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EV1Servers.Net's CEO Regrets SCO Deal 474

spafbnerf writes "Everyone Internet's CEO Robert Marsh, when asked his feelings about the SCO deal almost a month ago responds: 'Would I do it again? No. I'll go on the record as saying that,' Marsh said. 'I certainly know a lot more today than I knew a month ago, in a lot of respects.'"
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EV1Servers.Net's CEO Regrets SCO Deal

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  • Admirable. (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Quasar1999 ( 520073 ) on Friday March 26, 2004 @02:08PM (#8681571) Journal
    Someone coming out and admitting he made a mistake, but at the time was trying to do the best for his company deserves respect. We need more people like that in the industry!
    • Re:Admirable. (Score:5, Insightful)

      by EvilTwinSkippy ( 112490 ) <[yoda] [at] [etoyoc.com]> on Friday March 26, 2004 @02:09PM (#8681598) Homepage Journal
      Amen to that.

      Though far more valuable would be folks who can spot trouble BEFORE you ink a deal.

      • The thing is (Score:5, Insightful)

        by Simon Carr ( 1788 ) <slashdot.org@simoncarr.com> on Friday March 26, 2004 @02:30PM (#8681901) Homepage
        I don't know if he saw that SCO would whore their name out like that. I think at the time he was concerned, probably got one of those "letters", inked the deal because it would be cheaper than a legal battle, and then got a public teabagging from SCO.

        Basically SCO has humiliated one of it's new customers in public, which again is telling of the way they do business. And I'm sure that wasn't part of the bargain.

        Don't pay, get sued. Pay and get pimped out as a public relations hooker for SCO's legitimacy campaign. Hmm, choices choices!

        note: I've had dealings with EV1 through customers. They provide a pretty ok service for the cost I'd say. Just for reference.
        • Re:The thing is (Score:5, Insightful)

          by B'Trey ( 111263 ) on Friday March 26, 2004 @02:35PM (#8681953)
          It seems as though the strategy backfired on SCO, however. This turned into a public relations nightmare for EV1. If you were CEO of a corporation , would you be willing to take out a license from SCO now? SCO has almost single handedly sunk their chances of making any money from licensing deals. It's questionable if they ever intended to make significant money from it, but, absent a compelling victory in court, they certainly won't now.
          • Re:The thing is (Score:5, Insightful)

            by EvilAlien ( 133134 ) on Friday March 26, 2004 @03:30PM (#8682615) Journal
            Why do we keep assuming, all available evidence to the contrary, that SCO's strategies have anything to do with running a successful business?

            Perhaps their strategy is to horribly fail at every they do for some unknown reason. Perhaps failing horribly in the face of the "Linux threat" will help substantiate their damage claims... "Your Honor, see all this evidence of how Linux has damaged us? How could we possibly compete against these Open Source Terrorists who are 1000x smarter than we are?"

            How does changing our expectations and assumptions in turn change our ability to understand and predict SCO's corporate behavior?

            • Re:The thing is (Score:5, Interesting)

              by coolerthanmilk ( 312282 ) on Friday March 26, 2004 @04:27PM (#8683476)

              Why do we keep assuming, all available evidence to the contrary, that SCO's strategies have anything to do with running a successful business?

              Perhaps their strategy is to horribly fail at every they do for some unknown reason.

              Maybe Darl has watched The Producers one too many times. Just replace the rich little old ladies with companies and making out with...um...corporate making out. Then when everything fails quickly, they make off with a bunch of cash. The only thing that could mess up their plan is for SCO to do something as ridiculous as Springtime for Hitler and be successful for their how-can-they-be-so-stupid entertainment value...

              On second thought, maybe he should have watched The Producers one more time.
          • Re:The thing is (Score:4, Interesting)

            by justins ( 80659 ) on Friday March 26, 2004 @04:46PM (#8683750) Homepage Journal
            If you were CEO of a corporation , would you be willing to take out a license from SCO now?

            With a strict confidentiality clause, why not? I'm not advocating that, but it at least seems possible.
        • Re:The thing is (Score:5, Insightful)

          by Xenographic ( 557057 ) on Friday March 26, 2004 @02:42PM (#8682032) Journal
          The irony is that people who have done business with SCO seem to be in more danger, not less, from SCO.

          Thus far, SCO doesn't seem comfortable suing anyone for copyright issues alone; they have only sued people who they could complain were breaching some contract with them.

          For all the sound & fury, the wisest course of action these days seems to be not to do any business whatsoever with SCO.

          Of course, I am not a lawyer...
          • Re:The thing is (Score:5, Informative)

            by Xenographic ( 557057 ) on Friday March 26, 2004 @03:01PM (#8682277) Journal
            I know that this is slashdot, but I would like to substantiate my statements. Otherwise, I would be doing nothing but rumormongering, and I do have evidence to back my claims.

            I believe that it's common knowledge that SCO's disputes with IBM and Novell both hinge largely upon the various contracts between the parties. In fact, you can read the claims and counter claims in both cases at Groklaw [groklaw.net]. What many don't seem to realize that both DaimlerChrystler and Autozone had contractual relations with SCO. This only goes to show you that SCO apparently is unwilling to try any case at this juncture which rests only upon the merits of their IP claims...

            Speaking of which, you can find corroboration here on Groklaw [groklaw.net], because I do not expect you to just take my word for it.
      • by MooseByte ( 751829 ) on Friday March 26, 2004 @03:00PM (#8682260)

        "Though far more valuable would be folks who can spot trouble BEFORE you ink a deal."

        Poor guy must've done his SCO searches on MSN.com....

      • Re:Admirable. (Score:5, Interesting)

        by lordkimbot ( 631248 ) on Friday March 26, 2004 @03:05PM (#8682332) Homepage
        Lame. You are in the hosting business, immersed in the day-to-day use of systems, and you hadn't thought through your decision, and the possible repercussions, perceptions and reactions?

        I don't believe it at all. He's playing both sides of the fence, now. I have even less respect for the guy. I think he underestimated the backlash and he's hoping to have it both ways. I took my hosting elsewhere. Won't have it. Nope.

        Look, if he was that concerned he would have brought it up in some form of public forum, at least, prior to doing the deal. Wasn't his company already a Microsoft Server poster child?

