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Sun Microsystems

Sun Rethinking Linux Strategy Over SCO Lawsuit 504

manyoso writes "Sun is waisting no time taking advantage of the SCO lawsuit against IBM. They are making statements trying to play up Solaris as a safe harbor for worried Linux and IBM users. John Loiacono, VP of Sun's operating platforms group, "For people looking at the issues at hand, we are a safe harbor. We have absolute rights to our technology ... We're changing our strategy around Linux (but) we're pausing because we're trying to figure out what the implications of this are going to be". So, this begs the questions... What are the short term implications for the new Linux based desktop we've been hearing about from our fair weather friends? How will the SCO lawsuit affect Sun's long term strategy with Linux and Open Source?"
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Sun Rethinking Linux Strategy Over SCO Lawsuit

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  • by shadwwulf ( 145057 ) on Sunday March 09, 2003 @12:00PM (#5471265) Homepage
    I always kind of wondered where SCO/Caldera fit in. I wonder if that settlement for OpenDOS was really just a buy-off to make Caldera microsoft's lap dog.

    It would seem that SCO's current actions are very much helpful to microsoft in the end.

    Just a thought...
    • by jasonditz ( 597385 ) on Sunday March 09, 2003 @12:29PM (#5471390) Homepage
      I don't think this neccesarily has to be some sort of MSFT scheme.

      Caldera/SCO hasn't been making money in a good long time and probably won't for the forseeable future. As of their last earnings release they were down to a little over $6 million, and they lost nearly $25 million last year alone.

      The fact of the matter is the only reason they've survived as long as they have is the OpenDOS lawsuit proceeds, and now that they've burned through that they need to find another sucker to fleece.

      Great business model, isn't it? You don't need to make a profit selling anything, just sue those who do.
      • by einhverfr ( 238914 ) <> on Sunday March 09, 2003 @01:31PM (#5471683) Homepage Journal
        I don't think this neccesarily has to be some sort of MSFT scheme.

        If it is, Gates, Ballmer, and their entire legal department are far more incompetent than I had thought. Consider the following:

        1: Microsoft licensed UNIX back in the day and produced Xenix. They then sold this to Santa Clara Operations (SCO). I would be *highly* surprised if *none* of the original Xenix engineers are still at Microsoft. So this suit could affect them too. And Caldera/SCO has a history of sueing Microsoft.

        2: This whole thing is extremely bad for Shared Source. It may be bad for Open Source if it wins, but it would be far far worse for shared source.

        Great business model, isn't it? You don't need to make a profit selling anything, just sue those who do.

        Have you actually talked to the Caldera sales reps? They are either clueless about the licensing of RedHat or SuSE.

        The business model of SCO seems to be based on an idea that since proprietary software is the most common way of developing corporate software today, that Linux should be put into that box. They think that customers need support and don't need the flexibility that open source offers.

        In this view the GPL is bad, and Randsom Love's comments to this effect make sense. But it ignores the reason *why* open source is gaining in many markets-- becuase if I run a network, I can roll out a pilot database server using Linux and PostgreSQL with no licensing overhead. Sure, I will have to get approval for the hardware, but that is it (assuming the improbable, that the management understands the licensing). It is the flexibility that this sort fo thing offers a company that is important. If I want I can deploy now, test now, and then get support when I am ready to make it official.

        So Caldera is not happy with the GPL, is not focused (as I think RedHat and SuSE are) on helping companies *use* linux. They are instead trying to sell it like NT.
    • It would seem that SCO's current actions are very much helpful to microsoft in the end.

      I wonder if Microsoft still holds SCO stock. They were a major SCO investor many years ago.

      I wouldn't worry too much about this lawsuit though - IBM will cream SCO I think. :-)

    • by rseuhs ( 322520 ) on Sunday March 09, 2003 @01:12PM (#5471590)
      Everytime something happens, somebody comes up with a crackpot theory of how all this is just a big conspiracy controlled by Microsoft.

      (rolling eyes)

      Microsoft are incompetent bullies, not evil geniuses. Heck, they can't even implement 64Bit Windows in a timely manner and will lose a lot of their server marketshare in the 32->64 Bit conversion.

      Both SCO and Sun feel the heat from Linux. If this pointless suit gives Sun the opportunity to market their expensive hardware, why shouldn't Sun take that opportunity?

      Usually the easy explanation is the right one.

      Anyway, Sun certainly will not stop selling Linux machines, too and in 2 months this suit will be forgotten anyway.

      • by TKinias ( 455818 ) on Sunday March 09, 2003 @01:25PM (#5471651)

        scripsit rseuhs:

        Heck, they can't even implement 64Bit Windows in a timely manner and will lose a lot of their server marketshare in the 32->64 Bit conversion.

        Heck, when was it exactly that they finally got the 16 bit code out of Windows? Or have they? Does anyone even know? ;)

        Usually the easy explanation is the right one.

