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

 



Forgot your password?
typodupeerror
Caldera

SCO Letter to Fortune 1500 Now Online 410

e6003 writes "The text of the extortion letters that SCO sent out in May 2003 to the 1500 largest US companies is now online. Read in all its glory the lies and misconceptions that SCO has about Linux and the kernel development process. Pamela Jones, the proprietor of Groklaw, suggests Linus Torvalds would have a great case for defamation as a result of this letter and subsequent events."
This discussion has been archived. No new comments can be posted.

SCO Letter to Fortune 1500 Now Online

Comments Filter:
  • Hmm... (Score:3, Funny)

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday November 27, 2003 @06:33PM (#7578934)
    Your ideas are intriguing to me and I wish to subscribe to your newsletter.
    • Re:Hmm... (Score:4, Interesting)

      by DugzDC ( 671410 ) on Thursday November 27, 2003 @08:54PM (#7579534)
      Alright, not ontopic, but something I just thought of...
      Is there anything you can put in a license that would stop SCO (and any related cos) using the mass of OS software they employ in their products? I know they already have what they have, but future releases?
      I don't know much about the GPL, but I think I remember that you can't tag on additional clauses to it, so maybe this isn't possible.
      A while a go, I remember some talk about gcc dropping support for the SCO OSes. What happened there? Anyways, that seems like a nice approach - starve the fuckers of what they depend on. But, as I said above, maybe the GPL doesn't allow it. Don't want to be as bad as them, after all.
      BTW, someone on here once asked me if I was a DC fan (cos of the DC in the /. name). Well, yep. I was... Want to know what's worse? I had tickets to this year's French GP.
      • Re:Hmm... (Score:5, Interesting)

        by Neon Spiral Injector ( 21234 ) * on Friday November 28, 2003 @12:26AM (#7580210)
        Indeed, the GPL prohibits additional restrictions placed on the uses of the software. That is to say you can't deny that the software you have released under the GPL to be used by what ever group of people we are supposed to dislike this week.

        But what has happened with GCC, is the authors just aren't going to put any effort into maintaining the port to SCO's OSes. So they aren't saying it can't be used under SCO, they just won't put the work into making it compile and function correctly. If someone at SCO wishes to do that, they may go right ahead. But of course they have to release their changes back to the public.
  • the actual letter (Score:5, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday November 27, 2003 @06:37PM (#7578958)
    can be found here. [tuxrocks.com]
  • by ghideon ( 720955 ) on Thursday November 27, 2003 @06:38PM (#7578959)
    Similar to analogous efforts underway in the music industry, we are prepared to take all actions necessary to stop the ongoing violation of our intellectual property or other rights.

    Yeah, that just smacks of credability....

    • by 3riol ( 680662 ) on Thursday November 27, 2003 @06:49PM (#7579016)
      Well, the thing is that SCO wants to create a parallel between Free and Open Source Software supporters and pirates in the minds of lawmakers and magistrates...

      They do this by capitalizing on the fact that FOSS is often distributed free of charge (these people don't want to pay for things!), the fact that FOSS is in some ways a threat on the usual, exploitative way of doing business (they care about other things than profit => they are dangerous / dirty communists / hoping to undermine Capitalism|America|Freedom to squeeze megabucks out of credulous customers), the negative mass-culture image of the word "Hacker", and other things yet... but most of all, ignorance.
  • ever heard of it? (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Dreadlord ( 671979 ) on Thursday November 27, 2003 @06:41PM (#7578971) Journal
    From the letter:
    Commercial software is built by carefully selected and screened teams of programmers working to build proprietary, secure software...

    By contrast, much of Linux has been built from contributions by numerous unrelated and unknown software developers, each contributing a small section of code...

    It's called Open Source, idiot.

    • NOT (Score:5, Informative)

      by villoks ( 27306 ) on Thursday November 27, 2003 @07:17PM (#7579116) Homepage Journal
      Oh well.

      Please check this article [osdl.org]from OSDN. Linux kernel developers are well known and actually SCO's definition for commercial software "built by carefully selected and screened teams of programmers" describes better the reality of Linux Kernel development.

    • by tesloni ( 727534 ) on Thursday November 27, 2003 @07:17PM (#7579117)
      I must react.
      Isn't General Unix Philosophy "Make small simple tools which consist of small sections of code. Every of them do one specific thing, but do it in the best way. And at last but not least combine them thru all kinds of Interproces and other types of communications between them to provide solutions for bigger problems"
      Correct me if I'm wrong.
    • by nettdata ( 88196 ) on Thursday November 27, 2003 @08:28PM (#7579436) Homepage
      Commercial software is built by carefully selected and screened teams of programmers working to build proprietary, secure software... By contrast, much of Linux has been built from contributions by numerous unrelated and unknown software developers, each contributing a small section of code...

      Hmmm.... he's obviously never met MY commercial product development team!

      Oh.... wait...
  • by Neurotoxic666 ( 679255 ) <neurotoxic666&hotmail,com> on Thursday November 27, 2003 @06:41PM (#7578972) Homepage
    Can anyone please mod the letter SCO sent +5 Funny? ...
    • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday November 27, 2003 @07:38PM (#7579214)
      Knock yourself out:

      ***
      May 12. 2003

      Mr. Lucio A. Noto
      Audit Committee Chair
      International Business Machines Corporation
      New Orchard Road
      Armonk, NY 10504

      Dear Lucio:

      SCO holds the rights to the UNIX operating system software originally licensed by AT&T to approximately 6,000 companies and institutions worldwide (the "UNIX Licenses"). The vast majority of UNIX software used in enterprise applications today is a derivative work of the software originally distributed under our UNIX Licenses. Like you, we have an obligation to our shareholders to protect our intellectual property and other valuable rights.