        Lame. Sorry. My opinion.
        • Re:Admirable. (Score:4, Insightful)

          by Lizard_King ( 149713 ) on Friday March 26, 2004 @03:43PM (#8682803) Journal
          I took my hosting elsewhere. Won't have it. Nope.


          Wasn't his company already a Microsoft Server poster child?

          Why didn't you take your business elsewhere when you found out this was an MS shop? Didn't you do your research before you chose a hosting solution?

        • Re:Admirable. (Score:5, Insightful)

          by DarkOx ( 621550 ) on Friday March 26, 2004 @04:30PM (#8683520) Journal
          I think you are being overly hard on him. He is basicly acting to protect himself and his own something most people would do.

          SCO is behaving just like the Mob once did in this country, still does to some degree, and continues to do other places about the world. SCO is basicly asking you to pay for protection. The situation is simple we will indemnify you from everone else if you pay up, however if you don't pay you also have more to fear from us then anyone else. People pay the guys who collect from the mob because they know the law can't protect them. The law has so far failed to do anything about the threat from SCO, so its a reasonble to feel like if SCO is threating you its something you need to deal with or bad things could befall you business. Its not so easy to sit back and call BS on SCO when you are the victim of their campaign of terror. So sure he paied up and kept quiet about it untill two things happened. One it began to look more and more like SCO really is just a paper tiger the law can protect him and two SCO began to inflict exactly the kind of abuse he paid them not to do apon him.
          I think the backlash falls perfectly into this analogy as well. People are peeved at him because by paying off the Mob/SCO he is infact supporting and encoraging the criminal element that every one else on the block is so afraid of wether they admit it or not and further endangering those who chose not to play ball.
          Now the man is feeling a bit safer and can understand and appreciate the cries and resoning of other. He wants to defect to our side. I am not saying we should be fool hardy and welcome him with open arms, he still could proove to be in SCOs poket, but I think its unfair to turn him away as well. Its also stupid to trun him away when we need all the alies we can get, and his most recent statements are potentially very damaging to SCOs strategy.
    • by jcain ( 765708 )
      Unfortunately programming cannot be substituted for sex.

      I'll just get back to programming now...
    • Re:Admirable. (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward on Friday March 26, 2004 @02:11PM (#8681625)
      No, he paid the danegeld. Now he's trying to say, oh that was a mistake. If he doesn't want us to think of him as a big pansy, he needs to not only say it was a mistake, but to break the contract, sue SCO, and actually have some balls. Not pay the extortion and then say "oh, woe is me."
      • Re:Admirable. (Score:5, Insightful)

        by Safety Cap ( 253500 ) on Friday March 26, 2004 @02:28PM (#8681866) Homepage Journal
        ~ but to break the contract ~.
        He can't; he already bought the license, and it is "non-refundable." That's like downloading Britney's "Toxic" from iTunes, then coming to your senses and trying to get your money back.
        ~ sue SCO ~.
        For what? The "puce defense"?
        • by Mateito ( 746185 ) on Friday March 26, 2004 @02:52PM (#8682123) Homepage
          > That's like downloading Britney's "Toxic" from iTunes
          > then coming to your senses and trying to get your money back.

          Obviously, that's why you should only download Britney's "Toxic" from Kaaza.

        • Re:Admirable. (Score:5, Interesting)

          by David Hume ( 200499 ) on Friday March 26, 2004 @03:31PM (#8682626) Homepage

          ~ but to break the contract ~.

          He can't; he already bought the license, and it is "non-refundable." That's like downloading Britney's "Toxic" from iTunes, then coming to your senses and trying to get your money back.

          Not quite. This is not like downloading a single song, and then trying to get your money back.

          How many servers does the license cover? How many versions of Linux does it allegedly cover? How long does it last?

          If Marsh really wants to demonstrate that he realizes that he made a mistake, and that he has switched sides, all he has to do is to publicly announce that he has deployed Linux in a manner not covered by the license.

      • Re:Admirable. (Score:3, Insightful)

        CEOs don't care about whether SCO is acting illegal or not, and they shouldn't. The only thing we pay them for is to protect the best interest of the company and their employees (usually the company comes before the employees).

        This looks like he was doing just that when he signed the deal. I'm not saying all CEOs out there should write a check to SCO now, but until there is direct evidence that SCO if full of crap, we can blame them for paying $1000 now to protect their companies against millions in po
      • Re:Admirable. (Score:5, Informative)

        by Anonymous Coward on Friday March 26, 2004 @02:36PM (#8681967)
        If he doesn't want us to think of him as a big pansy, he needs to ... actually have some balls.
        How about spending lots of money and a year in court [thewhir.com] to defend his company [ev1servers.net] from lawsuit-happy web host [cihost.com]? Robert Marsh said:
        "The true travesty is the way the legal system is. Complainants can file tons and tons of actions and the defendants, if they don't have the monetary resources to bombard the plaintiff, are taken advantage of in the court system. We were taken advantage of in this case because we will never recover all of our costs. We spent an excess of six figure defending this."
        The suit, brought by Texas-based C I Host, is with respect to a forum post containing "allegedly derogatory information" about them. It's obviously a ridiculous move from C I Host, but nonetheless, EV1 stood their ground rather than accepting the agressor's demands and settling out-of-court. That's standing up for something that he believes to be right regardless of cost -- not the cowardice you accuse him of.
      • Re:Admirable. (Score:5, Insightful)

        by GreyyGuy ( 91753 ) on Friday March 26, 2004 @02:44PM (#8682046)
        Break the contract? What? Turn around and say "I know I just gave you money, but please sue me and my customers anyways"?

        Sue SCO for what? Making public statements of them having reached an agreement?

        You want him to compound a bad decision by invalidating it, not getting the money back, and then spending more money on lawsuits? You wouldn't happen to be a competitor of EV1, would you?
      • Re:Admirable. (Score:5, Insightful)

        by Anonymous Coward on Friday March 26, 2004 @02:46PM (#8682072)
        The business lost so far to EV1 is only those who could move their sites immediately. There are many customers who are preparing to move their web sites to another host as soon as the new sites are properly set up, and tested. We will see more defections within the next few months from some of their larger clients.

        What Marsh needs to do at this point, to recover any semblance of honesty, is come clean. We all forgive mistakes, because we all make them. But the perception here is that his decision was not simply a mistake. He needs to go public with whatever deals or concessions were offered by Darl McBride, in who's company he was seen just prior to the decision. He needs to clarify the MS stance, and any concessions offered by MS on licensing. If any other third party was invloved, he needs to make it known, and documented.

