KSL TV – another example of a media outlet that didn't check a story…

So a company calls up their local TV station, and wnats to get a story run. The reporter (Jed Boal) does enough checking to find out that there is a controversy of some sort, and then proceeds to interview Darl McBride of SCO. Unfortuneately Jed didn’t do enough research. The result is a story that tells only one side of the issue at all well.

So I wrote to the General Manager at KSL and politely pointed out that they’d missed a few points. That was last Thursday. So far, no response.

So I’ve decided to post my message to them here. Make your own judgement.

The KSL story is here

This is my response:

In regards to the story below, there are several innaccuracies that need to be corrected:

> Lindon-based software company…S-C-O…
> or sco…is a lighting rod of controversy in the
> computer world today…

True enough.

> (Darl McBride/SCO President and
> C.E.O.:) “IT HAS BECOME THE BIGGEST
> ISSUE IN THE COMPUTER INDUSTRY IN
> DECADES.”

Not really. The Microsoft Anti-Trust lawsuit was far bigger, as was the IBM Anti-Trust lawsuit.

> This summer, free software
> advocates…picketed SCO…

> They’re fired up over a fundamental
> fracture in cyberspace…free software
> versus intellectual property.

And who owns the valuable intellectual property in this free software? If you check you will find copyright statements by a variety of individuals and organizations. Public License Software is valuable intellectual property, in fact at the current rate of growth of GPL/BSD license (or shared source) software the intellectual property
value will exceed that of proprietary software sometime in the next year.

> In one corner I-B-M and free software
> users…

> In the other…SCO which owns the code
> they argue is running the business
> world.

Correction – SCO claims it owns code that has been incorporated into some shared source applications, particularly the Linux Kernal. This
claim is difficult to substantiate as SCO is not willing to specify what/where the code is. Also part of what SCO appears to be claiming
as theirs appears to belong to IBM – at least IBM holds copyrights and software patents related to it.

> SCO sued IBM in March for three BILLION
> dollars…claiming IBM broke a contract
> and misused trade secrets.

> (Darl McBride/SCO President and
> C.E.O.:) “THE STAKES ARE EXTREMELY
> HIGH…THE BALANCE OF THE SOFTWARE
> INDUSTRY IS HANGING ON THIS.”

This is debateable. While shared source code can often be usefull, proprietary code also has it’s points. Shared source projects may die because of a lack of interest by programmers, whereas a company like Intuit can push a project through.

> SCO claims ownership of Unix…an
> operating system used to run small to
> huge businesses…

> SCO says its client…IBM, has placed
> UNIX code into the LINUX operating
> system.

This part is complicated. SCO does not own “UNIX”. They do own rights to one source tree of Unix. Please see the following link:
http://www.opengroup.org/comm/press/who-owns-unix.htm

> Linux is free…easy to modify and
> distribute…and is taking off
> worldwide.

> SCO says it cannot compete against a
> free product that relies on its own
> trade secrets.

Interestingly enough IBM (AIX), Sun Microsystems (Solaris), HP (HP-UX, VMS) and Microsoft (Windows) all seem to be able to compete with Linux. And of course at this point we have only SCO’s word that it’s trade secrets are in Linux.

> The attacks on SCO escalated to
> internet trash talk, hate mail…even
> death threats.

But calling hard working people thieves (and then trying to steal their work is fine).

> (Darl McBride/SCO President and
> C.E.O.:) “THIS THING WOULD NOT BE AS
> BIG A DEAL AS IT IS IF WE DID NOT HAVE
> A CASE. SO, INSTEAD OF WAITING FOR A
> JUDGEMENT WHERE THEY MIGHT LOSE,
> THEY’RE TRYING TO SHUT US DOWN IN THE
> SHORT-TERM WITH CYBER-ATTACKS OR
> PERSONAL ATTACKS.”

Actually many people believe that SCO does not have a case. Also many companies including Red Hat, IBM, HP, Fujitsu, Novell, SGI, and Sony believe that SCO does not have a case.

> SO, WHO OPPOSES SCO? THOUSANDS OF LINUX
> USERS HERE IN UTAH AND
> COUNTLESS MORE
> AROUND THE WORLD.

