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The SCO Trial Through A New Lens

Zonk posted more than 9 years ago | from the thems-fightin-words dept.

The Courts 362

An anonymous reader writes "On Yahoo! News they've got an article by Paul Murphy entitled, SCO, IBM and Outcomes-Based Circular Reasoning. Murphy claims to be 'a 20-year veteran of the I.T. consulting industry, specializing in Unix and Unix-related management issues'. He writes, 'By itself this was a straightforward contractual dispute that could, and should, have been settled quickly and easily.' And that, 'Although SCO hasn't formulated its complaint in this way, I believe it could meet these, or similar, requirements quite easily and therefore has every reason to be confident that the court will eventually enforce its stop-use order against IBM.' He also goes on to insult Linux advocates by stating that, 'the position being run up the flagpole by what Stalin famously called "useful idiots" is first that the lawsuit itself is no longer a real issue and secondly that its consequences have been generally positive.'"

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cracky (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12387339)

Re:cracky (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12387439)

Enjoy your AIDS fag.

Re:cracky (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12387537)

http://tinyurl.com/7k7b3 [tinyurl.com] (work safe link)

Woa! Doom 3 for the SNES!

montreal? (0, Offtopic)

montreal!hahahaha (880095) | more than 9 years ago | (#12387340)

uhuhuhuhuh

Re:montreal? (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12387509)

I think the parent has raised a valid and insightful point.

Bad argument (5, Insightful)

Asgard (60200) | more than 9 years ago | (#12387342)

The author uses some fallacies of his own. He shows how Linux said "you've got X,y,Z, and that is UNIX" and then goes on to say that the Linux community says "Linux is not UNIX". He's keying off two different usages of the term UNIX, which isn't a valid point.

Re:Bad argument (5, Insightful)

rossifer (581396) | more than 9 years ago | (#12387388)

Basically, Paul Murphy is wrong about what SCO is suing IBM for and wrong in his misinformed conclusion that SCO's case has any merit. The rest of his position piece follows logically from those two initial errors.

As to why he's wrong: 1) Linux doesn't need knowledge from the AT&T SysV code base to become world-class. 2) IBM isn't trying to contribute knowledge or source from the AT&T SysV code base to Linux.

As an aside, reverse engineering was never necessary to understand or duplicate a unix kernel and is therefore his mention of it is a complete red herring.

Regards,
Ross

Re:Bad argument (5, Informative)

coolGuyZak (844482) | more than 9 years ago | (#12387471)

If he had paid attention to any of the hooplah surrounding this case, he would have known 2 things:

  • The RCU code, which is one of SCOs contested points, was implemented in a clean-room manner. IBM's kernel hackers used the patent, not the code.
  • The only code that (we know) managed to "migrate" was already shown to have originated from BSD. And IBM has already stated that their coders never saw SysV code.

In A Nutshell (2, Funny)

ackthpt (218170) | more than 9 years ago | (#12387479)

Basically, Paul Murphy is wrong about what SCO is suing IBM for and wrong in his misinformed conclusion that SCO's case has any merit. The rest of his position piece follows logically from those two initial errors.

Would you hire this consultant? it is better to keep one's mouth shut and be thought a fool than open one's mouth and remove all doubt.

Re:In A Nutshell (2, Funny)

ReverendLoki (663861) | more than 9 years ago | (#12387603)

Would you hire this consultant?

Well, maybe if I was Darl McBride...

Re:Bad argument (4, Interesting)

wfberg (24378) | more than 9 years ago | (#12387535)


As an aside, reverse engineering was never necessary to understand or duplicate a unix kernel and is therefore his mention of it is a complete red herring.


Not only that, it proves a vital misunderstanding of what UNIX was and is; from the start it was an operating system that had its inner workings laid completely bare and published, at least to all who asked - and later it became a specification (POSIX and the OpenGroup's UNIX trademark).

Why isn't SCOX taking on Microsoft? Windows NT 4.0 was POSIX compliant (at least in name), therefore it was cloned, and since it wasn't reverse-engineered (rather, tacked on to a VMS-kernel rip-off), Microsoft MUST have stolen SCOX' precious code, since every UNIX clone MUST be stolen, right? Right?

Re:Bad argument (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12387612)

dont candy coat it.

he pulled bullshit out of his ass designed only to dazzle the uneducated and uninformed of the world and is trying to pass it off not only as insightful but as fact.

he is a bold faced liar and knows absolutely nothing about what he is talking about.

He should be labelled as a con artist and pathalogical liar not to be trusted under any circumstances.

but then I'm a bit easy on journalists, they shouldn't be expected to report accurate information.

Re:Bad argument (3, Interesting)

sphealey (2855) | more than 9 years ago | (#12387689)

As an aside, reverse engineering was never necessary to understand or duplicate a unix kernel and is therefore his mention of it is a complete red herring.
As a double aside, the Posix specification, which most 1990s-era Unix(tm) clones attempted to meet, was orginally a US Government standard and cannot be copyrighted.

sPh

Re:Bad argument (2, Informative)

killawatt5k (846409) | more than 9 years ago | (#12387402)

I thought GNU's Not Unix

Does Godwin Apply? (1)

Jeremiah Cornelius (137) | more than 9 years ago | (#12387474)

eval Stalin==Hitler?

Anyway, he ain't smokin' the same Unix I knew...

