Catch up on stories from the past week (and beyond) at the Slashdot story archive


Forgot your password?

Slashdot videos: Now with more Slashdot!

  • View

  • Discuss

  • Share

We've improved Slashdot's video section; now you can view our video interviews, product close-ups and site visits with all the usual Slashdot options to comment, share, etc. No more walled garden! It's a work in progress -- we hope you'll check it out (Learn more about the recent updates).


Journal: SCO vs. The World

Journal by MonopolyNews

Well my guilty pleasure in MonopolyNews is that I love the good soap opera we have here. Not only do we have a few eccentric characters, we have virtually nothing but eccentric CEOs and others doing inexplicable things just to entertain us (and maybe score a quick billion $$$).

Interesting points:


Ok, before I talk about the real issues, lets just face the facts... if a burgler were to break into your house and steal everything, get caught, and hire Boies to defend himself, you'd have to be worried YOU were going to go to jail. Having said that, he lost Napster and he lost Gore and didn't finish off Microsoft, but it's a factor.

SCO's linux and GPL

SCO's case against IBM is actually hard to guage because it's about trade secrets and who know what was in the NDA between SCO and IBM? We don't. Maybe IBM screwed up? I doubt it, but maybe. On the other hand, what about the linux distributions. Well, one argument is that since SCO has shipped linux itself (both as Caldera, pre-SCO purchase, and as SCO after the name change), and done so under the GPL. Of course, this is why Boies has had SCO stop shipping Linux. Their argument will be they stopped shipping more or less when they found out about the problem, thus they will say they never willingly shipped their IP under the GPL. If they did ship their code under GPL, after all, they would not be able to ask for a fee even for patented IP, they would not be able to sue IBM, probably, because these are not trade secrets once they are distributed under GPL for all to see. As I say, they have dealt with this by stopping their sale of Linux.

HOWEVER: they have promised to indemnify their own linux customers. But this means their customers can use linux, which SCO says has their IP in it, under the GPL (the only legal way to legally ship linux). That means SCO has and is willingly distributing their code under GPL.

Unix Trademark

This trademark is owned by OpenGroup, the patents SCO hold re: Unix are expired, the source code of AT&T Unix is not in use. They are acting as if they own the concept Unix, so it's funny in a this-case-is-a-word-game sort of way that OpenGroup owns that trademark. It might be helpful if SCO lost the right to use "Unix".

Mitigating Damage

When a company really thinks you are using their IP, the first thing is to get you to stop. They want that. They tell you how to stop, where the offending code is. SCO hasn't done this yet, but one would think they would do so right away. This makes SCO look like it doesn't want the IP protected, it wants the damages it hopes to collect protected. That may be understandable, but wrong headed, to get damages you have to inform Redhat, for example, so they can do something. Consider, if SCO was innocently shipping their own IP illegally, certainly Redhat is just as innocent and needs specific information. Given that information Redhat, if it believed the claim, would have to stop shipping linux until they could clean the code.

It's a war of words. I think the most interesting part is the relation to GPL as a viral license... really, it's proprietary IP that is viral, a few tiny lines of it might have slipped into the GPL and the whole OSS world is going to catch a cold. I think it'll recover, but there is no denying it's a viral attack. It unthinkable that GPL code would accidently be included into a commercial product, and if it was, that would probably be portrayed as a rogue employee, but that proprietary IP might slip into GPLed code, that's easier to imagine, and that is probably the real issue this should raise for us.

The Courts

Journal: Why sa-3.14is a Fellow Traveller and Not an Enemy Combatant

Journal by MonopolyNews

It's because sa-3.14 and I have a categorical interest in common. Even if he's usually wrong though, he passes the test for enthusiasm, and so do I.

I said (autoparaphrased): "sa-3.14, IBM moved the SCO case to Federal Court" [btw: that's (IBM 1 SCO 0)-ed].

Yes. I stand corrected. I hadn't been following this case till your outburst (ie., those idiots at SCO) prompted me to research the issue, I figured anything that could ruffle your feathers was worth looking into.