      In recent years, a UNIX-like operating system has emerged and has been distributed in the enterprise marketplace by various software vendors. This system is called Linux. We believe that Linux is, in material part, an unauthorized derivative of UNIX.

      As you may know, the development process for Linux has differed substantially from the development process for other enterprise operating systems. Commercial software is built by carefully selected and screened teams of programmers working to build proprietary, secure software. This process is designed to monitor the security and ownership of intellectual property rights associated with the code.

      By contrast, much of Linux has been built from contributions by numerous unrelated and unknown software developers, each contributing a small section of code. There is no mechanism inherent in the Linux development process to assure that intellectual property rights, confidentiality or security are protected. The Linux process does not prevent inclusion of code that has been stolen outright; or developed by improper use of proprietary methods and concepts.

      Many Linux contributors were originally UNIX developers who had access to UNIX source code distributed by AT&T and were subject to confidentiality agreements, including confidentiality of the methods and concepts involved in software design. We have evidence that portions of UNIX System V software code have been copied into Linux and that additional other portions of UNIX System V software code have been modified and copied into Linux, seemingly for the purposes of obfuscating their original source.

      As a consequence of Linux's unrestricted authoring process, it is not surprising that Linux distributors do not warrant the legal integrity of the Linux code provided to customers. Therefore legal liability that may arise from the Linux developments process may also rest with the end user.

      We believe that Linux infringes on our UNIX intellectual property and other rights. We intend to aggressively protect and enforce these rights. Consistent with this effort, on March 7, we initiated legal action against IBM for alleged unfair competition and breach of contract with respect to our UNIX rights. This case is pending in Utah Federal District Court. As you are aware, this case has been widely reported and commented upon in the press. If you would like additional information, a copy of the complaint and response may be viewed at our web site at www.sco.com/scosource.

      For the reasons explained above, we have also announced the suspension of our own Linux-related activities until the issues surrounding Linux intellectual property and the attendant risks are better understood and properly resolved.

      Similar to analogous efforts underway in the music industry, we are prepared to take all actions necessary to stop the ongoing violation of our intellectual property or other rights.

      SCO's actions may prove unpopular with those who wish to advance or otherwise benefit from Linux as a free software system for use in enterprise applications. However, our property and contract rights are important and valuable: not only to us, but to every individual and every company whose livelihood depends on the continued viability of intellectual and intangible property rights in a digital age.

      Yours truly,

      THE SCO GROUP

      By: Darl McBride
      President and CEO
  • Really (Score:5, Informative)

    by SkArcher ( 676201 ) on Thursday November 27, 2003 @06:43PM (#7578980) Journal
    Did you have to link Groklaw? Its not fair to /. the happy fun (para)legal site.

    For your information, the text of the letter has been available here [iwethey.org] for a few months.

    The only reason this is news is that its a document attached to the court docket for the December the 5th hearing on the motions to compel discovery.
    • Re:Really (Score:3, Interesting)

      by eric76 ( 679787 )
      It was also been included in its entirity in a number of news stories about that time.

      I was rather suprised to see it surface again almost as a fresh issue.
  • I love the letter! (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday November 27, 2003 @06:43PM (#7578981)
    ... the development process for Linux has differed substantially from the development for other enterprise operating systems

    So, they're admitting that it's an enterprise operating system and not a piece of fluff like winXPhome?

    Commercial software is built by carefully selected and screened teams of programmers working to build proprietary, secure software."

    Riiiight. Someone better tell Microsoft they've been doing it wrong.

  • Grammatical errors (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Prof. Pi ( 199260 ) on Thursday November 27, 2003 @06:44PM (#7578982)
    From the article:

    You will notice some grammar errors, but they are SCO's, not Ralle's.

    I would've expected that, having driven away all the respectable engineers, SCO would be full of management dweebs who only knew about how to present themselves. But it seems these bozos even slept through English comp classes. Or maybe their spending so much of their money on lawyers that they can't afford competent secretaries.

  • by WarDancer ( 542700 ) on Thursday November 27, 2003 @06:45PM (#7578988)
    I don't know much about US law, but assuming SCO folds after this whole fiasco and nothing is to be gained from actually suing SCO itself...

    Would there be any legal basis for suing SCO executives who either sold their stocks or had public comments about the case (read here our good friend Darl) under a civil court of law for damages?

    I can't see how this would be out of reach for someone like Linus who has been publicly targeted by SCO.

    • If SCO goes belly up, what happens to its assets? They get sold to creditors (or perhaps creditors have the option to influence/controll these assets.

      If enough people sue SCO and win large judgements, perhaps the UNIX souce could be released under the BSD licence?

      IANAL
  • by Amiga Lover ( 708890 ) on Thursday November 27, 2003 @06:45PM (#7578990)
    Commercial software is built by carefully selected and screened teams of programmers working to build proprietary, secure software

    No. Commercial software is built by people who write software that's sold for money.

    I've sold software, so it's commercial software. It was written by a friend and myself over a few weeks worth of late nights.

    When it comes to commercial software made by vendors who make a business of writing & selling software, then it's written by the coders who can best pass job interviews.

