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SCO shows its cards

Wed Feb 18 11:11:49 GMT 2004 SCO shows its cards

Link: http://slashdot.org/article.pl?sid=04/02/18/0146241

And of course this clears up.. nothing.

This remains a confusing mess, as is well evidenced by the responses at Slashdot and Groklaw. "That's not copying, that's just two similar approaches to the same problem". That may be true, but it can also be someone reading one source and translating to their own needs. The problem is that these things can look like theft even if they really were not - and vice versa.

Then we have the whole Novell thing, with them saying "Who says you have any claim to this stuff anyway. It's ours, and we think it's fine if IBM released it". I see a few Linux folk waving that around, which I really think is dangerous because that sounds like an admission of guilt: "Yes, I stole the car, but.. it was actually my sister's car, not Mr. Smith's!". So your sister won't prosecute, but that doesn't make you an upright and honest citizen, does it?

And then we have carping about technicalities: mention of Linux 2.6 and other twisty little sidebars. Again, I don't think this is smart: while stupid little technicalities can turn a case, they don't wash you clean. Linux needs to emerge from this pure and unsullied, not let off by some esoteric screwup.

Another example of that is line counting: SCO's "millions of lines" have apparently become a few thousand. Some Linux defenders have crowed about that, but that isn't good: "Yes, I robbed the bank, but I only took $20.00" doesn't clear your name.

Well, at least the code in question is out there. I'm sure there will be lots of analysis and argument over the next few days.

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© Tony Lawrence

I think some Linux folk are misunderstanding this (judging from some nasty email). I'm not saying anything anti-linux here or that Linux stole anything etc: I'm saying that some of the arguments people are using are dangerous for the reasons given above.

I think Linux needs to take the high road on this, plain and simple.


Cyberscribe says:

The only downside of our leagal system is that you can't be proved innocent - only "not guilty." And what is perceived is often much more important than what is TRUE. So, I thank the author for pointing out that, in reality, while SCO bears the burden of proof, Linux bears the burden of PR Spin, where an accusation usually makes bigger headlines than a mistaken accusation. I'm rooting for LInux to emerge from this confusing mess with pristine clarity, but at best I will settle for SCO looking foolish.

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