Sunday, September 7, 2003
No SCO Invoices to Australia --
And Struggling to Get License
Australia won't be getting invoices from SCO. Or so says Kieran O'Shaughnessy, SCO's regional general manager there, according to The Age:
"The SCO Group has no plans at present to send invoices to either commercial or non-commercial users of Linux in Australia, Kieran O'Shaughnessy, regional general manager for the company in Australia and New Zealand, said today.
"O'Shaughnessy said he was unsure about the question of invoices being sent in the US even though there are reports on the web about just such a thing being planned.
"'If anything happens in Australia, it has to happen through us so I can tell you definitely that there no plans right now for invoices to be sent out here,' he said. "
OK, that's almost definite. It's those SCOSpeak phrases that get us worrying, like "at present", "unsure about the question", "no plans right now". Then there is something else he said, right at the end of the article that makes me wonder about the reliability of the information:
"He played down the share selloff by executives in the US office, saying this was 'predetermined under rules of business there to guard against any illusion of insider trading.'"
Illusion? Hmm. He obviously means an illusion of illegal insider trading, because insider trading in and of itself isn't illegal, depending on how it's done.
It just happens I spent some time today doing a little math about Reginald Broughton, SCO's Senior VP, Sales' trades. The illusion I am under is that he has sold 60,000 of his 165,000 shares since June 20, for a total value of $747,379.78, leaving him with 105,000 shares left.
Now I don't begrudge the tax man, heaven only knows, and SCO's Mr. Bench already explained that's what they mostly need the money for, and I want Broughton to be an honest citizen and all that, but just what kind of a predetermined plan is this? And how much does the poor man owe the IRS, anyway?
As you know, I'm no stock guru, so I'm probably missing plenty. I'm no math whiz either, so do check the math. Here is the list from MSN MoneyCentral and for the September 5th sale, the SEC is the source of the information:
5,000 sold June 20 -- $55,450
5,000 sold June 25 -- $50,000
5,000 sold July 8 -- $54,625
20,000 July 22 -- $261,100
5,000 July 30 -- $64,025
5,000 Aug 5 -- $62,825
5,000 Aug 19 -- $52,100
5,000 Aug 28 -- $73,700
5,000 Sept 5 -- $73,554.78
MS Money seems to have noticed, because it gives SCOX a rating of 3 (out of 10) for its "Stock Rating Summary", for the following reasons:
" -- The price-to-sales multiple is significantly higher than the average for all stocks in the StockScouter universe. Negative for a small company like SCOX
"-- The price-to-earnings multiple is higher than the average for all stocks in the StockScouter universe. Negative
" -- Two or more executives, directors or major shareholders sold a small number of shares recently. Negative"
Then there are these charts, showing insider buys and sells for 2002 and 2003, or judging from the 5-year graph at the bottom of the page, buys for 2002 and sales for 2003, for the most part.
There is an apparent disconnect between SCO US and SCO Australia. I'm starting to wonder if Mr. O'Shaughnessy is getting annoyed with headquarters. Well, you can hardly blame him. Who isn't? But just what does it mean he isn't sure about America getting invoices, when SCO US has said pointblank they are going out by October 15?
Maybe it'll be like the Linux licenses people are now reporting they can't get from SCO for love or money. Well, money, anyway. I don't know anybody who loves SCO any more. Darl's wife, presumably. But the rest of us, including apparently Mr. O'Shaughnessy, have cooled off in our affections considerably since this soap opera began.
The second report on trying to get a license is from a man in Ireland, who not only sent an email but also called SCO repeatedly in three countries, but to no avail so far. He also wrote to the BSA, to ask if they would be enforcing the SCO Linux licenses and here is their answer. ("No") In his email to SCO, he asked them to explain what he was buying in more concrete terms:
". . .what i really want is a akin to a title search when purchasing a house, car or boat. i apologise for putting it this way as it seems rude, but before purchasing a sco linux license i must understand what you are selling and that you have a right to sell it.
"so, to the point, i am a linux application developer and use linux in
the course of my job. in fact i use 2 server and 3 client systems. i have read through http://www.sco.com/scosource/ in addition to your various press releases. this means that the cost of the sco linux license that i must purchase according to your scosource documents is $1995. according to press reports, this price will go up on 1 october 2003 so these questions are rather urgent.
"as i stated initially, before making this purchase, i will need to know exactly what i am paying for. on the most basic level i need to know
what kind of intellectual property i will be paying for. could you please detail how many of each of these i'll be paying for:
___ # of source files with sco copyright code.
___ # of source files with sco patents.
___ # of source files with sco trademarks.
___ # of source files with sco trade secrets.
"in order to assist your answer, all of my systems run redhat 7.3 with patches. in addition, according to intellectual property law you will not lose any rights if you describe the actual code related to the first three types of intellectual property. therefore i will require code listings of those. . . .
"lastly, your faq does not explain what will happen if i upgrade my kernel. if redhat sends out a patch update, will i require additional licenses?"
You can't help but love a man with a sense of humor. "Rather urgent". Maybe he can't get one because there are some different laws in Ireland than in the US? This fellow says he thinks if he gets an invoice, he might just look into that.
Here's what a reader sent me on one Irish law. I know absolutely nothing about the Irish legal system, so we can all study it together. The Ownership and "Quiet Possession" clause looks promising to these non-Irish, nonlawyer eyes, though, for those who bought and paid for Linux in good faith under the GPL. This law is describing certain rights an Irish consumer has that no fine print can take away from him or her. I'll keep you posted on this story if there are further developments. If there are any Irish lawyers out there, we'd love to hear from you.