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Caldera wins a round in MS suit 77

Manuka writes to us with "new information on the Caldera-Microsoft trial. U.S. District Judge Dee Benson ruled against Microsoft on four motions to narrow the scope of the Caldera suit. " This ruling ends motions vis a vis anti-trust, however, there are at least five other motions yet to be considered. This has been one of the first signs of activity since the six month reprieve on the trial.
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Caldera wins a round in MS suit

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  • by C.Lee ( 1190 )
    >It's not a business objective, it's part of Ray Noordas personal vendetta against Microsoft.

    So what's wrong with personal vendettas? Personal vendettas can be fun. See Star Trek:The Wrath of Kahn for an example. (God, I loved this movie, especially since I always was a Kahn fan. Hearing Kirk screaming Kahn's name was something truely beautiful) Too damn bad the newer Treks never had someone who was in Kahn's class to contend with....

  • I would seriously like an explanation on how making a product incompatible with a competing product is a monopolistic practice. Or is it only OK for the smaller company to do to the larger company.

    Yes, it is ok for only the smaller (non-monopolist) to do so. There really aren't any "monopolistic practices." There are business practices which are perfectly legal in a competitive marketplace, but become illegal for one company to do when it has gained a monopoly.

    Having a monoploy is not illegal, or even necessarily bad (depending on the industry/environment). When one achieves a monopoly, the law implies that you have undertaken a public trust to some extent, and thus must conduct yourself in a more "polite" way.

    It is when one uses a monopoly to obtain advantage in other areas that you run afoul of the law. Examples:

    - locking out ceratin gas stations when you are the only viable oil company
    - bundling non-related software with your monopoly product
    - penalizing licensees of your monopoly product who choose to include products that you don't approve of
    - in the instant case, making changes to code that has no other purpose than to make competitor's products incompatible - (this being similar to an illegal tax shelter-doing things in order to reduce taxes that have no other legitimate purpose, or that any normal business person would not do)

    In these cases, you have abused your position as "trustee", which role implies a sort of fiduciary duty to manage this "monopolistic trust" in a manner than accords with its position as a semi-public good.

    Most of the practices that Microsoft is defending now would be perfectly legal for another company to do. That is why some people have a hard time accepting that some of what Microsoft is accused of doing is wrong. It seems to go against the U.S.'s "free-for-all" system.

    But if they would realize that they are only half-correct, and that in addition Microsoft is limited by anti-trust law that doesn't apply to other companies, then they might see the situation for what it really is.

  • I don't know of any statistics either way but it is entirely possible that most Linux users read slashdot regularly. Perhaps not the comments, some of us have more important stuff to do. But given how many sites mirror, link to, or post headlines, it is likely.

    But then again, there are other communities who read slashdot as well.


  • Actually, I don't belong to the Iowa Bar, but to California & Nevada.

    The DA certainly doesn't ignore the complaints (in the two or three instances I've seen), but what I'm getting at is that all the bar can do is call the DA, just the same as any citizen (though they'll probably be lent an ear much faster :)

    The bar can't directly discipline a non-lawyer, since they only have jurisdiction over lawyers. It's handled as a criminal offense. In states where the bar is more tightly integrated with the state Supreme Court (from which it gets its power), I presume direct action along lines of contempt of court is (or could be) possible.

    hawk, esq., the recovering lawyer (haven't sued anyone in more than five years [applause])
  • A lot of computers still use it (just like a lot of computers are running on intel 8088 chips (intel still makes themyou know)

    embedded devices love DR-dos (it's small, fast when run from ram, and is compatable and easy to extend
  • Heee - bias, *anybody* can repeat the results - I just installed a less espensive product with a great Netware client utility suite and everything written for dos/win3 ran better than expected. So just tell me bud, and I'll try to verify it in my lab - what does DR-DOS fail to do that MS-DOS was such a whiz at that gave MS 100% market share, other than pure marketing bs, fud and a few intentionally planted innoculous bugs, hmmmmm? We anxiously await any factual and verifiable answer.