Which goes to show how counterproductive a forum/weblog/newsgroup is as a vehicle to advance one's own so called "side" in a controversial issue. One merely provokes and informs the opposition, but bear with me because I'm not saying that's a bad thing. (in general I am perfectly happy to describe points that are an advantage to your own position... I mean, that's still just as interesting. Interest is what it's all about, more than position. People that are all position don't last long. Those with interest and no position, grow a position over time and might lose interest.

You can't make your side look good, per se, only bad. As marketing goes, that's pretty much all risk, no reward, isn't it?

Which begs the question of the real purpose of a forum such as nytimes forum. Well obviously I think it's informational. The links people provide are the closest thing to value if one's interested.

But insofar as sides do exist as patterns of agreement/disagreement, you also get to array the arguments of your "position" in as fair a light as possible. This is of interest to people that enjoy constructing either descriptions of positions or advocacies for them.

This is why I say to people that are contradictory to themselves, who may take positions that are not consistent in order to obtain momentary rhetorical "victories": YOU HAVE FAILED IT!

You indirectly imply that your position is contradictory.

Consider the mostly long gone stevestoddard, libertarian of noticeable Anyrandian tendencies, although he denied direct influence (never heard of her before we told him, see, case in point). I believe it. Why not? People converge at these positions from all directions. At least he was consistent. The errors in his thinking are in his assumptions and in the incompleteness of the libertarian theory used, not in the application of a consistent framework. Of use to another unborn Randian (shudder).

In my case, I may be biased as a linux-windows-solaris-palmos user, I don't know, but if that bias comes out it's just in the form of doubt that SCO is sincere or that their code was taken. If it comes out that it was taken then they deserve legal remedy.

I don't think it's my bias because it seems to me SCO has sold Linux for quite a while... I mean, this isn't SCO... this is Caldera, they were selling offending code belonging to SCO before they bought them, yes? in that case they bought SCO and not only does that indemnify them but they can sue others that did what they were doing? oh wait, not exactly like, nearly no one wanted theirs.. And as for the combined CalderaSCO, they may have violated the GPL because you are not allowed to distribute GPLed code with your Patented IP, unless that IP is available for free unrestricted use, in perpetuity. The SCO IP in question is not available under that sort of licence.

No doubt it would have been a better marketing move not to bring it up at all and thus avoid giving early warning to an enemy combatant such as you, sa-3.14, weeks before you might have otherwise learned. That's weeks of damage you can cause now with your linking and your good spelling.

To that I say, go forth and lay chaos on the newslogosphere, you can thank me later! You might recruit someone else that thinks the soap opera of the computing businesses is worth following. I do. It all happened mostly in my lifetime so we've seen it go from nothing to gigantic. I mean, more than 30 years ago is like prehistoric dinasaur times. It's the interesting part of the physics before the steady state sets in. Is that even in sight?

Of course, you would have heard about this SCO thing over the next few months anyway, it's shaped up to be the biggest legal moment for Linux yet. BSD has already been through this test of fire, of course.


Journal: The MacinTel(sh)

Journal by MonopolyNews

John Dvorak has a column describing the hate Intel feels for Microsoft, and a way they can join with Apple to eliminate Microsoft on the desktop. He says they can at least double the Apple share, but implies total elimination is also within reach. Dvorak outlines this possibility and gives us a "Mac on Intel" timeline. The ducks are in a row, says John.

"How the MacIntel Will Change the Market"


Journal: Microsoft and the Commoditzation of Software

Journal by MonopolyNews
Dave Stutz, Microsoft's former ambassador to the open-source community, has left the company. He's also posted a note -- "Advice to Microsoft regarding commodity software" -- on his website. It's a short and interesting read on the boat Microsoft is missing, and on the state of shrink-wrapped software's 'slow upmarket ooze'. Dan Gillmor doesn't add much text at his ejournal, but does add a picture of Dan.
User Journal

Journal: The Shuttle Monopoly

Journal by MonopolyNews
The government has one, is it time to break it up and privatize space access? A private contracter would possibly lose their contract after such a disaster we've seen today, and wouldn't this help keep them focussed against such things while NASA might become distracted, say with ISS projects?

Aren't you glad you're not getting all the government you pay for now?