and a waste of time.

It provides people with a purpose in life. If you take it away it would be akin to taking away the points system in Worlds of Warcraft.

The heads would roll and the blood would flow. Best just leave it if you value your life and the lives of your family.

Just like me being a anonymous luser. I come to /. for entertainment and news. Not to not to waste time.

- Remove the moderation system. I don't really feel it adds anything: for example I see too many posts moderated out of sight just because the poster's opinion is not in line with Slashdot group think.

The ignore the commits and talk about it on your own newsgroup with people that agree with your viewpoints.

It's safer that way.. you realy don't want to know what people think, do you?

- Less intrusive adverts. I'm considering google text adverts as a replacement to the current ads.

The adverts are not intrusive. If you care, you should stop becuase it doesn't matter.

- Make slashdot more international: I know it has traditionally been a US-centric site but it would be good to see more of a balance of articles from around the globe.

It's US centric because the vast majority of people that submit articles and read /. are US geeks. Start a EuroDot if you want.

That sounds a lot more usefull then any of the dozen obviously bullshit bullet points you posted here.

BTW it's obvious your full of shit about buying /.


- Roland Piquepaille - articles linked from this guy's blog have to go. So far as I can see he adds no content to articles and we may as well have them from the original source.
- No more subscriptions: Everyone from now on will be treated equal and enjoy the same features without having to pay.
- More user features: Enhanced profile (similar to Fark perhaps?), longer sigs, image attachment to posts (up to a certain size and only after a user has made a certain amount of posts, say 50?)

I would appreciate any further suggestions from readers - either leave a reply to this, or drop me a line.

Thanks and hopefully I'll provide more news soon :)

-Dr Jöran Bjornsson
j.bjornsson@gmail.com


I stopped caring. I had all sorts of more ideas to improve your post, but I just realised I had 75 cents and I am going to buy a candy bar instead.

Blow me a nice day right back at you.

GPL (5, Informative)

Lehk228 (705449) | more than 9 years ago | (#12261139)

The GPL was not "tested in court" the lawsuit was a contract dispute between SCO and IBM. Though i think it may have resulted in a few more PHB's hearing about linux and maybe being curious how it could save money to switch.

There's a reason it wasn't tested in court (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12261173)

The GPL is so robust that, when violators are confronted with it, they invariably fold. It has been a complete non-issue. Even SCO does not argue that the GPL is invalid, only that the FSF and IBM haven't enforced it fairly.

The GPL is a work of sheer genius.

Re:There's a reason it wasn't tested in court (1)

astrojetsonjr (601602) | more than 9 years ago | (#12261200)

But the test is coming up very soon, it looks like Judge Kimball is ready to rock the SCO world on the 21st of April.

Re:There's a reason it wasn't tested in court (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12261205)

The license itself may be a work of sheer genius, but the idiotic, uncompromising fanaticism and elitism of the GPL crowd drives people away.

Free software is not always the solution. Proprietary software does not need liberation. You can't make as much money with open source software as you can with closed source software. Making profit is a good thing.

Re:There's a reason it wasn't tested in court (5, Insightful)

Corpus_Callosum (617295) | more than 9 years ago | (#12261284)

The license itself may be a work of sheer genius, but the idiotic, uncompromising fanaticism and elitism of the GPL crowd drives people away.
They generally are uncompromising, elite fanatics. But I would hardly call their behavior idiotic. What drives every GPL swinging fanatic is the lucid realization that if the source is closed, the software will eventually rot and die. Why would anyone in their right mind want to depend on anything that is guaranteed to rot and die? If we take software to be the bricks and mortar of the world's communications and data infrastructure, then we also have the additional variable of control. Do you want private companies controlling world infrastructure? These are the central themes of the open-source religion and for people that give a damn, they are strong themes.

Free software is not always the solution. Proprietary software does not need liberation. You can't make as much money with open source software as you can with closed source software. Making profit is a good thing.
If the proprietary software is something that is expected to exist for a long time, participate in public data infrastructure and/or is of very high importance, then there are some very compelling arguments that it should indeed be liberated.

It is not even completely clear that you can make more money with proprietary software. The largest and most profitable computer company in the world is open-sourcing practically everything these days, they believe it is good for business. You know the one, with three blue letters?

Re:There's a reason it wasn't tested in court (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12261372)

Look, one bad thing about the SCOXE suits is that we are talking about GPL fanatics whereas I used to hear more about UNIX fanatics -- something I consider funnier. Isn't the GPL being tested in German courts right now though? --jplatt39

Re:There's a reason it wasn't tested in court (4, Insightful)

DashEvil (645963) | more than 9 years ago | (#12261461)

Uh, IBM makes most of its money off hardware. The fact that it uses Open Source software to leverage that hardware is quite irrelevant. Your point is misleading.

How about we compare corporations like Red Hat to Microsoft. I think that argument is much more compelling.

Re:There's a reason it wasn't tested in court (1)

Mateo_LeFou (859634) | more than 9 years ago | (#12261559)

Whether X, Y, or Z has made more money with open- or closed-source software is irrelevant. If you're considering making & selling software for a living, the thing to figure out is whether it's easier to make money with proprietary or open-source software. This is one of Bob Young's best points in Open Sources: Voices from the Open Source Revolution.

In my opinion, closed-source software was more profitable before the Internet, and this is no longer true. I think it might be easier to make some money by selling some little easy-to-use closed source app, but making Large Scale dollars with a Large Scale closed app is very tricky.

Re:There's a reason it wasn't tested in court (5, Informative)

mrhartwig (61215) | more than 9 years ago | (#12261623)

Actually, no. IBM makes more money off services than either HW or SW. I didn't find their 2005 annual report quickly, but the trend toward services (vs. HW) has been going for several years now; here are the 2004 revenue numbers:
  • Services: $42.6 B
  • HW: $28.2 B
  • SW: $14.3 B
  • Financing: $ 2.8 B
  • Other: $ 1.1 B

Adding that up, it looks like services top HW & SW combined.

I believe IBM's use of OSS to leverage their services business is quite relevant. I do suspect that the majority of their services don't have anything to do with OSS, but my (uninformed) opinion says the % is growing, and will continue to grow for a while.

