01.02.09

Gemini version available ♊︎

Linux Scrutiny Awakens an Interesting Science of Battling by Proxy

Posted in Courtroom, Finance, GNU/Linux, Kernel, Microsoft, SCO, UNIX at 10:25 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

“…Microsoft wished to promote SCO and its pending lawsuit against IBM and the Linux operating system. But Microsoft did not want to be seen as attacking IBM or Linux.”

Larry Goldfarb, Baystar, key investor in SCO

“[Microsoft's] Mr. Emerson and I discussed a variety of investment structures wherein Microsoft would ‘backstop,’ or guarantee in some way, BayStar’s investment…. Microsoft assured me that it would in some way guarantee BayStar’s investment in SCO.”

Larry Goldfarb, Baystar, key investor in SCO

“On the same day that CA blasted SCO, Open Source evangelist Eric Raymond revealed a leaked email from SCO’s strategic consultant Mike Anderer to their management. The email details how, surprise surprise, Microsoft has arranged virtually all of SCO’s financing, hiding behind intermediaries like Baystar Capital.”

Bruce Perens

“Microsoft hardly needs an SCO source license. Its license payment to SCO is simply a good-looking way to pass along a bribe…”

Bruce Perens

THE Linux kernel is one of the most fascinating bits of software out there, perhaps owing to the vast number of contributors who are responsible for creating it. The Linux kernel has spread into many areas of our lives and it is used extensively in embedded devices where its presence goes largely unnoticed. Linux is also ubiquitous in servers and its growing success in that area often came at the expense of other established software companies.

With the growing attraction of Linux comes great fear among its rivals. Contributors and proponents of Linux are motivated by the fact that Linux is Free software. Ownership is warped such that the user truly owns the software, rather than essentially ‘rents’ it by paying for license to use. This makes Linux a very disruptive technology, but success can be attributed to other factors also.

SCO Makes an Appearance

The development methodology of Linux, its cost, and that question of ownership can also be used as an argument against it, especially by fierce opponents whose territory is being encroached upon by this mighty kernel. This has truly been the case ever since SCO chose to take a litigious route to combating Linux.

SCO asserted that Linux developers had stolen SCO’s code. For several years a legal battle persisted which ended up with SCO filing for bankruptcy. After over 4 years, SCO is still unable to prove its claims, which it was never willing back in an upfront fashion.

“It blamed not only Linux but also a newly-earned public image problem for its demise back in September 2007.”In many ways, SCO’s dragging of time contributed to greater fear, uncertainty and doubt. It had some companies hesitant about deployment of Linux in their environment. That, however, did not work in SCO’s favour. There is this unfortunate dilemma to face when one launches a legal assault against its own customers. Many businesses used SCO and Linux at the same time, which led to backlash. SCO learned this the hard way. It blamed not only Linux but also a newly-earned public image problem for its demise back in September 2007. Its presently-departing CEO admitted this in an interview.

To many observers, SCO’s battle against Linux seemed like a bad idea right from the very start, much like the recent investment of $100 million in SCO. This later turned out to be a takeover and we will get to that at the end of the article. It is widely agreed that SCO lost its focus on development due to litigation, which led to decrease in staff and talent. Alienation can be costly and quality of products is harmed accordingly.

The only return on a new investment in SCO might therefore be legal compensation, but launching a case based on poor or imaginary evidence is unlikely to bear fruit. Moreover, after so many years of continued failure to make much progress, the greatest of hopes is that this trial can carry on, yet the outcome seems rather predictable. To SCO, the desired outcome is probably unreachable, but this could be a question of duration, not vocation.

House mortgage

SCO’s Past Funding

Speculations and accusations have been flying about since SCO’s case against Linux had begun. Passionate advocates of Linux sought to discover an involvement by other parties who would benefit from SCO’s actions and affairs. At one stage, Scott McNealy of Sun Microsystems made a statement that used SCO’s assault as a way to promote Solaris at the expense of Linux. More conspicuous, however, was Microsoft’s role.

“Among the payments that SCO received there were Sun’s and Microsoft’s payments — for what was thought to be a right to use UNIX.”Several years back it was found that one of the several strategies for combating Linux was to concentrate on its perceived weaknesses. Examples which were found in Microsoft’s Halloween Documents included copyrights and software patents. These documents were intended to discuss ways of defeating the growing threat of Linux — a threat so great that it has been listed among the #1 risks in Microsoft’s SEC filings for almost a decade.