Re:Bad argument (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12387507)

He also seems to miss the fundimental point that the case doesn't concern the 'reverse engineering' of UNIX functionality that IBM received from SCO. SCO is asserting ownership of code written by IBM under an interpretation of AT&T's derived works agreement that has been challenged, disavowed, and discarded by pretty much everyone.

CIO Today is full of his stupid articles (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12387673)

CIO Today is full of his idiotic preception.

He has one story on how Free open source software is... and he just does not get the concept.

Could SCO have a chance after all? (5, Interesting)

bmw (115903) | more than 9 years ago | (#12387343)

OK, so this guy might have a valid point that SCO does not need to provide a line-by-line code comparison in order to prove their case but, if this is really the situation, how come they have failed so miserably to provide anything substantial in their favor? All of their claims seem so utterly ridiculous that I can't imagine them ever getting anywhere with this in court. The outcomes so far support this view. They seem to get bitch slapped out of court every time they actually bring something in front of a judge. Does anyone know of ANYTHING real that SCO has shown to prove their case? So far it just seems like they're spreading a bunch of BS and trying to scare people into buying licenses from them. Is it possible they still have an ace up their sleave?

Something else I found interesting in the article...

To some, the fact that SCO sees Linux as a Unix clone not only makes holding that view morally wrong but requires the immediate repudiation of nonbelievers and indeed the remarketing of Linux as "not Unix" -- a move that would replace the academic and open-source heritage powering its development with a lie and thus destroy it.

Re:Could SCO have a chance after all? (4, Insightful)

squiggleslash (241428) | more than 9 years ago | (#12387440)

WRT the quoted part, I think he's keying off two different definitions of Unix that are used within the community. There's Unix the philosophy, and Unix the operating system written by Dennis Richie and Ken Thompson and others. Linux isn't the latter, but most would probably go along with the idea that it's an example of a kernel that would fit into the former in some way.

I think SCO has generally been incompetent and this guy actually admits so much from the beginning. They tried to blow a "contract violation" up to being a major copyright dispute, arguing for billions of dollars in compensation when the contract dispute itself wouldn't have pulled anything like that. Part of this is possibly SCO realising it has to go for broke because it's up against a company it'll almost certainly lose against, so it needs to find ways of getting that company to settle.

This has backfired. By making it look like they're accusing Linux of being a copy of Unix and containing multiple copyright violations, they've put IBM in a position where, given it's bet the house on GNU and Linux, it has to show it stands by what it's done and that the product it's selling is legal, and at the same time it has to prevent a precedent from being set that encourages everyone to find some minor problem they had with IBM and turn it into a lawsuit.

As for this person's view on the whole thing, I suspect he's just as wrong as the more rabid SCO opponents he chastises. He claims to have no doubt that real Unix code can be found in Linux. I have no doubt this isn't true, because we've seen the best examples of what SCO could find, and we know they're not as represented. Moreover, we have no reason to think it would even be necessary to do this.

But his point of view is interesting, and he gives good reasons to think.

Re:Could SCO have a chance after all? (4, Informative)

Samari711 (521187) | more than 9 years ago | (#12387653)

not only that, but SCO dropped all the copyright stuff involving Linux in their last complaint. This guy got fooled by the SCOx shell game. the suit now is focused on how IBM continued to distribute AIX after SCOx revoked their lisence. IBM points to the part of the contract that says their lisence is "perpetual and unrevokable" and tell SCOx to go sit and spin. that's why IBM isn't settling because if you look past all the smoke and mirrors the actual contract stuff isn't as complicated as the case as a whole. The issue of IBM contributing code to Linux is secondary at this point, only because it is now part of one of the IBM defenses. SCOx claims they terminated teh contract because of the Linux contributions so IBM is claiming that even if they did have the right to terminate (which they don't) and they weren't barred from terminating it by Novell (which they are) they still have no cause

this guy is really just spreading more SCOx FUD for them.

Re:Could SCO have a chance after all? (1)

Cpt_Kirks (37296) | more than 9 years ago | (#12387660)

Is it just me, or did Murphy just kill his career?

Unless it turns out he works for M$, of course.

He claims to be a Unix guy, and Unix will very soon go away, replaced by Linux. Piss off the Linux activists (who, like most activists, tend to be quite rabid and have very long memories) and he will need to learn the phrase "Would you like fries with that?".

Re:Could SCO have a chance after all? (3, Insightful)

Chris Burke (6130) | more than 9 years ago | (#12387452)

To some, the fact that SCO sees Linux as a Unix clone not only makes holding that view morally wrong but requires the immediate repudiation

Um, no, he's just wrong. Nobody cares if Linux is a "clone" of Unix. SCO sees Linux as a derivative work of Unix because it implements the same interfaces. This view has been repudiated not just by Linux advocates but also by the courts.

And no, so far to my knowledge SCO has presented nothing resembling real evidence. That's the reason they have to keep asking for more discovery and versions of AIX to prove a convoluted "the code is derived from ours but doesn't look anything like it anymore" hypothesis. IBM seems to be taking great glee in pointing out SCO's lack of evidence in their filings.

There was a time when it was reasonable to believe that SCO could have an actual case. That time is long past. Some people are just slow.

Re:Could SCO have a chance after all? (1)

Jeremiah Cornelius (137) | more than 9 years ago | (#12387499)

I have stdin and stdout! I am I a clone, now!

Re:Could SCO have a chance after all? (1)

Locke2005 (849178) | more than 9 years ago | (#12387621)

SCO sees Linux as a derivative work of Unix because it implements the same interfaces. How can you be Posix compliant and NOT implement the same interfaces? Does this mean that Windows is a Unix derivative, in as much as it supplies a "Posix compliant" interface?