        If he is concerned about any legal contract issues, it is quite possible to remove himself and EV1 from these due to the environment. A contract is not a suicide agreement. He can easily prove that abiding by terms of any contracts/agreements in this case are having a deleterious effect on their business.

        Mr Marsh, we await your next move.
      • Re:Admirable. (Score:5, Insightful)

        by GOD_ALMIGHTY ( 17678 ) <curt.johnsonNO@SPAMgmail.com> on Friday March 26, 2004 @02:47PM (#8682078) Homepage
        How is this insightful?

        Some small to midsized business owner who was trying to keep his company out of court and the expenses involved should now take up your pet cause and risk the jobs of his employees as well as the future of his company?

        As much as I dislike SCO and their actions, I don't expect this much dedication out of someone who is essentially collateral damage. Leave the poor guy alone.

        Seeing someone post this anonymously and complaining that this guy, who publicly apologized, doesn't have balls is a bit hypocritical.
    • by Junior J. Junior III ( 192702 ) on Friday March 26, 2004 @02:11PM (#8681630) Homepage
      ...And it's not even April First. How about that?
    • Re:Admirable. (Score:3, Informative)

      by LostCluster ( 625375 ) *
      SCO is in the business of making fools out of people. Marsh was convinced that if he didn't do this deal, his company would be sued by SCO. He made the decision that signing the deal would be better for his company, but he didn't quite realize what the fallout from the deal would be. Now that he's seen the outcome of his decision, he admits he would have chosen the other path.
      • Re:Admirable. (Score:5, Interesting)

        by Xenographic ( 557057 ) on Friday March 26, 2004 @02:30PM (#8681894) Journal
        True. SCO has been known to sink pretty low (read my sig/journal...). This only reinforces the fact that being one of SCO's customers puts you at more risk than anything else.

        If you read the lawsuits, thus far, they have only sued people they had business deals with, and even then their main causes of action stem from the contracts they've had with these other businesses. I'm sure that that's not the message SCO intends to send, but they're very good at shooting themselves in the foot...

        In the mean time, here's this same story at Groklaw. [groklaw.net]
    • Re:Admirable. (Score:5, Insightful)

      by SphericalCrusher ( 739397 ) on Friday March 26, 2004 @02:13PM (#8681649) Journal
      Eh, still he should have looked over what he did before he did it. More mistakes lead to company failure, but at least he admitted it though. Takes a real man to do that.
    • Re:Admirable. (Score:5, Insightful)

      by tribulation2004 ( 751416 ) on Friday March 26, 2004 @02:22PM (#8681787)
      I disagree. Someone who lets down his shareholder by not fully researching an expense like this ahead of time does not deserve anyone's respect.

      Furthermore, odds are that he is he is now saying he made a mistake to try to cut down on the backlash against his company, not because he genuinely thinks he made a mistake.

      EV1 is guilty of trying to piggyback on the SCO case to build marketshare - marketshare that would come from other similarly-uninformed companies. The only reason they are sorry now is the backlash, when really, they should be apologizing for ethical reasons.
      • Re:Admirable. (Score:5, Insightful)

        by MoneyT ( 548795 ) on Friday March 26, 2004 @02:27PM (#8681854) Journal
        How do you know he isn't apologising for ethical reasons? You're assuming that he's trying to cut bacck on backlash and that he doesn't honestly believe he made a mistake of huge proportions and he's sorry for it.
      • Re:Admirable. (Score:5, Insightful)

        by Issue9mm ( 97360 ) on Friday March 26, 2004 @03:17PM (#8682486)
        First of all, I think it was a dumb, bone-headed, overtly stupid move, and I think he rues the day that it ever got out in public that he was in bed with SCO.

        However, as a FORMER long-time customer of EV1 (I moved to serverbeach shortly after the announcement), I believe that "headsurfer" (CEO of ev1) tends to genuinely speak from the heart. He posts on the ev1 messageboard (and the rackshack board before that), and makes obviously unedited statements (replete with grammatical errors and what appear to be heartfelt sentiments).

        I don't believe he puts much corporate spin on anything, and really kind of views his business as a mom&pop shop. In a lot of ways, it's really run like that too. It's endearing, and despite my having left ev1, they had never done me wrong as a customer.

        It's one of the few companies you don't have to be quite as cynical about. Whether that's for better or worse, I'm not educated enough to say.

    • Re:Admirable. (Score:5, Informative)

      by spellraiser ( 764337 ) on Friday March 26, 2004 @02:24PM (#8681813) Journal

      Yup, admirable; not at least because of this:

      The big loser in this matter may be SCO, said Dion Cornett, an analyst with Decatur Jones Equity Partners LLC, an equity research firm based in Chicago. Having their first publicly announced customer express second thoughts over the deal so soon after its announcement may make it difficult for SCO to sign up other customers, he said.

      Finally something positive concerning SCO on slashdot!

    • by Erbo ( 384 ) <.amygalert. .at. .gmail.com.> on Friday March 26, 2004 @02:42PM (#8682025) Homepage Journal
      So then, does Mr. Marsh expect absolution from the Linux community?

      Well, that word "absolution" contains another word that's equally important: "solution." What's he doing to try and actually solve this problem?

      Mr. Marsh: A very good solution would be to (a) demand your money back for that high-priced toilet paper that SCO calls "IP licenses," and (b) sue them for fraud and/or extortion. If you want some background to show that what SCO is doing to you is indeed fraud and/or extortion, this [groklaw.net] is a good place to start.

      Until then, no amount of whining you do about how you "regret" the deal will convince anyone to grant you absolution. That's not to say that absolution is impossible; you just have to do the right thing first.

      • by gaijin99 ( 143693 ) on Friday March 26, 2004 @03:28PM (#8682591) Journal
        Another Spider Robinson fan!

        Also, more on topic, I think you're on the right track here. Simply admitting that he made a mistake is not enough. He may not be able to get his money back but if he truly does wish that he hadn't done business with SCO he could at least terminate his license with them. Suing SCO for fraud or extortion might be nice, but probably too expensive. With MS backing them SCO can afford a *lot* more lawyers than a lowly webhost can.

