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Caldera The Almighty Buck

SCO Selective About Linux Licensees 409

cdunworth writes "According to the IDG news wire, SCO is now telling the vast hoardes of willing new Linux licensees that, unless you are a Fortune 1000 company, you can't buy a Linux license. Not yet. Why the delay? In return for your $699 payment, they don't have to send you anything more than a piece of paper." At least home users of Linux can take solace in knowing that they don't have to pay up yet. It doesn't always pay to have deep pockets.
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SCO Selective About Linux Licensees

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  • by JamesSharman ( 91225 ) * on Wednesday October 22, 2003 @02:19PM (#7282731)
    Does this mean I'll have to pay for a full price licences for my Tivo, Router and network enabled coffee maker instead? I'm worried this is the case because I'll be unable to purchase the licences before November the first like I was going to.

    Whatever will I do?
    • SCO still needs to protect its intellectual property. ..
      • Doesn't SCO need to protect it's intellectual property by enforcing it's copyrights? Not being a lawyer, I was always under the assumption that if you do not actively persue all known copyright violators then you defacto wave your copyright.
        • Nope.

          A copyright holder can do whatever he wants with his copyright. Imagine you write a hit song, and hold the copyright to it. Elton John wants to perform it at the grammies - you decide to charge him a half million dollars to do so..

          You find out that some kids garage band played it at their high school talent show - you can look the other way, grant them a 0 cost license.. Whatever you want.

          You're thinking of trademarks. You can't trademark a word unless you plan on defending it (or else some jacka
          • Like ING? (Score:5, Funny)

            by jdray ( 645332 ) on Wednesday October 22, 2003 @03:19PM (#7283371) Homepage Journal
            You're thinking of trademarks. You can't trademark a word unless you plan on defending it (or else some jackass would trademark every word in the english language by now)

            Kind of like the financial company ING [ing.com]? If Darl McBride [sco.com] were head of ING, he'd be suing half the world's English speakers every time they used a verb with his company's name at the end.

        • RTFM [copyright.gov]. What you're saying is more true for trademarks than copyrights-- although I'm sure, given the (ahem) flexible nature of our legal system, there are exceptions to be found in both arenas.
    • Re:Oh no! Help! (Score:5, Informative)

      by Zeinfeld ( 263942 ) on Wednesday October 22, 2003 @02:57PM (#7283162) Homepage
      Does this mean I'll have to pay for a full price licences for my Tivo, Router and network enabled coffee maker instead?

      Nope, the way the case works the licesne fee sets the maximum damages in the case that they took you to court.

      It is unlikely that SCO can claim any damages because the plaintif in any tort is required to mitigate their damages. In other words someone drops a cigarette near your house, you watch the cigarette set fire to your lawn, your deck and you do nothing to try to stop it even though you are sitting next to a fire extinguisher. The person who dropped the ciggarett asks to use the fire extinguisher, you refuse. No you cannot claim the cost of rebuilding the house as damages.

      In this case SCO has deliberately avoided mitigating its damages by refusing to be specific as to which parts of the code are in dispute. They know that the minute they do so those parts of the O/S will be rewritten whether or not there is a genuine copyright issue.

      SCO cannot claim for damages that it is intentionally causing. The users of Linux have a right to avoid infringement by using an alternative implementation not covered by a SCO copyright claim.

  • by Sir Haxalot ( 693401 ) on Wednesday October 22, 2003 @02:19PM (#7282733)
    In return for your $699 payment, they don't have to send you anything more than a piece of paper
    Do SCO really think people will pay this? Or do they have a 'long term strategy plan'?
    • They don't care if you do it or not, they already got that 50 Million dollar investment just a bit ago (most likely from Microsoft) and other money from Microsoft before that.... They have already made 50+ Million even w/out selling any pieces of paper...
    • Yeah, their backup plan is to sell land rights like this [lunarregistry.com] to other planets. Except that the moon is already taken, so SCO is going to sell plots on Uranus.
    • Do SCO really think people will pay this? Or do they have a 'long term strategy plan'?

      I wish the world was perfect enough that this made sense to me. Unfortunately both of your points (while ideal) are wrong. People will pay for this (they already are!) and this is just another phase of their strategy plan they have been milking all year.

      Last I heard, their court date was in 2005. The way I figure it, they have until then to pull this stuff left and right (as they have been). Whatever the company

    • According to their latest insider sales report [yahoo.com], Michael P Olson (SCO VP and Controller) has made a cool $678,734 from sales on 52,500 shares in the last three months. Also see the substantial sales by Robert K Bench (SCO's CIO and CFO), and Reginald Charles Broughton (Senior VP).