We'll know soon: put up or shut up for SCO (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12387454)

It's getting awfully close to put up or shut up time for SCO.

Where are the millions of lines of infringing code?

Where are the MIT "rocket scientists"?

Those are just two of the reasons my bet is that SCO will finally shut up as it passes into oblivion.

Re:Could SCO have a chance after all? (1)

Lucky Kevin (305138) | more than 9 years ago | (#12387467)

I wonder what the consequences would be if SCO actually won the case?

Re:Could SCO have a chance after all? (1)

ssj_195 (827847) | more than 9 years ago | (#12387578)

I believe it would mend the breach between canines and felines, and lead them to co-habit.

Re:Could SCO have a chance after all? (1)

AltaMannen (568693) | more than 9 years ago | (#12387604)

Cheap skiing vacations in hell perhaps?

Re:Could SCO have a chance after all? (4, Funny)

Locke2005 (849178) | more than 9 years ago | (#12387655)

I wonder what the consequences would be if SCO actually won the case?
Well, for one thing, I'll be really, really happy that I've cornered the heating oil market in Hades!

Re:Could SCO have a chance after all? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12387473)

"LINUX" is a recursive acronym for "Linux Is Not UNIX", UNIX is a trademark of the Open Group, unix (non capitalized) is generally taken to mean UNIX-like operating systems (eg: OSX). This man is a complete joke!

Re:Could SCO have a chance after all? (2)

planetoid (719535) | more than 9 years ago | (#12387487)

Is there a legal or constitutional reason that a judge can't just go, "okay, you've wasted enough of the court's time, either produce something now or I'm dismissing this case and hencheforth further blocking you from ever filing a baseless lawsuit like this ever again"? I'm certain the relevant legal system actors (lawyers judges etc whatever) are just as sick of this frivolous lawsuit going on as anyone else is.

Re:Could SCO have a chance after all? (1)

C_Kode (102755) | more than 9 years ago | (#12387496)

The missing point is. He claims that SCO has an arguement because someone at IBM had their eyes on Unix source and then worked on Linux source. SCO claims that IBM took works derived from Unix and put them in Linux. IBM says no, we took our own works and put them into both AIX and Linux.

Mr Murphy is saying SCO has a claim based on eyes that tell, yet it's a claim SCO already abandon this claim. My guess is because IBM has already shown that the Unix team did notwork on/with the Linux team.

My guess is that the Unix team stripped out all the code they wanted to give to Linux and then sent it to them along with API documents. (which would have been the proper way to do it.

Re:Could SCO have a chance after all? (5, Interesting)

zerocool^ (112121) | more than 9 years ago | (#12387587)


I know it's a hard concept for the non-techie to grasp, but it goes like this:

UNIX is a trademarked word. UNIX is also a POSIX compliant operating system. In order to be a posix compliant operating system, an operating system must follow X, Y, and Z criteria. Linux follows X, Y, and Z criteria. Linux is a POSIX compliant operating system. The Linux code has been built from scratch with the aim of being POSIX compliant. Since the POSIX standard is based on the UNIX operating system, Linux is a relative of, but not a derivitive of, UNIX.

That's not exactly it, but it's close enough, and simple enough, that a reporter can digest it.

So, in some ways, you could say "Linux is a UNIX clone". In the same ways, you could say "Margarine is a Butter clone". Margarine was built from scratch, using entirely different ingrediants than butter, but with the aim of looking, smelling, and tasting like butter. But, margarine is not butter. However, I don't think anyone who went around calling margarine "Not Butter" is going to kill either industry.

So, I'm not even sure I know what this guy is trying to say. It sounds like he thinks that we are mad that SCO says linux is a unix clone. I don't know a linux user that would be bothered by this statement. All we (as linux users) are saying is "Linux contains no stolen copyrighted code from Unix", and "Linux is not Unix". And maybe a "Linux is similar enough in function to Unix that they share a computing standard".

~Will

Re:Could SCO have a chance after all? (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12387693)

But, margarine is not butter

What?!! Are you serious? You're lying! I can't believe it's not butter!

It appears he doesn't grok (2, Insightful)

n2rjt (88804) | more than 9 years ago | (#12387355)

We've all heard this stuff before. Nothing to see here.

first post (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12387359)

This guy sucks, and i'm FP baby

The Thousand Faces of Darl McBride (4, Funny)

MooseByte (751829) | more than 9 years ago | (#12387369)


"Murphy claims to be 'a 20-year veteran of the I.T. consulting industry, specializing in Unix and Unix-related management issues'."

Man, Darl's got more personalities than a Sweeps Week episode of "The Love Boat". [loveboatonline.com]

Mod root Troll -1 (-1, Troll)

coolGuyZak (844482) | more than 9 years ago | (#12387377)

And now to be modded Offtopic.

Re:Mod root Troll -1 (1, Insightful)

MankyD (567984) | more than 9 years ago | (#12387422)

How on Earth is it even close to being a troll? The piece is an insightful commentary on the case (regardless of whether or not your agree with it - which I don't.) This is what's wrong with slashdot - people moderate down valid but opposing viewpoints.

