Monday, October 6, 2003
SCO Says SGI Isn't Doing Enough, but What Would Be? --And Details on SGI's Code Comparison
It appears nothing SGI has done is enough to satisfy SCO, and in fact Darl McBride's statements make one wonder if anything short of removing XFS would be enough, and because that isn't going to happen, it looks like the two sides are going to legally rumble:
"The SCO Group has insisted that changes made by Silicon Graphics (SGI) to some of its Unix code will not be enough to prevent termination of SGI's Unix licence.
"SCO plans to revoke SGI's Unix licence even though the latter claims to have removed all potentially offending code from its XFS journalling file system, now in Linux. But this does not go far enough, SCO has told vnunet.com .
"The licence is due to be terminated on 14 October, two months after a warning letter was sent to SGI complaining that it had allowed code to be transferred from SCO's Unix System V into Linux.
"The letter, dated 13 August, claimed that SGI subjected SCO's source code to "unrestricted disclosure, unauthorised transfer and disposition, and unauthorised use and copying". . .
"We don't believe that SGI has taken all of the steps necessary to cure all of the breaches, and in fact in our letter to them, we state 'SGI's breaches of these agreements cannot be cured'."
Laura DiDio has said publicly on October 2, 2003, that SCO has been aware of "blatant SGI violations" for a year. That raises a number of issues. First, if they knew about the "violations" since October of 2002, why didn't they do anything about it until now? And, more, since SCO claims that they set up their stock plan in advance of any knowledge of legal action, that would appear now not to be the case, if what DiDio says it true.
As Groklaw noted back in August, second story down on the page:
"Bloomberg News has an article, appearing in The Salt Lake Tribune, reporting that Darl McBride says that SCO's CFO submitted a sales plan in January 'months before legal action was contemplated', presumably as proof that there is no connection between the stock sales and the lawsuit:
"Chief Financial Officer Robert Bench began the selling by SCO insiders, four days after SCO filed the suit against IBM. Bench is selling to help pay a $150,000 tax bill, McBride said. Under the Sarbanes-Oxley law, companies are no longer able to loan executives money to pay taxes or other expenses.
"Bench submitted a sale plan in January, months before any legal action against IBM was contemplated, McBride said. His agreement called for the sales to begin on March 8. He planned to sell 5,000 shares a month for the next 12 months, according to the plan." [emphasis added]
But if they knew about the "violations" back in October of 2002, and hired Boies in January, it does raise some questions in my mind about the January plan and just how preset it actually was. I hope the SEC reads Groklaw, because they are in a better position than I am to know what this all adds up to and can do something about it, if it feels it would be appropriate.
Another thing: Was SGI's contribution of XFS to Linux a secret they only now just discovered? Hardly. Aside from Linux code being publicly viewable at all times by SCO, and the fact that they have distributed their own distribution of Linux themselves -- with XFS, by the way, which means they made money from it and knew it was there, as you can see for yourself in this SCO product brochure which mentions XFS by name, as well as NUMA and JFS -- consistently throughout the time period in question, SGI first announced they would be donating XFS to Linux back in May of 1999:
"InfoWorld: SGI extends an OS crown jewel to Linux effort"
May 21, 1999, 12 :03 UTC
"SGI on Thursday here at Linux Expo announced it will make the heart of its Irix operating system -- its 64-bit journaled XFS file system -- available to the open-source community."
"'XFS will help Linux get past some of the limitations it has today, like scaling and the 2GB file limit. Our goal is to make Linux as capable as [SGI's] Irix in terms of scaling and number of processors it can handle,' said Harris Shiffman, strategic technologist for SGI in Mountain View, Calif.
"'XFS will enable Linux to scale high enough to handle file systems as large as 18 million terabytes of data and files up to 9 million terabytes, SGI officials said.'"
It wasn't until about a year later that SGI legal authorized its release, so it wasn't the case that no one knew what was happening and someone was sneaking code into Linux. It was cleared by SGI legal only after an extensive in-house "encumbrance review and cleanup" process, and if that isn't enough, folks, to clear Linus and open source of any problems with code contributions, exactly what is enough?:
"Re: Source code for Linux XFS now available!