        OTOH, if everyone who got one of SCO's "pay us or we sue you" letters sued them for extortion it'd force SCO to hemorage a lot of money on the legal defense. Kind of like a DOS of legal filings. I'm certainly not a lawyer, but doesn't threatening lawsuits on false grounds count as extortion? Since they've sent letters to people outside Utah, can't we get the RICO act in on this?

      • by f0rt0r ( 636600 ) on Friday March 26, 2004 @03:34PM (#8682665)
        It's simple. He can't get out of the SCO contract. but by public stating that it is a bad deal, he is warning other companies not to make the same mistake. He could have not said anything at all, or simply apologized at a confidential board meeting. By making this public, he instantly made it incredible difficult for SCO to get any further business. I would say that is a solution to the problem we call SCO.
    • by mabu ( 178417 ) on Friday March 26, 2004 @02:57PM (#8682210)
      Someone coming out and admitting he made a mistake, but at the time was trying to do the best for his company deserves respect. We need more people like that in the industry!

      I know a guy in Nigeria that would really like to conduct business with you. Drop me your e-mail so I can forward his offer to you. He seems really down to earth and sincere as well. Your type of guy.
    • Re:Admirable. (Score:5, Interesting)

      by MagicBox ( 576175 ) on Friday March 26, 2004 @03:02PM (#8682286)
      I completely agree,

      We got the hate mail, we got the group of people who interpreted our agreement as validating SCO or endorsing SCO or any number of things

      But where is the fine line between a company's efforts to protect it's customers and business and move on as opposed to *endorsing* an evil company drawn?

      Before we rush into judging someone's actions, we should sit down and think about it. I am sure until the CEO of Everyone's internet *admitted* to have made a mistake, a lot of us thought he did it *ON PURPOSE* against the Open Source, and that he's just as evil as SCO, at a time when Everyone's infrastructure runs on open source

      Scaring people away just because they make a wrong move is not the way to go. Sending HATE mail and boycotting a business just because you don't agree with something they did is not the way to go. After all the guy's still using Linux as his main platform. Alienating him is just wrong.

      Trying to get the word out about what to *pay SCO licencing fees* means and why NOT TO PAY them is a better idea. Some people are scared, and act in desperation. I think the key is to get the word out, as much as possible and try to emphasise the importance of *sticking together*, and not get divided by the threat. Obviously paying money to SCO not only are you endorsing a stupid agenda, evil and useless, but you are also throwing your money in a black hole. Yes indeed you'll most likely get it back when this is all over, but why give it to the bastards in the first place?
    • by Saeed al-Sahaf ( 665390 ) on Friday March 26, 2004 @03:08PM (#8682359) Homepage
      And does SCO really care what EV1 says? SCO fucked 'em up the ass, got their jollies, left a present on the night stand, and has moved on to other FUD. As far as SCO is concerned, EV1 served their purpose, no suprise, EV1 feels dirty! And, I don't think SCO has ever actually planned to make money on the license business. Lastly, note that SCO stock is up today [yahoo.com].
  • by LostCluster ( 625375 ) * on Friday March 26, 2004 @02:08PM (#8681578)
    Robert Marsh is an honorable businessman. He did his deal with SCO, and abided by it thinking that it was in the best interest of his business to pay off SCO to get them to go away.

    And, it turns out SCO, in its usual behavior, spun the deal in a way that generated false rumors and is now trying to use EV1 as a model for future deals. The fact that Marsh is now telling the public that he is experiencing buyer's remorse should serve as a warning to all other hosting companies.
    • by EvilTwinSkippy ( 112490 ) <[yoda] [at] [etoyoc.com]> on Friday March 26, 2004 @02:16PM (#8681708) Homepage Journal
      I seem to recall an aphorism about laying down with dogs and contracting fleas. I feel for the guy, don't get me wrong. But it's like feeling sorry for the guy who sunk his retirement account into a Y2k bunker. Or better, actually fell for one of those 409 scammers.

      Yes it seemed like a good idea at the time. But the lesson of adulthood is that not everything is as it seems. (Cough). Iraq. (Cough).

      • by nahdude812 ( 88157 ) on Friday March 26, 2004 @02:28PM (#8681867) Homepage
        I seem to recall an aphorism about laying down with dogs and contracting fleas. I feel for the guy, don't get me wrong. But it's like feeling sorry for the guy who sunk his retirement account into a Y2k bunker. Or better, actually fell for one of those 409 scammers.

        Actually I do feel for those people, they work hard their entire life, and a single indiscretion costs them their entire life's accomplishments. The people who take advantage of such vulnerable individuals are predators, and maybe it was a really stupid thing to do, but it still cost the person everything they had.
    • It's business (Score:4, Insightful)

      by mao che minh ( 611166 ) on Friday March 26, 2004 @02:26PM (#8681837) Journal
      He inked the deal because he thought that in the long run it would save his company money. He is voicing this feign regret because he is now losing business.

      Have no illusions, Marsh is not some warrior fighting for righteousness, he is a business man, plain and simple. With this statement, Marsh was hoping to invoke the exact response that he invoked in you in a large part of the community (I.E. customers and potential customers) that he drove away a month ago.

    • by whoever57 ( 658626 ) on Friday March 26, 2004 @02:30PM (#8681896) Journal
      Robert Marsh is an honorable businessman. He did his deal with SCO, and abided by it thinking that it was in the best interest of his business to pay off SCO to get them to go away.
      He is clearly a businessman but I don't think the "honorable" part is validated by his recent behavior over the licenses. Consider that he had a number of choices:
      1. Insist that his deal remained totally secret.
      2. Refuse to deal with the extortionists.
      3. Assuming he negotiated a better license agreement, insist that he would be free to publicise the text of that.

      Just as businesses clearly have to pay off extortionists some times in order to survive, it may make business sense, but it is in no way "honorable".

      Furthermore, it was clearly his intent to attract customers on the basis that he could offer safety from SCO's lawsuits: else why not insist on complete secrecy? Thus he hoped to benefit from SCO's FUD and should therefore be considered complicit. The only possible alternative explanation is that he reduced his own cost by allowing EV1's name to be publicized by SCO: once again, in this scenario, he is knowingly attempting to benefit from SCO's FUD.

  • by ackthpt ( 218170 ) * on Friday March 26, 2004 @02:09PM (#8681581) Homepage Journal
    I'm I'm sure slashdotters were very subtle in their methods of convincing him the error of this ways...

    now what am I supposed to do with 10 gallons of tar and a sack of feathers?