Re:Mod root Troll -1 (1)

coolGuyZak (844482) | more than 9 years ago | (#12387494)

I just always wanted to say that. ;)

Re:Mod root Troll -1 (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12387497)

I modded him up :)

Sorry, no (4, Informative)

autopr0n (534291) | more than 9 years ago | (#12387590)

This guy is making a totally specious argument, by comparing the Compaq vs. IBM case to the Linux case. I stopped reading after that, because it was quite stupid. In another mal-formed post below I elucidated this, but here's a summary: Compaq V. IBM was about copyright infringement. Any re-implementation of the BIOS was likely to have identical code, since we're talking about optimized assembly. Compaq had their "Chinese wall" in place to be able to prove that they didn't copy anything. There was no contract dispute, either.

On the other hand, all you need to do to prove that Linux is not a copy of SCO is compare the source. They're different. Linux does not infringe SCO's copyright, and it never did.

He also confuses Trademarks and Copyrights. He says "Linux is Unix" because it does what Unix does. But when people say "Linux isn't Unix" they're talking about trademarks.

Imagine if Coca-Cola sued pepsi for violating their trade secrets or something. You wouldn't say "Pepsi is Coca-cola because it tastes kind of like Coca-cola.". No, Pepsi is a Cola (that's the name of the flavor of Coca-cola, pepsi, RC-cola and so on). You can't make the argument that Pepsi tastes like coke, and because you want to call it Coca-cola, then Pepsi is violating Coke's trademarks. That would be retarded. This isn't a "new" perspective, it's just some retards musings.

Speaking of useful idiots... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12387409)

Shall we add this guy to the long list of SCO shills?

He's missing the point (3, Funny)

Otter (3800) | more than 9 years ago | (#12387412)

In fact, the SCO suit has been a windfall for much of the Linux community. Slashdot and the other media have gotten story after story out of it, zealots have had the chance to fantasize themselves into a real world Star Wars where they're participating in an epic struggle between good and evil, Groklaw has gone from being an obscure site with a stupid name to a major Linux player with a stupid name and PJ and Bruce Perens may even have made a few bucks selling Linux insurance.

Admittedly, the word "idiots" may not be totally inapplicable in some of those cases (and "useful" is also debatable) but the benefits were certainly there.

Congress should protect Open Source (2, Insightful)

greglondon (880089) | more than 9 years ago | (#12387414)

Copyright and Patent law can only be enacted to promote science and the useful arts. And congress should promote science and the useful arts as cheaply as possible. Therefore Congress should be protecting Open Source, not feeding it to the Proprietary dogs. http://www.greglondon.com/bountyhunters/ [greglondon.com]

Re:Congress should protect Open Source (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12387448)

What a shameless plug

Re:Congress should protect Open Source (1)

bersl2 (689221) | more than 9 years ago | (#12387460)

Two words: pipe dream.

Re:Congress should protect Open Source (5, Funny)

coolGuyZak (844482) | more than 9 years ago | (#12387559)

$ echo "dream" | su congress -c 'chmod 444 open\ source'

done. what next?

Re:Congress should protect Open Source (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12387511)

Welcome to slashdot you must be new here ..Not a good idea to link to an image on your website mate.

http://www.greglondon.com.nyud.net:8090/bountyhunt ers/ [nyud.net]
Here is a coral cach , but as the above poster said .. shameless dude

Re:Congress should protect Open Source (1)

FidelCatsro (861135) | more than 9 years ago | (#12387639)

The problem is that copyright and patent laws are hardly ever enacted to promote science and IMHO never to promote the arts.
Thankfully OSS is now gaining many freinds in big business ,IBM is a major proponent and cases like the SCO one have served to do a few things .
Promote OSS , test many of its foundations , make alot of lawyers rich, Make the SCO CEO and freinds rich ,,from bleeding the company dry.
Most importantly though it has been a major case that by its very nature may convert a few people in the larger Corperations towards reform of the US patent system for you lot and it will help keep it out of Europe and perhaps other markets(Such as india :D ).

Personly i am for near total abolition of all patents(Definantly for software and theory patents) but thats just me , alot of people here are a bit more resonible and would only like to see an alteration of the laws to exclude software(algorythms are by their very nature discoverys etc)

From the article... (5, Interesting)

Future Man 3000 (706329) | more than 9 years ago | (#12387416)

The problem here is that the underlying assumptions about the lawsuit being both over and baseless are unfounded. The claim that a failure to find copied code today proves that previous processes were uncontaminated is fallacious. And the presumptive consequence about due diligence having been widely rendered is unsupported wishful thinking.

The crux of the matter is this: IBM does not have to prove previous processes were uncontaminated to win the case -- rather, the burden is on SCO to prove that they were, and they don't appear to have come up with anything substantial. Perhaps this is a wake-up call to open source developers to vet submitted code carefully, but I don't believe the wishful thinking is coming from the Linux camp.

Innocent (1)

Veinor (871770) | more than 9 years ago | (#12387538)

The United States of America says that a being is innocent until proven guilty; this right definitely extends to corporations. If SCO cannot prove that IBM is guilty of violating copyright (which I believe is true), then IBM wins the suit.

By the same logic he uses, I can accuse him of performing while he was drunk and say that his defense of 'You can't prove it!' is fallacious.