      Seems like the top brass doesn't have too much confidence in the sustainability of their business model..

  • Solace (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Our Man In Redmond ( 63094 ) on Wednesday October 22, 2003 @02:21PM (#7282757)
    At least home users of Linux can take solace in knowing that they don't have to pay up yet.

    Personally I'm taking solace in knowing that I don't have to pay up, ever.
  • My Guess (Score:4, Interesting)

    by jtkooch ( 553641 ) on Wednesday October 22, 2003 @02:22PM (#7282768)
    Is the delay is to add "legitimacy". When it goes to court, they cn present these Fortune 1000 companies that have been suckered in as proof that people feel they need a license for Linux.
    • That sort of "proof" is only valid in the court of Public Opinion, not a court with real judges. When it comes down to the nitty gritty trial in court, these things hold no water, SCO will have to float on the merits of their real case. Honestly, they could use all the help they can get: they are currently somewhere between the RIAA and convicted baby-killers as far as reputation goes.
    • Re:My Guess (Score:4, Insightful)

      by canajin56 ( 660655 ) on Wednesday October 22, 2003 @02:36PM (#7282947)

      I'm no lawyer, but the fact that you have "convinced" somebody of something doesn't mean it is any more credible.

      Does the fact that lots of people bought shares from those scam artists selling plots of the Moon and Mars lend their claim that "International law says no country can claim celestial bodies...therefore, since I am not a country, I can and do. Shotty Mars!" any credibility? Nope

      People bought the shares because they were cheap...and if it WAS credible, it would be an EXCELLENT investment, since the price would go up when we start colonizing. Similarly, Fortune 1000 companies think it is relativly cheap to proff themselves against even the remote possibility of a billion dollar lawsuit like IBM is getting. Even if they think the claims are rediculous, a cost-benifit analysis probably shows they shouldn't really take the risk...and the shareholders will insist.

      • Re:My Guess (Score:3, Interesting)

        You cannot be sued for somebody else's copyright infringement. So long as you never had access or saw the SCO Sys V code, there is no legal way for them to take action after you. That's like somebody trying to get $10 from you because the Puff Daddy CD you bought contained a sample of a song they wrote and have a copyright on. The only people liable are the copyright infringers and this is always defined by access to the original work in question. SCO would like to blur this point until it's nothing but a l
    • i would say it's the other way around.

      they're scaring people into buying something that they can't buy, it's quite hard to sue them then and later bitch about how they didn't buy something they couldn't even buy.

      they just don't have anything to sell, and thus don't want to sell and make those contracts because it could lead them into a messy hole as well(despite all the clauses in the so called licenses that have been floating around).
  • wait a sec (Score:5, Interesting)

    by ed.han ( 444783 ) on Wednesday October 22, 2003 @02:22PM (#7282772) Journal
    from TFA:

    "one SCO reseller said the decision to leave smaller businesses out of the licensing program will have little effect on his business. most small businesses running Linux wouldn't purchase SCO's license anyway, according to tony lawrence, owner of a.p. lawrence, a consulting firm based in sharon, massachusetts.

    "i think the chances of collecting from small businesses are very small, because they have very little to lose," he said. "they don't necessarily know whether they have SCO or linux. the only time they care about their computer is when it crashes.""

    does this sound right to anybody here? a small firm that runs linux is insufficiently l337 to take an interest in SCO's antics? wouldn't, in fact, the reverse be true: the local linux admin (and staff) should by slashdotters and hence be paying very close attention indeed.

    unless the consultant is speaking of mom & pop shops (which isn't exactly the same thing as fortune 1000), i just can't see this.

    ed
    • Re:wait a sec (Score:3, Interesting)

      by stoolpigeon ( 454276 )
      My company has 250-300 employees. We are a small business. We currently have 3 servers running Red Hat mixed in with our MS servers. The head of the I.T. department does not have a degree. He is most definitely not 1337 (neither am I). The linux servers were put in over the last year or so by me and another guy as we have had the opportunity. One is a proxy server, one runs PostgreSQL and Apache, the other is for secure connection to a client. The two of us got them up and running but we're no linu
    • Dang. I was hoping to find that this SCO consultant was going to owe $699 himself, but netcraft sez [netcraft.com] he's running FreeBSD.

      --
    • If you want to debate the issue with the consultant, he's a frequent poster in the newsgroup comp.unix.sco.misc
  • by Anonymous Coward
    Don't forget to pay your $699 SCO licensing fee you co....er...I guess you can't, never mind. ;)
  • by gsfprez ( 27403 ) on Wednesday October 22, 2003 @02:23PM (#7282788)
    bullshit bullshit bullshit.

    this is not legal in any sense whatsoever. To the law - there is no difference between me "stealing" something and Enron stealing somthing or Microsoft stealing something.

    its still stealing.