SCO was a struggling software powerhouse even before resorting to lawsuits. The unfortunate reality can still be seen in the SCO UNIX Follies videos, which are available for viewing on YouTube. As the lawsuits went on for years, the high cost of lawyers took its toll and the company required more considerable investments from the outside. Shareholders went elsewhere, indicating that they had too little faith in the company’s future.

Among the payments that SCO received there were Sun’s and Microsoft’s payments — for what was thought to be a right to use UNIX. Only later it turned out that the owner of UNIX is actually Novell, so SCO has a debt now. Nevertheless, therein you have a situation where 3 companies which compete against Linux shared wealth in one way or another and this enabled the lawsuits to linger on and hurt the uptake of Linux.

There were other curious funds that SCO received throughout its lifetime, even when its main role was that of a plaintiff in court. These include an investment from BayStar, a venture capital firm. In a court declaration it emerged that Richard Emerson, a Microsoft employee, was involved in BayStar’s investment in SCO. A BayStar representative later added: “Yes, Microsoft did introduce BayStar to SCO.”

SCO Once Again to Attack Linux

The legal proceedings never ended and they are bound to resume in April. Nevertheless, until last week SCO was seen as a company that would be decommissioned by the end of the year. But then something happened.

Last week, a press release surfaced which surprised many pundits and analysts who had been covering this saga. It seemed to suggest that SCO would continue its legal battle against Linux, having received a very large cash infusion. The odds of seeing returns on these investments seem mere. That sentiment of misunderstanding is echoed almost everywhere you turn.

SCO maintains its image problem and it also carries that aforementioned heavy debt. It owes money to several parties including Novell and it could face followup lawsuits (comeback claiming damages) from victims of its own lawsuits, assuming money remains in its coffers. Why would anyone invest in SCO? More importantly, why now? That remains the key question in many people’s minds.

Originally published in Datamation in 2008

Share in other sites/networks: These icons link to social bookmarking sites where readers can share and discover new web pages.
  • Reddit
  • email

Decor ᶃ Gemini Space

Below is a Web proxy. We recommend getting a Gemini client/browser.

Black/white/grey bullet button This post is also available in Gemini over at this address (requires a Gemini client/browser to open).

Decor ✐ Cross-references

Black/white/grey bullet button Pages that cross-reference this one, if any exist, are listed below or will be listed below over time.

Decor ▢ Respond and Discuss

Black/white/grey bullet button If you liked this post, consider subscribing to the RSS feed or join us now at the IRC channels.

2 Comments

  1. The Mad Hatter said,

    January 3, 2009 at 11:33 am

    Gravatar

    But it’s such a good investment . Ask Darl.

    Seriously though, if it was possible to read minds, and prove what you’d read, I’d bet that any mind readers who approached Bill Gates or Darl McBride would somehow be accidentally shot to death.

  2. Roy Schestowitz said,

    January 3, 2009 at 11:45 am

    Gravatar

    Gates claims he doesn’t know BayStar, but he lies a lot.

DecorWhat Else is New


  1. IRC Proceedings: Monday, September 26, 2022





  2. Links 26/09/2022: FocusWriter 1.8.3 and Istio 1.15.1

    Links for the day



  3. Media Censorship is Spreading and Infesting the World Wide Web

    Media and social control media are manipulating what people are reading and writing; this is done in the name of protecting us from misinformation, but oftentimes it's done to actually hide verifiable information (in order to protect a government's self-serving disinformation campaign)



  4. [Meme] Buy GitHub, Buy Systemd, Buy Canonical, Bye-Bye GNU/Linux

    Windows is losing ground fast; taking over the competitor/s is an antitrust violation, but who is left to file a complaint when bribery becomes so routine?



  5. GNU is Turning 39 Years Old in a Matter of Hours (and You're Very Likely Using It All the Time But Simply Unaware of That, Referring to It by the 'Wrong' Name)

    GNU is the project that gave us GCC (Free/libre compiler) and the GPL, among many other things; it's important to recognise the significance of its genesis 39 years ago in Massachusetts



  6. IRC Gateway Issues and Separating the Main Techrights IRC Channel From Non-Tech-Related Politics

    We're branching off to an old IRC channel (abandoned for many months already) and one of the Web gateways seems to be down at the moment (for all networks we've tested with), so please be patient



  7. Microsoft Layoffs Are Huge and Engaging With Microsoft Lowers Your Employment Prospects

    Microsoft is where people’s careers end (even if they delude themselves otherwise); it seems poetic that LinkedIn is dying, having become little but a massive waste of money and a liability



  8. Microsoft Is Vanishing From Netcraft

    Despite its so-called 'clown-first' strategy (clown computing), Microsoft is almost nowhere to be seen at the back end (server side); the media is massively inflating the perceived share of Azure, which may in fact be operating at a loss because there are layoffs and the future is sadly involving some proprietary actors like ClownFlare