  • I have to disagree with the way the trials are being conducted. I have to disagree with anti-trust laws in general. I think they hurt the market in the long run, after all we would be nowhere near where we are without MS. I do think that a departure from MS is in order but the way the gov't is doing this offends my basic sense of right and wrong. It is not right for one company to be allowed to do something that another company can't do under the law. I stated in my original post and I state again, I want to see Linux beat MS, but not this way. I feel for a true victory to be achieved Linux must win on it's own merits rather than through gov't intervention. We are already getting market share, why not include the things, like Caldera is trying to do, that the public wants and take the market share fair and square. There is no such thing as a level playing anywhere else in life and there shouldn't be one in business. I do not mean to offend anyone but for intelligent people a lot of us are starting to look like the Branch Davidians of the computer world. The MS witch hunt could easily be used for bad publicity. The way they spread FUD and the way the public believes it could really hurt the way the public perceives Linux and it's advocates. We preach an awful lot against MS but do not expect the OS we use to live up to the same standards we would hold MS to.
  • So what's wrong with personal vendettas? Personal vendettas can be fun.

    Too bad Kanly is illegal in this country. It would save a lot of court costs. Sigh...

    (This post is smiley-captioned for the humor impaired).

  • DOS bootstraps Wind9x, and hangs around for DOS apps/shell. that's about it. But one must make a distinction between DOS, the set of assembly language interrupt routines, msdos.sys/io.sys/, and what we commonly think of as DOS, the whole package...

    Read "Undocumented Windows 95" for the details on how it all works. It's actually not an unreasonable way to do it, especially if one's goals are backwards compatibility... It's too bad though that instead of being told what it was/is exactly and truthfully, the Marketing department had to hook it up to the BS port, and try to make it more than what it was, and a lot of what it isn't, because it had to appear to be more high-tech and "modern" than it really was.

  • At the time when Caldera bought DR-DOS, the only commercial value of the software was to bring this lawsuit. Novell didn't think it was worth it to go through the motions, so they sold the lawsuit to someone who wanted to. Caldera has a lot less to lose by baiting Microsoft than Novell does, so it was a good match. It's not sleazy, the lawsuit needed to be filed, Caldera wanted to be the one filing it.

    In the meantime, they haven't been sitting on DR-DOS, waiting for the suit to save them. They've turned it into a viable and profitable embedded systems and thin client platform. Check out Caldera Thin Clients [] for more details. It's not sleazy at all to take a commercially dead product and find new markets for it.
  • That's what you get with a proprietary installers. (And good evidence that Red Hat isn't evil.)


  • Not quite. Novell purchased DR-DOS from Digital Research. It didn't want to pursue MS, least they upset the behemoth. Novell also asked that Caldera NOT pursue litigation.
  • by AT ( 21754 ) on Wednesday June 30, 1999 @09:36AM (#1824988)
    Of all the anti-trust suits outstanding against Microsoft right now (DOJ, Bristol, Caldera), I think Caldera's has the most merit.

    There is overwhelming evidence that MS deliberatly tried to make Win3.1 (at least the beta) unneccessarily incompatible with DRDOS. This [] 1993 Dr. Dobbs article shows the code that does it and points out how it was deliberatly obfuscated, too.
  • If you want me to argue both sides, you'll have to pay me twice :)
  • As I understand it, the regulatory agency, which usually is the State Bar, is the one that brings complaints about practice without a license. I'm not aware that these complaints are ever ignored in Wisconsin. Given Iowa's reputation, I'm surprised that it would be a problem there.

    If the Bar in Iowa does not have that power, it was probably because the state legislature isn't run by lawyers and the legislature thought that the Hawkeye Bar was being just a bit too self-serving in deciding what unauthorized practice of law is. It can be a tough call to decide where the line is, but it can even be tougher if the call is wrong.

    The only thing worse than lawyers is no lawyers.