What an idiot. (5, Insightful)

autopr0n (534291) | more than 9 years ago | (#12387421)

If the two teams have no contact except through the specifications documents, and neither team is contaminated by knowledge of the original engineering, then the new product is considered just that: a new product and not an illegal copy. It's possible, therefore, to recast SCO's basic claim as saying that IBM was contractually obligated to ensure that this type of "chinese wall" existed between those of its people who had some contact with the protected Unix knowledge or code and those of its people who contributed to the Linux development effort in the run-up to the 2.4 kernel release, but failed to do it. What a stupid argument. You don't need to do a "Chinese Wall" to be legal, you do it in order to prove that what you did was legal. The IBM ROM-BIOS was likely going to have a lot of code in common with the Phoenix bios that Compaq purchased. In other words, if the data is physically identically, then you're going to need some pretty strong proof that what you did didn't involve copying. On the other hand, Linux and SCO didn't contain any identical duplicate code. There were some pieces that were similar, IIRC, but those were lists of variables out of a book and had to do with meeting standards. And secondly, the "Chinese Wall" is all about preventing copyright infringement. This was a contract dispute, not a copyright case, because Linux wasn't a copy of SCO. offensive tshirts [sinfulshirts.com]

Wow. (1)

autopr0n (534291) | more than 9 years ago | (#12387453)

God I really fucked up that formatting.

Accept my appologies.

Re:Wow. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12387610)

Accept my appologies.
Was that an order? =)

Re:What an idiot. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12387579)

Bingo. Copyright protects duplication of a particular expression of an idea. The idea itself can be plagiarized with impunity.

Neither could SCO enforce any confidentiality agreements. The SysV sources had already been widely released without such protection and their ideas were public.

Phoenix and IBM (1)

overshoot (39700) | more than 9 years ago | (#12387676)

For those of you who weren't potty-trained at the time, I'll point out that IBM published the source code for their BIOS in the famous "Purple Book:" the IBM PC Technical Reference Manual.

So, among other things, it was harder for Phoenix to explain away any similarities in source code than if the only available BIOS code was binary.

Conjecture based on "WAG" and not research (5, Informative)

Anthony (4077) | more than 9 years ago | (#12387433)

Here's an example:-

The reason Tannenbaum apparently gave Linus a "C" for his kernel hack probably wouldn't have been that the code was bad or derivative, but that he disapproved of sacrificing design elegance for a performance benefit available only on the x86.

Here is what Tannenbaum really said:-

I still maintain the point that designing a monolithic kernel in 1991 is a fundamental error. Be thankful you are not my student. You would not get a high grade for such a design :-)

Note the smiley.

I used to work for this guy... (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12387436)

Amazing who some people will believe... this guy doesn't know jack. He was a middle management drone who took a couple HP/UX classes, managed some sysadmins, and got fired for attempting to rape a female (only in the anatomical sense) sysadmin in one of the restrooms.

Rumour had it that he started as an entry level sysadmin and wrecked so much stuff they made him a manager. This is the Peter Principle at work boys and girls... Posted anonymously for obvious reasons.

Re:I used to work for this guy... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12387664)

exactly, someone who has been blackballed in the industry as ineffective and worthless is trying to get noticed s ohe will get hired by publishing a wild ass story that will get attention.

Nice to see that scumbags that are worthless can still astroturf with the best of them.

he knows NOTHING about linux and I bet NOTHING about unix.

I've seen that Lens before.. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12387443)

The lens that the author is using was stolen from my circus!! It was in the house of mirrors!

It was the 'Darl Special'.. you stand in front of it and it changes you to a piece of shit.

Re:I've seen that Lens before.. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12387489)

Was that circus in Florida? I tried the lens out from the other side to see what would happen -- but it just changes you to a smaller piece of shit.

Optics are wierd.

Negotiations to settle the issue? (4, Informative)

eric76 (679787) | more than 9 years ago | (#12387450)

As a result, SCO issued a stop-use order with the 100-day hiatus required under the contract, but IBM neither changed its behavior nor embarked on good-faith negotiations to settle the issue. SCO therefore asked the court to enforce its rights under the contract.

I find it hard that you have to negotiate to settle an issue when you are completely in the clear by the terms of the contract.

SCO's interpretation of the contract is so overbroad that it is absurd. The definitions they are using for the terms are completely different from the normal usage of the same terms.

For example, a derivative work incorporates the original work or elements of the original work. But SCO takes the view, with nothing in the contract to support them, that developing your own code to run under their UNIX makes it a derivative work even though it has never contained any element of the original work.

He has a pretty selective understanding.. (4, Informative)

schon (31600) | more than 9 years ago | (#12387666)

SCO issued a stop-use order with the 100-day hiatus required under the contract, but IBM neither changed its behavior nor embarked on good-faith negotiations to settle the issue.

And what really happend:

SCO issued a stop-use order with the 100-day hiatus, but failed to include in that order an explanation of what IBM did wrong, or how they could correct it as required under the contract, and so therefore IBM neither changed its behavior nor embarked on good-faith negotiations to settle the issue, because SCO never gave them that option.

If SCO's case were a slam-duno against IBM (2, Insightful)

lorcha (464930) | more than 9 years ago | (#12387461)

Then how come they are getting their asses handed to them in court?

Surely SCO has enough lawyers, and I bet all of them know more about IP law than Paul "Who the fuck am I, again?" Murphy.

Glad I proofread the subject (1)

lorcha (464930) | more than 9 years ago | (#12387502)

That sould be slam-dunk.

Ouch.

Re:Glad I proofread the subject (1)

planetoid (719535) | more than 9 years ago | (#12387564)

Tat "sould" should be "should".

Third Paragraph Says It All (5, Interesting)

canfirman (697952) | more than 9 years ago | (#12387463)

It's interesting the author states, "By itself this was a straightforward contractual dispute that could, and should, have been settled quickly and easily." If it was so straightforward and should have "been settled quickly and easily", then the judge should have seen that too. So, the fact that the case is still going on shows that it's definitely not a "straightforward" case. (However, as we all know with SCO, that it's never straightforward, or quick and easy.)

