Now It's Invoices By October 15 --

Thursday, September 04 2003 @ 04:33 AM EDT

Contributed by: PJ

Now It's Invoices By October 15 --
And SCO Says It Is Not a Pump-and-Dump


Well, it's time to go back on mailbox alert, as the threat index rose from yellow back up to orange. Once again, we are threatened with ...shudder... invoices.

The company that had no concrete plans to ever sue anybody less than a week ago is now saying they will be mailing out invoices before October 15. IDG says "thousands". LinuxWorld says exactly a thousand, for starters. But who's counting when you're having fun?

That's very thoughtful, doing it before October 15, because the price goes up after that, and they don't want you to miss the special price. They also claim they have signed up another license customer, but, shush, it's a deep, dark, hush-hush secret who that entity might be. It's for them to know and you to find out:

"Stowell declined to reveal the identity of the new customer or say how many other customers SCO may have signed up, but he did say that almost all of the company's 100 sales representatives are now spending time selling the Linux license, and that SCO is readying thousands of invoices that it plans to send to Linux users worldwide before Oct. 15, when the per-processor price of an IP License for Linux will double to $1,400.

"'Over the last month or so, employees in our company have been doing research on various companies using Linux, and that's what they've based who they would send invoices to,' said Stowell.

"Commercial organizations using a 2.4 or later version of the Linux kernel in the United States will be the first to receive invoices. 'For the most part, these are big business types of customers,' said Stowell. 'Initially it will start in the U.S., and will make its way internationally.'"


LinuxWorld says the invoices will be "threatening court action if the users fail to pay." SCO, I've decided, is like an abusive husband who drinks. The next day, he forgets all about every horrible thing he did, is nice as he can be for a bit, and then he does it all over again. It's not wise to believe what someone like that promises. Or have any dealings with them at all, actually, if you have any self-esteem.

To tell you the truth, I hate to keep reporting this stuff, because it seems once a month they make this type of announcement. This month it's: "Blake Stowell, director of public relations at SCO, estimates that roughly 2.5 million servers are running Linux based on the 2.4 kernel, and all of the owners of these servers could face billing from SCO. " And then it seems like the stock shoots up again, and then somebody sells some more stock, according to a preset plan, of course, and then it calms down a bit, and then the following month, it starts again. But then, I could be mistaken, not being an expert in this field.

SCO's man in Australia, Kieran O'Shaughnessy, tells us that it is not a pump and dump. So that's that. Here's what he said at the Australian Unix Users Group (AUUG) annual conference in Sydney, Australia:

"'This is not a stock 'pumping' exercise, rather, SCO feels it has no choice [but] to sue, having tried to resolve the IP issues without the use of litigation,' he said."

So you cynics better just quit it. It's official. It's not a stock pumping exercise. There is a funny report from Greg Lehey on Martin Pool's blog on watching O'Shaughnessy's face as Greg did a show and tell on the code and demonstrated what he believes to be its actual origins. However, O'Shaughnessy is a true believer, and facts momentarily confuse but do not alter the core beliefs of true believers, and thus he went on to say, despite all the facts in evidence:

" 'This IP battle is only one part of SCO's business and is an add-on component. The core of SCO's business is profitable,' he said. . . .SCO owns the Unix operating system and we have found significant Unix code in Linux."

Huh? What was that about profitable? Run that past me one more time, because I have been reading quarterlies and things like that all day. A more detailed version of what Lehey said about the code is here. Con Zymaris, CEO of services provider Cybersource and convenor of business lobby Open Source Victoria, also then spoke to the issue of copyright, to which true believer O'Shaughnessy said:

" 'Kieran O'Shaughnessy, managing director of SCO Group in Australia, said he could not answer any 'technical' or 'legalistic' questions about the examples of code.

" 'But Linux is an unauthorised derivative of Unix and there is significant Unix code in Linux ... some 1,000,000 lines,' he said.

"Asked whether he thought the media attention surrounding SCO's IBM lawsuit and threats to commercial Unix users would hamstring open source, O'Shaughnessy said it was not SCO's intention to damage the open source industry.

"He denied that SCO was a dying company and that SCO had threatened personal users of Linux with lawsuits, as had been widely reported in the media."


Say, what?

Speaking of a million lines of code, you might find it interesting to follow Martin's math, on the same page as Lehey's report, but at the very bottom of the page. He points out that Linux and UNIX don't have much in common, and if you subtract everything, and, well, let him tell it:

"Cutting out the bits of code that don't exist in SCO, while still giving them the benefit of the doubt, I get rather less than a million lines of code. Perhaps 500,000, depending on how you cut it.

"I just don't think there *are* a million lines of common functionality between Linux and SCO. If I was starting from scratch to write something like Linux, and I had carte blanch to copy from SCO then I don't think there are a million lines I'd be able to use. (And this is to say nothing of SCO's notoriously bad code quality, which made Linux such a pleasant change years ago.)

"You could do this more rigorously by going through SCO's feature list and picking out the particular files in Linux that match: a driver for this IDE chip and that SCSI card and so on. It's more work than I care to put into it at the moment, and I'd lay money that you won't get to a million lines."


He goes on to question the actual monetary worth of their code. No way to arrive at a sum certain before the trial, though, because Mr. O'Shaughnessy says,"It is not in our interests to release key evidence before the trial."

That's the thing about logic and true believers. You can talk all day and present evidence to the max, and it doesn't even dent their consciousness. They walk away exactly the same as they started.

I noted that the article on LinuxWorld mentions: "Also present in the audience was IBM Australia and New Zealand Linux business manager Geoff Lawrence who declined to comment." Those IBM dudes are way cool.

AntiFUD is an important part of this battle, which is why IBM is launching an advertising campaign about Linux. But legally they're like circling sharks. Not a sound. Just water rippling ever so slightly on the surface, a brief glimpse of a fin, as they slowly circle. Until it's time to lunge.

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