  • by sTalking_Goat ( 670565 ) on Friday March 26, 2004 @02:09PM (#8681601) Homepage
    I wonder if he regrests it because he didn't anticipate the backlash, or because he just now understands that SCO is/was blowing smoke up his ass.
    • Possibly neither. It may be that he just wants to soften the negative publicity by public back-peddaling. It costs him nothing - he still has his deal with SCO but gets to portray himself as a hapless victim.
  • what's next? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by ezh ( 707373 ) on Friday March 26, 2004 @02:09PM (#8681602)
    IMHO there is no point talking about the past. The good question is what they will do about it.
  • Well (Score:5, Informative)

    by ResQuad ( 243184 ) <<moc.ketelosnok> <ta> <todhsals>> on Friday March 26, 2004 @02:09PM (#8681603) Homepage
    I personally think that people are too hard on him anyways. Its not like he is trying to perpetuate SCO's attack on the world, he was just trying to protect his company and his customers, thats decent to me.
  • by kneecarrot ( 646291 ) on Friday March 26, 2004 @02:10PM (#8681609)
    If I were an investor, I would be asking why Robert didn't take a week and educate himself before bowing to SCO.
    • by pubjames ( 468013 ) on Friday March 26, 2004 @02:15PM (#8681684)
      If I were an investor, I would be asking why Robert didn't take a week and educate himself before bowing to SCO.

      If I were an investor, I would be happy to have found a businessman who will admit to his mistakes.
    • by AvantLegion ( 595806 ) on Friday March 26, 2004 @02:16PM (#8681699) Journal
      Well if he investigated trade magazines and such at the time, he'd quite possibly get a reinforced notion that SCO's claims might have teeth.

      What's been said on Slashdot this whole time != what's been said elsewhere.

    • by LostCluster ( 625375 ) * on Friday March 26, 2004 @02:18PM (#8681725)
      He knew what SCO was, and what they had a reputation of doing. What he didn't know was the strength of the anti-SCO backlash, and how there's a tendancy to spread anti-SCO FUD that's just as bad as anything Darl does.

      People claimed that EV1 didn't like the OSS movement, truely thinks that SCO owns the IP, or other such nonsense. All EV1 did was sign a deal that prevents them from getting the lawsuit that apparently landed in AutoZone's lap.

      Yeah, they paid off the lawsuit extortionists, that's true. However, sometimes when you're running a business you have to make a decision you don't want to make for the safety of the business. Robert thought that he could explain that to the anti-SCO folks, but apparently those people didn't want to listen to him.
      • by theLOUDroom ( 556455 ) on Friday March 26, 2004 @02:53PM (#8682145)
        All EV1 did was sign a deal that prevents them from getting the lawsuit that apparently landed in AutoZone's lap.

        EV1 was using Redhat!
        Even if they DID get sued, Redhat would have indemnified them.

        What EV1 did was 100% stupid. Not only did it "cover" an issue that was already covered, it also opened them up to the possibility of a breech-of-contract lawsuit where none existed before.
  • But WHY? (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Snapple ( 3106 ) on Friday March 26, 2004 @02:10PM (#8681616) Homepage
    He says he regrets his decision.. but the bigger question is WHY does he regret it? The public backlash, the lack of evidence from SCO? Is this a PR spin, or something that directly affects his company.... Just a thought...
  • by cenonce ( 597067 ) <anthony_tNO@SPAMmac.com> on Friday March 26, 2004 @02:12PM (#8681643)

    why he is a CEO in the first place?

    Who makes a decision like that only to turn around a month later and say he would have done the exact opposite. If I were a shareholder, that wouldn't inspire confidence in my CEO... sheesh!


  • A customer's view (Score:5, Insightful)

    by fuzzy12345 ( 745891 ) on Friday March 26, 2004 @02:13PM (#8681655)
    I use EV1 Hosting. When I read the original announcement, I was disappointed, but I didn't switch. I'm too busy to mess with something that works.

    Some people said they didn't want Marsh using their money to fund SCO. Me, I don't care if he uses it to feed a massive cocaine addiction, AS LONG AS MY BOX AND HIS NETWORK ARE ROCK-SOLID.

    The poor guy did the deal thinking he was just buying something akin to fire insurance, and boy did he get burned.

    • Which is fine - as long as you yourself do not use Linux. That's the real issue here. Should you do business with a company like EV-1 who is supporting a company trying to destroy what might be running your company's DNS server?

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    • by mabu ( 178417 ) on Friday March 26, 2004 @02:28PM (#8681868)
      I use EV1 Hosting. When I read the original announcement, I was disappointed, but I didn't switch. I'm too busy to mess with something that works.

      Aye. Principals and integrity are way overrated these days, especially when enforcing them might slightly inconvenience you.
  • by idontgno ( 624372 ) on Friday March 26, 2004 @02:14PM (#8681668) Journal
    Everyone has a purpose in life.

    Yours is to be an example of what not to do, and why not to do it.

  • by Chmarr ( 18662 ) on Friday March 26, 2004 @02:15PM (#8681680)
    ev1servers.net features as one of Microsoft's case studies [microsoft.com]. It's possible that there's some kind of Microsoft/SCO/EV1Servers connection... so... look at all of this, including the 'announced regret' with a jaded eye.
  • by warlockgs ( 593818 ) on Friday March 26, 2004 @02:15PM (#8681690)
    However, he still made the decision to purchase the licenses and now he is in a contract with SCO. Now that SCO has him in a contract, they can (and judging by their previous actions, will) sue him if they feel he is in violation of said contract. Keep in mind all of the people they have sued thus far have been people that are or were contract holders.

    I hope he is not hosting any linux kernel source code or some such thing on any of his customers' websites, because I am sure that SCO will find a way to sue him for distributing their so-called intellectual property.

    Moving forward, this just goes to show why you don't ask advice from any old lawyer on technical law matters. You need a lawyer who understands what is going on out there in the tech world so you can make an informed decision regarding your business and not waste countless amounts of money into a black hole of litigation.
    • Any lawsuit that SCO files against his company will have to wait until the suit with IBM is done, and the actual ownership of Linux IP has been decided in court. Even if SCO does file suit, the judge in the case would probably put it on hold until the IBM suit is done.