If you read the beginning of the article, it sounds like the author assumes that SCO is in the right, but that has yet to be proven. I thought that's what courts were for.

Re:Third Paragraph Says It All (2, Informative)

whome (122077) | more than 9 years ago | (#12387643)

I think it's worth noting that this article was written almost two years ago, and since then information has been published invalidating virtually all of Murphy's assumptions. SCO has amended its complaint since then several times. I'm not sure what the point is in bringing this article up again after all this time, other than to embarrass Murphy, perhaps?

Re:Third Paragraph Says It All (1)

Laura_DilDio (874259) | more than 9 years ago | (#12387669)

Tru Dat!

Let's all cut throught the BS...when Darl took over, he NEVER had any intention of continuing the SCO product line. In fact, the releases that have been, er, released were only to illustrate that they are still a viable company that is suffering due to IBM infringement/copyright violation/issue du jour.

What is clear is that SCO was bought by a bunch of Microsoft-funded speculators who aren't getting the easy payday that was foreseen.

If they win this case, SCO is dead. If they lose this case, SCO is dead.

Now, if only Darl were dead...

One fundamental point... (1)

ebrandsberg (75344) | more than 9 years ago | (#12387466)

And I haven't seen this stressed enough. Not only is there at best a disputed issue over if "new" SCO (aka Caldera) even has the rights to sue over this due to the wording of the Novell agreement selling "old" SCO the right to license the code (note the code itself was not SOLD in the first place by Novell), there isn't anything showing exactly what "old" SCO actually sold to "new" SCO, as apparently that paperwork was lost. To claim what "new" SCO claims, they have to have a clear authority over the code they are claiming, and they don't. The ONLY way the license issues will ever be resolved is if a) "new" SCO goes out of business, b) Novell reverts to being the owner based on their agreements, and c) Novell open sources the code under a dual GPL/BSD license, so that any contamination that MAY have occured is no longer in dispute by any party, and everybody can live happily ever after. The end.

Useful Idiots (1)

Tiger Smile (78220) | more than 9 years ago | (#12387486)

So if the people looking at the positive side for Linux are Stalin's useful idiots. Then in his story, it seem he has poisitioned himself as Stalin?

I can't say I agree with him. This is a bit more complicated on the contract side of things. I think that this is more a projection of how he would like things to be.

I know more than a few Unix admins from the 80's that wish for the old days. Most like the comfort of a large company to provide software. Software like food is better when someone makes it quotely in different room behind closed doors.

I follow Growklaw(www.growlaw.com) and get the facts ... and I use Linux. Maybe I am a useful idiot, but that's better than a useless smarty. :)

Re:Useful Idiots (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12387607)

...and that makes you a Useless Idiot. There is nothing happening at Groklaw that affects the reality of the situation in the slightest regard, even when it comes to the reactions of SCO. PJ and her "unbiased" reporting have completely missed the point and the bigger picture, which is exactly where Linux fails to take over the majority of operating systems in the world. The point is: The merits of the lawsuit do not matter in the slightest. The points that are being made by both sides in this case day by day are bringing to light failures of Linux that have nothing whatsoever to do with code or the UI or the applications. Groklaw feeds the fire that it seeks to quench, and still nobody seems to get it. That's what the author points out, and it's clear the bridge is out ahead and this train is still running at full throttle.

The Author Missed A Point (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12387495)

I RTFA maybe too quickly, but one point. It is in dispute if SCO even has IP rights to Unix code. I didn't see any mention of Novell's case against SCO. So his is drawing his own conculusions?

Re:The Author Missed A Point (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12387580)

I RTFA maybe too quickly

You must be new here.

A fundimental misreading of copyright (2, Insightful)

StevenMaurer (115071) | more than 9 years ago | (#12387498)

Even assuming that SCO actually owned the copyrights to Unix (which they don't), that the "similar code" wasn't already in the public domain (which it probably was), and IBM used this kind of methodology to create their own code (which they probably didn't), SCO has no case. There is no concept in Copyright that allows holders to make broad claims over concepts and ideas. That's what Patents are for. The so-called "ladder" theory is barely a crude legal supposition on SCO's part - a plea for the worst sort of Republican judicial activism in the Utah courts.

Here is the way established law actually works. I can buy a copyrighted book, change every sentence and chapter in it until there is nothing left of the original work, and then release it as my own. By that point, it is my own. You cannot copyright people's inspiration. It is silly to try.

Where does he get this stuff? (4, Interesting)

bigtallmofo (695287) | more than 9 years ago | (#12387508)

Software reverse engineering requires two teams

Says you. I can see how an entity might be on firmer legal ground if they adopt the procedure you've outlined. However, to say that legal reverse engineering "requires" two teams is a total fabrication.

What a troll article.

In breaking news SCO hires a cleaning person. (4, Insightful)

LWATCDR (28044) | more than 9 years ago | (#12387517)

I mean really this is a bad opinion piece by someone that has no legal training about a law suite. If you print any story about SCO will it end up on Slashdot? Great way to drive up your ad income.
Next week at Playboy on line. The women of SCO.