        Please don't bring reasoned arguments into this. Conspiracy is more fun.

        Anyway, I kind of like spheres on spheres, too -- what kind of geek wouldn't prefer that to boring old elliptical orbits?

  • by acceleriter ( 231439 ) on Sunday March 09, 2003 @12:00PM (#5471266)
    This lawsuit doesn't mean a thing in the long term. Either SCO will end up (finally) dead or as a wholly owned subsidiary of IBM. They figured out that selling something available for free didn't work, and now they're about to discover that trying to gouge former customers for license fees doesn't work either. And it's about time.
  • Eclipse of The Sun ? (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Sunday March 09, 2003 @12:06PM (#5471283)
    SCO will achieve nothing. Actually, this lawsuit will backfire them big time. Sun Micro., which being a little troll here, will come back to Linux once SCO gets its nose bloodied. Speaking of Sun, I don't really see where its heading. I've heard that they'll be introducing blade-based (a la Cisco 6509, but withs server gear not switch gear) chassis soon with a load-balancer and stuff. Will Sun be a next SGI ? Hope not...
  • Tells you a lot... (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Sunday March 09, 2003 @12:06PM (#5471286)
    When their stock rises 40% on a worthless lawsuit. You just gotta ask yourself, what the hell value did they have before, when worthless adds 40% to them?

    It's like David and Goliath - sure, David beat Goliath... once. Who's taking bets that SCO won't be the one killing the giant that is IBM?

    Sun had better not gloat too much - they may as well be the next ones on SCO's list of people to sue for making something remotely resembling UNIX.

    • by Gerry Gleason ( 609985 ) <gerry AT geraldgleason DOT com> on Sunday March 09, 2003 @12:22PM (#5471352)
      Sun had better not gloat too much

      That's right, but not because SCO might target them because Sun's claim to have a clear title to Solaris is valid, but because it shows them to be petty, short sighted and stupid. Sun has a lot of good-will amoung the /. demographic, but being a fair weather friend to Linux will only hurt them in the long run by turning people off. IBM will win big with this crowd if they can crush SCO and their lawsuit quickly, and they are more likely to be taking Sun's market share than anybody elses.

      OTOH, I wouldn't count Sun out already an an earlier comment does.

      • Anyone juvenile enough to take offense at Sun for not 'sticking up' for Linux enough probably doesn't command any sort of budget with which to purchase Sun products anyway. I'd say they've got nothing to worry about.
        • It's not a simple matter of "not sticking up", but in fact actively spreading FUD. They would have been much better off to just remain silent, even if there is some truth to the idea that they are reviewing their Linux strategy. Looks to me like they wasted no time in putting a negative spin on Linux based on this.

          I also think you would be surprised at the number of people, myself included, who have been involved in the purchase of many Sun systems in the past that find their response offensive. It still might not tip all purchasing decisions, but it certainly erodes their good-will with a lot of people who would otherwise have only good things to say about Sun.

      • by elmegil ( 12001 ) on Sunday March 09, 2003 @01:44PM (#5471748) Homepage Journal
        You seem to think that Sun is one monolithic Borgish hive mind that has one perspective on Linux. As a Sun employee, let me disabuse you of the notion. There are a wide range of opinions about Linux internally, and there are plenty of Linux "bigots" included in that range, as well as the opposite side Solaris "bigots".

        It's my impression (in my personal opinion, not based on anything "proprietary" I've been told because I haven't been) that this announcement is a combination of lawyers and PR folks wanting to make it clear that Solaris is not subject to any such lawsuits from SCO and wanting to reassure our customers and shareholders that we won't get so far with our linux strategy as to get ourselves entangled on that score. "We're pausing to see what the implications are" is not "AVOID LINUX!!! IT'S DANGEROUS!!". It's smart business practice to keep from being dragged into a potential tar baby.

        Just because you and I believe that the lawsuit is completely frivolous doesn't mean that a large corporation can blythely assume the outcome of litigation and proceed on a path that might lead to problems for us and our sharelholders.

    • by LinuxGeek ( 6139 )
      Actually, David killed Goliath once. After that Goliath wasn't much of a bother to anyone.

      Caldera had a very decent Linux distro and it was my choice for business installs. I hoped that they were going to leverage the SCO products for the businesses that wanted a more professional and pedigreed operating system.

      The sad thing about how SCO and the Unix patents have turned out is that the folks that are being sued created move value from the covered information than the patent holder did. Ahhhh, the modern formula for sucess seems to be:

      -hatch a good idea and patent it.
      -screw up with business decisions and/or poor implementations
      -sue the more adept businesses and make up for your poor business skills.

      SCO/Caldera seems to be turning into more of a suicide than a David and Goliath story.
    • by Daniel Phillips ( 238627 ) on Sunday March 09, 2003 @03:18PM (#5472229)
      When their stock rises 40% on a worthless lawsuit.