    They can't have it both ways - they cant tell me "i'm cool" but then tell Boeing they are not cool. What if i become the next Boeing in the next year because i come up with the ultimate something or other? Is my copy of Linux a personal or Fortune 1000 "verison"?

    bullshit bullshit bullshit
    • They can say, which they are, that while both of you are in violation they will only go after the big companies. The iffy part of this is that the small people cannot even purchase "licenses".

      There is nothing forcing them to sue everyone, just like the RIAA can choose to only sue those above a certain amount of shared files.

  • Extortion (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Dracolytch ( 714699 ) on Wednesday October 22, 2003 @02:24PM (#7282796) Homepage
    This is just further evidence that SCO's plan is one of legal extortion, instead of claiming the technology. What's interesting is that they're trying to scare these big-dollar companies who'd rather just toss over a few thousand dollars than to bother their legal department with it. Smaller companies, such as the one I work for, would have a hard time coming up with that capital, and may be better off challenging SCOs claims in court in order to save themselves from a major financial hit. ~D
    • This is just further evidence that SCO's plan is one of legal extortion ...

      Exactly. The reason you can't buy a license is the same reason that SCO keeps stalling on discovery in the IBM case, and wants to delay the RedHat case: this has been nothing but a stock-pumping scam from Day 1. SCO has no case, and Darl & Co know it. If they actually started to sell licenses by means of claims they know to be false, then they would have a big time, criminal legal exposure.

      But, not to worry, on November

    • You left out a step, after SCO has many fortune 1000 companies who've paid for licenses, any smaller companies who challenge SCO in court would be facing the war chest built up since this started.

      Thus in court we will hear an SCO lawyer name off all of the big name companies who have 'recognized' SCO's claims and licensed their technology, and why should any smaller company be permitted to not play by the rules.
    • Re:Extortion (Score:3, Interesting)

      by s20451 ( 410424 )
      Actually, what's surprising about SCO's tactics is that they went straight for IBM in the lawsuit and the Fortune 1000 for licenses.

      Traditionally, IP cases tend to start out against the small operations who don't have the resources for a court battle. The small companies either give in without a fight, or can't afford strong legal representation, leading to precedent-setting legal victories for the plaintiff.

      SCO went big game hunting immediately either because it thought its case was rock solid, or becau
  • Why is everyone... (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Kedisar ( 705040 )
    acting like this $699 fee crap is serious? Nobody is going to pay SCO anything unless they beat IBM, which we all know isn't going to happen.
  • So how much is a SysV source code license for my home system?

  • by praxis ( 19962 ) on Wednesday October 22, 2003 @02:24PM (#7282802)
    Sounds to me like SCO has a really well thought out plan. Announce licenses. Announce invoices. Respond with confusion when people call to purchase said licenses. Announce price increase. Announce balk on invoices. Annouce price increase time extension. Announce only Fortune 1000 can participate.

    Their plan is simply announcements to pump their stock, because otherwise they would have though through this license deal before hand, and shown us the code. But we knew that already.
  • How special would I feel if I was a manager of a large company, and SCO tells me that despite that fact that the license process was still in formation, my company needs to choke up some money because we're rather large?

    It sounds like SCO is having scalability trouble with more than their software.

    Comment Disclaimer: Not that I think they should collect from anyone, by the way (-:
  • by penguin7of9 ( 697383 ) on Wednesday October 22, 2003 @02:25PM (#7282816)
    Linux is distributed under the GPL. The GPL does not permit redistribution if it requires a license (to discourage just the kind of sleazy behavior SCO is engaging in). So, if SCO's claim is valid, then there is no point in licensing Linux because they won't be able to get any updated versions anway, not from SCO, not from RedHat, not from anybody. And if SCO's claim is not valid, then there is no point in paying them any money. In short, you can't really buy a license for Linux: either it's free or you can't use it at all.
    • If SCO actually manages to sell one license to a Fortune 1000 company and the name of that company comes out, I would not be surprised to hear about the FSF knocking on that company's doorstep to have their head counsel explain the terms of the GPL to them. The mere act of SCO selling the license violates the GPL immediately for BOTH SCO AND THE FORTUNE 1000 company! SCO cannot limit the rights of the Fortune 1000 company and prevent them from redistribution of the kernel so if the Fortune 1000 company wa
    • by ajs ( 35943 ) <<ajs> <at> <ajs.com>> on Wednesday October 22, 2003 @02:56PM (#7283153) Homepage Journal
      You're blurring two very different things, here, and while your core point is correct, it does need some clarification.