Re:There's a reason it wasn't tested in court (4, Insightful)

vadim_t (324782) | more than 9 years ago | (#12261287)

I don't see the point.

The GPL crowd drives some people away. Some Microsoft fans draw me away. Apple fans drive other people away. So what? Everybody is attracted and repelled by one thing or another.

IMHO, proprietary software is not a solution, it's sometimes a necessary compromise when there's no other alternative. In that sense it works well for vertical applications. For nearly everything else, I'd say it's a big disadvantage since usually you get stuck with a single vendor and lock-in.

Re:There's a reason it wasn't tested in court (4, Insightful)

nickco3 (220146) | more than 9 years ago | (#12261305)

You can't make as much money with open source software as you can with closed source software.

That all depends on whether you sell software or buy it. If you are not a software salesman, your bottom line will be better with open source.

Making profit is a good thing.

Let's all nail shutters over our windows to make the power company more profitable.

Re:There's a reason it wasn't tested in court (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12261563)

Making profit is a good thing.

So why the hell can't my family trade slaves anymore? Seriously, get a clue. Proprietary software doesn't need liberation. It needs to have its artificial supports (copyright and patent law) pulled out from under it, so that binary only and source available are competing in a REAL free market. I'd give it, oh, a couple of years. Without copyright the GPL would be unenforceable. It would also be unnecessary.

Re:GPL (4, Insightful)

vadim_t (324782) | more than 9 years ago | (#12261239)

None is needed, as the other post says.

If I understand it correctly, it works like this. When a company is about to go to court, they realize that the GPL is the only thing that gives them the permission to distribute the code. If they try to argue that the GPL doesn't apply, then they suddenly have nothing in their favour at all and are clearly guilty of copyright infringement.

No wonder it never went to court, because it's clearly an unwinnable situation.

Re:GPL (4, Informative)

Xformer (595973) | more than 9 years ago | (#12261591)

Clearly an unwinnable argument, that I clearly remember SCO trying to use earlier in this whole mess. Their lawyers tried to proclaim the GPL as invalid, and that argument was tossed pretty quickly.

Therefore, the GPL was tested in court, and it stood rather well.

Re:GPL (1)

squiggleslash (241428) | more than 9 years ago | (#12261770)

There's one case where it might be a good thing to get it tested in court.

Suppose a developer suddenly announces that they do not want their software to be GPL'd any more. They own the copyright on the entire thing, so unilaterally announce that anyone using the software now needs to pay a licensing fee.

Someone who obtained the software under the GPL assumes the conditions still apply to their copy of the software and redistributes it. Developer immediately files suit, saying that the GPL is actually not a real license, that it's invalid, and that the person who's distributing it is violating copyright law.

To recap:

In June, Developer distributes Software 1.0 under GPL
In July: User receives copy of Software 1.0
In August: Developer announces Software 1.0 users must pay a fee for using Software 1.0 and is not be allowed to redistribute it.
In September, User takes Software 1.0 and gives copies to millions of anonymous strangers, including full source code.

In October, Developer sues User for Copyright Infringment, claiming GPL is illegal

In this case, it actually is important that the legality of the GPL be confirmed. In the unlikely event it wouldn't stand up, this would really send shockwaves through the entire computer industry as it would immediately open the question of whether any licenses are legal (FOSS or otherwise), and it would mean, for instance, Linus-with-a-moustache (evil Linus) would be in a position to sue Red Hat, IBM, et al, for copyright infringment. An enormous burden would subsequently be put on trust, which isn't something the average PHB is going to be likely to want.

Before anyone accuses me of spreading FUD, I have no doubt the GPL is legal and would be upheld in court, if for no other reason than there are legal principles against suing people for things you promised not to sue them over. But it is the one legal case I can think of where the whole "you must agree it's legal otherwise you never had a license to begin with!" thing doesn't support the GPL.

Re:GPL (2, Interesting)

dmaxwell (43234) | more than 9 years ago | (#12261838)

Promissory estoppel at the very least would kick in. The developer would also have to 'splainin' to do why he licensed under the GPL in the first place. Contracts are binding on both parties to an agreement. A license binds the the licensor as long as the licensee is in compliance. A compliant licensee who has become dependent on the software may even be able to sue the reneging licensor for damages.

Re:GPL (1)

hacker (14635) | more than 9 years ago | (#12262051)

"They own the copyright on the entire thing, so unilaterally announce that anyone using the software now needs to pay a licensing fee."

You cannot retroactively revoke existing licensed software.

All new users of that software would be bound by the new licensing fees, but all copies in existance that were licensed under the GPL, are still covered by the GPL, and can be redistributed under the clause of that license.

Just correcting your minor inaccuracy...

Re:GPL (1)

Aaron_bootiemd (841061) | more than 9 years ago | (#12262135)

Tweak your scenario a little and it becomes a little more realistic (or at least a little more interesting in court) -- a developer working for a company releases source for a product s/he develops under the GPL. The company finds out and decides that it owns the code, revokes the license and challenges the GPL in court. It's a little less self-conflicting than the developer her/himself revoking the license.

Re:GPL (4, Informative)

gvc (167165) | more than 9 years ago | (#12261248)

I cannot parse your sentence. I think you are saying that SCO v. IBM does not test the GPL. It certainly does. IBM's eighth counterclaim says:

"124. SCO has infringed and is infringing IBM's copyrights by copying, modifying, sublicensing and/or distributing Linux products except as expressly provided under the GPL. SCO has taken copyrighted source code made available by IBM under the GPL, included that code in SCO's Linux products, and copied, modified, sublicensed and/or distributed those products other than as permitted under the GPL. SCO has no right -- and has never had any right - to copy, modify, sublicense and/or distribute the IBM copyrighted code except pursuant to the GPL."

Re:GPL (0, Flamebait)

stam66 (633108) | more than 9 years ago | (#12261485)

gvc said:
I cannot parse your sentence. I think you are saying that SCO v. IBM does not test the GPL. It certainly does.

And no one cares "parse" you pseudo-programmer-elititist style. The parent clearly said he thought IBM did not test the GPL - even though he is wrong.