    "carefully selected and screened teams of programmers" my ass.
    • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday November 27, 2003 @07:02PM (#7579072)
      exactly, they're playing with words.

      commercial software is software sold for money. it may or may not be proprietary or secure

      proprietary software is proprietary software. it may or may not be commercial or secure

      secure software is secure. it may or may not be commercial or proprietary.

      sco is using newspeak type crap, attempting to link 3 separate ideas as one when they are not by definition linked.
  • by Unregistered ( 584479 ) on Thursday November 27, 2003 @06:45PM (#7578992)
    Even if linux is shown to violate SCO's IP, ar the end users liable? They bought a product that the vendor said was legal, so it would be up to the vendors to sal with the reprocussions, even if they haven;t imdenified their customers, right? Does SCO think that companies this big will fall for this bs. Especially with a broken URL. Btw, why don't the other linux vendfors imdenify their customers. Id doesn't seem like it would actually be any added liability (especially since SCO doens't really stand a chance).
    • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday November 27, 2003 @07:10PM (#7579096)
      If you take the word "Linux" and replace it with "Microsoft Windows" in SCO's claims, you will see how ridiculous their claims are about end users being liable for copyright infringment.

      Imagine if Microsoft added some copyrighted code to Windows and they didn't license the use of that code from the owner. Would the code owner be able to sue end users of Windows for license payments?

      I believe SCO would only be able to go after users if they owned patents on the code and the users were actually using features in the software that used the patented code. Even then, Microsoft, the distributor of Windows, has been sued multiple times for patent infringement (Timeline, EOLAS, InterTrust), so even in patent cases, the distributor tends to be sued, not the users.

      If you also compare SCO's claims to other types of copyright infringment, such as plagiarism in a book, magazine or newspaper, or illegal sound samples in a music CD, it is very clear that copyright infringment liability for users doesn't exist. The people who are benefiting financially from the illegal code, the distributors, should be liable.

      Even if users were somehow liable, they are guilty of unintentional infringement, which means SCO cannot get punitive damages or attorney fees. And SCO will have a very difficult time proving significant actual damages.

      A lawsuit against most Linux-using companies, even if successful, would almost certainly be a net loss for them. I hope most of the companies that SCO is thinking of targeting are smart enough to see this and decide to fight them in court instead of rolling over and paying the protection money.
      • Is it also significant that SCO have not revealed the details of the code?

        ISTM that if you want someone to stop using something, you tell them exactly what the infringement is in order for them to cease doing so, and then seek redress on monies lost.

      • Agreed, if this farce continues though it's likely that a letter like this will go out at some point, where they replace Linux with Mac OS X.

        ----->

        Sometime in the Future

        Mr. Steve Jobs
        Apple
        1 Infinite Loop
        Cupertino, CA 95014
        USA

        Dear Steve:

        SCO holds the rights to the UNIX operating system software originally licensed by AT&T to approximately 6,000 companies and institutions worldwide (the "UNIX Licenses"). The vast majority of UNIX software used in enterprise applications today is a derivative work
      • >Imagine if Microsoft added some copyrighted code
        >to Windows and they didn't license the use of
        >that code from the owner. Would the code owner
        >be able to sue end users of Windows for license
        >payments?

        It cannot happen. If MS added some copyrighted code it'll buy the other entity up. :)
  • by gsdali ( 707124 ) on Thursday November 27, 2003 @06:47PM (#7579003)
    about the demand for virgin sacrifices in front if statues of Mr McBride.

    Seriously though, Id I'd received that letter I'd have laughed at it, kind of like I laughed at the plumber who tried to charge me 100 for an alleged adjustment to my shower when he fitted a new boiler. No details of the alleged IP infringements, nothing, but that seems to be their game plan and surely it can't stand up in court if their not prepared to disclose what the problem is.
  • Stock. (Score:4, Informative)

    by SharpFang ( 651121 ) on Thursday November 27, 2003 @06:48PM (#7579007) Homepage Journal
    This [yahoo.com] worries me. Either people are so dumb, or SCO has some ace up its a^Hsleeve.
    • Answer (Score:5, Insightful)

      by SkArcher ( 676201 ) on Thursday November 27, 2003 @06:55PM (#7579047) Journal
      People are hoping to make a quick buck on speculation and get out before the risky part. Someone is going to get burned, but it won't be the guys holding the stock right now.
    • Re:Stock. (Score:5, Interesting)

      by Zocalo ( 252965 ) on Thursday November 27, 2003 @07:02PM (#7579071) Homepage
      This is probably just in response to rumours about SCO going after Google [slashdot.org]. Nothing like a few rumours to hitch a stock price up a few notches, if you expand the time scale of the chart a bit you can see similar surges and falls, and even match them up to Slashdot stories if you are so inclined.

      It does appear that people are finally catching on to the scam though; the one year chart [yahoo.com] seems to show signs of the stock starting to show the end of its upward trend from March through November. I really can't see thing getting to court somehow, which is a shame, because it would have been a fairly good test case for Linux and the GPL.

    • Re:Stock. (Score:4, Interesting)

      by silentbozo ( 542534 ) on Thursday November 27, 2003 @11:32PM (#7580087) Journal
      It's called the technique of the "Big Lie". You tell a lie so enormous and outrageous, people believe you actually have credibility, because no reasonable, right-thinking person would make such an incredible claim without some kind of truth to back them up.

      This is what allows con men to get away with what they do - they act as though they're 100% in the right, and in the absence of any cohesive resistance, people are swayed because, hey, who wants to be wrong? (ie, who wants to be embarassed.)

      The current situation has troubled me because SCO has dominated the market share of the press via press releases (just as the lawmakers have dominated the press with the passage of their "anti-spam" bill.) It doesn't matter that 99.99% of what they say is utter bullshit that will eventually land them in court for libel, fraud, and stock manipulation. In the absence of somebody releasing a big fat claim to the contrary, people are inclined to belive what the mainstream press tell them, and the mainstream press isn't exactly doing investigative reporting of SCO (that I know of.)
  • by EmCeeHawking ( 720424 ) on Thursday November 27, 2003 @06:48PM (#7579009)
    The submitter:

    Pamela Jones, the proprietor of Groklaw, suggests Linus Torvalds would have a great case for defamation as a result of this letter

    The article:

    Now that Linus has a lawyer, maybe they'll take note and consider if the necessary elements for an action for defamation are now available. They are hard cases to win, particularly for a public figure, so they may not want to go that route

    The requirements to file a suit? Yes. A "great case"? Hell no.
  • by Anthony Boyd ( 242971 ) on Thursday November 27, 2003 @06:49PM (#7579011) Homepage
    Pamela Jones, the proprietor of Groklaw, suggests Linus Torvalds would have a great case for defamation as a result of this letter and subsequent events.