    Dave Jensen, who also doesn't use his JD.
  • there is a difference between BUNDELING adn tying in like Micosoft does. In Linux you can install what you want to or compile from source only what you want. In windows you get the whole package and it cost you alot more, and you cannot install what you want to you install what they want you to, and you have FEQ choices.
  • Not quite. Novell purchased DR-DOS from Digital Research. It didn't want to pursue MS, least they upset the behemoth. Novell also asked that Caldera NOT pursue litigation.

    "You know what we mean, nudge, nudge, wink, wink."

    If Novell didn't want the lawsuit pursued, they would not have sold that right to Caldera. They sold it to a man who they knew would follow up on it. Captain Ahab's interest in Moby Dick was almost casual compared with Ray Noorda's obsessions.

  • It seems that the legal system (not just Judge Penfold) is wholly against MS.

    Not all bad.

    Is Caldera planning to do anything with DR-DOS that isn't Microsoft/legal-related?

  • They're focusing more on thin clients and embedded applications.
  • So, did they buy it just to use it to sue MS? I don't know too much about the whole situation, but that's what it looks like from here.

    Not that that's a bad thing =)

  • It's the American way....sue just to sue.
  • The DOJ has just nabbed the mystery between MS's marketing strategy ...

    And now for something terribly off-topic ...

    One BILLION dollars ??

    IF Caldera wins this, they will be criticized if that money isn't invested with the Linux Community in mind.

    And since slashdot readers have never collectively embraced OpenLinux (because it's so easy to install??), Caldera should expect all eyes watching at slashdot.

    I'm not against this, but I'm not looking forward to the anticipated "battle in the kids' sandbox" among different dist's loyal users.

    [sorry, folks .... but we DO have that public image]

  • It's the perfect story, a big political soap-opera. Complete with higly paid professional lawyers, corporate sponsors, and million dollar prizes.

    Maybe in the future the whole North American economy will be based on lawsuits and stories about lawsuits -- Ocassionally interrupted by some poor fellow fleeing the tyranical society which opresses his free thought, a la Guy Montag.

  • Check out Caldera Thin Clients [] to see what they're doing with it.
    Making it into a thin-client/embedded OS, which seems a bit odd to me, but looks workable.

    Furthermore, it's free for use with DOSEMU. Very cool.


  • Didn't Caldera buy DR-DOS after most, if not all, of the damage had been done? If so, then how can they sue for lost earnings? If it was obvious that DR-DOS had been closed out of the OS market when they bought it, then logically they should have been able to buy it comparatively cheaply, but then they should be unable to pursue Microsoft in the courts.
  • Caldera "OpenLinux" has always included proprietary software as the basis for its operation. It's the least "open" distribution available, and it always seems outdated.
  • It seems there only defense agains any threat these days is tying it into the operating system.

    • First DOS
    • then the web browser
    • then a web server

    gee if they have stomped out all there competition where will they get there ideas from?

  • There's always inbreeding.
    That's the stuff that MS is made of, you know...
  • >Complete with higly paid professional lawyers ...
    Would you want amateur lawyers?

    I once encountered a "self proclaimed lawyer." Actually, I encountered her victims, and my time cleaning up the mess was primarily pro bono. The real ugly thing about these is that the bar associations are powerless to stop them, as they have no jurisdiction over non-lawyers--all they can do is pass information to the district attorney.

    ANd while there are rare exceptions, Lincoln was right about those who represent themeselves having fools for clients . . .
  • While this ruling is definitely a good thing, we still have a long wait before this gets resolved.

    Having read Caldera's statement of facts (I've misplaced the URL), I would say they have a good chance of winning, but even if they do, what will the ultimate outcome be? Or, for that matter, how effective will it be. After all, a lot can happen in a year (and I suspect it will be at least that long before anything comes of this.)