Definition of Parse:
parse (as in "analyze") v. : analyze syntactically by assigning a constituent structure to (a sentence)

It is not the same as saying I disagree...

Re:GPL (2, Funny)

gvc (167165) | more than 9 years ago | (#12261607)

`And no one cares "parse" you pseudo-programmer-elititist style.'

I see your command of English syntax equals that of the original poster.

HA ha (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12261961)

"And no one cares "parse" you pseudo-programmer-elititist style"

He just kicked your ass logically and so your reponse was essentially to say "nyah nyah nyah".

Idiot.

Insightful? (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12261307)

The references to being tested in court is for the part Pamela mentions about SCO wrapping themselves in the GPL flag in court against IBM charges of copyright infringement. Also, one of the other cases had an element of GPL in it iirc.

And in Germany, the GPL has been ruled on in two cases where the GPL was held to be enforceable. I believe Stu Cohen or Eben Moglen have used those two cases as examples of cases that are going to be used in international law as a basis for future decisions, and will probably be used for similar legal reasonings in court decisions to come in the US.

So the GPL has been tested in court [groklaw.net] , at least twice directly in German court, and at least twice indirectly or as part of preliminary arguments for pre-trial hearings in the US.

How the fuck you got modded up to +5 insightful when you're talking out of your ass is beyond me. 5 mod points for first post?

Re:Insightful? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12261333)

Stu Cohen or Eben Moglen have used those two cases as examples of cases that are going to be used in international law as a basis for future decisions, and will probably be used for similar legal reasonings in court decisions to come in the US

I doubt the German cases will have any weight in the USA. In fact, it's more likely that the American companies & foreign office will lobby/threaten WTO and world governments into marginalizing open source. If it's bad for big business, it will get crushed.

Re:Insightful? (1)

nickco3 (220146) | more than 9 years ago | (#12261431)

If it's bad for big business, it will get crushed.

From TFA:

54% of the finanicial industry has or is planning to use Linux in 2005.

More than 50% of blades are running Linux.

IBM alone made a billion out of Linux last year.

The Linux industry is currently worth $15 billion, and will be worth $35 billion by 2008.

Only Microsoft thinks the GPL is bad for business.

Re:Insightful? (4, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12261731)

If it's bad for big business, it will get crushed.

The other reply points out how many billions GNU/Linux is currently worth and is projected to be worth in the next few years. That's how much it is worth to the tech companies that sell computers.

Why is GNU/Linux the juggernaut that it is today? Why has it been growing at 50% compound annual growth rate for more than a few years and projections put it at the same compound growth rate for the next 3-5 years depending on who you ask? At that continued growth rate, if it can be sustained and the analysts project it out at that rate for 3-5 years so they believe it can be sustained, it will eclipse Microsoft to become the #1 operating system on servers. It already is #1 on blades. Why all this? Because companies and industry see the value in GNU/Linux powered systems. The real value is competition, no lock-in from Microsoft, no lock-in for ridiculous priced Sun hardware. GNU/Linux, x86, and AMD/64 have made servers commodities, broken the OS and cpu monopolies.

The value that isn't stated in the numbers of the other post is the hundreds of billions of dollars in value in the US (and worldwide, but we're addressing your regulatory comment) that companies outside of tech, but who are dependant on computers for their revenue and earnings, the value that they place on GNU/Linux.

Does Daimler Chrysler sell blades? Servers? Embedded devices? Desktops? They are an automotive company, not a computer hardware company. But they saw the value in GNU/Linux, and they became "well known to be a Linux shop". So a multi-billion dollar, Fortune 500, non-tech company sees tremendous value in GNU/Linux. Any guess whether the rest of the companies in the Fortune 500 see value in GNU/Linux?

Any guess in which lobbying direction the other 450+ (excluding Microsoft and some of the tech companies that are dependent on Microsoft dominance) companies of the Fortune 500 will send their lobbyists when it comes to lobbying legislators to flex WTO muscle?

As for Microsoft, they can't do anything at all. Other posts are mentioning that Microsoft will start enforcing patents or funding other companies to do this. As soon as they do this, anti-trust rears its head. Perhaps the only thing Microsoft fears more than GNU/Linux is the threat of being broken up into pieces like Ma Bell. This already has been suggested (by a judge iirc), where Microsoft would be broken up into Operating System and Office, or it can be taken far further, breaking up additional units (like the Great Plains Software and other divisions).

Microsoft got a pass with the current anti-trust situation in the US. They are well aware this can change overnight based on their anti-competitive actions, or based on a change in government administration in the US. That's why Intel is treading carefully with AMD and allowing them to exist. They can shut down AMD overnight by simply cutting prices and riding it out cushioned by their cash reserves for a few or more years. Japan brings up interesting questions on anti-trust with Intel. Does Intel have any of the anti-competitive contract/compensation requirements with US hardware manufacturers like it has with the manufacturer that complained in Japan? Tech journalists should start asking these questions, hopefully others will pick up the questions and keep asking Intel. If they do and it is found out, AMD will pick up major market share (and possibly Dell as a customer) once those illegal contracts are banned and action is taken against Intel, if the contracts exist.

GNU/Linux may be worth 15 billion now and 50 or a 100 billion in the next few years, but it is worth far more to non-tech companies who will prevent going back to the Unix & Microsoft lock-ins of the past with every fiber of their being.

Re:GPL (4, Insightful)

aug24 (38229) | more than 9 years ago | (#12261516)

You don't seem to quite get how the GPL works (as don't many, many people, including Darl McLies). Apologies for the slightly reactionary tone of that sentence, but it's important to understand exactly what it is and how it will be used in court... read on:

The GPL is a license to use copyrighted software. As such it will never be 'tested in court' in the sense you describe. However, it is a (perhaps the only) defence against a charge of copyright infringement, where the code user cannot demonstrate some other license to use the software[1].

In fact, SCO is using it as its defence in the 8th (iirc) counterclaim, which is where the court then will determine if SCO has fulfilled all the licence terms. That is all the 'test' it will ever get, and all we will ever need.

