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Community: A SCO Consumer Protection Complaint

Jun 13, 2004, 06:00 (3 Talkback[s])
(Other stories by Harlan Wilkerson)

[ Thanks to Harlan Wilkerson for this contribution. ]

By Harlan Wilkerson

The Germans and Australians aren't the only folks that can take action against the SCO Group. It's just that no sensible group has come forward here in the US to offer a framework for end-users to take action.

No one knows when an individual off in the stony lonesome does something on their own. There are many of us who DON'T want another daily fix of "watching" the steno pool at Groklaw from the sidelines. We worry that in the end software development will be like the practice of medicine here in the US--something that you can only do if you can afford to pay the insurance premiums.

The recent EC patent vote proves that the opposition is willing to impose their political solutions on the rest of us.

I recently filed a consumer protection complaint against SCO in Kansas. I was a former Caldera customer, and I based the substance of my complaint on my own purchases of their licensed and branded Linux software products.

I wrote the complaint after some discussions with the State Attorney General's staff. I was very happy with their fill-in-the-blank forms, but they asked for a very detailed explanation of all the subject matter involved. If there's ever a next time, I'll try to hire a ghost writer to handle that part ;-)

Kansas and a few other states don't permit a vendor or supplier to disclaim the implied warranty of merchantability (general fitness). The promise that the product is fit for the ordinary purposes for which it is used. This extends to any facts and promises that appear on the product labels or in their marketing materials. Caldera rebranded their Caldera Network Desktop products as "OpenLinux." Linux is a trademark that they helped secure. It is sublicensed exclusively for use in connection with open source products. OpenLinux was advertised as the beginning of a collaborative effort to change the UNIX industry. It was supposed to be a fully GPL'ed UNIX 95 branded Linux product.

Caldera's marketing materials said the products were targeted at developers. The label said things like: "Full Linux source code included", iBCS-compliant for running Intel-based UNIX programs, alternate server for Intel-based UNIX programs, and etc. It's also an unconscionable act here to try and deprive a consumer of the material benefits of a purchase transaction at any time.

My complaint is available online for those who are interested.

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