"To : "David S. Miller" < firstname.lastname@example.org >
"Subject : Re: Source code for Linux XFS now available!
"From : Russell Cattelan < email@example.com >
"Date : Thu, 30 Mar 2000 22:19:58 -0600
"Organization : Moo Solutions
> "David S. Miller" wrote:
> > One would think that with a year or so of internal work this sort of
> > stuff would have been cleaned up already. If you guys had released
> > this a year ago things would be much further along than it is right
> > now, I think that keeping it internal for so long was the biggest
> > mistake SGI made about XFS on Linux. Even if it didn't build nor
> > work, releasing 'a source tree' a year ago would have had the whole
> > world contributing to fix it all up and we'd have a working and clean
> > XFS in the tree already.
> > But that's SGI politics for you.
> No, it isn't.
> In fairness to all of us, inside and outside SGI, one must come to
> terms with the fact that we could not publish XFS code before the
> encumbrance review and cleanup were complete. All of us on the XFS
> team at SGI would have liked nothing better than to publish XFS as
> soon as we made the announcement last year.
"The green light from legal literally wasn't given till late Tuesday.
I was up till 3 am finalizing the cvs transfer procedure.
'The source code release was something we all wanted.
"Have to start bracing for all the patches. :-)
> Dan Koren
If you follow this thread, by the way, you'll see the open source process at work. Here's the press release SGI put out at the time:
"SGI Empowers Linux With the Availability of XFS 1.0 and Linux Failsafe Plug-Ins SGI Empowers Linux With the Availability of XFS 1.0 and Linux Failsafe Plug-Ins
"MOUNTAIN VIEW, Calif., May 1 /PRNewswire/ -- SGI (NYSE: SGI -news ) today announced the production release of XFS(TM) 1.0 for Linux®, the high-end SGI journaled filesystem software, and code availability of Linux FailSafe(TM) clustering plug-ins. As a leading supporter of Linux and the Open Source community, SGI is once again providing business-critical infrastructure for Linux by porting scalable and robust technology such as XFS 1.0 and Linux FailSafe.
"XFS 1.0 for Linux, a journaled filesystem that improves performance and speeds recovery in the event of a system failure, and the code for Linux FailSafe, a commonly used clustering tool to run critical applications, is now available for download on SGI's open source Web site at http://oss.sgi.com/projects/xfs/ and http://oss.sgi.com/projects/failsafe/ . There is no cost for either item.
"Linux FailSafe is a high-availability clustering tool that helps companies maintain system uptime and ensure continual access to software and services, while eliminating the risk of system failures on critical applications. Linux FailSafe is architected to scale up to 16 nodes in a cluster with the cluster members sharing storage, allowing multiple servers to assume control of data in the event of a failure. Now with SGI's open sourced Linux FailSafe plug-ins, NFS(TM), Samba(TM) and Apache(TM) applications will be able to failover on system failure and users will still have access to their data.
"XFS Journaled Filesystem
"XFS, the widely recognized and industry-leading high-performance filesystem, provides reliability and rapid crash recovery without hampering performance. Existing filesystems entail significant limitations in scalability and stability, whereas SGI XFS is the first journaled filesystem that has over a six-year solid track record in production environments. Its mature technology has been proven on thousands of IRIX® OS-based systems as the default filesystem for all SGI customers.
"XFS 1.0 for Linux works with the Linux 2.4 kernel and offers unique advantages that other filesystems do not, including:
"-- Crash recovery -- fast recovery, regardless of the number of files
" -- Scalability -- meets the most demanding storage capacity and I/O
" -- Space allocation -- enables systems to efficiently scale to support
large numbers of files and directories
" -- Complete tool set to support filesystem features
"-- Excellent integration with other Linux subsystems
"License and Availability
"Both XFS 1.0 and Linux FailSafe are licenses under GPL and are currently available at no cost.
"SGI provides a broad range of high-performance computing and advanced graphics solutions that enable customers to understand and conquer their toughest computing problems. A strong advocate for open technology, SGI is committed to contributing technology from its core competencies in visualization and high-performance computing to the Open Source community to help solve complex data problems. Headquartered in Mountain View, Calif., with offices worldwide, company information is located on the Web at www.sgi.com ."