Once you understand that, the idea suggested by Darl that all GPL works should be declared Public Domain becomes clearly visible as the idiotic idea it is: it would involve stripping copyright from hundreds (thousands!) of works for the benefit of exactly the same type of people who are currently having copyrights extended so they can continue to make money off long-dead artists (eg Sonny Bono).

Justin.
[1] AFAIK there is nothing to stop the owner of some code both relieasing under the GPL and simultaneously licensing it for commercial use for money. After all, why should the owner of some code not do as he/she wishes with it?

Re:GPL (0, Redundant)

schon (31600) | more than 9 years ago | (#12261944)

The GPL is a license to use copyrighted software.

Actually, it's not.

The GPL is a license to copy and distribute copyrighted software.

Other than that, your post is correct.

OT: rights of owners (2, Interesting)

mi (197448) | more than 9 years ago | (#12262117)

After all, why should the owner of some code not do as he/she wishes with it?

You know, where the author of GPL -- Mr. Stallman -- lives, right? Cambridge, MA...

The dominant view of property in that town may be very different from yours. For example, this is the city that had the most anti-landlord legislation for years (resulting in great tenant-landlord animosity, of course). After the state-wide referendum repealed most of it several years ago, many people in Cambridge keep campaigning to put them back in. Tenants, you see, are people too.

Now, I don't know Mr. Stallman's views on the subject, but I would not be at all surprised, that his answer to the question:

After all, why should the owner of some
apartment not do as he/she wishes with it?
is quite different from yours.

Back to your original question, users are "people too", aren't they?

Re:GPL (0, Troll)

niittyniemi (740307) | more than 9 years ago | (#12261776)


The GPL was not "tested in court" the lawsuit was a contract dispute between SCO and IBM. Though i think it may have resulted in a few more PHB's hearing about linux and maybe being curious how it could save money to switch.

I'm getting increasingly pissed off with PJs "analysis" of how the GPL has stood up in court in this case and been shown to be robust. Yet I've yet to see any arguments given to the court about any aspects of the GPL and certainly not the more controversial stuff like: what constitutes linking?

If no arguments are put forward vis a vis the GPL then how can she say that it's been tested? She's hoodwinking herself and others and exaggerating greatly.

My opinion is that any license longer than about 12 lines can have holes shot in it, given enough lawyers, enough money and enough court time.

My further opinion is that rather than embracing GPL/Linux, most companies look for unencumbered code such as BSDL.

If you were developing some (proprietary or otherwise) app that needed something like readline, do you grab an encumbered library like GNU/readline or an unencumbered version?

BTW, if you want a hint, stay away from her Groklaw site. It's full of IANALs looking through the tea-leaves of the GPL and giving their worthless opinions. It requires you to have a lobotomy if you're to get any pleasure out of reading it....I suppose some wannabe lawyers might get some pleasure out of it but they're just a subset of those who've had lobotomies.

The primary threat to Linux is a broken development model and assimilation by big companies - RedHat, IBM. Not the merits or otherwise of the GPL.

The only thing that this court case has represented to most PHBs in mid-size companies is "Linux maybe illegal but if I buy a Linux server off IBM I'm probably in the clear" hence furthering the stranglehold of the big companies on Linux and the direction it goes in.

Bonded more tightly than ever, huh? (3, Insightful)

aendeuryu (844048) | more than 9 years ago | (#12261140)

the community bonded more tightly than ever

*cough cough BITKEEPER cough*

Re:Bonded more tightly than ever, huh? (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12261181)

Bitkeeper along with Apple's lack of contributions back to the BSD community (yeah yeah "darwin, darwin", I mean compared to IBM's and other ppl's contributions linux) has to be the best example of why the GPL kicks the ass of these other licenses and off proprietary.

Mention anything in favour of the GPL and some BSD troll will try and make out that you are some group-thinking slashbot who hasn't considered the issues. But no, I have considered the issues, and the GPL works out damn fine.

And on another BSD troll issue, they always look down on linux because it's a "toy". Yeah well let's just have a look at the troubles in FreeBSD 5 then hey? Linux, although certainly not perfect (take note of what I just said please), is nothing to sniff at technically.

Now I don't mind the BSD licence, it's cool. Most BSD guys are cool (again take note). I just hate that part of the BSD culture which looks down it's nose at the GPL like anyone who supports it is some script kiddiot. There are reasons for it, damn good reasons.

And yes there are linux ppl trolling BSD also, but they are normally full-on joking rather than being serious like the BSD elitist trolls. "BSD is dying" isn't half as bad or serious as some poncy "you are an inferior being because your linux "distro" is a toy next to the awesome power of my SMP implimentation on my *BSD box"

fuck em if they can't take a joke.

Re:Bonded more tightly than ever, huh? (3, Insightful)

gclef (96311) | more than 9 years ago | (#12261186)

Honestly, I think the Bitkeeper thing is about a legitimate concern. I understand the fight there. I think part of what SCO did was make the community focus on those sorts of fights rather than the more petty ones (*cough cough KDE vs Gnome cough*). There's no way a group this size will never have fights, but a common enemy makes you prioritize your fights a bit better.

Re:Bonded more tightly than ever, huh? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12261191)

The bitkeeper debacle is not an issue. The community will heal itself even if it means dethroning Linus.

I'm sure we'll give him the benefit of a doubt this time, but if he keeps on making bad decisions like the BK thing, it's time to change the leader.

Re:Bonded more tightly than ever, huh? (3, Insightful)

B'Trey (111263) | more than 9 years ago | (#12261355)

The real issue isn't his decision to use BK. That's was a mistake, but no one is perfect. Mistakes can be rectified. The real issue is that, now that it's become apparent and undeniable that it was a mistake, Linus isn't saying "Ooops. Sorry about that guys." Instead, he's continuting to insist that it wasn't a mistake and that the blame lies on other people for daring to refuse to play by the royal decree that McVoy laid down for the use of his software. There is absolutely no difference in what BK is doing with their protocols and what MS does with their protocols. Reverse engineering MS networking to create Samba, so Linux machines can work with Windows machines, is a good thing. But doing the exact same thing to allow people without a commercial BK license to get to all of their data is somehow immoral and unethical. That's the rankest sort of hypocrisy from Linus, and it greatly damages my trust in his leadership. I don't take anything away from him, or deny him any of the props he deserves for his work on Linux. But he needs to step up to the plate, admit he screwed up, and apologize to Trigdell.

