[linux-elitists] Notes from an SCO show attendee

Brian McGroarty brian@mcgroarty.net
Tue Aug 19 06:13:39 PDT 2003


I stumbled across these notes from an SCO show attendee, "korbomite"
on the Yahoo SCO stock board. The overall picture painted seems pretty
grim, although the poster's bias seems pretty clear from the onset as
well.

Of particular interest was number 3, the "code show." The code shown
was apparently some pretty basic stuff that anyone would generate for
the given task.

I'm sure somebody else will be pointing out exactly what code was
shown, and when that happens several people will certainly rush to
submit patches to rub it out. The kernel mailing list's reaction will
be interesting: If they do start to accept these kinds of patches, SCO
might be able to twist that around as more "damning evidence."


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I'm saving any specific conclusions until I have the full picture
(Wednesday night or Thursday/Friday morning). This little show has
been at times interesting, but business and real life keep reminding
me that the real questions will not be answered short of a trial. I
know how I feel, now I have a little better idea how the enemy
feels...

Meanwhile, I think the weaknesses in our infrastructure here and in
Europe pointed out by the Blackout, LoveSAN32/RPC and the terrible
trouble on the continent with the heat wave (especially in France and
the UK) are MUCH bigger stories in the immediate and near term and
will affect my business and the concerns of my clients more than this
sideshow.

But I am here now, so here goes:

1. Darl's hair really is that bad.

2. There are FAR fewer than 1000 people here and FAR fewer sponsors
   than I was led to believe. No major discussion (some disappointment
   and some worry though) about HP pulling out of the Keynote...for
   everyone that made mention of the pull-out, 10 reminded them of who
   sponsored the little reception last night (HP). That was little
   comfort, since HP did a MUCH better job at LinuxTAG and
   LinuxWorld. No mention at all or concern about Intel (which I found
   to be, potentially, far more damaging to the attendees.).

3. The code show: Boies, as you all know by now, was a no-show. BIG
   morale and spirit buster and something of a topic of discussion
   (briefly) during the break immediately following the VERY long and
   dry keynotes.

   On to the code itself, as was publicly shown. McBride showed a
   number of what I would have thought were classroom exercises in a
   first-year c programming class. One side was marked as 'Linux,' one
   as UNIX®. The code seemed to be basic iterative programming and
   set-up code, as you would see in any text or on a test. Primarily,
   it seemed to be initializations of variables and set-up of stacks
   and heaps. At no time was there any explanation of or provision to
   provenance of either code example. No one brought up the general
   availability of the Linux source tree and the time it has been
   available vs. the date of SCO's filing. No one questioned the sheer
   AMOUNT of claimed code vs. the total in the kernel/module
   space. There WERE striking similarities in the examples, but there
   were also differences.

   Overall, the explanations by Sontag and Heise were dry and
   boring. Many dozed, after the initial unveiling. Most paid FAR more
   intention to the 'derivative works' arguments, over the actual
   'copyright violations' in the examples.

   My overall impression of the presentation was a thought from
   Shakespeare's _Hamlet_: that it was a "...a tale told by
   ... idiot(s)/ full of sound and fury/ signifying nothing"...no
   provenance and no real code that I could see, that would have been
   any different, whether it was in the Linux kernel or in an
   ancillary supervisory program for any nmber of embedded systems.

   UNIX is a registered trademark of The Open Group in the United
   States and other countries.

4. The products that the show is ostensibly about are still of the
   same post-Santa Cruz Operation, post-Novell quality that prompted
   me to not accept Caldera's invitations to become a VAR in the
   past. There was a strange disconnect between the morning sessions,
   putting down the GPL, and the afternoon sessions, where GPL'd
   software was used as a 'savior' of the OpenServer and UNIXWare
   products. It was mystifying to me how the participants could
   achieve this disconnect, but they seemed happy about the use of
   SAMBA 3 to achieve Active Directory compatibility and the
   announcements of other ports of GPL'd software from the Linux
   codebase to SCO products.

5. No attention was paid to the fact that all of these products were
   on VERY long release schedules, often putting them out beyond the
   3rd or 4th quarter NEXT year, while Linux already has RC1 support
   in MANY commercial and other distros already.

6. The APIs were BIG news, and it did not escape many here that Darl
   and Company used this early in the morning as an explanation for
   the fallout between SCO and IBM.

7. More on the following, later (as well as what I can specifically
   remember or get from my notes about the code examples publicly
   shown): The GPL is The Enemy here. Microsoft comes #2, according to
   many of the VARs and developers I spoke to. Java announcements and
   classes were VERY high on the list of those here as desired in the
   product line from SCO. No mention was made today of the utility of
   the Vultus accquisition or the SCOx Web Services, as they are seen
   as 'too little, too late" by those knowledgable...kind of "Now we
   can give WS a 'me too' in our products at client presentations."

8. VERY few, if any, Europeans or Middle Easterners. No reaction to
   the defeat today in India, or the greater defeat last week in
   China. No Australian or New Zealand accents heard. The only French
   accents I heard were Creole (Louisiana) and French-Canadian. High
   concentration of attendees from Florida and California/Arizona and
   some from the Midwest. Pitiful turnout compared to last year of
   real VARs or potential customers and REALLY bad Vendor area.

9. The disconnect, intellectually, is just strange. Ixorg still uses
   'Linux' in their web titles, but avows no support. There seems to
   be no disconnect about the fact that for many of these people, they
   will not survive unless they can support BOTH IBM and SCO...and,
   soon, if my information is correct, they will have to make a
   decision that will vastly shrink their businesses, regardless of
   the decision they make...for that reason, much of the discussion
   today seemed to be a VERY strongly-felt attitude of wanting this
   over sooner rather than later, and a frustration with SCO/Caldera's
   attitude. I even heard a few wishes that it (SCO) would just "give
   it up and do some REAL business."

10. The VARs are upset about the heat they are taking, but don't know
    (or aren't saying here) what they are going to do about the case
    when it begins to affect their bottom line. They DO however
    anticipate that with much dread.

11. There ARE a few clueful participants here that are preparing to or
    have been convinced by the show today to drop SCO. They are tired
    of the impact on their businesses and they see real advantages in
    moving on without SCO. The many cheerleaders have not convinced
    them to stay. The many defections evident this year are
    worrying. The no-shows are worrying. Armed, uniformed guards in
    the show areas do not signal a healthy environment to them. Most
    of all, they see the products falling further and further behind,
    while the company continues to concentrate on this ridiculous
    lawsuit.

12. There is no REAL solid story or advantage in the way SCO handles
    Web Services, XML or any of their other, rather amateurish,
    attempts at handling the problems inherent in IT today...as usual
    SCO is a day late and 3 dollars short.

13. THE NDA: more later on this, but, if you have the chance, READ IT
    CAREFULLY!...if you have ANY doubts, do not sign.

    BTW, all of the presentations and the NDA and other things of any
    value, news-wise are prominently marked with copyright notices...I
    hope that will clue some of you in on why I am being somewhat
    circumspect while I am here, until I have a chance to consult with
    counsel.

Late...tomorrow promises to be interesting... 

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