    I suppose we'll have to wait and see.
  • by Anonymous Coward
    The law is a funny thing. They did get it cheap. But they also got all legal rights to it too including the right to sue for any damages done to the product incurred during the lifetime of the product (according to the statute of limitations).
    Thus if they can prove DR-DOS ( not Caldera themselves) lost out on billions of dollars by illegal monopolistic practices by MS, legally they are entitled to collect. They filed the suit the day after they bought it. Check out all of the legal documents on their web site. It sounds like they have a strong case and that MS has been a very bad boy. This stuff makes the DOJ case look mild. They attack MS on several fronts: illegal product tie ins, using tacics of FUD and vaporware, and on and on. MS is doing their best to keep as much of this as possible sealed and away from public eyes and to chop the case into little pieces and have them dismissed one by one.
  • No, it's not just a lawsuit for the sake of lawsuits or court TV entertainment tonight - it goes to the very heart of dasterdly uncompetitive practices, intentionally introducing 'bugs' that somehow pop up when using a Microsoft product with a product from a competitor; M$ is a jealous deity and tolerates no rivals! It's just blantly illegal, like kicking the legs of a competitor in a foot race because you don't think anyone is looking. It's just bad, bad, BAD!!

    In the early 90's, after finally giving in and getting a PeeC, I tried out DR-Dos and was quite impressed (except for the emm386 crashing) and pleased that an alternative existed, w/ an excellent set of Novell client utilities. Of course M$ dare not compete on QUALITY of software!

  • did caldera buy DR-DOS the product, or did it buy the company which owned/made DR-DOS?


  • I would seriously like an explanation on how making a product incompatible with a competing product is a monopolistic practice. Or is it only OK for the smaller company to do to the larger company.

    Before you answer, think about this, all Linux distros are incompatible with MS, is this a bad practice...NO. So what if we open source our stuff, some people don't believe in Open Source and they have a right to that belief. What if the intentions of the creators of DR DOS were to steal the windows interface (a stretch, yes). You cannot force a company to release something they have copyrighted. I know that many people here despise copyright and IP laws, but fact is they exist and you have to work within that framework right now. This is a frivolous lawsuit, and for the first time ever I hope MS wins. As for Caldera winning a round, they have won nothing, alomost all cases like this have a dismissal motion filed when they go to before a judge the first time, and over 50% of the time the motion is denied. All that has happened so far is what usually happens. I guess Linux is bad because it was made not be compatible with MS-DOS, no wait it's about Unix...yeah whatever. Get a life folks this one is a bad lawsuit. I want to see Linux win because it is better, not because a lot of people file bullsh*t suits and wear MS down.
  • The difference is in the fact that MS didn't specifically say they'd done it, and that DR DOS was a correct implementation of DOS, which Windows was meant to run on. The Linux incompatibility argument would only hold if MS made an Office for Linux, for example, and the kernel team put code into all new kernels to keep MS Office from running, SPECIFICALLY to keep MS Office from running, but without any good reason. DR Dos was perfectly capable of running Win3.1, but MS put code in that said it wasn't if it found a non-MS DOS.

  • I would seriously like an explanation on how making a product incompatible with a competing product is a monopolistic practice. Or is it only OK for the smaller company to do to the larger company.

    Disclaimer: I am not a lawyer.

    The incompatibility could qualify as restraint of trade. I think the argument is whether it is reasonable restraint of trade. In particular, do the incompatibilities have a valid and reasonable purpose above and beyond providing DR-DOS users with a bogus error message.

    Perhaps they do; namely to provide a consistant test platform for the beta test. On the other hand, why did MS obfuscate and protect with so much anti-debugging code this test?

    This is only one piece of evidence in Caldera's case (IMHO the most damning). The rest deals with pre-announcing products strategically to hurt DR-DOS, and other FUD spreading.

    This is not a frivolous case. Bristol's suit, on the other hand, might be described like that.
  • They bought all of Digital Research, the whole damn company, from Novell, all of the software, employees, assets, and claims against Microsoft, ect, of Novell. DRI was never really integrated into Novell... so it wasn't that hard to do. DR-DOS is the product from that deal that Caldera is actually trying to sell. They own the rights to CP/M, GEM/ViewMax (released as GPL), DR-DOS, ect, ect, ect. BTW, they are also including the fact that MS-DOS is a knockoff of their CP/M that included CP/M sourcecode. (another reason they bought DRI)
  • This is only one piece of evidence in Caldera's case (IMHO the most damning). The rest deals with pre-announcing products strategically to hurt DR-DOS, and other FUD spreading.

