SCO Scoop.

When you want to know more
about the story
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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Wednesday, August 27, 2003

SCO Down, Up, Down --
What Is Wrong With This Picture?

No, not the stock. The site. It's down again. Netcraft is pointing out that if they are having difficulties, there is something they could do to solve their problem. They could just do what Microsoft did and use Akamai's caching service:

". . . conceivably SCO may have difficulty swallowing its pride and buying a service that uses tens of thousands of Linux servers, for which Akamai presumably has not purchased a SCO licence."

Maybe SCO's UNIX servers aren't quite so dernier cri as they told the court. Maybe they decided to upgrade their web site materials and took themselves down and then had trouble getting back up. After all, there is the telling detail that it stayed up during business hours, and then went down. Maybe it isn't an attack anyhow, and the real problem is SCO laid off too many engineers. You think?

If they use IBM's Sequent to run their investor site, as Netcraft earlier informed us and clarified here, it shouldn't be a problem to use Akamai. For further clarification of that Netcraft story, go here:

"It turns out that the Web site is hosted by, an investor communications company that specializes in building and hosting investor relations Web sites, and that the server that hosts SCO's investor relations site is co-located in a facility run by IBM Global Services.

"So IBM is connected to, but not the host of, SCO's investor relations portal. 'They are responsible for making sure the facility is secure, air conditioned, and that the Internet connections are connected to our [server] farm,' a spokesman pointed out to me. He was also quick to note that the IBM facility was just one of two facilities his company used. The other is run by AT&T."

My question is this: Are we to believe that in all these days, if this was an attack, no one can think of a single thing to do about it? A tech company? With all the Canopy Group companies handy, including their ISP, ViaWest, which is also under the Canopy umbrella, there was no other server that could help out? No tech workaround? No firewall, nothing that a tech company could think of to try that could solve the problem?

When they do stagger back up, briefly, visitors report new material on the site. Then there are all the reports of SCO employees saying it wasn't a denial of service attack in the first place. Here is a third person who called SCO and was explicitly told that there was no attack, that SCO took its site down itself for maintenance. Groklaw already reported that two other people also called SCO and were told substantially the same thing. And if it was an attack over the weekend, but now it isn't, as Stowell indicated Tuesday, what is the difference in the symptoms?

One thing is clear, if it were a denial of service attack, it'd be one for the record books. Or maybe there is another explanation, and that is why SCO has decided not to put out a press release about it:

"SCO considered issuing a formal statement in the matter, said Stowell, but decided against it."

SCO refraining from putting out a press release? Anything wrong with this picture?

What to believe? On one side, we have Blake Stowell, who told us that tale about rocket scientists and MIT mathematicians. On the other side, Raymond tells about a mysterious phone call from nameless individuals who want him to be their leader.

Personally, I don't have any leader, and I'm sick of mystery and a lack of verifiable facts.

Until somebody analyzes the packets, and shows them, and not in obfuscating Greek, for crying out loud, and not just bald statements of "fact", I'm from Missouri.

I know that it is possible there was an attack, although I sincerely hope not. But I love facts and truth, and I would like to see some more of both. Could we please see some actual proof before headlines announce as fact something that doesn't yet seem to be established?

comment [] 3:16:07 PM    

Disappearing Comments Article Disappears

Amusingly, the brief note I placed about disappearing comments and my struggle last night to reconstruct the home page disappeared itself just now. I had tried to delete it yesterday, because right after posting it, the comments function suddenly turned back on. It took Radio almost 24 hours to reflect the change, but it finally happened -- just when I didn't want it to, after some really interesting comments had been posted to my note. Radio software is maybe staggering under the daily load of so many visitors and so many comments. And then there's me and my skill set.