    He won't get involved any more than he has to. He'd certainly defend himself if sued, but the guy would rather be worrying about the technical stuff. He's not going to get involved, no matter how nasty the other side is.

    Of course, I'd like him to, just to crush SCO. But I'm not even sure that Linus has that kind of cash. Last I heard, Linux had given him lots of opportunities and a steady paycheck, but no millionaire-level fortune.

    • by Frostalicious ( 657235 ) on Thursday November 27, 2003 @07:07PM (#7579085) Journal
      Pamela Jones, the proprietor of Groklaw, suggests Linus Torvalds would have a great case for defamation as a result of this letter and subsequent events.

      He's not going to get involved, no matter how nasty the other side is.


      Besides, after IBM et al. get through with SCO, there's going to be nothing left but bones. Linus won't be able to collect anything.
    • "Of course, I'd like him to, just to crush SCO. But I'm not even sure that Linus has that kind of cash. Last I heard, Linux had given him lots of opportunities and a steady paycheck, but no millionaire-level fortune."


      Should it come to that, I don't think that money would be an issue. I mean, who wouldn't donate to see Darl and his SCOundrels crushed?
    • by Idarubicin ( 579475 ) on Thursday November 27, 2003 @09:00PM (#7579558) Journal
      Of course, I'd like him to, just to crush SCO. But I'm not even sure that Linus has that kind of cash. Last I heard, Linux had given him lots of opportunities and a steady paycheck, but no millionaire-level fortune.

      Maybe IBM could lend him one of their lawyers.

      Heck, there are probably a number of lawyers who would take the case pro bono just for the publicity. You can't get a much more sympathetic plaintiff.

      He also needn't file a multimillion dollar suit. He could choose to ask for one dollar, plus costs, and an injunction against further libellous statements. He doesn't look greedy, and SCO still faces a court declaration that their remarks are defamatory.

      Still, it would probably end up soaking up a good bit of his time, and he has better things to do...

    • But I'm not even sure that Linus has that kind of cash. Last I heard, Linux had given him lots of opportunities and a steady paycheck, but no millionaire-level fortune.

      Interesting article in Wired [wired.com] about Linus. I think he's doing quite well...

  • by Qweezle ( 681365 ) on Thursday November 27, 2003 @06:54PM (#7579038) Journal
    From the article:

    We have evidence that portions of UNIX System V software code have been copied into Linux and that additional other portions of UNIX System V software code have been modified and copied into Linux, seemingly for the purposes of obfuscating their original source.

    Oh, please. Evidence? C'mon, Darl. Just because the code is SIMILAR to UNIX doesn't mean that it has been copied and modified.

    By the same logic, I guess that I could say that since MS Office 2003 and OpenOffice.org are both office suites, and they can both modify and import/export the same kinds of documents, then my goodness! I guess some jerk at Microsoft must have copied code from MS Office and made an open-source alternative!

    Seriously, does this have any merit at all? How dare they insult IBM's intelligence like that...
  • Fraudulent (Score:5, Insightful)

    by the eric conspiracy ( 20178 ) on Thursday November 27, 2003 @06:54PM (#7579042)
    Perhaps Linus has a case for defamation, but I would thing that the case for fraud would be much stronger. SCO is trying to get people to pay them licensing fees based on a set of claims that are clearly false. While I am not a lawyer, it would seem to me this is very much fraudulent, and some state's (Utah especially) should take an interest in this.

  • Wrong security (Score:4, Insightful)

    by MrWa ( 144753 ) on Thursday November 27, 2003 @06:56PM (#7579051) Homepage
    The overview got it wrong (while making a swipe at Microsoft, so it must be okay.) The security that is mentioned in the letter from SCO is not system security - SCO isn't concerned with that. The security that the letter refers to is security of the IP used in creation of the OS. The next sentence clarifies this:
    This process is designed to monitor the security and ownership of intellectual property rights associated with the code.

    The author was more interested in taking shots at Microsoft apparently.

  • by darnok ( 650458 ) on Thursday November 27, 2003 @06:57PM (#7579053)
    Anyone know if "Darl" is a Nigerian name?

    The resemblance is uncanny...
    • by shrubya ( 570356 ) on Thursday November 27, 2003 @08:40PM (#7579486) Homepage Journal
      I think you're referring to this one [google.com]:

      DEAR SIR/MADAM:

      I AM MR. DARL MCBRIDE CURRENTLY SERVING AS THE PRESIDENT AND CHIEF EXECUTIVE OFFICER OF THE SCO GROUP, FORMERLY KNOWN AS CALDERA SYSTEMS INTERNATIONAL, IN LINDON, UTAH, UNITED STATES OF AMERICA. I KNOW THIS LETTER MIGHT SURPRISE YOUR BECAUSE WE HAVE HAD NO PREVIOUS COMMUNICATIONS OR BUSINESS DEALINGS BEFORE NOW.

      MY ASSOCIATES HAVE RECENTLY MADE CLAIM TO COMPUTER SOFTWARES WORTH AN ESTIMATED $1 BILLION U.S. DOLLARS. I AM WRITING TO YOU IN CONFIDENCE BECAUSE WE URGENTLY REQUIRE YOUR ASSISTANCE TO OBTAIN THESE FUNDS.