The date on this press release, which isn't on Yahoo! any more but is still on Wayback, is May of 2001, as you can also see from this posting:
"To : debian < firstname.lastname@example.org >
"Subject : SGI's xfs
"From : Matthias Berse < email@example.com >
"Date : Wed, 2 May 2001 11:10:22 +0200. . .
"Are there any plans in supporting the usage of SGI's xfs filesystem in
debian? Are there kernel patches available and/or userspace tools
"Since yesterday xfs 1.0 for linux is out and under gpl
"+-------------created at Wed May 2 11:06:17 CEST 2001-----------------+"
So removing code snippets isn't enough, as Blake Stowell says:
"In response, SCO's director of public relations, Blake Stowell, told vnunet.com: 'Making minor amendments to its XFS file system doesn't cure the breach. SGI must do more as outlined [in the August letter] to cure all of their breaches.'"
SGI Developer Central Open Source/Linux XFS is here, if you want to do your own research. SGI press releases for 2000 onward are here. And here is a Google SGI XFS search results page.
So, all in all, it certainly appears that SGI has the opportunity to bring its own declaratory judgment action, if it so chooses, thanks to the incredible public statements of McBride and his Merry Men. They keep bringing in new lawyers, but the essential legal problem they have is not, apparently, curable, which is that they talk too much and do too little. They are now faced with explaining to the judge(s) why they never bothered to do anything about XFS since 1999, why removing any conceivably related code snippets that are apparently in the public domain anyway isn't enough, why they distributed Linux with XFS, and exactly why they shouldn't be the defendant in a declaratory judgment action, now that they have made clear that there is an actual controversy, at least from all I see and can understand from the public record. I hope SGI makes the letter public and the contract. Also, I hope SGI brings a declaratory judgment action, and I hope this material is useful to them.
The big news is that SGI has looked at and compared System V code and Linux, and they say they have only found trivial snips that could arguably overlap and even Gartner says this news is not helpful to SCO:
"SGI declined to reveal any details on the additional code segments it found, but the fact that its analysis appears to reveal no extensive overlap between the code in Linux and System V is good news for Linux users, according to Gartner analyst George Weiss."
They checked it twice, first with Eric Raymond's Comparator and some of their own tools, and then they checked again more thoroughly later in September:
"SGI's code comparison was done during September using the Comparator software created by open source advocate Eric Raymond, as well as some other internally developed tools, according to SGI. It compared source code from the Unix System V release 4.1 software that SGI has licensed from SCO with a version of the Linux kernel released this June, SGI said.
"'Our review was focused on the code we contributed to Linux; however, we did run the Comparator code on the Linux 2.4.21 kernel. The process involves using subjective judgment to review similarities identified by the tool,' said Greg Estes, SGI's vice president of corporate marketing, in an e-mail response to questions. . . .
"Then in September SGI carried out its more comprehensive comparison. . . .
"This comparison revealed a few examples of line-by-line copying, but did not determine whether the code was owned by SCO or in the public domain, according to the letter. 'SGI has discovered a few additional code segments ... that may arguably be related to the Unix code,' Altmaier wrote. He added that these segments were 'trivial in amount."
Looks like SCO's copyright claims just kind of went poof. Now if every other UNIX vendor that has made contributions to Linux does the same thing SGI has done -- and I do include HP in this, if they want to help out -- then that should be that. If anyone thinks IBM hasn't done it already, I'd say they don't know IBM very well. This leaves only SCO's very unusual derivative code theories and perhaps some "obfuscated" code claims, which will likely end up on the cutting room floor too, just like the SCOForum slide show code and now the copyright claims appear to have done. Although there is this very funny quotation in the Vnunet article by SCO's Blake Stowell, in the I'll-huff-and-I'll-puff department:
"The fact that SGI has replaced the three code fragments in question does not satisfy SCO, according to Blake Stowell, a SCO spokesman. 'These releases have already taken place in Linux,' he said. 'You still have all these machines out there that haven't applied patches that are still benefitting from this Unix System V code.'"
Priceless, isn't it?
Thank you very much, SGI. Thank you, Eric Raymond. And to SCO: shame on you. Shame. And may all your public statements come back to haunt you now.