Re:Bonded more tightly than ever, huh? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12261446)

I still don't get it.

From my point of view, it's Trigdell who caused this clusterfuck. McVoy kindly asked him to cease reverse engineering his product, but Trigdell refused thus setting off this debacle.

BK was working, Trigdell's version was not working and, in fact, there was no adequate replacement for BK in sight.

Re:Bonded more tightly than ever, huh? (2, Informative)

B'Trey (111263) | more than 9 years ago | (#12261624)

And if Microsoft had politely asked Trigdell to cease reverse engineering the network protocols, should he have done that too? At the time he started working on them, there was no replacement for a Windows server either. Trigdell reverse engineered the protocols, created Samba, and now we can have Windows and Linux servers running on the same network, working (almost) seamlessly together. Clean room reverse engineering is not only common, it's a key part of the methodology that allows Open Source software to work. Variations on that is how we get Linux to work with Windows, it's how we get Open Office to read Word documents, its how we make Open Source work with any closed software where the protocols are not open. McVoy has every right to kindly ask Trigdell to stop. So does Microsoft and any other company. But Trigdell has every right to ignore the request.

BK is sitting at a table and it threw the Open Source community a bone. Trigdell refused to gnaw on the leavings and decided to go to the kitchen and cook his own dinner instead. McVoy got all in a huff and took his bone back. And it's all Trigdell's fault for not being grateful for the scraps and having the gall to want a full meal instead.

Re:Bonded more tightly than ever, huh? (1)

codepunk (167897) | more than 9 years ago | (#12261897)

Hey yes it may have not been a smart thing to do for Tridge to rock the boat like that but I fully defend his right to do so. Nobody has the right to tell Tridge that he could not do it, was it smart probably not but I am fully behind him. We must have the right to reverse engineer, Larry tried to take this right away but it did not work. Not a big deal Larry now get's coded out of existence like all those before him.

Re:Bonded more tightly than ever, huh? (1)

JohnFluxx (413620) | more than 9 years ago | (#12261504)

I'm not convinced it was a mistake. It was a good stop gap solution for the 3 years (or was it 2? I lose track of time).

I know it's a pain to switch to something else now, but it's been good while it lasted, and part (most?) of the increase in productivity has been from Linus being forced to learn to delegate better. Just this alone is worth it.

Also what hypocrisy is there from Linus? Has he said somewhere that reverse engineering the BK protocol is immoral and unethical? Has he said the opposite for the samba team? Where exactly is the hypocrisy?

Also remember that there really wasn't much alternative 3 years ago. What solution would you have chosen 3 years ago?

Re:Bonded more tightly than ever, huh? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12261532)

Free software fanatics don't care if there was a working solution 3 years ago. All that matters to them is that it is free. Whether it's functional is secondary.

Re:Bonded more tightly than ever, huh? (2, Informative)

B'Trey (111263) | more than 9 years ago | (#12261703)

Also what hypocrisy is there from Linus? Has he said somewhere that reverse engineering the BK protocol is immoral and unethical? Has he said the opposite for the samba team? Where exactly is the hypocrisy?

Trigdell is the lead programmer for Samba. It's his baby. It started out as a hobby for him, something to play with, exactly the same way that he was playing with Bitkeeper. I don't know that this hobby would ever produce a replacement for Bitkeeper, but I don't know that it wouldn't either. But, to steal a line from MS, the freedom to innovate is vital. It's the very essence of Open Source.

And yes, Linus has slammed Trigdell directly for it. See here [theregister.co.uk] and here. [theregister.co.uk]

Re:Bonded more tightly than ever, huh? (1)

JohnFluxx (413620) | more than 9 years ago | (#12261847)

.... Wow.

What can I say? You are totally right. I've just pasted those links to irc, and been discussing this. He was a total idiot that time.

Re:Bonded more tightly than ever, huh? (1)

B'Trey (111263) | more than 9 years ago | (#12261758)

Also remember that there really wasn't much alternative 3 years ago. What solution would you have chosen 3 years ago?

What solution is there now? Evidently, the solution now is going to be to write a new product (or perhaps enhance an existing product) that accomplishes what the kernel hackers are looking for. So what's going to happen to kernel productivity while this is going on? If the work on an open source applicaton had started three years ago, we'd almost certainly have a usable, though perhaps not complete, product in place by now. So now we're right where we were three years ago. If Bitkeeper had been implemented as a stop gap measure, used while the work proceeded on an open source replacement, it might have been different. It wasn't implemented as a stop gap measure. It was implemented as a solution with no thought as to what would replace it. (Well, there was lots of thought by lots of people but evidently not much by Linus.)

Re:Bonded more tightly than ever, huh? (3, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12261201)

Bitkeeper?

Who cares. That's just kernel politics bullshit. It's happenned before (smp support disputs for instance), they'll end up creating something better then bitkeeper anyways.

Seriously. It realy doesn't matter very much anyways. The free version of bitkeeper is still aviable, and now people have a good reason to build a free replacement/improvement.

You mistake Linus's personality flaws with something that actually matters. It doesn't.

If you look back into history a similar thing with SCO.

If SCO didn't price their Unix so expensive that no normal person could ever hope to afford it, there would of been no reason to start Linux in the first place... There would of already been a Unix for Linus's i386 machine. But SCO priced themselves out of the future.

Now Linux, with 2.6, is superior to SCO's stuff in almost every way. So they try to sue to save their asses and it failed. Go figure.

Re:Bonded more tightly than ever, huh? (1)

argent (18001) | more than 9 years ago | (#12261470)

If SCO didn't price their Unix so expensive that no normal person could ever hope to afford it, there would of been no reason to start Linux in the first place...

Um, maybe, maybe not. Linus was using MINIX, which was pretty much free. One reason he developed Linux was because the license for MINIX didn't let him update and improve it except through patches... conceptually, though not genetically, Linux was started as "MINIX Improved".

Now he has said that if BSD had been ready a year earlier there woudln't have been a Linux, but I haven't run into this meme that he would have found SCO an acceptable alternate before.

