[linux-elitists] SCO Teleconference transcript (Friday, May 30, 2003)

Karsten M. Self kmself@ix.netcom.com
Sun Jun 1 20:43:08 PDT 2003


on Sun, Jun 01, 2003 at 12:30:57AM +0100, Karsten M. Self (kmself@ix.netcom.com) wrote:
> Following is my transcript of the SCO conference call.
> 
> Any errors are mine.
> 
> This and an ogg of the call will be posted shortly to 
> 
>     http://twiki.iwethey.org/twiki/bin/view/Main/SCOvsIBM
> 
> Times correspond to the start of the recording.
> 
> If anyone could provide me with the proper attributions of:
> 
>     Robert Mania (?),  Cooper-Beech (?)
>     Amy Hole (?), Hole(?) & Associates
>     Kyle Kruger (?), Apollo Capital
>     George Weiss (?), Gartner
> 
> I'm familiar with the other participants.
> 
> Further commentary to follow.
> 
> 
> ------------------------------------------------------------------------
> SCO Conference Call
> Friday, May 30, 1pm US/Eastern

<...>

See the TWikIWeThey site above for the current version of the
transcript.  I'm correcting typos and attributions as I go.

For those who are following links from elsewhere, a brief summary of
corrected attributions and highlights:

Speakers are:

  - From SCO: Blake Stowell (Dir. Corp. Communications), Darl McBride
    (CEO), Chris Sonntag (VP, SCOSource)
  - Robert Maina from Cooper-Beech Capital / CIBC
  - Maureen O'Gara, Client/Server News
  - Joe Barr, LinuxWorld.com
  - Dennis Powell, Linux and Main
  - Amy Wohl, Wohl and Associates
  - Hiawatha Bray, Boston Globe
  - David Politis, Utah Tech Watch
  - T.C. Doyle, VAR Business
  - Kyle Kruger, analyst, Apollo Capital
  - George Weiss, Gartner
  - Stephen Vaughan Nichols, LinuxToday


Highlights:


  - SCO establishes that its claims are based on contract, not copyright
    or patent claims.

  - Much is made of the "broad and deep" reach of SCO via its extensive
    licensing agreements -- 30,000 agreements with 6,000 entities,
    comprising much of the Fortune 2000, and many companies worldwide.

  - SCO disputes Novell's claims that SCO does not own Unix copyrights,
    and reiterated both in its initial statement and Q&A followup, that
    its current actions don't rely on patent or copyright claims. "When
    you're holding a couple of aces it doesn't make sense to go down and
    focus on a seven and a five that you might have in your hand....We
    are holding aces and those are the hand that we're playing.". The
    repeated references to "57 pages" of Novell-SCO contract are
    disquietingly McCarthyesque.

  - The 1995 SCO-Novell agreement is referenced (We don't have a copy of
    this though it's apparently part of a prior SEC filing. Forwarding
    of an electronic copy would be greatly appreciated).

  - SCO claims that the answer to the question: is there evidence of
    infringing SCO code in the Linux kernel is "a resounding 'Yes!'",
    with "hundreds of lines" of allegedly infringed code to be shown.
    Much is made of the scale of the source code search: "we're dealing
    with multiple versions of Linux over many years, and huge amounts of
    source code".

  - SCO claims three groups have examined this matter over recent
    months. In Q&A, it develops that the investigation has centered on
    the Linux 2.4 kernel within the past few years.  This is the same
    version of the Linux kernel SCO itself has distributed for three
    years, and continues to distribute today, under the GNU GPL.

  - Evidence will be made available to interested parties, under NDA,
    starting the week of June 1, 2003, to customers, press, analysts,
    and other parties.

  - SCO says disputes over copyright and other rights haven't affected
    its ability to negotiate with parties, its contract rights are
    sufficient.

  - SCO offers access to its attorneys for questions, though they're not
    present on this call.

  - SCO reiterates that its business prospects are "very positive", in
    response to a question from Dennis Powell that SCO "has pretty much
    rolled all the company dice on this one set of litigation", with
    many predicting failure.

  - In a soft-ball pitch from fellow Utahn Politas, SCO is "surprised"
    and "disapointed" in Novell's actions this week disputing SCO's
    ownership of Unix copyrights, and timing the announcement "to try
    and screw [SCO's earnings report] up".

  - SCO is nonresponsive to questions of whether there is other
    legitimate Unix code which might have worked its way into the Linux
    kernel, or whether or not SCO itself, in its prior incarnation as
    either Caldera Linux, or the Santa Cruz Operation, might have put
    its own code into Linux.

  - As several observers have pointed out, SCO's reliance on contract
    rights rather than copyright or patents strongly implies that 
    those who are at greatest disadvantage are those who sign 
    contracts with SCO.  Namely:  it's customers and potential 
    customers.  SCO has compared itself to the recording industry in 
    this conflict, and appears to wish to strengthen the resemblance 
    by directly attacking its own commercial support base.

  - It's interesting to compare, once again, SCO's insistance that its
    own contracts provide "broad and deep" rights, while ignoring
    completely the GNU GPL, and insisting that its 1995 Novell agreement
    "very clearly shows intent" to transfer copyright...when according
    to Novell, it does not in fact do so.  As Rick Moen has pointed out,
    copyright transfer must take place explicitly, in writing.

    http://zgp.org/pipermail/linux-elitists/2003-May/006345.html
    http://cyber.law.harvard.edu/metaschool/fisher/integrity/Links/Cases/ccnv.html
    http://www4.law.cornell.edu/uscode/17/204.html

  - There is no mention of what code review was conducted in advance of
    the SCO-Caldera merger, or following the merger of the two
    companies, prior to the current review, following three years on the
    merger.

  - The conference makes four mentions of 30,000 contracts; nineteen
    references to licences, licensees, sublicenses, and sublicensors;
    thirty-two references to rights and copyrights. As for references to
    the GNU GPL, the license SCO currently distributes Linux kernel 2.4
    under, and which it has distributed Linux code under since 1994,
    over nine years, and which obligates SCO to allow others to freely
    use, modify, copy, and distribute Linux with no additional
    restrictions: none.

Peace.

-- 
Karsten M. Self <kmself@ix.netcom.com>        http://kmself.home.netcom.com/
 What Part of "Gestalt" don't you understand?
    "Charming man," he said. "I wish I had a daughter so I could forbid
    her to marry one ..."
    -- HHGTG



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