      You can buy a license for Linux. There is, in fact, nothing wrong with buying or providing a license. SCO's problem is that they are a licensee of Linux under the GPL, and under the terms of that license they have certain obligations and one of those is not to sue their licensees or their sub-licensees for the technology contained in that software.

      SCO's counter to this is fairly weak, but let me state it anyway: they claim that they did not know that Linux contained this code, and they distributed their own version of Linux, essentially just as much in the dark as Red Hat. Only (again according to SCO) IBM had any clue what rampant duplication of SCO proprietary technology was being hidden away in the Linux source.

      The reason this is weak is several-fold: 1) SCO has continued to distribute the 2.4.13 kenerl from their FTP site under the GPL even up to this date. 2) the interaction between the GPL and SCOs claims is not that clear-cut, though I would tend to side with them on this one point, I don't think the outcome is certain 3) SCO helped in the development of some of the IBM technology in question, so they dang well DID know it was in there.

      Ok, now on to you as a user.

      If you use Linux, the GPL says you can keep using Linux even if the code is found to be proprietary and the GPL goes into its "failsafe mode".

      Now, SCO will say that you cannot continue to use it, and they can press that case if they want, but that's their assertion independant of the GPL. The GPL does not stop you from using the software just because the GPL was nullified by the discovery of a conflict between it and other terms.

      However, Red Hat (for example) cannot ship an encumbered version of Linux (they can use it, they just can't ship it). So, they would have to remove the encumbering code, which is why they and everyone else have asked SCO to outline the problem code. At this point, I can't see a court siding with SCO, as they have failed over and over and over to give distributors of Linux the information that they need to AVOID infringement. If SCO said, lines 200-20000 of fubar.c are ours, then the community would move to validate that claim and, if it was valid, remove the offending code ASAP. SCO doesn't want that, clearly, or they would have made it happen (as has happened with their claim over the SGI malloc, even though their claim to that code is tenuous at best).

      So, when you say "they won't be able to get any updated versions anway, not from SCO, not from RedHat, not from anybody," that's not so. You will, in fact, get an update pretty damn soon after such a chunk of code is revealed (should it exist at all), and that update will be unencumberd. If that means re-writing 90% of linux, then it will take a bit, but even SCO's wildest claims have made it clear that only a few (albeit large) subsystems are affected.

      What Red Hat's obligation to SCO will be (if any) is not your concern. That's a business arrangement between Red Hat and SCO.
      • The first thing to remember here, is that this is a pump and dump scheme. Pure and simple. Hopefully, the SEC will pick up on that eventually.

        The second thing, the licensing, is fairly unimportant, but it's fun to watch SCO try to dance around the GPL. Suppose for a brief second, that Linux contains SCO code, and it's not held to the GPL. As the parent poster indicated, Linux becomes undistributable. SCO is offering a license to run their code. This would indemnify you from liability from SCO. Now,
    • they won't be able to get any updated versions anway

      More than that. From the General Public License, section 7:

      If, as a consequence of a court judgment or allegation of patent infringement or for any other reason (not limited to patent issues), conditions are imposed on you (whether by court order, agreement or otherwise) that contradict the conditions of this License, they do not excuse you from the conditions of this License. If you cannot distribute so as to satisfy simultaneously your obligations un

  • by argmanah ( 616458 ) <argmanah.yahoo@com> on Wednesday October 22, 2003 @02:26PM (#7282826)
    In other words, SCO is saying, "The only people we are going to try and charge for Linux right now are the people with enough money to sue us into oblivion."

    I am OK with this.
  • But not only is the SCO share price rising, but there are a lot of shares being traded too. The markets back SCO at the moment and not us.

    See this [yahoo.com].

    The only good thing to say is that Red Hat's price has also been rising quite strongly (though not as strongly as SCO) so there are people out there betting the opposite way too.
    • But not only is the SCO share price rising, but there are a lot of shares being traded too. The markets back SCO at the moment and not us.

      It doesn't really matter, though, because the markets don't decide legal issues. Sure, SCO stock prices are going up...some people are going to make a lot of money, some people are going to lose a lot of money. But the market valuation of a company is not evidence that a court of law will consider in deciding the outcome of a lawsuit.

      SCO prices could be sinking li

    • Look again (Score:5, Interesting)

      by MarkusQ ( 450076 ) on Wednesday October 22, 2003 @02:49PM (#7283084) Journal

      But not only is the SCO share price rising, but there are a lot of shares being traded too. The markets back SCO at the moment and not us.