      If it is found that SCO does not hold any rights to the Linux kernel, then the contract that EV1Servers entered into with SCO is invalid. I'm sure that EV1Servers would also have the right to file suit against SCO, for defrauding the compan

  • EV1 (Score:5, Insightful)

    by emtboy9 ( 99534 ) <jeff AT jefflane DOT org> on Friday March 26, 2004 @02:16PM (#8681692) Homepage
    The one thing that bugs me about this is that he did what he thought was best for his company. His job is ensuring the company's survival. Period. Ideals have a place and time, but ideals also do not put food on the table, pay the rent or mortgage, and do not ensure continued employment.

    Now do I think he made the right choice? No, I think the idea of purchasing licenses from SCO was dead wrong. But I do NOT think this because of some idealistic idea I have about the SCO IP thing. I think it was wrong simply because so far, the legitimacy of SCO's IP claims is seriously questionable. Were I in that postition, I would NOT be paying money based on IP claims that are still in dispute.

    That he did, is akin to me paying a license fee to Coca-Cola for use of the Pepsi formula. (assuming that Coke sued Pepsi claiming that Pepsi includes Coke's IP).

    As I said, he did what he felt was in the best interests of his company, which is exactly what his is paid to do. I still think it was the wrong decision, BUT to fault him, and berate the company merely on an idealistic viewpoint is also equally wrong.

    Its almost like people who refuse to buy a Honda because Honda is a Japanese car. Instead they spend money on a Ford (made with 80% foreign parts). They never stop to think that the Honda is built in Kentucky by American workers.
    • Re:EV1 (Score:3, Interesting)

      by dheltzel ( 558802 )
      The one thing that bugs me about this is that he did what he thought was best for his company. His job is ensuring the company's survival. Period.

      It's been said, "if you can't be a good example to others, at least be a good warning!"
      It looks like he's taking the warning part seriously. Maybe this whole thing will be a net loss for SCO, publicity wise. I doubt SCO will learn anything, but other companies should be concerned about any sort of legal or financial dealings with SCO in the future. In this in

  • by aclarke ( 307017 ) <spam.clarke@ca> on Friday March 26, 2004 @02:17PM (#8681717) Homepage
    My first response after reading the /. blurb was to ask what kind of CEO would decide to pay off SCO without understanding the issues. I figured they deserved whatever they got.

    Then I decided that everybody makes mistakes and this CEO is a remarkably candid and honest person for publicly admitting his mistake.

    THEN, I started reading the article, and came across this quote:

    Though Marsh admitted that EV1 has lost some hosting business since the deal, he said it is not out of line with the number of sites EV1 loses in a typical month.
    HELLO?!?!?! What kind of comment is that to make in an interview? "Well, we lose a lot of sites every month and this isn't any worse than usual". Hmm, interesting.

    THEN, I thought he'd redeemend himself with the next paragraph:

    On March 25, Internet research company Netcraft Ltd.'s Sites on the Move section reported that EV1 had lost 1,080 Web sites in the previous 30 days, but according to Marsh, a loss of 800 to 1,300 sites per month was normal for EV1. Because of new business, EV1 had experienced a net gain of more than 3,300 sites during the same period, he added.
    OK so that's a lot of churn, but it's still net growth. I can see his point, I guess.

    Of course, his next sentence was "We churn a lot of sites." What this guy needs is a PR consultant. I don't think going on record saying you have a lot of churn is the right way to "spin" things. Of course, the more important question is, why so much churn? It depends on their total numbers to see what kind of a percentage basis this is, but it seems disturbingly high in absolute number terms. It's something I'd consider before hosting my site there, anyway.

  • by DARKFORCE123 ( 525408 ) on Friday March 26, 2004 @02:18PM (#8681729)
    EV1Servers.Net's CEO Regrets SCO Deal

    ... Funny, thats what most people say after they make a deal with the Devil.

  • by The I Shing ( 700142 ) * on Friday March 26, 2004 @02:19PM (#8681738) Journal
    To borrow and edit a phrase from Jack Handey...
    It takes a big man to admit when he's made a mistake,
    and an even bigger man to rub that man's nose in it.
  • by wintermute42 ( 710554 ) on Friday March 26, 2004 @02:20PM (#8681750) Homepage

    As a number of posters have noted, EV1 has a CEO that actually admits that, knowing what he knows now, he would do something differently. But one of the motivating factors developing this understanding is the disapproval of the technology community.

    I've been wondering if public disapproval, which has been so effective in this case, could work when it comes to moving technology jobs to low wage countries like India and China.

    There was a big union movement that came out of the Great Depression. A lot of people would do their best to buy union made goods. Certainly HP must have felt some heat from their CEOs rather ill advised comments (something like "Hey no one said you have any right to a job"). If US corporations felt that their sales were being hurt by a "Buy American" campaign they would change their behavior.

    Of course there is an obvious problem with this argument: in the case of EV1 there are many hosting providers to choose from who have not signed up with the evil SCO. But when it comes to "Buying American" it is difficult to find any multinational that is not moving technology jobs overseas. So who are you going to buy from?

    Still, I think that public shame might have some effect. John Kerry's remarks about "Benedict Arnold CEOs" who take advantage of what the United States provides while giving little back, for example.

  • by genner ( 694963 ) on Friday March 26, 2004 @02:20PM (#8681752)
    I for one welcome our regretful CEO overlords.
  • by product byproduct ( 628318 ) on Friday March 26, 2004 @02:20PM (#8681758)
    If SCO asks 5000 companies to make a deal, and each has a 1/1000 probability of accepting (because they rush their decisions or don't know much), you still expect a handful to accept.

    EV1Servers.net's CEO should have wondered why all the 4999 other companies aren't making a deal. I guess there's a 1/1000 chance this questioning wouldn't occur to them.
  • Pop Quiz (Score:5, Insightful)

    by SuperBanana ( 662181 ) on Friday March 26, 2004 @02:22PM (#8681780)

    Which of the following people used the following argument to justify their actions:

    "Gee, I'm sorry, I didn't know any better"

    • a)Martha Stewart
    • b)Ken Lay
    • c)Dennis Kozlowski
    • d)George Bush
    • e)all of the above

    Executive officers of companies take no end of credit for their brilliance when their business does well(despite it being almost entirely out of their hands) but the second something bad happens, will say "shucks, it wasn't me" or "I dunno" or "oops". Folks- he should be fired by their board, or(gasp) take a pay cut, for the damage he's done by ignoring clearly obvious publicity problems the deal would generate.