  9. Why Canonical is Not a Friend of GNU/Linux Freedom and Mentioning WSL/systemd Helps Windows

    Ubuntu’s promotion of WSL is a disgrace and a reminder that we should no longer recommend Ubuntu to anyone; there are many other GNU/Linux distributions which are vastly more deserving of users and some new ones reject systemd as well



  10. Links 26/09/2022: GnuCash 4.12 and Microsoft Breaches

    Links for the day



  11. Microsoft LinkedIn “Experimented” on Over 20 Million People Over Five Years and May Have Stopped Some of Them From Getting a Job

    Reprinted with permission from Ryan



  12. Links 26/09/2022: GNUnet 0.17.6 and Science News

    Links for the day



  13. IRC Proceedings: Sunday, September 25, 2022

    IRC logs for Sunday, September 25, 2022



  14. GNU is Not UNIX: GNU Project Turns 39

    Tomorrow (Tuesday) is a special day; 39 years since the message (announcement) below, so next year it's 40 (a major time leap in the context of software development; not much stuff lasts this long)



  15. Links 25/09/2022: Linux 6.0 RC7 and PostgreSQL-Related Releases

    Links for the day



  16. Links 25/09/2022: EasyOS 4.4, KDE Reviewed

    Links for the day



  17. Microsoft is Trying to Eliminate POP3 and IMAP for E-mail (Attack on Commodity or Standard Protocols)

    Microsoft is trying to decommoditise (read: control) E-mail by shutting out people who use standard protocols; how long have we got before E-mail becomes a surveillance-intensive walled garden?



  18. IRC Proceedings: Saturday, September 24, 2022

    IRC logs for Saturday, September 24, 2022



  19. YouTube (Alphabet Gulag) Keeps Censoring Videos About Free Software and GNU/Linux

    YouTube (the Alphabet/Google Gulag) seems to be weeding out discussion of software freedom; it's a longstanding issue reported by several GNU/Linux-centric channels over the years



  20. Links 24/09/2022: pgAdmin 4 v6.14 and ONLYOFFICE 7.2 Released

    Links for the day



  21. Links 23/09/2022: KDE Weekly Outline and UbuntuDDE Remix 22.04

    Links for the day



  22. IRC Proceedings: Friday, September 23, 2022

    IRC logs for Friday, September 23, 2022



  23. Geminispace Roughly Quadrupled in Size (and Grew a Lot in Terms of Number of Capsules) Since We Joined It Last Year

    Despite the media's apathy (pretending that Gemini does not exist or does not matter), Geminispace continues to expand and we have 42,703 pages in it



  24. [Meme] Getting Promoted (or Hired/Recruited/Absorbed Directly Into Top Management) by Knowing “The F***ing President”

    The EPO‘s own numbers indicate that as a female it's incredibly hard to get promoted at the EPO; the insiders’ joke is, you need to be a former colleague of Benoît Battistelli/António Campinos (or even a spouse) to get promoted



  25. According to EPO Data, Women Have No Place at the EPO (Unless They Fancy Being Underpaid)

    The European Patent Office, accused by a former president who was female of an “alphamale” issue, treats women poorly; incidentally, she wasn’t just the only female president in a ~25 year period but also the only non-French president in that same period (EPO diversity is a sad farce)



  26. Links 23/09/2022: PeerTube 4.3 and GNOME Report

    Links for the day



  27. Links 23/09/2022: EuroBSDcon 2022 Ahead, PowerDNS Recursor 4.5.11, 4.6.4 and 4.7.3 Out

    Links for the day



  28. IRC Proceedings: Thursday, September 22, 2022

    IRC logs for Thursday, September 22, 2022



  29. Links 22/09/2022: ExTiX 22.9, Rust 1.64.0, Weston 11.0.0, New Mesa, and OpenCL 3.0.12

    Links for the day



  30. Microsoft Will Soon be Unlisted in Netcraft's Web Survey (Due to Minuscule, Negligible Market Share)

    A few hours ago this was released by Netcraft; it seems clear that Netcraft’s tables already omit Microsoft in all except 2, where Microsoft is placed last and rapidly loses share (it’ll fall out of sight soon)


RSS 64x64RSS Feed: subscribe to the RSS feed for regular updates

Home iconSite Wiki: You can improve this site by helping the extension of the site's content

Home iconSite Home: Background about the site and some key features in the front page

Chat iconIRC Channel: Come and chat with us in real time

Recent Posts