Message ID: 162711
Posted By: raoulduke_esq
Posted On: 2004-08-03 23:43:00
Subject: SCO Forum 2004 - Tuesday (1)

I'm sorry, I missed the first half of Rob Enderle's "keynote talk", entitled "Free Software and the Fools Who Use It" (I'm serious - lifted directly from the program). However, as I found to my chagrin, I did not miss much. As I came in, Rob was making the point that "the problem with free is that it doesn't contribute to anything." He complained that when things are free, there are no taxes to be collected, and without taxes, you don't get politicians, firefighters, police, etc. A lot of his presentation followed in this vein - either draw a strawman or over-state an issue and pick it to death. He also is quite proud of his unsubstantiated assertations, which conveniently back his points.

He touched on offshoring - though it seemed to be non-sequitur. Then, he noted that the children of wealthy people (read "for fee") will go to better schools and have more advantages than those of poorer people (read "for free"). Again, it didn't make much sense. He then pulled out the assertation that most OSS engineers got their money from retirees who invested in their dot-coms during the boom days. And they will move on when they get bored. Yow!

Enderle then expounded on the types of "Free software". First, there is "Advertising Supported Free" - but then you have to endure spy-ware, and ad-ware, and who knows what else, so, in the final analysis, it really isn't free. Second, there is "Free Trial-ware"; but you never know when it is going to "blow up" on you. He related how his free trial version of something called GoBack (which he assumed _everybody_ would know about) went "poof", uninstalled, and rebooted his machine while in the middle of an important EDS presentation. I think this says more about relying on trial software for your job. Then, there is "Free Enterprise Software", which "isn't free". Rob noted that IBM gave away Notes, but made more money, around $600, per sale this way. I haven't figured this one out either. Finally, there is "Free Software". He made some sort of attempt to connect RedHat's new business model to their accounting and restatement of earnings (which, as I understand it, were up). "A community project is just that." And he asked the rhetorical question: what is the value of competitive information moving between competitors? I don't know.

Finally, he decided to let loose with his opinions of the F/OSS community; I tried to get as much as I could but he was on a roll. He first noted that "working with vendors is one thing, but working with developers named 'Buttlick' will seem like a bad idea in hindsight". Apparently, Enderle and SCO have been reading the Yahoo Financials and Groklaw boards, and they really don't like what they read. He took a swipe at Groklaw by name, and wanted any Groklawyers in the audience to "be offended" (direct quote). "FUD is the mantra of the people who don't want to hear" and claims of FUD are the opposite of freedom. But, "the fact that you are here shows that you have a brain" he determined. And finally, mercifully, he closed with the advice: "to people who just want to slam the company, buy a clue - it's the best investment you'll ever make." Overall, I have never seen such a smug and smarmy presentation. Darl McBride, Jeff Hunsaker, and Chris Sontag were far more genuine and believable.


Message ID: 162712
Posted By: raoulduke_esq
Posted On: 2004-08-03 23:45:00
Subject: Re: SCO Forum 2004 - Tuesday (2)

Chris Sontag followed with an overview of SCOsource litigation. I was told that the charts for this will be posted to the SCO website, so I'll just touch on the interesting points. He pointed out that there were no lawyers with him on the stage due to the prior hearing scheduling, though I believe I saw Kevin McBride in Las Vegas that weekend. In his initial comments, he also mentioned the negative analysis on Groklaw. He then presented a different "UNIX Tree" than Darl the day before; on this tree, the trunk was labeled "SCO IP (UNIX)", and the tree branches were labeled BSD, HP/UX, SGI IRIX, DYNIX/Ptx, AIX, SCO OpenServer, and SCO UnixWare.

Chris Sontag then presented the status on their legal fronts. More important than what he noted is what he did not note, so if I don't mention it, it's because Mr. Sontag neglected it too. First up was the Novell case: "If you read Groklaw, you'd think our case was finished. Nothing could be farther from the truth." Important events in the history of this action are: the 19 Sept 95 SCO (old) purchase of UNIX assets from Novell, and the next day, the joint press release. There is a typo in this APA, and second amendment on 16 Oct 96 "clarified copyright transfers with Novell". After SCO (new) found the 2nd amendment on 6 June 03, Novell issued a press release that states "certain copyrights did transfer to SCO". "In Oct 2003, Novell begins to file for copyright registrations previously sold to SCO". Chris Sontag claims that the previous registrations are already in binders in his office - but he didn't say when they were registered and by whom. In Dec 03, Novell begins to claim "unique legal rights" to UNIX. He state that "Novell [was] being an Indian-giver" (to non-US readers, Google this), and Novell attempted to interfere with SCO's business.

Sontag's take on the Judge Kimball's 9 Jun 04 ruling was interesting: "If you read Groklaw, you would think SCO lost everything." "Novell's motion to dismiss was denied," but "Novell's removal of the case to Federal Court was upheld." They were "granted" 30 days to "amend the complain to plead special damages." Keeping the case in Federal Court was "fine by us." It all boils down to the fact that "Novell's motion to dismiss was denied and the case moves on" because "it was easy to show that a number of companies were confused by Novell."

He blew past the RedHat case - it was stayed on 6 Apr 04 by the judge based on the similarities with the IBM case. After all, we are "defending ourselves against RedHat."