      Actually, their stock rose steadily and dramatically [] over the two week period just before the lawsuit. Looks like insider trading, and a matter requiring the involvement of the SEC.
  • by Xpilot ( 117961 ) on Sunday March 09, 2003 @12:09PM (#5471294) Homepage
    They have their own Solaris flavour of Unix that they worked so hard on. I don't think anyone's taking this SCO lawsuit that seriously. So I guess perhaps they are taking the chance to downplay Linux and beef up the image of their proprietry Unix.
    • Yes this awfully looks like a stab in the back for Linux ! well I guess that's just business !
    • Wow, that's news to me. It seems like Sun is playing with Linux like Microsoft is playing with open standards. It's all lip service IMHO.

      This is SCO's last deep breath before the long sleep. Sun and Microsoft will also learn that you must move or get out of the way when a disruptive market mover is coming. IMO.

      • Be fair, Sun has contributed to GNU/Linux. Openoffice isn't lip service (I have no idea how much they paid for it, nor how much total developer-time they put in, but the result is big, and no-one maid them). Their contributions to GNOME aren't lip service either. I recall Sun recently claimed to have contributed more code to GNU/Linux than any other single for-profit company -- I think it's true.

        They've decided to hold onto Solaris, at least at the high end, and they're stumbling around how to do that. They want to support GNU/Linux, especially afgainst Microsoft, without getting eaten by it (hence their support on the desktop). They may not be the world's greatest friend, but they are a significant contributer.
    • ... how can you say that no one is really taking the lawsuit seriously. There may very well be a lot of merit there. Just because the implications are unpopular doesn't mean something is without merit. SCO was around with an x86 UNIX flavor long before the open-source, free software, GPL + whatever else right to knowledge doctrine became so infused into current culture. I don't think the suit will be overlooked.

    • They have their own Solaris flavour of Unix that they worked so hard on.

      As someone who has worked at Sun as a Systems Engineer and now earn my crust supporting Solaris elsewhere, I can tell you that it's very easy to consider Linux and Solaris x86 toy operating systems for toy computers - dull, low end, low margin (but high volume) stuff. If your making 80%-90%+ margin on multi-million (insert local currency unit here) interesting, complex, geographically distributed clustered systems which solve a unique problem with excellent availability and guaranteed mission critical data integrity with decent application performance and a credible level of manageability, it's all too easy to ignore the low end. You'll have to forgive them, currently Linux is not the solution to many problems like this, but Solaris is (or possibly AIX, or HP-UX).

      Probably sooner than anyone at Sun cares to imagine, you will be able to do stuff like this on Linux (and maybe even Windows :), there will be decent volume management, mature HA clustering, high-end FC disk array support, big iron scalability and most important of all - business application support. It's not there now, which is why Sun is still going (reasonably, considering the downturn) strong. Sun are going to have to change though, as their market changes.

      Sun have always been careful when it comes to litigation, look at how quickly they yanked MP3 support from the JMF when Fraunhofer started grumbling about the MP3 license (it was one or two days). They're still just testing the water when it comes to Linux - give them some encouragement, they're moving in the right direction. Lastly, don't think of Sun as a great big ogre, they are definately the best company I have ever worked for, some of the nicest people you could hope to meet and genuinely passionate about technology and open systems - except for iPlanet and S-Unprofessional Services, they're a bunch of arrogant gits :)
  • by ( 311775 ) on Sunday March 09, 2003 @12:09PM (#5471296) Homepage Journal
    I found this [] in the alt.folklore.computers news group.
  • This is just FUD... plain and simple.

  • Sun paid Novell $82M a few years ago for a license to the SVR4 code base, which I assume means a royalty free license (who pay 82 million for the right to pay royalties after all). So Sun may genuinely be in the clear on this point.

    The suit has no merit anyway though, so the point may be rather academic.
    • Yeah, I'm really not clear on this. Sun and HP both have made statements about their licenses being 'paid up' not 'per-seat'. All this means is that IBM forks over some $$ on each user-license they ship with AIX. (And I know from experience you can change the # of user logins on an AIX box at the cmdline, IBM says you're not supposed to, you're supposed to pay extra before changing that #).

      Anyhow, paid-up or per-seat I sincerely doubt that even for $82M the license terms would have cleared Sun or HP from the issue of this suit, which is the accusation that AT&T/SCO code is being incorporated into Linux/GPL.

      Now I can't see how SCO/Novell/AT&T would have written licensing contracts which permitted disclosure / general release of the code or trade secrets to SUN/HP. Yes, the continuing per-seat nature of IBM's agreement makes it easier for SCO to tactically make a threat to *stop IBM from shipping AIX*.

      All of which seems like just so much noise. Solaris has been SystemV based from the git-go is my understanding, tho Sun has been saying for awhile now that it's completely free of any AT&T code. Even moreso HPUX and SGI IRIX began as pure SysV, and I don't think either has made a big effort to do a complete rewrite.