The suite has been setup by SCO as Linux is evil and belongs to us and we will sue all the users that do no pay us.
There are no Linux advocates involved with the court case it is Freaking IBM that is involved.
Here is what happened.
Someone convinced SCO that Linux could only have gotten so good by stealing SCO's code. SCO was going down fast and grabbed that straw with the hopes that IBM would just buy them to shut them up.
IBM knew that SCO did not have a case so it decided to make an example of them.
SCO trying to get more people to pony up attacked any deep pockets that it could. Autozone and other show the court that SCO had nothing so that backfired.
Frankly at this point I really want to believe that McBride really did believe that IBM had stolen the code. I would like to think that he has just backed himself into a corner and can not see anyway out. The only other answer is he is delusional.

Re:In breaking news SCO hires a cleaning person. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12387696)

"...Next week at Playboy on line. The women of SCO."

Ugh. Would that be Darl showing off his man-breasts?

My dinner's coming up to say hello again... :(

Stalin is not the source of "Useful Idiots" (5, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12387518)

It is more commonly attributed to Lenin, but it seems that he didn't really say it either:

"Lenin, it is said, once described left-liberals and social democrats as 'useful idiots,' and for years anti-communists have used the phrase to describe Soviet sympathizers in the West, sometimes suggesting that Lenin himself talked about 'useful idiots in the West.' But the expression does not appear in Lenin's writing. We get queries on 'useful idiots of the West' all the time, declared Grant Harris, senior reference librarian at the Library of Congress, in the spring of 1987. We have not been able to identify this phrase among his published works."

The source of this passage is a work entitled "They Never Said It: a Book of Fake Quotes, Misquotes, and Misleading Attributions", authored by Paul F. Boller Jr. and John George, published by Oxford University Press in 1989. The text goes on to explain that the phrase apparently first appeared in a John Birch Society pamphlet labeling President Ronald Reagan a "useful idiot" because of some agreement he had negotiated with the Soviet Union.

btw, most of Lenin's writings are available for searching at http://www.marxists.org/archive/lenin/ [marxists.org]

Great... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12387529)

specializing in Unix and Unix-related management issues

Just what the world needs ...another "specialist" in "management issues" professing his expertise....

Questionable premise (3, Informative)

lildogie (54998) | more than 9 years ago | (#12387539)

Quoth the article:
"According to SCO, it is the legal successor to AT&T..."

That is a fact in dispute. It seems the rest of the article is founded on this premise.

If SCO does not "own" Unix, then the arguments in the article fall flat.

New Lens? (1)

EvilGrin666 (457869) | more than 9 years ago | (#12387540)

Cracked lens more like. Seriously, who's paying this guy to write this? He's just rehashing old fud giving it a new twist.

Actually interesting (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12387560)

Not really a bad analysis, and the most interesting point is "what if you copy something, then replace all its components?"

Still though, if that were true (that there was significant "contamination") why can't SCO prove it publicly?

I think the main ridicule of SCO is that they have not shown proof of something that should be pretty easy to prove.

Old saying... (1)

SanityInAnarchy (655584) | more than 9 years ago | (#12387561)

What doesn't kill you makes you stronger.

It's not "circular" reasoning. I could have told you that SCO losing would make the whole thing positive for Linux. But, I was too busy being enraged at the fact that, with the US legal system, it was possible (still is possible) for companies like SCO to win.

Perhaps it's time... (2, Interesting)

0x461FAB0BD7D2 (812236) | more than 9 years ago | (#12387565)

I remember SGI did its own comparison [newsforge.com] of SystemV and Linux source code, and found only trivial similarities.

Does anyone know of a similar comparison by IBM comparing AIX and Linux?

If they haven't done one, perhaps it's time for one. While they couldn't publish examples of the code, but they could do a similar comparison and post the results only.

I hate amateur Sovietologists! (5, Informative)

TheNarrator (200498) | more than 9 years ago | (#12387576)

what Stalin famously called "useful idiots"

It was Lenin who said that and he actually didn't say it. It was invented by the John Birch Society to describe Ronald Regan.

Source [wolfgangvonskeptik.mu.nu]

There is much more evidence that Lenin referred to them instead as "Deaf Mutes" which is much less of a marketable term for the anti-communists to use in describing how communists view their dupes.

Article that Makes Reference to the Deaf Mutes Quote [tripod.com] . This quote was also referenced by Theodore Radzinsky in his Stalin Biography as being authentic.

"The so-called cultural element of Western Eurpoe and America are incapable of comprehening the present state of affairs and the actual balance of forces; these elements must be regarded as deaf-mutes and treated accordingly....

(The Lufkin News, King Featurers Syndicate, Inc., 31 July 1962, p. 4, as quoted by the Freeman Report, 30 Sept. 1973, p. 8).

Bad comparison (1)

Wandering Hoosier (621835) | more than 9 years ago | (#12387583)

If IBM had contributed UNIX system V functionality to Linux, the comparison to the IBM/Compaq court case might be valid. However, IBM didn't do that. It contributed stuff that originated in OS/2 that they later put into AIX. Regardless of whether they build a "Chinese" wall in the development process, they had the right to do that. That is, unless you buy into SCO's peculiar derivative work theory.

His other works and his forum. (4, Interesting)

wan-fu (746576) | more than 9 years ago | (#12387584)

He's getting destroyed by readers on his very own forum. [winface.com] . Also, from his website, are a bunch of his other writings on the SCO case [winface.com] .

I liked his part about (3, Insightful)

overshoot (39700) | more than 9 years ago | (#12387589)

how IBM should have entered into "good-faith negotiations" with SCOX.