      "The market" isn't a single entity, any more than slashdot is. What you are seeing is stock manipulation, plain and simple. At least, here's what I see:

      1. Someone buys up a large fraction of the float in SCO, until the price just starts to rise.
      2. SCO or a friend issues some sort of noise maker / press release
      3. The price shoots up
      4. Our anonomous friend sells into the rise until the price drops back down
      5. Profit!
      "The market" isn't backing anyone here.

      What you are seeing is wolves taking money from sheep by not-too-subtle trickery.

      -- MarkusQ

    • The shares went from $22 to todays $17.69 from the time they got the $50M death-spiral-money. How is this support?

      You can't read too much into these large up'n'downs with this petty stock. It's "light as a feather"; Low volume and large movement on that. Once the panic sets in, this will tank in minutes.

      Bonus article: The SCO Litigation: Maintaining Walls Around Trade Secrets or Attacking the Knowledge of Those Outside the Walls? [vssp.com].

    • But not only is the SCO share price rising, but there are a lot of shares being traded too. The markets back SCO at the moment and not us.

      Yes, in the same way they backed Enron. Looking deeper, *45%* of SCO's stock is held by insiders. Only about 15% is held by institutions, the rest is basically your average day-trader. So in other words, the pros are treating SCO like plague. It's clearly overspeculation, and the numbers bear this out.

      Now consider their short position. Assuming that institutions a

  • by soccerisgod ( 585710 ) on Wednesday October 22, 2003 @02:27PM (#7282829)

    At least home users of Linux can take solace in knowing that they don't have to pay up yet.

    Phew, what a relief. That was really keeping me awake at night.

  • by DaveJay ( 133437 ) on Wednesday October 22, 2003 @02:28PM (#7282835)
    Yes, according to Tony Lawrence, owner of A.P. Lawrence, a consulting firm that is probably ALSO a small or medium-sized business.

    From the article, referring to small and medium-sized business owners:

    "They don't necessarily know whether they have SCO or Linux. The only time they care about their computer is when it crashes."

    Show of hands: who believes that CEOs of fortune 500 companies know the details of their hardware and software infrastructure better than small and medium-sized business owners?

    Okay, Tony, put your hand down.

    Show of hands: who believes that CEOs of fortune 500 companies only give a rat's ass when their computer crashes, that small business owners are highly aware of their hardware and software infrastructure because they have a smaller staff and a higher sensitivity to the cost and maintenance to such infrastructure, and that medium-sized business owners fall into both groups?

    Okay, everyone else put your hands down. One more.

    Show of hands: who believes that Tony's business probably runs on pirated Microsoft products?
    • My reply to the other guy who said this is here [slashdot.org]

      I don't think he is calling them idiots. He is accurately describing a lot of businesses that have recently taken advantage of the ease of installing and using Linux without needing a lot of expertise. The other replies to the poster who made the same point are good too.
    • Show of hands: who believes that Tony's business probably runs on pirated Microsoft products?

      From his web site [aplawrence.com] we learn that he's a SCO reseller. This makes what he said one of the more interesting twists taken on the SCO-apologist soapbox, IMO.
    • Excerpts from a newsgroup posting [google.com]by Tony Lawrence:
      The fallout from this lawsuit could destroy my business. It could quite literally change my whole life, and not for the better. I have a lot to lose, and the prospects are rather frightening. But that doesn't change morality: if it IS theft, then whatever has to happen has to happen, and if it destroys me, well, that's life, right?
    • Show of hands: who believes that Tony's business probably runs on pirated Microsoft products?

      Tony Lawrence has, for the past 5 years, been the best source of unpaid SCO knowledge available. His website is a wealth of knowledge regarding OpenServer. On the rare occasions I've had to work with SCO the first website I loaded was Lawrence's because he will always have the answer. He would always clearly explain how SCO differed from other UNIX, how to enhance the basic SCO install with free software, etc.

  • The good news... (Score:2, Interesting)

    by DaEMoN128 ( 694605 )
    is that you can contact them and reserve your piece of paper at the current price. Oh wait, that's right, I dont need a stinking piece of paper.

    BTW, the 699 every one is talking about is for servers. Its only like 200 (approx, I dont remember off the top of my head) for personal use.

