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Comment Goodness (Score 3, Insightful) 643

I still remember the morning I looked on slashdot and saw the original announcement that SCO was filing copyright claims against Linux. It's amazing how long how this has been going on, and how much has changed since then (and not just what's changed in SCO's ever-shifting claims!-- that first morning I seem to remember most of the discussion was speculation on what exactly it was that SCO claimed was stolen from them. Years later and I still don't think we ever really found out). The start of this case was so long ago it was like an entirely different world. This case has been going on longer than the Iraq war. This started so long ago that at the time Slashdot was still known for hating Microsoft rather than salivating over the XBox.

This in mind, while it's wonderful that the system showed SCO wrong in the end, I have trouble seeing this really as a loss for SCO. They managed to continue their claims for a good five years-- a significant fraction of the lifetime of Linux itself-- without ever showing a whit of substance to those claims. SCO will die now that their case is lost, but they might have died years sooner and possibly poorer if not for this lawsuit gambit keeping them on life support. Microsoft managed to fund this through weird proxies without one single bit of consequences for themselves, and unlike SCO they will live on.

Linux has now weathered its first major court challenge, but the media coverage of Linux's successes in this case has never quite matched up in amount to the withering and credulous coverage of the baseless PR accusations of Darl McBride's heyday-- though we won in the end, the case may well be a net PR loss. Meanwhile, I don't think Linux is as viable as a movement as it was at the beginning of this case. This for all I know has nothing to do with the SCO case itself, but it seems like five years ago people still thought Linux on the desktop had a future, now I don't hear anyone talking about that anymore. Five years ago linux seemed to be going places, whereas now Linux's situation seems largely static, little progressed from where it was five years ago. Maybe I'm just a pessimist, but I don't really feel good right now thinking about how this entire debacle has gone.

I guess my main response is kudos to PJ of Groklaw for her amazing and tireless journalism throughout this case. I'd be curious to ask PJ what her plans are as to what she's going to do next. In the short term maybe she should write a book about this entire thing.

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