Now, about those invoices for copyright infringement you've been threatening us with...
UPDATE: Groklaw readers have responded with some more evidence and here it is:
http://www.caldera.com/support/docs/scolinux/ipf/relnotes-ipf.html -- Note point 12
More links that may indicate SCOG had knowlege of the origins of XFS and JFS and yet released them themselves:
"This is terrific news and we're happy to have SGI as part of the open source family," said Ransom Love, president and CEO of Caldera Systems, Inc. "There's a great need in Linux for business to have that enterprise-class file technology and storage capability. Daily, we have enterprise customers asking for these solutions - particularly where graphics are concerned. With SGI's contribution and expertise in journaling, throughput and data integrity, we can meet the file sharing/storage needs of those customers with the best technology available. That SGI would make this contribution to the open source community says a lot about their vision and business acumen." - Ransom Love, CEO Caldera
You can read the full release here (dated May 20, 1999).
This story almost tells itself. Remember in August, when the UN's World Summit on the Information Society declared itself in favor of open source? It seems Microsoft didn't like that. Lobbying ensued, and the US and certain EU countries brought pressure to bear. Your tax dollars at work.
"International governments have toned down their proposed endorsement of open-source software models, following lobbying by businesses at a preparatory meeting of the World Summit on the Information Society, which is set to run this December in Geneva.
"Language in an August draft of the WSIS Plan of Action that would have advocated the use of open-source software, particularly in developing nations, was toned down in the September 26 draft, to give equal weight to the value of proprietary software.
"The August draft promoted open source awareness, the creation of intellectual property mechanisms supporting open source, and the creation of a UN 'Programmers Without Frontiers' body to support open source software in developing nations.
"In the new draft, these are replaced with a more general description of how governments should "promote awareness among all stakeholders of the possibilities offered by different software models... including proprietary, open-source and free software".
"The changes were apparently made after input from several nations uneasy with excluding mentions of proprietary software from the Plan, and from the business lobby's delegation, which came out strongly against open-source.
"'Business has consistently stated that it is essential for governments to ensure technologically neutral policy towards different software models,' said the delegate from the business lobby, during the conference debate.
"'Governments cannot know, case-by-case, what software solution is best for every user,' she said, urging the deletion of the open-source provisions. 'Each user should be allowed to make a choice that meets their individual needs.'"
Yes, the story is absolutely outrageous. The whole point was supposed to be to bridge the digital divide between IT haves and have-nots, and it's obvious that would mean open source software, not proprietary. The next time I see a headline about the Gates Foundation giving away money in the third world, I'll remember what they did here, lobbying to make sure IT have-nots stayed that way.
But I look at it this way. Evidently this organization didn't want to even suggest using proprietary software until they were lobbied hard. That doesn't bode well for Microsoft and proprietary software. Open source/free software doesn't have to pressure or lobby anyone, and they still will win, barring international martial law. No matter what the paper ends up saying, governments will continue to switch over to open source/free software. It's a no brainer.
Another way to look at this article is to look at how the organization's proposal against spam got seriously watered down too. The earlier draft had a number of proposals, including prosecution of spammers. The 100 words got reduced to this recommendation:
""Take appropriate action on spam at national and international levels."
My, the company Microsoft is forced to keep just to stay in the running! It's a sad, sad story.
There is an offensive article on UPI today, "The Bottom Line:
Software and Copyright" by Gregory Fossedal. It purports to be about
how smart you'd be to invest in Linux instead of proprietary software companies,
but it manages to include so much pure FUD, including listing SCO as a
Linux company in which you should invest, as well as several plugs for
the brilliant Bill Gates, that I thought it was worthwhile to do a
little checking on the author and the organizations to which he
belongs. First, the FUD. Here are some examples from the article:
"Smart investors are
putting their shorts on the computer software industry, with a special
emphasis on the pitiful, helpless giants such as Sun Microsystems,
Oracle, and even Microsoft. Awash with cash and wishy-washy bureaucracy
that would have scandalized their founders 25 years ago, these are the
giants that have the farthest to fall -- and will have the most
difficult time dealing not only with emerging market piracy, but the
more subtle assault of 'open source' software termites operating in the
U.S. and Western Europe.