      The amusing thing (as I've pointed out in prior comments) is that the source of the AIX *kernel* isn't in the least based on SysV. It's Mach which in turn is derived from BSD. Also nearly all of the AIX system utilities are BSD-flavored by default, ususally with SysV flavors available. AIX has recently adopted SysV-style init (a sad thing) but that's motivated with wanting to be aligned with the way most Linux systems are run.

      Furthermore as many commentators have pointed out, AIX is one of the most heavily customized *nixes being sold today. Specifically, the VM design is markedly different, and the hardware interface is virtualized through an OO database.

      So for my money SCO has nowhere to hang their (rather nebulous) accusations, and while I'm sure the fud-pushers will be all over this for awhile that kind of tactic usually involves an eventual backlash.

  • SCO suddenly finds itself high and dry and needs something to shoot at Linux but, with the United Linux uinitiative their diecision is like striking an axe on their own foot or is it a scheme to push united linux way back we used to use sco unix in college i remember. I dont understand is it purely a copyright infringement case or some hidden agenda behind. Sun's once dominant Solaris platform is running thin and thus I guess they do yet dont do yet dont want to enter the Linux bandwagon fully strange but with all HP IBM United Linux I dont know . . . Solaris can not revive itself stiop concentrating on OSs Sun and focus on faster VMs.
    But IBM has major cash now and can flex its muscles through this ; Big Blue is hitting back against SCO's charges that it misappropriated Unix trade secrets and used them in Linux.
  • SCO must have it in their list of patents, presumably they've also mentioned which patent is being infringed in their lawsuit, isn't that publicly available information?

  • "There's a fear that SCO is using this as a means of either selling the company or desperately attempting to find some other business model as an alternative to their current software business," Weiss said. "I would advise SCO (Unix) users that they should have a contingency plan or migration plan to an alternate platform."

    Ya think?

    I would assume that any organization that hadn't already received that message years ago must have some pretty intense clue-shielding in place.

  • Implications (Score:5, Insightful)

    by 1nv4d3r ( 642775 ) on Sunday March 09, 2003 @12:15PM (#5471323) Homepage
    From Sun: We're changing our strategy around Linux (but) we're pausing because we're trying to figure out what the implications of this are going to be.

    From where I stand, the implication of you pausing is that you're embarassing yourself worse than SCO. I'd never buy a product from a company scared that SCO will somehow take IBM for $1Billion, or somehow stop Linux development.

    At least we can understand that the lawsuit is SCO gasping its dying breath. Sun just looks stupid.
    • Re:Implications (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Timesprout ( 579035 )
      I would imagine SUN would be delighted if IBM got their clock cleaned by SCO, not thats its going to happen. I think SUN have to present a considered approach to clients who will be concerned that a very big company is being sued for a very large amount of money over a matter of technology they may wish to deploy. Also the future holds some very bitter pills for SUN to swallow with x86 chip adoption in thier own hardware and Solaris being overtaken by Linux so I would imagine there are a few die hards in the organisation quite happy to drag their feet under the guise of strategic rethink.
    • Re:Implications (Score:3, Interesting)

      by Locutus ( 9039 )
      IMO, Sun was just a better marketing company compared to Apollo. They pulled a Microsoft in the UNIX/Workstation market with a mediocre product compared to the competition. Along comes Linux and Sun is having a hard time marketing it's expensive hardware and software against Linux and so it's using it's marketing team to take any pot-shot at Linux. This is all it is and because Sun can't see that it could leverage Linux against Microsoft then see ya Sun. IMHO

  • by Ami Ganguli ( 921 ) on Sunday March 09, 2003 @12:18PM (#5471335) Homepage

    Sun's big contribution to Linux is OpenOffice. Their efforts on Linux proper have been pretty limited anyway.

    Honestly, though, I don't think will effect their Linux strategy either. It's just a short-term marketing/PR stunt.

    Despite what they say, I really doubt that Sun thinks they can keep people on Solaris long-term. They're just not that dumb. More likely they're trying to keep customers from defecting for a few years while they work on improving the upper layers of their environment (Java, SunONE). Then they can switch the bottom layer to Linux but keep some proprietary advantages.

    • by christophersaul ( 127003 ) on Sunday March 09, 2003 @12:24PM (#5471360)
      What do you mean by long term? There's a ten year road map for Solaris, there are hundreds of thousands of customers and Solaris excels over Linux in various areas.

      The two OSes can sit together well in Sun's strategy.
      • OS/2 still alive in various areas, but it's not bringing IBM any new business.

        Same with Solaris in five years or so. I'm sure it will exist as a product for at least a decade, but within five years there won't be any reason for somebody to use it in a new project.

        Sure there are some good reasons to go with Solaris today for certain applications, but they're becoming less all the time.