    I say we all pitch in and buy 1 licence, and then have all the Kernel developers sue the shit out of SCO. We can just add in our 699 to the costs to get our money back :)

    (Im not trying to troll, But I think it looks that w
  • by curtisk ( 191737 ) on Wednesday October 22, 2003 @02:29PM (#7282849) Homepage Journal
    I would like to have it changed to an overhead image of the caldera logo spiraling mid-flush in a dirty toilet. Thats where they are headed
  • calling and asking to buy copies of license before i started my small business - to see what is involved with purchasing the license.

    damn.. i got fscking voice mail.

    I told him i wanted to get all the documentation and information on what I get for my purchases of the LInux license before I buy it - just so I know what it is I'm buying... and left him my phone number.

    oh well - they can't say that I didn't try.
  • Right now, SCO's drive has been towards getting businesses to compensate them. Issuing and tracking licenses for 1000 corporations is easier than handling the whole Linux community.

    Microsoft has multiple tiers for their licensing plans. It's likely that SCO has yet to implement more efficient licensing plans for the community at large; I'd imagine that eventually they'll set up a form where one can pay for their service with a credit card online and get a unique customer number or something similar. Bu

    • Anyone want to bet that SCO doesn't have the technical knowhow to track licenses for the entire GNU/Linux community?
    • Besides, do you really want them to start charging everybody right now? I'd welcome this reprieve.

      Yes, I want them to "start charging everybody", so that everybody (or at least somebody) has legal standing to sue them into the ground. Guess why it is impossible to buy a license?

      Also note that a SCO license is absolute snake oil. Even if they had a point, i.e. if there were non-free SCO code in Linux, the whole kernel could not be distributed under the GPL and hence could not be distributed at all, bec

  • My big question is:

    If (many will argue When would be the right term) they lose the lawsuits, and it is found that Linux contains no code that is part of their IP. Will they automatically grant complete refunds (none of this $99 processing fee cra) to those who purchased a pointless license from them.

    If not, why?
    • If (many will argue When would be the right term) they lose the lawsuits, and it is found that Linux contains no code that is part of their IP. Will they automatically grant complete refunds (none of this $99 processing fee cra) to those who purchased a pointless license from them.

      No.

      If not, why?

      Because they will be bankrupt.

    • We know that the Linux kernel legitimately includes IP from SCO (from Caldera - tlan.[ch] and af_ipx.c, at least). Since, as I understand it, SCO is selling a license to use SCO IP in the Linux kernel, even if they fail to prove that there is any SCO IP improperly included in the kernel, the license would still apply to the legitimately included IP. Customers wouldn't need that license, since the IP would also be licensed under the GPL, but since the license SCO sold would still be covering real IP, they
  • fair is fair (Score:4, Interesting)

    by tetrahedrassface ( 675645 ) on Wednesday October 22, 2003 @02:32PM (#7282890) Journal
    If SC0 has a case ( i dont think they do) then they would want all parties, whether corps or home users to pay their fees. As things now stand SCO is essentially saying "only the big boys must pay". This is convoluted and flawed logic. Of course I would not expect much else from SCO these days. The real question is how does SCO expect to legitimize its claims by selective billing? If linux is tainted (which i doubt) then all users who knowlingly use it anyway are liable. This just goes to show that SCO knows they have no case. SGI has essentially said that they reveiwed all the code and compared it to sysV and we are clean. Really SCO should go after everyone if they think they have a chance in hell of winning. They dont and this tale keeps getting weirder and weirder. SCO is getting more desperate. The plot thickens....
  • by Weaselmancer ( 533834 ) on Wednesday October 22, 2003 @02:33PM (#7282894)

    Makes sense to me. SCO is playing the lottery here, and hoping one of the tickets is a winner.

    Why go after Joe Consumer? SCO knows their odds of even finding private citizens using Linux are next to zero. Private citizens hardly ever get busted using a pirated copy of Windows, and Redmond has cash to burn to go looking for them. And even if they were to nail a few guys, so what? They're looking for a big payoff here, not nickel-and-dime end users.

    But Fortune 1000 companies, ah! Big bucks. They're hoping to intimidate some huge company with the threat of audits and huge legal expenses vs. the relatively low cost of a site license.

    And they know they only have a limited time to try their horseshit before some judge somewhere finally makes them show the "you can't see it yet" infringing code, and that'll be game over when it happens. So they're in a hurry - no time for small potatoes.

    So please, don't bother SCO unless you have obscene piles of cash lying around and a panicky board of directors!

    Weaselmancer

    • They're hoping to intimidate some huge company with the threat of audits and huge legal expenses vs. the relatively low cost of a site license.

      That isn't it. They've switched to saying that only fortune 1000 companies can get a license in order to stop people from trying to get one. They know that they can't actually sell one and they're gambling on the idea that a fortune 1000 company won't publicise the fact that SCO wouldn't let them buy one.