"Straightforward piracy is an issue
solved for the software industry 25 years ago by a brilliant young
executive named Bill Gates, who realized that only by basing software on
undisclosed 'source code' could the industry ever really thrive. Today,
however, the quasi-monopoly enjoyed (in various sectors) by Microsoft,
Oracle, and Sun is highly vulnerable to outright theft by such nations
as Brazil, China, and Russia -- to name just three."
Quasi-monopoly? Why so
modest? I believe Microsoft has been officially declared a monopoly. And is it "theft" to avoid a monopoly? Is he really saying that it is a desirable thing to
All right. Maybe he isn't a deep thinker. He goes on to describe open source, and of course, he gets it wrong,
whether through cluelessness or cunning:
source can be a misnomer, but in general, open source is a product of
thousands of programmers who agree to share their work in developing a
joint product with revealed code -- hence, 'open source.' There are now
many programs developed in this way, such as the operating system Linux,
which might better be called 'mixed source' or 'shared proprietary source' -- because under the licensing arrangements for using Linux,
programmers who improve or make changes to the system must agree that
their innovations become the property of the system."
flat wrong. Their "property" remains their own. Linux is a kernel, not an operating system. Shared proprietary source? This is his definition of open source? I smell a possibility that he's not loaded with tech smarts and didn't bother to do much research either. He goes on to reveal the India/China plot, using words that make it sound like a missile attack or something equally sinister:
"According to a reliable U.S. official
familiar with Chinese industrial espionage efforts, the use of Linux
products by those governments is only the beginning. 'The Chinese and
the Indians both plan to become a hub for developing countries eager to
escape from U.S. software 'hegemony,' if you will,' the source said.
Today, the People's Bank of China. Tomorrow, a billion desktops in
India, another billion in China, and another quarter of a billion in
What a dastardly plot. I don't think you need to be a spy, or an analyst for the CIA or anything like that, to understand the appeal open source/free software has anywhere money is tight, including in US companies. Of course, he uses the Marxist
word in passing, in addition to the pejorative termite metaphor:
Oracle have even tried to sidle up to the Linux and open-source
movement. In effect, they have invited the termites into their house,
hoping that after a little munching a symbiotic relationship can be
worked out. 'Let them eat Microsoft,' is the motto, and, to be sure,
there is a special hatred reserved only for Bill Gates among the
community of programmers who couldn't get hired, or compete, with the
Redmond wunderkind over several generations of products. . . ."
Couldn't get hired or compete with Microsoft? Is he kidding? It's Microsoft's terror at Linux' success against it that funds all the FUD. He continues with the insults:
"The little competitors, indeed, are already fighting amongst
themselves, much as some types of insects and carnivorous fish eat
themselves. Heck, they're already suing each other. In this too, the
software industry takes much hope, much as the recording industry
delighted in its ability to crush this music-sharing program, or that
overseas piracy operation. Pirates, one can kill -- but piracy,
especially once it is welcomed into the intellectual community, just
changes its address. And termites, unless completely exterminated, just
He apparently feels the proprietary companies are too sleepy to notice the need to exterminate all the termites, so he then recommends that you sell proprietary
software makers' shares and buy the following, and I hope you are sitting down
so you don't faint dead away at his brillance:
"On the buy side,
there are dozens of feisty young companies -- Red Hat, Sco Group, and VA
Software -- that are already taking advantage of the new global
Huh? Didn't he get the memo? SCO says it doesn't sell
Linux any more. Ah, who cares with FUD? He got to tell you to buy feisty SCO's stock. I wonder if the SEC would care that people buying stock on his recommendation would be buying stock thinking it was Linux and represented the future, according to this article's analysis, whereas in reality it is a UNIX company's stock, which most analysts say is a shrinking market?
Naturally, I was curious as to who this gentleman might be. I had my suspicions that I might find a Microsoft or a SCO connection.
His bio says this:
"Gregory Fossedal is chairman of the Alexis de Tocqueville Institution, a research foundation in Washington, D.C., and has served in this capacity since 1985. He is also the president and chief investment officer of the Democratic Century Fund, established in 1998."