      IN THE EARLY 1970S THE AMERICAN TELEPHONE AND TELEGRAPH CORPORATION DEVELOPED AT GREAT EXPENSE THE COMPUTER OPERATING SYSTEM SOFTWARE KNOWN AS UNIX. UNFORTUNATELY THE LAWS OF MY COUNTRY PROHIBITED THEM FROM SELLING THESE SOFTWARES AND SO THEIR VALUABLE SOURCE CODES REMAINED PRIVATELY HELD. UNDER A SPECIAL ARRANGEMENT SOME PROGRAMMERS FROM THE CALIFORNIA UNIVERSITY OF BERKELEY DID ADD MORE CODES TO THIS OPERATING SYSTEM, INCREASING ITS VALUE, BUT NOT IN ANY WAY TO DILUTE OR DISPARAGE OUR FULL AND RIGHTFUL OWNERSHIP OF THESE CODES, DESPITE ANY AGREEMENT BETWEEN AMERICAN TELEPHONE AND TELEGRAPH AND THE CALIFORNIA UNIVERSITY OF BERKELEY, WHICH AGREEMENT WE DENY AND DISAVOW.

      IN THE YEAR 1984 A CHANGE OF REGIME IN MY COUNTRY ALLOWED THE AMERICAN TELEPHONE AND TELEGRAPH CORPORATION TO MAKE PROFITS FROM THESE SOFTWARES. IN THE YEAR 1990 OWNERSHIP OF THESE SOFTWARES WAS TRANSFERRED TO THE CORPORATION UNIX SYSTEM LABORATORIES. IN THE YEAR 1993 THIS CORPORATION WAS SOLD TO THE CORPORATION NOVELL. IN THE YEAR 1994 SOME EMPLOYEES OF NOVELL FORMED THE CORPORATION CALDERA SYSTEMS INTERNATIONAL, WHICH BEGAN TO DISTRIBUTE AN UPSTART OPERATING SYSTEM KNOWN AS LINUX. IN THE YEAR 1995 NOVELL SOLD THE UNIX SOFTWARE CODES TO SCO. IN THE YEAR 2001 OCCURRED A SEPARATION OF SCO, AND THE SCO BRAND NAME AND UNIX CODES WERE ACQUIRED BY THE CALDERA SYSTEMS INTERNATIONAL, AND IN THE FOLLOWING YEAR THE CALDERA SYSTEMS INTERNATIONAL WAS RENAMED SCO GROUP, OF WHICH I CURRENTLY SERVE AS CHIEF EXECUTIVE OFFICER.

      MY ASSOCIATES AND I OF THE SCO GROUP ARE THEREFORE THE FULL AND RIGHTFUL OWNERS OF THE OPERATING SYSTEM SOFTWARES KNOWN AS UNIX. OUR ENGINEERS HAVE DISCOVERED THAT NO FEWER THAN SEVENTY (70) LINES OF OUR VALUABLE AND PROPRIETARY SOURCE CODES HAVE APPEARED IN THE UPSTART OPERATING SYSTEM LINUX. AS YOU CAN PLAINLY SEE, THIS GIVES US A CLAIM ON THE MILLIONS OF LINES OF VALUABLE SOFTWARE CODES WHICH COMPRISE THIS LINUX AND WHICH HAS BEEN SOLD AT GREAT PROFIT TO VERY MANY BUSINESS ENTERPRISES. OUR LEGAL EXPERTS HAVE ADVISED US THAT OUR CONTRIBUTION TO THESE CODES IS WORTH AN ESTIMATED ONE (1) BILLION U.S. DOLLARS.

      UNFORTUNATELY WE ARE HAVING DIFFICULTY EXTRACTING OUR FUNDS FROM THESE COMPUTER SOFTWARES. TO THIS EFFECT I HAVE BEEN GIVEN THE MANDATE BY MY COLLEAGUES TO CONTACT YOU AND ASK FOR YOUR ASSISTANCE. WE ARE PREPARED TO SELL YOU A SHARE IN THIS ENTERPRISE, WHICH WILL SOON BE VERY PROFITABLE, THAT WILL GRANT YOU THE RIGHTS TO USE THESE VALUABLE SOFTWARES IN YOUR BUSINESS ENTERPRISE. UNFORTUNATELY WE ARE NOT ABLE AT THIS TIME TO SET A PRICE ON THESE RIGHTS. THEREFORE IT IS OUR RESPECTFUL SUGGESTION, THAT YOU MAY BE IMMEDIATELY A PARTY TO THIS ENTERPRISE, BEFORE OTHERS ACCEPT THESE LUCRATIVE TERMS, THAT YOU SEND US THE NUMBER OF A BANKING ACCOUNT WHERE WE CAN WITHDRAW FUNDS OF A SUITABLE AMOUNT TO GUARANTEE YOUR PARTICIPATION IN THIS ENTERPRISE. AS AN ALTERNATIVE YOU MAY SEND US THE NUMBER AND EXPIRATION DATE OF YOUR MAJOR CREDIT CARD, OR YOU MAY SEND TO US A SIGNED CHECK FROM YOUR BANKING ACCOUNT PAYABLE TO "SCO GROUP" AND WITH THE AMOUNT LEFT BLANK FOR US TO CONVENIENTLY SUPPLY.

      KINDLY TREAT THIS REQUEST AS VERY IMPORTANT AND STRICTLY CONFIDENTIAL. I HONESTLY ASSURE YOU THAT THIS TRANSACTION IS 100% LEGAL AND RISK-FREE.
  • by kirthn ( 64001 ) on Thursday November 27, 2003 @07:08PM (#7579089)
    a) Linux has been built from contributions by numerous unrelated and unknown software developers

    b)Many Linux contributors were originally UNIX developers

    hhm do you spot the 2 contradictions?
    • by Tack ( 4642 )
      a) Linux has been built from contributions by numerous unrelated and unknown software developers
      b)Many Linux contributors were originally UNIX developers

      It's certainly misleading, but it's not a contradiction.

