[Fwd: Re: [linux-elitists] Silly SCO Scenarios]

K.R. Foley kr@cybsft.com
Fri Aug 8 15:08:20 PDT 2003


My apologies to Jonathan Corbet for originally replying to him instead 
of to the list :(

-------- Original Message --------
Subject: Re: [linux-elitists] Silly SCO Scenarios
Date: Fri, 08 Aug 2003 16:47:34 -0500
From: "K.R. Foley" <kr@cybsft.com>
Organization: Cybersoft Solutions, Inc.
To: Jonathan Corbet <corbet-elite@lwn.net>
References: <20030808210156.20022.qmail@lwn.net>

Jonathan Corbet wrote:
 > I *hate* this feeling that, because SCO's actions seem to lack sense, I'm
 > missing something important.  So, I'd like to share a scenario has been
 > going through my head when I would have been better off sleeping.  But
 > first, some formalities are in order:
 >
 > 	The following scenario is made available under the Open Paranoid
 > 	Ravings License v3.2.7 (no other version, you never know what they
 > 	might slip in there) in the hope that it will be amusing and, with
 > 	luck, not complete balloon juice.  It may be redistributed, and
 > 	combined with other ravings without regard to ideology, good taste,
 > 	or logical consistency.  All warranties with regard to any relation
 > 	to reality, public humiliation, or mind warpage are explicitly
 > 	disclaimed.  No indemnities are offered; you have no alternative
 > 	but to think for yourself.
 >
 > OK.  I believe most readers of this list would have little difficulty 
with
 > the following Findings Of Fact:
 >

First let me say, Jon, that I have some of these same nightmares while I
am wide awake also! I should qualify what I am about to say. I really
don't see things this badly. I do see how some of these things could
happen, but I have to think more positively than this most of the time.

 >  - SCO would be delighted if it could convince a court to state that, not
 >    only has "its" code been copied into Linux, but it has been mixed 
in at
 >    such a fundamental level ("SMP") that there is no way to remove it.
 >    Besides, they claim an inability to even tell us where the problem 
code
 >    might be.

The thing that really scares me is that things could go either way on
the copying of code depending on who is making the judgement and how
technically capable they are.

 >
 >  - SCO has embarked upon a licensing scheme that, if the company ever
 >    succeeded in making it stick, would shut down all redistribution of
 >    Linux and kill the whole thing dead.
 >

How better to exact revenge on the community/product that has let us
down so badly. Lets face it, Scaldera wasn't doing so well long before
the evil plan became evident.

 >  - SCO's attacks on the GPL are on the increase.  It's response to 
IBM said
 >    that IBM needed to "move away from the GPL."  Our Buddy Darl is 
full of
 >    blather on how the SCO case will lead "open source" developers to a
 >    Better Way.  Other communications from the company, public and 
private,
 >    have suggested that SCO thinks the GPL may not be enforceable.

I don't see how this one could happen. Fortunately IANAL, but it sure
would seem that some pretty high caliber lawyers might be advising them
otherwise.

 >
 > Conclusions that have been drawn from the above facts include (1) SCO 
wants
 > to kill Linux so that it can get back to selling proprietary stuff, 
(2) the
 > whole thing is really a stock pumping scam, or (3) SCO is simply 
trying to
 > be sufficiently obnoxious that somebody eventually buys them off in 
one way
 > or another to shut them up.

Here is another really scary point. Lets assume that none of the facts
above come to fruition. The DOWNSIDE for Scaldera is that conclusions
(1) and (2) come to pass ( (2) is already happening with the stock
sell-off and shell games.) That makes it an enticing proposition for a
company thats on its way down the crapper.

 >
 > What if all those explanations are wrong?  With imagination and
 > sufficiently powerful drugs, it's not too hard to envision that "Evil
 > Corporate Plan For Obtaining Vast Riches With Sleazy Legal Techniques"
 > (v4.7 or so) could have a sequence of steps reading, approximately:
 >
 >  - Get a court to agree that SCO owns parts - large parts - of Linux.
 >    Establish that only SCO has the right to distribute this code.
 >
 >  - Claim that the GPL is unenforceable and that SCO is entitled to
 >    distribute the Linux kernel as a whole - under its terms.  Find a 
court
 >    somewhere that will confirm this.

With my frustrations with our judicial system neither of the two
scenarios above are that hard for me to imagine.

 >
 >  - The kernel is now 0wn3d.  Apply taxes accordingly.

You know this is not that far from what is happening in several
situations involving patents right now. Someone has made the right
applications and now they own technology (or ideas) that someone else
created.

 >
 >  - Retire to desert island.
 >
 >  - OK, Utah *is* a desert island of sorts; retire to Logan or 
thereabouts.
 >
 > I can see how, to a certain type of mind, a plan like the above would 
look
 > like a good thing.  If you've risen to a high position in the Evil
 > Corporate Planning Department, how could you resist a scheme that 
held out
 > a hope of applying a tax to every Linux installation?  Darl himself has
 > said it: it adds up to multiple Sagans of dollars.
 >
 > Now, we all know that, even if all went well in the courts, there are
 > limits on how well this scheme could work.  SCO could, in the worst case
 > scenario, gain some sort of control over a dead shell of code, but 
its soul
 > would be gone.  Linux would not remain valuable for long.  But the 
authors
 > of such an Evil Corporate Plan (ECP) would be unlikely to understand 
this.
 >
 > Humor me for a moment - I'm just a frustrated science fiction author, 
after
 > all - and assume that the ECP exists in this form.  In such a situation,
 > the GPL becomes one of the main obstacles to bringing the ECP to 
fruition;
 > imagine how much easier it could be if Linux carried a BSD license.  As
 > long as the GPL holds, Linux cannot be hijacked in this way; it can 
only be
 > killed.
 >
 > Bottom line (serious, now): attacks by SCO (and others) on the GPL should
 > be taken seriously.  It has become one of our most important lines of
 > defense.  Watch the GPL rhetoric carefully; I predict it will get worse.

Here is another good point and a winning situation for a lot of evil
empires that incorporate ECPs. For some of these companies standing on
the the sidelines (or above pulling the strings, who knows) they are
going to watch very closely how well the GPL stands up in court and also
look for its weaknesses.

 >
 > OK, I'll go back to my cell now.
 >
 > jon
 > _______________________________________________
 > linux-elitists
 > http://zgp.org/mailman/listinfo/linux-elitists






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