Me, I've read the correspondence filed with the Court on the subject. IBM asked what they were supposed to have done wrong so that they could remedy the problem, SCOX told them they'd see them in court.

Yeah, that's bad faith on IBM's part all right. Here we are more than two years later and IBM is still trying to get the Court to make SCOX tell them what IBM is supposed to have done wrong, so far with no luck.

What was that ? (1)

AT-SkyWalker (610033) | more than 9 years ago | (#12387592)

I don't recall the last time I read something this ! I honestly didn't understand anything from him.

He states an argument then defeats it, then states it again, then concludes with nothing.

Very informative !

Speaking of the "Stalin" reference (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12387596)

There are those that call it a "commie" OS here is an excerpt from A Little More To The Right [proboards26.com] , by the user "Proud NeoCon A true American"
Another thing that irks me, is Linux, yes, that Commie Run Operating System by the Commie Linus Torvalds "He is from Communist Finland", which should be arrested by the Patriot Act because it is his nuts that is destroying our economy by trying to have our great nation to Communism.


1. I think it censors it to read as nuts, when it's probably should be "shit"
2. To the mods, no, I don't feel that way about Linux, I just put what some troll put on another board. Personally, I think Linux is great.
3. I encourage all Linux lovers to go over and dispute this "as long as it's not a GNAA or /. Cliché post ;)".

It IS a simple contract dispute. (1)

wfberg (24378) | more than 9 years ago | (#12387602)

SCOX is sueing IBM for violating their copyright.

Novell have a contract with SCOX saying they never bought that copyright, and that even if they did, Novell can prohibit them from sueing people.

Novell told SCOX to quit, SCOX didn't.

Looks pretty clear-cut to me.

Paul Murphy, 20-year IT veteran.... (1)

aapold (753705) | more than 9 years ago | (#12387611)

and one hell of a chess player...

Interesting quote on Paul Murphy's forum (4, Informative)

LittleLebowskiUrbanA (619114) | more than 9 years ago | (#12387631)

This could be of interest to PJ at Groklaw.

Re: SCO V. IBM -Thursday April 28/05
Author: Robert Weiler (204.247.40.---)
Date: 04-29-05 16:45

Dear Paul,

I have over 25 years in the software business, most of it on Unix systems and I have worked for two SVR4 licensees. It was very clear at both of these companies that code that we created belonged to us and that AT&T did not control it in any way. The only copright notices that we placed in our code was our own, not AT&T's. This is explicit in IBM's agreement, and it was made explicit in the $echo newsletter. The notion that SCO controls the subsequent work product of everybody that has ever seen Unix source is complete nonsense and would in fact be illegal restraint of trade in most states. Your notion seems to be even more expansive than SCO's; as I read your argument, any code that ever ran on AIX and was subsequently ported to Linux would belong to AT&T. This idea is so silly it doesn't even merit a response, so I'm asuming that I've misinterpreted what you wrote.

SCO's notion of what constitutes a derivative work is not only completely at odds with the SOFT aggreements, it is at odds with copyright law. If the only thing that SCO has is a few suggestive emails and the 'mental tainiting' argument that you espouse, then IBM will win on summary judgement as a matter of law. And according to Judge Kimall, that is apparently all they have.

Finally I should note that even if SCO were to prevail on their contract dispute with IBM, it means absolutely nothing to Linux. At worse, the offending code is removed, any liability is IBM's.

I would greatly appreciate it if you would inform yourself on the issues of this case and write a followup article. Every CIO should be evaluating a migration from Windows and proprietary Unix to Linux as the cost savings are dramatic. It would be very, very unfortunate if any CIO delayed a transition to Linux based on misinformation about SCO's legal propects which are virtually nonexistant.

Lucky for him (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12387642)

How fortunate to be so much smarter than IBM's high-priced lawyers. He must have a great deal of personal integrity to continue to be a journalist with his obviously superior understanding of the IT industry when he could be making much more money doing (just about) anything else.

Here is how to read the article without sending them any additional money in the process:

Print Version [yahoo.com]

Even if he's right (ob. simp. quo.) (1)

ggvaidya (747058) | more than 9 years ago | (#12387648)

As the Simpsons so nicely put it:
Hutz: Mr. Burns, we've got witnesses, precedent and a paper trail a mile long.
Burns: Yes. But I have ten high-priced lawyers.
Hutz: Ya, ya, yaaa!!! [runs out of office]
Homer: He left his briefcase. Hey, it's full of shredded newspaper.

McArthy? (1)

Himring (646324) | more than 9 years ago | (#12387672)

He also goes on to insult Linux advocates by stating that, 'the position being run up the flagpole by what Stalin famously called "useful idiots" is first that the lawsuit itself is no longer a real issue and secondly that its consequences have been generally positive.'"

Who is this guy, Joe McCarthy?...

bios (1)

smoothxp (722506) | more than 9 years ago | (#12387692)

Well it seems that his basic premise for his arguments are that Linux could not be a World Class OS W/O all the code from his precious Unix That he is a 20 IT Veteran using. By his definition Macintosh should sue Microsoft for the "idea" of Windows. That Novell should Sue Microsoft for the "idea" of a word Processor. He makes large generalizations that a concept is copy write. So Mercedes should sue every car company for the concept of a horseless carriage? Please this "20 year veteran in IT" needs to unplug from his Unix Box and except change. He cannot re-write the understanding of copy write because he doesn't want to change. His whole point is that Linux can be a good "school" OS but can not be re-sold for commercial purpose. BS BS.
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