Annoying and Compulsory RMS Troll (1, Funny)

repruhsent (672799) | more than 9 years ago | (#12261165)

OMG it's GNU/Linux! Linux is teh kernel! 99.999% of teh software on these lunixes was written by me since I don't have any use for time that I could be taking a shower! ...seriously folks, why can't Stallman just die? I think we'd all be happier.

Re:Annoying and Compulsory RMS Troll (4, Insightful)

GNUALMAFUERTE (697061) | more than 9 years ago | (#12261198)

1: Calling the system by it's proper name is trolling?, wow.
2: You want RMS to die?, do you want 20 years of fight against the stablishment, the GPL, the FSF, and 60% of the software on your average distro to die with him too?.

You sir, are an uneducated bastard.

Re:Annoying and Compulsory RMS Troll (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12261219)

do you want 20 years of fight against the stablishment, the GPL, the FSF, and 60% of the software on your average distro to die with him too

RMS and his cult is holding back the commercialization of free software. Maybe GPL 3 will fix some of the problems, but as long as RMS is running the show, we can't enjoy the full commercial potential of the software.

That's reason enough to wish that he'll fade away.

Re:Annoying and Compulsory RMS Troll (2, Insightful)

GNUALMAFUERTE (697061) | more than 9 years ago | (#12261273)

Free Software exists so that you can be a computer user without being held hostage by whomever owns the software you use. That was RMS's idea, that's the whole purpose of Free Software. Comercialization is something that may happend, but it's not the main purpose for having free software.

Re:Annoying and Compulsory RMS Troll (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12261301)

The trouble with Free Software cult is that like any good fanatics, the cultists are hellbent on forcing the same ideology on everybody else. Let's take the Tridge vs. McVoy+Linus fallout as an example. Tridge is willing to destroy someone's livelyhood just because he feels that any closed software is a crime against humanity.

Annoying and Compulsory parent post (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12261535)

Tridge wanted access to the metadata of the source, which requires Bitkeeper. Instead of agreeing to the license and using a proprietary product, or faced with not having access to the metadata and using cvs instead, he decided to clean-room reverse engineer the client of Bitkeeper, not the Bitkeeper server.

McVoy, on the other hand, has more than just altruistic motives imho.

Some history on McVoy [linuxworld.com] , and more recent on Tridge [newsforge.com] , so you can read up on the subject and adjust your post once you are informed, because your current post shows that you are talking out of your ass. Unless you have a problem with clean room reverse engineering, in which case you have a problem with Samba, OpenOffice's implementation of compatibility with MS .doc format, and about a few thousand other FOSS (and proprietary including Microsoft and Sun) apps.

Re:Annoying and Compulsory parent post (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12261565)

has more than just altruistic motives

Nothing wrong with that imho. There are no selfless motives. None.

Fundamentally we do things we do because either the decision or the act makes us feel good. That applies from a mother taking care of her infant to McVoy.

Re:Annoying and Compulsory RMS Troll (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12261304)

RMS and his cult is holding back the commercialization of free software
How so, just out of interest? I know that RMS has absolutely no problem with people selling GPL'd works. Do you mean that people are put off by the personalities involved with the Free Software movement (like loony gun-nut ESR, for example - did you see that guy erupt in RevolutionOS? A terrifying spectacle!)?

Re:Annoying and Compulsory RMS Troll (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12261354)

I don't think anyone would pay for AutoCad, for instance, if it were available as a source code. Someone would buy it and after that the community would simply produce a free copy. Bad for business.

did you see that guy erupt in RevolutionOS?

Nope. Got a link?

Re:Annoying and Compulsory RMS Troll (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12261441)

Here's an Amazon link to the DVD version:

http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/tg/detail/-/B000 0A9GLO/102-8242904-2582534?v=glance

It's well worth watching, if you're interested in the history (although, as you can probably tell from the reviews, somewhat self-serving). I can't find any sites that deal specifically with his rant, but here's a vaguely relevant slashdot article:

http://slashdot.org/articles/03/06/08/1534249.shtm l

Re:Annoying and Compulsory RMS Troll (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12261241)

Dear Sir. The proper name is Linux, because that's
what it was named by those who wrote it.
And they are the ones who gets to name it, nobody else.

Re:Annoying and Compulsory RMS Troll (1)

GNUALMAFUERTE (697061) | more than 9 years ago | (#12261283)

Please go read some history. RMS started writing GNU in 1984. By 1991, it was allmost finished, only lacking a kernel. Torvalds with the help of many hackers that were members of the comunity that RMS created, wrote the kernel, Linux.
The system is still called GNU, whether you use the Linux kernel or not.

Re:Annoying and Compulsory RMS Troll (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12261312)

"I am a goat fucker!" -Richard Stallman, 1994

A bit of MIT/LCS lore here.

RMS used to live on the 7th floor of LCS. That's where he used to have his office before he resigned in protest over the commercialization of something or another. But they let him keep his office, and he lives there, because he refuses to have an apartment. (Given the rent rates in Cambridge, the assholeness of most landlords, I don't blame him. Rather than live in my office, I chose to move to Texas, and the change in rent rates and lack of state income tax resulted in an immediate %25 pay raise. RMS doesn't have that option because we have the death penalty for people like him down here.)

Anyway, RMS has or had a number or geek chick groupies. I wouldn't call any of the ones I've seen "hot", really -- well except for this one little psycho jewish undergrad from NYC. He would sleep with them on the sofa in his office. That's why he got kicked out off floor 7, and down to the 3 floor, is that the cleaning staff complained about pulling used condoms out from behind the sofas. No joke. You can use this information for trolling if you wish, but it's all true.

RMS has a phobia of water that prevents him from showering. This is part of this post I know from first hand experience, because I myself have observed him taking a sponge bath in the 3d floor mens room in LCS. Apparently once he had a girlfriend who he was totally in love with, and she convinced him to take one shower a week. It was a traumatic experience for him each time.