We've had more than a quarter of a million page reads in the three months or so Groklaw has existed, and the first month there wasn't a huge audience, and it's really in the last month and a half that it's taken off. The audience keeps growing. We're moving to a permanent web site as soon as we can, so thanks for your patience in the meanwhile. Your lost comments are still viewable here. And thank you for them. Your skillful sleuthing efforts reflected in informative information you post, not to mention the frequent wit and charm, have made a real contribution to Groklaw's popularity and its value, and I want you all to know that I know it.

comment [] 1:42:06 PM    

MontaVista Organizing Partners, Customers
To Take a Public Stand Against SCO

Linux World is reporting that MontaVista Software has pledged to establish a "community of like-minded companies" to take a public stand against SCO. A check of their web site finds this information:

How does MontaVista Software intend to help its customers?

". . .MontaVista clearly disagrees with the statements on the SCO web site which state that Linux distributors are unable to indemnify customers against intellectual property claims because of the terms and conditions in the GPL. . . .

"MontaVista Software already protects its customers from a variety of technical and legal risks: MontaVista Software provides warranties on all editions of MontaVista Linux. MontaVista Software indemnifies its customers against claims involving the code it creates and delivers, pledging to replace contested code, license suitable code from third parties, or refund its customers' money.

"In addition, MontaVista Software is committed to working together with the Open Source community to ensure continued availability of non-infringing Linux code. MontaVista is also establishing a community of like-minded companies from among its strategic partners and customers to take a public stand against SCO and its attempts to intimidate."

MontaVista's partners page shows this statement by an executive of MontaVista partner Sony Corporation:

"'After first becoming popular with individual programmers and then making inroads on commercial servers, Linux is now proving its merits in the embedded domain,' said Masao Hori, deputy president, Network and Software Technology Center, Sony Corporation. 'Based on the reliability and performance of MontaVista[base ']s product, and the company[base ']s close ties to the Linux community, we are confident Linux will become one of the leading embedded operating systems and that MontaVista Software will increasingly be an important player in the market.'

"Masao Hori, Deputy President
"Network and Software Technology Center
"Sony Corporation"

A complete list of their partners is here.

You might also find Ed Felton's interview in Business Week of interest (although a warning to those of you with cookies set to Ask: endless and persistent cookie requests, enough to make me want to never return to Business Week), particularly this comment:

"There's a danger that [the government] will end up trying to pick winners or trying to clear the path for a particular industry segment to move into an area or protect an industry segment, rather than saying, let's keep the path open for everyone. Growth comes out of a healthy competitive atmosphere, not trying to choose a particular path forward. A lot of regulation we're seeing right now is, or pretends to be, motivated by concern about intellectual property."

His comment reminds me of two things: SCO saying early on that a government amicus brief was a possibility and Boies saying he took the case because he didn't want to see the software playing field get "tipped". My question is: why would it be his or anybody's business if the whole world were to switch to Linux? Customers aren't allowed to choose what software they like?

comment [] 12:28:25 PM    

Japanese Government Says Keep Using Linux --
SCO Fears "Unnecessary"

The Japanese government has come out with a report, which calls fears over using Linux "unnecessary", despite the SCO claims, according to this article:

"The report said, 'If there are misunderstandings or unnecessary fears to use open source software among users, this means there would be a huge loss of opportunities for the software industry and the government to have access to it, and it would hurt the lives of the people.' The ministry stressed the report was compiled for the purpose to remove such fears from the minds of people.

"The 111-page report covers the licenses, the latest trends and situation surrounding the use of open source software, some case studies to explain how it is used by people and problems that may happen when companies use it."

I have tracked down where the report is available in Japanese as a pdf. If any Groklaw readers (are you are a talented bunch) can offer translation of pertinent parts, I know we'd all be grateful. By pertinent, I mean particularly the report's coverage of the GPL, as noted by this news report:

"The METI report clarifies the GNU Public License (GPL), the rules governing how the software may legally be used and offers definitions of terms in Japanese. There are also comments by experts on how ambiguous areas of the GPL are to be interpreted, said the report."

The Japanese press release is also available here.

comment [] 11:51:16 AM    

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