Complacency and bravado
Sun Aug 8 12:08:19 2004 Complacency
Posted by Tony Lawrence
Search Keys: sco lawsuit,microsoft
There's a longish thread in comp.os.linux.misc ( starts at
) about the Linux patent threat issue.
Two common themes I see there are complacency and bravado:
there's a "we have nothing to worry about" attitude mixed with a
strong sense of "you can't hurt us because we're too tough!". I see
the same attitudes at Groklaw.
At one level, I do think that the threats are more FUD than
reality. if you are going to pull your gun, pull it, don't tell me
how many bullets are in the clip. If any of these patents were
really strong, someone would be asserting their rights. And there
is our big buddy IBM who would likely step in to counter threaten
anyone who went after Linux.
But: one thing not to forget is that IBM and other Linux friends
don't see Linux in the same way most of us here do. For us, there
is a large political component: we believe in open source as the
right thing to do. IBM believes in making money. If Linux helps it
fight Microsoft right now, then Linux is the favored son. But that
can change, and IBM and the others can become just as much an enemy
It's just money: I was reading this morning ( http://www.eweek.com/article2/0,1759,1630623,00.asp
) that HP is still quite cozy with SCO - because SCO makes them
money. When that stops, HP will drop them - though even now the
flow of cold cash can't be entirely cooling the burning of that
particular hot potato.
So I don't think Linux should be entirely complacent about this.
The bravado is another thing that disturbs me. Bravado is
indicative of immaturity: only the young think they are invincible.
Microsoft is not going to just roll over and die: they will fight
tooth and nail, fair or foul. The most dangerous thing you can do
is underestimate your opponents strength, and I see a lot of that
in the Linux community. Comments like "Microsoft loses all its
lawsuits" are just foolish.
Back when George Bush was ramping us up for the Iraq war, I
happened to talk to a young man who had just joined the Army. He
had the typical confidence of the young: "We're going in there and
kick their butts; I'll be back here by September". That's the same
kind of attitude I see toward Microsoft.
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