RMS also has a phobia of spider plants. When RMS starts bothering a grad student and going to his office and talking to him constantly and getting him to spend all his time writing free software, the grad student will complain to someone on the floor, and they'll let them in on the secrete -- get a spider plant in your office. The next time RMS drops by, his eyes will bulge a little and he'll say " Umm. . . I wanted to talk to you about hacking some elisp code . . . why don't you stop by my office sometime ?" and make a hasty exit.

One of his more nasty habits is picking huge flakes of dandruff out of his hair while talking to you. At least he doesn't eat them, like some people I know.

Now, I know everyone loves to make fun of RMS, and I'm feeding that a bit here, so I'd just like to say that I think he really is a genius, on the order of Socrates (another filthy slob who couldn't keep a normal living arrangement, and lived in a barrel) or Ghandi or Ezekiel. Everything he has ever said to me, while sounding naive and idealistic and stupid at the time, turned out to later be correct.

The only thing I fear in his philosophy is his interest in reducing population growth. Everyone else I know of who was obsessed with that "problem" turned out to have facist or totolitarian tendencies, and I think that the problem will solve itself as more and more of the world moves into a middle class type existence.

But on everything else, bitter experiences have taught me he is right. I will not use any non-GPLd or lGPLd software, and I look forward to being able to buy only "open" hardware. I would like to see software patents completely eliminated, and with the development of digitial communication, I see no reason why shouldn't simply repeal all of Title 17 and do away with all copyrights. They just aren't needed. I expect to spend much of my life being paid to write software, and I just don't see copyrights has helping me in anyway.

Re:Annoying and Compulsory RMS Troll (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12261324)

I decided to follow RMS closely (not too closely since I didn't want to die from his stench) to update my description of one of his typical days.

8am - Wakes up outside the Center for Marxist Education in Cambridge as another bum shits on him. Thinks this sucks and that he would like an apartment, but can't find a landlord with an apartment that is free as in speech and beer. Falls back asleep.

9am - Wakes up again.

9:15am - Goes to men's room at MIT to wash shit off. Gives himself sponge bath. Shit comes off (somewhat), but he really isn't clean since he refuses to take a shower.

9:45am - Decides to shave 2 inches off beard after someone in MIT restroom mistakes him for Osama Bin Laden.

10am - Goes to McDonalds for breakfast. Gets into arguement with workers behind counter after they refuse to give him a free as in speech and beer breakfast. Also gets into arguement with the manager about why McDonalds should be called GNU/McDonalds due to the fact that he eats there.

11:30am - After being thrown out of McDonalds since the staff doesn't want a DGH deterring lunch rush, RMS goes to the McDonalds' dumpster to find food. Eats a "GNU/Quarter Pounder" and "GNU/fries" covered with "GNU/mold". He consideres the food better since it is free as in speech and beer.

12:30am - Goes back to MIT to recruit MIT students into writing free software. RMS is unable to enter anyone's office since everyone has placed spider plants in their offices. (He has a phobia a spider plants.)

1pm - RMS protests GWB (George W. Bush) for not being GNU/GWB and believing in copyrights. Wanders out of Cambridge and into Waltham. Police find RMS and arrest him for violating the ordinance that says he is not allowed to enter Waltham. (All towns surrounding Cambridge have this ordinace.) Police beat him and deport him back to Cambridge.

3pm - Goes back to MIT and creates a plan for dealing with overpopulation by killing everyone who uses non-free software. Writes code into next version of emacs to implement that feature

5pm - Tries to read email. RMS finds out he is dangerously over quota due to an email from Doctress Neutopia. This email is 65 megabytes of nothing but ASCII text. It is similar to an email he gets everyday since 1995 when he and Docress Neutopia had a brief fling. The email says that she would like to have a relationship with him, but he needs to accept her lovoution, stop his polygamous goat fucking and clean off the hair, dirt, food, and feces off his keyboard. RMS responds with a 9 megabyte email (of nothing but text) explaining that he could only consider getting into a relationship with her if she changed her name to GNU/Doctress Neutopia.

5:30pm - Reads rest of his email. His email is bombarded with trolls and goatse. RMS is turned on by the goatse and beats off to it.

6pm - Still beating off to goatse

7pm - Still beating off to goatse

8pm - Still beating off to goatse

9pm - Breaks into MIT vending machine to have a free as in speech and beer snack.

10pm - Breaks into a liquor store for free as in speech and free as in beer beer. Gets drunk.

10:15pm - Walks around drunk yelling, "Use free software!!!!", "It's GNU/Linux you capitalist pigs!!!!" and "I am a goat fucker!!!!".

11:45pm - Collapses in front of the Center for Marxist Education. Goes to sleep.

Re:Annoying and Compulsory RMS Troll (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12261367)

Hahahah! Thanks for the laugh.

Is it OK if I save it and GNU/troll /. with it?

Re:Annoying and Compulsory RMS Troll (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12261423)

of course. A troll is a thing of wonder.

Re:Annoying and Compulsory RMS Troll (1)

at_slashdot (674436) | more than 9 years ago | (#12262149)

Well... the guy doesn't have posts moded above -1 in a long time (at least as long as I can see). So, why bother responding? There are way to many idiots in this world...

Re:Annoying and Compulsory RMS Troll (0, Offtopic)

flacco (324089) | more than 9 years ago | (#12261552)

I don't have any use for time that I could be taking a shower!

it's perplexing to me, this "stallman doesn't bathe" meme. does having long hair automatically make you filthy?

Gamer's Advisory: Cursed Boomerang of SCO (4, Funny)

rewinn (647614) | more than 9 years ago | (#12261166)

... is not effective against charging penguins!

True. But... (0, Offtopic)

OldGuyNew (797572) | more than 9 years ago | (#12261172)

Will it save us money on our car insurance?

Re:True. But... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12261396)

not until the Gecko does the robot.

And more concern (5, Interesting)

nurb432 (527695) | more than 9 years ago | (#12261178)

"will i be sued if i use this free software"

Microsoft is placing full page ads based on this angle in trade magazines now.

While the reality of being sued may ( or may not exist ), they are doing their best to instill the fear of it into businesses, so they will stay with 'safe' software.

With all the free press, its only helping Microsoft do this.

Re:And more concern (1)

zogger (617870) | more than 9 years ago | (#12261286)

would you have any reference URLs to look at for one of those ads? I think it would be interesting to analyse the actual words used, to look at the legal angle.