The Alexis de Tocqueville Institution... that seemed to ring a bell. So I head on over to their home page and lo and behold, this is the same organization that put out a paper last year attacking Open Source.
Here's a snip from an article
at the time, that suggested that their paper was funded by Microsoft:
"Is Microsoft behind it?
"A libertarian organisation which lists Microsoft as a donor has kicked off a campaign against open source software, and recommended that government and federal institutions keep to proprietary systems. The Alexis de Tocqueville Institution, which claims to represent 'civil liberty, political equality and economic freedom and opportunity', has posted a document on its website which bashes open source. . .The 33-page paper, entitled 'Opening the Open Source
debate', argues that open source software is more likely to be compromised by terrorists than proprietary software.
"During a blistering attack, not just on open source but on the General Public Licence (GPL), the report states: 'A federal agency's decision to use GPL open source from the public domain must accompany the assumption that potential attackers either already have, or could easily acquire, a
duplicate copy of the same exact source code.' . .
"There is speculation in the open source
community that the report is a Microsoft-backed attempt to scare governments away from the increasing interest in open source
More coverage of
the report pointed out that while it claimed that if the FAA used GPL
software they'd have to reveal their source code to hackers, implying
this would put planes at risk, that wasn't actually the case, since
the GPL doesn't require you to reveal any modifications you make to the
source code unless you distribute software, which the FAA doesn't. And, this article added, "Indeed, two recent reports by the Mitre Corp. argue that open-source software provides agencies
significant security and cost advantages over commercial software."
In short, the report was laughed at from here to eternity.
to have a brother-in-law who was wealthy. I never much liked the
guy, but I did find him intriguing, because with all his money, he was always unhappy. I remember one conversation in which he was complaining about a company he had hired to paint his apartment. His whining was that even with all his money he couldn't find a decent painter. Such a problem as this seemed, in the grand scheme, minor to me, but he went on for hours about how no one had any pride in their work any more, and no matter how much money you
had you couldn't buy good workmanship. I thought about my ex-brother-in-law when I read Mr. Fossedal's silly and error-riddled prose. Can't the richest man in the world get more skillful FUDsters than this? Not that I'm complaining.
It all brought back to mind Caldera's Statement of Facts in its legal battle against
Microsoft. This is a fascinating document, because it lists all the
anticompetitive moves MS made against Caldera's DR DOS software, according to Caldera,
including how MS used FUD to destroy its competition. If you were wondering why the SCO
story keeps going on and on, consider what happened behind the scenes in the world of PR in
the Caldera/MS battle. According to the Statement, MS used FUD to deliberately cause the public to think that DR
DOS, Caldera's competing product to MS' DOS, had "compatibility
problems" running on Windows when it really didn't and in fact was a
superior product. The FUD worked -- DR DOS failed as a product, hence the lawsuit. Here is how they got the press to cooperate with their FUD
"48. . . .As Microsoft's own personnel concede, the
purpose of a FUD campaign is to raise an artificial barrier to entry by
a competitor, by introducing and maintaining inertia in the decision-making process. . .
"123. On October 15, 1990, Microsoft's outside public relations firm, Waggener Edstrom, had
"'Over the next couple of months, Kathryn and I are going to be in touch with a lot of editors regarding MS-DOS 5.0. We'll
basically be covering all the key editors except for the weeklies and we'll be talking to them about other things. We recommend that we
*informally* plant the bug of FUD in their ears. "Have you heard about
problems with DR DOS?" "That security feature is a neat idea and, gosh,such a feature would be great, but it's just too easily circumvented." "Gee, it's unfortunate that DR DOS can't be loaded high all the time. MS-DOS 5.0 can." We'll do this very tactfully. *If Digital Research came
to Microsoft for help making DR DOS work with Windows, would Microsoft
help them? Maybe not?'. . .
July 1991, Pineda circulated a separate report devoted to his 'MS-DOS 5
vs. DR DOS 5 Comparison,' which also contained specific speaking points
on purported flaws in DR DOS 5.0. Exhibit 141. This summary, drawn as it
was from earlier 'bug sheets,' contained the same misleading
information. . . . Moreover, MS-DOS suffered many of the same -- or worse -- problems. . . .
