When SCO filed their restucturing plan yesterday, a surprising
number of my colleagues in the press made great hay out of the
"This reorganization plan will also enable the company
to see SCO's legal claims through to their full
Suddenly, all the "fat lady" and "it ain't over till it's over"
metaphors were trotted out. SCO isn't dead yet, look out Linux
With all due respect to my colleagues in the press:
First off, most people with a modicum of sense knew the
litigation wasn't over. With bankruptcy proceedings and the SCO v.
everybody cases... there was very little chance that this was all
going to fade away into the abyss. At most, all of these legal
proceedings will enough new cash to keep things going
faster--provided the court approves the restucturing plan. Which,
as far as I know, the court hasn't approved yet. The York Group
reorganization proposal was nixed, you may recall.
Second off, what the heck did you expect them to say about the
litigation? "Oh, gee, we're sorry about all the fuss, and we'll try
to wrap things up as soon as we can"? Hardly. Such a public
statement would be akin to admiting defeat and wiping out any
chance of a settlement or victory, which no defendant would ever
do. Of course they're going to public hype up their chances. It
still does not change the fact that SCO has very little chance of
prevailing in any of these cases.
As for this notion that this will drag on the litigation, let's
not get carried away. The Novell trial is set for April 29. I don't
see that date changing. If it does, it won't be by much. If SCO
loses that case (and I have to say "if" only because I am not a
lawyer), then all the other cases are blown out of the water. Yes,
there's the appeal process, and now there's new coin to fund that.
That is pretty much the only thing this restructuring deal has
I would not be surprised if the SCO lawyers aren't privately
talking settlement yet. (Which doesn't mean any of the defendants
will bite, mind you. After all this trouble, IBM, Red Hat, Novell,
and AutoZone may not settle for anything else less than proverbial
blood.) I am not laying too many odds on a settlement offer
happening, though. Given the strangely
coincedental ties between SNCP's "partners in the Middle East"
and Bill Gates, it does not seem likely they will play it that
In the meantime, the one bit of interesting news that was
revealed in the restructuring proposal was the impending
resignation of SCO CEO Darl McBride. To me, that signaled the end
of an era. The age of CEO-driven FUD will seem so much more...
quieter if McBride indeed leaves SCO. What can be said about
McBride that hasn't been said already? Rather than try to sum up
his tenure at The SCO Group, I would rather pause and remember his
own words (of which there were many). For myself, I can only recall
the words of my childhood friend, who would often part with me
saying: "Seeya! Wouldn'twannabeya!"
"'SCO is in the enviable position of owning the UNIX operating
system,' said Darl McBride, president and CEO, SCO, in an
interview with eWeek [March 6, 2003]. 'It is clear from our
stand point that we have an extremely compelling case against IBM.
SCO has more than 30,000 contracts with UNIX licensees and
upholding these contracts is as important today as the day they
components does SCO allege IBM donated to the open-source
community? McBride: I can't answer that right now for legal
reasons. It will be discussed in court. But we're not talking about
insignificant amounts of code. It's substantial System V code
showing up in Linux."
still saying categorically that there is offending code in the
Yeah. That one is a no-brainer. When you look in the code base and
you see line-by-line copy of our Unix System V code--not just the
code itself, but comments to the code, titles that were in the
comments and humour elements that were in the comments--you see
that everything is taken straight across.
Everything is exactly the same except they have stripped off the
copyright notices and pretended it was just Linux code. There could
not be a more straightforward case on the Linux side."
to reveal the sources of his allegations, but he claimed that
IBM was involved in Novell's and Red Hat's responses to SCO's
lawsuit. 'Even though IBM looks like they're not really involved in
it, they're very involved,' he said. 'From a PR standpoint, they're
able to extract themselves from (the dispute), and so they throw
Red Hat at us, they throw Novell at us, they have (Open Source
Initiative President) Eric Raymond on their payroll. They have all
these guys that they fund and then they just step back and watch
the fracas go on.'"
development was an admission by Open Source leader Bruce Perens
that UNIX System V code (owned by SCO) is, in fact, in Linux, and
it shouldn't be there. Mr. Perens stated that there is 'an error in
the Linux developer's process' which allowed UNIX System V code
that 'didn't belong in Linux' to end up in the Linux kernel."
"When you look at
the GPL [general public license], it says that when you have a
copyright violation, you either have to strip the copyright and
take that work out of Linux--or--you have to shut Linux down. The
nature of the violations to our IP we found are in such a broad
nature that it would be virtually impossible to strip it out. And
so now you are looking at the prospect of shutting down Linux or
paying SCO a royalty."
"Well, we believe--we have had four
attacks on our company over the last year. At least one was
claimed--the Linux community claimed responsibility for the attack.
We believe that there is a problem with Linux in terms of the code
we see showing up inside of there. We don't know for sure if this
attack is coming from Linux, but we have very strong suspicions
that is the case."
"'The open source movement says that proprietary software
shouldn't exist. They say that the operating system should be free,
but that's a slippery slope,' McBride said.
'There's 12 million developers worldwide, are you gonna let their
work be free?'"
"Although we have had a few setbacks in the court proceedings,
important and significant claims remain in the case," McBride
"In other words, to paraphrase a line from Mr. Twain, the rumors of
our death have been greatly exaggerated."
ruling that came down was a pretty hard shot. It was
unexpected, a surprise. It was a huge disappointment. What I really
wanted was to have our day in court in front of a jury of our
peers. This ruling that came down basically took that opportunity
away from us."
"'[There's] the view out there that we're just dead, and
everybody's claiming victory over SCO,' he said in
an interview on Sept. 28 . 'It's like the Linux faithful
are lined up for the bad news. They've got their confetti ready to
throw, and everybody's all excited.'"