        When I started with Unix SunOS was king, and all the applications you got anywhere always worked on SunOS. If you were lucky there might be a port to your alternative Unix (AIX, 386BSD, Irix), but you could always be confident that there would be support for Sun.

        Now things have turned the other way. Every new Unix application is available for Linux. The old ones that still matter are being ported rapidly. It's getting so that Linux is the only "no-brainer" deployment. Everything else requires thought. Is AIX supported? Is Solaris supported? Who knows - just use Linux because you know it will work.

        • Now things have turned the other way. Every new Unix application is available for Linux. The old ones that still matter are being ported rapidly. It's getting so that Linux is the only "no-brainer" deployment. Everything else requires thought. Is AIX supported? Is Solaris supported? Who knows - just use Linux because you know it will work.

          Stuff from freshmeat doesn't count .....

          Anything that matters runs on either Solaris, AIX, or HP-UX. Full stop. Nothing else scales.
  • Will someone point out where the quote in this posting is? The only thing I saw was:

    "We bought our Unix license out....We are unencumbered for all things," including Sun's version of Linux, he said.

    How is does that quote imply they're a fair-weather friend?

    • Read the linked article. The quote comes near the bottom where talks with John Loiacono, a VP at Sun. find/grep is your friend ;)
    • Because of the FUD factor involved in actually suggesting that SCO suing IBM is going to be more than a bump in the road. If they actually cared about Linux and their customers who are or may want to use it, they would make clear statements about the lack of merrit in SCO's legal actions. "But we still have Solaris" is a bit too self-serving to stand up to a smell test. Not the kind of commitment that I want to have in my systems vendor. It certainly tips my sentiments toward IBM and away from Sun when I make recomendations.
  • by RoyBoy ( 20792 ) <roy.sanwalka@org> on Sunday March 09, 2003 @12:27PM (#5471373) Homepage
    Hmm, I wonder if anyone here can detect the cycle here:

    Sun/SGI/HP/IBM all make big, expensive, customized Un*x-based platforms, that are huge cash-cows for a long time and get people to buy in on the promise of "open standards" while all the while working to "differentiate" their platform enough to keep customers from switching.

    Meanwhile, IBM hedged it's bets on a low-end platform cooked up in Boca Raton with a crappy OS and a ridiculous licensing deal with some kid out of Seattle.

    Ten years later, the gloss is starting to fade on the Un*x side (mostly due to lack of innovation broughht about by lack of real standards and a serious lack of competition) while the PC side is about to get into the fast track with 32-bit CPUs and a REAL OS co-written by IBM and the slimeballs from upstate Washington.

    On the other side of the planet, a smart young CS student is whipping up a bit of the ole black magic, and with a little help from some GNU friends, will soon unleash the original Unix concept back onto the masses (Portability - what portability? This is UNIX my boy!).

    Another ten years pass, the PC is ruling the roost once M$ screwed IBM, and the big Un*x guys are all searching high and low for a raison d'etre. The smart ones (read: IBM?!?) figure out that the kid from Finland was really on to something, and they'll never have to pay Redmond a damn cent for it, so they go whole hog. Those that keep fighting, start to die the slow death of ignorant luddites (can you say SGI boys and girls -- I knew you could! Gee, I wonder where 3Dfx and nVidia got all those engineers from!)

    Ok, so who's still left out of our wrap up? SCO, who's failed attempt to corner the market on Un*x on Intel (haha, Open Server my A$$!)? Looks like tricky lawyering is truly the last bastion of the dying corporation (right up there with sneaky accounting tricks 101 on the VC Top 10 list).

    What about poor Sun, who went from knowing the network was the computer before there even was a network, to being the dot in some dumbass VC plan, to being a wishy-washy half-way cover-our-asses supporter of all thing not-M$. Geez, the enemy of my enemy and all that, but Larry E? Come on guys. And now this? Forget the purple PC, and forget the Slowlaris "better TCO and long term stability" crap and contribute what you have to the one true Open movement - Open Source! IF Sun spent 1/4 of the $$$ they have on FUDding Slowlaris vs. Linux on porting theyr fantastic sh*t to Linux, they could be a real force to be reckoned with (hello IBM? Wannt do the enemry-of-my thing?).

    All I know is they all better watch out, because once the Chinese start mass-producing cluster machines made with Godson-2's onto 1U racks running Linux, the game's up for those who would be king!

    Just my $0.02...YMMV
    • I have always gotten a kick out of brand names and trademarks which don't translate so well ... always wondered how many British jokes went out on Sun being the full stop in dot com...
  • David Boies (Score:3, Funny)

    by evocate ( 209951 ) on Sunday March 09, 2003 @12:33PM (#5471407)
    Speaking of Davids, SCO has hired David Boies to prosecute their case. Nice choice. Lost the DOJ case against Microsoft. Lost the Gore case for the White House. At this rate, he is going to be the Dan Marino of law - a great, but never could win the big one.
    • Re:David Boies (Score:5, Informative)

      by Get Behind the Mule ( 61986 ) on Sunday March 09, 2003 @01:19PM (#5471618)
      ... SCO has hired David Boies to prosecute their case. Nice choice. Lost the DOJ case against Microsoft. Lost the Gore case for the White House.