    Oops, there is also the per-processor licencing stuff, too.
  • Linux is an example of free and open software. Our loyalties should lie with that which ensures a future where ideas can be exchanged, improved upon, and freely innovated without the fear of being absorbed or litigated to death by greedy corporations. To me, that means GPL'd software. I'm not against corporations making money - far from it! What I'm against is, one corporation controlling the platform. As for distributions, they are just a means to an end; the means of installing the OS; after that, they should be passed on to the next user.

    Anyway, Microsoft's marketing strategy is to screw everybody - and everybody's seems to be getting pretty tired of it!
  • Yes, actually. Their president used to be the president of Novell, and when he switched (possibly formed, I'm not sure) Caldera, he bought DR-DOS from them specifically so that he could sue Microsoft over it.

    It was probably a good move; they are expected to win this case.
  • Keep in mind that Caldera split into two separate companies. The DR-DOS company ("Caldera Thin Clients") is different from the Linux division ("Caldera Systems"). They may never see any of it, or... maybe they will.
  • Would you want amateur lawyers?

    Sorry, I didn't mean to offend any lawyers by this. I was only alluding to a future where mega trials and lawyers may eventually be paid similar to, and given similar media attention as professional athletes in big sporting events.

    Some of the media coverage on these mega-trials is quite silly.

    On a serious note, IMHO, most lawyers earn every penny they make... the only gripe I have is that many people can't afford to pay them. The legal system is just too complex to defend/represent yourself effectively. And too complex to expect anybody to be able to pay to have themselves defended from serious charges on a typical salary. Unfortunately, it's the only legal system we have, and there doesn't seem to be anything better out there. Work done pro bono is fantastic, but it's a shame that it's the only way some people can be adequately defended.

    And with that... we're totally off topic and I'm not qualified to even argue on this subject. Could I convince you to take up this defense on my behalf :-)

  • with them having that EULA in openlinux 2.2 which keeps you from making copies of the cd, or installing it on more than one computer... oh, you can make copies of the "non-system" software, but then you will have to seperate the files, put it on a ext2 filesystem and then use lisa to install it. which defeats the whole point of buying openlinux 2.2 in the first place because you bought it cause it was easy to install...

    Down with Caldera.

  • >It seems that the legal system (not just Judge Penfold) is wholly against MS.

    Shows what happens when you try treating the judge presiding over your case like a moron....
  • There have been rumors for some time now floating around Slashdot suggesting that the Evil Empire may decide to sell "MS Linux."

    Wouldn't it be convienent for MS to purchase a company that has a product that has a nice GUI install already, integrates with Novell and NT, is already proprietary, and will compete directly with companies such as Red-Hat (with "MS" support of course). Best of all it will make the lawsuit go away.

    The only flaw with this theory is that I can't see MS buying a product that will directly compete with their "vision", that can also be freely distributed (of course w/o the proprietary code). Then again, this proprietary code may be something worth building on to make it part of "the Empire" and therefore a reason that people would be willing to spend $200 ish for it plus licenses. Besides, many IT people won't touch Linux with a forty foot pole because it isn't sanctioned by MS (and because they're braindead). They would be willing to shell out the bucks if it was sanctioned by The Empire. MS has done this sort of thing before in the database market (ex: FoxPro vs. Access).

    Just a thought.
  • Yes.