      They were in danger of people in the media (who run Linux) d
  • by burgburgburg ( 574866 ) <splisken06.email@com> on Wednesday October 22, 2003 @02:33PM (#7282905)
    actually sold any licenses. It's called mail fraud. And if they sold a few of them, it would also open them up to RICO prosecution because it would indicate a pattern of criminality that qualified as racketeering.

    Threatening end-users was baseless allegations to drive up the price of your stock is also a Federal crime, but involves securities laws that are far more difficult to prove/prosecute and even when convicted, they usually only result in small fines.

    • actually sold any licenses. It's called mail fraud.

      They could always just fax over a copy of the license. Or heck, for the $699 fee, they could hire a courier to hand-deliver the license paper.
    • actually sold any licenses. It's called mail fraud.

      Untrue. It's only mail fraud if you bill someone for something that you're not allowed to bill them for/never sent. Certainly SCO is not legally allowed to bill for Linux licenses, but they're not doing that. They've simply said "pay us $699 and we'll never sue you over Linux violations". They didn't send a bill, they just made a public statement. If you chose to pay them then that's your own decision, but you were under no legal obligation to any more t
    • They'd be breaking Federal Law if they actually sold any licenses. It's called mail fraud.

      No, it would be mail fraud if they had sent out invoices -- a plan which they recently scrapped. If you give them money for a license, it depends on the wording of the license. Presumably they're intelligent enough to word it something like:

      This license give you the right to use the intellectual property (if any) SCO has in Linux and we promise not to sue you. And you can't get your money back in any case.

      The ide

      • Even more so, if you sell a lisance in person and the buyer does not make any amdends to the contract (lisance) they have not just commited to a full contract.

        It is at this point that I would have to disagree with the oringal poster beacuse it would seem to me that any company that is worth it's salt would have it's legal team at they very least look at a contract that could possaibly lock them into many many years worth of expendatures.

        No, I don't that's correct.
  • $699 for a license to use Linux, but I can get an SCO OpenServer 5 license for $149 [ebay.com]?
    I'm confused.
  • Stowell advised small and medium-sized businesses interested in the Linux license to wait for SCO to contact them.

    So basically, "sit tight and don't worry your pretty little head about it, bitch. When we're ready to take your money, we'll let you know. Okay? Buh-bye."

    /makes phone motion with fingers/ "Um...call me, okay?"

    Dicks. I wouldn't have paid for a license before, but hopefully this pisses off a bunch of the "smaller" companies that were going to purchase licenses enough that they won't n

  • by Junior J. Junior III ( 192702 ) on Wednesday October 22, 2003 @02:38PM (#7282965) Homepage
    $699 is probably less than you pay your legal department for an hour of sitting around on retainer. Thus, it starts making more sense to just pay SCO this one time to get them to shut up and go away.

    The question: "Which is less: the number of processors in your enterprise, or the number of legal man-hours it'd take to fight of a SCO lawsuit?" becomes relevant.

    Of course, once SCO starts getting companies to pay up, then it sets an established precedent which they can use to bully the small fry and extract the money from them.
  • Last Thursday it revealed that it had delayed until Nov. 1 a plan to double the price of the license in order to give users more time to buy licenses at the lower rate.

    How thoughtful of SCO. So we can pay $699 instead of $1398 for free software. And we have until Halloween?


    "I think the chances of collecting from small businesses are very small, because they have very little to lose," he said. "They don't necessarily know whether they have SCO or Linux. The only time they care about their computer i
  • "the vast hoardes of willing new Linux licensees" who are these people?
  • SCO is not targeting so-called 'consumers' because they would have a class action lawsuit on their hands so fast it would make their heads spin.
  • by MerlynEmrys67 ( 583469 ) on Wednesday October 22, 2003 @02:44PM (#7283022)
    Don't know about the law across the US - but where I have filed small claims actions in Oregon it works like this...

    Go to district court house - get paper and fill it out including damages (lets set damages at the full price 1398 - or the maximum allowed in your juristiction) that were incurred and cost of delivering the summons.

    Find the local lawyer for SCO in your juristiction (they have to have one - it is public record) and get the papers served

    Wait and watch SCO go "Oh Shit"

    (ps. We all $profit$)

    What is nice about this is if enough geeks file papers in enough courts across the country SCO can't possibly defend themselves from the claims, and they will have to payup or shutup.

