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schwern (1528)

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Schwern can destroy CPAN at his whim.

Journal of schwern (1528)

Wednesday March 03, 2004
04:06 PM

Think it through, EV1

[ #17744 ]

You've probably heard that paid the SCO extortion money trying to protect their users in the unlikely event of SCO winning the Linux case. Me? I think they got a call from SCO's lawyers and caved. Probably got a special deal on cheap licenses with the proviso that they never talk about the cost or that SCO was going to drag them into court. But that's just idle speculation. Let's get into the serious speculation.

Was HeadSurfer's decision a noble act in the face of public condemnation? Or a short-sighted money pit? Let's think this through.

Say SCO does win the case. What happens then? EV1Servers doesn't get sued. Ok, good so far. But what then? What happens to Linux in a post SCO world? The offending code gets removed and rewritten and life goes on, right?

The major Linux players have just lost billions of dollars to SCO. SCO is off suing everyone and God with the new found cash and legal justification. Businesses, always skittish about Linux's (in their eyes) odd licensing, are dumping it faster than they're dumping shares of any company connected with it. They don't want to risk getting sued. Linux servers move to BSD and OS X. And how long before SCO starts poking around in the BSD source?

If SCO wins, Linux is dead in the American corporate world. We go back to 1995 where it was hobbyists that ran Linux and the occassional sysadmin quietly slipped a Linux machine on the rack. Which might not be so bad. It'll certainly be more peaceful. :)

And where does this leave EV1? They didn't get sued, but now they have thousands of Linux servers with no viable upgrade path. Its like buying life insurance when you have no heirs.

What should EV1 have done? Well, nothing would have been fine. From the reaction on the forums it seems the users are ready to take on SCO all by themselves (though that could have rapidly changed once the suits started flying). Now he's a pariah. Instead of being a Judas, HeadSurfer could have been Mel Gibson.

SCENE: HeadSurfer appears on Live TV with a pile of cash in front of him.

The whole world now knows, Linux was kidnapped for ransom by SCO. This is a recent kernel snapshot. Linus, if you're watching, we love you.

And this-- well, this is what waits for Darl McBride. This is your ransom, $1,000,000 in licensing fees, just like you wanted. But this is as close as you'll ever get to it. You'll never see one dollar of this money, because no license fee will ever be paid for Linux. Not one dime, not one penny.

Instead, I'm offering this money to the Linux Defense Fund. So congratulations, you've just helped hire a million dollar lawyer. Do you know anyone that wouldn't defend Linux for $1,000,000?


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  • And how long before SCO starts poking around in the BSD source?

    BSD sources have a pretty strong dose of anti-fud, thanks to the AT&T vs. UCBerkeley suit from last decade. My memory is rusty, and IANAL, but I seem to remember one of the criteria of the settlement is that BSD remove the code in about 4 files, and AT&T drop all claims going forward that there's any copyright violation in that code tree. This was after the judge intimated that AT&T's suit was without merit, and he would likel