Putting some meat on legal news' bones.

When you want to know more
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but don't know where to look.

IANAL. I am a paralegal, so if you have a legal problem
and want advice, this isn't the place. Hire an attorney
instead. Research is, however, what paras do, so here
I am sharing things I have found in my research.

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Thursday, June 5, 2003

Psst! Want to Buy OpenLinux? It's Still Being Sold Online.

Here are some places I found I could still buy OpenLinux, despite SCO's claim that they are no longer selling it:

You can get it from Tucows.

You can buy it from a reseller, InActSys.

Here is another one at

You can even buy it from the Shop Caldera site. Here is the page from when I went there and clicked on buy. I did a screen capture, just in case it disappears.

According to this 2000 press release from Caldera, they had 15,000 partners that would make their Linux products available, so perhaps you can buy it from a lot of other places as well.

If you want to read the SCO nondisclosure agreement, it's online now. It's hard to see why anyone would want to sign this amazing document. Without proof of date and origin of the claimed SCO code, it really means nothing anyway.

Meanwhile, SCO stock is shooting up today. Unless some folks are shorting or something is known by somebody and it just isn't public yet, it's difficult to comprehend.
comment [] 7:13:07 PM    

If You Want to Read About Martha

Here is the Complaint itself. What is interesting, to me anyway, is that they aren't charging her with getting inside info from her pal at ImClone, Samuel Waksal. They say instead that her broker, who was also Waksal's broker, when he saw that Waksal (and his daughter) was selling all his stock in his own company held at Merrill Lynch, called Martha to let her know. So she sold her stock too. That is her sin, for which she is facing possible jail time and has had to step down from her company... Oh. And she lied, they say. Meanwhile, Enron, et al ... hmmm.

If this is sufficient to go to jail, I think we'd best build quite a few more, because if you really started to focus on private phone calls and stock tips among pals in the ruling class, I'm guessing a lot of people do what Martha did. Of course, it wasn't anyone in the Insider's Club that ratted her out. It was her broker's assistant.

FT points out"Ms Stewart fell under suspicion for selling $225,000 of the shares - her entire stake in Imclone - the day before the news was announced." If she knew such a sale was illegal, why would she sell the entire block like that? It's so obvious it would get her in trouble. In the complaint they say she knew her sell was illegal, but it's hard to understand her behavior if that is true. There is a site called Save Martha, which has more than you probably need to know about her and the case. They have an article that asks us to put ourselves in Martha's shoes:

"Put yourself in her shoes--your broker calls and says its time to sell your stock, that the price is going down. What do you do? Refuse? Lose money against his advice? Isn't it your brokers job to tell you when to buy or sell? He's your broker, and you trust him. So you sell. Later, it turns out your broker had insider information. And you're in big trouble. "

Except for one thing: the complaint says she did know that her broker had insider info and that she acted on that info. The complaint also points out that she used to be a broker herself and is hardly lacking in financial sophistication. Valid points. But you can't help but notice that none of the bad boys caught cheating stockholders and the public in the recent scandals seem to be going to prison, but this lone female executive is in danger of exactly that, and for an offence that seems a lesser sin when viewed in its worst light.
comment [] 5:19:51 AM    

So, Did Someone Steal SCO's Strawberries?

Judge for yourself. Here is the exact wording of two sections of the 1995 "asset purchase agreement" between Novell and Santa Cruz, now SCO Group:

Schedule 1.1(a) says these are the assets that Santa Cruz bought:

"All rights and ownership of UNIX and UnixWare, including but not limited to all versions of UNIX and UnixWare and all copies of UNIX and UnixWare (including revisions and updates in process), and all technical, design development, installation, operation and maintenance information concerning UNIX and UnixWare, including source code, source documentation, source listings and annotations, appropriate engineering notebooks, test data and test results, as well as all reference manuals and support materials normally distributed by Seller to end-users and potential end-users in connection with the distribution of UNIX and UnixWare..."

But Schedule 1.1(b) says the following were excluded:

"Intellectual property:
A. All copyrights and trademarks, except for the trademarks UNIX and UnixWare. B. All Patents"

So, the question is, does SCO now have the rights to enforce IP violations or not? Clearly Novell was truthful about them not buying copyrights and patents.

Nuff said. So, it appears to be contractual violations or nothing, though the argument may be a long one as to who has enforcement rights.

So, if you are using or selling SCO OpenServer or UnixWare, what should you do? According to this expert, you're hosed one way or another, no matter who wins the IBM-SCO lawsuit and it's time to migrate over to SUSE or something, anything, else.

Meanwhile in Germany, the SCO website has been taken down temporarily at least. It used to be here , in case you want to monitor developments, but is now a blank page. (NOTE: It just went back up with modified content. It's Thursday 6:27 AM EST. It's worth a visit if you have a taste for irony. The home page now says " Relax. Worry Free Software", which seems odd, unless you're in PR maybe. Spin, spin, spin. Or they're speaking in NewSpeak. I'd post the picture but they might sue me for copyright infringement.

"In Germany, we have achieved our purpose," LinuxTag spokesperson Andreas Gebhard told NewsFactor. "They (SCO) are no longer allowed to say they have the intellectual property rights on the Linux kernel." LinuxTag succeeded in obtaining a temporary restraining order against SCO, said Ryan Tibbitts, SCO's newly appointed chief legal counsel. SCO shut down the site to be on the safe side, he said. "We didn't want to run afoul of the court," Tibbitts said. The Canopy Group forced SCO to hire in-house counsel to handled "the firestorm". Boies, they say, is still in charge. ...Hmm. This should work out well. Not.

Here is an English translation of part of the LinuxTag press release about their action against SCO Germany:

"Until a few weeks ago, SCO itself distributed the Linux kernel GNU General Public License (GPL) as a member of the UnitedLinux alliance. Thus even if SCO owns parts of the Linux kernel, it has made them into Free Software by distributing them under the GPL.

"'This situation illustrates the superiority of the Free Software licensing model: If a software manufacturer withdraws from the development of GPL software, its contributions that were published under the the GPL up to that time remain available to users,' said Jürgen Siepmann, attorney and founding member of LinuxTag."

Meanwhile, Microsoft's Steve Ballmer apparently had a revelation on his annual retreat, namely: Linux is a threat to Microsoft. He just sent a memo to all employees after the retreat he went on with other top managers, saying: "For some products it makes sense to publish regular builds of new products online, for community feedback." source is no good, but they will now copy the open source development model a teeny weeny bit. Wait, I get it...Borrowing ideas from open source development, but without that icky GPL which won't let you take the code and then make it proprietary, like nice BSD code. In a Forbes interview on that very subject, Ballmer said: "Non-commercial software products in general and Linux in particular, present a competitive challenge for us and for our entire industry, and they require our concentrated focus and attention."

If there is one thing you don't want, it's Microsoft's "concentrated focus and attention."

Only MS execs go on retreats to think more deeply...about MS. What can you say? The man really loves his company.

comment [] 2:21:42 AM    

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