      No, David Boies didn't lose the DOJ case. He worked the trial before Judge Jackson, and won decisively -- most observers said that he beat the crap out of M$'s team. Then Bush got elected, and they certainly weren't about to keep working with Boies. Instead, it was the new administration who decided to let M$ walk.

      As for Bush v. Gore, I think even if God Himself had been Gore's lawyer, He wouldn't have had a chance against the Rehnquist Five.

      But at any rate, I was rooting for him in both of those cases, and I'm very dismayed to see him join the wrong side now.
  • There's a lawsuit going on with potentially large implications for Linux, but it's not clear at this stage - Sun say they're looking at the implications. How exactly does this make Sun 'fair weather friends'.

    Have they dropped their Linux strategy, Linux blades, stoppped supporting the various Open Source projects, dropped their 100% Unix background and started selling NT boxes like Unix' other 'fair weather friends'? Thought not...
  • by chabotc ( 22496 ) <chabotc @ g m a> on Sunday March 09, 2003 @12:40PM (#5471438) Homepage
    The headline quotes "has a impact on Sun's shifting linux strategies". Since it doesn't give a lot of context it's a bit hard to know exactly what is ment by that. What happened is that days before it was anounced that Sun is considering striking up partnerships with mainstream Linux sellers such as Red Hat and SuSE [] (dated march 6). However a day later (march 7), the news breaks that The suit could affect SCO's relationship with Linux seller SuSE, whose version of Linux is the foundation of the UnitedLinux products SCO uses []. Plus ofcource the posible implications for Linux patent violations at large such as forinstance the ELF binary format (SCO claims its a derivative of COFF), and other area's of linux..

    Thus sun is in the mess that they decided to investigate how and if they should dive into the linux pool, but the day that news breaks, the pilar of their company (Unix servers, OS, etc) and the company they licence rights to use this from gets into a fight with linux and their bigest threat in the large-server-space.

    It's gotta be shitty to be Sun to be in that position, they can't really afford to alianate either camp (openoffice, gnome2 and mozilla are contributed to or owned by them and linux seems to be a way to go for the future) but their current income comes largely from selling & maintaining large servers and they can not afford to give out the slightest impression that that market could be in any trouble, because customers buy them for the 'five nines' dream (99.999% availability)

    To deep in either way to get out.. they'll have to do a switcherland if you ask me
    • Plus ofcource the posible implications for Linux patent violations at large such as forinstance the ELF binary format (SCO claims its a derivative of COFF), and other area's of linux..

      COFF and ELF were both invented by Unix System Laboratories (for SVR3 and SVR4 respectively) so I don't see why it matters whether they are related. SCO will own any IP relating to either of them.

  • by Anonymous Coward
    Why all of the anti-SUN attitude?

    Sun has also done quite a bit more than OpenOffice.
    Try : NIS,NIS+,RPC,NFS, & Java,just for starters.
    I could see it if it were Microsoft, what has MickeySoft ever done for us steal the code and tell everyone it was crap until brought into NT.

    As for keeping people on Solaris. I don't think that will be hard. Linux is awesome for the desktop but I won't put it on another server again until the kernel VM is fixed and the directory structure and boot procedure is made somewhat sane. There are too many versions of Linux out there each comes with 5-9 CDs and none of them are laid out on the disk in a nice easy sensible manner. Granted the code is good, the code is there but it is a product obviously developed with little communication between the other developers. A simple example on RedHat 8.0 here I have 627 directories under /etc. Probably the only way I could feel good with it on the server was if we developed our own internal-dist. Maybe I'll go back to my old Slackware 1.0.
    Give me a Linux with a mature kernel ( pre-emptive, multi-threaded etc... ) ,a simple intialization procedure, a sane disk layout, and exellent support that doesn't require me to run
    up2date -u on a test box on an almost daily basis before moving it into production. Then SUN/Solaris will need to get worried.
  • Who cares what Sun tries to offer Linux? It's come this far WITHOUT Sun.

    I would say that "our" friends and enemies will be made known by their reaction to the specious suit SCO has filed against IBM. Someone is making a list, right?

  • by tres ( 151637 ) on Sunday March 09, 2003 @01:06PM (#5471554) Homepage
    First they ignore you, then they laugh at you, then they fight you, then you win. --Mahatma Ghandi

    Well, I'm looking at this as a good thing.

    If SCO actually had a leg to stand on, I'd feel differently. But since this is a cross-court buzzer throw at the basket, I'm not too worried.