You forgot the mention Ford, Ebay, Amazon, Pixar Studios, etc.

> WE TALKED TO SOME STUDENTS HERE IN
> PROVO, WHO WERE PART OF THAT PROTEST.

> Linux-users and peaceful protestors
> like Jason Holt want the code
> available…without permission.

Again, as of this point SCO has not proven that “Permission” is needed. Many government agencies seem to agree – the NSA, US Army, DOD, White House, and NASA all use Linux.

> He adds to it..others add to it.

> (Jason Holt/Linux User:) “I CAN ACCESS
> THE CODE, I CAN ACCESS THE TOOLS, I CAN
> ACCESS THE PEOPLE…WE’RE WORKING
> TOGETHER TO BUILD SOMETHING AS A
> COMMUNITY.”

Kind of reminds you of the United Order, doesn’t it?

> Linux users argue they have not seen
> proof of copied code…or evidence that
> the IBM product IS a derivative of
> Unix.

> (Jason Holt/Linux User:) “I THINK IT’S
> COMPLETELY BOGUS, THEY HAVEN’T SHOWN
> ANYTHING.”

> SCO says it can prove it was
> lifted…and will.

Interestingly enough SCO has shown some snippets of code that they claimed were lifted from their product and added to Linux. One of the snippets was proven to have come from Free BSD. The other one came from SGI and may have been a problem. SGI immediately rewrote the function in question as they could not prove whether or not the code was at issue, and then ran a comparison of the code in their Unix implementation against that of Linux. The report is on their website,
and make interesting reading.

> (Darl McBride/SCO President and
> C.E.O.:) “IF SCO LOSES THIS
> CASE…SOFTWARE BECOMES FREE, THERE’S
> GOING TO BE A DOWNWARD SPIRAL.”

If SCO looses this case software doesn’t become magically free. What will happen is that SCO as a company will cease to exist, so I guess that for the CEO of SCO it will be a downward spiral. For the rest of the world, it won’t much matter.

If SCO does win this case it will cause severe dislocations in businesses all over the USA, and increased costs for IT infrastructure. This in itself could be enough to cause a recession.

> More battles ahead before the case
> makes it to federal court in Salt Lake
> in 2005.

Actually the case may be decided far sooner. I understand that SCO has not complied with requests from IBM for documentation. IBM has filed a notice to compell, and the judge will hear it in early December. If SCO has not complied by that point it is possible the judge could throw the case out and award damages to IBM, which could criple or kill SCO.

I’d suggest that you drop this on one of your reporters and have them check the net for further information. One place to start is:

http://www.groklaw.net

Another is:

http://www.sco.com

and the SEC is also a good place to check. There’s a lot of information in SCO’s SEC filings that they didn’t bother passing on to your reporter.

—–

And that’s what I sent to KSL – what do YOU think?

Advertisements

Blogging

I got a response to my blog – the exact words were. “rename it. Too explosive in connotations.”

My response is to tell about the guy who got some people together. He gave them something to believe in, and they soon became such a thorn in the side of the authorities that the authorities executed him.

His name was Jesus Christ.

Now most people today don’t consider him a terrorist – but he whipped the money changers from the temple (a violent act), counseled his followers to act as they believed right no matter what the authorities (government and synagogue) told them to do. In many ways he is the most dangerous man that every lived. His teachings have changed the lives of billions (see http://www.adherents.com for numbers of followers of various religions), and his followers now control the governments of many of the most powerful (politically and financially) countries on the planet.

He is in part the inspiration for this BLOG. I’m not fit to follow in his footsteps, but I intend to try, in my own way.

Rage, fury, rage, fury, rage, fury….

I spend most of my time mad.

The number of fools in the world seems larger every day. The number of blithering idiots is incredible.

The number of thieves, scumbags, jerks, and assholes is beyond compare.

Take SCO – please.

A bunch of thieves trying to steal the valuble IP owned by the open source community, and running what looks like a stock scam on the side.

I never, ever, in my worst dreams thought I would be cheering for IBM. I never, ever thought that Novell would look like a white knight.

Every time I think of SCO I remember a line from one of Cher’s songs:

Gypsies, Tramps and Thieves….

That’s SCO.