    It's interesting to note that in Japan, if a high-ranking company official makes a major blunder or is incompetent, they resign with a public apology(taking responsibility) or take a voluntary pay cut. American CEOs and execs can demonstrate no end of incompetence and take pay raises, huge stock deals...or get enormous golden parachutes. They commit massive fraud and get away with a fine that is barely 10% of the profits they made, or maybe a few weeks in some state-run all-inclusive country club.

  • by tannhaus ( 152710 ) on Friday March 26, 2004 @02:24PM (#8681810) Homepage Journal
    This is a business man folks. This is business.

    1. Pay up. Support the other side. Get the licenses.

    2. Say you're sorry for doing so. Your money STILL supports the other side...you STILL have the licenses...but now you can get pity from this side.

    Best of both worlds.

    No, not gonna happen. Until those licenses are null and void, I'll never send ev1 a penny of my money. SCO claimed this was a million dollar deal. Even if it was only 10,000 you can bet Robert Marsh knew EXACTLY what he was doing. He's just trying to keep his customers after doing EXACTLY what he wanted to do.

    If you pity this man after this "confession" then you're the one that deserves the pity. He's making a fool out of you twice.
  • by DoctorMabuse ( 456736 ) * on Friday March 26, 2004 @02:26PM (#8681834) Homepage
    It comes from the realization that by paying, you have encouraged the criminal to repeat this sort of behavior.

    The best thing everyone can do is to totally ignore SCO's demands for money.
  • No Harm Meant (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Grimster ( 127581 ) on Friday March 26, 2004 @02:27PM (#8681856) Homepage
    Disclosure - I spent 4 days in Houston in the Sheraton on Robert's dime, got to go to the Houston bowl and party in his box, tour EV1 and some other goodies. I've met and talked to Robert and personally I like the man so call me biased if you want.

    Robert honestly thought he was doing a good thing, he hasn't went into details but basically SCO came knocking and when the dust settled it was cheaper to just pay them and let it be, than to fight them.

    Robert's not afraid to fight if he has to, he recently won a judgement against everyone's (in the hosting industry anyway) least favorite litigious bastards (er bitch?). But I think he simply felt like buying the stupid licenses was cheapest and easiest.

    Then I think he made his big mistake (not that buying them wasn't) and SCO basically either said "hey free advertising we'll just mention this in a press release, and people will see your url EVERYWHERE" OR they simply said "part of the agreement is we name names like it or not" I'm not sure which way it went, but allowing SCO to publicly state they bought a license was the big mistake.

    No one knows for sure who might have quietly bought licenses so far, but letting SCO publicly display the fact you buy a license is definitely a big bad idea.
  • Texas Chief Execs (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Doc Ruby ( 173196 ) on Friday March 26, 2004 @02:28PM (#8681869) Homepage Journal
    Classic craven executive behavior: when the chief exec of EV1Servers faces a puffed-up SCO, he caves. When he faces hate mail for caving, he caves to them. SCO can't revoke his BS license for whining about it, and haters can't do anything at all. This guy is a complete clown - I wouldn't trust him as accountable if anything ever happened to my site he was hosting.
    • Well, he's been hosting my site for close to a year now, and I can't hold him accountable for anything breaking on my server because, well, nothing has broken.

      It's that kind of track record that his business runs on. They don't make any SLA pledge that you're server won't totally fall apart, but they just have a volume of customers whose servers haven't fallen apart in the past.
  • by lhpineapple ( 468516 ) on Friday March 26, 2004 @02:31PM (#8681903)
    "I certainly know a lot more today than I knew a month ago, in a lot of respects."

    What he really meant to say was this, without the sarcasm...

    Cecil: Goodness, I had no idea, for you see I have been on Mars for the last decade, in a cave, with my eyes shut and my fingers in my ears.

    4F14 - Brother From Another Series [lardlad.com]
  • by mabu ( 178417 ) on Friday March 26, 2004 @02:31PM (#8681906)
    Can we take advantage of this issue to get some of EV1's competition to come forward and state they will give EV1's customers a better deal and help migrate them over? Along with a pledge they won't pander to SCO's obnoxious extortion?
  • by ralf1 ( 718128 ) on Friday March 26, 2004 @02:31PM (#8681915)
    He's paid off SCO, so no threat of a suit (and the accompanying legal bills) but now gets to trash SCO publicly to his hearts content with no repercussions. If he's smart he'd come out and say he paid off SCO so he could slam then later. This could be the best thing for the anti-SCO folks that could have happened.
  • by WindBourne ( 631190 ) on Friday March 26, 2004 @02:39PM (#8682008) Journal
    If I were a rackshack customer, I would still move out. Disregard the higher costs. Now that they have the agreement with SCO, they are quite a bit more elgible for a suit against them and their customers. All suits that SCO has filed has been against past customers, not against unrelated ones.
  • by ph4s3 ( 634087 ) on Friday March 26, 2004 @02:45PM (#8682057)
    I've seen countless people saying 'why didn't he explore the issues' blah blah blah before signing on with SCO. What they neglect to consider is that as a for-profit business, the company's role is not to care about the issues, but decide which is going to cost more, signing the contract (and suffering the resulting backlash) or getting their asses sued so they can make a stand on principals. As they don't have IBM's warchest of cash and IP for cross-licensing deals I think he chose the right course of action.

    Instead of a poorly informed CEO making a bad decision and in need of a PR guy, this looks to me like he made the right decision for the bottom line (no more churn than normal after the announcement) to the company and now he's paying lip-service to the user community so he can perhaps lower his already "normal" ratio of sites lost to sites gained.

    All in all, looks like a win-win. Covered from the law suits and now looking like he agrees with the anti-SCO crowd.

    Looks like he's got his cake and gets to eat it too.
  • by mflaster ( 702697 ) on Friday March 26, 2004 @02:48PM (#8682096)
    Dear Corporate Executive:

    I am writing to inform you of a potentially serious situation. I represent a company with a very large and well-funded legal department, hereafter referred to as "Your Worst Nightmare." YWN may or may not possess significant amounts of Intellectual Property ("IP"). Said "IP" may contain, but is not limited to, patents, copyrights, trademarks, trade secrets, methods, know-how, information, thoughts, and/or beliefs. It is YWN's strong, steadfast conviction that you personally, your company as a whole, all of your company's customers, and your entire board of directors and their families may or may not have willfully and deliberately committed acts in direct violation of our "IP rights". YWN has a fiduciary responsibility to protect any and all rights that it may or may not possess, and is therefore writing this letter to appraise you of the situation.