The Daimler-Chrysler case "is not about copyrights", explained Mr. Sontag. It is about "UNIX source code license compliance." DC was "one of a number of companies that didn't respond" but "many companies did." However, DC "later certified compliance." According to Chris, on 21 July 04, the court "ruled we had the right to request certification" but since Daimler-Chrysler had, the court dismissed SCO's certification claims. SCO is now free to begin discovery of why DC did not provide timely certification. SCO has not decided what to do yet.

In the AutoZone case, AZ's motion to transfer was denied but a motion to stay was granted, with the exception for limitted discovery. This case is based on "copyright issues similar to the IBM case" (yes, he said this).


Message ID: 162713
Posted By: raoulduke_esq
Posted On: 2004-08-03 23:47:00
Subject: Re: SCO Forum 2004 - Tuesday (3)

Finally, Chris Sontag got to the big one, the IBM case. SCO filed the civil suit on 6 Mar 03, amended it on 27 Feb 04, "and we may do so again in the future." SCO's claims allege contract violation - and, in the fine print, "minor copyright violations". He brought up the "good faith efforts" quote. It was a win when the judge granted SCO's motion for an extension over IBM opposition, because "no judge is going to grant an extension if there is no case." IBM's counterclaims are vexing to SCO: "This is kind of bizarre" said Mr. Sontag: IBM laid out a bunch of Linux activities and asked for summary judgment that IBM's Linux activities do not infringe. He also noted that IBM's internal documents refer to AIX as a derivative of UNIX (the smoking gun?).

Here is "the crux of the IBM case" - paragraph 2.01 of the AT&T Software Agreement. "Because of this clause in the agreements, IBM is not any more free to disclose it's derivatives than UNIX itself." He went on to quote the Harrop declaration, SCO's response to IBM's motion for Summary Judgment, pages 28 and 40, including "this case is not about literal copying." The charts will be more detailed.

The SCOsource licensing program is available, as requested by end users. It covers binary runtime licenses for SCO IP to end users. There are licenses for different Linux products: embedded, desktop, and server. And Chris Sontag announced that they are working to bundle a SCOsource license with UnixWare and OpenServer.

Finally, the session closed with a chart that claimed in no uncertain terms: (1) SCO owns UNIX; (2) IP defines rights of ownership; (3) IP is the key asset for all software vendors - partners, developers, and resellers, (4) SCO is protecting the value of UNIX for everyone. He ended with a statement that I scribbled down without context: "Linux is just like Unix System V".

Next up was the Q&A session; however, I had a flight to catch home so I missed the rest of the Forum. I'm sorry, and I hope I didn't miss anything juicy.

My next post will be more of my observations and thoughts.

Message ID: 162725
Posted By: raoulduke_esq
Posted On: 2004-08-04 00:42:00
Subject: SCO Forum 2004 - wrap up

Now I'm just going to write about my thoughts on SCO, SCO Forum, and the Universe. First off, I am an engineer, not a writer in any form of the word, so I apologize if my prose has been difficult to follow or non-sensical.

Secondly, SCO Forum was an enjoyable experience, and I hope that I can do it again. The SCO engineers, from both Murray Hill, NJ, and Santa Cruz, CA, were fascinating to talk to and very dedicated to UNIX. As far as I can tell, they are NOT involved in the whole SCOsource embroglio. Some of them have been working on UNIX for over 20 years. The current mamagement is just a speed bump in the history of UNIX. It will all be decided one way or another, and they will continue to work in their field. They want to be left to do what they have spent years doing better than anybody else. One engineer grimaced that, because he is a "name" in the field, and has a SCO email address, gets lots of harrassing email. Please people, remember that these are people too. No matter what anyone may think, I enjoyed spending time with them as engineers in a social environment, and I was certainly not trying to pump anyone for information. The other support staff from Lyndon were really great too; friendly, always smiling, and ready to help out. I also spent time with many of the other vendors, who were good people too. Lone Star had the best shirt design that I have ever seen at a tech conference. Ericom's people were always fun to talk to. I had great conversations with other vendors - I even got a job offer if I ever move! And the food was the best of any tech conference - I over ate everyday.

I'm sure that SCO management figured out who I was by Tuesday morning. They didn't say anything to me directly but I think they warned the engineers to stay away from me. Heck, they might have even had suspicions since we checked in. We weren't there to upset anyone's apple cart, in fact the opposite was true - our biggest fear was that misguided F/OSS supporters would try to disrupt the events, and it would be our responsibility to keep things from getting out of hand.

Over the three days of SCO Forum, I did pick up a lot of information about SCO's product offerings and plans that I did not know. And I learned about the state of UNIX in business. What I don't understand is why people have not migrated to FreeBSD.

And finally, SCO Forum put real faces to the SCO management team names that we have only been reading about.

As an aside, I thought it was a fun experiment in OSS jounalism. While there were tables reserved for the press & analysts, who also got special briefings from SCO, we were able to spread the word without the editorial bias that money buys. Yes, I am anything but objective ("Damn it Jim, I'm an engineer, not a journalist!") but I tried to keep it straight. (I have about 20 pages of notes that would just bore you to tears.) And I can't be bought or rented.

We'll have to see if I will be allowed to register for SCO Forum 2005.


PS. I have the original Sade version of "Smooth Operator" playing on the stereo right now - it's much better.

PPS. Shout out to Dr. Free - hey Ron!

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