[linux-elitists] "Microsoft to license Unix code"
Karsten M. Self
Tue May 20 08:52:12 PDT 2003
on Tue, May 20, 2003 at 12:20:01PM +1000, Martin Pool (email@example.com) wrote:
> On 19 May 2003, "Karsten M. Self" <firstname.lastname@example.org> wrote:
> > on Mon, May 19, 2003 at 06:11:35PM +1000, Jeff Waugh (email@example.com) wrote:
> > > So,
> > >
> > > I don't think this changes much, but it's an interesting data point. Well,
> > > apart from being good media fodder for SCO and MS.
> > >
> > > http://www.zdnet.com.au/newstech/os/story/0,2000048630,20274643,00.htm
> This is really interesting. I can think of a few possibilities:
> - This is a way for Microsoft to funnel money to SCO and prop them up
> through a protracted court case, and perhaps to convince IBM that
> SCO won't be exhausted. (But why not just buy stock?)
That's Perens's speculation in his CNet editorial.
> - Microsoft want to increase the credibility of SCO's attempt to get
> licence fees from companies using Linux. But why should they have
> to pay, when all-Microsoft shops presumably do not?
> There are also a few possibilities that are a bit more embarrassing
> for Microsoft and that perhaps ought to be raised in the press or in
> - Microsoft have (perhaps unintentionally) also inserted copyright
> SCO code into their codebase, and were at risk of a lawsuit as
> well. If it can be copied by a rogue programmer into Linux then it
> would be easier to copy it into a proprietary system.
> - Microsoft are using Linux or Unix.
Known fact on both counts. MSFT's SFU (not "shut the fsck up", but
"services for Unix") is Interix rebranded, and has been a product for
years. Microsoft runs (and is expanding) its Linux ops (partly an
intelligence thing, partly a competitive thing) according to news
> The SCO press release also says
> "With this announcement, Microsoft is clearly showing the
> importance of maintaining compatibility with UNIX and Microsoft's
> software solutions through their software licensing. This
> important step will better help their customers implement UNIX and
> Windows solutions."
> Perhaps Microsoft are planning on expanding the fig-leaf POSIX
> subsystem in NT into something actually useful?
There have also been reports of this. Realization, essentially, that
the problem isn't 'Nix lacking a GUI (there are many, several
excellent), but MS Windows lacking a decent, consistant, shell. You can
get further with inconsistent GUIs (inherently event-driven) than
without a universally available shell (scriptability is useful).
Admission a week or so back that there would be more unix-like features
in future Windows products, including headless (GUI-less) Windows
> That would be kind of
> an admission that their plans to move the world to Win32 had failed,
> but it might also help stop migration from proprietary Unix to Linux.
> If it was equally easy to port to NT then some companies might
> consider it. (I can't see any way in which SCO code would actually be
> technically useful in writing this system, given its reputation for
> being old and crufty.)
Somewhat. I see it more as convergence. GUIs are useful for
interactive work. CLIs are useful for automation. MSFT's intentional
fracturing and obfuscating the operating environment is useful from a
marketing perspective (it keeps both users and VARs off balance), but
hurts from a functional perspective (both good administration and solid
apps are harder to come by).
> If, as SCO disingenuously claims, SCO owns the heart of all Unix
> operating systems, then surely Microsoft buying them would be an
> enormous antitrust problem.
> I think it says something about Microsoft's ability to innovate that
> they think licensing 20-year old Unix code is a good deal compared to
> what they can do in house. :-)
...not sure if there's intentional irony over the fact that Xenix (aka
SCO Unix) was originally a Microsoft product.
> Near the bottom of that article, Ard writes
> In March 2001, Microsoft Senior Vice President Craig Mundie said
> releasing source code into the public domain is "unhealthy,"
> It's a shame that even in 2003, some journalists can't understand the
> difference between open source and public domain. I don't think
> Microsoft ever had a problem with public domain code, since they can
> freely take from it. It was only the reciprocal open source licences
> like the GPL that they didn't want.
Fair point. Why don't we let Ard know about this (see CC list).
> > Anyone got a dollar figure on that deal? I seem to recall $200m, but
> > don't see that anywhere.
> It might well be a peppercorn if the only reason is to give SCO more
I'm now seeing reports of $10-20m licensing revenues reported by SCO.
There's a shareholders report scheduled for 28 May.
Karsten M. Self <firstname.lastname@example.org> http://kmself.home.netcom.com/
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"What's so unpleasant about being drunk?"
"You ask a glass of water."
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