      He didn't say Linux was built entirely by unrelated and unknown developers. He said numerous. Therefore this allows for many Linux contributors to be UNIX developers.

      Of course, the letter certainly is riddled with errors and outright lies, but this particular one is not a (logical) contrad

  • Bastards.... (Score:4, Interesting)

    by herrvinny ( 698679 ) on Thursday November 27, 2003 @07:09PM (#7579093)
    Yeah, this letter just about sums up Darl's stupidity.

    Not to plug myself or anything, but I did reg scolawsuit.com [scolawsuit.com], scolicense.com [scolicense.com], scoreport.com [scoreport.com], and scofiles.com and scofile.com, and pointed them all to a small web site. I also got a few web addresses to do a 90 day countdown thing. It'll be up tomorrow, hopefully.
  • by WasterDave ( 20047 ) <davep.zedkep@com> on Thursday November 27, 2003 @07:15PM (#7579106)
    Oh, look. You can get SCO to ring you up and discuss buying a license:

    http://www.sco.com/solution_builder/request_a_ca ll .html

    Isn't there a US white pages on CDROM somewhere?

    Dave
  • Nooo!!!!!! (Score:5, Funny)

    by mikehunt ( 225807 ) on Thursday November 27, 2003 @07:16PM (#7579110)
    That was really dumb...reading McBride's blackmail letter while drinking a glass of
    wine...

    Oh well, now I get to see how tough this 20" flat panel really is!

  • by fermion ( 181285 ) on Thursday November 27, 2003 @07:22PM (#7579133) Homepage Journal
    Commercial software is built by carefully selected and screened teams of programmers working to build proprietary, secure software. This process is designed to monitor the security and ownership of intellectual property rights associated with the code.
    By contrast, much of Linux has been built from contributions by numerous unrelated and unknown software developers, each contributing a small section of code. There is no mechanism inherent in the Linux development process to assure that intellectual property rights, confidentiality or security are protected.

    Correct if I am wrong, but doesn't all open source code include the name of the copyright owner? Doesn't this mean that the software developers, at least a high level, are much better known than that of proprietary software in which the pieces of code might have been subcontracted to who knows where, through who knows how many layer of management? Has anyone actually tried to go to say, Microsoft, and ask who exactly wrote this particular ActiveX control that is now responsible for so many security breaches?

    And you may further correct me, but I believe that OSS, at least on the commercial side, generally supplies code to at least those who purchase the program, and such code may be investigated for copyright violations. Any violating code has historically been removed. OTOH, may small proprietary software firms has used copyrighted code without permission, and those who get caught generally say 'prove it', which is really hard to do because the code is closed?

    As a consequence of Linux's unrestricted authoring process, it is not surprising that Linux distributors do not warrant the legal integrity of the Linux code provided to customers. Therefore legal liability that may arise from the Linux developments process may also rest with the end user.
    I would really like to see the evidence that, on average, proprietary software is more restrictive that OSS. After all, there is great pressure on proffessional programers to produce. Under such pressure there must be great incentive to borrow a bit of code here and there. After all, the source is closed, so who will know?

  • by miketang16 ( 585602 ) on Thursday November 27, 2003 @07:23PM (#7579137) Journal
    We believe that Linux is, in material part, an unauthorized derivative of UNIX.

    Yes, that's exactly what it is, and Mozilla is also an unauthorized derivative of Internet Explorer, being that it's a web browser...
  • by IamGarageGuy 2 ( 687655 ) on Thursday November 27, 2003 @07:24PM (#7579139) Journal
    No matter what is said on /. or other like minded places it should be noted that this whole fiasco has stifled the open source movement in the court of public opinion. FUD is a very good tactic indeed. The common software buyer will see another question mark regarding Linux and that is all that matters. the facts are irrelevant here and the techies are missing this. I am not sure what the answer to this problem is but no matter what your opinion is, the fact is that Linux is being stopped dead in its' tracks. It is in all commercial software makers benefit to keep the FUD regarding Linux rolling in the public press. Does this letter say anything as far as code goes - NO. Does this help the PR machine to keep Linux as a fringe, maybe illegal OS - YES.

    Everybody seems to want to fight this by way of technical discussion when it has nothing to do with technical merit at all. SCO stock is still high even with all of the geeks ranting and raving. This will be in the courts for years and SCO et al will be reaping the rewards the whole time.

    This is not a Code war, it is a PR war and the geeks are losing. PR is what is needed.

    • This is not a Code war, it is a PR war and the geeks are losing

      First lets see who wins the war, you can win most of the battles and still lose the war, Think Vietnam.

      That being said the PR war is being won by OpenSource. The reason being that the more fluffy technical press like eweek et al, have started to cover this issue in some details and they have started to see that SCO is blowin smoke. In the process a lot of the people that matters is getting more informed.

      What some wallstreet speculators th

  • And the EULA says... (Score:5, Interesting)

    by PSaltyDS ( 467134 ) on Thursday November 27, 2003 @07:24PM (#7579142) Journal
    Daryl-the-Dingus says those Linux geeks don't even warant their product, but last time I read a EULA, anybody's EULA, it said they promise nothing, owe nothing, warant nothing, and will take responsibility for nothing.

    Any technology distinguishable from magic is insuficiently advanced.

  • by schon ( 31600 ) on Thursday November 27, 2003 @07:28PM (#7579163)
    The best part is this line, used to describe the kernel developers:

    Numerous unrelated and unknown software developers..

