SCO is inviting us to SCOForum 2003 in -- where else? -- Las Vegas. All right. Not us. Probably not me, anyway. But can you think of a more appropriate spot for them in these United States than sin city? Unless... no, I don't think Fantasy Island is a real place. You couldn't have a conference there.
The SCOForum for this year has a James Bond theme, with the page showing a man with a gun. "Live and Let Die" they call it. Those SCO rascals are such cut-ups. Maybe they just mean to let us know they can get out of tight spots? Or maybe they are planning on shaking down their guests. Maybe they're just too dumb to have a sense of irony. An earnest footnote tells us that MGM kindly gave permission to let them use the Bond theme. Thank heavens, at least SCO is still upholding high moral values in this wicked age of IP pirates. I'm sure there are some depraved souls who'd have a conference with a James Bond theme and never even ask permission. This tells us how important it was to them to use that theme. Can you imagine? What are they thinking? Don't they have a PR team? They must, because Darl said he couldn't tell us who saw the code unless he got with his PR team. Well, I think they need a new team.
HP is sponsoring their opening day reception, according to this page and they are sending a VP to give a speech. Hmm. So, who else is going? Well, in addition to the usual suspects from SCO, and poor David Boies, SCO's new joint venture partners are going, TAKGroup. Huh? It seems, since August 4, SCO is going into the oil business, sort of. Or anyway, TAKGroup does the software and SCO, um, well, they have the ... We'll let CITGO explain why SCO and TAKGroup are made for each other:
"CITGO Petroleum Corporation's General Manager Specialty Sales, Rob Kress, highlighted the value of this joint venture. "We've been using TAK's products for over five years," said Kress, "which are tailor made to doing business with our trading partners and customers both domestically and internationally over the Internet. The combination of those superior products with the reseller network of SCO and deep global support channel make the SCO-TAK business combination a powerful force in helping the downstream petroleum industry automate its value chain."
OK. SCO offers a reseller network and a deep global support channel. For oil companies. Why is CITGO in this press release? They're not in the venture. Why are they stepping up to support SCO publicly like this? Did they get them the gig? Why would they? I was trying to remember if I've ever seen a press release where a noninvolved party was quoted instead of the principals. I couldn't think of one time. This wouldn't have anything to do with stock value, would it?
Next, I wondered if CITGO is a Fortune 500 company. I checked, but they don't run Linux. They run Windows, DOS and AIX. They have had one employee try Debian, but it was too hard for him. He couldn't even get it to download. So, they can't be the company that signed up for a Linux license, if SCO can be believed that somebody did sign up and it wasn't just the Ghost of Christmas Past or Hamlet's father that Darl saw. I think 007 needs to look into that contraband AIX though. Doesn't SCO care that CITGO is violating their Most Holy IP? CITGO may come to rue the day they got involved with these desperado Bond guys. This article says CITGO is already deeply in debt, so here's hoping they have indemnification and all.
The timing is handy, just before SCO has to file with the SEC. At least now maybe their financials won't have all arrows pointing straight down toward the center of the earth. That can definitely get people wondering about the value of their stock. Now they'll have more than the two customers they reported last time, if I recall correctly. But who is TAKGroup? And why are they interested in SCO? The press release explains:
"The SCO Group, a leading provider of business software solutions, today announced the creation of a joint venture with the TAKGroup, a leading eBusiness and Internet technology solutions company for the downstream petroleum industry. The downstream petroleum industry includes oil refining, distribution and marketing. The close partnership will allow SCO and its large reseller channel to deliver comprehensive Web-based services to the global downstream petroleum industry and add the technology offering to the company's SCOx Web Services initiative. TAKGroup will demonstrate its Web Services technology and integration with SCOx at SCOForum in Las Vegas, August 17-19, and provide hands-on technical training to SCO partners on the 19th."
Oh, goody. A petroleum demo. TAKGroup, besides having CITGO for a customer, does business with Halliburton too, according to their web site, or at least they have a link on their "commercial/industrial" page. I guess all the oil folks flock together. TAKGroup is proud to list Microsoft first on their list of "featured alliance partners". Who'd a thunk it? Microsoft. TAKGroup is so technically advanced, they use frames, so I can't provide links. You'll just have to go poke around yourselves. It's probably just a normal business relationship that just happened to occur in the nick of time in the most natural of ways, and it doesn't mean anything at all.
And who could blame SCO for wanting to hook up with oil? It means we can all enjoy TAKGroup's stimulating class in Las Vegas. Maybe if I put on a Wonderbra and a Bunny suit they'd let me in? Here's the course outline to whet your appetite:
"This instructor-led, hands-on training introduces SCO Resellers to industry leading solutions specific to downstream petroleum. Resellers can expect to gain the knowledge necessary to successfully sell, setup and manage primary downstream petroleum software modules for Fuels Management, Lubricants Management and Oil Analysis, as well as explore solution integration opportunities for this vertical marketplace.
"Resellers of specialty apps, back office solutions, point of sale systems and tank monitoring systems and Systems Integrators and ISVs should attend this training. Basic Internet and Internet browsing knowledge is required.
*Resellers who take this class and are certified are qualified to immediately receive leads currently available."
I just hope Darl has to sit through the whole thing. No, even better, it's hands-on, so he has to participate and even pretend to find it interesting. I'm sure it'll be very stimulating for him to learn about managing downstream petroleum software modules for Fuels Management, Lubricants Management and Oil Analysis. Who says there's no God? Unfortunately, it probably means we'll still have SCO to kick around for a while.
Oh, one last thing. CITGO doesn't use Linux, but it turns out there is a Linux connection they may not know about themselves. I found this charming story here about CITGO gving a school district access to two internet research labs, and they promptly installed Linux on all the donated computers. Don't sue them or anything, 'kay, SCO? They couldn't afford any more Windows boxes, so I'm pretty sure your license isn't in their budget, let alone a lawsuit. Would you like to know why they did it? I'll let the pirates tell you in their own words:
"Thanks to a generous donation from CITGO, the Calallen Independent School District has access to two new Internet research labs. The computers were donated to the school district when they became surplus equipment as part of CITGO's computer upgrade plan in Corpus Christi. In a pilot project, the 100 MHz Pentium machines were configured to use Linux, a free operating system, instead of Windows, which would have to be purchased for each computer by the district. Linux was installed on two 15-seat computer labs in the high school and middle school libraries. A web browser, word processor, spreadsheet, and other personal management software loaded on each computer allow not only Internet access, but provide full-featured workstations that can be used by students and staff.
"Everything installed on these computers is free, open-source software, which is the primary reason for exploring Linux as a solution in the school district. Also, since Linux can run well on older machines, it allows the use of computers that would not be able to run the newest versions of standard Microsoft products such as Windows and Office. This adds years to the usefulness of otherwise obsolete equipment, at a price the school district can afford."
So, there you are. Your all-American GNU/Linux pirates in the internet age. Grab your gun and go get 'em, Bond.
This story shows why no matter what the fat cats in the back room decide, no matter how much money they have, GNU/Linux just keeps right on ticking, in schools, in businesses, in governments, right under their noses and no matter what they do.