  • by srp3 ( 655376 ) on Sunday March 09, 2003 @01:07PM (#5471560)
    So, in reading the article (and in finding the quote in context), Sun's doing a strategy shift to Linux, this comes up, and they have to figure out what the implications of this are. Are they going to be dragged into this suit? Are they safe from it because they have a license that covers it?

    NO WHERE in the article did they say they were stopping Linux support.

    The original poster of this article makes it sound like Sun's just going to drop everything now that the lawsuit is happening to other folks, and THAT IS NOT WHAT THE ARTICLE SAYS.

  • I guess I am going to have to Rethink Sun. I purchased over 60 workstations from them in the last year. I have to purchase another 20 soon. Maybe I might just go with IBMs.
  • by Thagg ( 9904 ) <> on Sunday March 09, 2003 @01:15PM (#5471599) Journal
    If this was the old IBM, I would think that this 'attack' from SCO might actually be orchestrated by IBM. They would fight it for a while, and in the process spread a considerable amount of FUD, then buy SCO -- at which point they would own the corporate Linux market. The old saying was that you never got fired by buying IBM -- if there was a taint on other corporate Linux systems you might push people to buy IBM.

    I do think that IBM has changed their spots to a large extent, though, and I'd be surprised if this was the actual strategy.

  • The Great Savior (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Myuu ( 529245 ) <> on Sunday March 09, 2003 @01:16PM (#5471602) Homepage
    Things just can't get any better for IBM as far as it public images, can it?

    With the $1b it spent on Linux a few years ago, it got the view of the great savior of linux and the rebel with a cause.

    Now look at this suite and what half the linux community is seeing, its now the great defender and the motherly figure.

    Thought it couldnt top itself before. Got to love IBM.
  • So what did my fellow Slashdoters expect? We all know it is Sun that is feeling the effects of Linux taking off.
    It's been reported time and time again that it is Unix venders that feel the effect of losing sales to Linux rather than Microsoft. Microsoft does lose some sales to Linux, but not as much as Sun, HP, or IBM.

    Sun would like Linux to go away so they can retake the low end and mid level markets, where Linux dominates.

  • by fjpereira ( 657762 ) on Sunday March 09, 2003 @01:37PM (#5471711)
    At least we are starting to know who are our enemies: SCO and SUN are showing their faces.

    I don't think SCO has a chance:

    1 - First, IBM has too many patents to counter-sue SCO.
    2 - Second, I think most the stuff that IBM has been bringing to Linux, like their journaling file-system and LVM is very recent software, that was develloped by IBM staff and not derived from the ancient Sys-V.
    3 - Even if we have to remove the parts developed by IBM from the current Linux kernels, we would still have sevaral alternative implementations.
    4 - Evern if SCO has patents that cover some parts of the Linux kernel, they (SCO) have also been distributing Linux under the GPL. Consequently, they have offered permition for everybody use it.
    5 - SCO can also be sued for using the Linux trademark: remember Linus owns the Linux trademark.

    Finally, this shouldn't be a major concern to the open source community, becvause even if we couldn't use the Linux kernel, we could allways move to HURD or a BSD kernel.
    For most aplications, users wouldn't see almost any change.
    BSD has already had a batle in court and won.

    In the end, we will be stronger than now.

  • SOS: Same old Sun (Score:5, Interesting)

    by PaddyM ( 45763 ) on Sunday March 09, 2003 @01:39PM (#5471724) Homepage
    Whatever. Sun is so schizophrenic it's amusing.

    "Sell Solaris Computers" "Let's sell Intel computers running Linux." "Wait, uh, let's sell both" "Buy StarOffice" "Open Source StarOffice" "Uhh Whoops. Let's close source StarOffice again" "Whoa! This nanotechnology freaks me out. Maybe we should stop innovating altogether" "Java this. Java that. Java is great!" "Let's sue Microsoft and force them to include the latest Java on their desktop" "Strange, we don't seem to be using Java very often, I wonder if Microsft was on to something" "Whoa. SCO's suing everyone. Maybe we shouldn't be involved in Linux, after all."
  • by stinky wizzleteats ( 552063 ) on Sunday March 09, 2003 @01:56PM (#5471826) Homepage Journal

    Although I don't believe that this will really damage the Linux movement, it certainly warrants each of us, as Linux supporters, carefully analyzing what this is all about, and just what it is we are working for.