    I mean, do they think that everybody at Microsoft is releated to each other?

    Hmm - come to think of it, this might explain everything - SCO expects all of their employees to be inbred! What they became is the tech equvalent of Deliverance!
    • SCO expects all of their employees to be inbred! What they became is the tech equvalent of Deliverance!

      Haven't you met Darl, his brother Darl, his brother Darl, and his other brother Darl?
    • by m00nun1t ( 588082 ) on Thursday November 27, 2003 @08:39PM (#7579479) Homepage
      It is Utah.
    • by mwa ( 26272 )
      I know how to establish a relationship among all those unknown software developers. Get them all to sign their names on a lawsuit against SCO for copyright infringement in violation of their chosen license agreement.

      Then they'll all be known and have a relationship and SCO will be satisfied. (If I only had 1 line accepted into the kernel, I'd be suing SCO for a percentage of all their Linux earnings to date.)

  • by DeadVulcan ( 182139 ) <dead@vulcan.pobox@com> on Thursday November 27, 2003 @07:37PM (#7579208)

    Quoting the letter...

    There is no mechanism inherent in the Linux development process to assure that intellectual property rights, confidentiality or security are protected. The Linux process does not prevent inclusion of code that has been stolen outright; or developed by improper use of proprietary methods and concepts.

    Wha-? What about, oh, openly distributed source code??

    Isn't SCO in the process of trying to protect its own IP right now? Does he expect us to believe that SCO discovered IBM's putative IP transgressions without looking at the Linux source code?

  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday November 27, 2003 @07:46PM (#7579262)
    ... they STOLE the precious... he LIES... nasty tricksey Linux developers... but they're his friends... but they keeps the precious for themselves... but they love Linus... but they stole the precious....
  • by mcc ( 14761 ) <amcclure@purdue.edu> on Thursday November 27, 2003 @07:53PM (#7579291) Homepage
    I certainly hope that RedHat has time to enter this letter as evidence in their lawsuit against SCO for Lanham Act [newsforge.com] violations.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday November 27, 2003 @08:36PM (#7579470)
    In their FAQ about buying a license [sco.com], question 45 recognizes the AT&T-Berkeley settlement:

    I am running BSD. Am I required to purchase a license?
    No, you do not need to purchase a SCO IP license to run BSD.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday November 27, 2003 @09:18PM (#7579643)
    Authored by: hanzie on Thursday, November 27 2003 @ 07:59 PM EST

    Daryl is not stupid.

    Could you have raised SCO's share price 1500% in less than a year. Could you have made SCO profitable? No way. The sheer fact that you're outraged shows you didn't have what it takes to build up a company which had, and still has, nothing.

    Could you have kept your face straight when telling that pack of lies, knowing that you were going to rake in millions by just blathering for a year?

    After 4 quarters, he's GONE. He's already made it to the third.

    McBride has a degree in Computer Science from BYU. He is as conversant with software as his detractors. His understanding of this case and it's personal ramifications are better known to him than anyone else on the planet, groklaw included. He has known longer than anyone else that his claims have absolutely no merit. Good heavens, he made them up. It wouldn't be possible to fabricate the lies SCO has told without knowing the truth.

    Daryl McBride will never be in court. He will be in the tropics long before any judgement can affect him. That has been the plan all along. He and the rest of the in-crowd are going to get their stock options and bonuses.

    Microsoft is going to foot the legal bill, again, and stall everything as long as they can. Every day of delay is several million in sales worldwide. Sales that are threatened by any viable competition.

    This was never SCO vs IBM. This has always been MS vs Linux.

    I imagine it went like this: McBride called up Gates and said "I can throw a wrench into Linux for at least a couple of years, mabye forever. It will cost about 20 Million up front and there's absolutely no risk to MS. You'll probably even make money on the scheme itself. Are you in?"

    And Daryl was in Seattle three hours later.

    The rest is currently unfolding history.

  • by theolein ( 316044 ) on Thursday November 27, 2003 @09:20PM (#7579655) Journal
    SCO telling IBM about the software design process is like someone telling a Bedouin about sand or a fish about water.
  • by El ( 94934 ) on Thursday November 27, 2003 @11:21PM (#7580059)
    This letter implies then, that SCO is indemnifying all it's customers if the gcc and Samba that adds most of the value to their OS contains somebody else's "intellectual property"? And that they've put this code through a rigorous screening process, which somehow the Linux kernel hasn't gone through? That seems somewhat doubtful, seeing as how they themselves were providing customers with the same Linux kernel they now claim is infringing. And what's with "intellectual property and other rights"??? Are they refering to patents? No, they have no Unix patents. Are they refering to trademarks? No, they don't own the Unix trademark. Here's an idea: if you mean "copyrights", why not just say "copyrights"? Also, they claim to have suspended all Linux activity back in March -- aren't they still distributing it?
  • by cdn-programmer ( 468978 ) <terrNO@SPAMterralogic.net> on Thursday November 27, 2003 @11:27PM (#7580071)

    IMHO anyone interested in this case should read the George Harrison vs the Chiffon's copyright judgment over the song My Sweet Lord and He's so fine

    You can find it here THE "MY SWEET LORD"/"HE'S SO FINE" PLAGIARISM SUIT [vwh.net]

    First off - I did not pay any attention to this when it was in the news. I am not a beatle fan nor a Chiffon fan. So probably I'm impartial.

    To summarize the summary, the judge in the case held that Harrison may have "subconciously" copied the notes. Personally I think the judge had a grudge. I see so little similarity between these songs that noone will convince me there is plagerism here.

    Music is a combination of structure, rhythm and lyrics and in this case, there are differences in all three areas.