    I propose a geek stampeed - The week of the 8th of December seems like a good time to file lawsuits

    Please join in the protest by going to the district courthouse in your district and file a small claims lawsuit then

    PS... Don't make it a class action either - that makes the legal costs for SCO go down - and none of us will see the money at that point. Small claims court - we just say SCO is saying we owe them 1.4K - we say they don't so we are suing to get the money from them.

  • Give me 699..no wait... for free, whenever, wherever, I'll give you this: Oooo
    Right up your ass ( )
    How;s that sound Darl? ) /
    (_/

  • They figure enought Big Companies will fork over the (to them) piddling amount of money rather than pay their lawyers to contest it. This will give their bottom line a quick bump and make it more likely the exec's will get the three profitable quarters they need to cash in their options and bail for Bermuda.

    If they went after the home/small business users, there's enough outrage that one or more state AGs would get a nice PR bonanza of their own dragging some Big Software Company (yah right) into court fo

  • Until Tuesday, SCO had not indicated that its Linux licensing plan is available only to the Fortune 1000, a term generally used to denote the world's 1,000 largest corporations. "We didn't articulate that at the time, and probably should have," Stowell said.

    I've been wondering if Stowell is dishonest, or if he really believes the things SCO is saying. (I wonder the same thing about Darl McBride.)

    This quote makes it obvious: he's dishonest. The plan was, all along, to only go after the Fortune 1000... b
  • Isn't it about time that the Free Software Foundation started litigation against SCO?

    SCO ist demanding that some users of a GPL'd work buy a SCO license for that work. This is in complete violation of the GPL and therefore invalidate's SCO's rights to even use that GPL'd work.

    It is my understanding that the FSF has intellectual property claims over many parts of Linux.

  • by Anita Coney ( 648748 ) on Wednesday October 22, 2003 @03:28PM (#7283473) Homepage
    If anyone thought that maybe, just maybe, SCO's claims were valid, you can stop that nonsense. SCO's refusal to take money proves beyond a doubt that they have no case.

    If SCO's claim is valid, then it has every right to either stop the use of its IP or to obtain money from its use. But SCO is claiming that while it has the right to obtain such relief, it chooses not to take it.

    Imagine this press release from Wal-Mart: "The Wal-Mart corporation has decided not prosecute or to impede shoplifters in its stores. Because we are satisfied with those few people who do pay, we see no need to make everyone pay."

    That's EXACTLY what SCO is arguing. That because some people pay for using its IP, the vast majority of users can have a free ride. If SCO's IP claims are valid, than the basis for not taking money is ludicrous!

    The real reason for the change is because SCO knows it has absolutely no proof to back up its claims against individual users. If SCO followed through with its threats, no one would pay, they'd be exposed as frauds, and they'd become the laughingstock of the tech world.

  • $699 is just a "promotional discount" according to sco.com
  • It's a PR move:
    1. No (or almost no) small business were going to buy a license anyway.
    2. Some small businesses will think that they can hedge their bets by writing in. They don't commit themselves, they don't have to pay anything now, but they do "lock in" the lower rate if they ever have to buy. They may think of it as free insurance.
    3. SCO will trumpet the large number of small businesses that have written in.

    There must be many small businesses with both SCO and Linux installations, perhaps those S
  • This is just... (Score:3, Interesting)

    by pjrc ( 134994 ) <paul@pjrc.com> on Wednesday October 22, 2003 @04:13PM (#7283901) Homepage Journal
    ... a ruse to avoid admitting that NOBODY is going to have to pay the license fee to SCO. They can't admit this in the press, because their inflated stock price is based on hopes that SCO will eventually extract license fees. This way, they can keep up the public image to investors. But they're not going to send invoices to anyone (not even the Fortune 1000 companies) and they're not going to sell any licenses.

    Why not? Because Red Hat stands a very good chance of raining on this whole parade. Red Hat claims the "actual contraversy" is SCO's public statements, SCO's 1500 threatening letters, and this licensing program. The license is pretty damning for SCO, since they're supposedly selling the rights to use SCO's (unspecified) IP and not be sued.

    SCO can't afford to sell ANY licenses, because of the Red Hat suit. But they can't publically admit they won't sell licenses, because everyone who's big their valuation up believe they may have a shot at someday taxing all Linux installations. Reversing course would likely be seen as an admission they may not ever get licensing. So instead, they claim they're only going after the big fish... and of course they won't actually do it, just blow a lot of hot air (what they've been doing all along).

    To the many individual who've called their bluff and attempted to buy licenses, bravo. SCO's options are shrinking ever smaller.

"More software projects have gone awry for lack of calendar time than for all other causes combined." -- Fred Brooks, Jr., _The Mythical Man Month_

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