    Despite the ironclad position based on overwhelming indisputable evidence that may have been presented in this letter, YWN is very reasonable. YWN believes that you represent an honest, American, patriotic company, not a bunch of communist hippies that want to steal YWN's "IP rights", completely contrary to the Constitution of the United States of America. In order to avoid a potentially ugly situation, which may or may not involve multiple lawsuits, damaging press releases, and unpleasant medical exams, LWN proposes the following solution. Please forward us a check for $1,000,000^H^H^H^H^H^H $250,000^H^H^H^H^H^H^H $10,000 as a token of your gull^H^H^H^H sincerity. Please identify yourself on the face of your check with your company name, and any "IP rights" you think you may be violating.

    Thank you in advance.

    A Faceless Lawyer in a Sea of Litigators

  • Analysis (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Proteus ( 1926 ) on Friday March 26, 2004 @02:58PM (#8682235) Homepage Journal
    I'm reading a lot of supposition on this person's intentions. It ranges from "it's nice to see a guy admit his mistake" to "he's just saying this to cut back on the public backlash".

    What I haven't seen is anything along these lines:
    1. Avoid lawsuit by buying SCO licenses, knowing full well they have no standing ("cut losses").
    2. Wait for SCO to advertise the deal
    3. Publicly smack SCO for forcing their hand, making SCO lose serious credibility points and making it painfully clear that EV1 never thought SCO actually had legal standing.
    4. Gamble that SCO will lose the "mother lawsuit" and then sue them for selling licenses to a product they had no right to license.

    Sounds like a gamble, but a good way to nail the coffin of SCO if/when they lose; also a great way to send a message to anyone else that might try these SCO tactics.
  • by tannhaus ( 152710 ) on Friday March 26, 2004 @03:00PM (#8682249) Homepage Journal
    Ok...we're not naive. Whether this deal was for $10,000 or 6 figures as SCO claimed, we realize it wasn't something done hastily and overnight. They thought this one out. However, this is also something I think they thought out:

    1. Let SCO use you as their poster child. Any company that is illeducated, wants to use linux, but is afraid of SCO now comes right to your doorstep.

    2. This WILL hit slashdot. Face it....you have a product for geeks. SCO is geek enemy #1. This is going to generate LOTS of traffic to your site....LOTS of geeks will be talking about your company.

    3. A month later, after you've gotten your share of customers that are afraid of SCO, announce that you're sorry and that SCO is a bunch of bad people. You KNOW the story will hit slashdot.

    Now what happens? The slashdot crowd starts feeling sorry for you....and all that advertising starts to work for your benefit. You've got the licenses and now you've got more geek advertising than any banner ad could provide.

    Maybe I'm just a conspiracy theorist, but man...this seems WAYYYYY too convenient.
  • by codepunk ( 167897 ) on Friday March 26, 2004 @03:05PM (#8682330)
    I had someone I knew that asked me to take a look at his redhat box over at EV1. I told him I would as soon as it is at a different provider. There is not a single EV1 customer getting anything out of me.

    All I hear out of this guy is a bunch of hot air. If he was such a good guy he would not be involved in any Microsoft Fun Reports. He also would not have been touring the country with his lips attached to the ass of SCO's CEO .
  • SCO Targeting NASA (Score:5, Interesting)

    by carn1fex ( 613593 ) on Friday March 26, 2004 @03:23PM (#8682548)
    We NASA linux'ish employees had this in our inbox this morning:

    On March 11, 2004, the NASA Records Officer notified Center Records Managers about a lawsuit filed by SCO Group, Inc, asserting the "enterprise" use of Linux (R) operating system violates SCO's intellectual property rights in Unix technology. If court rulings are favorable to the SCO, there may be subsequent claims against Government agencies.

    Effective immediately, NASA is to preserve and prevent destruction of all records pertaining to the procurement and use of Linux (R) software per direction from the agency General Counsel and CIO. These records must be preserved until the NASA Headquarters, Office of General Counsel, lifts the destruction freeze.

    We are asking each Directorate to review its technical and contract records and identify any that may be relevant to the subject litigation. A record is defined as papers, reports, photographs, or any documentation used to record the work of your office regardless of the physical form. Records can be created by your office and/or document an action, activity, or decision taken by your office. If records are discovered, you are requested to segregate them and immediately notify Ms. Patricia Southerland, the GSFC Records Manager, at extension 6-xxxx, or by email xxxxxx.


  • by Quixote ( 154172 ) on Friday March 26, 2004 @03:39PM (#8682736) Homepage Journal
    I don't understand the sudden desire to heap praises on Mr. Marsh. Instead of just expressing regret, why doesn't he do something for the OSS community that is of comparable value?

    For example: why doesn't he release the details of the deal with SCO, if SCO has insinuated some details that are not true? Surely the secrecy clause works both ways!

    Additionally, why doesn't Mr. Marsh donate, say, $1MM (the purported value of the deal, as per SCO) to OSDL? Call it a token of appreciation for the OSS community that has helped his business get to where it is today.

    Words, by themselves, don't mean much Mr. Marsh when your deeds have done tangible damage. If I break a neighbors window, I will have to replace it; just saying "Gee, sorry!" doesn't help.

    Until Mr. Marsh takes tangible steps to balance his mistake from March 1, his words are meaningless. The most likely explanation, IMHO, is that he's trying to douse the protests and just move on, with complete disregard for the ramifications of his deed.

  • by Pharmboy ( 216950 ) on Friday March 26, 2004 @04:02PM (#8683097) Journal
    I have rented from ev1 for quite some time. You could go to their website and SEE how many servers they had for rent. Usually, the total number available was 1 here, 4 there, 6 here, 2 there (of the different OS choices). Most of the time, there were ZERO available of at least half of the servers. As clients quit, more come available, etc.

    Once the SCO story broke, EVERY type of server was available, and they quit publishing the number of servers available. My guess is they lost a few hundred clients, the "numbers available" became irrelevent and were dropped. It also made them look bad.... 12 servers available today, sign with SCO, 329 available after Slashdot reports on it...

"The one charm of marriage is that it makes a life of deception a neccessity." - Oscar Wilde