    So the case basically illustrates the nature of an artist being permanently tainted by something he inavertantly hears. The question that must be asked is if a programmer can be permanently tainted by what he sees.

    If as is claimed, many of the programmers who worked on Linux also worked on unix then one might be able to argue that some of their ideas were a subconcious memory of the code they saw before and that hense, the new work is really derived.

    This would mean that any programmer who takes a job jeopardises his freedom to write programs for as long as he lives. This would mean that any writer who reads might somehow jeopardise his freedom to write since his new works might somehow bear some obscure resemblance to something he might inadvertantly have read perhaps years before.

    This issue here is that the programmer has a much harder problem to contend with because not only must he NOT write the same code as he might have seen before, that code must in fact work in a similar or identical fashion as the code that came before.

    On the other hand, this hypothesis brings into question the issue of whether SCO's System V code is in fact plagerizm free. Clearly as ESR has demonstrated large portions of System V were derived from BSD and not only this, AT&T blatently removed the attributions from a lot of BSD code and ignored the BSD copyrights when they included it into System V. Effectivly AT&T tried to steal other people's Intellectual Property.

    So what SCO has to understand is that it cuts both ways. If SCO has any claim on Linux then it will be perfectly clear that the developers of UNIX who did not work for AT&T have the same claim on SCO's claimed Intellectual Property.

    This means that SCO should be vulnerable to law suits where they claim IP in derived works of others and these claims should be enforcable even though the code was released under the BSD license.

    If you go to ESR's website and read the analysis of the example code that SCO released, then you can see very clearly that as ESR says, the code in System V was derived from a common ancestor. Since this is the case SCO cannot control it. Authors have the right to control the character of the derived works as well as what it is used for. This right prevents people from perverting the intended purpose of the original work. An example of a pervertion might be to turn Mickey Mouse into a porn star.

    Clearly SCO is trying to pervert the intent of the BSD licening with this law suit. The free nature of the software the original Unix developers created is part of their intellectual property. That SCO is attempting to do now what AT&T tried to do years ago is blatently apparent.

    Part of the reason AT&T lost is because they tried to steal other people's work and present it as their own (through the removal of the attributions). Not only this, AT&T then tried to prevent the original authors from being able to use their own work. How is this any different here? If any significant amount of the code SCO lays claim to is in fact derived from other people's work, then SCO lays themselves wide open. Perhaps this is why they won't release any "evidence".

    • by Ath ( 643782 ) on Friday November 28, 2003 @04:32AM (#7580817)
      I do not think this is a real problem. In the Harrison vs. Chiffons case, it was addressing a specific combination of musical notes. Copyright is limited to the expression and not the result.

      SCO is not suing anyone for copyright infringement, despite the stupidity of Darl McBride's letter and his numerous other ramblings. The obfuscation and derivative arguments from SCO are not copyright arguments. They are arguments about potential contractual violations from IBM. It is the contract between IBM and AT&T (now SCO) that has the derivative works restriction.

      The fact is, you can create duplications of software all day long and you won't violate any copyrights if you are creating your own source code. You may violate other things like trademarks or contractual restrictions you had from the original company, but you won't violate a copyright.

      The Harrison case, therefore, is completely inapplicable to the original SCO vs. IBM case. As I understand it, IBM did counterclaim that SCO had violated IBM copyrights by taking copyrighted code and incorporating it into SCO's Unix distribution and/or Caldera's Linux distribution.

      SCO's underlying problem is that they sued IBM for one thing and then have a PR program in place complaining about an entirely different thing. Now the two things have gotten jumbled together.
  • by Pizaz ( 594643 ) on Friday November 28, 2003 @01:28AM (#7580370)
    "We believe that Linux is, in material part, an unauthorized derivative of UNIX."

    Wow, that argument sounds allot harsher than the argument that Linux simply contains "some" copyrighted code. They also say "We have evidence that portions of UNIX System V software code have been copied into Linux and that additional other portions of UNIX System V software code have been modified and copied into Linux, seemingly for the purposes of obfuscating their original source."

    That is some scary language if you ask me. I mean seriously, what if the courts uphold that if a programmer who used to work on a particular program for another company then works on a similar program (especially if the specific aspects that he coded for both are the same) for another organization is illegal?

    To put it another way, if I used to work as an engineer for Company "A" writing C++ compilers and then I leave to work for Company "B" also writing C++ compilers... clearly some of my code for Company Y is going to look similar. In part, its due to the style ive learned over the yewars and in part, its due to what I learned while working for Company "A." If what I learned about writing compilers at Company "A" is classified as a "trade secret" or "technology" that I "invented" while under their employment... then in a legal sense, I can almost make sense of it.

    Will anyone shed some light on this type of situation?
    -PizaZ
  • by nagora ( 177841 ) on Friday November 28, 2003 @05:43AM (#7581041)

    In the last year I have been involved with a company run by a man as dishonest as McBride. He literally stole a dozen computers and all the software and data on them. When the police came he simply lied to them and said they were his.

    In addition he has been publishing material writen by and for our company with our copyright notice on every page but with a little sticker over the copyright notice on the first page. When copyright law was invoked he simply lied and said we had given him permission to do this.

    The law will eventually grind around to dealing with this but by then he will have declared himself bankrupt (all his assets are in his wife's name) and moved on to his next crime.

    What this has shown me is that the law is very ill-equipped to handle someone who, like McBride, is totally dishonest and prepared to say anything with no shame or morallity nor any interest in how it affects other peoples' lives. Quite simply, it takes a lot more time and effort to stop bastards like this than they have to expend to make money this way; their part is easy.

    But then, I suppose, if stealing things wasn't easier than getting your own people like McBride wouldn't bother doing it.

    TWW

PURGE COMPLETE.

Working...