Microsoft AD reference (4, Informative)

nurb432 (527695) | more than 9 years ago | (#12261352)

No url, but here is the magazine and page #:

March 7 edition of Information Week ( print version ) Pages 30 and 31.

Entited "Adding up the costs of linux vs. windows? Be sure to add the intellectual property risks, too."

I have seen it elsewhere too, but that is the only hard refrence i can remember.

Re:And more concern (2, Interesting)

Corpus_Callosum (617295) | more than 9 years ago | (#12261298)

I read that as "will i be sued by Microsoft if i use this free software"

Am I the only one? Is Microsoft announcing it's intentions to throw rocks at the gears? I can see some Microsoft black-project to get some independant [ehum..] developers to sue big companies for some triviality related to an open-source license to try to drive the point home.

Never mind me, I'm just paranoid..

Re:And more concern (1)

nurb432 (527695) | more than 9 years ago | (#12261374)

After reading the 'ad' I sort of had that same feeling: 'we might sue you, best be careful what OS you choose'.

Once they hold all the key patents they can. Will they? Who knows, but they could. A percieved threat looming overhead will influence a lot of smaller companies decision. They cant afford to be 'right', and have to fight it legally.

Re:And more concern (1)

ssj_195 (827847) | more than 9 years ago | (#12261478)

Reminds me of Ballmer's thinly-veiled (if not flat-out blatant) threat made to China recently, except in that particular instance, it probably did more to put China off Microsoft and onto Linux :) God bless your ham-fisted lack of tact, Mr Ballmer! :)

Way off! (1)

Mr. Underbridge (666784) | more than 9 years ago | (#12261518)

No, it actually means:

"will i be sued by Some near-bankrupt COmpany shilling for Microsoft if i use this free software"

Re:And more concern (1)

Vengeance (46019) | more than 9 years ago | (#12261922)

Paranoid? No. In fact, you're behind the times! You've just described the past couple of years in SCO vs. The Civilized World.

Re:And more concern (1)

16K Ram Pack (690082) | more than 9 years ago | (#12261327)

A lot of large businesses will fall for this. Ones staffed with middle managers more concerned for their pension than anything else.

I remember in the early 90s that companies were still buying PCs from their mainframe manufacturer at ludicrous prices compared to what Gateway and others were selling for. Basically, the middle manager had the budget to buy them, no benefit for buying cheaper (to him) and buying the alternative could put him at risk.

Where life is different is in small businesses/startups. I do work for some small companies, and a lot of the time, they want real cheap quotes for things. So, I've started to say "have you tried Open Office?". When you point out to someone in a small company that he can save about 30% on the laptop price by not having MS Office, but something that is very compatible (no problems here), they get pretty interested.

Re:And more concern (2, Interesting)

fermion (181285) | more than 9 years ago | (#12261459)

I think the big issue is the continuing availability of technology. Will the tools one uses to build a firm be available next year. Will there be predictability in costs and upgrades. With MS products, this predictability generally exists, and if it changes, there is often a long enough window so that firms can change tools. This predictability is what forces MS to keep older OS alive, and nuetered the MS attempted to force firms into yearly upgrade cycles.

So, the issue is not so much who will pay for lawsuits. Most end users, of course, realize that they will not be liable. What of concern is if the GPLed tool will be availabe. If SCO or MS wins a suit, there might be immidiate injunctions against the use of those tools. MS has enough money to make the problem go away, and has done so. The OS vendors. typically, do not.

So in this enviroment where eveyone is suing everyone over patents, and even MS has made payments, there is great uncertainty in the market over who own what. Like so many things, the situation works in favor of the monopolist, and against the free market.

End of story? (1)

MikeCapone (693319) | more than 9 years ago | (#12261251)

And they married and had many children.

As everybody knows (2, Insightful)

sad_ (7868) | more than 9 years ago | (#12261316)

PJ in the article says everybody knows that GPL software has no risks (or no more risks then other software). Well it's not true, a lot of of CIO still don't know and/or are still thinking of linux as if it was 1995.
If they were not like that, the article she wrote would not have been necessary. So, it is a good thing she wrote it, but there is no boomerang effect, just yet.

Where did PJ say that? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12262006)

"PJ in the article says everybody knows that GPL software has no risks (or no more risks then other software)."

I see no such statement by PJ in that article, or anything even coming close to it. The best I can find is this sentence: "Everyone is now more aware of how licenses, including the GPL, work."

So where did she say that "everybody knows that GPL software has no risks"?

PJ needs to get laid. (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12261365)

Seriously. "Insightful"? Try "Fucking obvious".

Re:PJ needs to get laid. (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12261387)

I'll volunteer!

I give good head too.

Re:PJ needs to get laid. (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12261412)

Try FUD. What bothers me is that every opinionated article from the Microsoft camp is instantly branded as FUD by the Linux zealotry - including Slashdot. Yet, at the same time, an opinionated article from the *Linux* camp is heralded as "insightful", while all it does is claiming the obvious, while adding a few lies and completely unfounded alligations, which makes her even WORSE than Ballmer and co.

Groklaw started off good and independant. It stopped being independant right away.

Name one lie (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12262031)

Go ahead, I'll call your bluff. Name one lie in that article. Didn't think so.

Re:PJ needs to get laid. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12261452)

Does anyone have a pic, just out of interest? =)

Everything that does not kill me - (0)

Anna Merikin (529843) | more than 9 years ago | (#12261418)

makes me stronger.

--Nietsche

Everything that does not kill me - (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12261494)

hurts like hell.

Re:Everything that does not kill me - (1)

rbarreira (836272) | more than 9 years ago | (#12261651)

A friend of me prefers to say:

"That which does not kill me... Gets fucked later in the day"

Re:Everything that does not kill me - (1)

rbarreira (836272) | more than 9 years ago | (#12261685)

Damn typo... s/me/mine

SCO is not the problem (1)

EduardoFonseca (703176) | more than 9 years ago | (#12261720)

Everyone thought that SCO would make Linux look bad and childish to companies all around.
Who thought that BitKeeper would be the culprit, eh? ;)

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