"127. Yet when Novell
announced in July 1991 its intended merger with DRI, the NSTL report
leaped to the fore of Microsoft's FUD campaign. On July 22, 1991, Brad
Silverberg outlined the plan to fellow executives: 'DR-DOS has lots of
compatibility problems. We commissioned NSTL not long ago to run tests
and they found many problems with DR-DOS . . .We are engaged in a FUD
campaign to let the press know about some of the bugs. We'll provide
info a few bugs at a time to stretch it out.'. . .
"128. Silverberg testified this drip-feed technique was designed '[f]or maximal effect . . . to arm the press with factual
information about the shortcomings, incompatibilities and bugs that DR
DOS possessed.'. . .As Brad Chase stated by e-mail, the purpose of a 'slow leak' program was 'to short circuit Novell DOS before it gets off the ground,' and to 'make it hard for customers or
oems (ibm???) to consider dr. dos seriously.'"
So, that's how it's done. So, there's good reason
not to be discouraged by the incessant drip of the FUD machine. Just
chronicle it, drip by drip. Save the evidence. I don't know if this article is a direct result of such a FUD effort, although if you held a gun to my head and forced me to tell you what I think I'd say I think it is, but I do know that if I were Red Hat or IBM, I'd probably want to depose Mr. Fossedal and find out.
He did get one thing right: GNU/Linux is the future.
HP Shows its Hand
HP has put out a press release that seems to answer the Why Did They Indemnify question. It appears they had ka-ching in mind, not saving Linux from SCO:
"HP Extends Linux Lifeline to Sun Customers; Offers Free Services to Help Customers Migrate to HP's Market-Leading Industry-Standard Platforms
"PALO ALTO, Calif.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Oct. 3, 2003--HP (NYSE:HPQ) today announced a comprehensive migration program to help move customers from Sun Solaris to HP's market-leading industry-standard platforms running Linux. The new sales and service program offers customers at no cost a combination of assessment, porting and migration services, valued at approximately $25,000, for moving applications from Sun Solaris to Linux. The program enables qualified customers to take advantage of the cost savings of open source Linux and the power and choice of industry-standard computing.
"HP's Sun migration program provides qualifying customers in the Americas with a free assessment of porting and migration needs for up to three applications; porting of one application at no charge; use of an industry-standard HP ProLiant server for up to 30 days for proof of concept testing; and an HP StorageWorks storage area network assessment at no charge to improve storage utilization. . . .
"'Customers are telling us it's time to take advantage of the economics of Linux while cutting their risk and architecting for the future,' said Marc Jourlait, vice president of enterprise marketing programs, HP Enterprise Systems Group. 'HP already offers the market's leading Linux platforms with our industry-standard servers, and we're taking accountability by now helping customers migrate to the future faster than ever.'
"HP last week became the first major Linux vendor to offer an indemnity program(1) to qualified customers for SCO intellectual property infringement claims. HP offers the industry's broadest range of Linux-based servers -- from single-processor HP ProLiant servers to 64-processor HP Integrity servers."
So it appears Linus had it right when he implied it might be a cynical marketing ploy. Sun had indemnified its Solaris customers and HP may have felt it needed to do the same in order to go after Sun's customers. The "architecht for the future" phrase probably refers to Sun's money troubles, meaning HP will still be standing if Sun goes out of business, and the "cutting their risk" crack is a big hint that they aren't worrying about trying for any antiFUD to help Linux. Instead they are adding to the FUD by implying there is a risk.
And to assess the "risk" realistically, take a look at the real world and how Safeway views the "risk", in an article in which Silicon.com lists their "Agenda Setters 2003":
"Someone who could well have fallen into this category this year but didn't make the list at all is SCO CEO Darl McBride. He has led his company's charge to get credit for what it claims is some of its code turning up in Linux. So far the row has taken the form of a lawsuit brought against IBM, headlines in the media and SCO invoicing some users for Linux roll outs.
"However, when asked what happened when his company was served with a request to pay a SCO licence for Linux, panellist Ric Francis, Safeway's CIO, said: 'I told them to stick it. At the end of the day it is never going to fly. It's the last dying breath of a company that is never going to make money.'
"McBride - in the headlines yes, agenda setting no. There is a difference.