    When Microsoft commited their offenses, they accrued a billion+ dollar liability. After all, when you commit a crime that hurts another party, you owe restitution to the victims (DR-DOS suit) in addition to the usual criminal sentence (DoJ suit). It's sorta like the OJ Simpson trials. :-)

    The way I see it, Caldera is acting like a collection agency, going after the deadbeat Microsoft. When the offenses were committed, Microsoft's liability was also Digital Research's (and then Novell's) asset. But DR/Novell were just software companies, though, and didn't have the means (or will, or enough good lawyers, or whatever) to collect the money. So they did the equivalent of "turning the account over to collections" and sold the claim (in the form of DR-DOS) to Caldera. (The sale price was probably quite a bit less than the amount Microsoft owes, since it's a gamble whether or not they'll be able to collect it.)

    Now Caldera is trying to actually get the money that Microsoft owes.

  • It sounds to me like the 'chip on his/her shoulder' probably came later.

    "In the early 90's, after finally giving in and getting a PeeC, I tried out DR-Dos and was quite impressed (except for the emm386 crashing) and pleased that an alternative existed, w/ an excellent set of Novell client utilities."

    Being 'pleased that an alternative existed' doesn't sound like 'determination to not use a Microsoft product' to me. Contrary to what (you?) folks at MS seem to believe, people like to have alternatives so that they can make their decisions based on the merit of a product, not because there's nothing else out there. Is that so hard to understand?

  • Actually, Novell knew they had a case, but was too chickenshit to spoil their 'relationship' with Microsoft.

    And you're right about DR-DOS being a somewhat valuable product. Millions of PCs still run DOS, and Microsoft still charges $50 for it, so there's definatly a market.

  • Right. Don't forget that Microsoft orginally intended to replace DOS/Windows 3.1 with Windows NT. This failed largely due to backwards-compatibilty problems.

    Windows 95/98 are just big piles of design comprimises designed to give the customer what they want (with some DirectX stuff added to kill the DOS game market). On the other hand, I have seem some really f*ing old DOS drivers loading successfully under 9x.
  • notice an AC post ah well not a thing to say about windows

    windows has lots of postitives but you fail to point them out I dont like it but I can see why people do !

    oh well

    never left your mom

    still live their do you

    hang out down the MALL

    oh well life would be nice if you dont have a clue but people have shown you and you close your mind !


    a poor student @ bournemouth uni in the UK (a deltic so please dont moan about spelling but the content)
  • although people are bound to abuse them they are needed

    dont let somebody abuse a community service

    because the threat of remebering passwords just means that people who have something good to say dont say it
    a poor student @ bournemouth uni in the UK (a deltic so please dont moan about spelling but the content)
  • I almost find it amusing that they say MS-DOS is now defunct. Which any decient Windows user will know it's not. Or even a COMMplete user. For all the DOS we still see while booting Windows (Or failing to do so), I would think people would realize it's still "MSDOS-Inside" ..With a fat piggie of a GUI sitting on top.
  • If Caldera did buy DR-DOS just to sue, it is beyond me why they are so intent on improving the product.

    They may not be adding a tremendous number of bells and whistles, but implementation of their tcp/ip stack and browser took a bit of work.

    I do think that the suit against MS added to the value of the DR-DOS intellectual property, but I doubt it was the only reason Caldera bought DR from Novel.

    What is a shame is that they sold off Concurrent DOS. That could have been fun....

  • When the damage was done, the owner of DR DOS (Digital Research, and later Novell) had the legal right to sue Microsoft for it; Ray Noorda, the former chairman of Novell, believed that Novell had grounds to sue, but didn't try. When Caldera bought DR DOS from Novell in 1996, the deal included Novell's DR-DOS-related claims against Microsoft; Caldera filed its antitrust lawsuit against Microsoft on the same day that it purchased DR DOS.

    See paragraph 420 in Caldera's "Consolidated Statement of Facts..." [], one of the company's legal filings.

  • Yes, I much prefered the days when you had to buy each part separately. In fact, I think that all Linux distributions should be forced to ship browswers and servers on separate media, to avoid "bundling" charges.
  • ...about Office

    Office2000+Windows2000=$2000 X 100,000,000 pcs.

"I don't believe in sweeping social change being manifested by one person, unless he has an atomic weapon." -- Howard Chaykin