    I've played around with computers long enough to have been a part of the garage days of the early 80's, where the introduction of the personal computer turned everything everyone thought about computers upside down. The heart of computers before that time, the stuff you would have seen written up in national newspapers and in Wired magazine, as we did ad nauseum during the heady and ridiculous 90's bubble, was room sized mainframes sold at truly absurd prices from IBM. It was universally agreed that only the most wealthy corporations and governments could afford to use computers, and the technology remained safely ensconsed in the top 1%. Then a couple of idiots built one out of wood in their garage. I'll spare the historical details from here becuase the point is that the PC revolution put complex information tools in the hands of everyday people. This is what it took for computers as we know them now to come into being. This turned IBM from a 20's style all encompassing megacorp to an important but surpassed purveyor of technology as they are today. This was a shocking, powerful, important change that we need to keep in mind in todays age of mistaking computer science for what takes place in posh Silicon Valley campuses among people wearing Armani suits. Computers went for nearly 20 years in an environment of very big money with very professional researchers, programmers, and engineers working on them without becoming a revolution. Certainly, almost all of the important technology that makes up computers today, TCP/IP, the GUI, C, etc., were developed in the top 1% environment that I described, but when the day is over and the history is being written, what you know is irrelevant. History is a record of our actions. And history does not care how long the Chinese used magnetic compasses to build according the the laws of feng shui. Compasses began to matter when people starting using them to navigate ships. Similarly, computers started to matter when you and I started using them.

    This history continued through the implementation of the Internet among those personal computers, the open source movement, and now through what I believe will be the next step in this new information revolution, which is the development and use of advanced peer to peer networks which will make information sharing completely uncontrollable. None of thse things, especially the last two, were envisioned, pioneered, or wanted by people like Microsoft, IBM, or Sun. I know we see IBM and Sun as friends, but we need to remember that their support of Linux is part of their business plan, and they are doing it because it damages Microsoft and puts them in a position to compete with that company. As this event demonstrates, corporate friends are fair weather friends.

    What does all of this mean to us? It means, in short, that we need to remember that the computer revolution is and has always been about US. They are the ones who are marginalized (by history, not by RMS style activism), so it is wrong for us to believe that anything we do depends on their recognition, esteem, or money for it to become important. Furthermore, as this affair demonstrates, we need to be continually suspicious of their involvement, because their goals are not our goals. They will shove Linux into the underground through patent law just as quickly as they will spend money working on big open source projects if they believe it will make them money.

    The last renaissance did not require a business plan. There is no need to believe that this one will.

    Oh, and support Gnunet and/or Freenet. You may be downloading your ISOs from them before long.

  • by callipygian-showsyst ( 631222 ) on Sunday March 09, 2003 @03:53PM (#5472385) Homepage
    Are FreeBSD, OpenBSD, OpenDarwin, and OS X likely to be unencumbered by patent claims?

    Just wondering.

    • by SoupIsGood Food ( 1179 ) on Sunday March 09, 2003 @06:06PM (#5472953)
      Yup. UC Berkely, BSDi and BSD/386, the progenitor of the three *BSDs, Open, Net and Free, already had that lawsuit. AT&T wrung 'em through the wringer, UC Berkely slapped back with a copyright countersuit, and after much legal arangling, BSD 4.4 Lite came to be. It was free of patent and IP trouble, and then went on to become the backbone of BSDi and FreeBSD, which begat NetBSD, which begat OpenBSD. MacOS X was based on NeXT, which was a strange interpretation of BSD before 4.4 Lite. It's unixy bits are now based around current forks of FreeBSD code, IIRC, but it's no less strange.

      SoupIsGood Food
      • by Billly Gates ( 198444 ) on Sunday March 09, 2003 @07:39PM (#5473381) Journal
        It hurt FreeBSD and BSDI alot.

        If the lawsuit never came to be its possible that slashdot would of been hosted on FreeBSD rather then Linux. Also FreeBSD or Netbsd might of had more marketshare then Linux or linux might not of even existed at all.

        I heard of FreeBSD and BSD/OS long before Linux. I remember reading about bsdi bsd/os advertised in a bulletin board magazine as the ultimate bbs os before the www became popular. I also remember browsing the web with Mosiac and Netscape 2.x in 95 and 96 and seeing the "served by FreeBSD" logo. The first 2 versions of FreeBSD actually had real unix code in it and was the old standard 4.4 bsd os. It was only years later that I heard of Linux.

        Many people were skeptical of BSD-lite and assumed it was inferior because it had the word "lite" in it. Linux was also invented because the distribution of the net/2 berkeley tapes could no longer be distributed.

        I hope Linux is not damaged to much like BSD was with this lawsuit.

  • by hayden ( 9724 ) on Sunday March 09, 2003 @08:40PM (#5473636)
    One of these days some bright spark in Sun management is going to realise that Linux doesn't have to be the death of Sun the company or Solaris. Sun sells hardware and services, the OS is just something they need to make to make everything else these sellable. Linux is much better suited to the smaller end of Suns sales and they get most of the development for free. On the other hand Solaris is better tuned for the large end of Sun sales and if they remove the small end from their target it can only get better there.

    Sun needs to realise without the free unixes they currently would be in a very poor position right now. Windows would own the less than 8-way market. Sun would be religated to the high end with Windows slowly creeping up (and don't talk to me about MacOS. Without the free unixes Jobs would still be faffing around with the next generation MacOS until it also gets canned, just like the 4 before it).

Were there fewer fools, knaves would starve. - Anonymous